Imatges de pÓgina
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(ibid.)

(64)

Convention between bis Britannic Majefty and the Moft Chriftian King,

figned at Versailles, the 15th of January, 1787

Convention between bis Britannic Majefty and the Moft Chriftian King,
figned at Versailles. Auguft 31. 1787

(70), (71)

(68)
Declaration and Counter Declaration exchanged at Verfaillss, between the
Minifters of his Britannic Majefly and the Moft Chriftian King, October
27, 1787,

Remonftrance of the Parliament of Paris to the King, against the Declara

tion of a Stamp Duty, July 24, 1787.
(71)

His Mof Chriftian Majefty's Speech to the Parliament of Paris, Nov. 19,
1787,

(77)

The Second Address of the Parliament of Paris to the King, on the fame
Subject, Nov. 23, 178,

(ibid.)

(80)

The Emperor's Answer to the Deputies from the States of the Belgic Pro-
winces, Aug. 15, 1787,

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During the Reign of King HENRY the Eighth. From the Year 1509, to the Year 1547.

IT

T hath already appeared, in the courfe of our hiftory, that intellectual light had, for fome time, been breaking in upon the nations of Europe. Indeed, for nearly the fpace of two centuries, it had made an increafing, though, at first, a very flow progrefs. But after the taking of Conftantinople, and the invention of printing, it had advanced with a confiderable degree of rapidity. The multiplication of the copies of books, though most of them were but indifferent or trifling compofitions, could not fail of giving a wider fpread to the exercife of the human understanding. By the recovery, in particular, of the ancient authors, and the attention that was paid to claffical learning, new fubjects were opened of fpeculation and enquiry:-nor when the mind was once fet afloat, could it eafily be reftrained in its excurfions. It was happy that this effect was not foreseen by fome of the zealous patrons of Greek and Roman Literature, and the encouragers of 1787. elegant

a

elegant compofition. Perhaps the princes of the house of Medici, and Pope Leo the Tenth, would have held back their munificence, if they had apprehended that the advancement of polite knowledge would have tended to introduce a boldness of thinking in matters which had long been generally deemed too facred to be disputed.

Even in the darkest ages, fome few perfons were found who revolted at the doctrines and practices of popery. Thefe doctrines were fo abfurd, thefe practices fo corrupt, and, at the fame time, the ignorance and licentioufness of many of the clergy were fo palpable to obfervation, that they could not escape the notice of thofe minds which were difpofed to any degree of reflection. But, though fuch minds will exift in every period, little can be done by them, till there is a concurrence of circumftances which is favourable to a general alteration. In the reign to which we are now arrived that concurrence took place. So many caufes had paved the way for the emancipation of mankind from that ecclefiaftical tyranny, under which they had for a number of centuries laboured, that fome fingle event only was wanted to roufe and enflame the paffions of men, and to engage them to exert the vigour of their understandings in enquiries of the moft effential importance to the progrefs of knowledge and of happiness. This event occurred in the oppofition of Luther to the papal indul gences. Never was there a man more admirably fitted for producing a great revolution in the ftate of human fociety. His active mind carried him on from one object to another, and his courage was equal to every undertaking. It is to the fpirited and unconquerable exertion of Luther that we owe the reformation, which is the moft illuftrious and momentous tranfaction, next to the appearance of the founder of our holy religion, that is to be met with in the hiftory of the world.

This tranfaction, which happened in the reign of king Henry the Eighth, had a very powerful influence with regard to the advancement of religious knowledge in our own country. The fpirit of enquiry, which was excited in Germany, fpread itself, more or lefs, through every

part

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