תמונות בעמוד

N. Owen, gentleman of good account, was long confined in prison, and at last condemned to die, for refusing the oaths of allegiance and supremacy. He suffered May 17, 1615.—Dodd, page 427.

William Brown suffered at York in 1605, “for being instrumental in proselyting the king's subjects to the Roman communion.”—Dodd, page 431,

Robert Drury, Matthew Fletcher, and twelve or thirteen others, were put to death on different accounts connected with their sacerdotal functions.Dodd's Church History, page 525, and his References, 377, &c.; vide the Index.

During the reign of Charles I. and the time of the rebellion, on account of their sacerdotal character, two suffered in 1628, one in 1634, one in 1641, six in 1642, two in 1643, three in 1644, one in 1645, four in 1646 and 1651, and two in 1654.–Vide Dodd, vol. iii. page 172.

These facts are very disgraceful to the Presbyterians and Republicans. Charles would have put Roman Catholics to death on account of their religion, it is therefore the Commons who must be responsible for these enormities.

Charles II. At page 356, &c. of Dodd there are several very affecting speeches of those who suffered for Oates's plot. About seventeen were executed on account of it most disgracefully.

Nicholas Postgate and seven others suffered on account of orders in 1679. Fourteen others were condemned, but reprieved and pardoned.

These horrible executions and condemnations must have been more or less occasioned by the insanity of the nation on the subject of popish plots, more particularly Oates's plot. They show the nature not only of intolerance, but of public alarms, popular cries, &c. &c.

The case of the covenanters might next be referred to, one surely of intolerance exercised by the more powerful sect.

Judge Blackstone, in his 4th book, chap. 4, states the laws that so long remained in force against the Papists ; " of which laws,” says he, “the President Montesquieu observes, that they are so rigorous, though not professedly of the sanguinary kind, that they do all the hurt that can possibly be done in cold blood.”

“ In answer to this,” says Blackstone, “it may be observed that these laws are seldom exerted to their utmost rigour, and, indeed, if they were, it would be very difficult to excuse them, for they are rather to be accounted for from their history, and the urgency of the times which produced them, than to be approved, upon a cool review, as a standing system of laws."

This account and history of them he then gives, and at last ventures to say, “ that if a time should ever arrive, and perhaps it is not very distant (this was written between the years 1755 and 1765), when all fears of a pretender shall have vanished,” &c. &c. “it may not be amiss to review and soften these rigorous edicts,” &c.

The present reign (of George III.) has been a reign of concession, that is, a reign of progressive civil wisdom and progressive religious knowledge on these subjects.

The question is at length debated among all reasonable men, as properly a question of civil policy. The nature of religious truth and the rights of religious inquiry are better understood than they were by our ancestors. These are held sacred in theory at least. And, therefore, all that now remains to be observed is, that no real conversions can be expected to take place, while penal statutes or test acts exist; because, while these exist, the point of honour is against the conversion.

The members of the Roman Catholic or Dissenting communions will gradually become more and more like the members of any more enlightened establishment, in their views and opinions, when civil offices and distinctions are first laid open to them, but in no other way. Those of them who are of some condition or rank in life, or of superior natural talents, will first suffer this alteration in their views and opinions. Then successful merchants and manufacturers; and this sort of improvement will propagate downward. At length the clerical part will be gradually improved in their views and opinions, like the laity. The outward and visible signs of the worship of the Roman Catholic or Dissenting communion may alter, or may in the mean time remain the same; but the alteration in their minds and tempers will have taken place, sufficiently for all civil purposes, gradually, insensibly, and with or without acknowledgment or alteration in their creeds and doctrines. This is the only conversion that can now be thought of: an alteration this, not of a day or a year, but to be produced in a course of years by the unrestrained operation of the increasing knowledge and prosperity of mankind. Nothing could have kept the inferior and more ignorant sects and churches from gradually assimilating themselves to the superior and more enlightened communion, in the course of the last half century, but tests and penal stalutes, and all the various machinery of exclusion and proscription.

But neither on the one side nor the other are the spiritual pastors and teachers to be at all listened to in these discussions. What is reasonable is to be done, to be done from time to time, and the event need not be feared. Statesmen will never advance the civil and religious interests of the community, if they are to wait till they can settle in any manner satisfactory to the Dissenting teacher and the established Churchman, to the Roman Catholic and to the Protestant minister, their opposite and long established claims and opinions : claims and opinions from which it is the business of the statesman, as much as possible, to escape. I am speaking now of men as rulers of kingdoms, not as individuals ; such men are not to take their own views of religious truth for granted, and propagate it accordingly; the state would thus necessarily be made intolerant.

“To overthrow any religion,” says Montesquieu, (or he might have added, any particular sect in religion)“ we must assail it by the good things of the world and by the hopes of fortune; not by that which makes men remember it, but by that which causes them to forget it; not by that which outrages mankind, but by every thing which soothes them, and facilitates the other passions of humanity in obtaining predominance over religion.”

These notes were written in the year 1810, and placed on the table when the two lectures on the Reformation were delivered. Mr. Hallam published


his History nearly twenty years after. He very thoroughly discusses the subject of the statutes of Elizabeth's reign, and then sums up in the following words:" It is much to be regretted that any writers worthy of respect should either, through undue prejudice against an adverse religion, or through timid acquiescence in whatever has been enacted, have offered for this odious code the false pretext of political necessity. That necessity, I am persuaded, can never be made out. The statutes were in many instances absolutely unjust; in others, not demanded by circumstances ; in almost all, prompted by religious bigotry, by excessive apprehension, or by the arbitrary spirit with which our government was administered under Elizabeth.”– End of 3rd chap. of bis Constitutional History, pages 229 and 230 of 8vo. edit. of 1829.

At the end of the fourth chapter he observes, speaking of the Puritans: “After forty years of constantly aggravated molestation of the nonconforming clergy, their numbers were become greater, their prosperity more deeply rooted, their enmity to the established order more irreconcilable.” He acknowledges the difficulty of the case, but observes—“that the obstinacy of bold and sincere men is not to be quelled by any punishments that do not exterminate them, and that they are not likely to entertain a less conceit of their own reason, when they find no arguments so much relied on to refute it as that of force; that statesmen invariably take a better view of such questions than churchmen.”

“ It appears by no means unlikely, that by reforming the abuses and corruption of the spiritual courts, by abandoning a part of their jurisdiction, so heterogeneous and so unduly attained, by abrogating obnoxious and at best frivolous ceremonies, by restraining pluralities of benefices, by ceasing to discountenance the most diligent ministers, and by more temper and disinterestedness in their own behaviour, the bishops would have palliated, to an indefinite degree, that dissatisfaction with the established scheme of polity, which its want of resemblance to that of other Protestant churches must more or less have produced. Such a reformation would at least have contented those reasonable and moderate persons who occupy sometimes a more extensive ground between contending factions than the zealots of either are willing to believe or acknowledge."



N my lecture of yesterday I concluded my observations on

the Reformation. I must now turn to the French history, and in the following lecture I must endeavour to give you some general notion of the history of a whole century, the sixteenth.

In considering the first part of this century, I shall have to notice the wars of enterprise and ambition carried on by the French monarchs, Charles VIII. and his successors.

In considering the second part of the century I shall have to allude to the great subject of the civil and religious wars of France.

These transactions and events cannot be detailed in any manner, however slight.

I can only make general remarks—first, on the one period, and then on the other; mentioning, at the same time, such books as will furnish you hereafter with those particulars on which I am now obliged to comment, as if you were entirely acquainted with them already.

We left the French history at the death of Louis XI.; before, therefore, we arrive at the civil and religious wars of France, we must pass through the reigns of Charles VIII., Louis XII., and Francis I,

Of these the reader will be able to form a very adequate idea by reading the works of Mr. Roscoe and Dr. Robertson. These reigns may also be read in Mezeray, a writer of great authority. Or they may be read in Hénault, and Millot, and Velly, as the rest of the French history has been.

De Thou or Thuanus, it may be also observed, introduces bis history with a general review of France and the state of Europe; a portion of his great work that has been

much admired, and then begins with the year 1516, a little before the death of Francis I. The lesson which may, on the whole, be derived from this first half of the sixteenth century, is the folly, the crime, of attempting foreign conquests: this is the leading observation I have to offer. Charles VIII. of France had descended into Italy, Louis XII. must therefore do the same ; so must Francis I. and Henry II. The honour of the French nation was, it seems, engaged.

But Spain, which was becoming the great rival state in Europe, chose also, like France, to be, as she conceived, powerful and renowned; Ferdinand therefore, and Charles V., and afterwards Philip II., were to waste, with the same ignorant ferocity, the lives and happiness of their subjects; and for what purpose? Not to keep the balance of Europe undisturbed ; not to expel the French from Italy, and to abstain from all projects of conquest themselves; but on the contrary, by rushing in, to contend for the whole, or a part of the plunder.

The Italians, in the meantime, whose unhappy country* was thus made the arena on which these unprincipled combatants were to struggle with each other, adopted, what appeared to them the only resource,—that of fighting the one against the other—if possible, to destroy both; leaguing themselves sometimes with France, sometimes with Spain, and suffering from each power every possible calamity; while they were exhibiting, in their own conduct, all the degrading arts of duplicity and intrigue.

A more wretched and disgusting picture of mankind cannot well be displayed. All the faults of which man, in his social state, is capable; opposite extremes of guilt united; all the vices of pusillanimity, and all the crimes of courage.

The miseries and degradation of Italy have never ceased since the fall of the Roman empire. The great misfortune of this country has always been, its divisions into petty states, a misfortune that was irremediable. No cardinal made into a sovereign could ever be expected to combine its dis

• There is a well known beautiful sonnet in the Italian, translated by Mr. Roscoe, and imitated by Lord Byron, a Lamentation that Italy had not been more powerful or less attractive, which I have seen an Italian repeat almost with tears.

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