Lachlan passed away in January 2010.  As a memorial, this site remains as he left it.
Therefore the information on this site may not be current or accurate and should not be relied upon.
For more information follow this link

(This Webpage Page in No Frames Mode)

Welcome to Lachlan Cranswick's Personal Homepage in Melbourne, Australia


Lachlan's Homepage is at

[Back to Lachlan's Homepage] | [What's New on Lachlan's Page]

[Intro - CranClan] . . [Happening Things] . . [The Daresbury Laboratory Web Ring of Life] . . [NCS - Non-Competitive Scrabble] . . [Garden Gnomes of Daresbury Laboratory] . . [Nature and Local UK Things] . . [USA 2001 and LDEO Columbia University] . . [Historical Literature/Poetry] . . [Music] . . [Misc Things] . . [DL SRS Status] . . [Conference and Travel Things] . . [The Wonders of Team Building] . . [Other People's Homepages] . . [Crystallographic Internet Front] . . [While in Melbourne] . . [Semi Relevant Links]
[Includes - Thomas Paine | David Hume | Thomas Jefferson] Karl Popper] Richard Dawkins]


  • Extracts from "The Open Society and its Enemies vol 1: The Spell of Plato" by Karl Raimund Popper (Originally written from 1938 to 1943.Published in book form 1945)

    (On the teachings of Plato vs that of Socrates)
    "What a monument of human smallness is this idea of the philosopher king. What a contrast between it and the simplicity of humaneness of Socrates, who warned the statesmen against the danger of being dazzled by his own power, excellence, and wisdom, and who tried to teach him what matters most - that we are all frail human beings. What a decline from this world of irony and reason and truthfulness down to Plato's kingdom of the sage whose magical powers raise him high above ordinary men; although not quite high enough to forgo the use of lies, or to neglect the sorry trade of every shaman - the selling of spells, of breeding spells, in exchange for power over his fellow-men."

  • Extracts from the "The Open Society and Its Enemies Volume 2: Hegel and Marx" by Karl Raimund Popper (Originally published 1945)
    "Bertrand Russell described this study, with its companion volume on Plato, as ' a work of first-class importance which ought to be widely read for its masterly criticism of the enemies of democracy, ancient and modern. His (Popper's) attack on Plato, while unorthodox, is in my opinion thoroughly justified. His analysis of Hegel is deadly. Marx is dissected with equal acumen, and given his due share of responsibility for modern misfortunes. The book is a vigorous and profound defence of democracy, timely, very interesting, and very well written."

  • Extracts from the "The Poverty of Historicism" by Karl Raimund Popper (Originally published in book form 1957)
    "In memory of the countless men and women of all creeds or nations or races who fell victims to the fascist and communist belief in Inexorable Laws of Historical Destiny"

Articles on the 1863 New York Draft Riots by Albon P. Man, Jr


  • "Introduction to Mineral Sciences",
    Andrew Putnis, 1995, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-42947-1
  • "Passchendaele the untold story",
    Robin Prior and Tervor Wilson, 1996, Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-07227-9
  • "Guns, Germs, and Steel. The Fates of Human Societies",
    Jared Diamond, 1997/1999, W.W. Norton and Company, ISBN 0-393-31755-2
  • "The Diversity of Living Organisms",
    Edited by R.S.K. Barnes, University of Cambridge, 1998, Blackwell Science, ISBN 0-632-04917
  • "Fundamental of Microfabrication",
    Marc Madou,1997, CRC Press, ISBN 0-8493-9451-1
    (Includes a list of internet links to follow up on)
  • "The Ascent of Science",
    Brian L. Silver, 1998, ISBN 0-19-511699-2
  • "Understanding Materials Science: History, Properties, Applications",
    Rolf E. Hummel; Springer, 1997, ISBN 0-387-983030-1
  • "Empire of Light a history of discovery in science and art",
    Sidney Perkowitz, 1996, ISBN 0-309-06556-9

  • "The Universal history of Numbers. From prehistory to the invention of the computer",
    by Georges Ifrah, Translated from the French by David Hellos, E.F. Harding, Sophie Wood and Ian Monk, The Harvill press, London, 1998, ISBN 1 86046 324 X
    • Re whims of science affected by Totalitarian leaders (page 515):
      "They (scientists) had to avoid direct confrontation with official dogma if they did not want to lose their state subsidies and risk even greater represssion. At the end of the eleventh century, the famous poet, astronomer and mathematician Omar Khayym reported, in his Mathematical Treatise:

      "We have witnessed a decline in scholarship, few scholars are
      left, and those who remain experience vexations.  Their troubled
      times stop them from concentrating on deepening and bettering
      their knowledge.  Most so-called scholars today mask the truth 
      with lies.
        In science, they go no further than plagiarism and hypocrisy and
      use the little knowledge they have for vile material ends.  And if they
      come across others who stand apart for their love of the truth and
      rejection of falsehood and hypocrisy, they attack them with insults
      and sarcasm"

  • Omar Khayyam: Born: 18 May 1048 in Nishapur, Persia (now Iran); Died: 4 Dec 1131 in Nishapur, Persia (now Iran)


    • However, this was not an empire in which those of learning, even those as learned as Khayyam, found life easy unless they had the support of a ruler at one of the many courts. Even such patronage would not provide too much stability since local politics and the fortunes of the local military regime decided who at any one time held power. Khayyam himself described the difficulties for men of learning during this period in the introduction to his Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra (see for example [1]):-

      I was unable to devote myself to the learning of this algebra and the continued concentration upon it, because of obstacles in the vagaries of time which hindered me; for we have been deprived of all the people of knowledge save for a group, small in number, with many troubles, whose concern in life is to snatch the opportunity, when time is asleep, to devote themselves meanwhile to the investigation and perfection of a science; for the majority of people who imitate philosophers confuse the true with the false, and they do nothing but deceive and pretend knowledge, and they do not use what they know of the sciences except for base and material purposes; and if they see a certain person seeking for the right and preferring the truth, doing his best to refute the false and untrue and leaving aside hypocrisy and deceit, they make a fool of him and mock him.

      However Khayyam was an outstanding mathematician and astronomer and, despite the difficulties which he described in this quote, he did write several works including Problems of Arithmetic, a book on music and one on algebra before he was 25 years old. In 1070 he moved to Samarkand in Uzbekistan which is one of the oldest cities of Central Asia. There Khayyam was supported by Abu Tahir, a prominent jurist of Samarkand, and this allowed him to write his most famous algebra work, Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra from which we gave the quote above. We shall describe the mathematical contents of this work later in this biography.

  • Omar Khayyam: The Rubaiyat


    • His courage is exceptional. With disdain for the opinions of his fanatic and intolerant contemporaries he dares question all that is considered the gospel truth by his environment, dares proclaim the emptiness of the religious dogmas and of human knowledge:

      On this multi-colored earth some-one walks,
      neither believer nor atheist, neither poor nor rich.
      He worships neither Allah nor human laws.
      He does not put his faith in universal truth.
      He confirms nothing. Who is this courageous
      and sad person walking our multi-colored earth?

      Who? Khayyam himself, obviously.

  • "Servants of Nature, A History of Scientific Institutions, Enterprises and Sensibilities",
    by Lewis Pyenson and Susan Sheets-Pyenson, HarperCollins Publishers, London, 1999, ISBN 0 00 223842 X
    • Post Modernism (Page 21):
      "Recent debates about whether science expresses truths about the world call to mind an observation by a sixteenth-century patron of natural knowledge, Thomas Gresham (1518/19-1579). Councillor of State, founder of the British stock exchange, and endower of a college that served as the nucleus of the Royal Society and persisted into the twentieth entury, Gresham proposed a principle of economics that had been epitomized as: 'Bad money drives out good money.' That is, silver currency will inevitably force gold currency out of circulation. The principle applies more generally to governments, trades, and professions. In a parliamentary system of government, the actions of one corrupt delegate can provoke a vote of 'no confidence' that will produce new elections. Gresham's Law suggests why professional corporations are concerned about enforcing standards. If isolated unscrupulous practices shake confidence in, for example stock brokerage, physical therapy, or dental surgery, people will cease patronizing the enterprise. In the world of scholarship, outrageous or demonstrably false assertions can bring an entire specialty into disrepute. Gresham's Law has found an application in the history of science through the claims of postmodern writers."

  • "Astronomy: The Evolving Universe",
    Michael Zelik, 8th edition, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1997.
  • "The Selfish Gene",
    Richard Dawkins, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, (October 1989) ISBN: 0192860925
  • "Climbing Mount Improbable",
    Richard Dawkins, Penguin Books, (February 1997) ISBN: 0140179186
  • "Practical Protein Crystallography",
    Duncan E. McRee, Academic Press, Inc., 1993, ISBN 0-12-486050-8
  • "Stalingrad The Fateful Siege: 1942 - 1943",
    Anthony Beevor, 1998, Penguin Books, ISBN 0 14 02.8485 3
    A song on the tank producing Ural production lines (pg 224):
    "For the death of enemies
    For the joy of friends
    There is no better machine
    Than the T-34!"

    page 172: "The constant risk of being killed at any moment made them careless of commissars and Special Department informers. With their trenches so close to the Germans, there seemed little difference between an enemy bullet and that final ration from the Soviet state, the NKVD's 'nine grams of lead'"

    page 193: "Commissars clearly felt an urge to become poetic. 'Those of use who have seen the dark sky of Stalingrad in these days', Doronin wrote to Shcherbakov in Moscow, 'will never forget it. It is theatening and severe, with purple flames licking the sky.'"

    Civilian logic of Italian troops on the Russian/Stalingrad front (pg 183): "Understanding did little to change the Italians' manifest lack of enthusiasm for the war. A sergeant, when asked by a Soviet interpreter why his battalion surrendered without firing a shot, replied with sound civilian logic: 'We did not fire back because we thought it would be a mistake.'"

  • "Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds", By Charles MacKay (Published 1841)

    • Vol I: Popular Follies in Great Cities: (1830 - 1840's London) - Manic Dancing Crazes, Buzzwords, etc

      "Such are a few of the peculiarities of the London multitude, when no riot, no execution, no murder, no balloon, disturbs the even current of their thoughts. These are the whimseys of the mass - the harmless follies by which they unconsciously endeavour to lighten the load of care which presses upon their existence. The wise man, even though he smile at them, will not altogether withhold his sympathy, and will say, "Let them enjoy their slang phrases and their choruses if they will; and if they cannot be happy, at least let them be merry.""

    • Vol I: The Mississippi Scheme- stock speculation in early 1700's France

      "It was sufficient for an informer to say that he suspected any person of concealing money in his house, and immediately a search-warrant was granted. Lord Stair, the English ambassador, said, that it was now impossible to doubt of the sincerity of Law's conversion to the Catholic religion; he had established the inquisition, after having given abundant evidence of his faith in transubstantiation, by turning so much gold into paper.
      "The Parliament was sitting at the time of this uproar, and the President took upon himself to go out and see what was the matter. On his return he informed the councillors, that Law's carriage had been broken by the mob. All the members rose simultaneously, and expressed their joy by a loud shout, while one man, more zealous in his hatred than the rest, exclaimed, "And Law himself, is he torn to pieces ?" [The Duchess of Orleans gives a different version of this story; but whichever be the true one, the manifestation of such feeling in a legislative assembly was not very creditable. She says, that the President was so transported with joy, that he was seized with a rhyming fit, and, returning into the hall, exclaimed to the members :-- "Messieurs ! Messieurs ! bonne nouvelle ! Le carfosse de Lass est reduit en canelle !""

    • Vol I: The Tulipomania (Holland, 1630's)

Click Here for An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States" by Charles A. Beard (First Published 1913)

  • "The Consolations of Philosophy" by Alain De Botton (published 2000, ISBN 0-241-14011-0)
    • On Socrates (pg 31): "Courage is intelligent endurance".

    • Death of Socrates (pg 38): ""What a way to behave my strange friends!" he mocked - then stood up and walker around the prison so the poison could take effect. When his legs began to feel heavy, he lay down on his back and the sensation left his feet and legs; as the poison moved updwards and reached his chest, he gradually lost consciousness. His breathing became slow. Once he saw that his best friend's eyes had grown fixed, Crito reached over and closed them: "And that [said Phaedo] . . was the end of our companion, who was, we can fairly say, of all those of his time whom we knew, the bravest and also the wisest and most upright man."".

    • Sayings of Epicurus (pg 57): "Before you eat or drink anything, consider carefully who you eat or drink with rather than what you eat or drink: for feeding without a friend is the life of a lion or a wolf".

    • Sayings of Epicurus (pg 59): "There is nothing dreadful in life for the man who has truely compreheded that there is nothing teriible in not living".

    • Giogenes of Oinoanada (pg 67): Having already reached the sunset of my life (being almost on the verge of departure from the world on account of old at), I wanted, before being overtaken by death, to compose a fine anthem to celebrate the fullness of pleasure and so to help now those who are well-constituted. Now, in only one person, or two or three or four or five or six . . . were in a bad predicament, I should address them individually . . . but as the majority of people suffer from a common disease, a plague, with their false notions about things, and as their number is increasing (for in mutual emulation they catch the disease from each other, like sheep) . . I wish to use this stoa to advertise publicly medicines that bring salvations".

    • Death of Seneca (pg 77): "But Seneca's desire to follow the Athenian was in vain. He drank the hemlock but it had no effect. After two fruitless attempts, he finally asked to be placed in a vapour-bath, where he suffocated to death slowly, in torment but with equanimity, undisturbed by the disturbances of Fortune".

    • Fortune (pg 87): "She was to be found on the back of many Roman coins, holding a cornucopia in one hand and a rudder in the other. She was beautiful and usually wore a light tunic and a coy smile. Her name was Fortune. She had originated as a fertility goddess, the firstborn of Jupiter, and was honoured with a festival on the 25th of May and with temples throughout Italy, visited by the barren and farmers in search of rain. But gradually her remit had widened, she had become associated with money, advancement, love and health. The cornucopia was a symbol of her power to bestow favours, the rudder a symbol of here more sinister power to change destinies. She could scatter gifts, then with terrifying speed shift the rudder's course, maintaining an imperturbable smile as she watched us choke to death on a fishbone or disappear in a landslide

      Becuase we are injured most by what we do not expect, and because we must expect everything ("There is nothing which Fortune does not dares"), we must, proposed Seneca, hold the possibility of disaster in mind at all times."

    • Part of a letter from Seneca (pg 90): "the question at issue between us [is[ whether grief ought to be deep or never-ending"

    • Part of a letter from Seneca (pg 90): "No promise has been given you for this night - no, I have suggested too long a respite - no promise has been given even for this hour.

    • About the goddess of Fortune (pg 94): "His death was, in Seneca's image, the work of Fortune, and the goddess was no moral judge. She did not evaluate her victims like the god of Deuteronomy and reward them according to merit. She inflicted harm with the moral blindness of a hurricane."

    • Quote attributed to Seneca (pg 95): "I do not allow [Furtune] to pass sentence upon myself"

    • Quote attributed to Seneca (pg 98): "I will despise whatever lies in the domain of Fortune, but if a choice is offered, I will choose the better half."

    • Quote in a letter of Seneca's attributed to the philospher Hecato (pg 103): "I shall tell you what I liked today in [his writings]; it is these words: 'What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.' That was indeed a great benefit; . . you may be sure that such a man is a friend to all mankind."

    • Quote attributed to Seneca (pg 107): "When a dog is tied to a cart, if it wants to follow, it is pulled and follows, making its spontanious act coincide with necessity. But if the dog does not follow, it will be compelled in any case. So it is with men too: even if they don't want to, they will be compelled to follow what is destined."

    • Quote attributed to Seneca (pg 108): "When Zeno received news of a shipwreck and heard that ll his luggage had been sunk, he said, "Fortune bids me to be a less encumbered philosopher.""

  • Quote attributed to Seneca (pg 112): "What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears."

  • Seneca Quote pages:

  • George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950):
    • "Am reserving two ticket for you for my premiere. Come and bring a friend-- if you have one. [Telegram inviting Winston Churchill to opening night of Pygmalion. Churchill wired back, "Impossible to be present for the first performance. Will attend the second--if there is one."]"
    • "All great truths begin as blasphemies"
    • "A government with the policy to rob Peter to pay Paul can be assured of the support of Paul."
    • "Hell is full of musical amateurs."
    • "The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity"
    • "When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."


Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, by Robert Chambers, first published 1844, anonymously

(Only in 1884 (long after Chambers' death) with the publication of the 12th edition, was it revealed that Vestiges was written by Robert Chambers.)
  • At
  • At

  • Sequel to Vestiges: Explanations

  • "This page leads to the complete first edition of Robert Chambers' (1802-71) anonymous Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844). Chambers was a prolific publisher-author of Edinburgh. His circle of friends included the Combes, Robert Cox, (Combe's nephew and one-time editor of the Phrenological Journal), the journalist Alexander Ireland, and the Glasgow professor of astronomy J.P. Nichol. Chambers initially intended his book to be a "philosophy of phrenology". Vestiges draws heavily on the naturalistic rhetoric and especially the doctrine of the natural laws of Combe's Constitution. Vestiges took the phrenological doctrine of natural laws and brought it to cultural territory it might not otherwise have reached. Vestiges is now usually remembered for the controversy it initiated over transmutation (evolution). Charles Darwin later remarked that Vestiges was important in preparing many people to accept his own theory of evolution. Reading the book in a post-Darwinian world often leads to the skewed representation of Vestiges as a flawed precursor of Darwin's Origin of Species (1859). However, during the 1840s and 1850s Vestiges was the only 'evolution' book readers in the English speaking world were familiar with. Although much of the critical invective directed against the book focused on the issue of speciation- readers of Vestiges found a grand tale of the "development" or progress of nature from swirling clouds of interstellar gas, to the geological ages of the Earth, to the increasing complexity of organic forms and the improvement of man. The "development" narrative of Vestiges is one modern readers may find quite familiar- but it was just this that was so odious - so shocking- to many Victorian readers. Only in 1884 (long after Chambers' death) with the publication of the 12th edition, was it revealed that Vestiges was written by Robert Chambers."


Thomas Paine

Thomas Jefferson

  • Legal Quotations on Common Law at Lex Scripta -
  • "The Laws of England may aptly enough be divided into two Kinds, viz. Lex Scripta, the written Law: and Lex non Scripta, the unwritten Law: For although (as shall be shewn hereafter) all the Laws of this Kingdom have some Monuments or Memorials thereof in Writing, yet all of them have not their Original in Writing; for some of those Laws have obtain'd their Force by immemorial Usage or Custom, and such Laws are properly call'd Leges non Scriptæ, or unwritten Laws or Customs." Sir Matthew Hale, 1609-1676 The History of the Common Law of England, 1713

  • "The municipal law of England, or the rule of civil conduct prescribed to the inhabitants of this kingdom, may with sufficient propriety be divided into two kinds; the lex non scripta, the unwritten or common law; and the lex scripta, the written or statute law." Sir William Blackstone, 1723-1780 Vinerian Professor of Law at the University of Oxford, subsequently a Justice of the Court of King's Bench, and a Justice of the Court of Common Pleas Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765-1770 Volume I, Introduction, §3

  • Poe Perplex-
  • Works of Edgar Allan Poe -
  • Historical Literature from Internet Infidels -
  • Modern Literature from Internet Infidels -
  • Andrew Dickson White (co founder with Ezra Cornell of Cornell University) - "The Warfare Of Science With Theology" (1896) -
  • Mark Twain Works -
  • Mark Twain Forum -
  • Mark Twain - Jim Zwick Site -

  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

  • John Wilmot second Earl of Rochester (1 April 1647 - 26 July 1680) -

  • John Lyly (1554-1606) - Works including Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit (1578)
    "I thank you for nothing, because I understand nothing"
    The sun shineth upon the dunghill, and is not corrupted.
    Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit (1579)
    Far more seemly to have thy study full of books, 
      than thy purse full of money.
    Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit (1579)
  • Thomas Nashe (1567-1601) -
  • Thomas Nashe (1567-1601) - Pierce Penilesse, His Supplication to the Divell -
  • Quotes from the works of Thomas Nashe (1567-1601) -
    • (c1592?) The Choise of Valentines 
      Apparently dedicated to Lord Strange, the cultivated and affable young
      nobleman whose patronage Nashe seems to have been anxious to attract
      c.1592. A bathetic account of an unsatisfactory coupling in a brothel,
      this is one valentine poem that's definitely not for romantics.
      Three hundred odd lines of salty pornography, this poem was known for
      centuries by its alternative title of 'Nashe's Dildo'. 
      Christs Teares Over Ierusalem:
      Apparently a repentance pamphlet, written in a plague year (though there
      must be hidden political satire, because the London authorities jailed
      Nashe over this). This was the only openly religious piece Nashe ever
      wrote. Even so, he found space for this savage sketch of the
      fundamentalist preacher - loud, in love with his own voice, ignorant and
      bloody annoying.
  • M. D. Aletheia - "The Rationalist's Manual" (1897) -
  • Joseph Lewis - [1889 - 1968] -
  • Bertrand Russell Society
  • Bertrand Russell Archive

    Letter to the New York Times by Bertrand Russell (April 26th 1940) : Extract from Appendix: "How Bertrand Russell was Prevented from Teaching at the College of the City of New York", Why I am not a Christian and other essays on religion and related subjects - Bertrand Russell; Edited by Paul Edwards. reprinted 1996, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-07918-7, Pages 195 to 196

    The main indignation of the liberal newspaper was reserved neither for the judge who had abused his position nor for the mayor whose cowardly conduct I shall describe in a moment but for the victim of the malicious assault, Bertrand Russell. Mr Russell himself, the Times stated, 'should have had the wisdom to withdraw from the appointment as soon as its harmful results became evident.' To this Russell replied in a letter published on April 26:

    'I hope you will allow me to comment on your references to the controversy originating in my appointment to the College of the City of New York, and particularly on your judgement that I "should have had the wisdom to withdraw . . . as soon as the harmful results became evident."

    'In one sense this would have been the wisest course; it would certainly have been more prudent as far as my personal interests are concerned, and a great deal pleasanter. If I had considered only my own interests and inclinations I should have retired at once. But however wise such action might have been from a personal point of view, it would also, in my judgement, have been cowardly and selfish. A great many people who realise that their own interests and the principles of toleration and free speech were at stake were anxious from the first to continue the controversy. If I had retired I should have robbed them of their casus belli and tacitly assented to the proposition of opposition that substantial groups shall be allowed to drive out of public office individuals whose opinions, race or nationality they find repugnant. This to me would appear immoral.

    'It was my grandfather who brought about the repeal of the English Test and Corporation Acts, which barred from public office anyone not a member of the Church of England, of which he himself was a member, and one of my earliest and most important memories is of a deputation of Methodists and Wesleyans coming to cheer outside his window on the 50th anniversary of this repeal, although the largest single group affected was Catholic.

    'I do not believe that controversy is harmful on general grounds. It is not controvery and open differences taht endanger democracy. On the contrary, these are its greatest safeguards. It is an essential part of democracy that substantial groups, even majorities, should extend toleration to dissentient groups, however small and however much their sentiments may be outraged.

    'In a democracy it is necessary that people should learn to endure having their sentiments outraged. . . '

Click Here for Karl Popper Links and Books

Click Here for Richard Dawkins Links and Resources

John William Draper

History of the Conflict between Religion and Science - originally publisehd in 1974
  • History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science By John William Draper, M.D., LL.D. (Late Professor in the University of New York Author of a Treatise on Human Physiology )-

  • History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science By John William Draper, M.D., LL.D. (Late Professor in the University of New York Author of a Treatise on Human Physiology )-

    "In speaking of Christianity, reference is generally made to the Roman Church, partly because its adherents compose the majority of Christendom, partly because its demands are the most pretentious, and partly because it has commonly sought to enforce those demands by the civil power. None of the Protestant Churches has ever occupied a position so imperious -- none has ever had such wide-spread political influence. For the most part they have been averse to constraint, and except in very few instances their opposition has not passed beyond the exciting of theological odium.

    As to Science, she has never sought to ally herself to civil power. She has never attempted to throw odium or inflict social ruin on any human being. She has never subjected any one to mental torment, physical torture, least of all to death, for the purpose of upholding or promoting her ideas. She presents herself unstained by cruelties and crimes. But in the Vatican -- we have only to recall the Inquisition -- the hands that are now raised in appeals to the Most Merciful are crimsoned. They have been steeped in blood!"

  • Great Historical Writings -

  • Jolly Roger Great Historical Writings -

Quotes about the book:

Henry D. Thoreau

  • The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau -

  • Reflections on Walden (Henry D. Thoreau) -

  • Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862 -

  • Works of Henry David Thoreau -

  • Biographies Henry David Thoreau -

  • Civil Disobedience: 1849 (Sometimes known as On Civil Disobedience or On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. Original title: Resistance to Civil Government.) -

  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau -
    • "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things."

    • Be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought. (Walden, p. 321)

    • If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. (Walden, p. 326)

    • I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. (Walden, p. 135)

    • The man who goes alone can start to-day; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready. (Walden, p. 72)

    • For more than five years I maintained myself thus solely by the labor of my hands, and I found, that by working about six weeks in a year, I could meet all the expenses of living. The whole of my winters, as well as most of my summers, I had free and clear for study. (Walden, p. 69)

    • It is not necessary that a man should earn his living by the sweat of his brow, unless he sweats easier than I do. (Walden, p. 71)

  • Henry David Thoreau Quotes -
    • It is never too late to give up your prejudices. Walden
    • Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Walden
    • Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. Walden
    • Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.
    • Things do not change; we change. Journal
    • We do not enjoy poetry unless we know it to be poetry.
    • Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.
    • All this worldly wisdom was once the amiable heresy of some wise man. Journal
    • Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. Civil Disobedience
    • Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
    • Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.
    • I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.
    • Wherever a man goes, men will pursue him and paw him with their dirty institutions, and, if they can, constrain him to belong to their desperate oddfellow society.
    • It is not worthwhile to go around the world to count the cats in Zanzibar.

  • mutual admiration society -

    • "A relationship in which two people have strong feelings of esteem for each other and often exchange lavish compliments. The term may signify either genuine or pretended admiration, as in Each of them praised the other's book - it was a real mutual admiration society. The expression was invented by Henry David Thoreau in his journal (1851) and repeated by Oliver Wendell Holmes and others.

      The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer © 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust"

Ambrose Bierce

Ludwig von Mises

Getting the "goss" on Mises

Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2001 17:58:58 +1100 (EST)
Subject: Mises

I found a reference to the economics of Ludwig von Mises in Galbraith's "A
History of Economics". Galbraith classifies von Mises as a economist of the
extreme classical school, i.e. one who believes that the economy should be
determined solely by the operation of market forces.  He (Galbraith) listed
a some of quirks of Mises position:

1. Mises regarded the probable formation of monopolies under a totally free
market as being as largely irrelevant, and did not justify the evil of
government intervention. (No Competition Corporations!)

2. Mises, the most ruthless of purists, even took occasion to condemn
intervention with the drug traffic, as an unwarranted interference with
market forces and the associated freedom of the individual.

3. Mises is said, possibly apocryphically, to have suggested that all
national navies should be privatised.

He (von Mises) was an economist of the extreme Austrian School, which
includes such figures as Frederich A. von Hayek and Joseph Schumpeter.

An interesting character?



Click Here for Karl Popper Links and Books

William Edward Hartpole Lecky


  • The work of William Edward Hartpole Lecky (Irish historian who wrote Rationalism in Europe (1865) and Democracy and Liberty (1896) ) -

  • Positive Atheism's Big List of Quotations Historian and Freethinker W. E. H. Lecky -

  • History of Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe William Edward Hartpole Lecky 1879 -

    • "Chapter II: On the Declining Sense of the Miraculous: The Miracles of the Church

      4." It is often and truly said, that past ages were pre-eminently credulous, as compared with our own; yet the difference is not so much in the amount of the credulity, as in the direction which it takes. Men are always prepared to accept, on very slight evidence, what they believe to be exceedingly probable. Their measure of probability ultimately determines the details of their creed, and it is itself perpetually changing under the influence of civilisation. In the middle ages, and in the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century, the measure of probability was essentially theological. Men seemed to breathe an atmosphere that was entirely unsecular. Their intellectual and imaginative conceptions were all coloured by theological associations; and they accepted with cheerful alacrity any anecdote which harmonised with their habitual meditation"

      "A layman named Reginald Scott published, in 1584, his Discovery of Witchcraft, in which he unmasked the imposture and the delusion of the system with a boldness that no previous writer had approached, and with an ability which few subsequent writers have equalled. Keenly, eloquently, and unflinchingly, he exposed the atrocious torments by which confessions were extorted, the laxity and injustice of the manner in which evidence was collected, the egregious absurdities that filled. the writings of the inquisitors, the juggling tricks that were ascribed to the Devil, and the childish folly of the magical charms. He also availed himself in a very dexterous manner of the strong Protestant feeling, in order to discredit statements that emanated from the Inquisition. If the question was to be determined by argument, if it depended simply or mainly upon the ability or learning of the controversialists, the treatise of Scott would have had a powerful effect; for it was by far the ablest attack on the prevailing superstition that had ever appeared, and it was written in the most popular style. As a matter of fact it exercised no appreciable influence. Witchcraft depended upon general causes, and represented the prevailing modes of religious thought. It was therefore entirely unaffected by the attempted refutation, and when James I. mounted the throne, he found the nation perfectly prepared to second him in his zeal against the witches."

"DISCOVERY OF WITCHCRAFT" (1584) - Reginald Scott

  • Reaction To "THE DISCOVERY OF WITCHCRAFT" By Stephen Forrester - (refutation to "MALLEUS MALEFICARUM") -

    In his "DISCOVERY OF WITCHCRAFT"(1584), Scot refuted the opinions in Jacobus Sprenger's "MALLEUS MALEFICARUM" (1494) and Jean Bodin's "DEMONOMANIE DES SORCIERS" (1580) but supported Cornetius Agrippa's "DE OCCULTA PHILOSOPHIA" (1533) and John Wier's "DE PRAESTIGIIS DEMONUM" (1563) and also quoted extensively from Giovanni Battista della Porta's "MAGIAE NATURALIS" (1561). The "MALLEUS" served as a guide to witch-hunters and judges in the matters of identifying, prosecuting and executing witches. While the "DEMONUM" opposed the burning of witches and maintained they were helpless victims.


    "Thomas Ady was Scot's earliest disciple and in the first section of his "A PERFECT DISCOVERY OF WITCHES" (1661); entitled 'The Reason Of The Book' on page A3, he says:
    "Mr. Scot published a Book, called his Discovery of Witchcraft, in the beginning of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, for the instruction of all Judges, and Justices of those times; which Book did for a time take great impression in the Magistracy, and also in the Clergy, but since that time England hath shamefully fallen from the Truth which they began to receive; wherefore here is again a necessary and iliustrious discourse for the Magistracy, and other People of this Age, where I intreat all to take notice, that many do falsely report of Mr. Scot, that he held an Opinion, that Witches are not, for it was neither his Tenent, neither is it mine; but that Witches are not such as are commonly executed for Witches.""

  • The Story Of Religious Controversy Chapter XXII by Joseph McCabe -

    "At the same time an English squire of some learning, Reginald Scott, wrote a "Discoverie of Witchcraft" (1584) in which he denied the whole of the alleged phenomena. King James and various Anglican scholars replied to the book, and it is not paradoxical to say, while doing all honor to the critics, that the orthodox writers were right. Witchcraft, we have now seen, was, when it was quite sincere, a religion in deadly hostility to Christianity. When it was not deeply religious, it was a revolt against the Christian ethic."

  • George GIFFORD (GIFFARD) / Philippa TRAPPES -

    "Scott made his will on 15 Sept. and died on 9 Oct. 1599, probably being buried at Brabourne. The will was proved on 22 Nov. Apart from small bequests to his only grandchild, to his cousin Sir John Scott, and one or two other minor legacies, his household goods, lands and leases went to his second wife, Alice, whom he had married late in life. The uncertainty of the will on one point led to a lawsuit between his widow, the executrix, and his daughter (and only child) by his first marriage. Scott was the author of the Discovery of Witchcraft, an attempt to enlist ‘Christian compassion’ towards those accused of witchcraft. James I ordered it to be burned, but the book, published in Holland in 1609, had a great vogue on the Continent. Pepys' Diary for 12 Aug. 1667 has the entry ‘... to my booksellers, there and did buy Scott's discourse of Witches’. "

  • Banned books: Reginald Scott; "A Discovery of Witchcraft" -

      • Artist/Author/Producer: Reginald Scott (c.1538-1599)

      • Confronting Bodies: King James I

      • Dates of action: 1584

      • Location: England

      Description of the Art Work

      "A Discovery of Witchcraft" was written in 1584.

      Description of incident

      1584 England-London: The author held that the prosecution of those accused of witchcraft was contrary to the dictates of reason as well as of religion, and he placed the responsibility at the door of the Roman Church.

      Results of incident

      1584, England-London: all obtainable copies were burned on the accession of James I in 1603 and those remaining are now rare. 1586: A decree of the Star Chamber greatly tightened the censorship laws.

      Source: Banned Books 387 B.C. to 1978 A.D., by Anne Lyon Haight, and Chandler B. Grannis, R.R. Bowker Co, 1978. 154

Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001 15:20:15 +0000
To: "L. Cranswick" []
Subject: Re: A few literature lins and extracts

  very quick hello since totally knackered.

I have some small interest in the witch cult. Have I mentioned before that
there is good evidence that Shakespeare was familiar with it?

"That Scottish Play" (never mentioned by name in the theatriical tradition
(ie "Macbeth") also expressly written as sop to King James and his highland
belief in bogeys. BUT contains genuine knowledge of withcraft as practised
in England, for example pricking of fingers and thumbs with needles.

"By the pricking of my thumbs, something evil this way comes..."

Another pagan poet - possibly most poets are pagans?? - "Poetry is my
religion and you are its only tenet"... Lovely.

Also a Bishop of Dublin(?) sometime, words to the effect "I'd rather roast
in hell than hear the sound of an axe in a sacred grove..." !!

Also Milton interesting case... "He was of the Devil's party without really
knowing it" (Blake on Milton) - or something like that. And very true.
Virtues of paganism extolled in "Comus" - Milton couldn't help himself -
wonderful poetry... 

"Let us to the rites begin.. 'tis only daylight that makes sin..."

This from the author of paradise lost!

Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001 15:34:55 +0000
To: "L. Cranswick" []
Subject: we that are of purer fire...

   a favourite passage from Comus. Hope you like it. 


Nice website with what must be a much later illustration by Blake.



Comus enters with a Charming Rod in one hand,
 his Glass in the other, with him a rout of Mon-
 sters headed like sundry sorts of wilde Beasts,
 but otherwise like Men and Women, their Ap-
 parel glistring, they com in making a riotous 
 and unruly noise, with Torches in their hands. 

   Comus: The Star that bids the Shepherd fold,

Now the top of Heav'n doth hold,

And the gilded Car of Day,

His glowing Axle doth allay

In the steep Atlantick stream,

And the slope Sun his upward beam

Shoots against the dusky Pole,

Pacing toward the other gole

Of his Chamber in the East.

Meanwhile welcom Joy, and Feast,

Midnight shout, and revelry,

Tipsie dance and Jollity.

Braid your Locks with rosie Twine

Dropping odours, dropping Wine.

Rigor now is gon to bed,

And Advice with scrupulous head,

Strict Age, and sowre Severity,

With their grave Saws in slumber ly.

We that are of purer fire

Imitate the Starry Quire,

Who in their nightly watchfull Sphears,

Lead in swift round the Months and Years.

The Sounds, and Seas with all their finny drove

Now to the Moon in wavering Morrice move,

And on the Tawny Sands and Shelves,

Trip the pert Fairies and the dapper Elves;

By dimpled Brook, and Fountain brim,

The Wood-Nymphs deckt with Daisies trim,

Their merry wakes and pastimes keep:

What hath night to do with sleep?

Night hath better sweets to prove,

Venus now wakes, and wak'ns Love.

Com let us our rights begin,

Tis onely day-light that makes Sin...

Robert Ingersoll

  • Collection of the works of Robert Ingersoll available on CD-ROM at the Bank of Wisdom Site -
  • Robert Green Ingersoll
    • Robert Green Ingersoll - The Gods (1872)
      None of these gods could give a true account of the 
      creation of this little earth. All were woefully
      deficient in geology and astronomy. As a rule, they were most
      miserable legislators, and as executives, they were far 
      inferior to the average of American presidents.

JH. L. Mencken

Joseph Lewis

Joseph McCabe

Christ on Trial - How the Gospel Unsettles Our Judgement - by Rowan Williams

  • Page 3:

    Or, to pick up a more serious echo, they are like Kafka's terrible and prophetic fantasies in The Trial. The process does not make sense - perhaps it is not meant to. Kafka's hero, Joseph K., is arrested without knowing what the charge is; he is unable to discover what he is accused of, despite increasingly desparate efforst; he infringes unknown procedural rules; his protests turn against him; at last, parthetically and apparently arbitrarily, he is knifed in a disused quarry. The real terror of this story is the growing certainty that no sense can be made of what is happening. As Kafka himself said, it is as if we know we are guilty, but not what we are guilty of. We are going to die, but we are denied the satisfaction of knowing why.

  • Page 13:

    In H.F.M. Prescott's fiction about the English Reformation, The Man on a Donkey, events move towards at nightmare conclusion - betrayal, despair, sheer pain of mind and body - as the northern rebellion of Robert Aske dissolves in humiliating failure and the specific human consequences work themselves out. The sharp, worldly Prioress of Marrick, Christabel Cowper, finds herself defeated in her passionate struggle to save her convent, and is confronted by an elderly nun at the house she is staying at in London, who tries to explain to her that the coming disaster may be a sign of God's judgement, so that the monks and nuns may rediscover who he truly is.

    The Prioress of Marrick stared to hear this gentle creature turn upon her. She was even a little impressed; not very much, but enough to make her argue the point.
    'But though He bless,' she said, 'what then?'
    'What then?'
    'If we - if you shall have lost all, and are turned out and the House fall . . ? Then it will be too late.'
    'Too late for what?'
    The Prioress of Marrick, thinking in terms of a bargain between buyer and seller, found herself unwilling to use the first words that came to her tongue, 'Too late for payment.'

    Christabel cannot hear what the old sister's midnight voice is saying: that the religious life is no bargain, no economic contract assuring reward; that the threat and terror of the Dissolution is somehow built into the practice of life itself. Worse is to come. Aske, the leader of the rebellion, has been betrayed by his friends, the king has ignored promises of safe conduct, and he is hanged in chains in York. Dying in extreme agony of mind and body, there are his thoughts:

    God did not now, nor would in any furthest future, prevail. One He had come, and died. If He came again, again He would die, and again, and so for ever, by His own will rendered powerless against the free and evil wills of men . . . But yet, though God was not God, as the head of the dumb worm turns, so his spirit turned, blindly, gropingly, hopelessly loyal, towards the good, that holy, that merciful, which though not God, though vanquished, was still the last dear love of a vanquished and tortured man.

  • Page 97:

    In some ways the most poignant narratives are those which dryly record the bare details of a trial and the fact of an execution. In AD 180, 12 North African Christians were examined at Carthage by the proconsul Saturninus. Their names suggest that they were slaves, of native background. The account of their trial gives only the barest details - no drama, no miracles, not even a description of their deaths; simply the dialogue between the proconsul and Speratus, evidently the leader of the little group. The proconsul is civilized and humane: there is no problem about securing the indulgence of the Emperor if the accused will pull themselves together and go through the motions of civiv piety, taking an otah by the genius, the divine power, of the Emperor. He gently explains to Speratus that he, and proconsul, and other good citizens are pious people too, and their relgio is as simple as could be; all that is needed to count as a good and religious person is the oath by the Emperor's genius and prayer for his wellbeing. What can conceivably be the problem?

    You can hear in the dialogue the patience of the educated man trying to make things easy for the uneducated: look, this is easy; look, we are really concerned about the same things. Do you want an adjournment to think about it? Up to 30 days? Don't be silly, it can all be very simple and painless, and no one will think any the worse of you. The replies come back, from Speratus and the others: they have committed no crime; they pay taxes; they pray for the Emperor's wellbeing - but what they do, they do because of a commandment from a source other than the government. They are Christians. When they are offered chance to take a month to think about it, they simply repeat the statement: we are Christians. There is nothing more to be said, nothing more to reflect on; their social loyalty is anchored somewhere else. So the end comes: 'Saturnius the proconsul read out the sentence from his tablet: Speratus, Nartzalus, Cittinus, Donata, Vestia, Secunda and the rest have admitted that they live according to the usage of the Christians. Since they have obsintately persevered even when offered the change of returning to Roman custom, the sentence is that they should be beheaded.'

  • Page 6:

    Throughout the Gospel, Jesus holds back from revealing who he is because, it seems, he cannot believe that there are words that will tell the truth about him in the mouths of others. What will be said of him is bound to be untrue - that he is master of all circumstances; that he can heal where he wills; that he is the expected trumphant deliverer, the Anointed. In Anita Mason's novel The Illusionist, this is hauntingly express in the reworking of the scene of Peter's confession, where Jesus, in response to what Peter says, replies, 'You have said something that never had been said, and there will be a heavy price to pay . . . There is a kind of truth which, when it is said, becomes untrue.'

    Remember, the world Mark depicts is not a reasonable one; it is full of demons and suffering and abused power. how, in such a world, could there be a language in which it could truly be said who Jesus is? Whatever is said will take on the colouring of the world's insanity; it will be another bid for the world's ower, another identification with the anaccountable tyrannies that decide how things shall be. Jesus, described in the words of this world, would be a competitor for space in it, part of its untruth.

The Trials of Oscar Wilde by. H Montgomery Hyde

  • From The Second Trial - page 157:

    Before his committal for trial on 19 April, Wilde was twice remanded in custody, since Charles Gill, who appeared for the prosecution, required three hearings before asking for a committal. On each occasion Wilde's defending counsel Travers Humphreys applied for bail, saying that sureties could be offered to any amount and pointing out that the prisoner had made no attempt to get away, although he knew for many hours prior to his arrest that a warrant might be issued. 'You can understand,' urged Travers Humphreys on the third occasion, 'that there are witnesses to be obtained for the defence, and it is very difficult for Mr Wilde to communicate with persons and prepare his defence unless he is to have the facilities of a man at liberty.' But the magistrate persisted in his refusal both in respect of Wilde and also of Alfred Taylor, who had also been arrested. 'In deciding what to do with a case of this kind,' declared Sir John Bridge from the Bench, 'I have to use my discretion according - in the words of a great judge - to the evidence given and the gravity of the accusation. With regard to the gravity of the case, I think there is no worse crime than that with which the prisoners are charged. As to the evidence, all 1 shall say is that I do not think it slight, and I shall therefore refuse bail.'

    In the first part of this declaration the magistrate seems to have allowed his sense of righteous indignation to get the better of him, since he momentarily overlooked the fact that murder, rape and a good many other oitences are unquestionably more serious than the misdemeanours with which Wilde and his fellow prisoner were charged. So far as the evidence went, however, the magistrate was on surer ground. The blackmailer Wood, the youth Charles Parker, and the bookmaker's tout Fred Atkins, all deposed to have been introduced to Wilde for immoral purposes, and each swore that misconduct had taken place between himself and Wilde at various times and in various places. Their statements were corroborated generally by two witnesses, a masseur and a . . .

  • From The Second Trial - page 162:

    On 13 April W. E. Henly, edito of the National Observer, wrote to another journalist, Charles Whibley, in characteristic language:

    Yes: Oscar at bay was on the whole a pleasing sight. The air is alive with rumours of course: but I believe no new arrests will be made, and that morality will be satisfied if Oscar gets two years: as, of course, he will. Why he didn't stay at Monte Carlo, once he got there, God alone knows. Seeing that . . . he returned to face the music, and play the roman fool to Caesar's Destiny, I can only conjecture that, what between personal and professional vanity, he was stark mad. Be that as it may, he is mad no more. Holloway and Bow Street have taken his hair out of curl in more senses than one. And I am pretty sure that he is having a damn bad time.

  • From Appendix D. Lord Alfred Douglas and the Aftermath of the Wilde Trials - page 339:

    W. T. Stead, destined eventually to lose his life in the "Titanic" disaster, was one of the most courageous and out-spoken Radical journalists of the period, as well as a tireless antagonist of social abuses with a strong Nonconformist conscience. Strangely enough, it was Stead more than anyone else who was responsible for the passing of the Criminal Law Amendment Act in 1885, although not for the specific section of it under which Wilde was charged. This statute was entitled "An Act to make further provision for the Protection of Women and Girls, the suppression of brothels and other purposes," and it was the culminating point in the campaign against prostitution and white slavery in England which Stead had been carrying on for some time in the pages of the Pall Mall Gazette. When the Bill was being debated in the committee stage in the House of Commons, Henry Labouchere, the well-known Radical M.P. and editor of Truth, moved an amendment designed to cover indecent practices between males or "outrages on decency" whether committed in public or in private, although this was never within the original scope and purpose of the Bill. After some discussion, and the increase of the maximum punishment of one year's imprisonment with hard labour, as proposed by Labouchere, to two years, the amendment was carried and subsequently incorporated as Section II of the Act.

    Unfortunately for himself, Stead's zeal in the social purity campaign outran his discretion. While the Criminal Law Amendment Bill was still before Parliament, he published a series of articles under the title of "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon" in the Pall Mall Gazette, which it is no exaggeration to say produced a world-wide sensation. Anxious to show how relatively simple a matter it was for anyone with £2o in his pocket to acquire a young girl for the purposes of prostitution or white slavery, Stead himself entered into an arrangement of this kind with a mother of a young girl, and although the girl was immediately handed over to the tender care of the Salvation Army and the police were informed, Stead was charged with abducting the girl, and on his conviction which followed he was sent to prison for three months. (Frederic Whyte, Lift of W. T. Stead, vol. I (1925), P. 185.)

    Stead continued his social work after his release, and having severed his connexion with the Pall Mall Gazette he proceeded to found a new journal which he called The Review of Reviews. It was in the editorial notes of this periodical, entitled "The Progress of the World," that in due course he came to comment on the Wilde case.


    " . . . The trial of Oscar Wilde and Taylor at the Old Bailey, resulting in their conviction and the infliction of what will probably be a capital sentence-for two years' hard labour in solitary confinement always breaks up the constitution even of tough and stalwart men-has forced upon the attention of the public the existence of a vice of which tli-e most of us happily know nothing. The heinousness of the crime of Oscar Wilde and his associates does not lie, as is usually supposed, in its being unnatural. It would be unnatural for seventy-nine out of eighty persons. It is natural for the abnormal person who is in a minority of one. If the promptings of our animal nature are to be the only guide, the punishment of Oscar Wilde would savour of persecution, and he might fairly claim our sympathy as the champion of individualism against the tyranny of an intolerant majority. But we are not merely animal. We are human beings living together in society, whose aim is to render social intercourse as free and as happy as possible. At present, fortunately, people of the same sex can travel together, and live together in close intimacy, without any one even dreaming of any scandal. Between persons of the same sex suspicion of impropriety or the thought of indecency has been so effectually banished that the mere suggestion of the possibility will seem to most an incredible absurdity. Between individuals of opposite sexes no such free unfettered communion of life is possible. That, however, is the goal towards which we ought to progress; and it would be a fatal blunder at the very moment when we are endeavouring to rid friendship between man and woman of the blighting shadow of possible wrong-doing, were we to acquiesce in the re-establishment of that upas shade over the relations between man and man and man and woman.

    The Sacrosanct Male. At the same time it is impossible to deny that the trial and the sentence bring into very clear relief the ridiculous disparity there is between the punishment meted out to those who corrupt girls and those who corrupt boys. If Oscar Wilde, instead of indulging in dirty tricks of indecent familiarity with boys and men, had ruined the lives of half a dozen innocent simpletons of girls, or had broken up the home of his friend by corrupting his friend's wife, no one could have laid a finger upon him. The male is sacrosanct: the female is fair game. To have burdened society with a dozen bastards, to have destroyed a happy home by his lawless lust-of these things the criminal law takes no account. But let him act indecently to a young rascal who is very well able to take care of himself, and who can by no possibility bring a child into the world as the result of his corruption, then judges can hardly contain themselves from indignation when inflicting the maximum sentence the law allows' Another contrast, almost as remarkable as that which sends Oscar Wilde to hard labour and places Sir Charles Dilke in the House of Commons, is that between the universal execration heaped upon Oscar Wilde and the tacit universal acquiescence of the very same public in the same kind of vice in our public schools. If all persons guilty of Oscar Wilde's offences were to be clapped into gaol, there would be a very surprising exodus from Eton and Harrow, Rugby and Winchester, to Pentonville and Holloway. It is to be hoped that our headmasters will pluck up a little courage from the result of the Wilde trial, and endeavour to rid our Protestant schools of a foul and unnatural vice which is not found in Catholic establishments, at all events in this country. But meanwhile public school boys are allowed to indulge with impunity in practices which, when they leave school, would consign them to hard labour."

  • Attacking the Devil - W.T. Stead Resource site (including articles on "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon" in the Pall Mall Gazette)

  • From Appendix E. The Prevalence of Male Homosexuality in England - page 349:

  • Page 349: "Although this was the most conspicuous prosecution of its kind which had taken place under the Criminal Law Amendment Act of i885, it must not be supposed from the evidence in Regina v. Wilde and Taylor that homosexual acts were any novelty in England at the time of the conviction of the two defendants in this case. For, as Marcus Aurelius has said, "who can change the desires of men?" Male homosexuality has certainly been prevalent in this country since the time of the Norman Conquest. (on this subject generally see Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, vol. II, part 2, Sexual Inversion (New York, 1936); Eugen Diihren (Ivan Bloch), Das Geschlechtsleben in England, vol. Ill (Berlin, 1903); Marc-Andri Raffalovich Uranisme et Unisexualite' (Paris and Lyon, i896), and works therein cited.) At least four English kings have been inverts, as also have been a number of distinguished soldiers, clergy, poets, peers of the realm, Members of Parliament and others prominent in one rank or another of English society. Further, the prevalence of homosexual conduct is attested by the fact that sodomy was regarded from early times as an ecclesiastical offence, although it did not become a felony and thus subject to ordinary criminal jurisdiction until the reign of Henry VIII."

  • Page 350: "Although the church took cognizance of the crime of sodomy, it does not appear to have been dealt with at all severely. There seems to have been a prevailing opinion that, if the church relinquished convicted offenders to the secular arm, they would be burned like sorcerers and witches. It is practically certain that they were not burned and that on the contrary they enjoyed comparative immunity until the passing of the Statute of 1533, which made the offence a felony and punishable capitally. It was only a few years previously that Henry VIII had decided upon the suppression of the monasteries, and it is probable that the act was occasioned by the unsatisfactory state of affairs revealed by some of the inhabitants of these institutions. The Act (25 Henry VIII, c. 6) was repealed in 1547 by Edward VI, along with other legislation passed in his father's time, but it was re-enacted in the following year, again repealed in 1553 and finally re-enacted in 1562 (5 Elizabeth, c. I7), when Parliament ordained that it was to be perpetual. It remained a capital offence until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the death penalty was abolished for this as for many other offences at the instigation of Sir Robert Peel, then Home Secretary."

  • Page 351: "Among the dramatists of the period must be included Christopher Marlowe, one of the most brilliant writers of the age, whose works as well as whose conduct betrayed his feelings. In his most powerful drama, Edward II, he deals with the relations between the King and his favourites. In 1593 Marlowe was accused, amongst other things, of having openly stated that "all thei that love not tobacco and boyes are fooles."' A warrant was issued by the Privy Council for his arrest, and it was only his sudden death immediately afterwards which prevented his execution. He was involved in a tavern brawl in Bedford and was fatally stabbed, according to a contemporary, "by a bawdy serving man a rival of his in his lewd love.""

  • Page 352: "As might be expected, the Restoration brought a considerable wave of homosexuality in its train. It was of the opinion of the diarist Pepys, for example, that the Court had hever been so bad as it was during the reign of Charles II for "the most abominable vices that ever were in the world.""

  • Page 353: "In spite of the severe penalties to which those practising it were liable, homosexuality continued to flourish in England in the eighteenth century. The Old Bailey and Middlesex Sessions papers abound with trials for sodomy at this time, and many death sentences are recorded, although the law seems to have been very fairly, if severely, applied. Readers of Smollett's Roderick Random which first appeared in 1748, may remember how Lord Strutwell observed that homosexuality "gains ground apace and in all probability will become in a short time a more fashionable device than simple fornication." Male brothels were certainly not unknown in London in 1726. There is a remarkable trial of one Margaret Clap "for keeping a sodomitical house off Holborn," where between forty and fifty men were found one Sunday evening "making love to one another, as they called it." Mistress Clap was duly convicted and sentenced to two years' imprisonment as well as to stand in the pillory. (Select Trials at the Sessions-House of the Old Bailey, Ill, 37 (1742))"

    Rictor Norton (Ed.), "The Trial of George Kedger, 1726", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook. Updated 1 Dec. 1999:

    This is one of the series of trials that took place in 1726 following the raid on Mother Clap's molly house. As in other trials, Thomas Newton agreed to testify against the men he had sex with in return for immunity from prosecution. This particular trial is notable for the many details it gives about the popularity of Mother Clap's molly house and what went on there. It wasn't exactly a male brothel, but it certainly was more than just a tavern.

    "SAMUEL STEVENS. Mother Clap's House was in Field-lane, in Holbourn. It was next to the Bunch of Grapes on one Side, and join'd to an Arch on the other Side. It was notorious for being a Molly-house. I have been there several Times, in order to detect those who frequented it: I have seen 20 or 30 of them together, kissing and hugging, and making Love (as they called it) in a very indecent Manner. Then they used to go out by Couples into another Room, and when they came back, they would tell what they had been doing, which, in their Dialect, they called Marrying."

    Project Gutenberg Presents he Adventures of Roderick Random (1748) by Tobias Smollett (1721-1771) - |

    "Among other topics of discourse, that of the Belles Lettres was
    introduced, upon which his lordship held forth with great taste
    and erudition and discovered an intimate knowledge of the authors
    of antiquity, "Here's a book," said he, taking one from his bosom,
    "written with great elegance and spirit; and, though the subject may
    give offence to some narrow-minded people, the author will always
    be held in esteem by every person of wit and learning." So saying,
    he put into my hand Petronius Arbiter, and asked my opinion of
    his wit and manner. I told him, that, in my opinion, he wrote with
    great ease and vivacity, but was withal so lewd and indecent that
    he ought to find no quarter or protection among people of morals
    and taste.  "I own," replied the earl, "that his taste in love is
    generally decried, and indeed condemned by our laws; but perhaps
    that may be more owing to prejudice and misapprehension than to
    true reason and deliberation. The best man among the ancients is
    said to have entertained that passion; one of the wisest of their
    legislators has permitted the indulgence of it in his commonwealth;
    the most celebrated poets have not scrupled to avow it. At this day
    it prevails not only over all the East, but in most parts of Europe;
    in our own country, it gains ground apace, and in all probability
    will become in a short time a more, fashionable vice than simple
    fornication. Indeed there is something to be said in vindication of
    it; for, notwithstanding the severity of the law against offenders
    in this way, it must be confessed that the practice of this passion is
    unattended with that curse and burthen upon society which proceeds
    from a race of miserable and deserted bastards, who are either murdered
    by their parents, deserted to the utmost want and wretchedness,
    or bred up to prey upon the commonwealth: and it likewise prevents
    the debauchery of many a young maiden, and the prostitution of
    honest men's wives; not to mention the consideration of health,
    which is much less liable to be impaired in the gratification of
    this appetite, than in the exercise of common venery, which, by
    ruining the constitutions of our young men, has produced a puny
    progeny that degenerates from generation to generation. Nay, I
    have been told, that there is another motive perhaps more powerful
    than all these, that induces people to cultivate this inclination;
    namely, the exquisite pleasure attending its success."
    From this discourse I began to be apprehensive that his lordship,
    finding I had travelled, was afraid I might have been infected
    with this spurious and sordid desire abroad, and took this method
    of sounding my sentiments on the subject. Fired at this supposed
    suspicion, I argued against it with great warmth, as an appetite
    unnatural, absurd, and of pernicious consequence; and declared
    my utter detestation and abhorrence of it in these lines of the
        Eternal infamy the wretch confound
        Who planted first that vice on British ground!
        A vice! That spite of nature and sense reigns,
        And poisons genial love, and manhood stains.
    The earl smiled at my indignation, and told me he was glad to find
    my opinion of the matter so conformable to his own, and that what
    he had advanced was only to provoke me to an answer, with which
    he professed himself perfectly well pleased."

  • Page 356: "In 1866, W. E. H. Lecky, writing in his History of European Morals, described what he called "the lowest abyss of unnatural love" as the "deepest and strongest taint of Greek civilization," adding that "my task in describing this aspect of Greek life has been an eminently unpleasant one." John Addington Symonds, who was a contemporary of Lecky, wrote two scientific monographs on the subject, A Problem in Greek Ethics (1873) and A Problem in Modern Ethics (1891), but, fearing prosecution, he limited the editions to a few privately printed copies. Symonds pressed Oscar Browning to devote some research to the subject, but Browning deemed it prudent to decline the invitation.' On the other hand, Havelock Ellis, with whom Symonds had collaborated in the original first volume of the celebrated Studies in the Psychology of Sex, which dealt with inversion, published a sufficient number of copies of this volume for the printer to be prosecuted. This was in 1898. In the result Havelock Ellis was obliged to bring out the remaining volumes of his great work in the United States, and it is only in recent years that they have been reprinted in this country.

    Besides W. T. Stead's remarks in the Review of Reviews, one of the few frank expressions of opinion on the subject of sexual inversion in England, published by the press at the time of Wilde's conviction, was contained in a letter to Reynold's Newspaper over the initials "C. S. M." These initials concealed the identity of Christopher Sclater Millard, who was later to compile several bibliographies of Wilde's writings under the pseudonym "Stuart Mason."' Unfortunately for him, this writer was also to be convicted of offences under the Criminal Law Amendment Act as Wilde had been.


    Mr. Oscar Wilde has been sentenced to two years' imprisonment with hard labour. What for? For being immoral? No. A man may commit adultery with another man's wife or fornication with a painted harlot who plys her filthy trade in the public streets unmolested with impunity. It is because this man has dared to choose another form of satisfying his natural passions the law steps in. Yet he has not injured the State or anybody else against their will.

    Why does not the Crown prosecute every boy at a public or private school or half the men in the Universities?

    In the latter places "poederism" is as common as fornication, and everybody knows it.

    May I say a word about the conduct of the press in this case? The Daily Chronicle and yourselves are the only papers which have ever given the poor wretch in prison a fair hearing. Other papers, which a few weeks ago devoted columns to reviews of his splendid plays or books, now scorn him as poison. Because a fellow-creature has fallen, why should they cast stones at him? Are the writers of such articles themselves immaculate in their passions?

    Prosecuting a man on such a charge as this does not tend to diminish this form of immorality; it rather increases it tenfold.

    Yours, &c.,

    C.S.M. 29th May, 1895.""

John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)

David Hume

  • The David Hume Archives -
    • David Hume - My Own Life: April 18, 1776 -

    • David Hume - An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding: 1748 -

      Extract from the "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding: On Miracles": "A wise man, therefore, proportions his belief to the evidence. In such conclusions as are founded on an infallible experience, he expects the event with the last degree of assurance, and regards his past experience as a full proof of the future existence of that event. In other cases, he proceeds with more caution: He weighs the opposite experiments: He considers which side is supported by the greater number of experiments: To that side he inclines, with doubt and hesitation; and when at last he fixes his judgement, the evidence exceeds not what we properly call probability. All probability, then, supposes an opposition of experiments and observations, where the one side is found to overbalance the other, and to produce a degree of evidence, proportioned to the superiority. A hundred instances or experiments on one side, and fifty on another, afford a doubtful expectation of any event; though a hundred uniform experiments, with only one that is contradictory, reasonably beget a pretty strong degree of assurance. In all cases, we must balance the opposite experiments, where they are opposite, and deduct the smaller number from the greater, in order to know the exact force of the superior evidence."

      Extract from the "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding: On Miracles": "I should not believe such a story were it told me by CATO; was a proverbial saying in ROME, even during the lifetime of that philosophical patriot. The incredibility of a fact, it was allowed, might invalidate so great an authority."

      Extract from the "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding: On Miracles": "The plain consequence is (and it is a general maxim worthy of our attention), "that no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish; and even in that case there is a mutual destruction of arguments, and the superior only gives us an assurance suitable to that degree of force, which remains, after deducting the inferior." When anyone tells me, that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable, that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact, which he relates, should really have happened. I weigh the one miracle against the other; and according to the superiority, which I discover, I pronounce my decision, and always reject the greater miracle. If the falsehood of his testimony would be more miraculous, than the event which he relates; then, and not till then, can he pretend to command my belief or opinion."

      Extract from the "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding: On Miracles": "In the infancy of new religions, the wise and learned commonly esteem the matter too inconsiderable to deserve their attention or regard. And when afterwards they would willingly detect the cheat in order to undeceive the deluded multitude, the season is now past, and the records and witnesses, which might clear up the matter, have perished beyond recovery.
      No means of detection remain, but those which must be drawn from the very testimony itself of the reporters: And these, though always sufficient with the judicious and knowing, are commonly too fine to fall under the comprehension of the vulgar."

      Extract from the "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding: On Miracles": "What we have said of miracles may be applied, without any variation, to prophecies; and indeed, all prophecies are real miracles, and as such only, can be admitted as proofs of any revelation. if it did not exceed the capacity of human nature to foretell future events, it would be absurd to employ any prophecy as an argument for a divine mission or authority from heaven. So that, upon the whole, we may conclude, that the Christian Religion not only was at first attended with miracles, but even at this day cannot be believed by any reasonable person without one. Mere reason is insufficient to convince us of its veracity: And whoever is moved by Faith to assent to it, is conscious of a continued miracle in his own person, which subverts all the principles of his understanding, and gives him a determination to believe what is most contrary to custom and experience."

    • David Hume - Essays on Suicide and the Immortality of the Soul: The Complete 1783 Edition - |

      Extract from the "On Suicide": "I believe that no man ever threw away life, while it was worth keeping."

      Extract from the "Immortality of the Soul": "HEAVEN and Hell suppose two distinct species of men, the good and the bad; but the greatest part of mankind float betwixt vice and virtue. -- Were one to go round the world with an intention of giving a good supper to the righteous, and a sound drubbing to the wicked, he would frequently be embarrassed in his choice"

    • David Hume - The Natural History of Religion: 1757 -
    • David Hume - Of Superstition and Enthusiasm : 1757 -
    • David Hume - Of the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Sciences: 1742 -

      Extract from the "Of the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Sciences": "Nothing requires greater nicety, in our enquiries concerning human affairs, than to distinguish exactly what is owing to chance, and what proceeds from causes; nor is there any subject, in which an author is more liable to deceive himself by false subtilties and refinements."

    • David Hume - Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion: 1779 -

    • Images of Philosophers -

  • Mugshots - Philosophers of Science -

  • David Hume - Of the Liberty of the Press: 1779 -

  • The Hume Society -

  • Documents for the History of Economics (including Hume's work) -

  • Hume, David -

  • Modern Skepticism -

  • David Hume -

  • David Hume -

  • miracles (including quotes from David Hume) -

  • David Hume (May 7, 1711-August 25, 1776) - Economic essays -

  • DAVID HUME (1711-1776) -

  • The history of England, from the invasion of Julius Cæsar to the abdication of James the Second, 1688. By David Hume, esq -

  • Ty's David Hume Homepage -

  • Interent Encyclopedia of Philosophy -

  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -

  • - Resources for the Study of the Enlightenment in Britain and America -

    • "HMAS Sydney: Loss and Controversy" by Tom Frame, ISBN 0 7336 0942 2, Published 1993 by Hodder
      • From page 177: The allegation that a Japanese submarine was involved in the sinking of Sydney should never have been taken seriously. It explained nothing and only added to the confusion and the controversy which obscured the most pertinent unanswered questions. However, it revealed Montgomery's ineptitude as an historian, and the willingness of some Australians to recast the historical record regardless of evidence and the principles governing the practice of history.

    [Intro - CranClan] . . [Happening Things] . . [The Daresbury Laboratory Web Ring of Life] . . [NCS - Non-Competitive Scrabble] . . [Garden Gnomes of Daresbury Laboratory] . . [Nature and Local UK Things] . . [USA 2001 and LDEO Columbia University] . . [Historical Literature/Poetry] . . [Music] . . [Misc Things] . . [DL SRS Status] . . [Conference and Travel Things] . . [The Wonders of Team Building] . . [Other People's Homepages] . . [Crystallographic Internet Front] . . [While in Melbourne] . . [Semi Relevant Links]
    [Back to Lachlan's Homepage] | [What's New on Lachlan's Page]

    (This Webpage Page in No Frames Mode)

    If you are feeling sociable, my new E-mail address is [address now invalid] (replace the *at* with an @ ) . Old E-mail addresses might be giving forwarding or reliability problems. Please use clear titles in any Email - otherwise messages might accidentally get put in the SPAM list due to large amount of junk Email being received. So, if you don't get an expected reply to any messages, please try again.