Halliday Sutherland

"A born writer, especially a born story-teller. Dr. Sutherland, who is distinguished in medicine, is an amateur in the sense that he only writes when he has nothing better to do. But when he does, it could hardly be done better." G.K. Chesterton.


“The cataclysm which may end the eighth known epoch in civilisation may be a lack of European children.”

Quoted in the Uxbridge & West Drayton Gazette – Friday, 27 September 1929.

“When responsible and thoughtful members of society begin to advocate the prevention and destruction of human life by means of contraceptives, abortion, infanticide, sterilisation, and euthanasia, it is an evil omen, and the sign of a civilization whose creative power is spent.”

Laws of Life (1936) Chapter XVII Euthanasia

“Yet, in an age in which thought and reason are suppressed by systematised confusion and spiritless perplexity, the very simplicity of a truth will operate against its general  acceptance.”

Birth Control: A Statement of Christian Doctrine Against the Neo-Malthusians, page 22.

“There are some self-styled eugenists who declaim that the prevention of disease is not in itself a good thing.  They say the efficiency of the State is based upon what they call ‘the survival of the fittest.’  This war has smashed their rhetorical phrase.  Who talks now about survival of the fittest, or thinks himself fit because he survives?  I don’t know what they mean.  I do know that in preventing disease you are not preserving the weak, but conserving the strong.”

Speaking out against eugenics inConsumption: Its Cause and Cure, An Address to the National Council of the Y.M.C.A. 4th September 1917

“Apart from misrepresentation, the worst way of writing history is to think of the past in terms of the present.”

In My Path by Halliday Sutherland. Geoffrey Bles, London, 1934.

“Moral catastrophes inevitably lead to physical catastrophes” 

Birth Control: A Statement of Christian Doctrine Against the Neo-Malthusians, page 70.

“The indiscriminate distribution of knowledge of contraceptives amongst the poor for the purpose of attempting to redistribute the birth rate by means of artificial contraceptives and contrary to the law of nature.”

Answering the question: “What was the experiment you referred to?” during the Stopes v. Sutherland libel trial of 1923.

“Our declining birth-rate is a fact of the utmost gravity, and a more serious position has never confronted the British people. Here in the midst of a great nation, at the end of a victorious war, the law of decline is working, and by that law the greatest empires in the world have perished. In comparison with that single fact all other dangers, be they war, of politics, or of disease, are of little moment. Attempts have already been made to avert the consequences by partial endowment of motherhood and by saving infant life. Physiologists are now seeking the endocrinous glands and the vitamins for a substance to assist procreation. “Where are my children?” was the question shouted yesterday from the cinemas. “Let us have children, children at any price,” will be the cry of tomorrow. And all these thoughts were once in the mind of Augustus, Emperor of the world from the Atlantic to the Euphrates, from Mount Atlas to the Danube and the Rhine. The Catholic Church has never taught that “an avalanche of children” should be brought into the world regardless of consequences. God is not mocked; as men sow, so shall they reap, and against a law of nature both the transient amelioration wrought by philanthropists and the subtle expediences of scientific politicians are alike futile. If our civilisation is to survive we must abandon those ideals that lead to decline. There is only one civilisation immune from decay, and that civilisation endures on the practical eugenics once taught by a united Christendom and now expounded almost solely by the Catholic Church.”

Birth Control: A Statement of Christian Doctrine Against the Neo-Malthusians, 1922, p. 155. Published by Messrs. Harding & More, Ambrosden Press, 119 High Holborn, London, W.C.1

“To that I answer: ‘Yes, they are true; but they are paintings, not photographs.’ In any art a man is entitled to accentuate some lines and attenuate others, provided his aim be a life-like portrait.”

On being asked if his books were true. In My Path.

“Is there anything to hide?”

To Bishop Michael Browne, Bishop of Galway, on seeking permission to visit the Magdalene Laundry at Galway (Irish Journey, page 79).

“No honest man may whisper against Franco without shouting from the house-tops against Stalin.”

Spanish Journey page 65

“I will always fear bad air;
I will never fear good air;
I will open the windows
And save my life.”

Creed recited by the children of the Regent’s Park Bandstand School. The Arches of the Years.

“Religion and superstition are not identical, although both are beliefs.  In true religion there is nothing repugnant to reason, and when Rome failed to eradicate pagan superstitions she Christianised them.”

The Arches of the Years

“Simplicity—the only attribute of mind common to genius and to fools.”

The Arches of the Years

“Cases are won not so much by advocacy in the court as by hard work in the solicitor’s office.”

Reflecting on his win in the Stopes v. Sutherland libel trial in A Time to Keep (1934) page 250.

“The truth of falsity of religion is a matter of vital interest, because every one of us must die.”

A Time to Keep

“Without religion we know nothing of the purpose of life or of what happens after death. If there be no God there can be no religion, or if God is unknowable there can be no religion. This last is modern paganism. There is a God, but He has never made any revelation of His will to anyone, and all codes of morality were invented by man as a social convenience.”

A Time to Keep

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Stopes v Sutherland libel trial 1922-24

Centenary of the House of Lords judgment21 November 2024
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