Letters From a Kdhoite–No. 2

San Francisco News Letter/April 11, 1868

EDITOR NEWS LETTER:–Upon his arrival in your country, the first thing that strikes the intelligent Kdhoite, myself—is your wonderful religion. I am confident that in no other quarter of the globe is there a system so worthy of deep study; and I understand that a great number of your learned men are well paid to study it. It is a pity that they are not required to give an intelligible explanation of it. Just think: your religion has now been openly professed and written upon for near twenty centuries, and yet I am told there are still several points in it about which your churches differ—and some persons among you whose opinions seem entitled to great respect claim that these differences are growing wider and more numerous each year. In Kdho, when there is any ambiguity, contradiction or absurdity noticed in the national creed—a thing which, I reluctantly admit sometimes does occur—one dozen of the wise men, alluded to in my former letter, are immediately selected by the king to explain the matter in question. This assembly is termed the Council of thee Assizz, whence is derived your word “Assizes.” Each member receives, as daily compensation, one kapec, about three bits, United States gold coin. If, at the end of ten minutes, they differ as to what is clearly the truth in the case, they are hanged, and their property reverts either to the church or to the poor, at the option of the former. I am happy to say that for three thousand years the wretched mendicants have received no benefit from this custom. I have the honor to recommend the immediate appointment, by Governor Haight, of a Council of Assizz, at the usual salary, composed of the following named persons: Father Gallagher, Horatio Stebbins, Dr. Scudder, the Rev. Mr. Fitzgerald, Dr. Eels, Dr. Wadsworth, the Rev. Mr. B.T. Martin, U.S. Branch Ming, Elder Knapp, Peter Job, Michael Reese, Wemyss Jobson, and the Emperor Norton. To these let all questions of theology be referred for final settlement. Let them distinctly understand, that unless their duty is promptly performed and their decisions are unanimously arrived at they are to forfeit not only the emoluments of their office, but the distinguished esteem in which they are held by your citizens. The Kdhoian penalty although it might be beneficial to society, would hardly be necessary. I give you the word of a Kdhoite you would be surprised at the congruity and reasonableness of those parts of your religion which, but for this learned council, must always have seemed contradictory and absurd. It matters little whether their decisions would be right or wrong. I learn that, in matters of faith, your people are not fatiguingly critical, though in pecuniary and mercantile affairs, the dictates of what you call common sense are esteemed of much importance. The main things in religion are the having a good leader to follow and the following him without question. The tendency to do the latter is so strongly marked a trait in your national character, that even some of your domestic animals have acquired it from you. Probably the most splendid piece of sarcasm on record is the sentence in which the ingenious founder of your religion alludes to this trait in his followers: “Feed my sheep.” The stigma has never been removed, and they are called lambs to this day.

(Source: California State Library Microfilm Collection)