There are not therefore, Madam, to be seen amongst them, or at least, are rarely to be met with, those arrogant haughty characters, who, full of themselves of their greatness, or their merit, look on themselves almost as a species a-part, and disdain the rest of mankind, of whom consequently they can never have the confidence or love. Their equals these rarely know any thing of, because the jealousy that reigns amongst the great, hinders them from being intimate enough with one another. Neither do they know themselves, from their never studying themselves, and from their constant self-flattery. They never reflect, that to gain admission into the hearts of men, they must make themselves their equals; so that with this pretended superiority of enlightened understanding, which they look on as an essential property of the rank they hold, the most part of them live groveling in a proud and incurable ignorance of all that it would be the most important for them to know, and never enjoy the true sweets of life.
In all this how wretchedly different from the savages! In this country, all the men esteem themselves equally men; and in man, what they most esteem is, the man. No distinction of birth; no prerogative attributed to rank, to the prejudice of the other free members of society; no pre-eminence annexed to merit that can inspire pride, or make others feel too much their inferiority. There is, perhaps, less delicacy in their sentiments than amongst us, but surely more uprightness; less ceremony; less of all that can form a dubious character; less of the temptations or illusions or self-love.
Religion only can perfect these people in what is good in them, and correct what bad. This indeed is not peculiar to them, but what is so, is, that they bring with them fewer obstacles to religious devotion when once they have begun to believe, which can only be the effect of a special grace. It is also true, that to establish firmly the empire of religion over them, it would be necessary that they should see it practised in all its purity by those who profess it. They are extremely susceptible of the scandal given by bad Christians, as are all those who are, for the first time, instructed in the principles of the Gospel-morality.
You will perhaps ask me, Madam, if they have a religion? To this I answer, that it cannot be said they have not one, though it is difficult to give a definition of what it is. I shall sometime or other, take occasion to enter into more particulars on this head. This letter, like most of the others that have preceded it, prove sufficiently that I do not pretend to write to you methodically.