I feel more interest in the freedom of thought and speech than in all other questions, knowing, as I do, that it is the condition of great and splendid progress for the race; remembering, as I do, that the opposite idea has covered the cheek of the world with tears; remembering, and knowing, as I do, that the enemies of free thought and free speech have covered this world with blood.
The orthodox preachers have filled the heavens with an infinite monster; they have filled the future with fire and flame, and they have made the present, when they have had the power, a perdition. These men, these doctrines, have carried fagots to the feet of philosophy. These men, these doctrines, have hated to see the dawn of an intellectual day. These men, these doctrines, have denied every science, and denounced and killed every philosopher they could lay their bloody, cruel, ignorant hands upon.
And for that reason, I am for absolute liberty of thought, everywhere, in every department, domain, and realm of the human mind. I have no fear about any other world – not the slightest. When I get there, I will give my honest opinion of that country; I will give my honest thought there; and if for that I lose my soul, I will keep at least my self-respect.