World as it Is (1836)

The World as it Is, and General Advertiser

 “He that will not reason, is a bigot; he that cannot, is a fool; and he that dares not is a slave!”

Prospectus: Our intention of writing against the dogmas of the Christian religion, is not to produce a demoralizing effect upon community- but to bring about the long-wished-for-day of social happiness; when there shall be no more disputation concerning religious creeds- but when all religions shall be done away; and true virtue, moral honesty, equal justice, and charity shall occupy the place of hypocrisy, injustice, bigotry, deception and tyranny. Let him who reads understand.

Examined: 1:29 (Feb. 20, 1836); 1:35 (Apr. 2, 1836) – 1:43 (June 11, 1836); 1:46 (July 2, 1836) – 1:47 (July 16, 1836).

Publication Information: Luke Shepard, Rochester, New York.

Frequency: Irregular (Weekly).

Contributors/Correspondents: Aron Hall, Henry, Edward Paine Jr., John Reznor, Stupio, and E.T. Wing.

Subjects/Features: Labor, Land, Skepticism, and Religious Fanaticism.

Reprint of: Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason.

Periodical reprints from: Boston Investigator (Boston), Temple of Reason (Philadelphia), and Albany Microscope.


The Movement


“Public Discussion.” 1:36-38 (Apr. 9-23, 1836). Reprinted from the Temple of Reason. This article provides an account of the discussion between Origen Bacheler and Russel Canfield at Commissioner’s Hall, Philadelphia.

Lectures and Tours

Lewis Masquerier. “The Materiality of Mind.” 1:42-43 (June 4-11, 1836). An address delivered before the Society of Moral Philanthropists in New York, and the First Society of Free Enquirers in Boston.

Objects, Initiatives, and Status

 Untitled editorial. 1:39 (Apr. 30, 1836): 2. The editor remarks on the “prosperity” of certain liberal publications, makes a plea for greater support of The World as it Is and responds to a Christian paper’s editor’s suggestion that infidels encourage intemperance and Sabbath breaking and trample “in the dust good order, virtue and religion.”

Freedom of Speech


John Reznor. “Letter to the Editor.” 1:46 (July 2, 1836): 3. Reznor reports on the trial of Cornelius M’Vicker of Penn Yan, New York, who was charged with blasphemy for allegedly declaring that the Virgin Mary was a whore and Jesus a bastard.



“Primitive Christianity.” 1:35 (Apr. 2, 1836): 2. The author surveys the creeds of Christian sects from the first four centuries of Christianity and concludes that “The leading articles of their faith were a belief in one person only in the Godhead, and that Christ was not God- in the transmigration of souls- and that the body would never be raised after death. Such belief is now heterodox- in Christ’s day it was orthodox.”

A letter to the editor from “Henry.” 1:39 (Apr. 30, 1836): 2-3. Henry concludes “That a wise God, should make a world of intelligent beings; and then make a religion- in the belief of which their happiness or misery depended- contrary to their reason; contrary to every species of evidence; and which requires a total revolution in their judgments, habits and wants; in short a complete change of their natures, before they can be made to either comprehend or believe it; is too silly a story to merit a respectful refutation, but from the thousands of unthinking beings who by the force of prejudice or education, have fallen into the snares of priestly artifice, and become lost to happiness, and almost lost to hope.”

An untitled editorial. 1:40-41 (May 7-14, 1836). In this editorial, the author attempts to assess in a “fair, plain and impartial manner” whether Jesus of Nazareth, in fact, possessed “almighty power.” The editorial is presented as a trial in which the New Testament is a witness subjected to examination and cross-examination. The author concludes, “Our intention in writing against the dogmas of the Christian, religion, is not to produce a demoralizing effect upon community- but to bring about the long wished for day of social happiness; when there shall be no more disputation concerning religious creeds- but when all religions shall be done away; and true virtue, moral honesty, equal justice, and charity shall occupy the place of hypocrisy, injustice, bigotry, deception and tyranny. Let him who reads understand.”

A letter from Edward Paine Jr. from Chardon, Ohio, dated May 13, 1836. 1:41 (May 14, 1836): 3. Paine reports, “When the fanatics of the Finney school come here with their “world without end” meetings, we dog them with stenographers; publish their rantings in pamphlet form and send them to the world’s end.”


“Slavery.” 1:35 (Apr. 2, 1836): 2. The editor argues that the means proposed by the immediate abolitionists to end slavery are “unjust, unconstitutional and unsafe, to the perpetuity of the invaluable Union of our beloved country” and puts forth a plan by which he believes slavery can be gradually abolished “without either injustice to master or servant.”

Thomas Paine

Birthday Celebrations

“Celebration of Thomas Paine’s Birthday at Boston.” 1:35 (Apr. 2, 1836): 1. The following were among the volunteer toasts made: “By Dr. Knowlton, Ashfield. Abolitionists; whenever they are ready to open their churches to Infidel Lecturers with good faith we will join them in contending for Liberty of the Press, and Freedom of Discussion,” and “By Mrs. Stone, Townsend. Wisdom and virtue; the fruits of the tree of knowledge; may the daughters of Eve partake more freely thereof.”

“Celebration of the Anniversary of the Birth of Thomas Paine.” 1:40 (May 7, 1836): 2. The celebration took place in Brecksville, Ohio, January 20, 1836 and features a reading of the “Declaration of Independence of the American Liberals” which states in part, “We hold these truths self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by Nature, with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the free exercise and expression of their opinions on religion. That to secure these rights, our Fathers shed their blood, and established our political Constitution; that whenever a part of society attempts to subvert these ends, it is the right of the oppressed to revolt from under such usurpations and to establish a system of conscientious liberty, for the dissemination of useful knowledge which shall to them seem most likely to secure to themselves, and their posterity, the blessings of a Republican government.”

Land and Labor

“Circular. To the Mechanicks and Working Men of the City of Rochester.” 1:35 (Apr. 2, 1836): 3. Reprinted from the Rochester Democrat, the circular announces the formation of the Mechanics Literary Association of the city of Rochester which consists of three departments, a library, reading room and debating club.

“Modern Dictionary.” 1:40 (May 7, 1836): 2. Reprinted from the New England Artisan; provides the following definitions: “bank – a grindstone in disguise; for the faces of the poor,” “lower class- those who support themselves and their rich neighbors by labor,” and “upper class- monopolists, capitalists, lawyers, doctors, and all who live without work on the labor of others.”


“Dr. Sleigh.” 1:38 (Apr. 23, 1836): 2-3. A series of letters from Origen Bacheler and Thomas Emery regarding the questionable character of Dr. W.W. Sleigh; reprinted from The Sun (New York).

Isaac Anthony. “Important if Sick or Lame.” 1:39 (Apr. 30, 1836): 3. An essay in defense of the “Thomsonian system of medicine.”

Lucifer. “Lucifer in Trouble.” 1:46 (July 2, 1836): 2. A satirical letter addressed to the Pope in which the prince of darkness complains that American patriots, including Washington, Jefferson, Paine and Franklin, are stirring up a revolution in hell through their incessant dissemination of republican principles.


The following quote appears in the masthead: “Men change with fortune; manners change with climes, Tenets with books, and principles with times.”

The editor lists the agents for The World as it Is across the states of New York and Ohio. 1:39 (Apr. 30, 1836): 4.

Worldcat Accession Numbers: 10549300, 6546669.