Sun Apr 20, 2003

Apt Quotations

The Sixth International is an interesting blog I’ve recently discovered, via comments left here by one of its authors. Its tagline reads:

’“I beseech ye in the bowels of Christ, think that ye may be mistaken.” I should like to have that written over the portals of every church, every school, and every court house, and may I say, of every legislative body….‘—Learned Hand

The Sixth Internationalists (and many of my readers) probably know this already, but the ‘bowels of Christ’ quote within the quote comes from Oliver Cromwell. Hand puts it to work as a call to humility in those who would impose their faith or laws on others. I believe Cromwell made the plea in a letter to Scottish church leaders. He wrote it a year or two after overseeing the massacre of Catholics in Ireland, most notably at the siege of Drogheda, where about 3,000 residents were murdered after having surrendered. At the time he commented “This is a righteous judgement of God on these barbarous wretches … it will tend to prevent the effusion of blood for the future, which are satisfactory grounds to such actions, which otherwise cannot but work remorse and regret.” Tolerance of ideological dissent in the United Kingdom always implicitly or explicitly excluded Catholics because they were thought to be loyal first to the Pope and thus a threat to state sovereignty.