Get Your Premium Membership

A Brief Charles Bradlaugh Bio

by PoetrySoup
Bradlaugh (Charles). Born East London, 26 Sept. 1833. Educated in Bethnal Green and Hackney. He was turned from his Sunday-school teachership and from his first situation [52]through the influence of the Rev. J. G. Packer, and found refuge with the widow of R. Carlile. In Dec. 1850 he entered the Dragoon Guards and proceeded to Dublin. Here he met James Thomson, the poet, and contracted a friendship which lasted for many years. He got his discharge, and in ’53 returned to London and became a solicitor’s clerk. He began to write and lecture under the nom de guerre of “Iconoclast,” edited the Investigator, ’59; and had numerous debates with ministers and others. In 1860 he began editing the National Reformer, which in ’68–9 he successfully defended against a prosecution of the Attorney General, who wished securities against blasphemy. In ’68 he began his efforts to enter Parliament, and in 1880 was returned for Northampton. After a long struggle with the House, which would not admit the Atheist, he at length took his seat in 1885. He was four times re-elected, and the litigation into which he was plunged will become as historic as that of John Wilkes. Prosecuted in ’76 for publishing The Fruits of Philosophy, he succeeded in quashing the indictment. Mr. Bradlaugh has had numerous debates, several of which are published. He has also written many pamphlets, of which we mention New Lives of Abraham, David, and other saints, Who was Jesus Christ?What did Jesus Teach?Has Man a Soul, Is there a God? etc. His Plea for Atheism reached its 20th thousand in 1880. Mr. Bradlaugh has also published When were our Gospels Written?, 1867;Heresy, its Utility and Morality, 1870; The Inspiration of the Bible, 1873; The Freethinker’s Text Book, part i., dealing with natural religion, 1876; The Laws Relating to Blasphemy and Heresy, 1878; Supernatural and Rational Morality, 1886. In 1857 Mr. Bradlaugh commenced a commentary on the Bible, entitled The Bible, What is it? In 1865 this appeared in enlarged form, dealing only with the Pentateuch. In 1882 he published Genesis, Its Authorship and Authenticity. In Parliament Mr. Bradlaugh has become a conspicuous figure, and has introduced many important measures. In 1888 he succeeded in passing an Oaths Bill, making affirmations permissible instead of oaths. His elder daughter, Alice, b. 30 April, 1856, has written on Mind Considered as a Bodily Function, 1884. Died 2 Dec. 1888. His second daughter, Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner, b. 31 March, 1858, has written “Princess Vera” and other stories, “Chemistry of Home,” etc. [53]