Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

FRENCH PROTESTANTS.

The Committee appointed by the General Body of Protestant Dissenting Ministers of the Three Denominations, for the Purpose of Inquiry, and also for the Superintendance and Distribution of the Funds for the Relief of the French Protestants, suffering for Conscience-sake, trust that the following Extracts, from Letters recently received, will afford satisfactory evidence of the feelings with which our Aid is received by the unhappy sufferers, and of the powerful claim which exists upon our continued exertious in the same sacred cause.

Iu a Letter from an eminent Minister to the Secretary, dated June 21st, 1816, acknowledging the safe receipt, and detailing the manuer of distribution of a part of our Funds, the writer expresses himself in the following terms:

“Be persuaded, Sir, and very honoured brother, that we are penetrated with the most lively and profound gratitude; and assure the benevolent

persons who have taken an interest in our wretched situation, how deeply “ sensible we are of their truly Christian charity. We can make no other “ returu than our very sincere wishes for their prosperity, and that of their

country, and our most ardent prayers to the Soverciga Benefactor of the “ homan race, that he will be himself their recompence.

“I thank you for your expressions of good-will on our beball, and I trust “ the whole of our conduct will prove that we are not less attached to our “ boly religion than were our fathers; and that, should we be called to the “ trial, we are prepared to scal the truth with our blood.”

From the correspondence of a much-valued friend, whose personal exertions and hazards, in the cause of our suffering brethren, confer on him the most lasting honour, we give the following Extract:

July 16th, 1816. “ The affairs of our brethren in the south of France go ou very badly. I “ bave received several letters, wbich, by the allegories which the writers “ feel themselves compelled to employ, and the ambiguous expressious they

use, prove the state of anxiety in which they reinain. Ju the department “ of the Gard, and particularly at Nismes, the utmost dread oppresses the “ Protestant population." "We are tranquil,' says a correspondent, but ours " is the tranquillity of a person who has been nearly bled to dcath. If our

persecutors do not go to the same lengths they formerly and so recently did,

impute it only to the lassitude of murderers, and the wealth amassed by the . devastators and spoliators of our property. Harmless Protestants, unarmed,

so weighed down by terror that they dare not speak to one another, and are even afraid of mingling their tears together, whom dread compels to

relinquish tbc endearing intercourse of iutimacy and relationship• arbitrarily arrested false witnesses are not wanting and imprisono ments, fincs, and marks of dishonour follow. What remedy is to be found ' when Injustice and Oppression bave the sanction of the law ?!

А

are

2

French Protestants. Another Correspondent, from the foot of the Pyrenees, thus expresses himself:

« With tears of gratitude we have beheld the benevolent and Christian • Resolations and efforts of the Dissenting Ministers who meet in Red Cross • Street, in reference to the misfortunes of our brethren of Lower Languedoc,

and the extreme want to which our pastors are reduced. I sometime ago wrote to these honoured brethren a letter*, expressive of my gratitude • and devotedness. To this I received no answer, though I could not ima• gine how it could miscarry, as I forwarded it through the Minister of Religion at Paris. At this distance from the scene of the criminal • outrages, we have not been without uneasiness, and ascribe our safety to

your firm and persevering efforts. These efforts are yet necessary. Persevere in the good work, and the blessing of God attend you! “ Many letters “ addressed to me have not come to hand; and a friend who passed through “ the south of France six weeks ago could not prevail on my friends there “ to entrust letters to bim. All our exertions are yet indispensable. We u will never relax till judgment is brought unto victory!"

• No such letter has been received.

Collections received since the last Publication.
Rev. Mr. Pomery's Con. St.

Rev. Messrs. Grundy and Rod.
Austell

£1 8 5

bert's Con.Manchester £ 57 19 0 -Weare's Con.Salem Chapel,

Bull's do, Beeston, Notis. 3 18
Ipswich

5 0 Con. Maberly, Cheshire, by -Burder's do. London 34 8 0

Rev. James Turner % 11 0 Baptist do. Northall, Bucks 4 0 E. Gouldsmith, Esq. Highbury 3 0 Associate Burgher Presbytery,

Mr. W. Buzzard, of Charmouth 1 0 0 Lanark 10 5 10 J. S. Islington

1 0 0 Rev.Mr.Hordle's Con.Harwich 5 0 J. S, D.

0 10 0 -Harnes's do. Bridlington 3 14 6 M.B. Aliquis

5 0 0

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Contributions will be received by the Rev. T. Morgan, Williams's Library, Red Cross Street; and such as are designed for the immediate Relief of the Necessitous VAUDOIS, or WALDENSES, will be exclusively appropriated to the Fund, established for that purpose, by the Committee.

To be had of all the Booksellers, 0. The REPORT ou the PERSECUTION of the FRENCH PROTEST. ANTS, presented to the Committee of the Dissenting Ministers of the Three Denominations, in and about the Cities of London and Westminster. Price 23. @d.

By the Rev. CLEMENT PERROT. 2. A SKETCH of the past and present STATE of the VAUDOIS, or WALL DENSES, inhabiting the Vallies of Piedmont. Translated from the original MS. by the Rev. THOMAS MORGAN, Secretary to the General Body of Dissenting Mic nisters of the Three Denominations.--Price 6d.

Speedily will be published, 3. An HISTORICAL RELATION of the PERSECUTIONS endered by the Protestants in the South of France. By the Rev. CLEMENT PERROT. IR One vol. 8vo. Williams, Priuter, Clerkenwell.

FRENCH PROTESTANTS.

WHILE the furious spirit of fanaticism which has been enkindled in Franoe continues to rage, and while the organs of political power persevere in their system of treachery and violence against the professors of the Reformed Religion in the South; the Committee of the Disscnting Ministers dare not withhold from the Public the statement of facts, which, in spite of all the artifices and efforts of persecutors, they are constantly receiviny; from the purest sources of information.

The Committee have long since had occasion to call attention to the conduct of the Authorities of the Gard, in permitting the massacre of Protestants with impunity, and in gratifying their murderers by vexatious and iniquitous judgments against the Reformed, for pretended crimes, or for offences comparatively trivial.—They must now refer to tho condemnation of eight Protestants to death at Nismes, for the events which took place at Arpaillargues, after the capitulation of the Duke D'Angoulêrne.

The French journalists, who never publish a line but under the inspection of the agents of the Government, have made this judgment the ground of an unworthy triumph over “ the Philanthropists of Evgland," and some of the English journalists, rivalling their free brethren of Paris, have exbio bited this act as decisive proof of the truth of all the libels which they have cast on the Protestants, and the apologies which they have framed for their murderers. The following history of the transaction will, however, display, its real character.

“ The judgment of the 11th of July has filled the Protestants with horror, and the Catholics with proportionate delight. Eleven persons have been accused, nine men and two women; ten were Protestants, and one was a Catholic: sir men and two women have been condemned to death, four to be executed at Nismes, and four at Arpaillargues; one is condemned to the galley for life, and two have been acquitted ;--the Catholic is one of the two acquitted, and one of the magistrates was known to say, that they would not have acquitted one Protestant, but for the sake of the Catholic; but to acquit bim (the Catholic) alone would appear too partial.

“The trial was held in the Hall of Assize, and the Catholic ladies, dressed, filled the most prominent and elevated seats. The Hall was filled by the fanatical populace-no Protestants dared venture to be prescut at the trialnor were there any Protestants on the Jury; but while the Jury were sitting fifteen or sixtoen hours on the various cases, hundreds of the fanatics, who had pillaged and assailed the Protestants, surrounded the house all night, crying ont for their condemnation and their death.

“By a perversion worthy of the partics who are thus carrying on their system of exclusive punishment, these wretched beings have been judged as though they had assassinated a person on the highway, while all the world knows, that the affair in which they were engaged was tumultuous, and occasioned by the alarm of the poor unfortunate villagers; and the misconduct of the Royal Volunteers.

“ After the capitulation of the Duke D'Angoulême at La Palud, his followers dispersed, to return to their homes, and it has been said, that on their : route they were cruelly treated and murdered by the Protestants. Let it ho observed, however, that from La Palud to Nismes the population is Catholic, and that the Protestants were every wliere restrained from shewing themselves by the dangers which threatencd them. On the great road, and par

2

FRENCU PROTESTANTS. ticularly at Pont St. Esprit, there were only troops of the line ; and if the peasants, being Catholic, robbed and injured the Volanteers, it cannot be ascribed to Protestants, even supposing that they did nothing to provoke ill treatment, as they certainly did at Arpaillargues. Contrary to the capitulation, they presented themselves in a hostile manner at several Protestant villages at a distance from the great road, and Arpaillargues, almost entirely inbabited by Protestants, was one of these. They were met on the road by a man on horseback, who suspecting their designs, rode back and informed the inhabitants, that the Micquelets were approaching to pillage; the country people, in such a moment of exaltation, ran to arms-they seized all sorts of weapons-muskets, pistols, forks, spades-one Micquelet was killed ; another, wounded, was carried 'to Uzés, where he died. In the frenzy of the conflict, it is not unlikely, with the weapons which the villagers had, that acts of cruelty were committed; but there was nothing political, nothing personal, nothing preconcerted. Whether right or wrong. they thought they were fighting to save their lives and properties. If, indeed, justice only were to be respected, why have none of the assassins 'boen brought to trial ? 'wretches who for months murdered and plundered Protestants op system? Trestaillon, Quatretaillon-hated names !' Trufeme, who, after þaving exulted in the marder of many Protestants, was seized by General La Garde on the awful night of the sixteenth of October, has not only been acquitted, but is now in the National Guard.

Thus murderers and robbers are supported in their crimes. If the are brought to judgment, and their victim escapes them, he escapes not the unjust rigour of tho tribunals. What's scandal !"

Much additional information of the past'injuries and the présent sufferings of the Protestants, had been prepared for the press; but the Committee have been induoed to suspend its communication, from an anxiety to insert the important proceedings and resolutions of their friends in Edinburgh.

A second General Meeting in the Merchant's Hall

, Edinburgh, held to receive the Report of the Committee appointed at the former Meeting, was numerously and respectably attended.

Sir HENRY MONCREIFF WELLWOOD was again called to the Chair, and the Rev. Dr. M'Crie, Convener, road a long and very interesting Report, which had been prepared for the Meeting, and which contained a statementOf the sources from which the Committee had derived their information ;-of the nature and extent of the suffering, which the Protestants in the south of France have endured ;--and, of the distress under which they still labour.

Tuomas H. MILLER, 'Esq. then addressed the Meeting in an energetic speech, and took occasion to state a variety of apthentic faots, which bad not been specified in the Report of the Committee, and to obviate some of the objections which had been entertained by a' considérable nomber of persons, to our attempting any interference with the events tliat have taken place, or making any exertions to relieve the distresses which our Proteslant brethren in France have endured. He then proposed the following Resolutions for the coösideration of the Meeting, and moved that they should be adopted :

1st, That the Report of the Committee be printed, and every 'exertion

FRENCH PROTESTANTS.

3 be used to enforce this powerful appeal to Christian benevolenee and phi lanthropy.

20, That having now obtained sufficient information, as to the character and extent of the sufferings of our Protestant brethren in France, subscriptions be immediately opened, for the purpose of aTording them pecuniary relief.

3d, That the Committee of the Dissenting Ministers of the Three Denominations in London having already opened chatuels for the distribution of pecuniary relief among the sufferers in France, the fands collected in virtue of these Resolutions be from time to time remitted to the said Committee to be applied under their direction.

4th, That a Committee be now appointed to carry these Resolutions into effect, in the manner which shall appear to them most expedient, consistently with the spirit thercof—to watch over the interesting object of our Meeting--and to call another General Meeting, if they shall judge it necessary.

The motion for the adoption of these Resolutions having been seconded by the Rev. HENRY GREY, in a most forcible and impressive speech, was "unanimously agreed to,' and the former Committee appointed to carry the Resolutions into effect.

- The Rev. D. Dickson, junior, then moved, that the thanks of the Mecting be given to the Committeoʻwho lrad prepared the Report which had been tead, and to Dr. M'Crie, the Convener, who had bestowed so much labour in the cause; and he took the opportunity of stating, that, although at 'the time of the former meeting he felt much hesitation and doubt on the "subject for which it had been called, his scruples were now entirely removed, and he not only gave his cordial assent to the Report and Resolutions which had been adopted, but was persuaded, that the persecution of the Protestants-in France had been truly a persecution on account of their religion. This motion was unanimously agreed to.

The thanks of the Meeting were then given to Sir H. MONCREJFF WELLWOOD, for his conduct in the chair.

The Report is published, and its object is recommended to the Public in the following Circular:

Edinburgh, coth July, 1816. “The Committee appoisited by the Meeting of Inhabitants of Edinburgh, held in Merchants' Hall, January 21, and June 24, to take into consideration, such measures as may appear conducive to the relief of those persons in the South of Franoë who have suffered by the massacre of their relatives, or as fugitives for conscience-sake, beg leáve to intreat your attention to the Report concerning their sufferings, tead and adopted at their last Meeting, now priftod," and 'in général dirculation. They aro persuaded, that the body of evidence referred to and compressed in-it, is such as will satisfy every attentive and impartial person, that tho calamities endured in the Department of the Gard, and in the city of Nismes in particular, have been occasioned, not by the political of imprudent' conduct of the sufferers, but bare been inficted entirely on account of their religious profession. Thøy are satisfied also, that the interposition of those persons in Great Britain who have expressed their sympathy with them, and who have remitted Honey for their rolief, has doch attended with the best effects, which would have been still more extensive and important if it had bead more general. There is also sufficient proof, that'no redress has bsen hitherto obtained ;

« AnteriorContinua »