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State of Public Affairs. at Nismës, for otherwise the idea as to the facts themselves they are not would not have been started of ba- attempted to be denied, and it does nishing Protestant worship out of not by any means appear, that the the city. By whom this spirit was Duke of Wellington had better means excited, to whom the long existence of information than might be had in of the evil is to be attributed, may London. In the circles, in which be a matter of doubt. They who his Grace moves, it cannot be exwould make it a merely civil question pected that the situation of Proteswill have to account for the singula- tants would be the subject of much rity of the circumstance, that during attention ; and the state of France is the Revolution and throughout the such, that their complaints would be whole despotism of Buonaparte the very much stifled, before they reachProtestants enjoyed equal liberty of ed the capital. worship with the Catholics. Many The Protestant ministers have also have been the civil dissensions, but lately appeared with addresses to the they never took this turn, till the court, from different places, and letBourbons were re-established, and ters to the societies in England. But not till the Duke of Anguouleme had besides that the representation of the made his appearance in the South of quiet state of Protestants in one place France.
is no argument against persecution in It is now asserted, and no one can another, these addresses seem to have feel a pleasure in its being otherwise, been got together as in England somethat the cabinet of France are en- times, when compliments agreeable tirely disposed to grant religious li- to the court are procured from variberty to the Protestants. Happy shall ous places, and the little dependence we be to learn that this is the case: to be placed upon them is proverbial. but the exertions in England will be It was not to be expected, that an found to have been very useful. The attack upon the Protestants would strong and decisive mauner in which begin in Paris. The attempt to exLondon, Exeter, Glasgow, Hull, cite such a measure might be attended Newcastle, Plymouth and other with dangerous consequences: for, if places have declared their sentiments, the Protestants are few in number, do honour to this country. Even if the Catholics themselves are far from they had merely met to express their being a considerable body; and they, abhorrence of persecution in general who have no religion at all, might their meetings would have been be. involve in common ruin both the parneficial : for even in a country, Pro- ties. testant like our own, this sentiment The horrors that have taken place is not, we fear, as yet, universal. It are to be traced up to a remote source, cannot be too often impressed upon to the revocation of the edict of Nantz, Christians, that persecution is alien hy the infamous Louis the XIV.; to their religion: they are under the whose name we are glad to see not Jaw of love; and no one, wbo taketh quoted, when an attempt is made to upon himself the name of Christ, must cast a lustre upon that of Bourbon. dare to condemn his neighbour or in- Henry the IV., Louis the XII., and sult and revile him for a difference of St. Louis are spoken of, but the great religionis opinion. To his own mas- hero is Henry the IV., who was a ter he standeth or falleth, and in re. Protestant, and for political purposes ligion no one apon earth has a right having changed bis religion, his name to call himself lord or master. This is tarnished in one of his descendants, says the Saviour, is the case in other who became a faithless persecutor. communities; but it shall not be so The conduct of Louis the XIV. has in mine.
been beyond measure ruinous to The name of the Duke of Welling. France. In the first instance it baton bas been brought forward upon nished from the country a very great this occasion, in consequence of a let- proportion of its arts, sciences and ter written by bis Grace to the Pro- literature. At the time of the revotestant Society. In this much is at- cation of the edicts, the Protestants tributed to the state of parties in the possessed a very learned clergy, and South of France, and the disposition several schools and universities. There of the French government to religious was great emulation between the liberty is strongly maintained. "But learned of the two sects, and the E*
State of Public Affairs.
tholic clergy were kept in order by however, should stirnulate us to im the respectability and talents of their press most strongly on the minds of opponents. The effect of the perse- our children the importance of scrip cution of the Protestants was not at tural truth, not teaching them to gabfirst seen, but it appeared in the fol- ble over like parrots catechisms, and lowing reign, when the clergy bad creeds, and confessions of faith, but to different opponents to deal with, and exercise their understandings daily in found themselves unable to cope with the divine word, that they may esteem the rising body of infidels. If it were the gospel as the precious jewel, to allowable to speak positively on the purchase which a man will part with judgments of God, we might almost all his substance. say, that the Bourbon family, the emi The amnesty bill has passed in grant nobility, and the Catholic France, modified from that which clergy, received in the revolution the was presented by one of the hot-headjust retribution for the atrocious acts ed royalists, but containing greater of their ancestors in the reign of Louis severity than that which bad the sancthe XIV. Assuredly the rise and tion of the court. A considerable progress of infidelity may be attri- degree of discussion took place in the buted to this cause. The morality Commons' house, but when it was of France was undermined by the ex- brought to the House of Peers, it was pulsion of the Protestants, and we passed by acclamation, and in a manwill venture to prognosticate, that the ner, which in England would be restoration of that body will be the deemed most upfitting and indecent. great means of restoring better prin- The king's consent soon ratified the ciples to the kingdom of France. deed, which drives away from France
Policy might have taught the a number of the regicides, and exFrench the folly even of their perse poses to pains and penalties a number cution. Where there is a great esta- of persons involved in the administrablished sect, the Dissenters from it are tion, under the three months' reign of generally to be found in the middle Buonaparte. walks of life, and in them chiefly The anniversary of the execution of among the most industrious and eco- Louis the XVI. has been kept with nomical. If any of this class rises to great solemity, and by a very judicious opulence, his wealth soon finds its regulation, instead of a sermon, by way into the establishment,
It is a
which the passions might have been proverbial saying, that it is not easy inflamed, the will of the deceased soto find three generations of Dissenters, vereign, calculated to sooth them who rode in coaches. The reason is down, was read in all the churches. obvious; increasing wealth brings the It is to be wished, that this may prooccupier more in contact with the duce the desired effect; bat in oppohigher classes. His sons and daugh- sition, as it were to it
, a plan has ters, by this association, gradually in- been struck out, which can but be of dulging in a little relaxation from the a very dangerous tendency. This is severe principles of the father; or to have manifestos in different places, perhaps the father himself, when set- expressing detestation of the crime of iled on his country estate, may have regicide, and to these people are inled the way by occupying occasionally vited to subscribe their signatures. It the squire's seat in the parish church. was not considered by the framers of The nearest meeting may be too vul. this measure, that more than one half gar. An advantageous match may of the present population of France occur for sons and daughters, and to had nothing to do with the sentence.. abstain from church or customary on the late kiug: they were at the visits, exposes to the imputation of time of its passing, too young to enter singularity. A variety of similar cir- into the merits or demerits of the case, cumstances, will be suggested to the and it cannot answer a good purpose mind of the reader, and lead him to to compel them now to examine the reflect on our Saviour's words: “ hard question. Whether kings may be justly is it for a rich man to enter into the dethroned by their subjects or not, kingdom of heaven;" and perhaps it is not a question for the multitude to is one of the hardest trials of a pa, decide upon. The history of the rent to reflect upon the changes that world proves that, whether right or may take place in his posterity. This wrong, the case has frequently: oce
Correspondenee. curred, and will frequently occur without doubt care will be taken that again, and in the most despotical king. they may have a fair trial. doms the occurrences are most fre The affairs of France occupy at prequent. Revolutions cannot always be sent so large a space in the contemprevented, even where discretion sits plation of Europe, that little room is at the helm : the storm may be too left for observations on what is taking great for the most prudent pilot: but, place in other parts of the Continent. where the laws are good, and are exe Prussia's new constitution is not yet cuted with fidelity, the sovereign has fixed. The independence of the two little to fear. Papers and protesta- kingdoms of Sweden and Norway uptions will not support a throne. Its der one sovereign is settled. Spain base must be fixed on more solid goes on its usual course, and its best ground; and the king, who reigns in men are in prisons and gallies. This the hearts of his people, is the most se- does not, however, advance its cause
with the colonies. Carthagena is not Among the strange events of these taken. The independents in Mexico troubled times, may be ranked the are increasing in power, and Buenos seizure, by the French government, Ayres has fitted out a fleet under the of three English officers, on the al command of an Englishman, which leged crime of aiding the escape of will clear the Pacific of every ship Lavalette. One of these gentlemen is wearing Spanish colours. a highly distinguished character, and At home all eyes are directed to what is more remarkable, one against the approaching sessions of parliament. whom Buonaparte is supposed to have The great business of the Continental entertained the most decided enmity. peace is to come under early discusSir R. Wilson, without doubt, gave sion, and the state of the landed inhim just cause, for no one has by pen terest will make a prominent feature and sword proved himself a greater in its debates. The corn bill has not foe to his tyranny. It would be im- answered any of the intentions for proper in the present state of the case which it was designed by its framers. to make any comments on this event. A temporary distress has been occaThese officers, it is said, will be sioned, and in the attempt to remedy brought to a trial, but Sir Robert, with it great care must be taken, lest the great propriety, has refused to answer evil should be increased. This counthose interrogatories, which it is the try's prosperity is owing to its trade, custom, and a base custom it is, to put commerce and manufactures; and if to an accused. We shall see in what the landed interest should injure them, manner the French courts conduct it must participate in their sufferings. themselves upon this occasion, for
CORRESPONDENCE. Our Subscribers will receive with this number, to face the Eleventh Volume, a Portrait of our late venerable friend and correspondent, Dr. TOULMIN. A few Proof Impressions have been pulled in Quarto, on fine Paper, price 58., which may be had of the Publisbers, as also the Proof Prints, in the same size and at the same price, of Dr. PRIESTLEY and SERVETUS. It is particularly recommended to such as wish to preserve a complete set. of the Monthly Repository Engravings to supply themselves early ; for in a little time the early prints, like the early numbers of the work, will be unobtainable.
Owing to the Editor's unavoidable absence from home, various articles intended for the present number, must lie over; particularly some promised articles of Review and some communications of Intelligence.
It is intended to make the present Volume a complete Register of the Proceedings on behalf of the French Protestants, and our country Correspondents are requested to supply us with copies of Resolutions, &c., which they may observe to be omitted.
We have received Subscriptions from Mr. Jevans and others for the Unitarian Fund; from Mr. Scott, &c. for the Greenock Chapel; and from Dr. Carpenter for Rossendale, all which will be more particularly acknowledged in the next number,
"The Obituary of the Rev. Francis Blackburne, of Richmond, in Yorkshire, (who we lament to say died on Sunday, the 21st inst.) did not reach us till that department of our work was closed.
We intended to press upon the notice of our readers the proposed Edition of Dr. Priestley's Works, by our much-esteemed friend and highly valued correspondent, Mr. Rutt; but we must content ourselves at present with expressing an earnest hope that so useful a purpose will be warmly supported by the Unitarian body,
The period' is not yet arrived when the COMMITTEE of the DissenTING MINISTERS can relax in their exertions, or recommend to the Public indifference and inaction, without sacrificing the Protestants of France and the general interests of Freedom and Religion.
Convinced that they should bave betrayed the cause of truth, by confiding in the false or partial representations of an enslaved press, and by waiting till it should be the pleasure of persecutors to give publicity to their own system of crimes and oppression, the Committee bave persev red in their endeavours to obtain information on the real character of past events, and on the present condition of the objects of their solicitude. In these endeavours they have succeeded beyond their expectation; and have received abundant and perfect conviction of the dreadful calamities to which Protestants, as such, have been exposed, and of the wily and cruel machinations which are still smployed to suppress their complaints, -- to pervert the truth, and to maintain a persecuting domination over their spiritual and temporal interests. From the most respectable sources of correspondence, and the testimony of eye-witnesses, with some of whom (fugitives from the horrors which still possess their imaginations, and which bave reduced them from comfort and independence to servitude and poverty) they have had the melancholy gratification of per. sonal intercourse, every evidence that even Prejudice itself would demand, has been furnished to the minds of the Committee.
They are morally certain, from the evidence of facts, that it is religious animosity which has enkindled that desolating fire; the progress of which they have been anxious to arrest, and the ravages of which they are la. bouring to repair, They know that the first victims of massacre and pillage were warm and acknowledged royalists, – that peaceable and unoffending persons have been murdered, distinctly, because they were Protestants, on no other ground, and without any other charge: that upwards of an kundred persons (of whom they have already had information) have abjured the Protestant fajsh, as the price of liberty and life :-- that the letters seni to this country, professedly to deprecate" foreign interference, have expressed the very reverse of the real feelings and wishes of the sufferers, and bave been obtained by the arts and power of the French authorities: that similar papers bave been, in some instances. refused, and in others the sanction of a Consistory has been given in the public papers to instruments signed only by oue individual, contrary to the declared sentiments of the Ministers of the Cone sistory and the Members of the Church.
Alarmed by the spirit which this country has displayed, and checked by the light which has been thrown on their conduct by the Committee, the persecutors have betaken themselves to methods more wary and insidious, but most dangerous to the prosperity and existence of the Reformed communion; and it is to the continued and undiminished exertions of British Christians that they turn for consolation and relief.
The Committee, therefore, entreat those who may not have contributed to the fund, from which they are taking safe and effectual methods to administer support to the Protestants of France, no longer to resign themselves to the influence of ignorant, prejudiced, or' designing parties, but to aid the Committee in the sacred cause, in which, unawed by clamour, and unmoved by defection, they feel themselves conspelled to persevere.
From a large mass of communications, the Committee can only insert the following extracts, wbich will prove how far the exertions of Britops are appreciated in France.
From the letter of an eminent minister in the South. 27th of Jamary, 1816. - "I have been waiting an opportunity of seading by sea, as one dare not put letters in the post. If letters contain some particulars which may be useful to you, you will understand that in making use of them, you must suppress the namea of the parties who transmit them. Tbe greater part of the pase tors, terrified by what they have seen in the public papers, dare not boldly declare themselves, especially after some individuals, through fear or ambition, had commudicated yoor Circulars to the civil administrators, wbo have dictated the aos wer to be made, and have inserted it in the public papers.
The open probeecution: deve ceased, for the present, in Languedoc, bus dark and
French Protestants. secret machinations continue against the Protestants. Of this you have a proof in the change of their religion by many poor families of Nismes. The principiil manufacturers, Protestants, have led from the scene of carpage; the poor work. people, who have not the means of qnitting the country, are obliged to seek work of the Catholic manufacturers, and many of these have refused it to those who would not emhrace the Catholic religion, or have severely menaced them. Such is the cause of this public abandonment of the truth! “In maoy places the temples are still sbut up.
• Many Protestants, in the opfortunate country round Nismes, suffer the extreme of misery.
“If you have succours to communicate to them, there must be great precautions taken by the persons who devote themselves to execute the act of charity, that they may not be molested by the agents of governinept, or the fanatics.
“At Montauhan, the Protestants have often been menaced; but to this moment, owing to their prudence and moderation, they have not been able to find an occasion to provoke them to quarrel.
"The schools experienre difficulties-the Catholic clergy are stirring themselves to embarrass them; but if the school at Paris can maintain itself for some time, the Number of masters which it will form, will, in the end, distribute themselves in every part of France.
“We are perfectly convinced that the efforts of our brethren, and the interference of their government with ours, have been very advantageous to the cause of the Protestants, and that their continuance must be very useful ; -though, by the reply made to the Duke of Wellington, be was led into an error, which is the cause that in his letter of 28th of November, he has affirmed some things which are entirely false, and denied others, the truth of wbich is well known to the Protestants of the South. May God Almighty support your Christian zeal, and give it a happy issue, for the advancement of his glory, and the protection of our brethren in Jesus Christ!
A Correspondent, whose authority is cf the highest importance, writes as follows:
February 6, 1816, “ The Protestants are now tolerably tranquil, externally ; but every cause of uneasiness remains. I will answer on my head that political differences of opiaion have only been the excuse,—the religion and respectability of the Protest. ant being the real cause of their sufferings. The assassins of peaceable citizeng walk abroad with unparalelled assurance, and recount their deeds of blood with diabolical pride! Not one of the murderers has been condemned; and the arrest of Trestaillou has cost the generous La Garde his life.
“If political opinion were the real cause, why has the storm fallen on the Pro. testants alone? Why, when they could have revenged themselves on the mur. derers of their brethren, did they remain tranquil, although daily exposed to the same dangers and the same fate? We are told that tranquillity is restored, and that all has been hushed; but, in most places, the Protestants have been disarmed, and the weapons placed in the hands of their Popish neighbours. The authorities, who shut their eyes to all the atrocities committed, fand who suffered the pillage and massacre of the Reformed, without one repressive measure, are yet the same. Now and then indeed, a weak and perfidiods proclamation, exo horting to order, but at the same time lavish in praise to the national guard (per. petrators of the crimes) for their fidelity and royalism; but too much excites the fears of those who have the sword of the assassio and the spoliation of a banditti. Those who have been imprisoned, severul hundreds, solicit in vain a public trial ; and when they ask to be released, are given to nnderstand, that money or aposo tary is the only price at which they can obtain their liberty.
Everywhere the same cruelties are not practised as in the Gard; bnt where are not the Reformed despised, shut oat from all places of profit and trust, and denied in fact all the advantages promiend them by their constitutional charter Protestant Mayor of towns or villages have been displaced, no one dares con. fide to the post his sentiments, -- ministers dare not correspond, -- and at their geril refuse to write as they are ordered. The sufferers are afraid of their own nire when they speak of their woes. No one dares write,-no one dares speak,