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must make my characters speak as I conceive them likely to argue.
(1822, March 4. Letter 981, to Thomas
Moore, Vol. VI., p. 31.)
In your last letter you say, speaking of Shelley, that you would almost prefer the “damning bigot” to the “annihilating infidel.” Shelley believes in immortality, however—but this by the way. Do you remember Frederick the Great's answer to the remonstrance of the villagers whose curate preached against the eternity of hell's torments ? "It was thus :-“If my faithful subjects of Schrausenhaussen prefer being eternally damned, let them.”
Of the two, I should think the long sleep better than the agonised vigil. But men, miserable as they are, cling so to any thing like life, that they probably would prefer damnation to quiet. Besides, they think themselves so important in the creation, that nothing less can satisfy their pride—the insects !
(1822, March 6. Letter 983, to Thomas
Moore, Vol. VI., p. 35.)
This war of “Church and State" has astonished me more than it disturbs; for I really thought Cain a speculative and hardy, but still a harmless, production. As I said before, I am really a great admirer of tangible religion; and am breeding one of my daughters a Catholic, that she may have her hands full. It is by far the most elegant worship, hardly excepting the Greek mythology. What with incense, pictures, statues, altars, shrines, relics, and the real
CATHOLICISM-A TANGIBLE RELIGION
presence, confession, absolution, there is something sensible to grasp at. Besides, it leaves no possibility of doubt; for those who swallow their Deity, really and truly, in transubstantiation, can hardly find any thing else otherwise than easy of digestion. I am afraid that this sounds flippant, but I don't mean it to be so; only my turn of mind is so given to taking things in the absurd point of view, that it breaks out in spite of me every now and then. Still, I do assure you that I am a very good Christian. Whether you will believe me in this, I do not know.
Taaffe dines with me and half-a-dozen English to-day; and I have not the heart to tell him how the bibliopolar world shrink from his Commentary [on Dante);—and yet it is full of the most orthodox religion and morality. In short, I make it a point that he shall be in print. He is such a good-natured, heavy *
* * Christian, that we must give him a shove through the press.
(1822, March 8. Letter 985, to Thomas
Moore, Vol. VI., p. 38.) They give me a very good account of you, and of your nearly Emprisoned Angels. But why did you change your title ?—you will regret this some day. The bigots are not to be conciliated; and, if they were-are they worth it? I suspect that I am a more orthodox Christian than you are; and, whenever I see a real Christian, either in practice or in theory (for I never yet found the man who could produce either, when put to the proof,) I am his disciple. But, till then, I cannot truckle to tithe-mongers,-nor
can I imagine what has made you circumcise your Seraphs.
(1823, April 2. Letter 1064, to Thomas
Moore, Vol. VI., p. 182.)
There is a clever but eccentric man here, a Di Kennedy, who is very pious and tries in good earnest to make converts; but his Christianity is a queer one, for he says that the priesthood of the Church of England are no more Christians than “Mahound or Termagant” are. He has made some converts, I suspect rather to the beauty of his wife (who is pretty as well as pious) than of his theology. I like what I have seen of him, of her I know nothing, nor desire to know, having other things to think about. He says that the dozen shocks of an Earthquake we had the other day are a sign of his doctrine, or a judgement on his audience, but this opinion has not acquired proselytes.
(1823, October 12. Letter 1107, to the
Hon. Augusta Leigh, Vol. VI., p. 261.) I have recently seen something of a zealous D' Kennedy-a very good Calvinist, who has a taste for controversy and conversion, and thinks me so nearly a tolerable Christian, that he is trying to make me a whole one. I have found, indeed, one indisputable text in St Paul's epistle to the Romans (Chapter 10", I believe), which disposes me much to credit all the rest of the dicta of that powerful Apostle. It is this (see the Chapter)" For there is no difference between a JEW and a GREEK;" tell Messrs Webb and Barker that I intend to preach from this text to Carriddi and