Royle, Edward. Radicals, Secularist and Republicans: Popular Freethought in Britain, 1866–1915 (Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman and Littlefield, 1980). Secularists in the England of the period covered held that the evils of contemporary society were attributable to the baneful effects of religion and their aim was to discredit Christianity and those social institutions which depended upon it. They were republicans in a country increasingly devoted to its Queen. They were atheists in a society which, outwardly at least, was profoundly religious. Their hero was Thomas Paine.