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American Unitarian Association.




APRIL, 1847.

Price 5 Cents.

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THE author of the following pages (which consist of extracts from his works), Joseph Blanco White, was born at Seville, in Spain, in the year 1775. His family were originally Irish Roman Catholics. His grandfather removed to Spain to escape the oppression of the penal laws, became connected with a large mercantile establishment in that place, and received a patent of nobility from the king of Spain. Disliking mercantile pursuits, and being fond of literature, Blanco White was early devoted to the Church, and his education was directed accordingly. Some religious doubts early arose in his mind, and he at one time thought of abandoning the profession; but having a religious disposition, he was easily persuaded to resume his first purpose, and become a priest of the Romish Church. In his Journal, and in " Doblado's Letters," he describes the impression made on his feelings by the Spiritual Exercises " of Ignatius Loyola, which consist of ten days passed in a convent, and wholly devoted to acts of religion. After he became a priest, his religious doubts returned, and by degrees he lost all faith in Christianity and in God, for he says that in

Spain, as soon as one ceases to believe in the Church, he does not stop till he becomes an atheist. The Roman Catholic religion supports every thing on the authority of the Church. Take away that, and all built upon it immediately falls. He would now have left his profession, but, by the laws of Spain, no priest could renounce his profession without exposing himself to the penalty of death as a heretic. Blanco White found that great numbers of his acquaintances among the Spanish clergy were as infidel as himself, and yet continued performing their priestly duties. But his more truthful mind could not endure this hypocrisy; and he took the opportunity of the wars of Napoleon in Spain, to leave the country and go to England. By so doing he gave up an independent support from the emoluments of a cathedral office, gave up the fairest prospects of advancement, gave up his friends, and threw himself, a stranger, without means, into a foreign land. He went out, "not knowing whither he went." He only knew that he could thus escape the misery of being a false priest, going through the offices of religion when his heart was not in them.

Blanco White landed in England in 1810, when thirtyfive years of age. He found employment and support for some years by editing a Spanish newspaper, by becoming tutor of Lord Holland's children, and by writing articles for the magazines and for the Encyclopædia. Always interested in religious questions, he examined the evidences of natural and revealed religion anew, and so returned to Christianity, and became a clergyman of the English Church. He published several works in English, the first of which was that delightful volume, "Dobla

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