Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

pen with which he was to fign his abjuration of herefy ; or rather, as the fequel proved, the death-warrant of his father.

[ocr errors]

And now nothing more remained to be done for this wretch who had been his own murderer but the office of canonization; the people, already to a man, looked upon him as a saint, some invoked him, some went to pray at his tomb, fome befought him to work miracles, while others gravely recounted those he had already performed; a monk pulled out one or two of bis teeth, in order to have some lasting relics; an old woman, more pious than the rest, but unhappily troubled with a deafness, declared, that: she had heard the sound of bells very plain at his: interment; and a priest was cured of an apoplectic fit, after taking a stout emetic: verbal processes were drawn up of these stupendious miracles; and the author of this account has in his poffeffion an affidavit, to prove that a young man of Toulouse, had his brain turned, on having prayed several nights successively at the tombs of the new faint, without having been able to obtain the miracle he requested of him.

[blocks in formation]

Among the order of the white penitentiaries there were some magiftrates of justice; the death of John Calas seemed then inevitrole.

a

But what more particularly haftned his fate, was the approach of that fingular festival, which, as I have already observed, the Toulousians celebrate every year, in commemoration of the massacre of four thousand Hugonots ; the year 1762, happenened to be the annum seculare of this execrable deed. The inhabitants were bufied in making preparations for the solemnity, this circumstance added fresh fuel to the heated imagination of the populace: every

one cried out, that a fcaffold for executing the Calas family upon, would be one of the greatest ornaments of the ceremony ; and that beaven itself seemed to have brought them thither as vi&tims, to be sacrificed to our holy religion. Twenty persons were ear witnesses

to these speeches, and to others ftill more | outrageous. And this, in the present age! this at a time when philosophy has made fo great a progress! and while the pens of an hundred academies are employed in inculcating humanity and gentleness of manners ! It should feem, that enthusiasm, enraged at the late

fus

fuccess of reason, fought under her stardard with redoubled fury.

Thirteen judges met every day, to try this cause: they had not, they could not, have any proof against this unhappy family ; but mistaken zeal held the place of proofs. Six of the judges continued a long time obstinate, being resolved to sentence John Calas, his son, and Lavaisse, to be broke upon the wh:el, and his wife to be burnt at the stake; the other seven judges, rather more moderate, were at least for having the accused examined ; the debates were frequent and long. One of the judges, convinced in his mind of the innocence of the parties, and of the imposibility of the crime laid to their charge, spoke warmly in their favour; he opposed the zeal of humanity to that of cruelty, and openly pleaded the cause of the Calas family in all the houses of Toulouse where misguided religion demanded with incer fant cries the blood of these unfortunate wretches. Another judge, well known for his violence and severity, went about the town, raving with as much fury against the accused, as his brother had been earnest in defending them. In hort, the contest became so warm, that both

BG

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

were obliged to enter protests against each other's proceedings, and retire into the country.

But by a strange fatality, the judge who had been on the favourable fide, had the delicacy to persist in his exceptions, and the other returned back to give his vote against those on whom he could no longer fit as judge; and it was his fingle vote which carried the sentence of being broke upon the wheel against them, there being eight voices against five, one of the six merciful judges being at last, after much contestation, brought over to the rigorous fide.

In my opinion, in cafes of parricide, and. where the master of a family is to be devoted to the most dreadful. punishment, the sentence. ought to be unanimous ; inasmuch, as the proofs of fo unparalleled of *a crime, ought to be

а

* I know of but two instances in history of fathers having murdered their children on the score: of religion; the first is the father of St. Barbara, as she is called ;, it seems he had ordered two windows to be made in his bathing-room. St. Barbara. in his absence, took it into her head to make a third in honour of the holy trinity: she also with the end

A

proved, in such a manner, as to satisfy all the world, and the least shadow of a doubt in a case of this nature, should be sufficient to make the judge trenible, who is about to pass fentence of death. The weakness of our reason, and the insufficiency of our laws, become every day more obvious; but surely, there cannot be a

:

of her finger made the sign of the cross upon the marble pillars; which remained deeply impressed thereon : her father, in a violent fury to have his room thus marked, runs after her with his [word in his hand with an intention to kill her*;: The Aies towards a mountain, which very come plaisantly opens upon her approach to give her a paflage, Her father finds himself obliged to go round about, and at length gets hold of his fugitive. daughter, whom he strips and prepares to scourge; but God envelopes her with a white cloud ; howe.

; ever, after all, her father caused her head to be

ftruck off: This is the story, as we find it related. in the book called, The Flower of Saints.

The second instance is of prince Hermenegildus who raised a rebellion against the king his father, and gave

him battle in the year 584, but was himfelf defeated and flain by one of his father's generals : however, he has been placed among the martyrs, because his father was an Arian.

greates

« AnteriorContinuar »