Saturday, 29 April 2017

LECTURES ON SHAKESPEARE

BY REV. R. EYTON, M.A.

Rev. R. Eyton, M.A., commenced a series of lectures on Shakespeare...

Mr Eyton said: "Shakespeare was not of an age, but for all time," said Ben Johnson, his friend, and it did credit to his perception that he grasped this fact about him. About much writing and literary effort which attracts and often too, arrests the men of any age, the crucial question remains to be answered " Will it live," and only men of real insight are able to give the answer. That Shakespeare's plays have lived was sufficiently evidenced by the fact that more quotations from his works have entered into common speech than from any other source except the Bible. One of those half educated women often found in London society was taken to see one of his plays and her only remark was that it was "full of quotations." There could not be a more convincing proof of the way in which his phrases have become the property of all because they were recognised as the truest expression of the facts of common life. In the wonderful grasp that he had of human nature in all its phases, grave and gay. " Shakespeare was not of an age but for all time." But he was also a man of his own age as his great rival called him in the same poem "The Soul of the Age." Every man who moves the world powerfully must be. He must be the child of the previous ages — their outgrowth — receiving from them a vast inheritance. Shakespeare showed that he was this in his historical plays especially. But he must be also the man of his own time, colored and influenced by its tendencies and aims, ethical, religious, political, social— and the Elizabethean age was pre-eminently a strong one in its temperament, in its facts, in its activities — it was an age of awakening and an age of growth, it was an age of great men with great minds, strong in literary power, for it was the age of Spenser, Raleigh, Shakespeare, Bacon, strong in its statesmen, such as Burleigh, strong in its theologians such as Hooker. It was an age in which a great man was sure of understanding, and of that audience which elicits his greatness ; a protestant age, a monarchical age, an age eminently practical, it knew what it wanted and how to get it, an age that was alive, very much alive indeed, full of vitality.
  It would be worth our while to go a little more into particulars in order to understand the nature of the forces which culminated in the appearance of Shakespeare. (1) We must take into account the two great preceding movements, the Renaissance and the Reformation. Through them the world had again arrived at the curiousness of being alive in every sense of the word. The Renaissance had flooded Europe with a great literature which had been long since dead and buried and with countless forms of art it had come like the spring after the long wintry frost of the middle ages. We make a mistake, however, when we suppose that there was no interest in the classics in the middle ages. Let us be just in acknowledging our debts. It was to the monks that we largely owe their preservation and the scholars of the 13th century probably knew the great latin authors. Horace and Virgil as well as the scholars of our day. Dante, in the 14th century, Petrarch a little later, had done much to make the best Latin poets familiar, while Boccacio about the same time (1313 — 1375) did some thing to create an interest in the Greek poets. The awakening made some great progress even before the invention of printing (1440) came like a new gift of tongues upon the earth and lent wings to knowledge. But though the monks preserved the classics to a large extent it must also be said that they kept a knowledge of them to themselves. It was not till the fall of Constantinople (1453) that Europe (Italy above all else) was covered with the fugitives of that mighty ruin. It was these who escaped with apparently little more than their lives who yet saved out of the general wreck treasures of unspeakable value and not only a living familiarity with Greek but Greek authors almost unknown in the West. The more distinguished refugees were received gladly, often with extravagant honor by the Princes of Italy, by Lorenzo the Magnificent at Florence, and at Rome by Popes such as Nicolas V, founder of the great Vatican Library, by Pius II (1456— 1464) and by Leo X.  Professorships, canonries were found for them; almost every little place had its academia centre of classical studies and of a stirring intellectual life, and if Italy was the cradle for this new enthusiasm it went forth throughout Europe. In Italy new learning became almost a new religion, so we read of Licinius burning a lamp before the bust of Plato as, though be were a saint, a most significant fact was the expression of such a homage but the movement did not remain Italian. The youth of Europe was attracted to Italy, Colet and Linacre, for example from England, and carried back to their own land the learning which they had acquired. And in other lands the revived interest in classical antiquity assumed a much more healthy diversion than it did in Italy. The foremost of our English humanists were Sir Thomas More and Colet, Melanchthon in Germany, Erasmus in Holland were the best representatives in their own lands, they put the new learning into its right place us the handmaid of theology they threw their knowledge of Greek into elucidating the true meaning of the Scriptures which had been darkened and overlaid in the middle ages. "The best grammarian," said Luther, "is the best theologian." It was an exaggeration, but one not without meaning and underlying truth.
 Out of the Renaissance grew the Reformation, though the Renaissance would never have produced the Reformation. It was to Pagan in its spirit ; it is faith that overcomes the world, and the forms of the medieval Papacy would have been too strong for a spirit like that of the Renaissance nourished merely by acquaintance with the beauties of classical literature. In the reformation we believe that the world was born again into religious freedom, not into Paganism or unbelief. The history of Erasmus, the chief of the humanists, is the most instructive as showing how it was possible to combine ceaseless activity in editing and elucidating heathen authors with producing the first edition of the New Testament in the original Greek that had ever appeared, an edition whose publication (1516) gave a great impulse to the Reformation though he himself never took any real share in the progress of that movement. Yet he remains the real father of the Reformation ; "The bird that laid the egg that Luther hatched," and it is impossible to over estimate his services to the cause of religious truth as we conceive it. These two great movements the Renaissance and the Reformation which we have barely glanced at made Shakespeare possible. He would not have been possible before that time. His view of life was too broad ; he had not the contempt for all the vanities of the world which characterised the best medieval thought to contrast his attitude towards life with that of Dante who finds his highest imagination centred, not in Florence and Pisa and Venice, but in Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. The kingdoms of the world were by the medieval writers given over to Satan, and all who did not abandon the world and become monks were more or less Satan's servants. In such a world Shakespeare would have been impossible, inconceivable, a fish out of water, for there was in him a present sense of truth, an overshadowing divine order, which makes men see the importance of a realisation of facts as they are, and especially of the greatest of all, the moral law of the universe. The sense that he spoke of—

 The divinity that doth shape our ends,
 Rough hew them as we will.

This sense of an overruling God manifested in a present moral order would put him for ever at issue with, at the best, as well as the worst side of the middle ages, the mystic grief that sighed for Urbs Beata Jerusalem, or lamented over the vanity of human life and human grief. But under the influence of the Renaissance and the Reformation man recurred to hard facts, the earth was good ; it was not damned or damnable. The earth was meant to be explored. Instead of bringing back from his voyages stones of demon haunted valleys, Raleigh brought back the potato plant and tobacco. The great moral discovery of the time lay in the dawning conscience of the immanence of God, both in nature and in man. In the middle ages God had been conceived of as afar off, as only touching earth through rare points of contact, and these beyond the sphere of nature. It began to be realised that he was not far from every one of us, that human life was sacred and time was in eternity. The modern Elizabethean spirit then would interrogate nature and investigate human life. It wanted no miracles nor interferences of ecclesiastical Magii. It found that the more truthfully it looked at things the more full of light things as they were in themselves appeared. Conscience and actual sense of sin, and an actual need of rightuousness were things which would not be dealt with by ecclesiastical mechanism. Woman was neither a Satanic bait to trap the soul of man nor was she the ideal of the chivalric devotion of the Middle Ages ; she was just woman, the complement, the helpmate of man, often tiresome, always interesting. The blessings and curses of human life were substantial and indubitable facts and must be dealt with as such. Such was the atmosphere of the period that produced Shakespeare. As Bunyan's Pilgrim Progress makes the essential problem of Puritanism how a man may escape from earth to heaven, so his contemporary Spenser's "Fairy Queen" endeavors to fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline. It was an age when man wanted to be great and do great things, an age conscious of the greatness of human power, and Spenser wrote his illustration of its tendencies in his fashion. Then again is the scientific movement represented by Bacon. Bacon's one link with Shakespeare was in his desire for facts and for inference from facts and observation and experience. In some sense he was the pioneer of the scientific movement. His aim was to extend man's dominion over nature, and to enrich man's life. Science was to be the minister to human welfare, which was conceived by Bacon no doubt in a materialistic fashion. Devotion to the fact, a return from supernatural to material and human, this is the characteristic attitude.
 Besides the ethical and scientific influence of the age there was the religious influence. The English Reformation only came to its final form in Elizabeth's reign by combined firmness and easiness of temper, by concessions, by compromises, by good sense. A Reformed church emerged in which a man could find a refined type of pity free from ceremonial or emotional extravagance, offending neither by excessive rigidity or exaggerated fervor. Anglicanism grew up as a system after the Mariau persecution chiefly taking the note of the majestic commonsense of Hooker. The renaissance philosopher had appealed to human reason alone. Hooker would assign a judicial place to reason but he appealed also both to scripture, church, and tradition. His aim was to root feeling in concrete fact. His work which always lay close to reality was always practical in its tendency, always moderate, always sensible. But its innermost idea is a thorough realization of facts as they are. He is the embodiment of the ecclesiastical wisdom of England. Anglicanism as a system owes at once its obvious defects and its chief characteristic excellencies to the spirit that animated Hooker.
 I may not pursue a tempting subject. I only alluded to it to illustrate the trend of spirit that permeated at once every species of thought and influence that was alive in Shakespeare's day. Shakespeare's genius grew in the age of Bacon, Spenser, and Hooker, and the great thing common to all is the characteristic of the age, the strong feeling of the positive concrete fact ; only Shakespeare's work was to be true to facts, not in scientific research like Bacon, not in realisation of facts in reference to religion like Hooker, but to facts received dramatically, that is to human character in living play. And even the moat casual reader of his plays must be struck by the absolute truth of the picture that he presents. It is the stuff of life itself, the coarse and the fine, the mean and the heroic, the humorous and the tragic, the grotesque and the terrible. There is the mixture everywhere in the characters themselves. Life itself is put before us with a truth, a reality, a perfection, the highest ever attained by man. Life in its strength and life in its weakness, life in its possibilities, and life with its terrible burden of a self caused necessity. Everyone is in his eyes going through a kind of perpetual trial, though the fact of the trial is never obtruded ; yet it is always there. Has the man strength and honesty to break through the meshes of pretence and plausibility, or will he let himself be fascinated, spell-bound, blinded by evil. It is that sense of truth to life which makes the intense interest of his dramas. The agony of temptation is there vividly before us and the man's freedom is there too — if he chooses he need not do the thing — there is no false or irrational necessitarianism or any false excursive attitude for once allowed. It is in his absolute truth to human nature, to its possibilities and to its dark damning failures, to its splendid achievements and its piteous insincerities, it is the picture drawn with such vivid colors of the trial of the human soul ; that affects us so powerfully, whether it be the picture of the captive king musing over the vanity of a world which he has misused or the frenzy of a revenged father driven to madness by children's ingratitude and his own folly, or in that piteous debate in which the alternative is a brother's death or a sister's shame, or in the jealousy of the husband who yields against his better self to the fiendish treason of the slanderer, or in the terrible struggles of the sinner who would repent and cannot, who only binds the web of self deceit faster round him, "O timid soul that struggling to be free, art more engaged." It is his wise and accurate presentation of the facts of our experience and observation that make his works as powerful a moral factor in our own age as in his. We are like, then, in our temptations and trials and weaknesses, is our verdict on his characters. Again it is the strength of Shakespeare, that is a perpetual attraction. Strength of life is always perceptive of the reality of the darker and the lighter side of tragedy and comedy. Love and hatred, life and death, become very real to a rigorous nature.
 Languid existence knows of neither passion nor resurrection. Strength of life—a vigorous vitality alone, can conceive extremes of rapture and woe. A languid emotionalism may try to paint them, but the coloring is blurred and sickly in hue. Shakespeare's charactors live in their joy and sorrow. The unutterable woe of Lear, the spasm of anguish which makes Othello writhe in body as in mind, are one side of real life, and the trembling expectation of Troilus before the entrance of Cressida,the rapture of Pericles on the recovery of Marina are as real at the other end. (Troilus and Cressida, Act 3, Scene, II, " I am giddy, etc.,"). And this same strength helps him to understand the deep contrasts which make the comedy of life. The earnest man who is conscious of his own earnestness is not afraid to laugh. He knows that he may have his laugh out and that the reality of things will not be disturbed. The weak and languid life never understands this, it regards all laughter as mockery. The laughter that is not afraid to laugh at things, because they are too real, and the laughter that giggles at everything because it holds nothing close. These people who are only half in earnest, who cherish their seriousness for the sake of their dignity never laugh properly. So, it comes to pass that an age of reality when great tragedies can be written, great comedies can be written also. But when it grows trivial as in the Restoration, in the reign of Charles II, great tragedy ceases, false heroics and mere sentimentalisms takes the place of tragic passion. The laughter of men becomes brutal and joyless, the crackling of thorns under the pot.
 There is no mere preaching in Shakespeare, no mere efforts to improve the occasion. But the moral tendency, and even the religious, is immensely powerful. All the more powerful through being indirect, through the fact that it recognises the action of the Divine on human affairs without vulgarising it or reducing it to bald commonplace. But the need evidently felt most of all was to bring back sanity into the estimate of human things, to have the things as they are, the good things of the world as they are, the good things of the world that are common, the good things of the world that are rare, to show that life is not a little common dust. He was practical and this appears in all his view of things and he does not think it necessary to answer every question. He knows that there are mysteries, he feels the supreme problems. If he does not furnish us with ready made answers, he tries to give us that feeling of solemn awe which alone can appreciate the answers when they have come, and to bow the head in reverent silence until they came.
 The question is still discussed as to whether Shakespeare was a Protestant or a Catholic. A celebrated German holds that the question is settled by the remark in Romeo and Juliet (Act 4, Scene I) " Or shall I come to you at evening mass." No Catholic would have spoken of evening mass. But it is a question hardly worth discussing, because whatever the form of his religion, the influence of its working is easy to read. That influence is the fostering and sustenance of a certain type of human character which, at any rate, has its greatest historical representatives in Protestantism. The character that is shaped by energy, by devotion to fact, by self control, by tolerance, by disbelief in the minutiae, by indifference to externals, these are the habits of thought and feeling which belong to the Protestant ideal of manhood. This much, at any rate, is evident and indeed, unless he were in antagonism to his old age it would not be otherwise, for with all its defects and faults the characteristic of every thing that was great and strong in the Elizabethan age, not merely in its negative aspects, but in its positive tendencies in the formation of its characters it was essentially Protestant. Farther than this one cannot go. It seems rather true his was one of those gifted minds, who see that there is a great unity underlying all religions, that if you descend to the inner life and all deep things and essence of character, to the internal and imperishable, then delimitations necessary enough to our ordinary thought become blurred and pass away. The great gift, which his genius was meant to convey, and did convey, his great and lasting legacy to his country and to the world was a resolute call to strength and to courage and to pursue the path of rectitude, honesty, and virtue, with clinging resolution through pain or through joy, and weal or woe.

National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW : 1889 - 1954), Saturday 13 August 1904, page 2

Monday, 3 April 2017

JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU.

BICENTENARY OF HIS BIRTH.

HIS INFLUENCE AND CHARACTER.

This year is the occasion of many notable anniversaries, but perhaps the most interesting of them all is the bicentenary of the birth of Jean Jacques Rousseau—inspirer of the French Revolution and the American Constitution, philosopher, educationalist, writer of novels, and composer of operas, the most potent influence of the 18th century, and one of the greatest minds of the present era.

To this day violent controversies range round his influence on the Revolution, his character, and his inspiration of literature. In spite of all that Mrs. Macdonald and others have done in recent years to lessen the impression generally accepted of the ignoble side of his character, his gross, non-moral life is made clear from his "Confessions," which Burke described as a record of a life flung with wild defiance in the face of his Creator. Here he set down with extraordinary literary charm and an almost reckless candour the pettiness and immorality of his thoughts and actions—his quarrels with his friends, his ingratitude towards his patrons, his desertion of his mistress and neglect of his children, his vanity and caprice, incapacity for recording the truth, and numerous other undesirable traits of character, both small and great. Yet, apart from its worth as a literary production, the "Confessions" must be reckoned as a remarkable psychological study, as the revelation of one of the greatest minds in history, and as involving no little courage and self-sacrifice in its composition. Samuel Johnson did not approve of Rousseau, but we suspect that if the prim and proper doctor had set down faithfully and scrupulously his innermost thoughts and the smallest of his actions, the result would have made the hair of James Boswell stand on end. "Let not Donna Bertha, of Ser Martino, suppose that, because this man steals, and that man makes offerings, it may seem so within the divine counsel, for one may rise and the other may fall." Dante was no sentimentalist with regard to sinners, but he also knew a good deal about the saints.

ROUSSEAU AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.

But, after all, however interesting it is to pierce through the veil concealing the inner life of great men, Rousseau's influence will abide, whether or not he quarrelled with Diderot, and Grimm, and Hume, and the Duke of Luxemburg, or wrongfully accused a servant girl of stealing a ribbon, or behaved with unnatural cruelty to his children. The fame of Nelson or Napoleon does not rest on their irregular marital relations. Men who have never read a line of Rousseau's writings accuse him of direct responsibility for the jacqueries of the French Revolution, whereas he undoubtedly hated the thought of revolution, and loathed agitation. That he achieved what Voltaire failed to accomplish is unquestioned. Not only did statesmen obey his dictates, but mothers suckled their babes because he told them to do so.

"Man is born free, and is everywhere in chains"—the opening words of the "Contrat Social"—provided a clue to the whole of his treatise, which fired the imaginations of his countrymen by the impassioned eloquence and emotional rhetoric with which he had clothed the cold logic of his philosophical argument. Burke, whose prejudiced and violent attacks on Rousseau did much to influence public opinion in England against him, was compelled to confess In his "Letter to a Member of the National Assembly" (1791): "Him they study; him they meditate; him they turn over in all the time they can spare from the laborious mischief of the day or the debauches of the night. Rousseau is their canon of holy writ; in his life he is their canon of Polyclitus; he is their standard figure of perfection." Sir James Mackintosh, In his "Vindiciae Gallicae," and Lord Morley, and other writers in modern times have placed in their proper perspective Rousseau's lack of responsibility for the excesses of the revolution, and have vindicated him as one of the immortal band of sages, "who unshackled and emancipated the human mind." His influence on the American Revolution has also been questioned, but the constitution was In its very phraseology based on his writings, and Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, and other framers of the constitution were clearly much influenced by him.

INFLUENCE ON ENGLISH LITERATURE.

Rousseau has often been accused of plagiarism. So has Shakespeare. But the schoolboy has settled the latter question by defining a plagiarist as a person who writes plays. The root principles of his philosophy may be traced to Bentham, Hobbes, Locke, or Althusen. The educational theories he set out in "Emile" were in part at least borrowed from Rabelais, Montesquieu, Locke, and the Jesuits. He has even been accused of moulding his "Nouvelle Heloise" on Richardson's "Clarissa." But if all this be granted his place in history is not lessened, his influence was not less great. One is reminded in a discussion of the ethics of plagiarism which so often arises in connection with Rousseau of the line in Aristophanes, when Cleon, convinced at last by his own confessions of too-glaring obligations to the public treasury, blurts out an apology: "Well, if I stole, 'twas for the public good." Rousseau was clearly one of the fathers of the romanticist school of literature. Of his direct influence on the sentimental "pantisocracy" of the youthful Lake poets there are differences of opinion. It is at least debatable whether Wordsworth and Southey would have written as they did it it had not been for Rousseau's inspiration, although Coleridge called him "the trimmer of love-sick tales and the spinner of speculative cobwebs." Hazlitt, In the "Round Table," in 1814, described the "Confessions" as "the most valuable of all Rousseau's writings. The pilgrimage which Byron and Shelley made to the scenes of Rousseau's novels, and how they steeped themselves in his works, is recorded in Shelley's "Letters." Byron's enthusiasm took the form of the famous stanzas in "Childe Harold," beginning, "Here the self-torturing sophist, wild Rousseau," and Rousseau is the first illustrious name mentioned in Byron's "Heroes of Immortality."

GEORGE ELIOT AND RUSKIN.

Walter Scott, in a review of the "Nouvelle Heloise," In the "Quarterly Review," wrote that "the dulness of the story is the last apology for its exquisite immorality," but, at least two later famous English writers acknowledged their indebtedness to Rousseau. George Eliot wrote to a friend in 1849: "It would signify nothing to me if a very wise person were to stun me with proofs that Rousseau's views of life, religion, and government were miserably erroneous—that he was guilty of some of the worst "bassesses" that have degraded civilised man. I might admit all this; and it would not be the less true that Rousseau's genius has sent that electric thrill through my intellectual and moral frame which has awakened me to new perceptions." And John Ruskin wrote the following confession in 1862: "I know of no man whom I more entirely resemble than Rousseau. If I were asked whom of all men of any name in past time I thought myself to be grouped with, I should answer unhesitatingly, Rousseau." In "Preterita" he openly acknowledged his life-long debt to Rousseau.

Individuals will differ upon this phase of his character and upon that. But whenever we look to the well from which men have drunk the waters of liberty, and have sought inspiration from the blessings of individual freedom and social and economic equality; if we seek the sources of much that is best in our literature, and search for the fundamental principles upon which the education of our children and ourselves are based, we shall have to include in our quest the writings of Jean Jacques Rousseau.

Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), Saturday 31 August 1912, page 5

Sunday, 26 March 2017

THE FREETHINKER.

 (BY " BALAAM.")
 I know of no other word in the English language so generally misunderstood and so frequently misapplied, as the word freethinker. By a certain section of orthodox churchgoers (moral or immoral as the case may be) it is regarded as synonymous with atheist. Another section of the same community, in a mysterious and altogether inexplicable manner, associate the word with free love, while the ignorantly pious contingent, although they have no conception of its meaning, yet, with one accord, proclaim it to be something very bad, just as—being told to do so—they proclaim many things which they do not understand to be very good. Now, this widespread misapprehension arises from the prevalence amongst us of that social plague spot, the spurious freethinker. This noxious and objectionable animal may be found in any part of the civilised world, but his favorite haunt, or burrow, is in large towns. Not only a foe to Christianity, but absolutely without any religion, he writhes under the idea of individual responsibility to a higher power; all moral restraint, as far an the law will allow, he throws to the winds; his passions and lusts (again, as far as the law will allow) remain unbridled ; religion of any sort is hateful to him, involving as it does a necessity upon the part of its votaries to rise superior to the animal ; and boldly proclaiming that there is no God, no hereafter, no such thing as sin, he pursues his brute boast existence. And then, my friends, is the animal that calls himself a freethinker and so casts discredit upon a most estimable class of men—a class that as far as morality, honesty, and charity are concerned, will compare favorably with any sect or denomination upon the face of the earth. The bona fide believer in free thought—or as it is now generally termed, modern thought—is an individual whose mind is liberated from dogmatism and superstition. He asserts his individuality, and values at its true worth the reasoning power with which he finds himself endowed. The power he cultivates, and makes use of, regarding it as the most precious of all the "talents" entrusted to his care. Believing in his ability to distinguish between the probable and the improbable he will not accept of anything without evidence of, at least, probability. He understands the meaning of the word faith ; he also understands that "credulity is the disease of feeble intellects, and ill-regulated winds; believing everything, and investigating nothing, the mind accumulates errors, till its overgrown faith overmasters its untutored reason." Fully aware of his many imperfections, he yet refrains from grovelling in the dust, and calling himself a miserable offender, knowing full well that he is a decided improvement upon his prehistoric ancestor. He meets with a difficulty as follows
 —Supposing that scientists are right, and that the human race, instead of having fallen from a perfect state, have been gradually developing from a very low original; and as century succeeded century, most certainly rising instead of falling. Supposing such to have been the case, the tradition of man's fall must be rejected, and rejecting it, what then becomes of the Atonement? Meeting with such a problem, he does not cry " Get thee behind me Satan" and shut his eyes, but boldly, and to the best of of his ability, faces it, considering that he is not only justified in facing it, but that it is his bounden duty to do so. Earnest of purpose, honest of thought, open to conviction he grapples with the difficulty, and at length arrives at a conclusion of his own (not of his ancestors), and thus asserts his individuality as a reasoning, responsible being. He pays but little heed to the conflicting doctrines and dogmas of diverse churches, and the various and antagonistic creeds of religious sects trouble him not, what is opposed to reason he refuses to accept. He accept however, the certainties revealed by scientists, and if those should clash, as they sometimes do, with the traditions of a bygone age, why then, the latter must go to the wall. There are two words in the English language that the freethinker utterly disbelieves in, and those are the words atheist and devil. He cannot realize the possibility of any one—not wholly insane— doubting the existence of a God ; nor can he understand a rational human being believing in the existence of a devil. Looking things squarely in the face, he sees that the religious belief of the majority is entirely the result of their education and training, and in fact, it is not THEIR belief, but the belief of their teachers.
 " By education, most have been misled.
 They so believe, because they so were bred;
 The priest continues what the nurse began,
 And thus the child imposes on the man."

And pondering over this, he sees plainly that the man who accepts and believes without enquiry, completely ignores his individual responsibility, and forfeits all claim to be considered a rational being. To religious traditionalism the freethinker gives exactly the same weight that he does to any other traditionalism. His object is to arrive as nearly as possible at "the truth"; and he believes that the only method of doing so is by fearless and conscientious investigation, adopting what seems to him just and true ; and this he considers to be the only means by which one can ever reach a faith worthy of a rational human being. Appeal to the freethinker if you are in distress; ask him to co-operate in any scheme calculated to lessen the sorrow and suffering by which we are surrounded, and then you will find out what he is. But do not talk to him of such things as Adam and Eve, or the setting back of the sun—that is unless you wish him to bid you a hasty good day. This is no imaginary character that I have drawn, my friends ; he belongs to a class that is increasing daily, and that will go on increasing ; for the old order of things is passing away, as it has passed away before, and as it must assuredly pass away again, and yet again. It is an age of doubt— of scepticism, if you will—and better that than blind unreasoning follow-my-leaderism. Men are daring to think for themselves, to decide for themselves—sure sign to the thinking mind that the childhood of our world is passed.

Alexandra and Yea Standard, Gobur, Thornton and Acheron Express (Vic. : 1877 - 1908), Friday 4 September 1885, page 3

Friday, 24 March 2017

PERVERTS AND PIETY

Finery, Frivolity, and Frailty.
 The " Will of God" and Wilful Women.

The judicial strictures lately passed on the marked increase in the number of sexual offences in this State, aroused but a passing interest in the public mind. The citizen of to-day recognises—consciously or sub-consciously —that sexual depravity is inseparable from the conditions under which modern society exists. It is also beyond dispute that the vast majority of sexual offences remain undiscovered, and that the offenders who are detected—and punished—are invariably the "bottom dogs" of society. Yet statistics compiled in more congested centres than any existing in this State show that while the so-called "liberal professions" furnish 5 per cent. of ordinary criminals, no less than 12 per cent. of those sentenced for child-violation belong to the professional class. Criminals belonging to this section of society possess, as a rule, ample means and have more facilities for concealing their crimes. Even when a case comes to light the social "pull" of the offender, and the soporific influence of wisely-placed cash, prevents his punishment. Within the past decade more than one clergyman in West Australia has been accused of tampering with female children, and although one of the degenerate men of God was "biffed" severely by an infuriated father, the Law, beyond a burlesque inquiry, took no cognisance of the prurient pranks of the pietistic perverts. Moderation is quite as necessary in sexual enjoyment as it is in the gratification of other human requirements. Yet no more intolerant section of society than the clerical exists to-day. The lack of self-control exhibited daily by pulpitpounders—it is only reasonable to suppose—is not confined to their utterances or actions in public. When the Lord leadeth a man beside still waters and maketh him lie down in green pastures, his lines are mostly cast in pleasant places. Few, if any, have so much idle time, or are thrown so much in the
SOCIETY OF FEMALES
as the practitioners of piety. And the parson is always a privileged person. At Sunday schools, church services, bun-banquets, gingerbeer jollifications, and other wowser festivities, he is, to use a colloquialism, "the white-headed boy." Can it be wondered if, surfeited and palled by superfluity, the sexual provocative offered by the charms of mature womanhood should be replaced by a desire for keener stimulation? Leading authorities on the psychology of sex assert that the man who is a universal favorite with women is invariably a sexual pervert. And, apart from the dictum of science, it is asking too much of the credulity of the average man to ask him to believe that spiritual satisfaction is the only solace sought in the circles of wowserdom.
 A more striking proof of the perverted morality of modern Christians is afforded by the universal recognition that the present form of marriage is inadequate. While it is piously proclaimed that "the sacred tie" is divinely ordained, no social stigma is attached to men who seek illegitimate gratification of their sexual impulses. Yet the intuitive reaching out for the fulfilment of her being—if it is sanctified by a marriage ceremony—is regarded as a sign of inborn depravity in a woman. This peculiar delusion that an ecclesiastical anathema tends to subdue the natural instinct known as sexual impulse, is undoubtedly inherited from
THE PRIESTLY BIGOTRY
of the Middle Ages. It is the purpose of sex to propagate the race. The sex-instinct is a law which Nature demands that every individual must fulfil if his development is to be healthy and normal. Modern Christianity, while providing marriage as a means by which the natural desires may find expression, vaguely recognises the shortcomings of "the sacred tie" by tacitly approving of prostitution. It is, the Biblebanging boneheads deprecatingly declare, a necessary evil. Why it is imperative that, in a community that boasts of its Christian principles, its culture, and its civilisation, a woman should be forced to barter the supreme expression of the sacred passion the wowsers never attempt to explain. Possibly they imagine it is the will of God. Yet it is an irrational Deity if, in bygone ages, He willed that woman should be mastered, violated, and beaten into submission by the stronger animal— man. Was it His will that the natural, healthy, sex-nature of woman should become distorted and stunted by starvation until she was forced to offer her body to her master? Of course, should such be the case, the Divine will, naturally enough, was modified considerably by the march of Occidental conceptions of sexual relationship. He let it be known that modern woman was to be coaxed, flattered, and humored, until she consented to become a pleasant plaything. It is a humbling reflection, but nevertheless a bald and brutal truth, that precisely the same feeling animates the Kimberley aboriginal, who stuns his gin with a waddy, as animates the cultured gentleman of modern civilisation, who places his divinity on a pedestal and worships her. In neither case is she regarded as a comrade, a willing lover, or an individual standing on the same footing as man. She is the slave, or the idol, as the case may be, but ever and always the sexual appendage to man.
It is not to be wondered at that women to-day are not as sweet, as generous, or as wholesome as Nature would have had them. Although the welfare of future generations depends on the purity and intelligence of woman, modern conditions have kept her as ignorant of the great social evils which
MENACE THE NATIONAL HEALTH 
as was her mediaeval sister. Her want of training, and the absence of any decent outlet for the tyrannical insistence of the sex instinct, has left her a sentiment-swamped creature whose outlook on existence is circumscribed by the narrow limits of the ring-fetter of a wife. Should the appalling monotony of work and a little sleep, which is the best bargain of ninetenths of married women, deter her from matrimony, she is looked upon as a naturally vicious woman and, denounced by her own sex for drawing worthy and innocent masculinity down into the depths of iniquity. Mrs. Walter M. Gallichan, in her book, "The Truth About Woman," says: "Idleness, frivolity, and the love of finery are the chief causes of a girl's downfall. The last is a far more frequent and stronger factor in determining towards prostitution than actual want, and one moreover, that is very deeply seated in the feminine character. Women must remember that, if they suffer through men's passion, men suffer no less through women's greed. We have got to remember that if many of our fallen sisters have been seduced by men, at least an equal number of men have received their sexual initiation at the hands of our sex. The seduction of young men by women is often the starting point of a young man's association with courtesans. The majority of prostitutes are simply doing for money what they originally did of their own free will for the excitement and the gain of some small personal gift. A chief cause of prostitution, which has not been sufficiently recognised, is sexual frigidity. This is the clearest explanation of the moral insensibility of the prostitute. I am certain that many of the courtesans I have known have never experienced passion. I believe that the traffic of love's supreme rite means less to them than it would do to me to shake hands with a man I disliked."
 Being a woman, Mrs. Gillichan looks upon "the social evil"
FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE
to the mere male. Yet despite the inside knowledge inseparable from her sex, few indeed will believe that a healthy, well-poised girl deliberately chooses a life of shameful barter. Few, very few women reach the brothel in one step, and take that step from choice. Yet although the fair writer will not admit that women instinctively shrink from sex-expression unless it is sanctified by love, she does not hold with any platitudinous piffle about the will of God. In fact, she insists that the ways of wilful woman are the determining factor.

Truth (Perth, WA : 1903 - 1931), Saturday 13 October 1917, page 5

ILLUSTRIOUS LUNATICS.

Mr. J. Corbet, a recognised authority on insanity and kindred questions, contributes to The Arena a most interesting article on "Illustrious Lunatics," from which we quote the following extracts : —

At a moment when the grave sociological problem of the insane engages so much public attention and excites so much anxiety, and scientists and specialists are busy discussing the pros and cons on both sides, it may be interesting to bring to mind a few of the most remarkable personages who were either actually mad or whose mental deformity and moral depravity were such as to qualify them for place amongst the abnormal classes. At any rate, notwithstanding the "divinity" that, it is said, hedges kings, some plain speaking on the subject may have its uses.
 The verity of the aphorism expressed in the line " Great wits are sure to madness near allied," has many striking examples.
 One of the most remarkable instances of illustrious lunacy of a hereditary character in ancient times is that furnished by the family of the Cæsars. It would seem as if the insane taint originated with the great founder of the dynasty, who was afflicted with epilepsy, and, according to some writers, abandoned himself in his younger days to vice and intemperance. The youthful Caesar would have been more than mortal if he did not yield to the temptations by which he was surrounded on every side. He, moreover, when forced to fly from Rome, while yet in his teens, resided for a considerable time at the corrupt Court of Nicomedus, King of Bithynia, where immorality was rampant, and riotous living the rule.
 Cæsar's daughter Julia is said to have been a woman of the worst character. She had a son who was idiotic ; and several others of the immediate descendants and collateral branches of the family were hereditarily infected. It is unnecessary to go much further in this direction to show how moral brain-poisoning brought down the curse of insanity upon the Julian race, and how, even in the case of pagans, the sins of the parents were visited upon the children "to the third and fourth generation" and beyond.
 Alexander of Macedon furnishes another example of how the exercise of absolute power and the unrestrained indulgence of sensuality act upon the brain, destroy the faculty of self-control, harden the human heart, impair the understanding, and finally overthrow the reason. Numerous instances are recorded of Alexander's senseless savagery and bloodthirstiness. History credits him with sighing for more kingdoms to conquer, but his insanity was of the homicidal type, and his longing was not so much for more kingdoms to conquer as for more people to massacre. It is related of him that after the capture of Tyre he caused an immense number of persons, including non-combatants, to be put to death in cold blood. Nearly 20,000 inhabitants of Sangala were butchered by his orders after the city had surrendered, and his barbarities at the taking of Gaza were diabolical.
To come down to our own days, it is notorious that most of the Royal families of the present day have "the mad drop" in them—notably the Russian, German, Austrian, Danish, English, Portuguese, and Bavarian. The conservation and hereditary transmission of the insane taint in all these is assured by frequent consanguineous marriages. In fact, it may be said that all the Royalties of Europe are so married and intermarried amongst each other that there is considerable difficulty about fixing the degrees of relationship between their numerous members. Uncles, aunts, and cousins are jumbled up in a tangle that only the Herald's College could be expected to unravel. Those who are responsible for the making of such matrimonial alliances seem to ignore the fact that consanguineous marriages, especially where mental disturbance has already manifested itself on either side, are not only fraught with danger to posterity, but are certain to produce evil results, psychical or somatical The offspring of such marriages are rarely perfectly sound. If not mentally unbalanced they are not mentally vigorous, or else they are afflicted with physical imperfections, malformation of the limbs, scrofula, defective organs of speech, hearing, and the like.
 The Imperial House of Russia furnishes some examples.
 Ivan, called the Terrible, was nothing less than a violent lunatic. If an ordinary mortal he would undoubtedly have been shut up and ended his days in an asylum for the insane.
 Peter the Great was an epileptic, a drunkard, and a bloodthirsty tyrant. He left a legacy of all his evil qualities to his daughter Elizabeth, who was so dissolute and corrupt that her actions could only be accounted for by mental aberration, of which moral depravity was the outcome. So in the case of Catherine, generally known as the Great, who lead a life so shockingly debased, that, looking back on it from this distance, she also must be regarded as having been morally insane. Her son Paul, who succeeded her, became in the end a violent lunatic, and his subjects, wearied by his acts of cruelly and oppression, put him to death. His son and successor, Alexander, was, towards the end of his life, a victim of melancholia, and died in that state. Nicholas was of such an ungovernable temper that at times his frenzy amounted to temporary insanity. The mind of the late Emperor was supposed to be quite unhinged from fear of the Nihilists, and it is said his death was caused by his fears.
 The terrible tragedies in the Austrian and Bavarian Royal houses are so recent as to be within the memory of all. With regard to Bavaria, what the responsible statesmen could have been thinking about in allowing a madman like Louis II. to squander the substance of his people to the extent of millions upon licentious men and women, and in building palaces and castles in out of the way places, is inconceivable. 
 England also can supply many types and instances not only of hereditary ruthlessness and moral depravity in her sovereigns, but of insanity. The life of Henry VIII. was an uninterrupted career of crime, cruelty, lust, and murder. A gross sensualist and voluptuary ; his conduct towards his many queens, who he did not hesitate to put to death one after another when he grew tired of them, was such as to qualify him, if sane, for the hands of the executioner, and, if not, for a cell in a criminal lunatic asylum. His daughter, Elizabeth, despite her conspicuous abilities as a sovereign, showed clearly the hereditary taint. Her relations with men, and especially with Essex, and his subsequent fate, proved her to be "her father's own daughter," while her savagery in beheading the hapless Mary Queen of Scots, after keeping her in prison for twenty years, can only be attributed to the ruthless and sanguinary disposition inherited from her vicious and depraved parents.
 It is well known the Royal family of England is tainted on both sides. George I. and George II. drank to excess. There can do no doubt what ever their intemperance sowed the seeds which developed into positive insanity in George III.
 The mantle of the man-slayers, to whom reference have been already made, seems to have fallen upon the shoulders of another Eastern potentate, the modern lycanthrope, or wolfman, whose wholesale massacre of his own subjects have excited the horror and indignation of the whole world. It goes without saying that the army or fleet of any one of "the high contracting Powers," as they are pompously called, could stop the Imperial madman's career, and put him into a straight waistcoat at once. The only wonder is why they don't do it. The question may be asked, Is Abdul Hamid mad? Judged by his life, one of sensual excesses, and by his savage treatment of his Christian subjects, he is not only insane, but a criminal lunatic, qualified in every way to rank with the inhuman monsters of antiquity. Taking all these things into account, he may be set down as the most illustrious lunatic that has appeared upon earth from the days of Nero to the present time.

Burrowa News (NSW : 1874 - 1951), Friday 28 July 1899, page 1

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

JEW-BAITING IN GERMANY.

HITLER REVIVES AN ANCIENT GAME.

KING JOHN OUTDONE.

"Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled, by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? if you prick us do we not bleed? if you tickle us do we not laugh? if you poison us do we not die?"

—"The Merchant of Venice."

"FOR 19 centuries, the Jew has been hunted and persecuted by alleged Christians (writes Tom Johnston is Glasgow "Forward"). When the Emperor Titus destroyed Jerusalem (A.D. 72) and made of the temple a heap of ruins, "God's "peculiar people" scattered themselves throughout Europe. In every land where they sojourned, some of them amassed wealth; often thereafter having that wealth forcibly stolen from them, and counting themselves lucky when they were allowed to die in their beds.
Not only was the Jew a great trader and merchant and banker, but he was a great physician, and by applying experience and science to the cure of disease, as against the incantations of the ecclesiastics, he earned for himself the enmity of all the learned practitioners in the production of dry weather by prayer, and who made a living by the discovery of witches and sooterkins.

In Germany.

In Germany for centuries the Jews had a particularly thin time of it. If a Jew trader there amassed money, heaven help him when the local baron got to hear of it,for it was no trouble at all in the middle ages to start a story that a murdered Christian child had been found in the house of a wealthy Jew.

A human sacrifice! Away with the scoundrel to the gallows-hill, and hand over his money to the baron.

When the baron and the ecclesiastics were thus united, things usually looked bad for the Jew, but occasionally he and his family might be spared from the flames or the rope if he surrendered his shekels in time to the baron, and promised to keep earning more for him In the future.

Blamed For Plague.

During the XIV. Century, when Europe was decimated by a plague, the Jews in Germany were blamed for its causation, and at Basle numbers of them were publicly burned, their children being spared, so that they might be educated as good Christians. This was understood to be particularly gratifying to the angels.
 A great game was to issue a decree that the interest upon all debts due to Jews was cancelled. That was certainly done in Louis VIII.'s time in France. And in the reign of the same Christian King, no punishment was inflicted upon any Christian who killed a Jew.

In Britain.

In Britain, after the Norman Conquest, says the "Encyclopaedia Britannica," William II. found the Jews so profitably taxable a community that he refused to allow them to be converted to the Christian faith. And in the time of the good King John one method of raising taxation for the King was to take out a rich Jew from the town of Bristol and pull a tooth from his jaws every day until he paid up 10,000 marks as ransom for his remaining molars.

Henry III. sold to his brother all the Jews in England for 6000 marks,with full power over their person and property.

The "Protocols Of Zion."

Among civilised and semi-civilised peoples the cult of anti-Semitism has rather gone out of fashion in recent times. In America, for example, it is somewhat difficult to palm off all usury upon the Jewish bankers and financiers, so long as Rockefeller and Morgan are notorious Gentiles. But 10 years ago, the "Dearborn Independent" was seeking to raise a storm over the alleged Protocols, or world programme of some anonymous group of international Jews held at Basle about 1896 or thereabouts (if ever). These Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion were first published in Russia about 1905, by an anti-Semite called Professor Nilus. Where he got them from is not known.
Briefly, these Protocols are resolutions for racial domination of the world by the Jews (using inter alia Bolshevism as a weapon), but they seem to have fallen flat in this country, no one apparently giving them the slightest credence except a stray journalist on the staff of the "Morning Post" and a group called "The Britons," whose spiritual leadership, doubtless, Sir Oswald Mosley has now fallen heir.

Too Silly For Words.

The thing is too silly for words, Trotsky might be a Jew, but certainly Lenin was not. And it is surely manifestly absurd to ascribe the origins of the late war to Jewry. Whatever other form of wickedness International Finance may stand for, it does not stand for war. Certain categories of industrial capitalists may gain by war; but the moneylender, usually is strenuously opposed.

Yet it is this Protocol trash that Hitler has raved from Hamburg to the Polish Corridor.

The first Republican Secretary of Foreign Affairs in Germany was, he shouts, Haase, a Jew, Schiffer, a Jew, the first Minister of Finance. Ballin, the great shipowner. Rathenau, the chief man in industrial finance, Gwinner of the banks—all Jews! Germany is in poverty for no other reason than that the Jews have been in control; they sold the Nordics to International Finance, hence the beer is thin and there is dead dog in the sausage!

It is much too early yet to say that the International boycott by the Jews of German goods has beaten Daft Adolph. But as a test in the organisation of International economic pressure upon a nation or a Government gone berserk, the boycott has been magnificent.

Daily Standard (Brisbane, Qld. : 1912 - 1936), Saturday 27 May 1933, page 6

NILUS AND THE PROTOCOLS.

(Catholic News Service.)

PARIS.—The story of Nilus and "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" of which he is the reputed author, is exciting much attention in Paris, particularly since the Russian paper, the "Posleidnier Novoeit" ("Latest-News"), Paul Milinkoff's organ, has published a series of articles dealing with the Protocols by a Don Cossack, one Mr. du Chayla.  Du Chayla says that he first met Nilus in the library of an Orthodox monastery in Russia; that he is a sincere man, though somewhat credulous and a trifle fanatical.  According to Nilus himself he received the manuscript of the Protocols from Gen. Ratchkosky, by means of a certain woman, Natalie Anastasia K ——. There is also a certain Marshal Soukhotin mentioned, whom Du Chayla is inclined to think serves as a blind to hide the identity of the mysterious Natalie. Anyway, Gen. Ratchkosky was Chief of the Russian Secret Police for a score or more of years. According to Du Chayla he was on the lookout for some imaginative and mystically-minded person who, close to the person of the late Czar, could combat the influence of a person who is known as "Lois Philippe, the mesmerist."  Nilus appears to have fulfilled the General's requirements, particularly as he had made himself notorious by prophesying the approach of Antichrist. Nilus was thus employed to write his book of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a book which accuses the Zionists of a conspiracy to obtain world domination, and the information supplied to him was stated to have been filched from the archives of the Grand Orient in Paris. This is how Du Chayla makes out the case for Nilus, who, he says, is disowned by the Orthodox clergy of Russia, who are not particularly convinced by his mesmerists, his Illuminati, his veiled women, and secret police officials. He throws cold water on the Zionist contention that Nilus, the reputed author of the "Protocols," is a fictitious person who never had any real existence. "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" has been published in almost every modern European language. Its authenticity has been disputed by numerous Zionist scholars and writers, who pronounce the work to be a sheer fake.

Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), Friday 9 September 1921, page 6