Imatges de pÓgina

ana, Mr Weiss supplies an affecting had intrusted the sale of their proinstance of the intensity of this pa- perty. In this manner, a Paris winetriotic feeling. The governor of Loui- merchant, named Mariet, saved a forsiana, Bienville, ascending the Mis- tune of six hundred thousand livres, sissippi, met an English ship of war and retired into Holland with a false taking soundings. The peace of Rys- passport, which afterwards served for wick had just been concluded, and fifteen of his friends! In 1687 and England and France vied with each 1688, a great number of rich merother in their efforts to explore and chants emigrated. As early as 1685, colonise those distant regions. Bien- the French ambassador at the Hague ville went to visit the English captain, informed the king that twenty millions and whilst on board, a French engi- of livres had already been taken out neer employed in the vessel handed of France. And subsequently, many him a document which he begged him wealthy Protestants left Normandy, to transmit to the court of Versailles. Bretagne, and other provinces, in It was a memorial signed by four ships of their own, on board of which hundred families who had fled to Ca- were sometimes as much as three or rolina after the Revocation. They four millions in specie. The ambasbegged permission to settle in Louisi- sador, Count d'Avaux, was frightened, ana, stipulating only for liberty of and made representations to his soveconscience. Count Pontchartrain re. reign, who heeded them not. plied, that the king had not driven In the foremost rank of the emithem from his European dominions grants to Holland, there figure about that they should form a republic in his two hundred and fifty preachers, learnAmerican colonies. This refusal de- ed and zealous men, amongst whom stroyed their last hopes of preserving were some of high distinction for talent their nationality. Mr Weiss thinks and eloquence, and for the influence their request, although refused, must they exercised on their brethren, and have deeply touched the heart of Louis on the affairs of the reformed church. XIV.-an amiable surmise, in which Mr Weiss gives a list of the most imwe, who believe that during the lat, portant, from which we may content ter part of that king's life he had little ourselves with quoting the names of heart or sympathy for anything but Ménard, appointed preacher at the self, find it difficult to coincide. court of William III. ; of Claude, al

Holland, which, in the time of ready mentioned, who was deemed a Queen Mary, received upwards of worthy adversary for Bossuet ; of thirty thousand English Protestants, Jurieu, ardent, fiery, and energetic; fugitive from her persecutions, was and of Jacques Saurin. This last, the not slow to show hospitality to the most brilliant orator of the Refuge, * Huguenots of France. Mr Weiss's was of a generation subsequent to the fifth and longest book is allotted to others, and belonged to the second the refugees in the Netherlands. The period of the emigration. Born at emigration thither commenced, to a Nismes in 1677, he followed his father considerable extent, when Louis XIV. to Geneva, and quitted his studies, at promulgated his first edicts against the age of fifteen, to enter a regiment his subjects of the reformed church. raised by the Marquis de Ruvigny, for In 1668, more than eight hundred the service of the Duke of Savoy. French families passed into Holland. When that prince detached himself When Louvois began his dragonnades from the coalition against Louis XIV., in 1681, the stream augmented ten- Saurin returned to Geneva, completed fold, and the emigration became an his studies, and had scarcely taken important political event. Some of orders when he was named minister the fugitives brought large sums of of the French Protestant Church in money, or received ihem subsequently London. He took Tillotson for his from agents in France to whom they model, and, by so doing, perfected

* “ The word Refuge, applied to the whole body of the refugees in the various countries which served them as an asylum, is not, we are aware, a French word. We borrow it from those expatriated writers whom a new position more than once compelled to create new words.”—Note by Mr Weiss. Preface, vol. i., p. X.

the admirable talents nature had be- us wisdom. Let us not estimate by stowed upon him. In 1705 he went our ideas the conduct of God, but to the Hague, where he preached with learn to respect the profoundness of immense success at the church of the His providence." French nobles, to which he had been “One cannot read," remarks Mr appointed. The Dutch, as well as Weiss, “ without a feeling of bitter the French, flocked to hear him. Mr sadness, this eloquent invective of a Weiss quotes passages from some of Frenchman alienated from his native his discourses-masterpieces of fervid land, and rejoicing in its reverses." eloquence. We will translate a short The sadness, doubtless, for the bard extract from one-a magnificent and lot of the persecuted Protestants; exulting invective levelled at Louis the bitterness and indignation for XIV., then humbled and bowed down the tyranny that had extinguished by the disasters of Blenheim and in their breasts the last spark of Ramillies. The style is Latin rather patriotism. than French, and its vividness and We draw to a close. In the short power lose nothing by that.

concluding chapter already referred “I see him at first,” said Saurin, to and quoted from, Mr Weiss takes a equalling-what do I say?-sur- general view of the influence exerpassing the superbest potentates, ar- cised by the refugees in foreign counrived at a point of elevation which tries, and of the consequences to astonishes the universal world, nume- France of the edict of revocation -rous in bis family, victorious in his amongst which he especially dwells armies, extended in his limits. I see upon the weakening of the kingdom places conquered, battles won, all the and the progress of scepticism. Bayle, blows aimed at his throne serving but addressing himself, in 1685, to the to strengthen it. I see an idolatrous persecuting party, told them that court exalting him above men, above their triumphs were those of deism heroes, and equalling him with God rather than of the true faith, and that himself. I see all parts of the universe the cruelties and violence committed overrun by his troops, our frontiers during six or seven hundred years, in menaced, religion tottering, and the the name of the Catholic church, had Protestant world at the term of its led men to infidelity. “As Bayle ruin. At sight of these storms, I had predicted, sceptics and scoffers await but the last blow that shall up- gathered all the fruits of the apparent set the church, and I exclaim-Oh, victory of Catholicism. The eightskiff beaten by the tempest! art thou eenth century beheld the growth of about to be swallowed up by the a generation which rejected Chriswaves ?

tianity because it hated intolerance, “Bebold the Divinity, who discovers and recognised no authority but that the arm of His holiness,* who comes of reason. Protestants, whom draforth from the bosom of chaos, who goons had dragged to the altar, reconfounds us by the miracles of His venged themselves thus, perhaps, for love, after having confounded us by their compelled submission. Strange the darkness of His providence. Here, to say, the two brothers Condillac in the space of two campaigns, are and Mably, who so powerfully conmore than one hundred thousand ene- tributed to shake a despotic church mies buried in the waters, or hewn and monarchy, were grandsons of a down by the swords of our soldiers, gentleman of Dauphiny, converted by or trampled by the feet of our horses, the soldiers of St Ruth. Reviving or loaded with our chains. Here are philosophical and social theories which whole provinces submitted to our the seventeenth century had left in obedience. Here our generous war- the shade, and placing, the first, inriors covered with the most beauteous telligence in matter, the second, all laurels that ever met our view. Here sovereignty in the people, they sapis this fatal power which had risen to pod the bases of religion and royalty. the sky-behold, it totters, it falls ! These principles, popularised by My brethren, let these events teach Diderot and Rousseau, triumphed

[ocr errors][merged small]

upon the day appointed by divine to dissent. None dissented from them wrath. The throne was upset, the at that sitting of the Academy of altar broken, and society disappeared Moral and Political Science, at which in a frightful tempest. Who shall say this chapter was read by its accomthat the Revolution of 1789 might not plished author. They were received, have taken another course, and have on the contrary, with marks of general remained pure of the greater part of acquiescence and approbation. the crimes and excesses that sullied The work of which we have enit, had France possessed the numerous deavoured to sketch the outline and descendants of that race-somewhat indicate the aim, is not of an ephemerigid, but religious, moral, intelligent, ral class. It is a valuable addition to full of energy and loyalty-which one the political and religious history of of her kings had so imprudently ex- an important period, and as such it pelled from her bosom? Is it not will be prized by future historians. infinitely probable that those men, Originally undertaken at the instigadevoted to civil law, as they were tion of the most distinguished of living devoted to that of the gospel, would French Protestants, François Guizot, resolutely have supported the middle and followed, in its progress through classes against the abettors of anarchy, many years of labour, with unceasing and have formed with them an invin- interest, by the brilliant historian cible rampart against the passions of Mignet, its author had also the benefit a mob misled by hatred, blinded by of the counsels and encouragement of ignorance, greedy of a chimerical other eminent members of the French equality, in love with a liberty so soon Academy. The book addresses itself sacrificed to a transitory glory? Per- not only to the historical student, but haps, thanks to their assistance, to all persons of cultivated mind who France would then have founded the take an interest in the progress and definitive form of her government and development of the human intellect political institutions, distant alike from and of true Christianity—and to Proan exaggerated democracy and an un- testants it is particularly attractive. bridled despotism."

We cannot doubt that it will be These are earnest and eloquent eagerly read and discussed, not only words, difficult of refutation, and from in France, but in Germany, and in wbich few reflecting minds are likely this country.


We should like to see a classifica- us for our good, and is meant to be a tion of superstitions, ascribing to check and a preservative, where as them their true characteristics. The yet the influences of true religion do one word superstition, applied, as it is, not exist. The savage who believes to many things so opposite in them in a being superior to himself is on selves, misleads the judgment, or the first step of human advancement. suspends it, and too often begets an The attributes which he ascribes to uncharitableness which, if it be not that being will take their shape and a superstition, is something worse. colour from the conditions of his own Truth, it bas been said, is one and life. His God will be magnified in his single ; but the mirror--that is, the own passions. A life of perplexity mind-in which it is reflected has not so and of misery will make religion itself even a surface that the image is never gloomy—the Creator appear a being distorted : nor is it distortion always to be appeased, as loving vengeance, single ; for if the mirror be in any de- by cruelties—the great attribute of gree starred, there is a multiplication mercy will be lost sight of those of distortions. Nevertheless, in each whose habit is to show nope. For there will be as a principle the real what a man is, he is too apt to believe image; it will be a reality indestructi- bis Maker to be. The line is justified, ble, though disfigured. Nor will these variations in the original figure be all

“ Tantane religio potuit suadere malorum." alike. As the mirror is more or less So a life of unrestricted liberty and perfect in parts, so will be the misre- ease forms to itself a loose creed, abpresented truth an evil or harmless, horrent of punishment, and ascribes nay, it may be possible, a salutary to the Creator an indifferentism like superstition. We are not sure of the its own. But few, indeed, for any virtue in the pride, or of the policy of length of time, can remain in this state; its exercise, which turns too scornful - the course of life is never quite so a look on these aberrations, and arro- smooth ; doubts and conjectures are gates to itself a wisdom in waging ever offering themselves; and if not a war upon them. Do what we will, real religious conviction, some superthere is a propensity to seek to be- stition or other will take possession of lieve in and to establish the marvel. the perplexed mind. If all the superlous. Nor is Reason, with its boasted stitions the world has ever known philosophy, able to escape it. It breaks were to be collected and classified, with one absurdity, and in the fancied they would come under but few heads. freedom of its range adopts another; Their characteristics might be taken wherever it finds a difficulty it can- from their effects, as shown in the sonot solve, it experiments with a wild cial and moral systems. They will faith, and seeks a gratification in dis- vary in incident and in name, but will carding all but its new dogma. Speca- be found to belong to a few distinct orlation is credulous and incredulous ders. They are not all equally misaccording to its object. Because chievous, nor always to be safely “Socrates doubted some things, Car- eradicated; for when removed, they Deades doubted all.” Astrology and leave a space that will not remain magic and incantations have bad their vacant: we may liken them to those day; and when the cold fit is off, Rea- bad nations whom the Lord would not son will probably take them up again. suffer to be hastily destroyed, to be We see symptoms enough of this kind put out by little and little—and for an of reaction in our own day. Mes- analogous reason,

" lest the beasts of merism itself is thrown into the shade the field increase upon thee ! ” So by a new wonder, which, as a wonder might brutalities increase over a social of wonders, finds most favour with system. They who are so ready to those who will not believe what most eradicate all superstitions should not of mankind do believe. We doubt leave the ground neglected, nor withnot this propensity is implanted in out the good seed thrown in; and

[ocr errors]



even then we must expect some tares them under absolute submission. It to spring up with the wheat. In most never can change this its character, countries, and especially in remote which will be the more manifest as districts, numerous are the supersti- power is given to it. But this opinion tions regarding the commission of of the Church of Rome does not blind crime, particularly murder, which hap- us to the persecuting superstitions pily, in popular belief, “ will out," and which have been, and are, antagonistic surely these are safeguards. It is bet- to it. There is a heterogeneous army ter to believe in dreams and omens, made up of all varieties of incongruous than to emancipate crime of its fears. bigotries, to oppose Rome, of every The ignorance which still believes in dissent, and even infidelity, that, were charms, is often more wholesome than not Rome the object of their hatred, the knowledge which believes in no- would turn their animosities against thing. We remember a conversation their own ill-assorted ranks. with a good and judicious clergyman, would not be misunderstood : an agwhich bears upon this point. A poor gression has been made upon our bedridden woman, upon his first en- country, political and religious — We tering on his parocbial duties, asked would have the assumed power of him to give her a silver ring, to be Rome put down with a high band, made out of the sacramental offerings. if there be need; but we do proIt was to be a charm, and she had test against the uncharitableness, the great faith in it. What did he do? unchristian persecution, which has There be many who will condemn, been so largely exercised. We fear some excuse, and some admire what religion itself is suffering from itinehe did. He felt that he could not rant animosities. There is a legitieradicate the faith in this charm, witho mate opposition—a fair area of comout danger to that which had grown bat. There is the press and the pulpit, with its growth. Let there be blame and there is a bad and dangerous opor not, however ; he caused the ring position, tending to separate, to break to be made, and it was worn, and be- up the membership of society- to sow lieved in. And he assured us that it enmities, and to beget and encourage required great caution and long time a religious warfare, the worst of all to instruct her mind sufficiently upon warfares, and as cruel as the cruelest. the subject.

And where is religion in this feverThe fact is, the character of a people heat ? How little real charity, how is strongly marked in their supersti- little real love of our neighbour, how tions. Does fear or hope predominate little of the doing as we would be in them? do they arise from a pure or done by, is exhibited, on hired plata corrupted instinct? In the trouble- forms, by paid and unpaid itinerants ! some times of our own country, when We object to them on another account; there was mistrast and treachery, a we verily believe that they are failures great deterioration seized the super- as to the object. Excitement has its stitions of the people; they lost much reactions. The minds of the masses of their moral wholesomeness—merged are set upon doubts and upon inquiries into a cruel bigotry, and, assuming the that are not always to be satisfied grossest absurdities, persecuted to the from a platform; and the well-disdeath the harmless ones which they ciplined foe is ever at hand to solve had abandoned.

difficulties, and to promise rest to the The Iconoclasts have left their disquieted. We have often deplored " mark of the beast" everywhere up- the weakness of our own combatants, on the noblest edifices that united for a few overheated illogical heads genius and piety ever erected. Nor will counteract the good which the is the insanity of this the vilest of best tutored and most able might superstitions yet extinct. We say in- effect. It is surely a great evil, and a sanity, for it is ever irrational, and so great infringement of that civil and to name it is the most charitable ex- religious liberty of which we inconcuse for its persecuting spirit. The sistently and ostentatiously make so Church of Rome is essentially perse- great a boast, if that over-curious and cuting, because it holds it as its mis. inquisitive habit is induced upon the sion to subdue all people, and bring population, to take religion out of its

« AnteriorContinua »