infidel home missionary tour
05/21/1829 AD arrived

Carlile joined up with the radical and skeptical clergyman Robert Taylor and set out on an "infidel home missionary tour".

Taylor was recently released from prison, and had recently published his book The Diegesis.

On Thursday 21 May 1829, they arrived in Cambridge, strolled round the colleges, and in the evening attended Holy Trinity Church for a hell-fire sermon by the Rev. Simeon, which they sneered at as "one of the worst imaginable for the morals of mankind".

Next day they rented lodgings for a fortnight above a print shop in Rose Crescent from the unsuspecting landlord William Smith, as their "Infidel Head-Quarters". By noon they had sent a printed challenge to the vice-chancellor, the leading doctors of Divinity, the heads of all the colleges and the Rev. Simeon:

The Rev. Robert Taylor, A.B., of Carey Street, Lincoln's Inn, and Mr. Richard Carlile, of Fleet-street, London, present their compliments as Infidel missionaries, to (as it may be) and most respectfully and earnestly invite discussion on the merits of the Christian religion, which they argumentatively challenge, in the confidence of their competence to prove, that such a person as Jesus Christ, alleged to have been of Nazareth, never existed; and that the Christian religion has no such origin as has been pretended; neither is it in any way beneficial to mankind; but that it is nothing more than an emanation from the ancient Pagan religion. The researches of the Rev. Robert Taylor, on the subject, are embodied in his newly published work, THE DIEGESIS, in which may be found the routine of their argument.
They also impugn the honesty of a continued preaching, while discussion is challenged on the whole of the merits of the Christian religion.
At home, for conversation, at any appointed time. 7, Rose Crescent.

They then went around the University precincts, with Taylor immaculately dressed in university cap and gown greeting old friends, giving out circulars and seeking out freethinkers.

The entire affair caused a considerable upset to the University of Cambridge where a young Charles Darwin was a second-year student.

Lattitude: 52.2053° N
Longitude: 0.1218° E
Region: Europe
Modern Day United Kingdom
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