The Devil Will Be Converted Into God


A Painting by Robert Wilson (1900) of a demonstration in 1848. John Goodwyn Barmby is believed to have been the leader of the demonstration.

Tyranny Unmasked, John Goodwyn Barmby


“In the holy Communist Church, the devil will be converted into God And in this conversion of Satan doth God call peoples in that communion of suffrages, of works, and of goods both spiritual and material … for these latter days.”


Source: John Goodwyn Barmby, “The Truth Concerning the Devil,” as quoted by Billington in Fire in the Minds of Men, Transaction Publishers, 1980, pg. 257. John Goodwin Barmby (1820-1881) was a British Victorian utopian socialist. Barmby was involved as an editor, writer and organiser of communitarian ventures around London from 1838 to 1848. He is often associated with the growth of socialist and utopian projects during the rise of Chartism. He founded a utopian community on the Channel Islands and at times corresponded with radicals including William James Linton and Friedrich Engels.

John Barmby is also known as the person who claimed to have introduced the word “communist” into the English language as a translation of the French word communiste during a visit to Paris in 1840 in conversation with some followers of Gracchus Babeuf. He introduced Engels to the French communiste movement. They founded the London Communist Propaganda Society in 1841 and, in the same year, the Universal Communitarian Association. Barmby founded the Communist Chronicle, a monthly newspaper later published by Thomas Frost. By 1843, the Barmbys had recast their movement as a church.


Tyranny Unmasked is a project of The Moral Liberal. Copyright © 2012 The Moral Liberal.