New York: C.P. Farrell, 1901. DRESDEN EDITION. Leather-bound. Royal Octavos. Three-quarter bound morocco, over marbled boards. Five raised bands (six compartments) gilt lettered and with floriated gilt designs. Top edges gilt, fore-edges, and tails untrimmed. Some of theleather is a bit dusty, but overall, a handsome, elegantly fabricated set, full of genuine and deep inquiries and sometimes challenging thoughts. Heavy Set. Very Good Minus. Item #84422
Ingersoll was a politician and orater, known as "The Great Agnostic". Ingersoll was the son a a minister and his staunch agnosticism was no doubt due in part because of the castigation and community shaming and shunning that as a child, he had to watch his father endure, Many of Ingersoll's speeches advocated freethought and humanism, and often ridiculed religious belief. "A trial for heresy means that the spirit of persecution still lingers in the church; that it still denies the right of private judgement; that it still thinks more of creed than truth, and that it is still determined to prevent the intellectual growth of man. It. means that churches are shambles in which are bought and sold the souls of men. It means that the church is still guilty of the barbarity of opposing thought with force. It means that if ithad the power, the. mentalhorizon would be bounded by a creed; that it would bring again the. whips and chains and dungeon keys, the rack and fagot of the past..." (Volume I, "Heretics and Heresies", p. 249).
“Like the most of you, I was raised among people who knew - who were certain. They did not reason or investigate. They had no doubts. They knew that they had the truth. In their creed there was no guess — no perhaps. They had a revelation from God...I do not deny. I do not know - but I do not believe. I believe that the natural is supreme - that from the infinite chain no link can be lost or broken — that there is no supernatural power that can answer prayer - no power that worship can persuade or change — no power that cares for man... Is there a God? I do not know. Is man immortal? I do not know. One thing I do know, and that is, that neither hope, nor fear, belief, nor denial, can change the fact. It is as it is, and it will be as it must be.
Ingersoll enjoyed a friendship with the poet Walt Whitman, who considered Ingersoll the greatest orator of his time. "It should not be surprising that I am drawn to Ingersoll, for he is 'Leaves of Grass' ... He lives, embodies, the individuality, I preach. I see in Bob [Ingersoll] the noblest specimen—- American-flavored—- pure out of the soil, spreading, giving, demanding light.".The feeling was mutual. Upon Whitman's death during 1892, Ingersoll delivered the eulogy at the poet's funeral. The eulogy was published to great acclaim..." (Wikipedia).