volume, added to the Peter Plymley Letters, were contributed. The Rev. Sydney Smith preached sometimes in the Episcopal Church at Edinburgh, and presently had, in addition to William Beach, a son of Mr. Gordon, of Ellon Castle, placed under his care, receiving . 'Peter Plymley's Letters, and Selected Essays' is a collection of writings chiefly on the subject of the Catholic church and its development. Sydney Smith was born on 3rd June in Woodford, Essex, England. Smith's first book 'Six Sermons, preached in Charlotte Street Chapel, Edinburgh' was published in Author: Sydney Smith. 'Peter Plymley's Letters, and Selected Essays' is a collection of writings chiefly on the subject of the Catholic church and its development. Sydney Smith was born on . Details about Peter Plymley's Letters, and selected essays by Sydney Smith (English) Paperback Be the first to write a review. Peter Plymley's Letters, and selected essays Seller Rating: % positive. Peter Plymley's Letters, and selected essays and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle goodessay.pw: Sydney Smith.
Sydney Smith, of the same age as Walter Scott, was born at Woodford, in Essex, in the year , and he died of heart disease, aged seventy-four, on the 22nd of February, His father was a clever man of wandering habits who, when he settled in England, reduced his means by buying, altering, spoiling, and then selling about nineteen different places in England.
His mother was of a French family from Languedoc, that had been driven to England by the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Sydney Smith's grandfather, upon the mother's side, could speak no English, and he himself ascribed some of his gaiety to the French blood in his veins.
He was one of four sons. His eldest brother Robert--known as Bobus- -was sent to Eton, where he joined Canning, Frere, and John Smith, in writing the Eton magazine, the Microcosm; and at Cambridge Bobus afterwards was known as a fine Latin scholar. Sydney Smith went first to a school at Southampton, and then to Winchester, where he became captain of the school. Then he was sent for six months to Normandy for a last polish to his French before he went on to New College, Oxford.
When he had obtained his fellowship there, his father left him to his own resources. His eldest brother had been trained for the bar, his two younger brothers were sent out to India, and Sydney, against his own wish, yielded to the strong desire of his father that he should take orders as a clergyman. Accordingly, in , he became curate of the small parish of Netherhaven, in Wiltshire. Meat came to Netherhaven only once a week in a butcher's cart from Salisbury, and the curate often dined upon potatoes flavoured with ketchup.
The only educated neighbour was Mr. Hicks Beach, the squire, who at first formally invited the curate to dinner on Sundays, and soon found his wit, sense, and high culture so delightful, that the acquaintance ripened into friendship. After two years in the curacy, Sydney Smith gave it up and went abroad with the squire's son. The squire of the parish, Mr. Beach, took a fancy to me, and after I had served it two years, he engaged me as tutor to his eldest son, and it was arranged that I and his son should proceed to the University of Weimar in Saxony.
We set out, but before reaching our destination Germany was disturbed by war, and, in stress of politics, we put into Edinburgh, where I remained five years. When Michael went to the University, his brother William was placed under the same good care. Sydney Smith, about the same time, went to London to be married. His wife's rich brother quarrelled with her for marrying a man who said that his only fortune consisted in six small silver teaspoons.
One day after their happy marriage he ran in to his wife and threw them in her lap, saying, "There, Kate, you lucky girl, I give you all my fortune! Beach recognised the value of Sydney Smith's influence over his son by a wedding gift of pounds. In a daughter was born, and in the same year Sydney Smith joined Francis Jeffrey and other friends, who then maintained credit for Edinburgh as the Modern Athens, in the founding of The Edinburgh Review, to which the papers in this volume, added to the Peter Plymley Letters, were contributed.
Gordon, of Ellon Castle, placed under his care, receiving pounds a year for each of the young men. His wit brought friends, and the marriage of his eldest brother with Lord Holland's aunt quickened the growth of a strong friendship with Lord Holland. Through the good offices of Lord Holland, Sydney Smith obtained, in , aged thirty-five, the living of Foston-le- Clay, in Yorkshire. In the next year appeared the first letter of Peter Plymley to his brother Abraham on the subject of the Irish Catholics.
These letters fell, we are told, like sparks on a heap of gunpowder. All London, and soon all England, was alive to the sound reason recommended by a lively wit. Sydney Smith lived to be recognised as first among the social wits, and it was always the chief praise of his wit that wisdom was the soul of it.
Peter Plymley's letters, and Sydney Smith's articles on the same subject in The Edinburgh Review were the most powerful aids furnished by the pen to the solution of the burning question of their time. Lord Murray called the Plymley letters "after Pascal's letters the most instructive piece of wisdom in the form of irony ever written.
Dear Abraham,--A worthier and better man than yourself does not exist; but I have always told you, from the time of our boyhood, that you were a bit of a goose.
Your parochial affairs are governed with exemplary order and regularity; you are as powerful in the vestry as Mr. Perceval is in the House of Commons,--and, I must say, with much more reason; nor do I know any church where the faces and smock-frocks of the congregation are so clean, or their eyes so uniformly directed to the preacher. There is another point, upon which I will do you ample justice; and that is, that the eyes so directed towards you are wide open; for the rustic has, in general, good principles, though he cannot control his animal habits; and, however loud he may snore, his face is perpetually turned towards the fountain of orthodoxy.
Having done you this act of justice, I shall proceed, according to our ancient intimacy and familiarity, to explain to you my opinions about the Catholics, and to reply to yours. In the first place, my sweet Abraham, the Pope is not landed--nor are there any curates sent out after him--nor has he been hid at St.
If these fears exist which I do not believe , they exist only in the mind of the Chancellor of the Exchequer; they emanate from his zeal for the Protestant interest; and, though they reflect the highest honour upon the delicate irritability of his faith, must certainly be considered as more ambiguous proofs of the sanity and vigour of his understanding.
By this time, however, the best-informed clergy in the neighbourhood of the metropolis are convinced that the rumour is without foundation; and though the Pope is probably hovering about our coast in a fishing-smack, it is most likely he will fall a prey to the vigilance of our cruisers; and it is certain that he has not yet polluted the Protestantism of our soil.
Exactly in the same manner, the story of the wooden gods seized at Charing Cross, by an order from the Foreign Office, turns out to be without the shadow of a foundation; instead of the angels and archangels, mentioned by the informer, nothing was discovered but a wooden image of Lord Mulgrave, going down to Chatham, as a head- piece for the Spanker gun-vessel; it was an exact resemblance of his Lordship in his military uniform; and THEREFORE as little like a god as can well be imagined.
Peter plimley letters and selected essays of emerson
Having set your fears at rest, as to the extent of the conspiracy formed against the Protestant religion, I will now come to the argument itself.
You say these men interpret the scriptures in an unorthodox manner, and that they eat their god. All this may seem very important to you, who live fourteen miles from a market-town, and, from long residence upon your living, are become a kind of holy vegetable; and in a theological sense it is highly important.
But I want soldiers and sailors for the state; I want to make a greater use than I now can do of a poor country full of men; I want to render the military service popular among the Irish; to check the power of France; to make every possible exertion for the safety of Europe, which in twenty years' time will be nothing but a mass of French slaves: They interpret the Epistle to Timothy in a different manner from what we do!
They eat a bit of wafer every Sunday, which they call their God! I wish to my soul they would eat you, and such reasoners as you are. You talk about the Catholics! If you and your brotherhood have been able to persuade the country into a continuation of this grossest of all absurdities, you have ten times the power which the Catholic clergy ever had in their best days.
No power in Europe, but yourselves, has ever thought for these hundred years past, of asking whether a bayonet is Catholic, or Presbyterian or Lutheran; but whether it is sharp and well-tempered. A bigot delights in public ridicule; for he begins to think he is a martyr. I can promise you the full enjoyment of this pleasure, from one extremity of Europe to the other. I am as disgusted with the nonsense of the Roman Catholic religion as you can be: Will a man discharge the solemn impertinences of the one office with less zeal, or shrink from the bloody boldness of the other with greater timidity, because the blockhead thinks he can eat angels in muffins and chew a spiritual nature in the crumpets which he buys from the baker's shop?
I am sorry there should be such impious folly in the world, but I should be ten times a greater fool than he is, if I refused, till he had made a solemn protestation that the crumpet was spiritless and the muffin nothing but a human muffin, to lead him out against the enemies of the state. Your whole argument is wrong: You have every tenth porker in your parish for refuting them; and take care that you are vigilant and logical in the task.
I love the Church as well as you do; but you totally mistake the nature of an establishment, when you contend that it ought to be connected with the military and civil career of every individual in the state. It is quite right that there should be one clergyman to every parish interpreting the Scriptures after a particular manner, ruled by a regular hierarchy, and paid with a rich proportion of haycocks and wheatsheafs. When I have laid this foundation for a rational religion in the state--when I have placed ten thousand well-educated men in different parts of the kingdom to preach it up, and compelled everybody to pay them, whether they hear them or not-- I have taken such measures as I know must always procure an immense majority in favour of the Established Church; but I can go no further.
I cannot set up a civil inquisition, and say to one, you shall not be a butcher, because you are not orthodox; and prohibit another from brewing, and a third from administering the law, and a fourth from defending the country.
If common justice did not prohibit me from such a conduct, common sense would. The advantage to be gained by quitting the heresy would make it shameful to abandon it; and men who had once left the Church would continue in such a state of alienation from a point of honour, and transmit that spirit to their latest posterity. This is just the effect your disqualifying laws have produced. They have fed Dr.
Kippis; crowded the congregations of the Old Jewry to suffocation: You say the King's coronation oath will not allow him to consent to any relaxation of the Catholic laws. If one is contrary to his oath, the other must be so too; for the spirit of the oath is, to defend the Church establishment, which the Quaker and the Presbyterian differ from as much or more than the Catholic; and yet his Majesty has repealed the Corporation and Test Act in Ireland, and done more for the Catholics of both kingdoms than had been done for them since the Reformation.
In the ministers said nothing about the royal conscience; in no conscience; in no conscience; the common feeling of humanity and justice then seem to have had their fullest influence upon the advisers of the Crown; but in a year, I suppose, eminently fruitful in moral and religious scruples as some years are fruitful in apples, some in hops ,--it is contended by the well-paid John Bowles, and by Mr. Perceval who tried to be well paid , that this is now perjury which we had hitherto called policy and benevolence.
Religious liberty has never made such a stride as under the reign of his present Majesty; nor is there any instance in the annals of our history, where so many infamous and damnable laws have been repealed as those against the Catholics which have been put an end to by him; and then, at the close of this useful policy, his advisers discover that the very measures of concession and indulgence, or to use my own language the measures of justice, which he has been pursuing through the whole of his reign, are contrary to the oath he takes at its commencement!
That oath binds his Majesty not to consent to any measure contrary to the interest of the Established Church; but who is to judge of the tendency of each particular measure? Not the King alone: Whatever be his own private judgment of the tendency of any ecclesiastical bill, he complies most strictly with his oath, if he is guided in that particular point by the advice of his Parliament, who may be presumed to understand its tendency better than the King, or any other individual.
You say, if Parliament had been unanimous in their opinion of the absolute necessity for Lord Howick's bill, and the King had thought it pernicious, he would have been perjured if he had not rejected it.
I say, on the contrary, his Majesty would have acted in the most conscientious manner, and have complied most scrupulously with his oath, if he had sacrificed his own opinion to the opinion of the great council of the nation; because the probability was that such opinion was better than his own; and upon the same principle, in common life, you give up your opinion to your physician, your lawyer, and your builder. You admit this bill did not compel the King to elect Catholic officers, but only gave him the option of doing so if he pleased; but you add, that the King was right in not trusting such dangerous power to himself or his successors.
Now you are either to suppose that the King for the time being has a zeal for the Catholic establishment, or that he has not. If he has not, where is the danger of giving such an option? If you suppose that he may be influenced by such an admiration of the Catholic religion, why did his present Majesty, in the year , consent to that bill which empowered the Crown to station ten thousand Catholic soldiers in any part of the kingdom, and place them absolutely at the disposal of the Crown?
But the real fact is, one bill opened a door to his Majesty's advisers for trick, jobbing, and intrigue; the other did not. Besides, what folly to talk to me of an oath, which, under all possible circumstances, is to prevent the relaxation of the Catholic laws! Suppose Bonaparte was to retrieve the only very great blunder he has made, and were to succeed, after repeated trials, in making an impression upon Ireland, do you think we should hear any thing of the impediment of a coronation oath?
And yet, if your argument is good for anything, the coronation oath ought to reject, at such a moment, every tendency to conciliation, and to bind Ireland for ever to the crown of France. I found in your letter the usual remarks about fire, fagot, and bloody Mary. Are you aware, my dear Priest, that there were as many persons put to death for religious opinions under the mild Elizabeth as under the bloody Mary?
The reign of the former was, to be sure, ten times as long; but I only mention the fact, merely to show you that something depends upon the age in which men live, as well as on their religious opinions.
Three hundred years ago men burnt and hanged each other for these opinions. Time has softened Catholic as well as Protestant: We are all the creatures of circumstances. I know not a kinder and better man than yourself; but you, if you had lived in those times, would certainly have roasted your Catholic: I do not go the length of saying that the world has suffered as much from Protestant as from Catholic persecution; far from it: I cannot extend my letter any further at present, but you shall soon hear from me again.
You tell me I am a party man.
I hope I shall always be so, when I see my country in the hands of a pert London joker and a second-rate lawyer. Of the first, no other good is known than that he makes pretty Latin verses; the second seems to me to have the head of a country parson and the tongue of an Old Bailey lawyer. If I could see good measures pursued, I care not a farthing who is in power; but I have a passionate love for common justice, and for common sense, and I abhor and despise every man who builds up his political fortune upon their ruin.