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GHOSTS. In a letter to a friend in the Country. Ile wbo will not reason is a bigot; He who cannot is a fool : and he who dares not is a slave.
Notes To CHLDE HAROLD.
Concluded from page 157.
. Tollington Park, July 25, 1825. Now, should it ever be discovered by philosophical investigation or chemical experiment, that the soul or spirit when thus cunningly imprisoned before it had ceased to animate its organical temple could not escape till time should destroy its prison house, what an important secret would be revealed! And how deeply would the world be indebted to me should this clue ever lead to such a discovery! What a consolation it would be to the general who had made the slaughter of mankind, the chief business of his life, and who had measured the degrees of his glory by the number of his murders! who acquired the title of “ Hero," by filling towns and cities full of widows and orphans ! and to the minister who had trampled on the liberties of his fellow subjects, made his country a nation of paupers, and contracted a debt under false pretences, to ruin other countries but, in the end, ruined his own, and all this to gratify a despicable faction, or to minister to the the inordinate ambition of a royal despot! I say what a consolation it would be to such personages to know, that after they had defied all the powers of the earth, they could at last, by a slight act of heroism, defy all the powers of the infernal regions. All that would be decessary for them to do would be to cause themselves to be soldered up in their gold coffins, when their physicians had pronounced their recovery impossible.
Those persons too, who may have made up their minds to commit suicide, would find this contrivance very convenient; they would have only to provide themselves with metal coffins made air proof, and secured with spring locks. They might then,“ whenever it suited them, lay themselves down in their coffins, snap the Locks, and die in peace, with the knowledge that their ghosts, would be secure from the insults of the armoured knight, who may hunt them through old castles, and towers for sport; and from the violence which the priest may use in attempting to plunge them into the red sea! And from being exhibited for profit, as was the case with the Cock Lane ghost some years ago.
But coffins, though they may be made air roof, cannot be made proof against the corroding tooth of time, whether they are made of gold, brass, or iron. Coffins of the last mentioned metal are in use already, and fully competent I am told, to prevent the resur
rection of the body! The testator may, therefore, have a clause inserted in his will, that, as his estate descends, every heir should be obliged to incase the coffin of the deceased with some kind of metal of a certain thickness; the name of the metal, and other particulars may be expressed in the said will. I mentioned gold in the first instance, because gold is considered less porous than any other metal; and which would prove how subtle a spirit, or ghost must be, that could force itself through such a solid substance, By this regulation, the casing business may go on till the coffins become mountains, and for duration be coeval with the earth itself; and excite the wonder of future ages, as the pyramids of Egypt fill with astonishment the minds of the present generation. Solomon said there was nothing new under the sun, in his time .-may not this grand secret have agitated the brain of the projector of those stupendous sepulchres?
I have now sifted this part of my subject in a searce so fine, that either nothing has come through, or else what has escaped has been too subtle for my dull optics ; but you my friend, who look through miscroscopic eyes, may be able to give me some infortion on this important point. I shall be anxious to hear your opinion, in your next letter. But I see I need not wait for your opinion on this point, for here it is in your present letter, wherein you say,_" it is a belief in what we can neither see, hear, feel, taste or smell that constitutes faith. If no body believed in any thing that was not demonstrable to the senses, there would be no such a thing as faith in the world.” This is that blind faith, which none but those who are mentally blind will subscribe to; because there is more danger in believing too much than in be. lieving too little. For instance; did not a large portion of the people of England as firmly believe in the existence of witches, as you my friend do in the existence of ghosts till a phalanx of philosophers, whom you call ignorant sceptics, arose and put an end to the drowning, hanging, and burning of poor miserable old women, because they happened to be heavier than the church bible!
Let us now, my friend, examine the powers and properties of a Ghost, whilst it is yet an inmate of a living body or in that state in which it is called a soul; and to do this more effectually, it will be necessary to notice a few words which are to be found in dictionaries, the definitions of which are very important, and cannot be to closely examined. In Ainsworth's Latin and English Dictionary, the word Ghost is rendered spiritous ; but when we find spiritous, we do not find that word rendered ghost. So that this is like the old argument; that a mare is a horse, but a horse is not a mare. But the fact is, the real English of spiritous, is breath, air, wind, &c. In some cases spirit, soul or mind; which agrees with the English word souled, and means being furnished with a soul or mind, making soul and mind synonomous.
The latin word Anima, which is derived from the Greek, identifies the soul or ghost with wind. So that ghost, soul, spirit, and air are composed of two gases, oxygen, and azot: or to give ghost a regular genealogy; oxygen and azot are the parents of air, who is the parent of spirit, who is the parent of soul, who is the parent of ghost, who after he has departed from the body, amuses himself, according to the French word revenant, by haunt.. ing of houses! But whilst in the body, in the character of, and under the name of soul, ghost by his invisible operations, works the telegraphical machinery of the brain, which dictates to the hand, that drives the pen, which writes this letter, which I hope, my friend, you will find intelligible. If so, this piece of writing is a fair emblem of my body, and mind. Forinstance ;---suppose this sheet of paper, before it was written on, to be my body, and the writing, the intelligent part or mind. Now the white in this letter contributes as much to the formation of the Characters, as the black; for if this paper were all over equally black, it would be as complete a blank, and as unintelligible as it were before I began to write.
I infer from this, that, though the body and mind can do every thing together, they can do nothing when separated ; and that when death dissolves the partnership, all intellygibility is destroyed.
You say, that, the mysterious manner in which the mind acts upon the body, convinces you that you have a divine principle stirring within you, and that that principle is immortal. None doubts your immortal principle; animabilis spirabilis que natura. The air is immortal. But the surest way to secure intelligential immortality is, to pass through the medium of the printing press! This is much more pleasant, and more effectual too, than to pass through fire for that purpose, as some persons are said to have done in the days of the heathen mythology,
But as to the mind acting upon the body; how does it act ? Does it compel the feet to walk, the hands to move, and the tongue to speak? Certainly not. The mind may excite, stimulate, or advise a man to commit a murder; but if the members of the body refuse to act, the mind shrinks back within itself and blushes for its own weakness. The mind is like a watch without hands; the watch may tick, and the mind may think, but the mind could communicate nothing intelligible without the hand or tongue, no more than a watch could measure the hours and minutes, without those external organs which revolve round its face.
If the mind acted upon the body, as the wind acts upon a mill it might be called acting. When the wind, who is the mind's great grandfather, puts his shoulder to the vanes, the mill is Compelled to perform its office, not a wheel can stand still till the wind pleases. * Or the miller, friend D.
Having said so much on ghosts, while they animate and act with the body; and upon ghosts, who have been expelled the body by death, and became wandering vagrants, without home or habitation; but having power to pass through key-holes, they have soinetimes frightened old women out of their houses and took quiet possession themselves, of what was afterwards called haunted houses, I will now say a word or two on the holy ghost.
The holy ghost, like other ghosts, appears to be nothing more or Jess than air. The pries: himself being holy, all the air that passes through his lungs becomes holy too,* whence the title of Holy Ghost. Water, by being consecrated by the priest, becomes holy water. In a word, every thing appertaining to the priesthood is holy, there is holy fire, holy land, holy church, holy bible, the holy ghost, and as to the Pope he is holiness itself. The whole of which is a holy Jargon, and corresponds admirably with the pompinous words, royal palace, royal stables, royal dogs, and I may add royal ghost, which inspires the King when he delivers a Speech in Parliament, in the same manner, as the holy ghost inspires a Priest when he preaches a sermon.
I will now conclude this long essay, by making a remark or two, on a letter which appeared some time ago in the “ Republican”, signed J. P. But the real name of the author appears to be Mr. Joseph Pearce. In that letter, Mr. Pearce attempts to defend the resurrection of the body, by asserting, that Crude Mercury, through whatever process it may have gone, can be restored to its original state. I doubt the truth of this assertion at present. However, let Mr Pearce take Crude Mercury, calcine it, reduce it to the finest powder, then carry it to the sea shore and dash it into the whirl-wind. This process would make it flying mercury. Then, if he can mount his spiritual poney, fly after it, overtake it, collect the particles, and restore them to running mercury, I will immediately become his disciple and proclaim liim the greatest Joseph the world ever produced.
Now, my friend, although I have in my own opinion, routed you from every position you have taken, I cannot lay down my pen without expressing my admiration of your consistency in your belief. There is a charm in consistency that sometimes enables even the villain to command our applause.
You believe that the Bible is a divine revelation, and it says Luke 23, 46, that Jesus gave up the ghost. And Job. 10, 18. It says that Job, wished that he had given up the ghost. Now it is clear, that, if there were no ghost, no ghost could be given up. If you believe in the existence of witches also, your creed is truly scriptural.
Some of our Christian Doctors ridicule the idea, laugh at the name of ghosts and disbelieve in their existence altogether. Holy and faithful men. They do not perceive, with all their • What up or down?
learning, that soul, spirit, and ghost are so closely identified, that if they disbelieve the existence on one, they disbelieve the existence of all, and thereby insensibly convert themselves into deists.
TO MR. RICHARD CARLILE DORCHESTER GAOL.
August, 1825. We have another proof, that there are no “ Junate Ideas”-SO often asserted by believers, to prove that we have an accomplished soul from God. Man certainly differs not from other animals, other than in the ratio of knowledge acquired by learning,
I copy the following proof from the New Times, August 8, 1825.
“ Paris, August 4.--A wild man has lately been found in the midst of the woods and Mountains of Hartzwald, in Bohemia who it is presumed, must have been there from his infancy. He appears to be about thirty years of age, but cannot articulate a single word. He bellows, or rather, he howls, his voice being like that of a Dog. He runs on all-fours, and the moment he perceives a human being clambers to the top of a tree like an ape jumping from branch to branch with surprising agility. When he sees a bird- or other game, he pursues it, almost always with success. He has been brought to Prague but all attempts to tame him have been fruitless; indeed, he appears incapable of acquiring the habits of civilized life.-Constitutional.”
I am, Sir,
Note.-Christians ! give us similar demonstrations about that phantom which you call a living and independent soul.