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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Chapter IV
Sydney Smith to Gerrard Andrews, [1806 or 1807]

Author's Preface
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Editor’s Preface
Letters 1801
Letters 1802
Letters 1803
Letters 1804
Letters 1805
Letters 1806
Letters 1807
Letters 1808
Letters 1809
Letters 1810
Letters 1811
Letters 1812
Letters 1813
Letters 1814
Letters 1815
Letters 1816
Letters 1817
Letters 1818
Letters 1819
Letters 1820
Letters 1821
Letters 1822
Letters 1823
Letters 1824
Letters 1825
Letters 1826
Letters 1827
Letters 1828
Letters 1829
Letters 1830
Letters 1831
Letters 1832
Letters 1833
Letters 1834
Letters 1835
Letters 1836
Letters 1837
Letters 1838
Letters 1839
Letters 1840
Letters 1841
Letters 1842
Letters 1843
Letters 1844
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“Dear Sir,

“The principal objection which your letter con-
tained against the permission I requested, is the reluctance you state yourself to feel to imposing an obligation on your successors. Would you then object to give me leave to preach during your life, leaving it entirely open, by such limited concession, to those who succeed you, to continue or suspend the permission? Let me place myself entirely out of the question, and put the argument to you:—if any new person whom you may allow to preach in your parish, is a man very little calculated for such an office, it is not probable that people will quit the Established places of worship to resort to him; if he is, it is probable he will draw many to church, who would not otherwise go, and that the mass of people who attend public worship in that parish will be materially increased; which, I presume, is a consequence that every parish minister sincerely wishes for and would make some effort to obtain. I beg you to reflect, as I said in my last note (which crossed your letter), that I am not asking you to let me open a place of worship in your parish,—it is already open,—but I ask you to let me change the absurd and disgraceful devotion which is going on there at present (and will go on there still), for the devotion of the Church of England. I ask you to give me the preference over a low and contemptible fanatic; and will you allow me, without the slightest intention of offending you, to lay before you the seeming inconsistency of your answer?

“You say, ‘I allow you have considerable talents for preaching, I know you have been well educated, I
am sure you will be of great use, but I give a decided preference over you to a very foolish and a very ignorant Methodist, whose extravagance is debauching the minds of the lower class of my parishioners, and whom I should be heartily glad to see driven out of my parish.’ Excuse my freedom, but such are inevitably to be the consequences deduced from your answer.

“I appeal to you again, whether anything can be so enormous and unjust, as that that privilege should be denied to the ministers of the Church of England which every man who has folly and presumption enough to differ from it can immediately enjoy? I hope you will give these observations some consideration, and, as soon as you have, return me your answer upon them.

“You observe that what I ask is unnecessary, and that it is an innovation; but I sincerely hope you would not refuse me so great an advantage, unless it was pernicious as well as unnecessary; and that if the plan I suggest is an improvement, you will not reject it merely because it is an innovation.

“I thank you very kindly for all the good you say of me: I will endeavour to deserve it.

“I am, my dear Sir, truly yours,
“Sydney Smith.”