« הקודםהמשך »
faith, your devotion, your trust in God, the whole secret of your
And that secret they have not carried away with them, nor is it hidden in their graves; they have bequeathed it to us as our most precious heritage; they have left to us a free country, a united and powerful church, with the charge to transmit them to our children. God helping us, we will do it! We will not suffer the fruits of so many prayers and so many virtues to perish in our hands. Our country and the church shall always hold the first place in our regard, as they did in that of our fathers. At the sound of the tocsin they stretched out their suppliant hands, and cast themselves on the protection of those brave men,
men who had witnessed their birth, their sufferings, their perils, and their triumph, and were attached to their cause with zealous and devoted love. The country and the church appeal to us, in our turn; with what unanimity should we follow in their glorious footsteps !”
The peroration consists of an appeal to the people of Geneva to be faithful to the pledges of their distinguished history and their favored lot, and closes with the following striking paragraph.
“Finally, my brethren, let me present to you, in closing, one scene of our history.
“ It was on the twenty-first of May, 1536. They had hardly escaped destruction at th cost of the severest sacrifices. The genius of revolution and vengeance was hovering over the city and the country. The future was gloomy and threatening, the enemy exasperated and powerful, the sky loaded with tempests. There were new attacks to be sustained, new plots to be feared, large forces to be repulsed. Our fathers were poor and few. The magistrates assembled them in general council within this very cathedral. They attempted no concealment of the danger ; with the rude frankness of the times, they set it forth as it was, near and terrible. There, those same citizens, those reformers, who might have recounted their fatigues, complained of their losses, showed their wounds, and shrunk back affrighted at the prospect which now threatened them; those firm and devoted Christians only clung to each other the more closely; in the name of God, who had so often saved them, they raised their hands with one accord, and swore to live by the holy law of the Gospel, to cast off for ever all that was Papal, and to live in righteousness and union. This oath they kept. And now, at this anniversary, on the same spot, this day, this moment, at the footstool of the same God, and in his name, I ask you to lift your hands like our fathers. Let us engage, let us swear, that we will live in union and in obedience to the laws of the Reformation and the Gospel.
“God be our witness! and we let us be faithful! Amen!”
It has been our object in this article, simply to give an account of the discourse delivered by a distinguished man on an occasion of peculiar interest. We hope to have another opportunity of recurring to the occasion itself, and to some of the circumstances of that remarkable event, which it was designed to commemorate.
H. W., JR.
ART VI. — 1. Letters from Spain. By Don LEUCADIO
DOBLADO. London. 1822. 8vo. pp. 483. 2. Practical and Internal Evidence against Catholicism, with
Occasional Strictures on Mr. Butler's “ Book of the Roman Catholic Church”: in Sir Letters, addressed to the impartial among the Roman Catholics of Great Britain and Ireland. By the Rev. Joseph BLANCO WHITE, M. A., B. D. in the University of Seville ; Licentiate of Divinity in the University of Osuna; formerly Chaplain Magistral (Preacher) to the King of Spain, in the Royal Chapel at Seville ; Fellow, and once Rector, of the College of St. Mary a Jesu of the same Town; Synodal Examiner of the Diocess of Cadiz; Member of the Royal Academy of Belles-Lettres, of Seville, &c. &c. ; now a Clergyman of the Church of England; Author of "Doblado's Letters from Spain.” First American Edition. Georgetown, D. C.
1826. 12mo. pp. 315. 3. The Poor Man's Preservative against Popery : addressed
to the Lower Classes of Great Britain and Ireland. By the Rev. Joseph BLANCO WHITE, formerly Chaplain to the King of Spain, &c. The fourth Edition, revised by the
Author. London. 1827. 12mo. pp. 103. 4. Second Travels of an Irish Gentleman in Search of a
Religion. With Notes and Illustrations, not by the EDITOR OF
CAPTAIN Rock's Memoirs." In two Vol
Dublin : 1833. 16mo. pp. 249 and 245. 5. Observations on Heresy and Orthodoxy. By the Rev.
Joseph Blanco WHITE. London : 1835. 8vo. pp. 120.
Though the first of the abovementioned works was published under an assumed name, and the fourth anonymously, they are all from the same pen. Aside from the interest inspired by the nature of the subjects, and by the ability, expe
rience, and information, which the author has brought in every instance to the discussion, few writers have been able to awaken in us any thing like the same degree of personal regard, grounded on a sense of his worth, and a knowledge of his trials. As his life and writings are but little known in this country, we propose to give some account of them here ; our principal object being, however, to collect together the scattered notices which he has given, in his various publications, of the remarkable changes through which his own mind and character have passed.
Joseph Blanco White, though a native of Andalusia, in Spain, is of Irish descent. His grandfather was induced, by his predilections and sufferings as a Roman Catholic, to emigrate from the county of Waterford, in Ireland, and to establish himself at Seville, where he carried on extensive business as a merchant, and raised himself and his family to the rank of Hidalgos, by patent obtained early in the reign of Ferdinand VI. The eldest son of this gentleman was sent, when a child, to the country of his ancestors for education, that he might not become wholly estranged from it; and thus it was, as we are told, that the two most powerful and genuine elements of a religionist were wrought into his mental constitution, — the unhesitating faith of persecuting Spain, and the impassioned belief of persecuted Ireland. On his return, he married a Spanish lady of great purity and sensibility of character, and more strength and cultivation of mind than are common among her country women to this day ; but, in religious matters, a devotee and a slave. Such were the parents of the subject of these sketches; than whom, it would indeed be difficult to find two more favorable examples for observing the effects of the Catholic religion, or winning over and binding a child, naturally affectionate and reverential, to the faith in which he was most assiduously and conscientiously trained. In his " Letters from Spain ” our author says:
“With hardly any thing to spare, I do not recollect a time when our house was not a source of relief and consolation to some families of such as, by a characteristic and feeling appellation, are called among us the blushing poor.* In all seasons, for thirty years of his life, my father allowed himself no other relaxation, after the fatiguing business of his counting-house, than a visit to the General Hospital of this town, — a horrible scene of misery, where four or five hundred beggars are, a time, allowed to lay
* Pobres vergonzantes.
themselves down and die, when worn out by want and disease. Stripping himself of his coat, and having put on a coarse dress for the sake of cleanliness, in which he was scrupulous to a fault, he was employed, till late at night, in making the beds of the poor, taking the helpless in his arms, and stooping to such services as even the menials in attendance were often loth to perform. All this he did of his own free will, without the least connexion, public or private, with the establishment. Twice he was at death's door from the contagious influence of the atmosphere in which he exerted his charity. But no danger would appal him when engaged in administering relief to the needy. Foreigners, cast by misfortune into that gulf of wretchedness, were the peculiar objects of his kindness." - Letters from Spain, pp. 70, 71.
All this, though deeply tinged with asceticism, was of a nature favorably to impress the child's mind; but not so, much that he witnessed abroad. “I well remember,” he says, “the last that was burnt for being a heretic, in my own town. It was a poor blind woman. I was then about eight years old, and saw the pile of wood, upon barrels of pitch and tar, where she was reduced to ashes." Notwithstanding his religious prejudices, he must have turned away with instinctive horror from such a scene, if we may form an opinion of what his dispositions were at this time by another anecdote incidentally told. After speaking of the deep taint, which the slightest mixture of African, Indian, Moorish, or Jewish blood is supposed in Spain to fix, not only in the individual, but in his descendants to the most distant generation, he goes on : “Not a child in this populous city is ignorant that a family, who, beyond the memory of man, have kept a confectioner's shop in the central part of the town, had one of its ancestors punished by the Inquisition for a relapse into Judaism. I well recollect how, when a boy, I often passed that way, scarcely venturing to cast a side-glance on a pretty young woman who constantly attended the shop, for fear, as I said to myself, of shaming her.”
The first important epoch in the religious life of a Catholic, is his first confession, which generally takes place on his attaining the age of seven, that being the period at which, according to Catholic divines, moral responsibility begins. Our Author's remarks on this subject are too important to be passed over. *
* That the paper in the “Letters from Spain,” entitled “ A Few VOL. XX. 30 s. VOL. II. NO. I.
“ The effects of confession upon young minds are, generally, unfavorable to their future peace and virtue. It was to that practice I owed the first taste of remorse, while yet my soul was in a state of infant purity. My fancy had been strongly impressed with the awful conditions of the penitential law, and the word sacrilege had made me shudder on being told that the act of concealing any thought or action, the rightfulness of which I suspected, would make me guilty of that worst of crimes, and greatly increase my danger of everlasting torments. My parents had, in this case, done no more than their duty according to the rules of their church. But, though they had succeeded in rousing my fear of hell, this was, on the other hand, too feeble to overcome the childish bashfulness, which made the disclosure of a harmless trifle an effort above my strength.
" The appointed day came at last, when I was to wait on the confessor. Now wavering, now determined not to be guilty of sacrilege, I knelt before the priest, leaving, however, in my list of sins, the last place to the hideous offence- I believe it was a petty larceny committed on a young bird. But, when I came to the dreadful point, shame and confusion fell upon me, and the accusation stuck in my throat. The imaginary guilt of this silence haunted my mind for four years, gathering horrors at every successive confession, and rising into an appalling spectre, when, at the age of twelve, I was taken to receive the sacrament. In this miserable state I continued till, with the advance of reason, I plucked, at fourteen, courage enough to unburthen my conscience by a general confession of the past. And let it not be supposed that mine is a singular case, arising either from morbid feeling or the nature of my early education. Few, indeed, among the many penitents I have examined, have escaped the evils of a similar state; for, what a silly bashfulness does in children, is often, in after-life, the immediate effect of that shame by which fallen frailty clings still to wounded virtue." — Ibid. pp. 76, 77.
The fortune of the family having been greatly reduced in consequence of the mismanagement of a commercial agent, it became necessary that the boy's attention should be early turned to some business or profession, as a means of support.
Facts connected with the Formation of the Intellectual and Moral Character of a Spanish Clergyman,” was intended to give the history of the author's own mind, is clear from the following statement in the preface. “These letters are in fact the faithful memoirs of a real Spanish clergyman.” He also refers, in the first letter of his “Evidence against Catholicism,” to the account given in this paper of the parents of the Spanish clergyman, as being a true account of his own parents.