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perusal of the French and Latin classics; and at eacli step I felt myself invigorated by the habits of applica

avec moins de préoccupation les principes qu'il adopte, et les voyant souvent condamnés par des personnes qu'il voit qui ont du goût pour la verité, il ne les regarderoit pas comme infaillibles, et convaincu qu'on ne le hait pas à cause de ses sentimens, il écouteroit ce qu'on lui diroit avec plus de confiance. Tout ce que je viens de dire est une suite des remarques que j'ai fait sur son caractére, et sur ce que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'en dire dans votre lettre. Je me suis appercu qu'il étoit attaché au parti du Prétendant: il s'en est déclaré assez ouvertement dans la suite. Ja'i combattu ses idées sans faire semblant que c'étoit les siennes, et sans marquer aucune intention de lui faire de la peine: il a répliqué plusieurs fois, mais à la fin j'ai tellement renversé tous ses raisonnemens qu'il n'en parle plus, et qu'il s'exprime sur le sujet du roi d'une manière bien différente de ce qu'il faisoit autrefois. Je n'assurerai pas cependant qu'il ait entièrement changé d'idées, parcequ'il parle peu, et que je n'ai pas voulu faire connoître que j'avois dessein de l'emporter sur lui.


Votre très humble et obéissant serviteur,


Lausanne, 31st October 1753.

SIR, Since my letter of the 15th August, I received on the 18th of the same month the letter which you did me the honour to write, of the date of the 24th July. Having read it with attention, allow me to represent to you the reflections which have occurred to me.

You desire that your son should go out little, but be retained within doors, and obliged to occupy himself in his studies. You are his parent, sir, and consequently have a right to prescribe the manner in which he should be treated. Without doubt you select this course because you think that it will succeed better in removing the prejudices to which he has resigned himself. I beg you, however, to

tion and method. His prudence repressed and dissembled some youthful sallies; and as soon as I was

consider that your son is of a serious character, that he is fond of reflection, and that, being so much in his chamber employed in reading, he will follow his own ideas exclusively, to which he will be the more attached, as there will be no one to contradict him; moreover, regarding the obligation as a species of restraint imposed upon him, he will be less inclined to listen to what I shall say to him, and will regard all my conversation as coming from a man who entertains notions which he disapproves, and who is paid for endeavouring to make him of the same opinion.

I believe, sir, that it would be more advisable for him to unbend a little, and seek additional amusement, in order to dissipate a portion of the too great gravity of his character. By seeing good company he would learn what is deemed correct in regard to a variety of subjects; he would be accustomed to contradiction, and to the necessity of occasionally yielding, and would thereby be led to examine with serious care, and with less pre-occupation, the principles which he adopts. Often finding them condemned by persons whom he will see evince a solicitude to be correct, he will not regard them as infallible; and convinced that they who differ from him do not dislike him for his opinions, he will listen to them with more confidence. All that I have just said has been suggested by my observations on his character, and my consideration of what you have done me the honour to say in your letter. Having perceived that he was attached to the party of the Pretender, which he openly acknowledged in the sequel, I have combatted his opinions, without seeming to regard them as entertained by him, and without exhibiting any intention to annoy him. He has frequently replied; but I have finally so repelled his arguments, that he speaks no more in this strain, and expresses himself very differently in relation to the king from what he did formerly. I am not sure, however, that his opinions are altogether changed, as he speaks little, and I have never wished him to think that I had any design to dictate to or overrule him.


Your very humble and obedient servant,

confirmed in the habits of industry and temperance, he gave the reins into my own hands. His favourable report of my behaviour and progress gradually obtained some latitude of action and expense; and he wished to alleviate the hardships of my lodging and entertainment. The principles of philosophy were associated with the examples of taste; and by a singular chance, the book, as well as the man, which contributed the most effectually to my education, has a stronger claim on my gratitude than on my admiration. M. De Crousaz, the adversary of Bayle and Pope, is not distinguished by lively fancy or profound reflection; and even in his own country, at the end of a few years, his name and writings are almost obliterated. But his philosophy had been formed in the school of Locke, his divinity in that of Limborch and Le Clerc; in a long and laborious life, several generations of pupils were taught to think, and even to write; his lessons rescued the academy of Lausanne from Calvinistic prejudice; and he had the rare merit of diffusing a more liberal spirit among the clergy and people of the Pays de Vaud. His system of logic, which in the last editions has swelled to six tedious and prolix volumes, may be praised as a clear and methodical abridgment of the art of reasoning, from our simple ideas to the most complex operations of the human understanding. This system I studied, and meditated, and abstracted, till I obtained the free command of an universal instrument, which I soon presumed to exercise on my Catholic opinions. Pavilliard was not unmindful that his first task, his most important duty, was to reclaim me from the errors of popery. The intermixture of sects has rendered the Swiss clergy acute and learned on the topics of controversy; and I have some of his letters in which he celebrates the dexterity of his attack, and my gradual concessions after a firm and well-managed defence.*

I was

* M. Pavilliard has described to me the astonishment with which he gazed on Mr Gibbon standing before him; a thin

willing, and I am now willing, to allow him a handsome share of the honour of my conversion; yet I must observe, that it was principally effected by my private reflections; and I still remember my solitary transport at the discovery of a philosophical argument against the doctrine of transubstantiation-that the text of scripture which seems to inculcate the real presence, is attested only by a single sense-our sight; while the real presence itself is disproved by three of our senses the sight, the touch, and the taste. The various articles of the Romish creed disappeared like a dream; and after a full conviction, on Christmasday 1754 I received the sacrament in the church of Lausanne. It was here that I suspended my religious inquiries, acquiescing with implicit belief in the tenets and mysteries which are adopted by the general consent of Catholics and Protestants.*

little figure, with a large head, disputing and urging, with the greatest ability, all the best arguments that had ever been used in favour of Popery. Mr Gibbon many years ago became very fat and corpulent,, but he had uncommonly small bones, and was very slightly made. S.

* From M. PAVILLIARD to EDWARD GIBBON, Esq. Juin 26, 1754.


J'espère que vous pardonnerez mon long silence, en faveur des nouvelles que j'ai à vous apprendre. Si j'ai tant tardé, ce n'a été ni par oubli, ni par négligence, mais je croyois de semaine en semaine pouvoir vos annoncer que monsieur votre fils avoit entièrement renoncé aux fauses idées qu'il avoit embrassées; mais il a fallu disputer le terrein pied à pied, et je n'ai pas trouvé en lui un homme léger, et qui passe rapidement d'un sentiment à un autre. Souvent après avoir détruit toutes ses idées sur un article, de manière qu'il n'avoit rien à répliquer, ce qu'il avouoit sans détour, il me disoit qu'il ne croioit pas qu'il n'y eût rien à me répondre. Là-dessus je n'ai pas jugé qu'il fallût le pousser à bout, et extorquer de lui un aveu que son cœur desavoueroit; je lui donnois alors du tems pour réfléchir;

Such, from my arrival at Lausanne, during the first eighteen or twenty months (July 1753-March 1755)

tous mes livrez étoient à sa disposition; je revenois à la charge quand il m'avouoit qu'il avoit étudie la matière aussi bien qu'il l'avoit pu, et enfin j'établissois une verité.

Je me persuadois que quand jaurois détrit les principales erreurs de l'église Romaine, je n'aurois qu'à faire voir que les autres, sont des conséquences des premières, et qu'elles ne peuvent subsister quand les fondamentales sont renversées; mais, comme je l'ai dit, je me suis trompé, il a fallu traiter chaque article dans son entier. Pår la grace de Dieu, je n'ai pas perdu mon tems, et aujourdhui, si même il conserve quelques restes de ses pernicieuses erreurs, j'ose dire qu'il n'ést plus membre de l'église Romaine; voici donc où nous en sommes.

J'ai renversé l'infaillibilité de l'église; j'ai prouvé que jamais St Pierre n'a été chef des apôtres; que quand il l'auroit été, le pape n'est point son successeur; qu'il est douteux que St Pierre ait jamaise été à Rome, mais supposé qu'il y ait été, il n'a pas été évêque de cette ville: que la transubstantiation est une invention humaine, et peu ancienne dans l'église ; que l'adoration de l'Euchariste et le retranchement de la coupe sont contraires à la parole de Dieu qu'il y a des saints, mais que nous ne savons pas qui ils sont, et par conséquent qu'on ne peut pas les prier; que le respect et le culte qu'on rend aux reliques est condamnable; qu'il n'y a point de purgatoire, et que la doctrine des indulgences est fausse: que le Carême et les jeunes du Vendredi et du Samedi sont ridicules aujourdhui, et de la manière que l'église Romaine les prescrit: que les imputations que l'église de Rome nous fait de varier dans notre doctrine, et d'avoir pour réformateurs des personnes dont la conduite et les inceurs ont été un scandale, sont entièrement fausses

Vous comprenez bien monsieur, que ces articles sont d'une longue discussion, qu'il a fallu du tems à monsieur votre fils pour méditer mes raisons, et pour y chercher des réponses. Je lui ai demandé plusieurs fois si mes preuves et mes raisons lui paroissoient convainquantes; il m'a toujours assuré qu'oui, de façon que j'ose assurer aussi comme je le Jui ai dit à lui même il y a peu de tems, qu'il n'étoit plus catholique Romaine. Je me flatte qu'après avoir obtenu la

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