Lewis Masquerier in the “Boston Investigator” (1834-1888)

  • Lewis Masquerier, [letter], The Boston Investigator 4 no. 8 (May 16, 1834): 2.
  • Ann Tabor, [letter], The Boston Investigator 4 no. 9 (May 23, 1834): 2.
  • Abner Kneeland, “The Reformed Alphabet and Orthography, Applicable to all Languages” [review], Boston Investigator 5 no. 10 (May 29, 1835): 3.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Temperance” [poetry], Boston Investigator 5 no. 26 (September 18, 1835): 4.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Lecture I: The Materiality of Mind,” Boston Investigator 6 no. 6 (April 29, 1836): 1.
  • Philo, [on LM’s Lyceum lecture], Boston Investigator 6 no. 6 (April 29, 1836): 2.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Lecture I: The Materiality of Mind,” Boston Investigator 6 no. 7 (May 6, 1836): 1.
  • L. M., “Attention Emigrants!,” Boston Investigator 6 no. 7 (May 6, 1836): 2.
  • Eugenius, [on LM’s Lyceum lecture], Boston Investigator 6 no. 7 (May 6, 1836): 2.
  • [editorial comments on spelling reform], Boston Investigator 6 no. 7 (May 6, 1836): 3.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Lecture I: The Materiality of Mind,” Boston Investigator 6 no. 8 (May 13, 1836): 1. [“concluded”]
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Lecture II: On Moral Good and Evil” Boston Investigator 6 no. 9 (May 20, 1836): 1.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Lecture II: On Moral Good and Evil” Boston Investigator 6 no. 10 (May 27, 1836): 1. [“concluded”]
  • Moses Fisk, “Extract of a letter,” Boston Investigator 6 no. 11 (June 3, 1836): 2.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Lecture III: On the Remedy of Moral Evil,” Boston Investigator 6 no. 12 (June 10, 1836): 1.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Lecture III: On the Remedy of Moral Evil,” Boston Investigator 6 no. 13 (June 17, 1836): 1.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Extract of a letter,” Boston Investigator 6 no. 13 (June 17, 1836): 2.
  • [note on the non-publication of a lecture], Boston Investigator 6 no. 14 (June 24, 1836): 2.
  • “To Correspondents,” Boston Investigator 6 no. 25 (September 2, 1836): 2.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Tract No. 1—Christianity,” Boston Investigator 6 no. 26 (September 09, 1836): 1.
  • “Periodical of Mental Freedom,” Boston Investigator 9 no. 25 (September 04, 1839): 3. (1414 words)
  • Lewis Masquerier, “The Universal Community Society of Rational Religionists,” The Boston Investigator 9 no. 39 (December 4, 1839): 1.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Anniversary Hymn—To T. Paine,” Boston Investigator 9 no. 49 (February 19, 1840): 2. (poem)
  • Lewis Masquerier, “The Life and Character of Robespierre” [review], Boston Investigator 10 no. 38 (January 06, 1841): 1; 10 no. 39 (January 13, 1841): 1.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “New Theory; suggesting the Rotary Motion of the Earth as the Cause of its Curvilinear Direction in its Orbit, and also of the Tides,” Boston Investigator 11 no. 6 (June 16, 1841): 1-2.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Progress of the New Organization of Society,” Boston Investigator 11 no. 15 (August 18, 1841): 2.
  • [editorial note], Boston Investigator 11 no. 17 (September 01, 1841): 3.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Science of Government Founded on Natural Law” [review], Boston Investigator 11 no. 18 (September 08, 1841): 1-2.
  • [editorial note], Boston Investigator 11 no. 18 (September 08, 1841): 3.
  • [editorial note], Boston Investigator 11 no. 24 (October 20, 1841): 3.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Discussion on Socialism,” Boston Investigator 11 no. 25 (October 27, 1841): 1.
  • Lewis Masquerier, [letter], Boston Investigator 14 no. 16 (August 21, 1844): 2.
  • “The Free Homestead Association,” Boston Investigator 32 no. 13 (July 30, 1862) 102. [Masquerier, Ingalls, etc]
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Propagandists,” Boston Investigator 32 no. 35 (December 31, 1862): 275.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Mental, Chattel, and Hireling Slavery,” Boston Investigator 32 no. 36 (January 7, 1863): 281.
  • Ann Masquerier, “Progression and Theology,” Boston Investigator 32 no. 42 (February 18, 1863): 329.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Thomas Paine’s Monument,” Boston Investigator 33 no. 24 (October 21, 1863): 185-6. [includes lyrics to “Philanthropist, Thomas Paine,” to be sung to the tune of the “Star Spangled Banner.”]
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Death of Capt. Benjamin Price,” Boston Investigator 33 no. 245 (October 28, 1863): 195.

[First Letter to the Investigator]

Carthage, Hancock Co., Illinois.

March 18th, 1834.

Dear sir, Though an humble labourer in the great cause of truth, for which you are now undergoing persecutions, I cannot refrain from giving you my cheering voice. All that I have heard of the proceeding in Boston against you is from, a small paragraph in the Saturday Courier. It seems, they have sentenced you to three months imprisonment—from which you have appealed. I hope the superstitious verdict will be reversed. Though some judges are as superstitions as jurymen, yet your chance for justice is better. I suppose the verdict of the Boston jury against you was similar to that of the London jury in the ease of the crown against Williams for publishing the Age of Reason. This thing of the trial by jury is a part of the great system of error that now governs the moral world. But, let us pursue our course—we shall have the delight of conscience, and the approbation of posterity for facilitating the progress of those principles by which they will become so much superior to this age in happiness. See how mankind are revolutionizing in Europe into representative governments from the dissemination of those doctrines more universally than others. But even when the people get republics they are still but little further advanced in the road to happiness. There are still greater evils resulting from republics. There is too much party spirit excited in the selection of rulers. Yet republics are an important stage in the progress of civilization. But this instructing of mankind if but a part of the erroneous system cannot be so effective as the laying the whole system of error before them. This has been done by Mr, Owen; and I hope to see all liberal writers going their whole length against every species of error. I wish to see them firing their broad sides of reason against all the existing institutions of mankind. Let the human race see the whole system of evil, and they must sooner reform from the whole of it. ‘The pointing out the errors of district religions does not show so effectually: all the error that prevails. There is certainly a combination of errors proceeding from different causes. The grand source of error and misery is the private property system. But from its being so recently disclosed by Mr. Owen there are but few advocates for it. I regret to see that those who see how superstition puzzles itself by ascribing the corruption generated partly by its own doctrines to the supposed sin of Adam, also blinds themselves by ascribing the selfishness generated by the private property system to an inherent selfishness in human nature as an insurmountable barrier to the adoption of the social system. What a spectacle does this world exhibit of so many little legislatures devising means for the suppression of crime, misery and poverty without success; when, if they only had a little originality of the thinking principle, and could substitute other ideas than those learnedly acquired and nonsensical ones they could see that there is a single individual now in the world who has disclosed the true remedy for all the evils that afflict mankind. How does Mr. Owen rise in sublimity of legislation to the puny wranglers and natural law breakers, in our state houses.

Is it not in the power of the friends of truth to do more than they are doing for the advancement of human happiness. Could not the enlightened few do a great deal more by uniting themselves into a society on the plan of Mr. Owen’s social system. If a community of the most enlightened materials could be formed I have no doubt but that the experiment could be made in a short time that the community property system is the true saviour of the human race. How happy would a community of congenial minds make themselves, I have no doubt but that if we would set about it we might enlist some hundred families from among the most virtuous and liberal minded. The united capital and labor of such would purchase a common home, and erect all the necessary buildings and labor-saving machinery. And if two hours of labor from each individual according to Mr Owen will furnish a competence, how much more capital might be produced to aid other societies, and to patronize men of genius who could write for the cause; and to erect a large printing establishment that could print books and tracts to supply the whole world. I have an alphabet that all languages can be written by, and, yet, that can be learned by any nation. But what is better, all languages can be combined by it into one universal. Let us arouse ourselves, for we could do wonders if we could only combine and locate ourselves into some safe retreat, If we could get a tract of land in the most populous part of the Union, our example would be seen by more and have a greater influence; but if it is impracticable, we might raise capital enough to enter all the land in one of the counties in the north of this state that has its boundaries fixed, and but a few inhabitants, whose places might be bought, and we could have an entire county to ourselves; and by being prudent the State government could be exercised over us as in the other counties, and the government of the social system also. Or if this is not practicable we might concentrate on Mr Owen’s grant on the Rio del Norte.

I regret to find so many advanced no farther in seeing the great system of error and monopoly that now reigns over the moral world than that of district religious; and do hope that you survey the whole system of error. I see the title of a number of works with your name, but I have not had the pleasure of perusing any of your writings yet, and but little of that of others; so you must excuse me for ignorance of other of your opinions. Please to write.

Dear Sir, I am truly your friend in the cause of truth,

Lewis Masquerier.

There is one of the finest tracts of land lying about the mouth of Rock river, in Rock Island Co, that is to be found in the West. And all this land is now subject to entry except a few quarters that might be bought of the settlers Townships 17 north, and ranges 1 and 2 west, includes all the land from the mouth 9 miles up Rock River, and including its falls, a fine site for a town, or social system community. Gain over some wealthy persons who could buy this land and devote part for a social system, and thus make the balance valuable for themselves or others. This county has its boundaries fixed, and could a society of liberals have the entire county to themselves they could avoid detractions from our christian brethren ; and the government of the Society, as well as that of the State, could be exercised in peace.

LM.


Ann Tabor, [letter], The Boston Investigator 4 no. 9 (May 23, 1834): 2.


The Reformed Alphabet and Orthography, Applicable to all Languages

[excerpt]

… Mr. Masquerier says he ‘has not yet been able to learn the improvements suggested by Mr. A. Kneeland for an alphabet; nor those in a book entitled ‘Something New, comprising a New Alphabet,’ by Mr. M. H. Barton, which would, perhaps, have occasioned some alteration in his views.’

N. B. I sent Mr. M (some time since) a specimen of my alphabet, and I now send him (with this) a specimen of Mr. Barton’s; for it is desirable to have all the light we can on so important a subject. …

  • Abner Kneeland, “The Reformed Alphabet and Orthography, Applicable to all Languages” [review], Boston Investigator 5 no. 10 (May 29, 1835): 3.

  • Lewis Masquerier, “Temperance” [poetry], Boston Investigator 5 no. 26 (September 18, 1835): 4.

LECTURE I.

THE MATERIALITY OF MIND.

Delivered before the Society of Moral Philanthropists, in New York, and the First Society of Free Enquirers in Boston—By Lewis Masquerier.

Respected hearers,

Although the knowledge of human mind or nature is essentially necessary to guide the actions of men, yet there is no department of knowledge in which they seem to be so deficient. And yet there is no subject on which more is said and written that that of human nature, But, such is the authoritative influence of the dogmas of religion and law in inculcating the sentiment of an innate depravity of human nature, or a self-originated free-will motive, and of a spirituality separate from the body, that men have not been able to study each other through the more obvious and tangible medium of the organs of the body. and to discover that depravity or vice is wholly acquired; that moral actions are necessitated, and that the mind is material.

The phenomena of human mind or nature have therefore generally been attempted to be explained as the effects of innate and free-willed attributes of a spiritual something, developing itself through the medium of the brain and senses, instead of being represented as merely the qualities of the nervous system developed originally by external impression. Hence, those departments of knowledge that have not been darkened by revelation, have progressed far before that of human nature. The knowledge of human mind is the nucleus to which all other knowledge ought to be associated, as it is upon a few leading sentiments of its nature that all our actions turn. In every exercise of thought, in all our actions with each other, we have use for the application of the knowledge of our nature. hence, it is of all knowledge the most necessary to prompt to virtuous actions, and to enable us to acquire permanent happiness. It is this knowledge that enables us to see the absurdity of the dogmas of morality, religion and law; it is this knowledge that assists us to see the real cause of moral evil, and it is this knowledge that shows us, that as mind consists of nothing but ideas, that reason, belief, conscience and will, are qualities of them, and accounts for the phenomena that men generally have the approbation of their conscience for what they say and do; and that their errors are the effect of sincere but erroneous sentiments. hence, were this knowledge inculcated, it shows how much less bigoted, and more tolerant and charitable men would become in their sentiments regarding each other.

I have, in examining the phenomena of the human mind, become satisfied of the materiality of its operations, and of the extreme improbability of there being a separate and independent spiritual existence from matter. Man seems to be nothing but a species of organized matter developing the higher qualities of animality, such as motion, life, sensation and thought.

The nervous system is as obviously the organ of the mind, as the muscular is that of locomotion; and the security with which the brain and spinal cord is shielded by a bony case, proves that it performs the most important office. It is branched into nerves communicating with all the organs of sense, and with every part of the body, so as to have intercourse with, and receive the impressions of, external objects. And so essential is the impressions of external objects upon the senses towards developing mind, that a person born blind, or deaf, can never acquire the idea of color or sound. And however perfect the sense may be, were there no external objects to impress them, no idea could ever be produced. It is clear therefore that there must be both a nervous system and external objects to develop the mind. For a spirituality or nonentity can neither act upon, nor be acted upon by matter—can neither reflect light to the eye, emit particles to be smelled, pulsate the air to be heard, stimulate the tongue to be tasted, or resist the touch to be felt. As a spirituality, then, cannot possibly make an impression upon the senses, it is evident that we cannot have the least idea of it. We can have no conception of mind as in immateriality; but when we learn according to the science of optics that there is an image of external objects pictured upon the retina, and when we feel that we have a corresponding impression somewhere in the brain, and ascribe it to the mere action of the brain, we begin to have some idea of it. But the idea which men imagine they have of a spiritual being, is nothing but that of some aerial substance. Now, according to our consciousness, all we are aware of as passing within us, is that of ideas and emotions, we have reason to infer that they do not consist of any thing but the excited action and changes in the action of the brain.—We see that no change takes place in matter but by motion; and hence we infer that ideas cannot be represented by the brain, but by some peculiar motion. That an action of the brain is requisite for the production of mind, is proved by the fact that a pressure upon it suppresses every manifestation of thought. If then, we can explain all the phenomena of human mind upon material, with far more plausibility than upon immaterial principles, why should we suppose a spirituality of which we can form no idea, and by which we can prove nothing?

That mind consists at least of the excited action of the sensorium, is corroborated by the fact that the excitement of the nervous as well as the muscular system is always proportioned to the quantity of stimulation or external impression. We know that when the muscles have been long exercised, their excitability becomes exhausted, and requires rest; and so in the same manner the nervous system becomes fatigued and requires sleep. This exhaustion may be proved so far as it regards the eye, by the eye itself: for if we look upon a white sheet of paper after looking intently as a small which piece of paper upon a black handkerchief, we will see a dark spot upon it corresponding to the shape of the small white piece of paper. This is because the rays from the white patch stimulate that part of the retina upon which they strike more than that part which receives the rays from the adjoining black, and hence becomes so exhausted that it cannot be equally excited; and thus it is that a greater vividness of mind is ever proportioned to a greater degree of stimulation upon the retina and brain. We see objects more vividly with both than with but one eye; and we are sensible how much more vivid our perception of objects are than our conception of them.

Though materialists seem to agree that mind consists in the action or excitement of the sensorium, yet none of them seem to have attempted to explain the particular mode by which an idea is formed by the brain. On this point I have ventured to suggest the probability that ideas are represented by the sensorium by means of figure in connection with excitement or actions and that there is a representation and repetition of the same images by the brain that have been impressed by external objects upon the retina, As both the sense of sight and touch can convey the idea of figure, I cannot but infer that figure is very essential in the composition of ideas. Now as mind is represented in some way by the brain, I cannot see how the idea of objects can be represented with so much simplicity as by the excitement of a solid portion of the sensorium into the figure of them. Thus the idea of objects may be nothing more than their figure in the brain combined with motion and feeling. Now as the muscular fibres contract in the production of locomotion, so may the fibrous and pulpous matter of the cerebellum, or whatever part of the brain that may more immediately constitute the sensorium be transformed in the figured representation of objects, As the image of all objects that come within the range of the eye are imprinted upon the retina at one impression, so may they all be repeated by a single action of the brain; and thus we make but a single idea of a great mass [of] objects. Hence mind does not consist so much of a number of individual ideas associating together, but rather in embracing at one action of the brain a complex idea of a large department of objects. Thus as I can receive the picture of a whole landscape upon my retina at once; and as we know there is an idea corresponding to it, it would seem that we make but one idea of a great mass of objects. Thus I conceive that we have ideas that represent a large department of objects by means of the excitement of the figure of them by one action of the brain; and that these ideas can transfigure partly or wholly into ideas of other system of objects, something like the change of the phantasmagoria of a city into that of a forest. Thus we acquire ideas embracing that field of objects that come within the range of the eye; and by means of association, or rather transfiguration, we can expand them at one action of the brain into the idea of the earth or of the whole solar system. But the idea is indistinct and general in proportion to the variety and vastness of the objects it embraces. Thus the sublimity of ideas consist in the largest images that can be impressed upon the retina and brain, and their tendency of the brain to expand these images by one action into a universal idea.

[TO BE CONTINUED.]


LECTURE I.—(Continued)

THE MATERIALITY OF MIND.

Delivered before the Society of Moral Philanthropists, in New York, and the First Society of Free Enquirers in Boston—By Lewis Masquerier.

Respected hearers,

As there is nothing but a system of material objects around us to stimulate our senses, the idea of the relations and principles among them may be acquired by means of the unity in the action of the brain which represents the common qualities of the objects along with the figure of them. The idea of the relations among objects then, by which we are enabled to reason, is merely that of the qualities of the related objects; and of there being the same size and proportion in tho parts of the figured idea, as there is in the parts of the corresponding external objects. And thus it is we may have ideas of sensible objects, and also of the relations between them in consequence of the unity in the action of the brain making but a single idea of a number of objects and their relations. What is therefore called the comparing of objects may be nothing more than the representation of them by a single action of the brain in the same idea or image. To speak of the mind comparing objects, gives an erroneous idea of its operations; for it represents the mind as something separate from ideas; whereas the great probability is, that the whole process of comparing consists in the unity of the action of the brain, which represents the ideas of the objects compared in the same proportion as they are imaged upon the retina.

An idea then it seems may be merely the figured representation of objects by the brain, together with the feeling, emotion or consciousness by which it is recognised. In fact we do not and cannot recognise our ideas as being any thing more than a feeling which conforms to the figure, extension, resistance and other qualities of external objects. They may be the statues of external objects, and we may recognise them in consequence of the more vivid sensation of that part of the brain which represents them than the adjoining part. In the act of thinking, we can make either one indistinct idea of the whole subject, or of a more distinct idea of some portion of it, and speak at great length upon the same general idea by transfiguring it so as to speak of it by parts. As tangible objects are but a combination of qualities, by means of words expressive of their qualities, we can speak abstractly concerning them; but still those qualities have no existence separate from a materiality. Though we may consider the quality of beauty in the abstract, yet we have no idea of it only as the quality of certain objects, such asa female or flower. Thus it is, that as all things are but a combination of qualities, we consider them as tangible existences, and express them by means of nouns; we can represent their qualities by means of adjectives and adverbs, and their actions by means of verbs. Hence the words virtue and vice are generic terms that represent the proper and improper expression of the ideas and the action of the limbs abstracted from them. Yet virtue and vice are conceived by many to be something different from the notion of the organs which produce them. And in the same manner, the qualities of ideas are considered abstractly and represented as something separate from them under the names of faculties, such as belief, conscience and will.—The classes of ideas are also considered as something separate from them, and represented under the names of imagination, reason, &c., when in fact they are nothing but the classes of ideas abstractly considered.

This hypothesis that represents ideas as the figured representation of objects by the action of the brain accounts for the fact that the physical and mathematical sciences have attained to greater precision than the moral and political; and also for the confusion of our ideas representing the relations and qualities of objects.

But whether ideas really consist in the figured representation of them by certain portions of the brain or not, we at least know according to our consciousness of feeling that we have ideas and emotions; and that they change each other. The immaterialist as well as the materialist, admit that we positively know mind so far as it consists of an association of ideas. Both agree also that there is no such thing as an idea in the mind; the ideas and emotions themselves are all the mind that there is.—And it seems that there is no necessity for mind to consist of any thing more than ideas and emotions; for these account for all its operations without the aid of either separate faculties or a spirituality. All the much talked about faculties as I have before stated, seem to be resolved into ideas, as different qualities and classes of them, either with or without sensation, as the passions may also as the different modifications of the pleasure and pain attending them. Thus perception is that class of ideas which represent sensible objects and is immediately connected with an impression upon the senses. Conception is the same class of ideas unconnected with immediate external impression, and consists in the action of the brain only. Attention seems to consist in the greater vividness of an idea, and may be caused by the greater energy in the action of the action of the most central portion of the sensorium, as in the case of perception the object attended to, occupies the most central point in the whole image received upon the retina. Abstraction seems to be the power of considering the relations of objects abstract from them. Memory consists of the repetition of any kind of former ideas and feelings associated with the idea of time past. Imagination seems to be the association of that class of ideas which represent sensible objects, Reason seems to be the association of that class of ideas which represents the relation between tangible objects; and are as intimately connected with ideas as the qualities of form, extension and solidity are to matter. This is proved by the circumstance that when we say, we think, feel, believe, approve and will any thing concerning an object, we only express the action of the different qualities of the single idea of which we are only conscious. So when we say of inanimate objects—they form, they extend, and they resist, we represent the action of the qualities of figure, extension and resistance. Thus it would appear that what are called faculties, are nothing but names for classes and qualities of ideas. The whole process of thinking, then, seems to be the tendency of the thinking organ to represent and associate those impressions upon it. It seems then that there are no such things as faculties separate and independent of ideas. The activity and tendency of the excitable structure of the brain to give rise to ideas after they have been frequently impressed, are sufficient to constitute the capacity of thinking. The brain then, acts by means of its own organization as well as the heart; but as the heart never acts till stimulated by the blood, so the brain never acts till stimulated by external objects through the medium of sensation. Now those who treat upon mind as operating by means of separate faculties, do not appear to give very clear notions of it. For when we think about faculties that have a particular office to perform, we look in vain for any proofs of their operations—the simple association of ideas accounts for the phenomena of mind with far more satisfaction. We feel conscious of nothing more in our heads than ideas and emotions; and we seem to think by means of our ideas assembling, changing and expanding with each other. As the faculties of reason, belief, conscience, will, &c., are but qualities and classes of ideas, so also are the passions which are but modifications of the feeling of pleasure and pain but the qualities of ideas, which ever attend them, and which are the most essential constituents of them. The passions then, are divisible into the pleasurable and opposite painful emotions of love and hatred, gratitude and anger, joy and grief, hope and fear, &c. They are all excited along with the ideas, and receive their individuality from the specific character of the ideas. They are the qualities which ideas acquire in consequence of stronger and more excitable impressions than usual. The passions then, like the faculties, are constituent parts of the ideas, and are all necessary parts of the great moral system of human nature. The passion of anger is as necessary to enable us to resist injuries as the opposite emotion of gratitude is, to capacitate us to feel grateful for benefits received. We have only to exercise proper sentiments and passions to the point of temperance to become truly virtuous. Desire seems to be the quality of those predominating sentiments which constitute the specific character. Thus, it seems that all the faculties and emotions are the different classes and qualities of ideas.

[TO BE CONTINUED.]


LECTURE I.—(Concluded )

THE MATERIALITY OF MIND.

Delivered before the Society of Moral Philanthropists, in New York, and the First Society of Free Enquirers in Boston—By Lewis Masquerier.

Respected hearers,

As the nervous system has no more in its organization than a susceptibility of being stamped with the images of external objects through the medium of the senses towards constituting mind; and as the ideas are retained and repeated by means of the tendency which the brain acquires in consequence of the habitual impressions of objects, it is evident that ideas are not innate, but are wholly acquired.—It is evident also, that as the faculties of perception and conception are nothing but ideas with and without sensation, as those of imagination and reason are but different classes of ideas, and as those of belief, conscience and will, are but the qualities of ideas, that they are all acquired along with the ideas. Their correctness then, must depend wholly upon the correctness of the impressions, and the good organization of the brain. We can then only acquire a correct reason, belief and conscience by acquiring correct impressions from the phenomena which nature exhibits. The variety of opinions and consciences which are entertained by men is a proof also that there can be no innate principle to decide upon right and wrong. We must receive impressions then from natural objects in the same order in which they are arranged, and our ideas by a principle of necessity will ever arise to us in the same order. And thus it is in consequence of ideas representing clusters of objects in the same order and proportion in the brain as there is in their image upon the retina that established the laws by which they arise again; and the frequent repetition of ideas in succession is what determines their tendency to associate in succession. When the retina and brain have been frequently impressed with images embracing at one action a whole landscape of objects, in acquires the tendency of repeating the same image including all the variety of objects.—Thus the brain has been habituated by receiving the impression of an image of a tree and the earth in connection, it does not associate the tree as growing on the sky. In the same manner we associate the idea of a man as walking on the ground instead of the air; of a fish as swimming in the water instead of the air, and of a bird as flying in the air instead of the water. Were objects therefore thrown into a chaos around us from infancy, our ideas would associate in the same chaotic order. It is the orderly impression of natural objects then that can establish a standard in which all men can agree.—Here natural scenery by impressing the senses of all alike occasion but little foundation for disagreement. But though the brain is more predisposed to associate ideas in their natural order, yet it can associate the parts of natural into unnatural ideas, and represent unnatural objects. Thus all error may have its rise in erroneous association; and the same principle which enables us to associate natural ideas so as to form natural fictions, also, tends to their association sometimes into those fictions that are unnatural. Men ought therefore to be required by the laws of satire and criticism to associate their thoughts in accordance with the order of natural objects.—Although unnatural ideas in their origin may have been merely the toys of the imagination of some epic poet, yet, getting into the minds of the ignorant who could not account for their origin, they would become part of their belief. From their hideous strangeness, they would alarm their fears, and impress their minds more vividly than the natural ideas which are opposed to them. Thus, if a person be educated to believe that there are supernatural beings that can change the uniform mode of the operations of nature, he can he made to believe that there are devils who can prompt witches to do mischief, and angels who can empower saint to charm away evil. For there is no power in the ideas of those unnatural objects to correct themselves as mind consists of nothing but ideas, but by acquiring a fuller and more extensive association of ideas of natural objects.

As it appears then, that mind consists of nothing but ideas, and the pleasurable or painful emotion connected with them; and as it appears that they are wholly acquired by means of the stimulation of external objects upon the excitable structure of the brain, it is clear that all the mental phenomena are as much a chain of causes und effects, or rather of antecedents and consequent as those of any other department of nature. Ideas associate with and follow each other as antecedent and consequent by a principle of necessity as much as the changes that occur in the budding, leafing and blooming of plants. The freedom of mind then, which consists of nothing but ideas—and which ideas are a composition of the qualities of belief, conscience, will and feeling of pleasure or pain, cannot consist in any thing more than the freedom from every thing that can obstruct the habitual action of the brain, corresponding to a necessitated and natural association of ideas. Freedom of feeling, believing, approving, willing and acting, can consist in nothing more than exercising these qualities and attributes in accordance with the strongest necessitated cause or motive.—And as nature has placed objects around us in accordance with the wants of our nature, and thus furnished us with the best causes or motives to stimulate our minds, all the freedom that is necessary, is to be free to be influenced by them; or as our ideas are as much a chain of events in the order of cause and effect as those of any other department of nature, all that is necessary, is the freedom of one chain of events to progress untrammeled by another.

Thus, having shown the nature of the human mind, and that all its phenomena are the effects of material organs, as heat is the effect of the matter called caloric, we have at the same time shown that it cannot be the effect of a spirituality. We therefore arrive at the conclusion of the extreme improbability of there being a separate and independent existence from matter, and of the unreasonable expectation of a future life. We at first find the infant scarcely conscious of existence: by degrees its sense of touch becomes developed by the resistance of objects; its wavering sight becomes fixed by brilliant lights, and its other senses in like manner become developed. We find that part of the nervous system terminating in the senses developed first, while the brain is but a half formed and liquid substance calculated to received impressions no further than sensations. And until the central portion of the brain becomes more solidly organized at three years of age, does it acquire the capacity of repeating its impressions when thinking and memory begin. Thus we find the mind gradually growing with the growth, and strengthening with the strength of the body until manhood, and decaying with its decay until old age and death. In short, the mind rises and falls with the body. The mind is so dependent upon the freedom of the brain to act, that a pressure upon its locks every sense and every manifestation of thought. Mind no doubt is the action of one part of matter on another by means of its wonderful organization. And is it not astonishing that those who insist upon the impossibility of organized matter producing the phenomena of mind in man, should not also reflect that a spirituality was necessary to account for its development in the lower animals. But they never dream of ascribing a should to the brutes. They think it sufficient to account for it by the unmeaning word spirit in man. The lower animals have a nervous system terminating in the senses, differing only in an inferior organization to that of man. Their brains may only be organized to acquire a more limited association of ideas, and thus having fewer of them to repeat over, it may be the cause of their having a more permanent, precisely and limited knowledge than man; and it may be the cause why they attain to their full and invariable character at once, and fulfill the object of their being; while man, having a brain organized to receive every variety of impression, cannot attain to precision in every species of knowledge at once, and thus requires a round of ages to have his ideas corrected by experience, before he can attain to the full perception of his character.—As man then seems to have his superiority in consequence of having a few additional qualities of mind, why may not organization be adequate to the production of these also?

The inference which is also raised for the existence of a Creator in supposing that mind consists of a spirituality, is also destroyed by thus showing its materiality, As there is no mind separate from the organs to infer any other existence from, we cannot predicate the existence of a Deity on this ground.—As the mind has been shown to be the quality of the nervous system—as it consists of nothing but ideas, and as the faculties have been shown to be the qualities and attributes of those ideas; so also, every other quality that is applied to mind, such as intelligence and design, may be resolved into ideas; so that there cannot be such a thing as intelligence and design separate from mind any more than there can be a mind separate from the nervous system. Until matter became organized into animal bodies, there never could have been an idea, or at least an idea as the quality of the nervous system; and intelligence, will and design, the quality of ideas, never could have had a previous existence to mater. And yet these qualities of mind are abstracted from it and put before the existence of matter as the creator of it. And yet again the appearance of intelligence and design has been considered as an indubitable proof of the existence of a creator for matter. The very qualities and phenomena which organized matter has produced, have been made the creator of it; or rather the immaterial substances of which the spiritualists conceive the mind to consist, have been considered the creator of substantial matter;—thus making a spirituality the creator of a materiality.

The appearance of intelligence and design in the structure of the world, is merely the conformity of these qualities of our ideas to the objects of the surrounding world. It is the model of intelligence and design connected with our own ideas, and which we have acquired from the impression of external objects by which we apply design in the structure of the world. And were the world but a chaotic mass of objects, our ideas would associate in the same chaotic manner; and we would imagine the same appearance of intelligence, order and design in the universe that we now do. There can then, be no more order in mind than there is in external objects. Ideas are but copied impressions from the surrounding world with the addition of sensation connected with them; and intelligence, the quality of them, can be nothing more than the copied order also of external objects. The inference, therefore, for the existence of a design, cannot be predic[a]ted upon the appearance of design.

As all the phenomena of nature seem to be the result of the action, combination and changes of the elements of matter; as we see the elements either compounding by affinity and growth into the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, or decomposing by precipitation, repulsion or decay, into their separate state, we can find nothing either creative or accidental in all the operations of nature. As therefore there is nothing creative around, we know of no known creation whereby to infer an unknown creation; and hence, there is nothing in the whole compass of nature that positively proves the existence or necessity of a creator for matter.— And as cause and effect are nothing more than like antecedents following like consequents, there is no such thing as an accidental event any more than there is a created event. Hence, we find nothing around us that positively proves the existence of things either by design, creation or chance. But as we see that matter exists around us and is indestructible, we have proof that as matter always must exist, that it always has existed, The appendage of a creator only makes the difficulty greater; for if matter was created, its creator must have been created; must have existed through a long eternity before he created matter, or must have been eternal with it; and if the one has always existed, why may not the other?

But the effects of the belief in a divinity, are alone sufficient to show that there are no other powers than those of nature with which we can have any knowledge or intercourse. If there can be such a being as a God, we have either to resolve him into a combination of all the qualities of matter from which he cannot depart or else suppose that there is some other kind of substance in the universe besides matter, of which he is composed. And as our kind of mind seems to be merely the highest qualities that matter can produce, his mind may be the qualities of this supposed substance. But as this, is terminating in nonsense, I will resume the argument on terra firma, and conclude by observing that all experience has proved that man has only become intelligent in proportion as he observed the phenomena of nature. For as his ideas, which are composed of the qualities of feeling, belief, will, &c. are not innate, but acquired, there is no other source from which he can acquire knowledge but from material impressions. There can be no commerce between matter and its opposite, spirituality or nonentity. It is only matter that can act upon matter.—Hence the idea of a spirituality has produced nothing but ignorance and misery to mankind. All experience has proved that in proportion as ten have occupied themselves in the adoration of a spirituality, that their affect ions have been withdrawn from each other. For such is the limited nature of the human mind and heart, that ideas and emotions tend to an individuality of objects; and cannot be exercised with equal degrees of devotion towards such opposite classes of objects, as that of men and supposed supernatural beings. This is corroborated by the experience of ages, which has shown that those who have believed the strongest in a God, have generally acted the most as if there were none; and those who have disbelieved the most in a God, have acted the most as if there were one.


LECTURE II.

ON MORAL GOOD AND EVIL.

Delivered before the Society of Moral Philanthropists, in New York, and the First Society of Free Enquirers in Boston—By Lewis Masquerier.

Having shown in my first lecture the materiality of mind and the non-existence of a spirituality, I shall now endeavor to show the cause of good and evil. Good and evil are comprehensive terms that include the good and evil of both the physical and moral world. For we can say a good or bad road as well as a good or bad man; but we cannot say with propriety a virtuous or vicious road as well as a virtuous or vicious man. It is clear therefore that good and evil are generic terms that comprehend every species of disorder. But I shall restrict my views principally to that species of good and evil relating to man and termed virtue and vice.

In my former lecture I showed that to us there id nothing but matter; and that it assumed its higher qualities as it rose in superiority of organization through the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, until it produced the highest mental and moral qualities of man. But it appears that it is not within the powers of nature or the organization of the nervous system alone to produce the high qualities of feeling and thought without the action of external matter upon it, or the stimulation of external objects upon the excitable structure of the brain through the medium of the senses. Hence these high qualities of sensation and thought are not innate, hut the acquisition of the susceptibility of the brain from the stimulation of external objects. This shows that as the form, extension, resistance and other qualities of matter are all that there is to affect the senses, that mind cannot consist of any thing more than ideas, which are the copyings of the figure and other qualities of matter upon the retina and other senses by the sensorium. This again shows that what are called the faculties are nothing but ideas and their qualities, and that they may be resolved into them and hence are acquired also.—And this brings us to the cause of moral good and evil, or virtue and vice, Which consist in the proper or improper action of the qualities of mind upon mind either expressed or acted out through the limbs and producing pleasure and pain. Virtue and vice then, are abstract terns expressive of the proper or improper action of human beings abstracted from them, and hence those actions, as well as the mind which prompts them, are wholly acquired. Hence as the faculties are resolved into the qualities of mind, so also moral good and evil are resolved into the action of the qualities of mind manifested in the production of pleasure and pain. Thus it may be seen that there is no such thing asa distinct principle of either good or evil, but that they are the effect of the proper of improper action of all the qualities and elements of human nature. Some may urge that pain is an element of evil; but as it is evident that human nature could not be sustained in the present system of things, unless the pleasurable emotions had their opposites, pain seems to be necessary, and if necessary, cannot be considered an evil when it secures a much greater good. A tov great proportion of pain is what is to be considered a real evil.

As the universe seems to consist of a system of parts variously related to each other, good and evil in their most comprehensive sense seem to be the proportionate and disproportionate application of these parts to each other. But that part termed moral, is the effect of the various proportions of the action of the higher qualities of mutter upon each other. As matter in its inorganized state possesses the universal qualities of extension and resistance, so as it rises in complexity of combination and organization, it developes far superior qualities; but which require more time to attain perfection. Hence the moral world is subject as yet to more disorder and evil than the physical. Matter seems to rise from the æriform through the liquid up to the solid and organized state. It seems to fill all space in its æriform state, and to be collecting itself in the form of comets until it conglomerates itself in the form of more solid worlds. While passing through these stages it must be subject to more disorder until it finally perfects itself in the system of the physical and moral world. The disorder as well as order that arises in the process must be equally considered as the necessary operations of nature, Evil then, can be considered as nothing but extremes that occasionally rise in the operations of nature, and there must always be a few slight aberrations in her course, as all is the product of a few elements, which, when put in motion, cannot be checked and neutralized immediately. Good then is the product of the temperate action of the parts of nature upon each other, and evil is the opposite. And thus I think it is proved that there is no distinct element of evil; and that it is the effect of variations in the regular operations of nature.

The cause of moral evil then, may begin in the absence of knowledge, which renders the action of the brain liable to vary or change by means of the association of natural into unnatural ideas. The first ideas that have been impressed must have been those of surrounding objects, and the great activity of the associating principle would be more liable to combine a few natural Into unnatural ideas. This principle, assisted by the circumstance that nature sometimes produces a monster in the birth of some ill-shaped animal, may have furnished a model to combine other ideas into similar monsters. Thus nature may have given birth to some monster partaking of the quality and parts of two different species of animals; and thus the model may have been furnished whereby to associate the idea of an eagle and a lion; and thus the unnatural idea of a griffin may have been formed. And upon a similar resemblance the wings of fowls (as being necessary to fly between worlds) may have been combined with the image of man and deified into angels, gods and devils: and by associating them with the idea of other worlds, the idea of the supernatural seems to have originated, And as the relations among those un- natural objects would be different from those among natural ones, they would give rise to corresponding and absurd dogmas and doctrines, which would mould the public mind, and institutions would be formed in accordance to them. As ideas are not innate, they have been acquired, and man in consequence has begun in a state of ignorance. Not being able to recollect the process by which he acquired his ideas; and losing sight of the obvious connection between cause and effect, he supposed that mind was a spiritual something that looked through the medium of the senses at the external world, instead of perceiving that it was acquired through the medium of the senses, and consists in the action of the brain. And thus, he early fell into the error of supposing that ideas, reason, belief, conscience and will, were innate and free, instead of being acquired and necessitated. Assuming then, that all the mental phenomena were innate and free, it appeared to him that he originated all his thoughts and actions at pleasure—that his faculties performed their respective offices by and through their own innate power by a principle of free-agency without being influenced by any antecedent cause or motive.—Whereas, if he had perceived that all the operations of mind were but a chain of causes and effects, he would have seen that all his thoughts and actions were the effect of a cause or motive, which was again the effect of a preceding one. Thus shortsighted man in the infancy of his intellect adopted opinions diametrically opposite to the real laws of nature, and to this day he is impressed with the sentiment that men generally act wrong contrary to their better reason and belief, and are not aware to what an extent they have the approbation of their conscience for what they say and do.—Every man knows, that, with a few exceptions, his conscience approves of what he says and does; yet his expressions and actions continually prove that he has not formed the habit of thinking that this may be the case with his neighbors. It is this sentiment of supposing that mind consisted of faculties separate from ideas, that has laid the foundation upon which is reared the free-will sentiment, which is so prone to ascribe insincere motives to the actions of men. It is the prevalence of this sentiment that has been the prominent cause of the ignorance, strifes and persecutions between men, and that has occasioned the penal and cruel codes of punishment by governments and inquisitions. And it is this sentiment which has given shape to all the institutions of society, government and religion, that force mankind into those transgressions which they strive in vain to suppress. Thus the dogmas which have arisen from the belief of unnatural beings and from the free-will sentiment, have been among the first causes of moral evils and the extremes to which all institutions tend 😮 in producing inequality, ignorance and the excess and mismanagement of the passions become the final causes of moral evil. As natural evil proceeds from the excessive und disproportionate combination and motion of physical elements, so also that which causes the erroneous association of the sentiments and the excessive excitement of the passions produces moral evil. As it is the extreme motion of the wind in connection with other circumstances that produces the natural evil of a hurricane, and not the element of wind itself; so also it is not the passion bin the excess of the passion influenced by the error of sentiment that produces the moral evil of a crime. There are no elements in human nature any more than there are in matter that contain the principle of evil when properly compounded so as to neutralize each other’s qualities. So in the same manner when the sentiments and passions are not properly combined, so as to neutralize each other’s effects they can be pernicious. Thus both the pleasurable and painful passions, such as love and hatred, gratitude and anger, hope and fear, if suffered to run to extremes by not being properly neutralized so as to counterbalance each other, will became equally injurious. As a proof that evil consists in the extremes of any thing, and not in any elementary principle either in matter or human nature, I would name the circumstance that virtue seems to be the medium between two extremes terminating in a vice; and that each virtue has its two vices constituting the extremes each way. Thus courage is a virtue and the medium between the two extremes of rashness and cowardice. Thus as virtue is an abstract and generic term by which we signify all proper moral actions, so also, is vice, by which we express all improper ones which are the extremes of them.

From the connection of either pleasurable or painful emotions with our ideas we are enabled to form a standard by which we judge of what we deem proper or improper, but not what is really so. It is only the objects which surround us by being frequently impressed that establish this standard. It is the order and arrangement of objects around from which we receive the order of our association of ideas, and from which we acquire pleasurable emotions. Hence we receive painful impressions from a chaotic arrangement of these objects afterwards. But we can receive pleasure from the contemplation of unnatural ideas when they constitute the predominating associations as is the case with the superstitionist. This is in consequence of there being a pleasure connected with the action of the brain independent of the character of the ideas that are represented by it. This shows how painful actions at first by becoming habitual, will become pleasurable. But still the exercise of unnatural ideas as they prompt to unnatural actions will always produce far more misery than natural ideas can ever produce. And it is this principle by which our system, by conforming to external impression through habit is enabled to neutralize many of the evils around us, and to lessen the quantity of misery.

Moral evil then cannot consist in any elementary principle of either physical or human nature; but in the want of conformity in our thoughts and actions to the laws of Nature. The acquisition of unnatural ideas prompts to a corresponding unnatural action inconsistent with the operations of nature.— When our thoughts are directed towards things that do not exist, it is always at the expense of our wants and happiness. Spiritualities can neither feed nor clothe us. The labor and time that is spent upon nonentities have to be compensated by that employed upon realities. It is only by occupying ourselves with terrestial things to which we are connected, that we can attain to true happiness and the object of our being.

Thus though moral evil may first commence in a few causes, yet it soon becomes branched and may be traced through a variety of final causes. Thus the unnatural idea of the supernatural produces fear, awe, and worship, which produces priests and idle ceremonies; and which again produce ignorance, persecution and misery. Thus the unnatural dogma of innate and free-will sentiment, instead of the opposite one of acquired and necessitated sentiment, produces censoriousness, which produces the idea of responsibility and punishment, and which again produce the oppressions of government. And thus, the unnatural form of society in consequence of the competition it creates, produces inequality of property, which produces rank, luxury and poverty, and which again produce ignorance, crime and misery.

(TO BE CONTINUED.)


LECTURE II.—(Concluded.)

ON MORAL GOOD AND EVIL.

Delivered before the Society of Moral Philanthropists, in New York and the First Society of Free Enquirers in Boston—By Lewis Masquerier.

The general resemblance of all religions, shows that they have originated from the same causes, and how every species of moral evil are blended together. We see them every where giving rise to a priesthood to expound fables as a revelation from heaven, and to an aristocracy of rulers to expound the mysteries of government and law. We find them every where arresting the human mind from natural pursuits and duties. Every where we see them give rise to bigotry, enthusiasm and persecution. We see them persecuting either themselves by self-sacrifices, or others in consequence of difference of opinion. We see them in the fury of their zeal progress from the sacrificial offerings of beasts to that of the sacrifice of man. We find all history rife with the crusades with which religionists have depredated each other. And all these inhuman and unnatural warfares were the effect of unnatural dogmas which had no other existence but in the brain. Yet the religionist blinds himself by believing that all the evils of the moral world are produced by a supposed inherent depravity in man’s nature. When such absurd dogmas that men are “born in sin and iniquity” are taught as revelations from heaven, few have the boldness and vigor of intellect to question their truth. The expression put in the mouth of Christ, that “he that believeth not shall be damned,” impresses the sentiment so strongly that one man has the power to will and believe what another man wills and believes, that it is impossible to undeceive many of the superstitious, and convince them that man has the power of believing only in the strongest impressions which have been made upon him, and which must constitute his governing evidence und motive. It is such expressions found in the new testament “as vain and babbling philosopher,” that prejudices the more ignorant against science and philosophy; it is such expressions as, “be ye subject to the powers that be,” that dispose the ignorant and oppressed to non-resistance and passive obedience, and it is such dogmas uttered by Christ that the “poor ye shall have with you always” that blinds the ignorant from seeing that there can be a form of society that will preserve a sufficient equality in all the goods of life. In short, it is all such dogmas as these, put in the mouth of Christ (notwithstanding the assertion that “he spake as man never spake”) that convince the sceptic, that so far from speaking like a God, he does not speak even as becomes a philosopher.—Thus religion by associating the idea of dogmas with the awe of supernatural beings, becomes one of the principal causes of impeding the progress of truth and science as well as of promoting persecution and misery.

The evils which arise from the improper form and exercise of the government and property, as well as religion also, have their origin in the more early ages of society. We see that governments are monarchical of aristocratical in proportion to the barbarity of the people. For as nature makes more difference in the intellectual endowments than civilization can, they will always be governed in their savage state by those possessing the most active intellects. Such persons would become their commanders in war, and rulers in government. But there would be a number of equal intelligence, who would share in governmental power, and in connection with those of the most property they would naturally form a common interest, and combine in legislating for themselves, so as to live by the labor of their less fortunate fellow beings. Thus the ignorant portion of the community having no idea of self-government, they would submit to be dragged into wars, and would be persuaded on their return, with a view to strengthen themselves against invaders, to be ready at the call of their commanders; and thus in time they would become vassals, The body of the people, too careless in the acquisition of the soil, and being heavily taxed, they would prefer to be the vassals, serfs, villeins, slaves, &c., of their landlords, than to live as independent farmers. This is what constituted the feudal system; and in connection with laws granting exclusive privileges, has been the most fruitful source of monopolies.—Thus in consequence of the ignorance of the great body of the people in every age, the enterprising and wealthy few have formed all the institutions of society for their own emolument; and which constantly tend to produce two grand classes, that of the rich and poor. And the interest of those two classes constitutes the foundation on which the parties in government are generally divided. But the people now, are beginning to divide the powers of government with the aristocracy through the elective franchise. But the hereditary branch of the legislature still predominates in the governments of the old world, and represents the interests of the rich. In our government, those who represent the interest of the aristocracy, are mingled with those who represent that of the laboring poor in the same branches of the legislature; and there is a great conflict between that which promotes the interest of the few in opposition to that of the many. As government and property are in the hands of a few, they are constantly wielding it in their favor by enacting exclusive privileges which tend to its.further inequality and monopoly. And the privileges which wealth and governmental power give to those who are in possession of it, are apt to bias their minds against a change, which will give more equality to all. Hence we ever see them contending for the existing and ancient order of things. They are so destitute of the sentiment of reform, that they look upon revolutions as the spirit of anarchy and misrule, and as treasonable against the “powers that be.” But so much are men’s opinions the effect of surrounding institutions, that he who is a republican in one country, may have been a monarchist in another. He who is a Christian in Christendom, may have been a Muhomedan in Arabia. The republican in this country, who execrates the peers in the house of lords, for voting down the reform bill, if he had been born to their estates, and educated in accordance thereto, may have opposed reform as much as they did, So destitute is human nature of any thing innate, that the whole character is founded merely upon the susceptibility of the nervous system of being impressed with the form of surrounding institutions. And thus it seems that moral evil as well as ideas is wholly acquired, and has no one particular cause; but is the result of all the error connected with whatever impresses the human system.

The great body of mankind have for ages struggled against the evils arising from superstition, despotic government, and the monopoly of property; yet the modern improvements in the arts and sciences, have increased labor-saving machinery to such an extent, that they have now a new species of monopoly to cope with, which is that of labor itself. And it must eventually bring human wants to a point which they can no longer bear. This will force mankind into those institutions in which they will all contribute an equal share of manual or mental labor, and have an equal interest in all labor and labor-saving machinery. But they must begin to see that all have an equal right to be placed within circumstances that will give them an equal share of life, liberty and property. There must be a reform of sentiment before there can be a reform of the institutions of society. And it is upon the principle that man’s intellectual and moral character, as well [as] moral evil, is the effect of external impression and internal organization, that we predicate the vast improvement of human nature and society. Were man’s nature innate, it could not be reformed by means of external institutions. But the great improvement of mankind already in many countries is a proof that he can be further improved. As all the events of human nature are a chain of necessitated causes and effects, we have only to alter the circumstances around mankind to change their character, which ever partakes of the good or bad quality of the surrounding institutions, As Christianity has for eighteen centuries utterly failed to regenerate mankind, we must not begin to make experiments upon human nature by placing institutions around in accordance with its laws.

From the representation of the manner in which moral evil as well as human character is acquired, it must be seen how absurd it is to account for moral evil according to the dogma of the innate and original depravity of man’s nature. There seems to be nothing in the organization of the brain but a fitness and a susceptibility of being impressed towards constituting mind. The stimulation of external objects is as necessary as the excitable structure of the brain towards constituting mind. Then how can there be an inherent depravity of man’s nature, when it is wholly the result of external impression upon his organization? How can there be any more depravity in a young animal organization, than there is in a vegetable’s? Man’s depravity cannot possibly consist in any thing more than erroneous impressions forming erroneous ideas, which provoke corresponding habitual and of course vicious actions. Thus, then, sin must be wholly acquired; and charged to the erroneous precepts and institutions which impress their bad character, and is only modified by a difference of the organization. This notion of innate depravity, is a part of that same erroneous sentiment which supposed that the ideas, the reason, the belief, the conscience and the will, were innate, separate and independent of each other.—And it is this absurd and ignoring dogma of innate depravity, that blinds religionists from seeing that it is the dogmas connected with, and enforced by religion, government and other institutions of society, that depraved them, instead of their being “born in sin and brought forth in iniquity.”

Were mankind to be fully impressed with the sentiment that all the phenomena of nature are but a chain of events in the order of antecedent and consequent; could they see that mind was but the effect of the organization of the nervous system and of external impression; did they see that ideas were all that constituted mind, they would see that belief, conscience and will, were merely names for the qualities of ideas abstracted from them, the moral world would assume a very different form, So soon as men shall learn that it is the very nature of all individuality of institution to run into the extremes of monopoly, they will so alter them as to secure the equal right of all to liberty, property and happiness, by combining the individual and common interest; and would no more be the oppressed wretches of the erroneous institutions of society. And the certainty with which mankind always act out their sentiments, assures us that a change in public sentiment will ever be followed by a change of their institutions.


LECTURE III.

ON THE REMEDY OF MORAL EVIL.

Delivered before the Society of Moral Philanthropists, in New York, and the First Society of Free Enquirers in Boston—By Lewis Masquerier.

Respected Hearers:

Having shown in my first lecture that mind is the mere quality of organized matter developed by external impression, and having in my second shown that the origin of moral evil must result from defective organization, erroneous association of ideas, and the bad character of surrounding institutions, I shall endeavor to suggest some views upon the remedy of it.

Now as, the mind consists only of ideas, combined with other pleasurable or painful emotions, and moral evil, are wholly acquired, it is clear that moral good is acquired also. There seems to be nothing innate in the organization, but a susceptibility to be impressed, and to repeat the impressions made upon it, towards constituting the human character.—This being the case, the proper remedy for moral evil must consist in improving the organization of the mind and the character of external objects.—Change the form and character of the institutions of society, and there must be a consequent change of the form and character of human nature. And do not think that the ability of man to change the circumstances around him disproves the doctrine that his thoughts and actions are wholly the effect of necessity and not of free agency, The laws of nature have now produced the knowledge that man’s character is formed for him and not by him; and this knowledge will now become a new circumstance or cause in the great chain of events to change the character of man. The will, the reason, the belief, and the conscience, are nothing but terms expressive of the qualities of abstracted from them, and exist in consequence of necessary impression and association. Hence, they cannot exist previous to the ideas they belong to, but will rise and vanish with them. As one idea may exist before another so may a will, but a will can no more be separated from an idea than a figure can from matter. As therefore, the idea is suggested by a necessary cause, so also is the will; and there can be no necessity for a free will. Let proper impressions be made upon the organization, and the principle of necessitated causes will answer a far better purpose than the absurdity of a free will. All our hopes, for the amelioration of the condition of man would be extinct, if he had the absurd power of acting contrary to the impressions made upon him. It is upon the principle of necessity then, that we predicate the vast improvement of human nature.

All experience has proved, that all the efforts of government to suppress moral evil, has been unavailing, while it was employed at the same time in enacting and perpetrating laws that increased the inequality of property and governmental power, which are among the principal sources of wealth, poverty, crime and misery. In vain has precept and example been employed to lead mankind to virtue, while the pernicious sentiment that man thought and acted from motives that free will originated, instead of necessity. In vain have the last, the gallows and the penitentiary of penal codes, endeavored to suppress crime, while government itself furnishes many of the causes that force men to it, by proceeding in all its operations upon the principle that men are free to think and act at pleasure.—In vain has religion and its priesthood endeavored to regenerate mankind by means of their dogmas of free will and belief, and the sacrificial offerings of either beasts or gods, which have resulted in the sacrifice of man, and his temporary damnation upon earth. The free-will sentiment, government and religion, instead of converting mankind into a state of virtue and happiness, have perverted them into a state of sin and misery. As therefore, the sentiment of a free-will nature has given shape to all the institutions of society, the opposite sentiment of acquired and necessitated motives must give rise to a corresponding form in them. Wherever the institutions of society shall be modeled upon the principle that the character is the effect of necessity, and not of a free-will choice und agency, then virtue and happiness will increase throughout society.

I hope my hearers are all such advocates for free enquiry, that they will approve, at least, if they cannot believe, in the expression of opinions thought to be the best concerning the most efficient mode for reforming the moral world. I hope that if they are satisfied that mind consists of nothing hint ideas and emotions that you see that a change in the character of the surrounding institutions also change the character of the sentiments and actions. I hope they see that as belief is the mere quality of ideas that the reason why men differ in opinion is because they have not acquired the same or an equally full association of ideas on the same subject; and that they can only he certain of being correct so far as they can refer their ideas to objects and their relations as they exist in nature.

The first measures for remedying moral evil, I conceive must consist in the proper education of the infant mind; for it is difficult to educate men-grown children, who have so much to unlearn before they can begin to learn. As it is so difficult to instill sentiments of reform in the adult, we must instill them in the infant mind. All reform of institution must commence with a reform of sentiment. For this purpose, there must be a system of common schools for all, and means to educate the children of the poor as well as the rich. For it is to no purpose to establish common schools without providing for the support of those whose parents are unable to support. It is undoubtedly the duty of government to provide for the education of children, and not to leave it to the ignorance and improvidence of their parents. Governments expend millions in punishing, hanging and murdering us unfortunate citizens, and but little as yet to educate them, and to prevent crimes and misery. Let the State Governments therefore divide the country into school districts, make all necessary laws thereto, and the national Government appropriate its surplus revenue for the purchase of land and the erection of suitable buildings. Let manual labor schools be thus formed, and every art and science be taught by professors of agriculture, mechanics and science, so that the teachers and pupils may support themselves by mental and manual labor. And if the pride of the rich will not let them combine in the support of such schools, they can, as they now do, still educate their children at their own expense in the high schools. In these manual labor schools, the children of those who are unable to provide for them, or of any other, may be trained until of age in every science, and learn some trade or art connected with some one or more of the sciences. This would combine the manual labor in the arts with the mental labor of the sciences, and youth would be much better qualified in trade and science than from the present mode, and yet be no incumbrance to their parents, nor yet liable to contract their prejudices and vices.

To effect a perfect reform in sentiment, it would be necessary to prepare a set of school books to inculcate the correct principles of human nature; for there are but a very few books calculated to instill correct sentiments; they are all too much saturated with the free-will sentiment; there is scarcely a maxim in them, but what is founded too much upon this absurdity. Let therefore a proper system of books be written, (not compiled.) and, in addition to the few good ones extant, let them all be written according to a perfect alphabet and orthography, and there will be but little occasion to learn the erroneous orthography merely to read improper books.—Now, by writing the words of any language strictly according to the sound of the letters of a perfect alphabet, they could be read so soon as the alphabet is learned. Thus by writing correct sentiment in a correct orthography, more knowledge would be acquired in one year than can at prevent in ten. As the elements of the human voice, and of course of all languages are the same, they can all be written according to a universal alphabet and orthography; and thus they may all be combined into one by arranging the words of them all in spelling books and lexicons. By mingling the words of them all in conversation and books,—by pruning their forms and terminations, a universal grammar may he applied to them all, and thus in time here would become but one universal language. This would make the peculiar knowledge and science of each nation the common property of all; and by destroying the prejudices, unite mankind in peace and philanthropy.

The next step towards remedying moral evil after thus reforming sentiment and language, must be that of reforming the institutions into which the dogmas of free-will, government and religion, have moulded the moral world.

The property system must be so reformed that every man can be required to share equally in its production and division. For every man certainly has an equal right to be placed in that situation in which he can contribute and share equally in property as well as life and liberty. But the present institutions and form of society are such that the producers of property share the least of it.

[TO BE CONTINUED.]


LECTURE III.

[CONCLUDED.]

ON THE REMEDY OF MORAL EVIL.

Delivered before the Society of Moral Philanthropists, in New York, and the First Society of Free Enquirers in Boston—By Lewis Masquerier.

Another great remedy for moral evil, must be the changing of monarchical governments into republics; so that every man can exercise his portion of sovereign power through his representatives, in one single legislative branch, where the wishes, wants and rights of the majority will be properly represented. But the present representative governments have too much the form of those mixed governments where the interest of the aristocracy predominates, and reforms can progress but slowly. The principle of checks and balances in the legislature, seem to have the effect of retarding legislative reform, and of promoting the interest of she aristocratic wealthy few, at the expense of the interest of the laboring and property-producing many. The branching of the legislative power with a negative upon each other, puts it in the power of a single person or a small minority to legislate for their own emolument, against the interest of the many. The real foundation of the division of parties consists in that which promotes the interest of the few or of the many. We ever see the aristocratic few contending for the permanence of the existing laws and institutions of government, and the ancient order of things. They are generally found to be destitute of all sentiment of reform, because they imagine that all reform operates against their interest. Being wealthy themselves they are prone to think that there must be rich and poor; and look with contempt upon their less fortunate fellow beings whom the inequality of property, and the omnipotent force of circumstances have reduced to ignorance, poverty, crime and misery. Yes, they value themselves upon that which has produced the opposite in their destitute fellow creatures.

mankind, it is said, have been governed too much. The whole system of government—all the acts of the legislature—the administration and decisions of the laws by the judiciary, are a burden upon the rights and liberties of the governed. A few arbitrators selected from among their neighbors could settle the disputes of men more satisfactorily than all the thousand volumes of legislative and judge-made law. The glorious uncertainty of the law has become proverbial, and such is the expense in conducting a lawsuit, that a poor man dares not venture to seek justice against the wealthy oppressor. In short, the dogmas and ceremonies of law have been no more effectual in rendering justice between men, than those of religion have been in regenerating them.

Another great remedy of moral evil must be effected by reforming the institutions of religion, until there is not a single dogma of them left; and and until all the clergy will become enlightened in the knowledge of the laws of human nature. They must be reformed into moral teachers of the real duties towards man. They must be educated to see the absurdity of the dogma of innate depravity; and to see that moral evil is the result of erroneous and habitual sentiments and actions impressed by erroneous institutions. They will then see the absurdity of regenerating mankind by the application of either the real or typical blood of a mediatorial god. They will then see that they have been endeavoring to regenerate mankind through the dogma of the healing power of the blood of Christ for eighteen centuries, by shedding the blood of thousands of them. Then will those churches which have been appropriated to the purposes of superstition, become the consecrated halls of truth and science.

But the greatest barrier to moral improvement seems to be the inequality of condition to which the present institutions have reduced mankind. And if they cannot legislate themselves into an equality of condition and property under the present form of society, there must be some other form adopted. If purely republican governments, cannot, by repealing the present system of embarrassing and equality-destroying laws, promote the interest and happiness of the whole community, it must be because the main cause of moral evil lies deeper than their laws can reach under the present constitution of things. It must be be because the elements of governments consist of a single family establishments, instead of communities. It must be because all the institutions of society tend to produce competition instead of co-operation, and do not combine the individual with the common interest. I cannot conceive how an effectual and universal panacea for moral evil can be effected, but by an entire change in the form of society. But this can only be the work of time, and the result of an entire change the present sentiments of mankind. This change of sentiment may be commenced by the institution of common and manual labor seminaries where all the youth may be trained in some art or trade, learn all the sciences and support themselves independent of their parents. Were youth thus trained by devoting a portion of time to learning some art and all the sciences, they could support themselves and be qualified for an entirely new form of society. And so soon as the utility of these manual labor seminaries can be proved by experiment, they will increase, and the present detective system of common schools existing in several countries can easily be changed into the common and manual tabor schools. When all the youth in such institutions shall learn the propriety of that form of society in which all may be enabled to co-operate instead of competing with each other, they will then be inclined to combine their patrimony into one consolidated community.

A manual labor seminary is now about to be established at New Harmony, Indiana. It is among the first experiments of the kind, and I hope the liberals will contribute to its success. They have been planned I believe principally by the sceptics, but some the religious denominations are about to get them into operation first. I am pleased to see them established even by sectarians, that they may lead themselves also into this new form of society. I hope the liberals of this city may see the propriety of establishing one, so that they may be experimented upon in several parts of the country. As I conceive that these institutions could succeed upon the principle of the mechanical arts, without that of agriculture, they could be established in cities as well as the country. There is a most fortunate opportunity now for erecting these seminaries at the west; for by settling in neighborhoods and purchasing lands in certain townships, according to a law of several of the States, the majority of voters in a township has the disposal of the sixteenth section for seminary purposes. They can either erect a manual labor school on it, or sell it and establish one in a more favorable situation. The Legislature of Illinois has already incorporated several institutions of this kind. So that it seems the advantages of them are beginning to be seen. Many of these institutions might now be established if men only had the enterprise and would act in concert. But such is the prejudicing influence which the inequality of property has in creating the pride of property, rank and class, that men cannot but by slow degrees be induced to combine in those institutions which will give knowledge, equality and happiness to all.

By training youth in these manual labor schools, they would learn the advantages of co-operation, and of combining the individual with the common interest. They would thus remove one of the main foundations of moral evil, and be prepared for an entirely new form of society. The present institutions of society exhibit no unity of interest—they are a complete system of competition, which has the effect of exciting too much selfishness, avarice, strife, deceit and circumvention. Yet this competition is conceived to he necessary to prompt men to industry, while laws are continually enacted to protect corporations and manufacturers from the evils of competition. It is not mere competition that prompts men to industry and enterprise—it is the certain prospect of gaining a reward for their labor and skill that urges them to exertion. So soon as men will come to see that the only way which they can acquire and perpetuate an equality of life, liberty and property, is, by combining the individual with the common interest, they will adopt that form of society. They will see that there is no other form of society in which all can be caused to contribute equally in labor, and share equally in the profit of all labor and labor-saving machinery.—When they come to see that by living in communities all can share equally in the goods of life—that none can have the power of losing or wasting the real property of the community, and that their posterity to the latest age will be protected from poverty, ignorance, crime and misery, they will most surely adopt this form of society. And so far from selfishness being an insurmountable barrier to the laboring, holding and enjoying property in common, it will be the very feeling that will induce men to join in it. When men come to see that they can not only acquire more property, but also can be enabled to retain it forever, and enjoy all the blessings of rational society, they will most eagerly enter into such a happy community. Yet men reason so much from their feelings, and from what men now are, rather from what they may be educated to be, that they cannot see its its practicability, and are prone to pronounce it visionary. They forget that as mind of nothing but ideas which are wholly acquired, that the whole human character, moral as well as intellectual, is acquired also, and is the effect of organization, upon which is stimulated the form of external objects. They seem not to be endued sufficiently with the sentiment (although they will admit its truth) that the character is formed by the surrounding institutions. And though they will set out reasoning from this principle, yet they soon forget it—become inconsistent and talk about the innate selfishness of human nature, plainly indicating that their minds are yet too much impressed with the sentiment of innateness and free-will. There is an acquired self-love, as well as benevolence, but it can be as instrumental as benevolence under the direction of right reason to lead men to their true interest. I conceive, therefore, that self-interest and love will be among the most powerful inducements to urge men to a rational form of society.

The private property system has been formed by man in the infancy of his intellect, when a more rational form of society could not have been formed. It could not otherwise have taken place, and has been preparatory to the community system of property and of real civilization.

The evils of governments and religions have been developed by Voltaire, De Holbach, Volney, Paine, and other philosophers of the eighteenth century; but the knowledge of their predecessors did not enable them to discover the moral evil resulting from the private property system and the form of society. Thus knowledge cannot be developed but by degrees. It is but a small portion of it that one mind can unfold. The earlier writers, such as Luther and others, could only discover the corruptions of governments and religions—the next set, that republican governments should be substituted for the aristocratical—the next the falsity of religions and governments, and the latest writers have developed not only the errors and evils of government and religion, but those of private property, also, But it is Owen, who is among the first philosophers of the nineteenth century, who has principally discovered the evils of the very form of society resulting from private property. The modern improvements in the arts and sciences, by increasing labor-saving machinery, and giving rise to a new species of monopoly, even that of labor, have had much to do in aiding the discovery of the evils of the individuality of property.—Mankind have struggled for ages through the monopolies which the feudal laws of primogeniture have made of land and governmental power without perceiving the whole cause of moral evil; but when they have now seen that this same system has monopolized the profits of labor und labor-saving machinery, they have been brought to see that moral evil lies deeper in the foundations of society. The discovery is now made that there must be a radical reform of all the institutions of society, government and religion, into an entirely new moral world, before mankind can attain to that equality, virtue and happiness, to which their natures are susceptible. And let us beware in condemning this system and its author, that we dv not commit the same blunder that the Spaniards did towards Columbus, and the Italian priests did against Galileo. Will you persist in ridiculing this system and the enthusiastic perseverance of its author when you reflect that similar phenomena have been exhibited by every great discoverer? is this sober and well directed enthusiasm—it is the tenacity of sentiment—it is this perseverance in the originality of his views that ever indicates the man of genus, And if such men had not unshared enthusiasm, this tenacity of sentiment and untiring perseverance, they would often yield to the ridicule of the common-place thinker, and their discoveries would be retarded or lost to mankind. What is the reason that we feel such admiration for the labors and discoveries of Columbus and Galileo, and such indignation against their persecutors? Why, because experiment has had time to prove the truth of their discoveries ; and because their exploits have been related with approbation in school books and history, and have thus been educated into our own minds? For if we had been co-temporary with those men, we would likely have joined in ridicule against them of that, for which we now feel so much admiration. Let us the take the hint and try and not commit similar blunders against our contemporaries.

Let us then as well wishers of the happiness of our race, encourage all experiments that may be attempted upon the formation of character; as experiments upon human nature must be of more importance than those of any other department of nature. Mr. Owen’s disciples in London are now increasing. They have originated themselves anew into the “Society of all classes of all nations,” and are disseminating their views in a paper called the “New Moral World.” They meet often for debate, and admit none into the society until they become qualified by understanding the laws of their nature. Three of the society have made preparation at New Harmony for a colony which is to come from London this spring to establish themselves in a community. Let us therefore wish them success in making such an important experiment upon human nature. But why should we doubt the practicability of the community system of property when we see what the Moravians and Shakers have done by entering only practically into the system. Tf they have been able to acquire so much property while at the same time they opposed some of the laws of their nature, what must a philosophic community do by acting wholly in accordance with them.

If only one community can be established and succeed, it will prove the truth of the formation of character beyond all cavil. But a partially successful experiment is not to be taken as proof against the principle any more than that against the principle of a machine. And let it not be said that this system was sufficiently experimented upon some years ago at New Harmony; for with proper materials there can be no doubt of its practicability. Experience will show the proper number for a community which will range from one to two thousand. It must at least be large enough to contain all the useful trades. They may perhaps originate from single families and embrace whole tribes. A community of one thousand persons requiring twenty acres each would make twenty thousand acres about six miles square. In or near the centre of this the village may be built—the interior buildings may be for dwelling, and the exterior for manufacturing, farming and other purposes. In the centre there may be buildings for public uses, with all the space around ornamented with grass and trees; beyond the dwelling and other houses, the gardens and orchards should be arranged, and beyond them again the fields, pastures and forests would extend. The same manufactories, mills, barns, steam-plough and other machines would serve the whole community, and all would share equally in the labor-saving power and profits of them. With the assistance of so much labor-saving machinery, a few hours labor would be sufficient for a support, and by laboring a few hours more, a vast surplus might be produced and exchanged with other communities, or with persons living under the present form of society.—Under this system one set of kitchen ware and ten cooks by the aid of machinery could prepare the meals for one thousand persons that require two hundred under the present system. Every family would be provided with similar houses furnished in the same manner, and every single person would be provided for in the same proportion. All the children would be trained in the same domestic employments, and would be offered the same education by public arrangements, and by the best professors.—Thus, the youth would be trained under the direction of the united wisdom of the community in the laws of their nature, and of the new moral world; and thus their sentiments would be changed from those which perpetuate the present form of society. So much of the sentiment of selfishness and avarice would be destroyed as regards the separate ownership of landed property; and as it is only the products accruing from the cultivation of the earth that Can be applied to the sustenance of man, they are the only species of property thot should become individual and personal. All, therefore, having an equal interest in all the property, there could be no pride of property, or the want of a competence.—Marriages, therefore, would be formed from motives of love only, and separations would seldom take place, and in case there should, the children, provided as they are by the managers of the community, would be as well provided for as ever. The community may be governed by every individual between the ages of thirty-five and forty-five, and thus every one would take a part in the government without exciting any party spirit, as is the case in the electing of officers of a representative government. And as all would be educated in the same sentiments, and as there would be but a brief and plain code of laws, any member of the society would be capable of assisting in its government. In case it should happen that the counsellors would contravene the laws, an appeal might be had, and the government might devolve upon the whole community until they remedied the evil. Thus it seems that an entire new and simple form of society may be formed, and substituted in place of our present complicated one. And thus it seems that man after passing through ages of experience, through the present form of society towards civilization, may at length find a true Savior in the new moral world.

I will now read a short extract from Mr. Owen’s paper, the “New Moral World,” upon the object, means, constitution, laws, &c., of the Society of all classes of all nations, founded May 1st, 1835.*

——

* Owing to Mr. Masquerier’s absence, we are not able to give the exact paragraph, as the article is a very long one. It is an excellent article, however, and we would request our readers to turn back to Nos. V. And VI., and read the whole of the article.—Editor.


Messrs. Kneeland & Adams:

I am pleased to see the enterprising exertions of Free Enquirers to propagate a more correct knowledge and practice among men. It seems this is a new era in the cause of Free Enquiry. I am pleased with the formations of “The U. S. Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge,” and hope something efficient will be done. It is certainly best to oppose superstition by a similar institution to that of the Bible Society. I am satisfied that my lecture on an alphabet was not published, as I have since improved my system. I have thought it was time to send something to publish, and I hope it is not too presuming to address the following in the form of a Tract, which, if acceptable, maybe published in what form you please.

Yours, most sincerely,

L. Masquerier.

 

For the Boston Investigator.

TRACT No. 1.

“Come now and let us reason together.”—Isa. i. 18.

CHRISTIANITY.

Should a father, in consequence of his children eating a forbidden fruit in his orchard, make it a reason for disinheriting and expelling them from the household and for reducing them to want and misery, would you not, Oh! Christian reader, consider him a very unreasonable, unjust and hard-hearted father? Should this father in consequence of his children becoming vicious by disinheriting them, tie stones around their necks and drown them in the mill-pond, like cats, saving only but one, would he not be viewed with horror, as a very irrational, inhuman, and criminal father? Should this father after his children had multiplied again, select one of them as his only heir, who, in accordance with his father’s command, should slaughter all his brethren to obtain possession of their abodes, would you not view them both with increased horror, as irrational and beastly monsters in human shape?—Should this savage son, agreeably to his father’s direction, command the sun to stand still that he might have daylight to complete the extermination of his brethren, would you not consider them not only as brutal monsters, but as ignorant of astronomical science? Should this unnatural son, after his father’s own heart, make concubines of all the widows that had escaped the slaughter of their husbands; would you not consider him not only as unjust, cruel, ignorant, and murderous, but as a very licentious fornicator? And should this monstrous father in consequence of this wicked son being sentenced to bee hung for his heinous crimes, propose to a court of justice that a young and innocent son be punished as an atonement for the crimes of his guilty brother, and actually put him to death himself, would he not be judged not only as an unjust, ignorant, cruel, criminal and savage monster, but also as insane and a fit subject for the lunatic hospital rather than the gallows?

Yet, Oh! Christian reader, these cases are a fair representation of the absurd doctrines and heinous crimes of the Christian religion. These cases represent the same persecution, crime and bloodshed, under the Christian, as under all other religions.—The Bible represents the God of the Jews as expelling a first pair of parents from a garden called Eden, for the trifling disobedience of eating a forbidden fruit, and of suffering them and their posterity to fall into a state of sin and misery. It represents him afterwards drowning all the human race except one family, because he had suffered them to become wicked and miserable instead of humanely preserving their lives and of making them virtuous and happy by the mere fiat of his will. It represents him selecting with partiality a single family of the human race, of giving the Jewish tribe occupied by the Canaanites, who, in accordance to his command, exterminated them to possess their homes. It represents him as so ignorant of his own works as to direct Moses to command the sun to stand still to give him light and time to complete the slaughter of the unoffending Canaanites. It represents the man after his own heart contriving the death of a husband to obtain his wife, and another of having several hundred wives and mistresses. And it represents God, after four thousand years delay, of undertaking to redeem mankind by means of becoming an incarnate and sucking Godling, and of being sacrificed to atone for the sins of man. Thus confounding all natural sentiments of humanity and justice, by making the innocent suffer the punishment of the guilty, and of all common sense in the absurdity that suffering and the real or figurative eating of his body, or drinking of his blood, could have the cleansing and regenerating effect of effacing a supposed inherent and original sin incurred by Adam. Thus Bible reason records the established principle of law that it is better that ten, even ninety-nine guilty men should escape than that one innocent man should suffer unjustly punishment for murder. But “the ways of God” are different from the ways of men. What better reason can be expected from those who boast of knowing ‘nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified.’

Thus God is represented after suffering man to fall into a state of sin and misery, of destroying him by a deluge, and of commanding a chosen tribe to exterminate other tribes, of becoming so merciful as to become incarnate and suffer on the cross for the redemption of man. But eighteen hundred years’ experience of fanaticism, persecution and bloodshed, have proved that this quack panacea has always killed in the curing. Thus it seems that though he is represented as having made man, yet he has never been able to mend or cure him.—But as man becomes less godly, and more manly, he begins to substitute the medicinal knowledge of nature for the deadly bane of human happiness; and it is ardently hope that ere long the mountebank priesthood will also adopt this more successful remedy for the moral diseases of mankind.

Now would it not have appeared more wise, merciful and godlike, in this Jewish God, if the Bible had represented him as revealing such knowledge as man’s experience has developed of the laws of human nature. If the Bible had revealed to man that he was wholly a material being—that all the mental and moral phenomena are the effect of external impression upon the organization of the body, and of course that his character is ‘formed for him and not by him,’ it would have given him something like a revelation. Had it revealed to men that form of society which combines the individual with the common interest, in which man could co-operate instead of competing with each other, and in which all could share equally in labor and property, it would have provided something like a Savior, and a universal preventative and remedy against the quality, luxury, poverty, crime and misery. But instead of such a revelation as this, it represents a God revealing a book full of the most palpable, absurd doctrines, and of declaring that ‘he that believeth in them and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.’—But in spite of all the exertions of a deluded and corrupt priesthood to enforce the belief of these absurd doctrine, men are rapidly becoming more intelligent, liberal and virtuous, at the rise of the dawning sun of science, than either men or gods were in former ages. Even the Christian Gods are fast becoming more civilized, potent, wise and benevolent, in the doctrines of the Universalists and other sects, and are now ceasing to condemn mankind to everlasting punishment in hell-fire. Thus the progress of art and science is fast enlightening all mankind, and hurling the tyrannical priesthood from the throne of superstition.

Lewis Masquerier.

  • Lewis Masquerier, “Tract No. 1—Christianity,” Boston Investigator 6 no. 26 (September 09, 1836): 1.

‘PERIODICAL OF MENTAL FREEDOM.’

The second number of this work has just been issued by the United States Moral and Philosophical Society. It is filled with very interesting and selected articles upon subjects corresponding to its title, and in our opinion is every way worthy of a generous support and patronage. The Periodical is sent, free of expense, to every member of the Society; the time of publishing—the number of pages published, and the number of copies sent, will correspond with the amount of monies received—the time of its receipt and the whole annual receipts.—Those of our friends desirous of patronizing laudable undertaking, and thereby securing an additional assistant in the maintenance and diffusion of Free Enquiry, can direct their communications (post paid) to Mr. Thomas Thompson, Treasurer, care of Mr. O. White, 72 Bowery, New York.

From the work above mentioned we copy the following notice of the Fourth Annual Meeting of the U. S. Moral and Philosophicul Society, and also the address of the Secretary, Mr. Masquerier, for which we ask an attentive reading.

FOURTH ANNUAL MEETING.

The Fourth Annual Meeting of the United States Moral and Philosophical Society will be held at Rochester, N. Y., on MONDAY, 17th September. Members and Delegates who intend meeting, will have the goodness to leave their names with Mr. D. Smith, Editor of the N. Y. Watchman, and Vice President of the Society; by or before 12 o’clock, M, on said day. — Lewis Masquerier, Sec’ry.

—–

Fellow-Citizens,

The approaching Anniversary of the U.S. M. & P. Society, renders necessary some communication from the Board of Directors, to the members. It would have afforded the board pleasure, to have had to acknowledge a continuation of that lively interest, in the prosperity of the Society, so strongly manifested, at its commencement. Those who organized the Society, looked to an annual subscription for its present support, and ultimately to donations and gifts, for its enlargement, and extensive utility. The annual subscriptions, have not since the commencement, been forwarded, except to a very small amount, insufficient to pay for even the second number of this Periodical.

It must be apparent to every member of the Society that it is impossible for the officers appointed, to fulfil the expectations of the Saratoga Convention, or in fact, to meet even their slightest wish; totally destitute they have been of funds. The Directors are ready to make every allowance for the influence which false and envious statements, have affected to their disadvantage, and the subsequent injury to the Society.—But they trust the members will again interest themselves to uphold the Society, and furnish the means to enable the officers to publish their monthly Periodical. This second number is issued at the expense of a few friends, who are anxious for the preservation of the Society; and that a repetition may not occur of so serious a loss to the liberal cause, as hay occurred recently for want of union and permanency in liberal societies. The case alluded to is a donation by will of one thousand dollars, and reversion of three thousand to the first Society of Free Enquirers of New York.—This Society has not met since the closing by them of Concert Hall. As a further proof, that donations by will may be expected if this Society is continued, we have already a small amount yet to be received, left us by a deceased member. To issue twelve numbers a year of the Periodical of Mental Freedom, will cost two hundred and fifty dollars, printing and paper; the distribution, folding and editorship gratuitous, Surely it is not too much to expect from the liberal public so small an amount, to uphold the Society; individual friends to our cause, can collect in their neighborhood, any sums offered, and when they amount to two or more dollars forward them to the Treasurer. Should the receipts exceed the sum required to issue a thousand copies gratuitously, (subscribers can have duplicates for distribution,) the surplus will be expended in republishing, in whole of part some valuable work, the sale of which might repay the cost.

A work of the kind alluded to, is in contemplation to publish, by a member of the Board, viz., “The Protestant’s Progress towards Infidelity, or reasons for declining to attend public worship,” should the Society continue, and there be any prospects of making it available, as Capital to the Society. The writer supports his reasons, from admissions of the most eminent of the Christian clergy, and furnishes his readers with unanswerable arguments for his dissent, It is one of the most effective books, that are issued from the English press in our day.

It maintains the true principles of Protestant dissent, from the Church of Rome, and proves that the Protestant clergy are actuated by the same opinions that influenced the Roman clergy in their refusal of the bible to the laity, viz.—that the bible is not a fit book for the laity to peruse, without the aid of the priest to interpret it.

A very useful appropriation of surplus funds would be the publishing of school books, without allusions to imaginary beings and imaginary worlds. To supply these, or to put any thing else into operation which may tend to counteract and annul the influence of those customs which have been established on the authority of the priests alone, or the practices of a barbarous state of society, a beginning must be made; merely to theorize upon improvement, is of little avail, unless accompanied by such actions as will carry with them proofs of their utility.

The ensuing anniversary, is to be held at Rochester, where, agreeably to the Constitution, officers for the year will be chosen. The present Board of Directors, make their earnest appeal for support, to the Society from the most disinterested motives; they know not what will be the result of the election; they have no solicitude about it. Those among them, who have served from the commencement of the society, have devoted much time and labor in its service, have sustained some pecuniary loss, and have seen some trifling errors, such as are always attendant upon the establishment of a new concern, magnified (by a professed friend,) into wasteful expenditure, the worst construction put upon their actions, and disgraceful falsehoods put forth into print, relative to their conduct; but let these things pass. We repeat again, we are extremely desirous to see the society effectually sustained, whoever may manage its concerns, being convinced from experience, that a want of union and cordial cooperation among liberals, is the main cause that retards the progress of their principles,

LEWIS MASQUERIER, Sec’ry.

☞ The Editor of the N. Y. Watchman, in a notice of the approaching meeting of the Society, thus alludes to that subject, and some others connected with it:

“Having recently made a tour through this section of the State, and visited liberal Societies and individuals, I am prepared to say that the convention will be well attended, and this portion of the State fully represented. At a meeting of Liberals, who convened to celebrate the release from prison of Abner Kneeland, at the house of Dr. E. B. Woodworth, Ontario county, it was resolved to meet again at the same time and place, to commemorate the same event the present month. But as the Society of Moral Philanthropists subsequently adjourned to meet in this city, it has been agreed to consider for the present season, the meeting of the latter Society, as answering the former resolution, especially since much anxiety prevails in reference to the establishment of a Liberal Literary Institution in Western New York, which enterprise can be better set in operation at the forthcoming meeting of the Society, than at the previously contemplated celebration.

We give this notice thus early, that all parts of the country may be fully represented. A committee will be appointed in this city, to secure a hall for the occasion, and make all other necessary arrangements. We are anxious to hear from our friends upon the subject of this convention; all requests or enquiries will be promptly attended to. Will New York City and Boston, Mass., be represented? Send delegates, gentlemen, or come en masse!

  • “Periodical of Mental Freedom,” Boston Investigator 9 no. 25 (September 04, 1839): 3.

[From the New York Beacon.]

THE UNIVERSAL COMMUNITY SOCIETY OF RATIONAL RELIGIONISTS.

Mr. G. Vale,—Permit to me to communicate to the readers of your interesting paper, a brief account of the proceedings of the most important society, that the progress of knowledge and reform has ever developed in any age or country. I allude to a Society founded by Robert Owen, first under the title of “The Association of all Classes of all Nations,” which was enrolled under Act of Parliament, and united to “The National Community Friendly Society,” and called “The Universal Society of Rational Religionists.”

The object of this Society, is, to arrange mankind universally into communities of a size to embrace all the necessary trades, arts and sciences, wherein there can be equitable exchange of all their products, without the intervention of the non-producing mercantile class; thus making property producers, as well as consumers of all; thereby producing the greatest degree of equality and virtue of which the peculiar organization of each man is susceptible.—This arrangement will exhibit a perfectly co-operative instead of a competitive system of society; in which all will labor for all, and not against each other; in which all will have an equal share and interest in the land and it products, and in the trades, arts, labor-saving machinery and their fabrics. In short, its object is, to effect a thorough regeneration of mankind, by removing all the causes of inequality, and of monopolizing institutions, which produce and perpetuate ignorance, poverty, crime, and misery.

The principles upon which this new form of society is founded, are, that man’s intellectual and moral character is the product of his organization, the impression of surrounding institutions, and of the whole series of causes which have produced them though all time. That this is obvious, from the fact, that all bodies are the product of the organization of a few simple elements by means of their action, stimulation, attraction and impression upon each other—that they acquire qualities in proportion to their complexity of structure, and lose them thro’ disorganization. That therefore, there can be no innate quality in any body, and hence, there can be nothing in the whole body of nature, so incorrigibly bad, but that re-composition, or re-organization, can wholly eradicate or reform. That the history of nature through all time, indubitably proves that all her successive stages of being have ever left a more favorable set of circumstances for the improvement of the succeeding generation of things; and hence, as there is much evil and disorder, it proves that mankind is destined to be urged on to a far greater degree of civilization and happiness.

This fact, that there can be no production without composition, organization or impression, also proves that there can be no such thing as an un-caused or self-organized cause or production; and therefore feeling, thought, will, belief, and conscience, cannot be innate or self-caused, and can act only from the strongest motive or cause. Hence, rewards and punishments can only be justified upon the principle that they become new causes or motives to change the conduct of men for the better.

According to the proceedings of the 4th annual Congress, held in Birmingham in May last, it appears that the Society is increasing very rapidly, and then numbered about one hundred thousand, including members and converts. They have divided England, Scotland, and Ireland, into thirteen districts, and appointed an itinerant lecturer in each of them. They have already as many as eight or ten Branch Societies in several of these districts, and many local lecturers, besides the travelling ones.—Each of these Branch Societies has a Board of Directors, who procure halls to meet in, and collect the sum of sixpence, weekly, from each member.—They have festivals, and tea parties, with music, dancing, and every agreeable and innocent amusement they can invent, to attract persons to a consideration of their principle, at an expense of but one or two pennies—thus furnishing an evening’s recreation and refreshment, cheaper than a meal of victuals can be obtained at the cheapest coffee-house.

There is also a District Board of Directors, who receive the weekly collections of the Branches—pay the District Missionaries their salaries, from £80 to £100 per year, and report to the great Central Board of Directors who superintend the whole and report progress to the annual Congress. The Central Board reports the Socialists had held fifty formal discussions within the last year mostly with the clergy.—They had met with but two cases of physical violence, and were so protected by the constituted authorities that one individual had been fined and imprisoned for interrupting them in their discussions.

They further reported that the newspaper press has at length considered the progress of their principles so great, that they are continually giving notice of their proceedings; and one of the most talented and influential of the quarterly journals has confessed that “Owenism is not only the actual creed of a great portion of the working classes, but also of very many among the professional and higher classes.”

There are now about sixty Branch Communities who have been chartered by the Parent Society enrolled under the Act of Parliament. Members are first initiated in classes of about ten, and meet at each others’ houses, as large assemblies are unfavorable to the forming of intimate acquaintances, and after a three months’ instruction, if qualified, are admitted.

The Board also report they are extending the principles by the increasing patronage of their paper, called the “New Moral World,” of 16 pages; the able editor of which receives a salary of $500 per year. They have also book stores from which are circulated books and tracts with great effect.

The committee appointed to examine the various tracts of land offered for sale to the Society, also report very favorably, and from late accounts they have purchased 2000 acres of land, on which a community will commence early in the spring, living in shantees, and after next summer’s crop is made, an additional number will join to make brick, and will build as much of their village as their necessities will require.

Never has there been a reformer who succeeded as Robert Owen seems likely to succeed. Plato and Socrates merely gathered a few disciples within the halls of their academies, and never contemplated any thing like an entire regeneration of man, by so simple and practicable a process, as a slight alteration in the organization of society. No even Peter the Great, with all the power of government in his hands, ever originated and put in practice such a plan for the entire prevention of want, crime, and misery among mankind. He only advanced his subjects to a level with some of the neighboring nations according to an established model. No reformer ever opposed so thoroughly every institution and prejudice of mankind, and yet escaped the fangs of the law, the death of a Socrates, the imprisoned of a Galileo, or the clerical abuse of a Paine. While Carlile, Taylor, and other opposers of religion, that have not gone one-tenth so far, have been fined and imprisoned to their utter ruin; while McKenzie and Papineau have been driven from Canada into exile, and a reward offered for their heads; while Stevens and O’Connor, and O’Brien have been fined, imprisoned, or put under heavy bonds, Owen, who has opposed the whole organization of the present moral world, still roams abroad, in all the locomotive powers of liberty, even under a protecting act of Parliament, establishing an institution that will eventually explode every existing government and institution among mankind. The great secret by which by which he is effecting all this, is, his superior knowledge of human nature, his superior amiability of conduct, and his superior charity of sentiment in addressing the interests, the prejudices, and the sensibilities of mankind.

Lewis Masquerier.

  • Lewis Masquerier, “The Universal Community Society of Rational Religionists,” The Boston Investigator 9, no. 39 (December 4, 1839): 1.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “The Universal Community Society of Rational Religionists,” The New Moral World 7, no. 64 (January 4, 1840): 1006-1007.

For the Boston Investigator.

Propagandists.

By Lewis Masquerier

The mind of man being nothing more than impressions received through the medium of the senses upon a blank brain, associating much in the order in which things are arranged in the surrounding world, and subject to be only slightly modified by the organization of the brain, becomes almost a plaster cast of surrounding institutions. How great, then is the crime of one who deliberately propagates a false principle or system! But it is hoped for the credit of humanity, that erroneous principles are generally disseminated through an unconscious selfishness, blinding the reasoning capacity. When, therefore, Calhoun and other Southern politicians, with cool impudence, dogmatized that “chattel slavery is the corner stone in the temple of liberty,” and “that all who labor in field or shop, should be owned by masters as chattels,” they should have been furiously hissed and groaned, and their funerals sounded around the world with muffled drum and bell.

The Christian world was shocked at the daring impudence of Mahomet, for feigning a revelation that fired his dupes to battle with the Koran in one hand and the sword in the other. But we have had in our own time the impudent pretensions of a Mormon, who with the power, would be an imitator of Mahomet. We have too, an oligarchy, now battling with their brethren to establish a slave empire—rivalling that of the Ottomans in barbarity. We have too, another Davis, who impudently published a book, called “divine revelations.” By courting science with the most agreeable dogma of religion, an after life, he hopes to dupe mankind to his system, but, perhaps, with better intentions. But the trance lectures, rappings, and now the spiritual photographs of his disciples are enough to gag the most simple credulity.  


For the Boston Investigator.

Mental, Chattel, and Hireling Slavery.

By Lewis Masquerier.

It is shameful that every race known by history, though cursed by the alienation and monopoly of every right, yet both the oppressor and the oppressed have but a dim conception of the true principles of rights and wrongs. Human sucklings have been so long bewitched with such toys as crosses, crucifixes, crescents, idols, with banners, crowns, lions, eagles, and similar baubles, given them by priests and politicians, that they will squall for them some time yet, before they will be substituted for inalienable homesteads, giving them the power of self-ownership, self-employment, and the whole product of their labor.

The true principles of rights and wrongs, would be as palpable to the mind as those of other sciences, were it not moulded by the surrounding institutions of society, so erroneously founded upon the opposite principles of wrong. It is a glaring fact, that, as each man’s natural wants and productive powers, are the most universal properties of his body, and so nearly equal and enduring, they, therefore, become the only true foundation of his rights, and none but prejudiced and narrow minds will found rights upon race, color, sex, intelligence, majorities, parties, residence, or pretended social compacts, which are not universal properties or conditions of men.

Then, as each one’s natural wants and powers, are universally the same—equal, perpetual and individual, so must the rights of each, be equally, perpetually and individually the same. This sameness in wants and rights, practically organized would guarantee every man as much soil as he can cultivate, and the exercise and enjoyment in proper person, of both religious and political opinion, will or sovereignty, without intermediate rulers by either birth, election, or appointment But instead, society is founded upon and governed by the opposite evil principles of the inequality, alienation and monopoly of all rights, and this is the cause why creeds, constitutions and legislative enactments, operate so much as general deeds of conveyance, conveying away the rights of the many to the few!

The only thorough remedy for this gigantic system of the alienation and monopoly of the rights of each human being, is the organization into properly sized district divisions of the proportionate number of employments, necessary to supply the principal articles of subsistence, all upon inalienable homesteads, and with central villages, containing public buildings only; such as equitable exchange marts, hall for legislative and judiciary proceedings, common school, lyceum, library, reading room, &c. By this arrangement, all, without regard to sex, could take part by direct speech and vote, in all the townships throughout a state or nation, for the very few laws that would be required, when all have attained to their rights thus organized. This would relieve the property producing, and a valuable portion of mankind, from the nuisance of religious and political officers, from masters, bosses, landlords and profit mongers. This would concentrate rights, capital and labor in the hands of the same person, and make all producers as well as consumers.

But, it is most disheartening to see how much mankind have to unlearn, before they can organize themselves into some such form of society as the above plan suggests. Reformers have yet done but little more than to mistake the evils flowing from the inequality, alienation and monopoly of rights, as mere abuse of good principles. The supposed abuse of temperance, is the exercise of its opposite, intemperance. The supposed abuses of God and religion, of governors and government, come from the infernal dogmatic principles upon which these things themselves are founded.

See then the various forms of tyranny arising from the alienation and monopoly of rights. See in the Indies, both the religious and political power, united in the same persons. See them dividing society into several unapproachable castes. The Sudra outcasts at the bottom, begging and getting only a few cents for a day’s work, reduced to such a servile state of degradation, that there has not been an insurrection among them for many centuries to improve their condition. See in Thibet, in China and Japan, the religious and political head slightly separated, but both co-operating in the monopoly of the soil and of sovereignty. There, all the learned are put in office, and become interested it the general robbery of the laboring masses. With a hieroglyphic language, expressing ideas, without vocal sounds, to be read only by the eye like a picture, there can be no criticism upon the acts of the clerical and political scoundrels. What a field here is, for some one to write the vocal languages of these countries in an alphabet with a differently shaped letter for each elementary sound and modification of the voice, and to spell their words according to the vowels and consonants of the voice! Then to publish papers and books for the instruction of the people. Reading is learned in a few weeks when words are written according to the sound of letters and the accented syllable marked. The monopoly of the soil and power of governing is so great in these countries, that the glut of labor has so cheapened it, as to banish larger labor-saving machinery. Even transportation is principally effected upon the backs of men. Still, many for want of employment, are compelled to band together with a leader, and force contributions from people of towns and hamlets nearly as poor as themselves, and in seasons of drouth, thousands starve.

In Mahometan countries, owing to population being thinner, there is not so much starvation. But the soil, property, and power of government are monopolized with an equal vengeance. The religious and political power is concentrated in a most absolute Sultan, with subordinates equally absolute in their respective departments. With the absolute control of the lives and property of the people, they add that of the traffic in the charms of women, and enslave them in harems The Mahometan monster planned his religion and government for the entire conquest of the earth, adding all conquered nations to his empire. And nothing but the inferior civilization of Mahometan nations have stayed their conquests.

See, too, the forms of tyranny, which the alienation and monopoly of rights, have produced in Christian countries. We see in Russia, the clerical and political power united in the Czar. There bishop-lords, claim whole provinces of land, and their millions of serfs are several centuries behind the rest of Europe, in attaining what is called personal freedom; but only in reality changing the slavery of a serf for that of tenant and hireling. For after striving to get their little homes along with the ownership of their bodies and manhood, they are turned adrift. See, too, how Catholic and English, as well as Greek Europe, unite Church and State, in the same heads, while gradually ridding the world of a monster-head, in the form of a Pope—one monster destroying another. But see the immense monopoly of the toil in all Europe by priest and nobility—and the consequent pauperized lazzaroni of Italy, and agricultural and manufacturing operations of France, Britain and Ireland. Here, the masses were changed several centuries ago from serfs to tenants: They got along as small tenants and tradesmen. But first, the increase of labor-saving machinery by large capitalists, took away the business of mechanic trades; and made hirelings of them to large manufactories, and we have witnessed the suffering from want of employment, wherever trade flagged. But the advance of steam-driven machinery, has also taken hold, and is now monopolizing agricultural employments. General evictions are going on from small tenants, as larger farms are preferred. The agricultural tenants are therefore now being driven into small towns, into crowded rooms, and contiguous to the lord’s manor, where they are employed upon his own terms and time, or else to starve. And it now remains to be seen whether manual labor can exterminate machinery, as in Asia.

Such is the deplorable consequence of the alienation and monopoly of soil and governmental power, and we are now suffering from a new phase of tyranny. The Southern politicians, perceiving that the laboring masses can be degraded below the point of insurrection, have conceived the plan of founding their society upon slave labor, and to do so, must separate from the Northern States. The slave-holding oligarchy, by keeping every member of their families from becoming landless and negroless, hope to keep all like the Chinese government, in the interest and support of their measures. By disfranchising the poor white trash, they could have them as overseers and guards. They are striving to crush out what little liberty there is on this continent. Sham democracy is so demoralized in the border free States, that our last hope is upon the New England and lake States to defend our youthful liberty.


DISAPPOINTMENT IN REFORM.

Mr. Editor:—I enclose you an article for repairing this rickety and half-formed world. I hope you can find room previous to the meeting of the Convention in Albany. I have written it with care to save trouble, though half-blind. It may be the last request I may ask of you, as I am now eighty-four, and still have the symptoms of apoplexy. I do not dread death. But my great concern is, that I have not been able to get my opinions published enough to do mankind some good—to be appreciated during the next century. I have tried to put them on record by putting my book in libraries, &c., and by inscribing opinions upon the true reconstruction of society on the granite of my tomb in Cypress Hills Cemetery.

I regret that reformers have not decided whether individual or communistic ownership is the true principle. But I have determined that private property is right, and that there never yet has been any thorough individual possession, because what is one man’s today is another’s to-morrow from the freedom of purchase and sale, which puts everything into a condition of inequality and alienation. I regret to see that there is such as system of reform as that of Positivism, that stupidly asserts that “men have no rights—only duties of obedience, and which seems to aim at making as strong a Secular power in Governments as that of the Catholics in religion.” The Anarchists see the great wrong of office-holding, but have not found out that the people can govern themselves in proper person by townships. The nationalizing of the ownership of the soil by the present office-holding Governments would produce an immense tyrannical landlordry.

Yours, Lewis Masquerier.

Lewis Masquerier.—Upon our second page is an instructive article from this able and veteran Land Reformer, who for the last half century and more has been laboring to prevent the monopoly of the Public Lands, and securing them in small quantities for actual settlers. We invite the attention of all our readers to a consideration of his views. Our venerable and worthy brother, who is now in his eighty-fifth year, may not live to see his benevolent plans adopted, but he will be kindly remembered by all who know his life-long devotion to the welfare of the laboring classes, who never had a better friend than Lewis Masquerier.

  • Lewis Masquerier, “Disappointment in Reform,” Boston Investigator 55 no. 20 (August 26, 1885): 2.
  • “Lewis Masquerier,” Boston Investigator 55 no. 20 (August 26, 1885): 6.
About Shawn P. Wilbur 2467 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.