Letters on England eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 113 pages of information about Letters on England.
was spoken to in such phrases as these:  ‘I love thee,’ ‘I beseech thee,’ ‘I thank thee;’ but he did not allow any person to call him ‘Domine,’ sir.  It was not till many ages after that men would have the word ‘you,’ as though they were double, instead of ‘thou’ employed in speaking to them; and usurped the flattering titles of lordship, of eminence, and of holiness, which mere worms bestow on other worms by assuring them that they are with a most profound respect, and an infamous falsehood, their most obedient humble servants.  It is to secure ourselves more strongly from such a shameless traffic of lies and flattery, that we ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ a king with the same freedom as we do a beggar, and salute no person; we owing nothing to mankind but charity, and to the laws respect and obedience.

“Our apparel is also somewhat different from that of others, and this purely, that it may be a perpetual warning to us not to imitate them.  Others wear the badges and marks of their several dignities, and we those of Christian humility.  We fly from all assemblies of pleasure, from diversions of every kind, and from places where gaming is practised; and indeed our case would be very deplorable, should we fill with such levities as those I have mentioned the heart which ought to be the habitation of God.  We never swear, not even in a court of justice, being of opinion that the most holy name of God ought not to be prostituted in the miserable contests betwixt man and man.  When we are obliged to appear before a magistrate upon other people’s account (for law-suits are unknown among the Friends), we give evidence to the truth by sealing it with our yea or nay; and the judges believe us on our bare affirmation, whilst so many other Christians forswear themselves on the holy Gospels.  We never war or fight in any case; but it is not that we are afraid, for so far from shuddering at the thoughts of death, we on the contrary bless the moment which unites us with the Being of Beings; but the reason of our not using the outward sword is, that we are neither wolves, tigers, nor mastiffs, but men and Christians.  Our God, who has commanded us to love our enemies, and to suffer without repining, would certainly not permit us to cross the seas, merely because murderers clothed in scarlet, and wearing caps two foot high, enlist citizens by a noise made with two little sticks on an ass’s skin extended.  And when, after a victory is gained, the whole city of London is illuminated; when the sky is in a blaze with fireworks, and a noise is heard in the air, of thanksgivings, of bells, of organs, and of the cannon, we groan in silence, and are deeply affected with sadness of spirit and brokenness of heart, for the sad havoc which is the occasion of those public rejoicings.”

LETTER II.—­ON THE QUAKERS

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Letters on England from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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