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Robertson's Short History of Freethought (1915), Mr. J. M. Wheelers Biographical Dictionary of Freethinkers (1889), and Mr. Benn's History of English nationalism in the Nineteenth Century (1906). Mr. Wheeler s principle of selection is somewhat vague, and he seems to have been hampered by the reluctance to declare their opinions of many who were then living. Posthumous publication has largely removed this difficulty, and some readers will be astounded to learn how large a proportion of the distinguished men and women of the last generation were nationalists. There is a foolish theory in English literature that Rationalism was a mere episode of the early triumph of science; that a wave of Materialism temporarily passed over the scientific world and has now subsided. This common and not very conscientious statement is false in all its aspects. There was practically no Materialism among the scientific men of the last generation; scepticism was not in the least confined to, or distinctive of, men of science, but was equally rife among poets, artists, philosophers, historians, and men of letters or of practical affairs; and, instead of shrinking, this body of dissenters has become immeasurably larger in our own generation.

But I still confront the difficulty which Mr. Wheeler encountered. An open avowal of Rationalism by a professional man is regarded by many as either dangerous or superfluous. The great majority of the men and women of our generation who have some cultural distinction will lend their names neither to the Churches nor to a Rationalist organization, nor have they any occasion to declare their convictions. For instance, Professor Leuba tells us, in his Belief in God and Immortality, that, of a thousand teachers of science whom he privately consulted, about one-half declined to make a profession of belief in personal immortality; and Professor Leuba does not tell us whether he included teachers in religious colleges, which would greatly weaken the proportion. It is clear that a man who does not admit personal immortality, a quite basic and inalienable element of Christian belief, is a Rationalist in the fullest sense; yet few of those hundreds of teachers of science are included here, since they make no public profession on the subject. Even death often fails to end the reticence. My friend Sir Leslie Stephen and even the poet Swinburne were both buried with the rites of the Church; yet the one was a well-known Agnostic, and the other had treated the Christian doctrine and ethic with unmeasured scorn in his poetry. That final profession of faith, put upon the lips of a dead man, has in hundreds of cases hidden from the public the thoughts of a distinguished sceptic.

In these circumstances this list of university professors, writers, or eminent men and women of this or the last generation who were or are Rationalists must seem impressive. It indicates a general scepticism, at least in regard to the creeds of the Churches, in the class to which the names belong—the