Horned Devil of Vermont
The title of Ethan Allen's philosophical work was of about average length for books of the time: "Reason the only Oracle of Man, or a Compenduous System of Natural Religion. Alternately Adorned with Confutations of a variety of Doctrines incomparable to it; Deduced from the most exalted Ideas which we are able to form of the Divine and Human Characters, and from the Universe in General." Freethinkers of the day immediately rechristened it "Ethan Allen's Bible."
In a Preface that is refreshingly brief for the period, the author says that it is impertinent in writers to offer an apology for the works they put before the public and he will dispense with such. If a book cannot stand on its two hind legs, it should have been stifled in the birth. He goes on to say that he has been called a Deist and although he has never read their writings, he is content to be denominated with them. But of one thing he is positive; he is no Christian, "except mere infant baptism make me one."
The desire for knowledge, begins the author, has engaged the attention of the wise and curious of all ages, much to the physical improvement of mankind. It has excited the con-