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French Protestants does it signify?---it is only rile Protestant blood ! that may be shed without any risk : Judge from these facts, which I koow with certainty, of the truth of the Letter of W. Minister de
They now design to deprive the Protestants of two temples, national property. They talk of jodempities and equivalents."
Time has also produced, both in France and England, new advocates, whe have greatly contributed to shame cowardice and to silence slander,
'The celebrated Miss H. M. Williains of Paris, bas published “a Letter, dater! Feb. 10, on the late Persecutions of the Protestants in the South of France, which fully confirms, as far as her testimony may be valuable, the accounts which have been given by the Committee, both in their character and extent.
“ 'The persecntors of the 19th century (she says) have marked their victims; have plundered and murdered as their fury directed, wherever they found Protestunt property and Protestant faith. Protestants alone have been the victims—had it heen a local insurrection, as in the time of the revolution, the assailants would not have been so discriminate. It is ou Protestants alone that the rage has fallen; and this appears as an unequivocal proof that it was an organized religions persecution.
“ Their foulest enemies can bring no charges against the Protestants. Their condict, since the epocha which confirmed their rights, should have disarmed their most rigorous foes; they shewed no exultation, and sought po private advartage.
“ But by an orersight in the King's charter there was mention of a State Religion, and the Protestants were obliged to sink back to toleration. The Charter had been Jess favonrable than the Concordats.
" When Bunnaparte returned, his presence affected Protestants in Do other manner than all other Frenchmen. After the second restoration of the King, partial insurrections took place; but when they were hashed, horror hung over devoted Nismes ; massacre and pillage prevailed; the National Guard, composed of respectable citizens, was dissolved, and a new one was formed, six times as pumerous, and of which many were fanatics. Here, and here only, that guard betrayed its trust;-Protestants invoked their aid in vain-their murderers were andisturbed. At length England fixed her eyes on the south. The high-toned and generous resolves of the Three Denominations were heard the sound in Paris was noble and persuasive; it glided over the south like that sacred har. nony of the heavenly hosts, which spoke to the watch of shepherds of peace and good-will."
On the 27th of February, that virtnogs and enlightened senator, Sir Samuel Roinilly, in his place in the House of Commons, gave the sanction of his knowledge and respectability to the statements and proceedings of the Committee; and after reciting many melancholy details of cruelty and persecution, made the following remarks:-
" What was the conduct of the Euglislı Goverument in consequence of the outrages committed in the year 1780?' The ofenders were prosecuted without delay, and promptly made to feel the just severity of the law; and even the First Magis. trate of the City of London was proceeded against for cowardice, in not having sntficiently exerted himself to bring the disturbances to an early termination. Had any thing like this occurred in France? Was it not notorious, that even where thie Geveral who was sent to qnell the riotous was shot, nothing had beeu Jone by the Prefect of the Department. The assassin had never been brought to justice, though he was well known. His name was Boisset; and he was a Serjeant in the Royal Volunteers. *After shooting at the General, he had retired into a neighbour. ing department. A reward was offered for his apprehension; but those among whom he resided, lat pretended not to know who he was. He had thus bera suffered to escape; and the Mayor, under wbom the load becu slettered from jus
3 tice, had not been removed. The interference of the people of this country, in behalf of the French Protestants, which had been censured, he believed to have been attended with the happtest effects ; to that be believed those unfortunate persons owed what they now enjoyed of toleration. This, bowever, could hardly be called such. The Protestants formerly possessed two churches in that part of France which had been the seat of the late persecutions. One of these had been bought with their own money; the other had been a grant to them from the Government. These were now taken away from them, and they were allowed the privilege of building others; and the Duke d'Angouleme liad very generously subscribed a sum of money in furtherance of this nndertaking. It onght to be known, that at the time those churches were taken from the Protestants, a Catholic church, which had formerly belonged to a Monastery, had ceased to be used for religious pnr. poses, and had been couverted into a place for the sule of fish and meut; and this those Catholics could contemplate without emotion, whose pirty would have been shocked, forsooth, at seeing it in the hands of the Protestants.”
A Letter, published by the Committee last month, stated, that the Schools established in Paris had to contend with great difficulties from the opposition of the Romish Clergy. They have now to announce the complete triumph of intolerance, and the most perfect evidence of the spirit of the French Court, in the dismissal of those Protestant Gentleman, who had pobly and successfully labored to form and extend these Schools.
Paris, March, 1816. “The school at Popincourt was established. - The monitors performed their duties correctly, and rivalled each other in zeal and application. The numbers of scholars increased from day to day : so that in the space of 10 days, from 30 they amounted to 120. The Catbolic clergy, atruck with the rapidity with which the system was propagated, and the pumber of childien increased, took alarm, and finding that the directors were Protestants, songlit to injure them, The school saw its aumbers diminish every day. The girls' school, which the Society of Paris was about to establish at St. Elizabeth, was prevented by the priest of the parish. The Society of the Sisters of St. Joseph, were prevented by a similar hindrance, from realizing their plan for «stablishing a school for girls in the centre of the capital. However, the clergy had no plausible reason for such opposition; fo: the scholars were instructed in the ceremonies of the Catholic, Apostolic, and, Roman religion. They were taken to mass on Sunday, at morning and evening, they said the prayers which are used in all the other charitable institutions supported by government. In the school of Popincourt, and that of the Duchess de Duras, the scholars were taught the Catholic Catechism ; in fine, all the schools were directed by utholic teachers, excepting that of Mr. Bellot. Messrs. Martin and Frossard, were employed generally in forming the schools.
“ Astonished at the perseverance of the teachers, the priests were determined to destroy thom entirely, and laboured at this incessantly. The persons who were indisposed to the schools, thought that the mere presence of the first founders of the schools, might have an unfavourable influence on the minds and hearts of the children, because they were Protestants. In consequence, steps were taken with the government to get rid of them; and on the 7th of February, a letter from the Archbishop of Rheims to the Prefect of the Seine, forbad, in the name of the King, that the elementary schools should be directed or supetin. tended by Protestants ; so that Mr. Martin das 110w no right to enter his own school.
u Mr. Frossard and Mr. Bellot, finding themselves, in the name sitnation, could not direct the schools they had founded, becanse they were protestants. Mr. Frossard has received orders to tender his resignation, and Mr. Bellot likewise. Since the Ordonnance of the King, no one can direct an elementary school who is a Protestants and thus these young men are driven away withont having beer able to accomplish so great an object for the good of the country, as the education of its people."
French Protestants. This important circumstance cannot fail to make a powerful impression on the minds of all, who feel the value of knowledge and religion :-it speaks in accents not to be mistaken, and it calls upon every Protestant in Britain to look with the tenderest anxiety towards the Protestants of l'rance. Protestant Dissenters surely will be the
first to support, and the last to abandon their principles and their brethren!-- The Committee respectfully request all their friends to imitate that liberality by which so many are already distinguished.
Collections and Donations received since the last Publication.
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R. WILLIAXE, Printer, Clerkenwell.
The period is not yet arrived when the Committee of the Dissenting MINISTERS can relax in their exertions, or recommend to the Public indiffer cucc and inaction, without sacrificing the Protestants of France aod the general interests of Freedom and Religion.
Convinced that they should have betrayed the cause of truth, by confiding in the false or partial representations of an enslaved press, and by waiting till it should bo the pleasure of persecutors to give publicity ibeir own system of crimes and oppression, the Committee bave persevered in their endea. vours to obtain information on the real character of past events, and on the present condition of the objects of their solicitude. In these endeavours tbey have succeeded beyond their expectalion; and have received abundant and perfect conviction of the dreadful calamities to which Protestants, as such, have Leen exposed, and of the wily and crucl machinations which are still cmployed to suppress their complaints, – to pervert the truth, and to maintain a persecuting domination over tbeir spiritual and temporal interests. From ibe most respectable sources of correspondence, and the testimony of eye.wit. nesses, with some of whom (fugitives from the horrors which still possess their imaginations, and which have reduced them from comfort aud independence to servitude and poverty) they have had the melaacholy gratification of personal intercourse, every evidence that eveu Prejudice itself would demand, has been furnished to the minds of the Committee.
They are morally certain, from the evidence of facts, that it is religious animosity which has enkindled that desolating fire; the progress of which they bave been anxious to arrest, and the ravages of wbich they are labouring. to repair. They know that the first victims of massacre and pillage were warm and acknowledged royalists,- tbat peaceable aud unoffending persons bave been murdered, distinctly, because they were Protestants, on no other ground, and without any other charge: that upwards of an hundred persons (of whom they have already had informatiou) bave abjured the Protestant fajih, as the price of liberty and life:— that the letters sent to this country, professedly to deprecate foreign interference," have expressed the very reverse of the real feelings and wishes of the sufferers, and have been obtained by the arts and power of the French authorities: that similar papers bave been, in some instances refused, and in others the sanetion of a Consistory has been given in the public papers to instruments signed only by one individual, contrary to the declared sentiments of the Ministers of the Consistory and the members of the Church.
Alarmed by the spirit which this country has displayed, and checked by the light which has been thrown on their conduct by the Committee, the persecutors have betaken themselves to methods more wary and insidious, but most dangerous to the prosperity and existence of the Reformed communion ; and it is to the continued and undiminished exertions of British Christians that they turn for consolation and relief.
The Committee, therefore întreat those who may not have contributed to the fund, from which they are taking safe and effectual methods to administer support to the Protestants of l'rance, no longer to resign themselves to the influence of ignorant, prejudiced, or designing parties, but to aid the Committee in the sacred cause, in wbich, unawed by clamour, and unmoved by detection, they feel themselves compelled to persevere.
l'rom a large mass of Communications, the Committee can only insert the following extracts, which will prove how far the exertions of Britons are appreciated in France.
From the letter of an eminent minister in the South. 27th January, 1816. — " I have been waiting an opportunity of sending by sea, as one dare not put letters in the post. If letters contain some particulars which may be useful to you, you will understand that in making use of them, you must suppress the names of the parties who transmit then. The greater part of the pastors, terrified by what they have seen in the public papers, dare not boldly declare themselves, especially after some individuals, through fear or ambition, had conmu. nicated your Circulars to the civil administrators, who have dictured the answer 10 be made, and have inserted it in the public papers. The open persecutions bave ceased, for the present, ia Languedoc, bot dark
French Protestants. secret machinations continue against the Protestants. Of this you have a proof in the change of their religion by many poor families of Nismes. The principal manufacturers, Protestants, have fled from the scene of carnagé ; the poor work. people, who have not the means of quitting the country, are obliged to seek work of the Catholic manufacturers, and many of these have refused it to those who would not embrace the Catholic religion, or have severely menaced them. Such is the cause of this public abandopment of tbe truth!
“In many places the temples are still shut up.
“Many Protestants, in the unfortunate country round Nismes, suffer the extreme of misery
“ If you have succours to communicate to them, there must be great precautions taken by the persons who devote themselves to execute the act of charity, that they may not be molested by the agents of government, or the fanatics.
"At Montauban, the Protestants have often been menaced; but to this moment, owing to their prudence and moderation, they have not been able to find au occasion to provoke them to quarrel.
- “ The schools experience difficulties-the Catholic clergy are stirring themselves to embarass them; but if the school at Paris can maintain itself for some time, the number of masters which it will form, will, in the end, distribute themselves in every part of France.
“ We are perfectly convinced that the efforts of our brethren, and the interference of their government with ours, have been very advantageous to the cause of the Protestants, and that their continuance must be very useful ; – though, by the reply made to the Duke of Wellington, he was led into an error, which is the cause that, in his letter of 28th of November, he has affirmed some things which are entirely false, and denied others, the truth of which is well known to the Protestants of the South. May God Almighty support your Christian zeal, and give it a happy issue for the advancement of his glory, and the protection of our brethren in Jesus Christ !"
A Correspondent, whose authority is of the highest importance, writes as follows:
February 6, 1816. “ The Protestants are now tolerably tranquil, externally; but every cause of uneasiness remains. I will answer on my head that political ditterences of opi. nion have only been the excnse, the religion and respectability of the Protestants being the real cause of their sufferings. The assassins of peaceable citizens walk abroad with unparalleled assurance, and recount their deeds of blood with diabolical pride! Not one of the murderers has been condemned; and the arrest of Trestallion has cost the generous La Garde his life.
“ If political opinion were the real cause, why has the storm fallen on the Protestants alone ? Why, when they could have revenged themselves on the mur. derers of their brethren, did they remain tranquil, although daily exposed to the same dangers and the same fate? We are told that tranquillity is restored, and that all has been hushed; but, in most places, the Protestants have been disarmed, and the weapons placed in the hands of their Popish neighbours. The authorities, who shut their eyes to all the atrocities committed, and who suffered the pillage and massacre of the Reformed, without one repressive measure, are yet the same. Now and then indeed, a weak and perfidious proclamation, exhorting to order, but at the same time lavish in praise to the national guard (per. petrators of the crimes) for their fidelity and royalism ; but too much excites the fears of those who bave escaped the sword of the assassio and the spoliation of a banditti. Those who have been imprisoned, some hundreds, solicit ia vain a public trial; and when they ask to be released, are givev to understand, that money or apostacy is the only price at which they can obtain their liberty.
“ Everywhere the same cruelties are not practised as in the Gard ; but where are not the Reformed despised, shut out from all places of profit and trust, and • denied in fact all the advantages promised them by their constitutional charter ?
Protestant Mayors of towns or villages have been displaced, - no one dares confide to the post his sentiments, - mivisters dare not correspond, - and at their peril refuse to write as they are ordered, The sufferers are afraid of their own voice when they speak of their woes, No one dares write, - no one dares speak ~n0 ope dares complain! The storm has fallen on the property of the rich and