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had requested my excellent friend Mr. Thom to write to you in my dame. But he is so full of business, that though desirous, both on my own and his account, to fulfil my commission, he has hitherto been obliged to postpone it. Your letter, nevertheless, gave me such an impulse yesterday evening that I resolved to write to you without delay.
I have frequently meditated on the large portion of Truth which the doctrines of the mystics contain. No one, I believe, who has dwelt upon the notion of virtue will deny, that the constant desire of doing the will of God is of its very essence. This view in different language, has been that of the best stoics, and most judicious philosophers. They have declared that such a practical conformity of will is the only way of being free : resistance is slavery. From this, to taking pleasure in whatever God allots to us, the distance is not great. I cannot say that I ever felt that kind of sensitive pleasure, which I believe is the effect of enthusiasm, but one thing I can assert, if it were possible to deliver myself from suffering by a capricious act of the Will, and not according to the established laws of the Universe, (I include the Laws of the moral World, &c.,) which to me have always seemed identical with the will of God, and its best Index, I would not exert that wanton power.
I see the paper filling up rapidly, and yet I have said very little of the crowd of thoughts which your letter has brought upon me. The subject of Spain is as melancholy as it is vast. When I came to this country more than thirty years ago, I declared that Spain would produce no great Man. Most people scouted me on that account. But my conviction was deep and immoveable. The ground of that conviction was my intimate knowledge of the country. I had found sincerity, straightforward veracity, nowhere in my unfortunate country; and where such virtues do not exist, where people do not venture to show themselves as they are, great men cannot appear. The Church and the Inquisition had established a universal system of dissimu
lation, which ruined the finest natural characters. I do not know whether Spain and its former Colonies will ever outgrow their present contempt of moral principle, their incredulity as to the existence of virtue. As they are, they may produce here and there a flash of civilization or refinement; but they will not rise in moral character.
I must conclude with a mention of Dr. Follen. Though I had never known him, yet the account of his death filled me with sorrow. As to your Discourse, I can assure you I could not read it without tears. The remembrance of such a man will always be dear and venerable to me.
I now must take leave of you. I have written in pain ; but as I knew that if I broke off it would be more difficult to proceed, I have urged myself on to the end. Believe me, with much esteem and respect,
Your attached Friend,
J. BLANCO WHITE.
May 19th, Tuesday. A miserable night. I feel altogether much worse. Very ill. Mrs. Rathbone called just after my dinner, and urged me very kindly to go to Green Bank for a fortnight. I had considered the subject very attentively, and found such an attempt very rash. It would only put me out of my long-settled accommodations, and occasion a great deal of bustle, which must be gone through again in a few days; exposing myself all the time to the sharp and stormy air of Liverpool, which after a confinement of about four years, must make a very severe impression upon me, increasing probably my sufferings, and not killing me.
May 20th. A very feverish night; very ill in the morning. Informed my housekeeper, that I intend to move into lodgings as soon as I should find a convenient suite of rooms, and break up this little establishment.
June 4th. The Moores on their way to Scotland spent halfan-hour with me.—I am suffering from increased rheumatism, and headache which is uncommon with me.
5th. Wrote to Mrs. Whately.—I have read during the last two or three weeks the principal works concerning Napoleon, which were written at St. Helena. My indignation against the dastardly creatures who tortured him to death is very high.
June 6th. I cannot read anything that presents to my mind the existing wickedness of society ; I feel as if it were pressing directly upon me, and fall into transient, but painful, dreams, in which for a moment I feel identified with the sufferers.
July 11th. My wretched Birth-day: sixty-five years old, without a place of rest to die in.*
I am reading Lamartine’s “ Voyage en Orient.” It is a book abounding in beauties of style and sentiment, but involved in the mistiness of a devotion which it is scarcely possible not to suspect of affectation. Lamartine is one of the post-revolutionary French Catholics. Their creed, if they can be said to have any, is quite heretical: had Rome the power, she would make an Auto da Fe of this new sect. Their Christianity is not founded on a firm belief of the inspiration of the Scriptures, nor, much less, in that of the Church. It is only a wilful encouragement of such feelings, imbibed in early life, as are able to silence severe thought upon the most important points of religious philosophy. Lamartine indulges à childish dreamingness upon all views which, being perfectly untenable when rationally examined, are nevertheless agreeable to his feelings and habits. In this manner he maintains the utility of prayer
[* He was giving up his house, and had made some unsuccessful attempts to procure lodgings in the country.]
with an extravagance that almost equals that of our Methodists. He is fond of the Mahometans, because, to use the ridiculous language of our saints, they are a “prayer-loving people.” I am in doubt whether these poetical christians can do any indirect good-direct, is entirely out of the question.
14th. My spirits have been better for the last two days. Nothing could exceed the gloom that has oppressed my mind for a considerable time.
July 17th. I am reading regularly and attentively Mr. Prescott's History of Ferdinand and Isabella. It is a historical composition of sterling merit, full of instruction most critically collected, and enlivened with a vast variety of interesting and splendid scenes. Yet this work raises in me the most melancholy feelings. The triumph of the Spaniards is to me the triumph of evil. Wo! to the best interests of humanity in proportion as Spain gains ascendancy ! Mahometanism is an enemy to mental improvement; but its opposition cannot be permanent. Catholicism is the great bane of the civilized world. Its mischievous influence is great in proportion to the appearance of refinement which the Catholic Church can assume. Its true spirit is barbarous, as may be