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CHURCHILL, Winston S. Autograph letter signed ('Winston S. C.') to [his cousin] Ivor [Guest, later 1st Viscount Wimborne], 4th Hussars, [Bangalore], 19 January [1899], 6½ pages, 4to.

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CHURCHILL, Winston S. Autograph letter signed ('Winston S. C.') to [his cousin] Ivor [Guest, later 1st Viscount Wimborne], 4th Hussars, [Bangalore], 19 January [1899], 6½ pages, 4to.

'ALL RELIGION ... IS A DELICIOUS NARCOTIC'. A frank expression of Churchill's early religious scepticism, advising his cousin to keep clear of a doctrinal dispute with the warning that divisions of belief are distinct from those of class, party or nationality, and the risk of making 'unexpected enemies' is high; his own rationalism places him more in sympathy with Protestantism than with 'Romish practices', and he continues in a mood of scepticism, 'Catholicism -- all religion if you like, but particularly Catholicism, is a delicious narcotic', which may soothe pains and relieve worries, but 'it checks our growth and saps our strength'. He concludes the discussion with the dictum 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's & for God's sake leave God to look after his own affairs'.

Churchill's reading of Winwood Reade's Martyrdom of Man at this time left him estranged from orthodox Christianity; he 'passed for a time through an aggressively anti-religious phase, but this eventually gave way to a more tolerant belief in the workings of some kind of divine providence' (ODNB).
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