The plan of deporting a certain school
of thinkers and non-thinkers and confining them on some remote island
in the Pacific ocean [sic] is commented upon by Prof. Goldwin Smith
as one of the proposals which “bespeak the excitement of the time.”
One would think that the advocacy of this scheme would be confined
to that class of persons whose minds are divided on the question
whether the criminal now confined in the Auburn prison should be
turned over to a mob for execution or officially tortured with fire
before being drawn and quartered. Such, however, appears not to
be the case. We note that the editor of one of our Freethought exchanges
reprints with evident pride a letter which he wrote to a Chicago
daily proposing that not only the anarchists but the social radicals
be marooned as aforesaid. Unfortunately that plan of dealing with
the exponents of unpopular ideas lacks not only merit but originality.
It was conceived and advocated many years ago by a certain Chaplain
McCabe of the Methodist communion, who dreamed of isolating all
Freethinkers in a place which he named Ingersollville.
We quoted from the Christian Advocate
not long ago the fact, which the editor characterized as remarkable,
that “the same men who were victims in the churches from which they
were expelled or from which they went out, on coming into power
in the new sects, have oppressed with equal vigor and mercilessness
those who were subject to them.” It seems there are others, not
religionists, to whom the same course recommends itself.
Professions sometimes fail in a crisis,
as witness the abandonment of their principles, on alleged grounds
of high expediency, by the looting missionaries in China. It will
be a good test of the sincerity of Freethinkers’ professed belief
in mental freedom if at this time they refrain from renouncing them
and joining the popular clamor for unconstitutional methods in dealing
with certain retailers of doctrines they cannot approve.
These are the times that try men’s