Imágenes de páginas

After the death of Francis I. a prince, whom it must be conselled, was more remarkable for his gallantries and his misfortunes than for his cruelty, the execution of a thousand heretics, and in particular that of Dubourg, a counsellor of the parliament, together with the malfacre of Vassy, made the persecuted Ay to arms. Their feet multiplied in proportion with the fires lighted for them, and the swords of executioners drawn against them, patience gave way to rage, and they followed the ex

“ brare ; non denique Pontifici aut Episcopis ho

norem deferre, sed quosdam è suo numero de“ lectos pro antilibus & doctoribus habere. Hæc “ uti ad Franciscum relata VI.” Id. Feb. anni &c.

Madame de Cental, who was proprietor of part of the lands thus laid waste and drenched in the blood of their quondam inhabitants, applied for redress to Henry II. who referred her to the parliament of Paris. The folicitor-general of Provence, whose name was Guerin, and had been the principal author of these massacres, was condemned to lose his head ; and was the only one who suffered on this occafion, the punishment due to the other accomplices in his guilt; because, says De Thou, aulicorum favore deftitueretur, he had not friends at court, C6


ample of their enemies in cruelty. Nine civil wars filled France with carnage ; and a peace, more fatal than war itself, produced the day of St. Bartholomew, which stands without example in the annals of crimes.

Henry III. and Henry IV. fell victims to the Heague; the one by the hand of a Dominican friar, and the other by that of a monster who had been a brother of the Mendicant order. There are who pretend, that humanity, ing dulgence, and liberty of conscience, are horrible things; I would ask such persons feriously, if they could have produced calamities comparable to those I have just rem Jited ?


Whether TOLERATION is dangerous; and

among what Nations it is practifed.

SOME people will have it

, that if we were

to make use of humanity and indulgence towards our mistaken brethren who pray to God in bad French, it would be putting arms into their hands, and we should see revived the bloody days of Jarnac, Moncontour, Coutras, Dreux, St. Denis, &c. I know not how this may be, as I have not the gift of prophecy; but I really cannot discover the congruity of this reasoning, " That because these men took up arms against " me when I oppressed them, they will do the « fame if I flew them favour."

And here I would willingly take the liberty to intreat those who have the reins of government in hand, or are destined to fill the highest ftations, for once to examine maturely, whether there is any reason to apprehend, that indulgence would occasion the same rebellions as cruelty and oppression; and whether, what has happened undercertain circumstances, would happen under others of a different nature; or whether times, opinions, and manners are al


ways the same?

The Hugonots, it cannot be denied, have formerly given into all the rage of enthusiasm, and have been polluted with blood as well as ourselves : but can it be said, that the present generatio) is as barbarous as the former ? Have not time and reason, that have lately made so great progress, together with good books, and that natural softness introduced from society, found their way among those who have the guidance of these people? And do we not clearly perceive that almost all Europe bas undergone a change within the last century?

The hands of government have every where been strengthened, while ihe minds of the people have been softened and civilized ; the general police, supported by numerous standing armies, leave us no longer any cause to fcar the return of those times of anarchy, when protestant boors and catholic pealants were hastily called together from the labours of agriculiure, to wied the word against cach others lives.

Alia tempora, aliæ cura. It would be highly absurd in the present days to decimate the


body of the Sorbonne, because it formerly peririoned for the burning the Pucelle d'Orleans ; because it declared Henry Ill. to have lost his right to the throne, and because it excommunicated and profcribed the illustrious Henry IV. We Dhould not certainly think of prosecuting the other public bodies of the nation, who committed the like exceffes in those times of error and madness; it would not only be very unjust, but as ridiculous as if we were to oblige all the inhabitants of Marseilles to undergo a course of physic, because they had the plague in 1720.

Should we at prefent go and fack Rome, as the troops of Charles the Fifth did, because pope Sixtus the Fifth, in the year 1585, granted a nine years indulgence to all Frenchmen who would take up arms against their fovereign? No, surely it is enough, if we prevent the court of Rome from ever being guilty of such excel fes for the future.

The rage infpired by a spirit of controverfy, and the abuse made of the Chriftian religion from want of properly underftanding it, has occasioned as much bloodíhed, and produced as many calamities in Germany, England, and


« AnteriorContinuar »