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Infidels - Ditcionary of Freethinkers
Category: People and society > Freethinkers
Date & country: 13/09/2007, USA
Words: 470

Harte, Francis Bret
(1836-1902), writer. Son of a Catholic professor, who, as readers of his stories know, got farther away from the faith. 'In later years,' says his biographer, Pemberton, very mildly, 'he was content to worship God through his works.' It probably did not take up much of his time. In his own words quoted in the same biography (p. 343), he 'never voices a creed.'

Hauptmann, Gerhart
(1862 ), leading German writer. Under the influence of Isben he threw up sculpture for dramatic work and became the leading playwright of Germany with a high reputation. He became rather mystic in his later years but remained at the most a pantheist.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel
(1804-1864), novelist, author of The Scarlet Letter. The impression of religious Puritanism that the reader gets is a reminiscence of his early training/ He dropped Christianity at college and 'his own family did not know what his religious opinions were.' (Stearns's Life and Genius of Nathanial Hawthorn (p. 423). He was a theist. His son Julian, a prolific, if less eminent novelist, tells us in his Hawthorne and His Circle that when his father was stationed at Liverpool (England) he had a pew a…

Hazlitt, William
(1778-1830), famous British essayist. Described by Thackeray as 'one of the keenest and brightest critics that ever lived.' He was trained for the Church but drew back, to the distress of his father, a minister. In one of his essays he speaks disdainfully of the Bible that used to kindle his father's 'lack-luster eyes.' He was a theist but various observations in his essays imply that he had no belief in a future life.

Heine, Heinrich
(1797-1856), German-Jewish poet. A brilliant writer of accommodating character. When he adopted Christianity in youth in order to get a position he explained that he would not have done so id the law had allowed him to steal silver spoons instead. He was in fact an atheist and so remained until he was bed-ridden with spine disease when he discovered God. 'Put it down to morphia and poultices,: he told his friends. He scorned both Judaism and Christianity and never believed in a future life. By p…

Helvetius, Claude Adrien
(1715-1771), French Encyclopedist. Having acquired a large fortune in finance he devoted himself to study and the propagation of freethought, and his home in Paris was the shrine of the Encyclopedists. His work On the Mind was burned by the Paris Parliament, though the witty Mme. du Deffand (see) said that its materialism merely 'gave away everybody's secret.' His better-known atheistic and materialistic work On Man was published posthumously and had a great influence.

Henley, William Ernest, LL.D.
(1849-1903), British poet. In his time Henley was considered a leading poet and is still often quoted but the literary men avoid such skepticism lines (Poems, 1893) as For my unconquerable soul Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the horror of the shade. I thank whatever Gods there be. He wavered between atheism and theism. Philosophy, he said, was like chalk in one's mouth.

Herbert, Baron Edward
(1582-1648), the first British Deistic writer. As Ambassador at Paris he picked up the skepticism of the French and wrote several works in Latin for English readers in which he discards Christianity but advocates mystic theism.

Hertzogenberg, Heinrich Von
(1843-1900), Austrian composer. An intimate friend of Brahms (see), and their published correspondence shows the atheism of both. He was at first a Catholic but towards the end of life wrote to Brahms, 'I believe nothing.' (The Hertzogenberg Correspondence, p. 416).

Hervey, Lord John
(1696-1743), Lord Privy Seal of England. He was an intimate friend of Queen Caroline (see) and a well-known Deist. The editor of his Memoirs of the Reigh of George the Second says that he 'adopted all the anti-Christian opinions of all time' and had 'a peculiar antipathy to the Church and churchmen' (p. XXV1).

Hobbes, Thomas
(1588-1679), English philosopher. He began to learn Latin and Greek at the age of six and, as tutor in a nobel family, traveled and had ample leisure for study and meeting European thinkers. His works dealt chiefly with political philosophy and he nervously repudiated the charge of heresy, as it was an age of religious tyranny. But it is clear that he was at the most a Deist, and his psychology must have made him skeptical about a future life.

Hobhouse, Baron Arthur
(1819-1904), British judge. A lawyer who attained the highest honors and was widely respected for his character and idealism. His nephew Professor Hobhouse says in his biography that Lord Hobhouse believed only in 'a great ruling power of the universe' and shortly before he died wrote a clergyman that the more he reflected 'the more my mind is led away from your objects and fixed upon others.' (p. 258). The nephew, Professor L.T. Hobhouse

Holland, Lord and Lady
(See Fox).

Holmes, Oliver Wendell
(1809-1894) professor of anatomy and physiology at Harvard Medical School from 1847 to 1882. His poems, and general works (Autocrat at the Breakfast Table, etc.) made him known and loved all over America, but his freethought is chiefly found in his Mechanism in Thought and Morals

Home, Henry, Lord Kames
(1696-1782), Scotish jurist. One of the early freethinkers who did not suffer their brilliant success in life to reduce them to silence about religion. His Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion was denounced by the Scottish Church, yet he wrote a more clearly Deistic book Sketches of the History of Man

Howells, William Dean
(1837-1920), poet and novelist. At one time editor of the Atlantic Monthly, later of Harper's magazine. He was brought up a Swedenborgian but says in his poem 'Lost Beliefs' that he gave up that sect at an early age. He remained a theist.

Huerta, General Victoriano
(1854-1916), Mexican Indian soldier and at one time Provisional President of Mexico. He won great distinction at the Military College and rose to the rank of General under Diaz. In 1913 he arrested, but was not involved in the death of, Madero and took his place, but the United States government forced him to retire. A thorough skeptic and anti-clerical.

Hugo, Victor Marie
(1802-1885), famous French writer and humanitarian. Author of Les Miserables

Humboldt, Baron Alexander Von
(1769-1859), famous German traveler and naturalist. His Views of Nature and Kosmos

Hume, David
(1711-1776), Scottish historian and philosopher. He not only opened up a new era in the writing of history but published works on ethics and philosophy which had great influence on the subsequent development of agnosticism-Huxley adopted his philosophy-in Britain. He professed belief in God and cut the ground from under every argument for his existence. Sir Leslie Stephen in the Dictionary of National Biography pronounces him 'the acutest thinker in Great Britain in the 18th Century' and exposes…

Huneker, James Gibbons
(1860-1921), critic. Besides many works on music he wrote Iconoclasts

Hutton, James M.D.
(1726-1797), 'the first great British geologist' (Dict. Nat. Biog.). His Theory of the Earth

Ingersoll, Robert Green
(1833-1899), the greatest American Freethinker and in the front rank of American orators. Son of a Congregationalist minister, colonel in the Illinois Cavalry Volunteers in the Civil War, he won splendid success as a barrister but never allowed it to interfere with his superb efforts for freethought. Although his printed speeches have been toughed up since delivery he was a most eloquent speaker and drew immense audiences everywhere. He preferred to call himself an agnostic and was a man of the …

Isben, Henrik
(1828-1906), the great Norwegian dramatist. A druggist's boy who worked his way up to the position of probably the greatest dramatist of modern times. His biographer Aall shows that he discarded orthodoxy in his later teens but was quietly skeptical until 1871, when he met Georg Brandes (see). A few years later he wrote The Emperor and the Galilaean to express his new militant mood. He remained agnostic and anti-religious to the end. 'Bigger things than the state will fall,' he wrote Brandes, 'a…

Jefferson, Thomas
(1743-1826), third president of the United States. Like two predecessors, Washington and Adams, he was a Deist but of a peculiar type. While saying that he believed in God and a future life he said also that he was a materialist. 'To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings' he wrote to Adams; and he decries the Christian God as a 'hocus pocus phantasm of a God, like another Cebarus, with one body and three heads' (Dec, 8, 1822). The correspondence on religion of these two accomplish…

Johnson, Richard Mentor
(1780-1850), Vice-President of the United States. A Kentucky attorney who entered politics and at one time was put forward as Democratic candidate for the Presidency. He never stated his position as regards religion but pious folk noted that he was always opposed to them in practical matters, as when they wanted to suppress the Sunday postal service or interfere with religious liberty.

Juarez, Benito Pablo
(1806-1872), President of the Republic of Mexico. He was a full-blooded Indian who was admitted to the Mexican bar and became a judge. As governor of Oaxaca, then Minister of Justice, he 'oppressed' the clergy-that is to say, curtailed their privileges and checked their corruptions-and rendered fine service to the people. He was President 1858-1862 and 1867-1872 and left a great memory behind him. He was an atheist.

Julian, Flavius Claudius Julianus
(331-363), Roman Emperor. The only prince of the first dynasty of Christian emperors whose hands were not dipped in blood. He escaped the massacre of his uncles and cousins and the death of Constantine and the civil wars of Constantine's sons that followed. The corruption of the new religion caused him to decide to restore the old-touched with Greek philosophy-when he ascended the throne, though it is false that he persecuted the Christiand in spite of the persecution of the pagand by his predec…

Kant, Immanuel
(1724-1804), generally considered the ablest of the German philosophers. He did good service in showing that the scholastic philosophy which still dominated Europe was purely subjective (in other words, word-spinning) but his own theory soon died, and his ethical philosophy almost gave back to mysticism what he had taken away. He mistook the analysis of the puritanical mind of an old bachelor (himself) for a study of the moral sense generally and concluded that its 'categorical imperative' impli…

Keats, John
(1795-1821), famous British poet. At the age of 20 he deserted the study of surgery for poetry and for four years astonished the world by his work, but he was already in consumption. One of his sonnets had the title 'Written in disgust of Vulgar Superstition' and emphatically rejects Christianity. W. Sharp, who knew him well, says that he died without any belief in a future life.

Keith, George Earl Marischal
(1693-1778), Scottish diplomat. He fled the court of Frederic the Great after taking part in an unsuccessful rebellion in Scotland and was highly esteemed by him and employees as ambassador. He was a very cultivated man, a friend of Voltaire, and a drastic deist. His biographer Mrs. Caithell says that 'in almost every letter he writes there is a jibe against some part or other of ecclesiastical lamas, as he calls them.' D'Alembert in a funeral oration said that he was 'a man of pure and classic…

Key, Ellen Karolina Sofia
(1849-1926), famous Swedish writer. Her mother was a countess but the family was impoverished and she became a teacher, then the leading woman writer in Europe on social questions. She joined Haeckel in his Monist (atheist) League and often wrote for his monthly. Seven of her 20 novels appeared in english and she had a high European reputation.

KIngdon F.R.S.,
(1845-1879), British mathematician. One of the group of brilliant writers and scientists (Huxley, Darwin, Tyndall, etc.) who made Britain safe for freethought. He was a distinguished professor of mathematics but one of those who refused to be silent about his atheism. See his Lectures and Essays, a selection published in 1918. 'Keep your children away from the priest,: he says, 'or he will make them enemies of mankind' (p. 121). He was a man of very high character and ideals.

Kingsley, Mary Henrietta
(1862-1900), well-known African traveler. She startled folk in England by her daring journeys and her trading in Africa. In 1900 she went back to nurse wounded Boors and died of enteric. She told Clodd (Memories, p.79) that she was an agnostic. Her father, George Henry

Kneeland, Abner
(1774-1844), early American Freethinker. A carpenter who entered the clergy and left the church to become a journalist and one of the most devoted propagandists of atheism. In 1833 he was sent to prison for two months for saying publicly that he did not believe in God. He read Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, published the New Testament in Greek and English, Edited Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary, and wrote a number of works.

Krekel, Arnold
(1815-1888), American judge. A Prussian immigrant who took up law in America, served as a colonel in the Civil War, and was appointed a Federal Judge at the close by Lincoln. He was an outspoken agnostic. (See account in Putnam's Four Hundred Years of Freethought).

Kropotkin, Prince Peter Alexeivich
(1842-1921), geographer. He won the gold medal of the Russian Geographical Society and was rising rapidly in the Tsarist service when he joined the First International and was confined in a fortress. He escaped and lived in various countries, especially England, where his social work had a wide circulation until he was free to return to Russia in 1919. He was a pacifist anarchist of the Tolstoi type and an agnostic.

Labouchere, Henry Du Pre
(1831-1912), British editor and politician. Of French extraction he rose high in the British diplomatic service and then founded and edited a lively radical weekly, Truth. He was 'a strict agnostic,' his biographer Thorold says. When he lay slowly and placidly dying a lamp in the room flickered. He raised his head and said 'Flames?...No, not yet,' he muttered, sinking back. It is not included in the pious stories of Infidel Death Beds.

Lagrange, Count Joseph Louis
(1736-1813), famous French mathematician. He was so brilliant that he solved the most difficult problems of the science at the age of 19 and a few years later won the prize of the Paris Academy of Science and was appointed Director of the Berlin Academy. He served the Republic and was head of the Commission that installed the decimal system, and was ennobled by Napoleon. He was never reconciled with the restored royalty and the Church - he was an agnostic - but he was too famous for them to touc…

Lamb, Charles
(1775-1834), famous British essayist. His Tales from Shakespear and Essays of Elia put him in the front rank of British authors. In late editions of the later book he included a letter to the reactionary poet Southey in which he says: 'The last sect with which you can remember me to have made common profession were the Unitarians' and E.V. Lucas in his authoritative Life of Lamb quotes letters which show that he was an agnostic.

Lamb, William Viscount Melbourne
(1779-1848), eminent British statesman. He became Prime Minister of his country

Lane, Sir Ralph Norman Angell
(1874- ) British economist and pacifist. Born in England he spent some years in ranching and journalism in America, then returned as a journalist in Europe. His work on war The Great Illusion

Lang, Andrew
(1844-1912), British poet and critic. He wrote distinguished verse, translated Theocritus, Bion, and Homer, and wrote a number of historical and literary works. He was also an authority on comparative religion and from the theistic point of view wrote Custom and Myth, Magic and Religion, etc.

Larkin, Professor Edgar Lucien
(1847-1921), astronomer. Director from 1900 onward of the Lowe Observatory in California. In an article in the New York Truthseeker he said 'religion is totally useless in a universe based on law, and every creed and belief will be swept from the earth when men get out of infantile stages of growth.'

Larousse, Pierre Athanase
(1817-1875), French editor. Larousse's dictionaries are still famous. His first, inspired by Diderot's famous encyclopedia, was a Grand Universal Dictionary in 15 large volumes and still very useful to freethinkers. He hardly disguised his own atheism.

Lassalle, Ferdinand Johann Gottheib
(1825-1864), who might be described with Marx and Engels as one of the Three Musketeers of German Atheistic Socialism. He was the son of a rich Jewish merchant and a student of philosophy like Marx. He published a work in two volumes on the philosophy of Heracleitos. In his later years he devoted himself to the propaganda of Socialism but died in mid-career.

Lavisse, Professor Ernest
(1842-1922), leading French historian. His General History from the Fourth Century to Our Time

Lawrence, Thomas Edward
(1883-1935), 'Lawrence of Arabia' and author of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. In 1927 he changed his name legally to Shaw and became a simple mechanic in the Air Force. He was bitterly disappointed that he had been used to win the Arand and the promises made to them were not honored. His biographer V. Richards tells us that he was an atheist and had at an early date 'shaken free of the half-dead sentiments of formal religion' (p. 10.).

Leconte, Professor Joseph, M.D.,
(1823-1901, leading American geologist in the last quarter of the last century and professor at California University. He is often quoted by religious writers as if he were orthodox, but his Evolution and its Relation to Religious Thought

Lee, General Charles
(1731-1782), soldier. His father was a Major General in the British Army but he settled in America in 1773 and was second in command to Washington in the War of Independence. He was a deist, as is shown in the 'Memoir of J. Lee' that is appended to The Correspondence of Sir. T. Hammer (p. 475-478).

Leidy, Professor Joseph M.D., LL.D.
(1823-1891), biologist. He was at different dates professor of anatomy, natural history, and biology. had the Lyell Medal of the London Geological Society, and was a high authority on paleontology. Sir William Osler, who knew him well, and thought him 'one of the greatest naturalists of America,' days that he was an agnostic. He says: 'I have often heard him say that the question of a future state had long ceased to interest him.' (Science and Immortality , p. 41).

Leonardo De Vinci
(1452-1519), one of the greatest geniuses of medieval Italy. His religious opinions are disputed. Since he was an intellectual as well as an artistic genius and there were plenty of skeptics in his time it is felt that he is not likely to have been orthodox, but the Inquisition was still active. Roberson makes an Inquiry into his position (History of Freethought, 1. 370) but can only conclude that he was probably a secret freethinker.

Leopardi, Count Giacono
(1798-1837), Italian poet. He read nearly the whole of Greek and Latin literature before he was 17 but overwork and the misfortunes of his country under the restored Papal rule, and the bitter hostility of his father on account of his advanced opinions, darkened and shortened his life. It was considered that he would have been Italiy's greatest poet since Dante. He was a deist without belief in immortality.

Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim
(1729-1781), German dramatist. A pastor who turned deist and became the foremost writer in Germany before Goethe. His mild rejection of Christianity is clear in his Nathan der Weise, and he is the author of the Wolfenbuttel Fragments which were the beginning of biblical criticism.

Leuba, Professor James Henry Ph.D.
(1868 ) psychologist, Professor at Bryn Mawe and author of several books on religion. Chiefly interesting for a most valuable inquiry which he privately made into the opinions on God. and immortality of the leading scientific men and historiand of America. The startling results of the first inquiry are given in Beliefs in God and Immortality

Lewis, Sinclair, Litt.D.
(1885- ) novelist, Nobel Prize winner. The readers of his well-known novels are not left in much doubt about his opinions, but is most detested by the pious for his Elmer Gantry

Lick, James
(1796-1876), philanthropist, donor of the Lick Observatory and a great telescope. He made a fortune in San Francisco and besides very generous donations (including one for the Paine Memorial Hall) during life, left about $3,000,000 for charity and education. Hardly any American Christian ever gave away so large a proportion of his wealth. Putnam includes him in his Four Hundred Years of Freethought as an atheist and materialist.

Liebknecht, Wilhelm
(1826-1900), chief successor of Marx in Germany. Like most of the Socialist leaders he was a university man (Giessen, Berlin, and Marburg) and a keen student of philosophy. He took part in the revolution of 1848 and was exiled, and he had two years in prison later. After 1874 he led the Social Democrats in the Reichstag. He was an atheist and materialist.

Lincoln, Abraham
(1809-1865), 16th president. Many efforts have been made to prove that Lincoln was orthodox but, as in the case of Washington, the evidence on the side of the angels is strained or tainted while there is ample evidence that he was at the most a deist. His partner and intimate friend affirms it, and quotes the support of Mrs. Lincoln in his Life of the President. Colonel Lamon, another close friend who has written on him says emphatically: 'He was not a Christian.' General Colis, the chief claima…

Littre, Maximilien Paul Emile
(1801-1881), distinguished French philologist, author of a monumental Dictionary of French Language in five large volumes. This alone entitled him to a seat in the French Academy but Bishop Dupanloup the Catholic leader, long kept him out and resigned when he was at last admitted. Littre was a notorious Positivist (agnostic) without any mysticism. Yet the Catholic Encyclopedia now counts him amongst the lambs. Wiuth a blatant untruth it says that when he was near death he 'asked to be baptized, …

Llorente, Juan Antonio
(1756-1823), Spanish historian, author of Critical History of the Spanish Inquisition

Locke, John
(1632-1704), famous English philosopher. He took 17 years to write the Essays Concerning Human Understanding which did more than any other book to open the realistic and scientific study of the mind. He was a theist, supported the suppression of atheism, and wrote a book on The Reasonableness of Christianity (chiefly concerned with its ethic) but it is doubtful if he believed in immortality, and the greatness of his work redeems the timidity of his character. Notice that his life mainly falls in…

Loeb, Professor Jacques
(1859-1924), one of the most brilliant of American physiologists. A German scientist who settled in America in 1891 and, after several professorships, became head of the Department of Experimental Biology at the Rockefeller Institute for Medicinal Research (New York). His many works were strongly materialistic and he dedicated his Organism as a Whole to 'the group of freethinkers, including D`Alembert, Diderot, Holbach and Voltaire, who first dared to follow the consequences of a mechanistic sci…

Loisy, Professor Alfred Firmin
(1857-1940), French orientalist. He was the finest scholar of the Catholic Church in Europe until-though his books had been condemned twice-1915 when he publicly notified that he gave up the priesthood and the Church. It is interesting in view of the Papal action in the recent war to notice that the last straw that broke Renan's attachment to the Church was the Pope's action in the previous European war. His thorough knowledge of Greek, Hebrew, and the Syriac made his works on biblical questions…

Lombroso, Professor Cesare
(1836-1909) famous Italian criminologist. Son of Jewish parents he was remarkably precocious. He wrote tragedy at the age of 15 and studied Chinese, Chaldaic, and Hebrew before he was 20. In criminology he became the greatest European authority and was an outspoken atheist and materialist. Even when in the last stage of his life he was duped by a Spiritualist medium he clung to his materialism. But his daughter explains in her biography of him that by the time he was a physical and mental wreck …

London, Jack
(1876-1916), novelist. No reader of London's brilliant stories can be in any doubt about his position but his freethought is most plainly given in Before Adam

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
(1807-1882), poet. W.D. Howells, who gives away the heresies of so many American literary men in his Literary Friends and Acquaintances lets us know that the great poet was at the most a non-Christian Theist. 'I think,' he says, 'that as he grew older his hold upon anything like a creed weakened, though he remained of the Unitarian philosophy concerning Christ (p. 202). The Unitarian teaching about Christ is, of course, its principle heresy. The poet, he ads, 'did not latterly go to church.'

Lotze, Professor Rudolf Hermann
(1817-1881), German philosopher. As Loetze's system was syncretist or professed to take the best out of all systems ands reconcile religion and science his position is often misunderstood. He accepted no Christian doctrine and admitted God only in the impersonal form of the Andolute.

Loubet, Emile D.en D.
(1838-1929), poet. He succeeded Longfellow as Smith professor at Harvard and for some years edited Atlantic Monthly and was later ambassador at Madrid and London. His poems and essays contain a little theistic language, but Howells, who knew him well, tells is that he was a skeptic as most other members of this brilliant circle. He did not believe in a future life and, when Howells asked him whether he still believed in 'a moral government of the universe' he replied evasively that 'the scale is…

Lowell, Percival
(1855-1916), astronomer of great distinction in his science. Before he devoted himself to astronomy he spent 10 years in Japan, which had not yet been corrupted by its militarists and capitalists, ands like Lafeadio Hearn he learned to disdain Christianity and became an agnostic. His sentiments are expressed in his Soul of the Far East

Machado, Bernardino
(1851-1922), third president of the Republic of Portugal. Like his two predecessors of Portugal he was an agnostic, and he took and open part in International Freethought Congresses. The demoralization of the First European War affected Portugal and Machado was deposed.

Mackintosh, Sir James
(1765-1832) Scottish philosopher. He settled amongst the radicals in London in his youth, took up law and rose to the important offices, for which he was knighted. He wrote on moral philosophy and was a prominent figure in the brilliant circle round Lady Holland (See). Greviller quotes a friend saying that he 'had never believed at all during life' but this can refer only to Christian doctrines. He was a liberal theist. His son tried to induce him on his death bed to make a profession of Christi…

Madison, James
(1751-1836), fourth President of the United States and a freethinker like his three predecessors. He learned Hebrew and made a thorough study of theology after graduating at Princeton and gave up his beliefs. He helped to draft the constitution of Virginia and insisted on it protecting religious freedom. He effectively protested against a proposal to make contributions to religion in that state compulsory and got state and Church completely separated. He was President 1809-1817. His letters in (…

Maeterlinck, Maurice
(1862- ) Belgian author, Nobel Prize winner. He published a number of pleasant and finely-written moralizing works which gave him a world reputation. There is a vein of mysticism in his ethical conceptions but he was outside all churches and apparently not even a theist. In a work on the question of a future life (La Morte) he leaves it open and is not as is sometimes said, a Spiritualist.

Mandeville, Bernard, M.D.
(1670-1733), British writer, one of the freeest of the many freethinking Englishmen of the 18th century. Although he frivolously professed to be a Christian he drew more clerical hostility than any other heretic because in his famous Fable of the Bees he satirized the received principles of morality. 'Private vices are public virtues' he said. To a great extent he was just paradoxical, and he was rather on modern lines when he claimed that greed, etc., are of social use as a stimulus to enterpri…

(1232-1266), King of Sicily. Natural son of Frederic II (See) who took over the Kingdom as Regent when Frederic died and refused to yield it to the Pope. When the legitimate heir died he assumed the rule in defiance of the Popes who summoned the French to crush him. The Florentine historian Villani says that he was a notorious skeptic but a very gifted prince of high ideals (Istorie Florentine, V1 p. 46): a verdict with which modern historiand agree.

Mann, Horace
(1796-1859), creator of the American school system. Of poor parents he got little education except by his own exertions and when he became a prosperous attorney he took up education as the work of his life. It is not generally realized that the man who is so much honored as a freethinker through the Dictionary of American Biography candidly describes him ad 'a Puritan without a theology.' He was not merely outside the churches. He believed only in an impersonal God and rejected the idea of immor…

Marat, Jean Paul
(1744-1793), French Revolutionist. He is usually depicted in such odious colors that it is well to know that he was a very cultivated man, trained in medicine and author of an atheistic and materialistic character. His truculence had a purely patriotic root. It is interesting to note that Charlotte Corday, the young woman who assassinated him, also was a freethinker but of a rival political school.

Marcus Aurelius Antoinus
(121-180), Roman Emperor. The only one in the so-called series of 'Stoic Emperors' who really was a Stoic. In his Meditations there is little mention of God and he clearly did not believe in immortality; and the common impression that he must have been an unpractical idealist is wrong. He was a vigorous soldier and good administrator. Yet he was by no meand so great an emperor as the Epicurean Hadrian, and largely owing to the corruption of his children, the empire passed into decay at his death…

Marlowe, Christopher
(1564-1593), famous British tragedian. Described by Swinburne as 'the most daring and inspired pioneer of all our literature.' He was admittedly the greatest writer in England before Shakespeare, though he was killed in a quarrel before he was 30. With Walter Raleigh and a few others he formed a discussion-circle which clerical writers called 'Raleigh's school of Atheism.' They seem to have called themselves Rationalists. The word atheist was then used loosely, but Marlowe seems to have been an …

Marshall, Henry Rutgers, M.A.
(1852-1927), architect and writer. Sometime lecturer on aesthetics at Columbia and Yale, President of the American Psychological Association, member of the American Philosophical Society, and author of Pain, Pleasure, and Aesthetics and other learned works. In Consciousness he professes pantheism and rejects the idea of personal immortality as 'a crude and inadequate expression of the whole truth.' 'As much of myself as is of the Eternal will join with it in death,' he says (p. 657).

Marten, Henry, B.A.
(1602-1680), Puritan leader, an 'indomitable little pagan' (Carlyle). Son of Sir. H. Marten and one of the many freethinkers of the Puritan party in the Civil War. He was elected to the Council of State and was one of the judges of the King, but he opposed Cromwell's dictatorship. He was condemned to imprisonment for life by the restored royalty, though he had saved the lives of many royalists under the Puritans. Wood (Athenae Oxonienses, III, 1241) says that 'he never entered upon religion but …

Martineau, Harriet
(1802-1876), freethinking sister of the famous Unitarian leader. At the age of 30 she wrote a book on political economy in 9 volumes which brought her great prestige, and her later works made her the most important woman Rationalist of the century. In her Autobiography (II. 351) she describes herself as 'an atheist in the regular sense-that of rejecting the popular theology-but not in the philosophic sense of denying a First Cause.' But her First Cause was impersonal and she rejected immortality…

Marx, Karl
(1818-1883). It is hardly necessary to show that Marx was an atheist and materialist. The only point of interest it that the description of religion as 'the opium of the people' which is usually attributed to him is said to have been written originally by the Christian Socialist the Rev. Charles Kingsley (who was quite capable of saying it of the Church of England). See article on 'Christian Socialism' in earlier editions of the Encyclopedia Britanica.

Masaryk, Professor Tomas Garrigue
(1850-1937), first President of Czecho-Slovakia. He was a professor of philosophy at Vienna, later at Prague, who threw himself into the Czech patriotic movement. In his Ideale der Humanitat

Mascagni, Pietro
(1863-1945), Italian composer. His Cavallerie Rusticanna gave him a world-reputation. He wrote church music as well as opera but his biographer, G. Bastianelli, says that he was a pagan even in his religious compositions and had no religion.

Mason, Sir Josiah
(1795-1881), British philanthropist. A Birmingham manufacturer who beginning life by hawking on the streets at the age of eight made a fortune of $2,500,000, and spent most of it in philanthropy. He gave $1,125,000 for the building of a beautiful orphanage and $900,000 for a college of science (which is now incorporated in Birmingham University and under the usual clerical influence). His biographer says that he was 'not a religious man according to the views of any sect or party' (p. 22). He wa…

Massenet, William Emile Frederic
(1842-1912), French composer. He was the professor of advanced composition at the Paris Conservatoire and author of oratorios and opera which gave him European prestige. In his reminiscences (Mes Souvenirs, 1912) he avows his freethought.

Maugham, William Somerset
(1874- ) British novelist. He was in the secret service during the 1914-18 war and got that intimate knowledge of the East that appears in his novels and films. He also wrote a war-play and I heard Bishop Gore say that a reference to God in it 'took my breath away.' The parson in the play was assuring the bereaved mothet that God \had forgiven her son and she asked: 'Who's going to forgive God?' In his book The Summing Up

Maxim, Sir Hiram Stevens
(1840-1916), British American inventor. An American engineer who on account of some quarrel with the government over his invention of the Maxim gun transferred to England. He was extraordinarily inventive, held more than 100 international patents, and was a member of the firm of Vickers & Maxim. I knew him well and found him in private a virulent atheist. He gave expression to it by making a large collection of criticisms of religion which he got me to arrange in a volume that he called Li Hung …

Mazzini, Guiseppe, LL.D.,
(1805-1872), Italian patriot. The most respected of the European rebels who found refuge in England after the revolutionary defeat of 1849 and the one most widely received in high circles. This was not only because he was a very cultivated lawyer but because his freethinking fell far short of atheism. He praised Christ, criticized Christian doctrines, and had an emphatic belief in God, which led to trouble with Garibaldi and other refugees from many countries, most of whom were atheists.

Mendel, The Abbot Gregor Johann
(1822-1884), monk botanist and one of the founders of Mendelism. Mendel was no genius and his experiments on plant hybrids were completely forgotten when other botanists repeated them and have his name to the new theory of heredity. It is, however, interesting to note that the references one constantly meets in scientific works to 'the devout Benedictine abbot' are bunk. The most authoritative biography of him (English version Life of Mendel, 1932) is by a relative of his, N. Iltis, and it shows…

Mendelssohn, Moses
(1729-1786), Jewish philosopher. He had a high repute for his philosophical works in Germany and some were crowned by the Berlin Academy. In later years he had a more definite belief in God and immortality but not Judaism or Christianity. 'He lived entirely in the sphere of deism and natural religion,' Baur says.

Merimee, Prosper
(1803-1870), French poet, novelist, and dramatist of great distinction. Merimee was not only an exquisite artist and member of the Senate and the Academy but he was conservative in politics and was very friendly with the royal family and a lot of the aristocracy. But he was at the same time a decided atheist, as he confesses in a little book on Henri Beyle (see), his friend, which he printed privately in 1853.

Metchnikov, Professor Il`ya
(1845-1916), Russian zoologist and embryologist, Nobel Prize winner. As the Russiand have celebrated the centenary of his birth this year with much ceremony the reader will have a sufficient idea of his scientific importance. The last 20 years of his life were passed in research in France and he was well known throughout Europe and America. His popular work The Nature of Man (English translation 1904) sufficiently expresses his atheism.

Michelet, Jules, D es L.
(1798-1874), famous French historian. In the preface to the 869th edition of his greatest work, a History of France in 18 vols., written in a fascinating style, he freely expresses his atheism. 'Man,' he says, 'is his own Prometheus' and he tells us that he has 'no faith but humanity.' His History of the French Revolution

Mill, James
(1773-1836), British philosopher. The father of John Stuart Mill and himself a notable writer and social worker in his time. Mill was the son of a poor Scottish shoemaker and was educated by patrons for the church. He took up the study of Greek philosophy and dropped his clericalism for journalism in London. He wrote a History of India

Mill, John Stuart
(1806-1873), British philosopher and economist. Son of the preceding and so severely educated by his father that he read Greek by the age of seven and was well acquainted with the classics and began to study logic at the age of 12. He entered the civil service but was one of the most learned writers of his generation, publishing authoritative works on logic, political economy and philosophy. His personal character was so high that Gladstone called him 'the Saint of Rationalism' and he was respec…

Milton, John
(1608-1674), the second greatest English poet. Even more than Chaucer he has always passed in literature as an orthodox Christian because few read any of his works except Paridise Lost. In other works, however, he clearly shows himself a freethinker. The historian Macaulay drew attention to the 'heterodox views on the nature of the deity and the eternity of matter' in Milton's Latin Treatise Christiana Doctrine and said that he was obviously 'emancipated from the influence of authority.' Even Pa…

Mirbeau, Octave
(1850-1917), French novelist. One of the many brilliant French writers of the second part of the last century and one of the most emphatically atheistic. He defined religions as 'the monstrous flowers and the hideous instruments of the eternal suffering of man.'