Monday, 21 November 2011

Amsterdam and Freedom

A book about Abbé Nudham was published in Brussels in 1783, so I would guess the story below is from the mid 18th Century. It has a ring of truth. And it made me laugh.

Observations on the Portuguese

It is remarked, that one-third of the Portuguese nation, though they profess themselves to be catholics, are in reality Jews; that are an infinite number of them so, the following little narrative, as related by Abbé Nudham, who died some time since at Brussels, will strongly confirm:

The Abbé, some time since, was passing from Lisbon to Amsterdam, on a Dutch bottom; among many other passengers, were a large and opulent Portuguese, who frequently called on the Abbé for his spiritual assistance, at which time, they counted their beads, and appeared righteous over-much; nor had the good Abbé the least doubt, but they were as sincerely devout, as he himself was – But they had no sooner arrived so near the city of Amsterdam as to perceive that neither wind or weather could prevent their being safely landed, than they took out their beads, their breviaries, crucifixes, &c. &c. and, in the face of the Abbé, threw them all into the sea, observing to him, that “now it was high time to have done with such trifles.”

Gleanings of Wit, From the Works of an Old Military Officer. 1805. Pages 79-80

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