Author : Guy Aldred
Richard Carlile was born on the 8th November, 1790, at Ashburton, in Devonshire: the son of a father much too talented to possess any business acumen, and of a mother, who worked hard and long in order to keep the family in food, clothes, and shelter.
Robert Hall, the celebrated Baptist divine and exponent of the academic principles of the Free Press, was then twenty-six years of age. William Cobbett, the erstwhile agricultural laborer who became the ﬁrst grammarian in England, was two years Hall’s senior. Erskine was forty, and had already played an important legal part in the Free Press agitation. And Thomas Paine, about whose writings the agitation chiefly centered, had but another nine- teen years to live. None of those persons dreamed of the destiny of the child that ﬁrst saw the light on this cold November day. Paine did not even live to see how that child vindicated his nmmO1'Y and life’s work. His posterity of a later date will rank Carlile’s name higher than Paine’s, no less for the part he played in the emancipation of the English Press and the enlightenment of the proletariat than for his personal ﬁrmness of character.
If Emerson was right when he declared that “He only is a well-made man who has a good determination,” Carlile was a well- made man. No heart vibrated more strongly to-the iron-key—— "Trust thyself!”——than his.
If Beecher was right when he avowed that “He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has,” no man of Carlile’s generation was richer than he. Without money, and possessing no property beyond his ﬁrm resolve and his interest in the cause of Freedom, he vanquished an organized Terrorism, supported by property, put into operation by the Government and the Church, and loudly defended and extolled in a subsidized Press.
The hatred of the Governing Class of his day was lavished upon him. Contemporary with so many famous men who cringed before power, and compromised with despotism, he alone remained incorruptible.
This is no rhetoric. It is a literal truth. Always in the van- guard when liberty’s defense was in the danger-zone, he endured privation and imprisonment-—he experienced want from the cradle to the grave——"but he enriched the psychological records of the race: he added his own name to the list of heroes who had served humanity.
In the best and truest sense of the term, he was a successful man. He was himself. No man or woman could fall under the sway of his personality and remain a slave. They were immediately emancipated.
Many men have possessed more genius than Carlile. The world has known many greater orators. Carlile was not an orator. The sons and daughters of mother earth have included many greater thinkers‘ and writers. With a no-better early education, Cobbett certainly was a greater writer. But he did not possess the magniﬁcent courage, the personal force, the self-generated libertarian impulses, of Carlile, the ex-tinker.
Than him, the world has never had——nor will it have——a nobler, bolder, more single-eyed prophet of liberty. Atheist and Red Republican-practical Anarchist in his outlook an social ordinances ——almost Communist in his recognition of the class war existent in society——he was above all things, and because of his qualities in these respects, a man. His like will be, must be, seen again ere the Social Revolution is accomplished. But the man will never be excelled.
From : Marxists.org & RevoltLib.com.
November 30, 1911 : Chapter 1 -- Publication.
September 14, 2021 : Chapter 1 -- Added to https://www.RevoltLib.com.
September 14, 2021 : Chapter 1 -- Last Updated on https://www.RevoltLib.com.
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