Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE MISFORTUNES OF CHARLES I. - The Works of Voltaire, Vol. XIX (Philosophical Letters)
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THE MISFORTUNES OF CHARLES I. - Voltaire, The Works of Voltaire, Vol. XIX (Philosophical Letters) 
The Works of Voltaire. A Contemporary Version. A Critique and Biography by John Morley, notes by Tobias Smollett, trans. William F. Fleming (New York: E.R. DuMont, 1901). In 21 vols. Vol. XIX.
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THE MISFORTUNES OF CHARLES I.
The Irish massacre has not the same degree of celebrity in the history of great crimes as that of St. Bartholomew, though it was as general, and accompanied with all the horrors and barbarities that could distinguish such an outburst of enthusiastic fury. But this conspiracy of one half of a nation against the other, on account of religion, passed in an island at that time little known by other nations, and had not the authority of such illustrious accomplices as a queen regent, a king of France, and a duke of Guise; the victims of this brutal zeal, though equal in number, were not of such consideration as those in France, and although the scene was fully as bloody, yet the theatre of action did not fix the attention of Europe. The whole world still rings with the horrors of St. Bartholomew’s day, while the Irish massacre is in a manner forgotten.
If we were to reckon the murders which have been committed by enthusiasm since the days of St. Athanasius and of Arius to the present time, we should find that those disputes have contributed more to the depopulation of the earth than all the battles that have been fought; for in these the male species only is destroyed, which is always more numerous than the female; but in the massacres perpetrated for religion’s sake both sexes are indiscriminately made the victims.
Reflections on the declaration of Charles I. concerning religion show that in religious matters princes are more under subjection to their people than the people to them. When once what we call dogma, or an opinion, has got root in a nation, the sovereign must declare that he is ready to die in the defence of that opinion. It is much easier to make such a speech than to persuade a headstrong populace.
Of the numberless dissensions which have at different times threatened the subversion of the English government before it acquired the happy and settled form in which we now see it, the troubles of those times preceding the death of Charles I. were the only ones in which excess of folly and excess of madness were joined together, and that ridiculous superstition with which the reformed sect had reproached those of the Romish communion, might now be retorted upon the Puritans. The bishops behaved like mean–spirited cowards; they should have died in defence of a cause which they thought just; but the behavior of the Presbyterians was that of madmen; their dress, their way of discoursing, their low allusions to passages of Scripture, their ridiculous gestures, their sermons, their pretended prophecies; in short, the whole of their manners might in peaceable times have served to divert the mob at a fair, had they not been rather too disgusting. But, unhappily, these fanatics joined fury to absurdity; and those whom children nowadays would laugh to scorn, by wading through rivers of blood, made themselves respected and dreaded; and were at once the most ridiculous and the most formidable of men.