Harriet Martineau.

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HARRIET MARTINEAU, by F. Fenwick Miller. Mrs. Miller has done an excellent job of adding to, and extending, the Biographical information contained in Ms. Mertineau's Autobiography. I was pleased to find that Mrs. Miller did not shy away from the fact that Ms. Martineau was an Atheist, and openly proclaimed her Atheism. From page 202 of this book we find when Martineau first proclaimed herself an Atheist: "In 1848, after her trip to the Mid-East and the publication of her work: Eastern Life Past and Present, Harriet openly embraced atheism. She lost much of the support in her family, especially her younger brother James, a known cleric at the time. She also received a cold reception in the populous but was supported by her circle of literary friends. William Lloyd Garrison wrote in her support: I know what you have dared to be brave, what you have suffered, by the frank avowal of what a hireling priesthood and a corrupt church have branded atheistical sentiments. Though my belief in immortality is without peradventure, I desire to tell you that you skepticism, in lack of evidence, on that point, has never altered my confidence in the goodness of your heart and the nobleness of your character...I respect and admire conscientious dissent and doubt...Heresy is the only thing that will redeem mankind. (Pichanick,191)" It is obvious that the ability to think fearlessly is limited only to the bravest of the brave, and smaller intellects will shy away from those who think beyond their understanding. I am pleased to report that when I arrived at the undeniable fact of Atheism, and proclaimed myself so to the world, I did not lose one friend, some, a few, I thought were my friends fled in fear of their imaginary deity and its Hell-fire; I was far better off without them.
Emmett F. Fields

  • Model: HM
  • Author: Miller, Mrs. F. Fenwick

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