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Voltaire

Birthdate: 21. November 1694
Date of death: 30. May 1778
Other names: Francois M. Voltaire, François Marie Voltaire, François Marie Arouet

François-Marie Arouet , known by his nom de plume Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his criticism of Christianity, especially the Roman Catholic Church, as well as his advocacy of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state.

Voltaire was a versatile and prolific writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken advocate of civil liberties, despite the risk this placed him in under the strict censorship laws of the time. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma, and the French institutions of his day.

Works

Quotes Voltaire

„His first care was to make an alliance with his American neighbors; and this is the only treaty between those people and the Christians that was not ratified by an oath, and that was never infringed.“

—  Voltaire

Variants:
No oaths, no seals, no official mummeries were used; the treaty was ratified on both sides with a yea, yea — the only one, says Voltaire, that the world has known, never sworn to and never broken.
As quoted in William Penn : An Historical Biography (1851) by William Hepworth Dixon
William Penn began by making a league with the Americans, his neighbors. It is the only one between those natives and the Christians which was never sworn to, and the only one that was never broken.
As quoted in American Pioneers (1905), by William Augustus Mowry and Blanche Swett Mowry, p. 80
It was the only treaty made by the settlers with the Indians that was never sworn to, and the only one that was never broken.
As quoted in A History of the American Peace Movement (2008) by Charles F. Howlett, and ‎Robbie Lieberman, p. 33
The History of the Quakers (1762)
Context: William inherited very large possessions, part of which consisted of crown debts, due to the vice-admiral for sums he had advanced for the sea-service. No moneys were at that time less secure than those owing from the king. Penn was obliged to go, more than once, and "thee" and "thou" Charles and his ministers, to recover the debt; and at last, instead of specie, the government invested him with the right and sovereignty of a province of America, to the south of Maryland. Thus was a Quaker raised to sovereign power.
He set sail for his new dominions with two ships filled with Quakers, who followed his fortune. The country was then named by them Pennsylvania, from William Penn; and he founded Philadelphia, which is now a very flourishing city. His first care was to make an alliance with his American neighbors; and this is the only treaty between those people and the Christians that was not ratified by an oath, and that was never infringed. The new sovereign also enacted several wise and wholesome laws for his colony, which have remained invariably the same to this day. The chief is, to ill-treat no person on account of religion, and to consider as brethren all those who believe in one God. He had no sooner settled his government than several American merchants came and peopled this colony. The natives of the country, instead of flying into the woods, cultivated by degrees a friendship with the peaceable Quakers. They loved these new strangers as much as they disliked the other Christians, who had conquered and ravaged America. In a little time these savages, as they are called, delighted with their new neighbors, flocked in crowds to Penn, to offer themselves as his vassals. It was an uncommon thing to behold a sovereign "thee'd" and "thou'd" by his subjects, and addressed by them with their hats on; and no less singular for a government to be without one priest in it; a people without arms, either for offence or preservation; a body of citizens without any distinctions but those of public employments; and for neighbors to live together free from envy or jealousy. In a word, William Penn might, with reason, boast of having brought down upon earth the Golden Age, which in all probability, never had any real existence but in his dominions.

„William Penn, when only fifteen years of age, chanced to meet a Quaker in Oxford, where he was then following his studies.“

—  Voltaire

The History of the Quakers (1762)
Context: William Penn, when only fifteen years of age, chanced to meet a Quaker in Oxford, where he was then following his studies. This Quaker made a proselyte of him; and our young man, being naturally sprightly and eloquent, having a very winning aspect and engaging carriage, soon gained over some of his companions and intimates, and in a short time formed a society of young Quakers, who met at his house; so that at the age of sixteen he found himself at the head of a sect. Having left college, at his return home to the vice-admiral, his father, instead of kneeling to ask his blessing, as is the custom with the English, he went up to him with his hat on, and accosted him thus: "Friend, I am glad to see thee in good health." The viceadmiral thought his son crazy; but soon discovered he was a Quaker. He then employed every method that prudence could suggest to engage him to behave and act like other people. The youth answered his father only with repeated exhortations to turn Quaker also. After much altercation, his father confined himself to this single request, that he would wait on the king and the duke of York with his hat under his arm, and that he would not "thee" and "thou" them. William answered that his conscience would not permit him to do these things. This exasperated his father to such a degree that he turned him out of doors. Young Penn gave God thanks that he permitted him to suffer so early in His cause, and went into the city, where he held forth, and made a great number of converts; and being young, handsome, and of a graceful figure, both court and city ladies flocked very devoutly to hear him. The patriarch Fox, hearing of his great reputation, came to London — notwithstanding the length of the journey — purposely to see and converse with him. They both agreed to go upon missions into foreign countries; and accordingly they embarked for Holland, after having left a sufficient number of laborers to take care of the London vineyard.

„Being of opinion that the doctrine and history of so extraordinary a sect as the Quakers were very well deserving the curiosity of every thinking man, I resolved to make myself acquainted with them“

—  Voltaire

The History of the Quakers (1762)
Context: Being of opinion that the doctrine and history of so extraordinary a sect as the Quakers were very well deserving the curiosity of every thinking man, I resolved to make myself acquainted with them, and for that purpose made a visit to one of the most eminent of that sect in England, who, after having been in trade for thirty years, had the wisdom to prescribe limits to his fortune, and to his desires, and withdrew to a small but pleasant retirement in the country, not many miles from London. Here it was that I made him my visit. His house was small, but neatly built, and with no other ornaments but those of decency and convenience.

„Thus was a Quaker raised to sovereign power.“

—  Voltaire

Variants:
No oaths, no seals, no official mummeries were used; the treaty was ratified on both sides with a yea, yea — the only one, says Voltaire, that the world has known, never sworn to and never broken.
As quoted in William Penn : An Historical Biography (1851) by William Hepworth Dixon
William Penn began by making a league with the Americans, his neighbors. It is the only one between those natives and the Christians which was never sworn to, and the only one that was never broken.
As quoted in American Pioneers (1905), by William Augustus Mowry and Blanche Swett Mowry, p. 80
It was the only treaty made by the settlers with the Indians that was never sworn to, and the only one that was never broken.
As quoted in A History of the American Peace Movement (2008) by Charles F. Howlett, and ‎Robbie Lieberman, p. 33
The History of the Quakers (1762)
Context: William inherited very large possessions, part of which consisted of crown debts, due to the vice-admiral for sums he had advanced for the sea-service. No moneys were at that time less secure than those owing from the king. Penn was obliged to go, more than once, and "thee" and "thou" Charles and his ministers, to recover the debt; and at last, instead of specie, the government invested him with the right and sovereignty of a province of America, to the south of Maryland. Thus was a Quaker raised to sovereign power.
He set sail for his new dominions with two ships filled with Quakers, who followed his fortune. The country was then named by them Pennsylvania, from William Penn; and he founded Philadelphia, which is now a very flourishing city. His first care was to make an alliance with his American neighbors; and this is the only treaty between those people and the Christians that was not ratified by an oath, and that was never infringed. The new sovereign also enacted several wise and wholesome laws for his colony, which have remained invariably the same to this day. The chief is, to ill-treat no person on account of religion, and to consider as brethren all those who believe in one God. He had no sooner settled his government than several American merchants came and peopled this colony. The natives of the country, instead of flying into the woods, cultivated by degrees a friendship with the peaceable Quakers. They loved these new strangers as much as they disliked the other Christians, who had conquered and ravaged America. In a little time these savages, as they are called, delighted with their new neighbors, flocked in crowds to Penn, to offer themselves as his vassals. It was an uncommon thing to behold a sovereign "thee'd" and "thou'd" by his subjects, and addressed by them with their hats on; and no less singular for a government to be without one priest in it; a people without arms, either for offence or preservation; a body of citizens without any distinctions but those of public employments; and for neighbors to live together free from envy or jealousy. In a word, William Penn might, with reason, boast of having brought down upon earth the Golden Age, which in all probability, never had any real existence but in his dominions.

„William inherited very large possessions, part of which consisted of crown debts, due to the vice-admiral for sums he had advanced for the sea-service.“

—  Voltaire

Variants:
No oaths, no seals, no official mummeries were used; the treaty was ratified on both sides with a yea, yea — the only one, says Voltaire, that the world has known, never sworn to and never broken.
As quoted in William Penn : An Historical Biography (1851) by William Hepworth Dixon
William Penn began by making a league with the Americans, his neighbors. It is the only one between those natives and the Christians which was never sworn to, and the only one that was never broken.
As quoted in American Pioneers (1905), by William Augustus Mowry and Blanche Swett Mowry, p. 80
It was the only treaty made by the settlers with the Indians that was never sworn to, and the only one that was never broken.
As quoted in A History of the American Peace Movement (2008) by Charles F. Howlett, and ‎Robbie Lieberman, p. 33
The History of the Quakers (1762)
Context: William inherited very large possessions, part of which consisted of crown debts, due to the vice-admiral for sums he had advanced for the sea-service. No moneys were at that time less secure than those owing from the king. Penn was obliged to go, more than once, and "thee" and "thou" Charles and his ministers, to recover the debt; and at last, instead of specie, the government invested him with the right and sovereignty of a province of America, to the south of Maryland. Thus was a Quaker raised to sovereign power.
He set sail for his new dominions with two ships filled with Quakers, who followed his fortune. The country was then named by them Pennsylvania, from William Penn; and he founded Philadelphia, which is now a very flourishing city. His first care was to make an alliance with his American neighbors; and this is the only treaty between those people and the Christians that was not ratified by an oath, and that was never infringed. The new sovereign also enacted several wise and wholesome laws for his colony, which have remained invariably the same to this day. The chief is, to ill-treat no person on account of religion, and to consider as brethren all those who believe in one God. He had no sooner settled his government than several American merchants came and peopled this colony. The natives of the country, instead of flying into the woods, cultivated by degrees a friendship with the peaceable Quakers. They loved these new strangers as much as they disliked the other Christians, who had conquered and ravaged America. In a little time these savages, as they are called, delighted with their new neighbors, flocked in crowds to Penn, to offer themselves as his vassals. It was an uncommon thing to behold a sovereign "thee'd" and "thou'd" by his subjects, and addressed by them with their hats on; and no less singular for a government to be without one priest in it; a people without arms, either for offence or preservation; a body of citizens without any distinctions but those of public employments; and for neighbors to live together free from envy or jealousy. In a word, William Penn might, with reason, boast of having brought down upon earth the Golden Age, which in all probability, never had any real existence but in his dominions.

„It was in the reign of Charles II that they obtained the noble distinction of being exempted from giving their testimony on oath in a court of justice, and being believed on their bare affirmation.“

—  Voltaire

The History of the Quakers (1762)
Context: It was in the reign of Charles II that they obtained the noble distinction of being exempted from giving their testimony on oath in a court of justice, and being believed on their bare affirmation. On this occasion the chancellor, who was a man of wit, spoke to them as follows: "Friends, Jupiter one day ordered that all the beasts of burden should repair to be shod. The asses represented that their laws would not allow them to submit to that operation. 'Very well,' said Jupiter; 'then you shall not be shod; but the first false step you make, you may depend upon being severely drubbed.'"

„The Eternal has his designs from all eternity.“

—  Voltaire

"Prayers" (1770)
Questions sur l'Encyclopédie (1770–1774)
Context: The Eternal has his designs from all eternity. If prayer is in accord with his immutable wishes, it is quite useless to ask of him what he has resolved to do. If one prays to him to do the contrary of what he has resolved, it is praying that he be weak, frivolous, inconstant; it is believing that he is thus, it is to mock him. Either you ask him a just thing, in which case he must do it, the thing being done without your praying to him for it, and so to entreat him is then to distrust him; or the thing is unjust, and then you insult him. You are worthy or unworthy of the grace you implore: if worthy, he knows it better than you; if unworthy, you commit another crime by requesting what is undeserved.
In a word, we only pray to God because we have made him in our image. We treat him like a pasha, like a sultan whom one may provoke or appease.

„Christ was baptized by John, but He Himself never baptized any one; now we profess ourselves disciples of Christ, and not of John.“

—  Voltaire

Voltaire's account of his conversations with Andrew Pit
The History of the Quakers (1762)
Context: I opened with that which good Catholics have more than once made to Huguenots. "My dear sir," said I, "were you ever baptized?" "No, friend," replied the Quaker, "nor any of my brethren." "Zounds!" said I to him, "you are not Christians then!" "Friend," replied the old man, in a soft tone of voice, "do not swear; we are Christians, but we do not think that sprinkling a few drops of water on a child's head makes him a Christian." "My God!" exclaimed I, shocked at his impiety, "have you then forgotten that Christ was baptized by St. John?" "Friend," replied the mild Quaker, "once again, do not swear. Christ was baptized by John, but He Himself never baptized any one; now we profess ourselves disciples of Christ, and not of John." "Mercy on us," cried I, "what a fine subject you would be for the holy inquisitor! In the name of God, my good old man, let me baptize you."

„It is with books as with the fire in our hearths; we go to a neighbor to get the embers and light it when we return home, pass it on to others, and it belongs to everyone“

—  Voltaire, book Letters on the English

"Lettre XII: sur M. Pope et quelques autres poètes fameux," Lettres philosophiques (1756 edition)
Variants:
He looked on everything as imitation. The most original writers, he said, borrowed one from another. Boyardo has imitated Pulci, and Ariofio Boyardo. The instruction we find in books is like fire; we fetch it from our neighbour, kindle it as home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.
Historical and Critical Memoirs of the Life and Writings of M. de Voltaire (1786) by Louis Mayeul Chaudon, p. 348
What we find in books is like the fire in our hearths. We fetch it from our neighbors, we kindle it at home, we communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.
As translated in Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists (2008), by James Geary, p. 373
Context: Thus, almost everything is imitation. The idea of The Persian Letters was taken from The Turkish Spy. Boiardo imitated Pulci, Ariosto imitated Boiardo. The most original minds borrowed from one another. Miguel de Cervantes makes his Don Quixote a fool; but pray is Orlando any other? It would puzzle one to decide whether knight errantry has been made more ridiculous by the grotesque painting of Cervantes, than by the luxuriant imagination of Ariosto. Metastasio has taken the greatest part of his operas from our French tragedies. Several English writers have copied us without saying one word of the matter. It is with books as with the fire in our hearths; we go to a neighbor to get the embers and light it when we return home, pass it on to others, and it belongs to everyone

„The most original minds borrowed from one another.“

—  Voltaire, book Letters on the English

"Lettre XII: sur M. Pope et quelques autres poètes fameux," Lettres philosophiques (1756 edition)
Variants:
He looked on everything as imitation. The most original writers, he said, borrowed one from another. Boyardo has imitated Pulci, and Ariofio Boyardo. The instruction we find in books is like fire; we fetch it from our neighbour, kindle it as home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.
Historical and Critical Memoirs of the Life and Writings of M. de Voltaire (1786) by Louis Mayeul Chaudon, p. 348
What we find in books is like the fire in our hearths. We fetch it from our neighbors, we kindle it at home, we communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.
As translated in Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists (2008), by James Geary, p. 373
Context: Thus, almost everything is imitation. The idea of The Persian Letters was taken from The Turkish Spy. Boiardo imitated Pulci, Ariosto imitated Boiardo. The most original minds borrowed from one another. Miguel de Cervantes makes his Don Quixote a fool; but pray is Orlando any other? It would puzzle one to decide whether knight errantry has been made more ridiculous by the grotesque painting of Cervantes, than by the luxuriant imagination of Ariosto. Metastasio has taken the greatest part of his operas from our French tragedies. Several English writers have copied us without saying one word of the matter. It is with books as with the fire in our hearths; we go to a neighbor to get the embers and light it when we return home, pass it on to others, and it belongs to everyone

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„You have already heard that the Quakers date their epoch from Christ, who, according to them, was the first Quaker.“

—  Voltaire

The History of the Quakers (1762)
Context: You have already heard that the Quakers date their epoch from Christ, who, according to them, was the first Quaker. Religion, say they, was corrupted almost immediately after His death, and remained in that state of corruption about sixteen hundred years. But there were always a few of the faithful concealed in the world, who carefully preserved the sacred fire, which was extinguished in all but themselves; till at length this light shone out in England in 1642.
It was at the time when Great Britain was distracted by intestine wars, which three or four sects had raised in the name of God, that one George Fox, a native of Leicestershire, and son of a silk-weaver, took it into his head to preach the Word, and, as he pretended, with all the requisites of a true apostle; that is, without being able either to read or write. He was a young man, about twenty-five years of age, of irreproachable manners, and religiously mad. He was clad in leather from head to foot, and travelled from one village to another, exclaiming against the war and the clergy.

„The most surprising circumstance is that this letter, though written by an obscure person, was so happy in its effect as to put a stop to the persecution.“

—  Voltaire

The History of the Quakers (1762)
Context: This new patriarch Fox said one day to a justice of peace, before a large assembly of people. "Friend, take care what thou dost; God will soon punish thee for persecuting his saints." This magistrate, being one who besotted himself every day with bad beer and brandy, died of apoplexy two days after; just as he had signed a mittimus for imprisoning some Quakers. The sudden death of this justice was not ascribed to his intemperance; but was universally looked upon as the effect of the holy man's predictions; so that this accident made more Quakers than a thousand sermons and as many shaking fits would have done. Cromwell, finding them increase daily, was willing to bring them over to his party, and for that purpose tried bribery; however, he found them incorruptible, which made him one day declare that this was the only religion he had ever met with that could resist the charms of gold.
The Quakers suffered several persecutions under Charles II; not upon a religious account, but for refusing to pay the tithes, for "theeing" and "thouing" the magistrates, and for refusing to take the oaths enacted by the laws.
At length Robert Barclay, a native of Scotland, presented to the king, in 1675, his "Apology for the Quakers"; a work as well drawn up as the subject could possibly admit. The dedication to Charles II, instead of being filled with mean, flattering encomiums, abounds with bold truths and the wisest counsels. "Thou hast tasted," says he to the king, at the close of his "Epistle Dedicatory," "of prosperity and adversity: thou hast been driven out of the country over which thou now reignest, and from the throne on which thou sittest: thou hast groaned beneath the yoke of oppression; therefore hast thou reason to know how hateful the oppressor is both to God and man. If, after all these warnings and advertisements, thou dost not turn unto the Lord, with all thy heart; but forget Him who remembered thee in thy distress, and give thyself up to follow lust and vanity, surely great will be thy guilt, and bitter thy condemnation. Instead of listening to the flatterers about thee, hearken only to the voice that is within thee, which never flatters. I am thy faithful friend and servant, Robert Barclay."
The most surprising circumstance is that this letter, though written by an obscure person, was so happy in its effect as to put a stop to the persecution.

„The Quakers suffered several persecutions under Charles II; not upon a religious account, but for refusing to pay the tithes, for "theeing" and "thouing" the magistrates, and for refusing to take the oaths enacted by the laws.“

—  Voltaire

The History of the Quakers (1762)
Context: This new patriarch Fox said one day to a justice of peace, before a large assembly of people. "Friend, take care what thou dost; God will soon punish thee for persecuting his saints." This magistrate, being one who besotted himself every day with bad beer and brandy, died of apoplexy two days after; just as he had signed a mittimus for imprisoning some Quakers. The sudden death of this justice was not ascribed to his intemperance; but was universally looked upon as the effect of the holy man's predictions; so that this accident made more Quakers than a thousand sermons and as many shaking fits would have done. Cromwell, finding them increase daily, was willing to bring them over to his party, and for that purpose tried bribery; however, he found them incorruptible, which made him one day declare that this was the only religion he had ever met with that could resist the charms of gold.
The Quakers suffered several persecutions under Charles II; not upon a religious account, but for refusing to pay the tithes, for "theeing" and "thouing" the magistrates, and for refusing to take the oaths enacted by the laws.
At length Robert Barclay, a native of Scotland, presented to the king, in 1675, his "Apology for the Quakers"; a work as well drawn up as the subject could possibly admit. The dedication to Charles II, instead of being filled with mean, flattering encomiums, abounds with bold truths and the wisest counsels. "Thou hast tasted," says he to the king, at the close of his "Epistle Dedicatory," "of prosperity and adversity: thou hast been driven out of the country over which thou now reignest, and from the throne on which thou sittest: thou hast groaned beneath the yoke of oppression; therefore hast thou reason to know how hateful the oppressor is both to God and man. If, after all these warnings and advertisements, thou dost not turn unto the Lord, with all thy heart; but forget Him who remembered thee in thy distress, and give thyself up to follow lust and vanity, surely great will be thy guilt, and bitter thy condemnation. Instead of listening to the flatterers about thee, hearken only to the voice that is within thee, which never flatters. I am thy faithful friend and servant, Robert Barclay."
The most surprising circumstance is that this letter, though written by an obscure person, was so happy in its effect as to put a stop to the persecution.

„William Penn might, with reason, boast of having brought down upon earth the Golden Age, which in all probability, never had any real existence but in his dominions.“

—  Voltaire

Variants:
No oaths, no seals, no official mummeries were used; the treaty was ratified on both sides with a yea, yea — the only one, says Voltaire, that the world has known, never sworn to and never broken.
As quoted in William Penn : An Historical Biography (1851) by William Hepworth Dixon
William Penn began by making a league with the Americans, his neighbors. It is the only one between those natives and the Christians which was never sworn to, and the only one that was never broken.
As quoted in American Pioneers (1905), by William Augustus Mowry and Blanche Swett Mowry, p. 80
It was the only treaty made by the settlers with the Indians that was never sworn to, and the only one that was never broken.
As quoted in A History of the American Peace Movement (2008) by Charles F. Howlett, and ‎Robbie Lieberman, p. 33
The History of the Quakers (1762)
Context: William inherited very large possessions, part of which consisted of crown debts, due to the vice-admiral for sums he had advanced for the sea-service. No moneys were at that time less secure than those owing from the king. Penn was obliged to go, more than once, and "thee" and "thou" Charles and his ministers, to recover the debt; and at last, instead of specie, the government invested him with the right and sovereignty of a province of America, to the south of Maryland. Thus was a Quaker raised to sovereign power.
He set sail for his new dominions with two ships filled with Quakers, who followed his fortune. The country was then named by them Pennsylvania, from William Penn; and he founded Philadelphia, which is now a very flourishing city. His first care was to make an alliance with his American neighbors; and this is the only treaty between those people and the Christians that was not ratified by an oath, and that was never infringed. The new sovereign also enacted several wise and wholesome laws for his colony, which have remained invariably the same to this day. The chief is, to ill-treat no person on account of religion, and to consider as brethren all those who believe in one God. He had no sooner settled his government than several American merchants came and peopled this colony. The natives of the country, instead of flying into the woods, cultivated by degrees a friendship with the peaceable Quakers. They loved these new strangers as much as they disliked the other Christians, who had conquered and ravaged America. In a little time these savages, as they are called, delighted with their new neighbors, flocked in crowds to Penn, to offer themselves as his vassals. It was an uncommon thing to behold a sovereign "thee'd" and "thou'd" by his subjects, and addressed by them with their hats on; and no less singular for a government to be without one priest in it; a people without arms, either for offence or preservation; a body of citizens without any distinctions but those of public employments; and for neighbors to live together free from envy or jealousy. In a word, William Penn might, with reason, boast of having brought down upon earth the Golden Age, which in all probability, never had any real existence but in his dominions.

„Virtue supposes liberty, as the carrying of a burden supposes active force. Under coercion there is no virtue, and without virtue there is no religion.“

—  Voltaire

"Canon Law: Ecclesiastical Ministry" (1771)
Questions sur l'Encyclopédie (1770–1774)
Context: Virtue supposes liberty, as the carrying of a burden supposes active force. Under coercion there is no virtue, and without virtue there is no religion. Make a slave of me, and I shall be no better for it. Even the sovereign has no right to use coercion to lead men to religion, which by its nature supposes choice and liberty. My thought is no more subject to authority than is sickness or health.

„William answered that his conscience would not permit him to do these things.“

—  Voltaire

The History of the Quakers (1762)
Context: William Penn, when only fifteen years of age, chanced to meet a Quaker in Oxford, where he was then following his studies. This Quaker made a proselyte of him; and our young man, being naturally sprightly and eloquent, having a very winning aspect and engaging carriage, soon gained over some of his companions and intimates, and in a short time formed a society of young Quakers, who met at his house; so that at the age of sixteen he found himself at the head of a sect. Having left college, at his return home to the vice-admiral, his father, instead of kneeling to ask his blessing, as is the custom with the English, he went up to him with his hat on, and accosted him thus: "Friend, I am glad to see thee in good health." The viceadmiral thought his son crazy; but soon discovered he was a Quaker. He then employed every method that prudence could suggest to engage him to behave and act like other people. The youth answered his father only with repeated exhortations to turn Quaker also. After much altercation, his father confined himself to this single request, that he would wait on the king and the duke of York with his hat under his arm, and that he would not "thee" and "thou" them. William answered that his conscience would not permit him to do these things. This exasperated his father to such a degree that he turned him out of doors. Young Penn gave God thanks that he permitted him to suffer so early in His cause, and went into the city, where he held forth, and made a great number of converts; and being young, handsome, and of a graceful figure, both court and city ladies flocked very devoutly to hear him. The patriarch Fox, hearing of his great reputation, came to London — notwithstanding the length of the journey — purposely to see and converse with him. They both agreed to go upon missions into foreign countries; and accordingly they embarked for Holland, after having left a sufficient number of laborers to take care of the London vineyard.

„The viceadmiral thought his son crazy; but soon discovered he was a Quaker.“

—  Voltaire

The History of the Quakers (1762)
Context: William Penn, when only fifteen years of age, chanced to meet a Quaker in Oxford, where he was then following his studies. This Quaker made a proselyte of him; and our young man, being naturally sprightly and eloquent, having a very winning aspect and engaging carriage, soon gained over some of his companions and intimates, and in a short time formed a society of young Quakers, who met at his house; so that at the age of sixteen he found himself at the head of a sect. Having left college, at his return home to the vice-admiral, his father, instead of kneeling to ask his blessing, as is the custom with the English, he went up to him with his hat on, and accosted him thus: "Friend, I am glad to see thee in good health." The viceadmiral thought his son crazy; but soon discovered he was a Quaker. He then employed every method that prudence could suggest to engage him to behave and act like other people. The youth answered his father only with repeated exhortations to turn Quaker also. After much altercation, his father confined himself to this single request, that he would wait on the king and the duke of York with his hat under his arm, and that he would not "thee" and "thou" them. William answered that his conscience would not permit him to do these things. This exasperated his father to such a degree that he turned him out of doors. Young Penn gave God thanks that he permitted him to suffer so early in His cause, and went into the city, where he held forth, and made a great number of converts; and being young, handsome, and of a graceful figure, both court and city ladies flocked very devoutly to hear him. The patriarch Fox, hearing of his great reputation, came to London — notwithstanding the length of the journey — purposely to see and converse with him. They both agreed to go upon missions into foreign countries; and accordingly they embarked for Holland, after having left a sufficient number of laborers to take care of the London vineyard.

„He advanced toward me without moving his hat, or making the least inclination of his body; but there appeared more real politeness in the open, humane air of his countenance, than in drawing one leg behind the other, and carrying that in the hand which is made to be worn on the head.“

—  Voltaire

Voltaire's account of meeting the Quaker Andrew Pit
The History of the Quakers (1762)
Context: He advanced toward me without moving his hat, or making the least inclination of his body; but there appeared more real politeness in the open, humane air of his countenance, than in drawing one leg behind the other, and carrying that in the hand which is made to be worn on the head. "Friend," said he, "I perceive thou art a stranger, if I can do thee any service thou hast only to let me know it." "Sir," I replied, bowing my body, and sliding one leg toward him, as is the custom with us, "I flatter myself that my curiosity, which you will allow to be just, will not give you any offence, and that you will do me the honor to inform me of the particulars of your religion." "The people of thy country," answered the Quaker, "are too full of their bows and their compliments; but I never yet met with one of them who had so much curiosity as thyself. Come in and let us dine first together."

„In all countries, where the established religion is of a mild and tolerating nature, it will at length swallow up all the rest.“

—  Voltaire

The History of the Quakers (1762)
Context: I cannot guess what may be the fate of Quakerism in America; but I perceive it loses ground daily in England. In all countries, where the established religion is of a mild and tolerating nature, it will at length swallow up all the rest. <!-- Quakers cannot sit as representatives in parliament, nor can they enjoy any posts or office under the government, because an oath must be always taken on these occasions, and they never swear; so that they are reduced to the necessity of subsisting by traffic. Their children, when enriched by the industry of their parents, become desirous of enjoying honors, and of wearing buttons and ruffles; are ashamed of being called Quakers, and become converts to the Church of England, merely to be in the faction.

„It requires twenty years for a man to rise from the vegetable state in which he is within his mother's womb, and from the pure animal state which is the lot of his early childhood, to the state when the maturity of reason begins to appear. It has required thirty centuries to learn a little about his structure. It would need eternity to learn something about his soul. It takes an instant to kill him.“

—  Voltaire

Il faut vingt ans pour mener l’homme de l’état de plante où il est dans le ventre de sa mère, et de l’état de pur animal, qui est le partage de sa première enfance, jusqu’à celui où la maturité de la raison commence à poindre. Il a fallu trente siècles pour connaître un peu sa structure. Il faudrait l’éternité pour connaître quelque chose de son âme. Il ne faut qu’un instant pour le tuer.
"Man: General Reflection on Man" (1771)
Citas, Questions sur l'Encyclopédie (1770–1774)

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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