In…Switzerland: SG’s reflection on ‘the clerical character’ and its influence on social mores in this and the following two paragraphs seems to reflect the unflattering remarks about ‘the state of religion’ in Geneva and Paris made in Letters XV and XIV of Raffles (p. 133), and the minor public controversy to which those remarks gave rise (and hence when SG refers to ‘this country’, he means France, and not England). ‘Few of the doctrines, and little of the spirit, which once rendered it the glory of the Protestant world’, Raffles says of Geneva, ‘now remain’, and he also notes, in the Alps, what he describes as ‘monuments of superstition’, including the selling of indulgences (Raffles, pp. 133, 193-4n.). ‘When I contemplate the present state of France’, Raffles laments:

I see one part of the population the victims of the grossest superstition, and under the deadly influence of a mercenary and an artful priesthood […] I behold another part, bowing at the shrine of infidelity, and devoted only to the gratification of their sensual appetites and basest passions […] I see the few who profess a purer system, and who ought to shew a better way, sunk in the arms of a spiritual apathy, as dead to the things of God – as unconcerned about the Redeemer’s kingdom – as indifferent to their own eternal interests – as gay, as volatile, as much the lovers of pleasure, as the rest (pp. 96-7).
Geneva, of course, had been part of the Swiss Confederation since 1814. The fact that both Raffles and SG still connect it with France is explained by their desire to see the atheistic principles of the French Revolution as the primary cause of the decline of public religion. Raffles singles out Voltaire (1694-1778), whose house in Paris he refused to visit on point of principle, as ‘the bitterest and most malignant enemy of the Redeemer, that ever, perhaps, appeared in a human form!’ (p. 139). As the Advertisement to the third edition of Raffles observes, Helen Maria Williams (1759-1827) attacked publically, in her Letters on Events which have passed in France since the Restoration in 1815 (London, 1819), what she saw as Raffles’ unfair criticism of French Protestants – an attack rebutted in the appraisal of Williams’ Letters given by the Eclectic Review for September 1819.