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observations that I owe to the place been Constantinople we cause of truth and to my own must have been mussulmen. But blameless character.
now the mussulmen call us infi. friend, I appeal to yourself, to dels ; we pity their weakness and our intimate intercourse of near call them infidels in our turn. I twenty years, when I repeat this was born in a place where cath. claim of character. It cannot olic Christians are not known but be denied me in any country ; by report ; and the discipline of and your letter itself, with all its our sect taught us to consider expostulating severity, is a proof them not indeed as infidels, but of the sentiment in you which as a species of idolaters. justifies my appeal.
believed by us, though erroneThe engraving in question is ously, that they worshipped im. gone forth, and unfortunately ages. We now find that they cannot be recalled. If I had less employed them only as instru. delicacy than I really have to. ments of worship, not as the ob. wards you and the other catholic ject. But there is no wonder Christians whom you consider as that to the vulgar apprehension insalted by the prostration of of our people it should appear as their emblems which
there- we were taught to believe ; and in discover, I might content my. that those nations who bow the self with stating,
what is the knee before these emblems of defact, that this engraving and the ity, and address their prayers to picture from which it was taken them, should be considered as were made in England while I really worshipping them. This was in America ; and that I idea was perhaps corroborated knew nothing of its composition by their prayers being uttered in till it was sent over to me not an unknown tongue. only engraved, but printed and The decalogue of Moses had prepared for publication. My inspired us with an abhorrence portion therefore in the crime, if for images, and for those who it is a crime, is only the act of bow down to them and worship what our lawyers term an accom.
and hence arose our un. plice after the fact. But my af. happy aversion to the catholics. fectionate regard for an offended We were told that their churches brother will not suffer me to were full of pictures, statues, and meet his complaint with so short other visible representations, pot
I nust discuss the only of the blessed virgin, of all subject, and reply to the whole the apostles and many of the charge as though it were all my saints, but of every person in the own; premisiog, as I have al. holy trinity. Our fathers had ready done, that I am sorry there protested against that great sec. is occasion for it, and regret that tion of the christain family which the engraving was ever made. calls itself the mother church,
How much our religious opin. not merely on account of the sale ions depend on the place of our of indulgences, against which birth! Had you and I been born Luther had led the revolt, but in the same place, there is no likewise on account of its mak. doubt but we should have been ing these pretended images of thc of the same religion. Had that inimagcable God.
The sect of puritans, in which Richard ; but when they had I was born and educated, and to reconquered the tomb of Christ which I still adhere for the saine they would have trampled on the reason that you adhere to the cross with as fervent a zeal as catholics, a conviction that they they would upon the crescent, are right, were the class of refor. They were not conversant with mers, who placed themselves at what we call the fine arts; they the greatest remove from the mo. spoke to the ear, but not to the ther church, and retained the eye; and having no reverence least respect for her emblems and for images or emblems, they des. the other ceremonials of her. pised those that had, though worship. They could suffer no they were doubtless wrong in so bishops, no mitres, crosiers, cru. doing. cifixes, or censers.
I mention these things, my worno processions, carried no light. thy friend, not with the least ed candles through the streets at idea of levity or evasion; but noon day ; neither did they leave to prove to you how totally you them burning in their churches have mistaken my meaning and through the night, when no hu.
my motive; to show by what man eye was there to see them ; chain of circumstances, mostly having entirely lost sight of this foreign to our own merits or part of the institutions of Zoro. demerits, our habits of opinion, aster, Isis, and Ceres. They our cast of character are formed ; would not allow their prayers to to show how natural it is that a be written in any language, not man of my origin and education, even in Latin, though they ny course of study and the views did not understand it. But they I must have taken of the morals chose to utter their supplications of nations, their causes and ten, extempore, like their other dis. dencies, should attribute much courses, to communicate their of the active errors that aflict own ideas, to express their wants the human race to the use of em. and offer their confessions din blems, and to the fatal facility rectly to the invisible God; with which they are mistaken for through a mediator indeed, but realities by the great vulgar of without holding him in their mankind; how the best of Chrishand, or having him fixed in ef., tians of one sect may consider figy on a cross before their eyes. the christian emblems of another They had no organs in their sect, as prejudices of a dangerous churches, no instrumental music tendency, and honestly wish to in their worship, which they held see them destroyed; and all this to be always profane.
without the least hostility to These people made use of no their fundamental doctrines, or cross but the mystical one of suspicion of giving offence. mortifying their sins; and if they
I never supposed that those had been called upon to join in Hollanders who, to obtain leare a crusade to the holy land, they to carry on
commerce in Japan, must have marched without a trampled on the cross, as a proof standard, They would have that they did not belong fought indeed with as much brave. same nation with the Portuguese ry as saint Louis or the Lion who had done so much mischief
in that island, really meant to haps have thanked. you for
your renounce their religion as Chris. trouble. My habits of feeling tians, when they trod upon its and reasoning, already accountcatholic emblem.
The act might ed for, had accustomed me to re. be reprehensible, as being done gard these trappings rather as for lucre ; but it must appear detrimental than advantageous extremely ditterent in the eyes of to the cause they are meant to ditterent sects of Christians. To support. These images we nev. a catholic, who identifies the ergreatly multiplied in this coun. cross with the gospel, our only try. I have seen more liberty hope of salvation, it must appear caps at one sitting of the Jaco. a borrid crime ; bus to a protes- bin club in Paris, than were ever tant we may easily conceive it seen in all America. might appear of little moment, You will say perhaps that it and by no means as a renuncia. is the difference of national char. tion of the gospel.
acter which makes the distinc, You have now furnished in tion. This is doubtless true; your own person an additional but what has been the cause of example, and a most striking one,
this difierence in the character of of identifying the symbol with our two nations ? Has not the the substance. In your letter universal use of emblems in one, to me, you treat the cross and and the almost universal disuse the gospel as the same thing. Had of them in the other, had as great I been sufficiently. aware of the if not a greater effect han all force of that habit of combina. other causes, in producing such tion among the catholics, espec. difference? I do not say that ially in a mind of those acute our national character is better perceptions and strong sensibili. than yours ; far from it. I ties which I know to belong to speak frankly, I think you un. yours, 1 should surely have sup- dervalue the French character. pressed the engraving.
I have a high esteem for thar na. You must perceive by this tion. They are an amiable, in. time, that you have mistaken my telligent, generous, hospitable, principles and feelings in anoth. unsuspicious people. I say noih. er point of view. You suppose ing of their government, whether I should be greatly offended to regal, revolutionary, or imperial.
the symbols of liberty, so In private friendship they are as dear to me, trampled under foot disinterested and unshaken, at before my eyes.” Not at all my least, as any people I have seen, friend.
Leave to me and my Of this I could cite numerous country the great realities of lib. examples, both within my own erty, and I freely give you up experience and that of others ; its emblems.
There was no time though it would establish my in the American revolution, position in my own mind if I though I was then young and en. were able to mention none but thusiastic, when you might not you. have cut down every liberty pole
It would indeed be paying and burn: all the red caps in the too high a compliment to any United tates, and I would have nation on earth to cite Gregoire looked on with tranquillity, per.
as a sample of its moral and so, cial character. If all catholics in all its parts of text and notes had been like you, the world at and preface, is more favorable this day would all be catholics. to sound and rigid morals, more And I may say, I hope without friendly to virtue, more clear offence, that if all pagans had and unequivocal in pointing out been like
the world had all the road to national dignity and been pagans; there might have individual happiness, more en. been no need of catholics, no ergetic in its denunciations of ty. pretext for the sect of puritans. ranny and oppression in every
This is an amicable discussion shape, injustice and wickedness between you and me. The suav. in all their forms, and conseity of your mander does honor quently more consonant to what to the fortitude with which you you acknowledge to be the spir. defend your principles ; though it of the gospel, than all the writ. it is not easy to perceive against ings of all that list of christian what opponent you are defend. authors of the three last ages, ing them. Your letter expati. whom you have cited as the glo. ates in a wide field and embraces ry of christendom, and strung many subjects. But really, my them on the alphabet, from Ad. friend, the greater part of it has dison down to Winkelman. Un. nothing more to do with me than derstand me right, my just and one of Cicero's letters to Atticus. generous friend, I judge not my You begin by supposing that I poem as a work of genius. I have renounced christianity my- cannot judge it nor class it por self, and that I attempt to over- compare it in that respect, beturn the system by ridicule and cause it is my own. But I know insult. Neither of which is true; it as a moral work; I can judge for neither of which have you and dare pronounce upon its the least color of proof. No, tendency, its beneficial effect upmy honest accuser, the proof is on every candid mind; and I not in the book. Review the am confident you will yet join work with all the acumen of me in opinion. But let me re. your discernment, and you must, peat my prayer that you will not you will recall the hasty accusa. mistake the spirit of this obser. tion. I defy you and all the vation. It is not from vanity that critics of the English language to I speak; my book is not a work point out a passage, if taken in of genius ; the maxims in it are its natural, unavoidable meaning, not my own; they are yours, which militates against the genu. they are those of good men that ine principles, practice, faith, have gone before us both; they and hope of the christian system, are drawn from the gospel, from as inculcated in the gospels and history, from the unlettered vol. explained by the apostles whose ume of moral nature, from the writings accompany the gospels experience and the inexperience in the volume of the new testa. of unhappy man in his various ment.
struggles after happiness ; from On the contrary, I believe, all his errors and all his objects and you have compelled me on in the social state. My only merthis occasion to express my be. it lies in putting them together lief, that the Columbiad, taken with fidelity. My work is only