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Would someone kindly just explain this sentence to me in simpler words or just explain what is ment, although I recognise all the words and know all of their side meanings my brain doesn't process it as a whole sentence. I'm a newbie book translator and never ever seen a sentence such as this before. Thank you all so much.

"But he could hardly have passed upon them a more unmeaning slight than to ascribe to their great master tenets the reverse of those which he actually held."

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It's a terrible, terrible sentence. the phrase "unmeaning slight" is pretty incomprehensible, but if it mans "an inadvertent/unintended slight" it adds up to something like this:


Probably the worst way he could have inadvertently insulted them was by claiming that their great master believed things that were the opposite of what he actually believed.

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He could not have possibly given them a more meaningless disrespect (discourtesy, a mild insult) than to say that their great master had principles that were actually the opposite of the principles that he held.