The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 53
We Need Free Bodies and Free Minds
We Need Free Bodies and Free Minds.
free labor and free thought, chainless hands and fetterless brains. Free labor will give us wealth. Free thought will give us truth.
We need men with moral courage to speak and write their real thoughts, and to stand by their convictions, even to the very death. We need have no fear of being too radical. The future will verify all grand and brave predictions. Paine was splendidly in advance of his time, but he was orthodox compared to the infidels of to-day.
Science, the great iconoclast, has been very busy since 1809, and by the highway of progress are the broken images of the past. On every hand the people advance. The vicar of God has been pushed from the throne of the Cæsars and upon the roofs of the Eternal city falls once more the shadow of the eagle. All has been accomplished by the heroic few. The men of science have explored heaven and earth, and with infinite patience have furnished the facts. The brave thinkers have aided them. The gloomy caverns of superstition have been transformed into temples of thought, and the demons of the past are the angels of to-day.
Science took a handful of sand, constructed a telescope, and with it explored the starry depths of heaven. Science wrested from the gods their thunderbolts; and now, the electric spark freighted with thought and love flashes under all the waves of the sea. Science took a tear from the check of unpaid labor, converted it into steam, and created a giant that turns with tireless arm the countless wheels of toil.
Thomas Paine was one of the intellectual heroes, one of the men to whom we are indebted. His name is associated forever with the great republic. He lived a long, laborious, and useful life. The world is better for his having lived. For the sake of truth he accepted hatred and reproach for his portion. He ate the bitter bread of neglect and sorrow. His friends were untrue to him because he was true to himself and true to them. He lost the respect of what is called society, but kept his own. His life is what the world calls failure, and what history calls success.
If to love your fellow-men more than self is goodness, Thomas Paine was good. If to be in advance of your time, to be a pioneer in the direction of right, is greatness, Thomas Paine was great. If to avow your principles and discharge your duty in the presence of death is heroic, Thomas Paine was a hero.
At the age of seventy-three