Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

pulpits; that the magistrates were no longer obeyed in their juris. "dictions; and that all places raged with discords, burnings and

slaughters, through the peevishness and presumption of those, who " assumed to themselves a liberty of teaching and believing whatsoever

they listed." This outrageous conduct of the Hugonots, caused a parliament to be assembled on the 13th of July, at Paris, where it was debated and decreed, in consequence of the numerous insurrections stirred up by the Hugonots, that the ministers of that faction should be expelled the kingdom, and none but the Catholic religion tolerated:

The admiral Coligini, who had now become an active leader of the Hugonot party, and the prince of Condé finding themselves thwarted by this latter decree, proposed a disputation between the Calvinistic ministers and Catholic doctors, which proposition was agreed to, and a conference appointed to be held at Poissy on the 10th of August, 1561. The result of the disputation, however, was not attended with any good effect, but rather increased the evil, since both parties separated without coming to a final conclusion, and each claimed the victory, if we are to credit Dr. Heylin. The conduct of the Hugonots was, as usual, every thing but orderly and peaceable. “The king of Navarre,” this historian writes, “ appeared much unsatisfied by noting the differences of the ministers amongst themselves, some of them adhering to the “ Augustinian and others to the Helvetian confession, in some points of “ doctrine; which made him afterwards more cordial to the interests “ of the church of Rome, notwithstanding all the arguments and insi“ nuations used by his wife, a most zealous Hugonot, to withdraw him from it. But the Hugonots gave out on the other side, that they had “ made good their doctrines, convinced the Catholic doctors, con“ founded the cardinal of Lorrain, and gotten license from the king to “ preach; which gave such courage to the rest of that faction, that

they began of their own authority to assemble themselves in such

places as they thought most convenient, and their ministers to preach in “ public, and their preachings followed and frequented by such multi“ tudes, as well of the nobility as the common people, that it was

thought impossible to suppress, and dangerous to disturb their meet“ ings. For so it was, that if either the magistrates molested them in “ their congregations, or the Catholics attempted to drive them out of “ their temples, without respect to any authority, they put themselves “ into arms, and in the middle of a full peace, was made a shew of a most terrible and destructive war."

Here it will be seen that nothing but resistance would satisfy these new-modelled Christians. That meekness of spirit and self-deniat which marked the lives of the primitive Christians and martyrs; their readiness to die for the faith of Christ, and submission to the stroke of the executioner, formed no part of these new gospellers; but turbulence, blood, and pillage, marked their footsteps wherever they found footing: Now, we ask once more, if men imbued with such a spirit can lay claim to the title of martyrs for conscience-sake? Can other men be blamed for endeavouring to quell and reduce to silence such disturbers of the public peace? And yet here we have John Fox and his editors repre: senting the violators of all law and justice, these pretenders to evangelical wisdom, as sufferers for religion, while they were making re

sermon.

ligion a cloak for their injustice aud perfidy. The queen regent finding these disturbances were in part occasioned by the edict of the 13th of July, and having raised a strong party against her by the decree of the 28th of January, now began to exercise a different kiod of policy, by playing into the hands of both parties. The king of Navarre and the duke of Guise entered into a combination to defend the Catholic religion, while the admiral Coligni and the prince of Condé were confederated to support the Calvinistic doctrine, and Catharine the queenregent now shewed favour to this party, now to that. This sort of state policy only increased the heat of faction, and tended.greatly to aid the admiral and prince in their intrigue, for Condé at length grew into such confidence, that he assumed to himself, Dr. Heylin says, the management of all great affairs. An incident occurred about this time, which shews the disposition of the Hugonot party, and how ready they are to take advantage of the least trifling matter to excite the flame of religious prejudice. This affair with its consequences we will give in Dr. Heylin's own words. “ The duke (of Guise) was then at Joinville in the province “ of Champaigne, and happened in his way upon a village called Vassey, where the Hugonots were assembled in great numbers to hear a

A scuffle unhappily is begun between some of the duke's “ footmen, and not a few of the more unadvised and adventurous Hugo“nots : which the duke coming to part, was hit with a blow of a stone

upon one of his cheeks, which forced him with the loss of some blood “ to retire again. Provoked with which indignity, his followers, being “two companies of lances, charge in upon them with their fire-locks, “ kill sixty of them in the place, and force the rest for preservation of “ their lives into several houses This accident is by the Hugonots

given out to be a matter of design; the execution done upon those sixty persons, must be called a massacre; and in revenge thereof the

kingdom shall be filled with blood and rapine, altars and images de“ faced, monasteries ruined and pulled down, and churches brutishly “polluted." Can any one, after reading this statement of Dr. Heylin, avoid being struck with the great similarity between the conduct of the Hugonots in 1561 and bawlers against Popery in 1815. It must be in the recollection of the reader, what outcries were raised in the latter year about religious persecution and the intolerance of Catholics, in consequence of an affray at Nismes of far less import than what took place in the village of Vassey. What pamphlets were published in this country, and an address even carried to the throne by the corporation of London, calling upon the government to interfere in the internal concerns of an independent state, merely because one of the parties professed what is called Protestantism. Why, admitting that these modern sufferers were punished for religion's sake, why make such an outcry? Who made such a noise when the primitive Christians were persecuted? Who felt for the unfortunate Catholics of Ireland and England, groaning under a code of laws more inhuman than the laws of Draco, for upwards of three hundred years ? But we are promised by the modern editors a full detail of these pretended persecutions in the south of France, and therefore we must reserve our remarks till we see what they have to offer.

Nor was resistance to authority the only evil which France suffered by the proceedings of the Hugonots ; for wherever they obtained the possession of towns and places, devastation and oppression was sure to follow their steps. Dr. Heylin observes, that having made themselves masters of the city of Orleans, they “handselled their new go

vernment with the spoil of all the churches and religious houses, which either they defaced or laid waste and desolate. Amongst which

none was used more coarsely than the church of St. Crosse, being the “ cathedral of that city; not so much out of a dislike to all cathedrals

(though that had been sufficient to expose it unto spoil and rapine)

as out of hatred to the name. Upon which furious piece of zeal they “afterwards destroyed all the little crosses which they found in the

way between Mont Martyr and St. Denis, first raised in memory of “Denis the first bishop of Paris, and one that passeth in account for "the chief apostle of the Gallic nations.”

France was thus rendered a scene of contention and desolation by the doctrines and practices of these reforming gospellers, which before had been a kingdom of internal tranquillity and wealth, under the influence of Catholicism. After various successes, the Hugonots made themselves masters of several of the strongest towns and cities, and nothing would content them now but the banishment of the constable of France, the cardinal of Lorrain, and the duke of Guise; free liberty of religion and churches to be taken from the Catholics for their use; the pope's legate to be sent out of the kingdom, all honours and offices to be opened to them; and the emperor, the queen of England, and other potentates to become guarantees that the first mentioned three personages should not return to France, till the king had arrived at the age of twenty-two. These measures were of course opposed by the opposite party, and this opposition led to a circumstance which we are surprised has never been noticed by Catholic writers to our knowledge, but which ought to have been made as public as possible, since it proves that the doctrine imputed to Catholics, of not keeping faith with heretics, which has been so formally and solemnly denied by them, was absolutely taught, and it appears practised by the Hugonots in France. We give the affair at full length, as related by Dr. Heylin in his History aforesaid.

« These violent demands so incensed all those which had the government of the state, that the prince and his adherents were pro“ claimed traitors, and as such to be prosecuted in a course of law, if

they laid not down their arms by a day appointed. Which did so " little benefit them, as the proposals of the prince had pleased the “others. For thereupon the Hugonots united themselves more strictly “ into a confederacy to deliver the king, the queen, the kingdom, from “the violence of their opposers, to stand to one another in the defence “ of the edicts, and altogether to submit to the authority of the prince of Condé, as the head of their union : publishing a tedious declara“ tion with their wonted confidence, touching the motives which in“ duced them to this combination. This more estranged the queen “ from them than she was at first; and now she is resolved to break “ them by some means or other, but rather to attempt it by wit than “ by force of arms. And to this end she deals so dexterously with the “ constable and the duke of Guise, that she prevailed with them to

OF

For's Book of Martyrs,

CRITICAL AND HISTORICAL.

No. 20.

Printed and Published by W. E. ANDREWS, 3, Chapter• Price 3d.

house-court, St. Paul's Churchyurd, London.

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

EXPLANATION OF The ENGRAVING. In the year 1562, the city of Orleans was be. sieged by the duke of Guise, whn was shot by one Poltrot, at the instigation of Beza, the apostle of the Hugoñot purty, and other divines of the Calvinist school. See p. 367.

CONTINUATION OF THE REVIEW. " leave the court, and to prefer the common safety of their country “ before their own particular and personal greatness : which being “ signified by letters to the prince of Condé, he frankly offered under “his hand, that whensoever these great adversaries of his were retired “ from the court (which he conceived a matter of impossibility to per

suade them to) he would not only lay down arms, but quit the king“ dom. But understanding that the constable and the duke had really “ withdrawn themselves to their country houses, divested of all power “ both in court and council, he stood confounded at the unadvisedness " and precipitation of so rash a promise as he had made unto the queen. “For it appeared dishonourable to him not to keep his word; more

dangerous to relinquish his command in the army; but most destruc“tive to himself and his party to dissolve their forces, and put himself " into a voluntary exile, not knowing whither to retreat. At which “dead lift he is refreshed by some of his Calvinian preachers with a

cordial comfort. By which learned casuists it was resolved for good "divinity, that the prince having undertaken the maintenance of those

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

“ who had embraced the purity of religion, and made himself by oath “protector of the word of God, no following obligation could be of

force to anake ‘him violate the first. In which determining of the “ case, they seemed to have been guided by that note in the English

bibles, translated and printed at Geneva, where in the margin to the "second chapter of saint Matthew's gospel, it is thus advertised: viz. That promise ought not to be kept, when God's honour and the preaching " of the truth is hindered ; or else it ought not to be broken. They added, " to make sure work of it, (at the least they thought so) that the

queen had broken a foriner promise to the prince, in not bringing the

king over to his party, as she once assured him; and therefore that “ he was not bound to keep faith with her, who had broke her own. “ But this divinity did not seem sufficient to preserve bis honour; an“ other temperament was found by some wiser heads, by which he

might both keep his promise, and not leave his army. By whose “advice it was resolved, that he should put himself into the power

of “ the queen, who was come within six miles of him with a small re

tinue, only of purpose to receive him; that having done his duty to her, he should express his readiness to forsake the kingdom, as soon

as some accord was settled; and that the admiral, d'Andelot, and “some other of the principal leaders, should on the sudden shew them“ selves, forcibly mount him on his horse, and bring him back into the

army. Which lay device, whether it had more cunning or less honesty than that of the cabal of divines, it is hard to say : but sure " it is, that it was put in execution accordingly; the queen thereby

deluded, and all the hopes of peace and accommodation made void “ and frustrate.”

From this testimony of Dr. Heylin, it is clear that the pretended gospel-reformers were the parties who broached the doctrine of not keeping faith with those who differed from them in religious opinions, and that their divines blasphemously perverted the sense of scripture to forward their purposes, while they at the same time charged the Catholics with holding the infamous doctrine taught by themselves, that the odium might attach to the professors of Catholicism. Perfidy and treachery too we also see were pressed into the ranks of the Hugonots to further their views, and yet these are the men that are held

up by the editors of this Book of Martyrs as the innocent victims of religious persecution. Having preached the violation of good faith to secure success to the propagation of their erroneous notions, the Calvinistic divines now went a step further, and held it for sound doctrine, that subjects might lawfully call in a foreign force against their lawful sovereign, when the interests of true religion and freedom of conscience were at stake, and on the grounds of this doctrine, the Hugonots tually entered into an agreement with Elizabeth of England to surrender some of the strong places in Normandy to a British force, and were: supplied with money and arms by this Protestant princess to carry war and destruction into the heart of their own country. They also admitted German auxiliaries into the country, and allowed them to spoil and plunder wherever they got possession. Of these traiterous doing Dr. Heylin thus speaks :-" It was on the 17th July, 1563, that New“haven was yielded to the French, that being the last day of the first

ac

« ForrigeFortsæt »