Did Charles Bradlaugh Die an Atheist?
"S.—Why is it impossible to believe all religions to be true?
"O. C.—Many of them are absolute contradictions of others.
"S.—Is it impossible to believe contradictions?
"O. C.—Of course it is.
"S.—But would it not be safer to believe all religions, if you could so believe?
"O. C.—It is not a question of safety in believing. It is one of possibility. I simply cannot equally believe Muhammadanism, Vedaism, Buddhism, and Christianity, as divine religions.
"S.—And I answer your earlier question in your own words. It is not a question of safety in believing. It is one of possibility. The alleged life of Jesus is to me impossible. I simply cannot believe it."
We have here then before us Mr. Bradlaugh's opinions given actually in his own words taken from publications issued at different periods between 1859 and 1891. He fell ill on January 13th, 1891, and died on January 30th. The only person to whom he spoke on religious matters during his illness was myself, and then he merely uttered a few words as to the futility of the Design Argument, as exemplified in his own condition and the present state of medical knowledge compared with the sufferings and treatment of the sick in the past, and the possibilities of greater alleviation of pain in the future.
The only persons in attendance on him were the doctors, the nurses, and myself, and of these one and perhaps two were always in the room with him. The nurses came from the Bond Street Institution, and the doctors were Dr. Ramskill, the physician of St. Helen's Place, and Mr. Alfred Bell, M.R.C.S., of St. John's Wood. At my request the two nurses and Mr. Bell each signed statements testifying that in their presence Mr. Bradlaugh had never at any time talked upon religious matters at all. I herewith give the statement signed by Mr. Bell, and written throughout in his handwriting. He gave his testimony quite willingly, at my request, although he thought I was taking an unnecessary precaution; he asked me not to use it unless I felt I ought to, and therefore I have hitherto refrained from publishing it. I do so now, reluctantly,