« PreviousContinue »
the very fact of its being more recent, trial. Commenting on the fifth article abolish any anterior statute with which of the Charte, he, on that occasion, it may be in contradiction. With re- maintained that the equal liberty prospect to the law against associations, mised to all religions is a restricted they have the most positive proof that liberty. Hence he argued that the it can have no application to religious restrictions which are accepted by any assemblies ; for when it was passed M. specific body of religionists, must apPersil, then keeper of the great seal, ply to them all. The Roman Cathosolemnly affirmed (we repeat his de. lic Church of France, he said, is subclaration, which we have formerly ject to state regulations: the Reformed given) that, “ with reference to meeto national worship also. He concluded ings held for the worship of the Deity, it therefore preposterous, that sects or this law is not applicable." And a few individuals should, merely because days afterwards, when the bill was they receive no salary from the public brought before the Chamber of Peers, treasury, lay claim to a condition of the reporter repeated the same words, wider freedom than these establishand added," If the declaration be ments. Thus, according to M. Dupin, not part of the law itself, it at least restrictions voluntarily acquiesced in, forms its official and inseparable com- and restrictions arbitrarily imposed, mentary. It is on the faith of this are consistent with an equal liberty, assurance that the law has been enact- and place the assenting and dissenting ed by the other Chamber, and on the parties, with regard to these restricsame faith also it can only be passed tions, on a par touching the freedom here. There is certainly no tribunal they respectively possess. This is in France who can understand it in strange logic! any other sense.
One single axiom, which we will To the fifth article of the Charte, now lay down as incontrovertible, will we must now mention, is attached a nullify the whole of M. Dupin's law, called of the 17th Vendemiaire. reasoning : it is this,-that the quesBy this law it is provided that tion of religious liberty begins where any person designing to establish a the question of ecclesiastical establishpublic religious service, must make mentsends. Establishments, by the very previously a declaration to that effect fact of their being such, are placed to the chief magistrate of the parish out of consideration in this matter. in which it is to be holden, must They have their own distinct laws and specify the locality, and the hour, in privileges, which constitute all the which such service is to take place, rights they demand. The doctrine of and must leave the doors of the house religious liberty comes only into opeor edifice appropriated to this wor- ration when a separation from estabship open, that the police may inter- lishments takes place. Anteriorly, it fere, should any disorderly or illegal can have no practical existence. The proceedings be attempted. Now the term freedom of worship points directFrench Protestants maintain that the ly at dissent; irrespective of dissent it fifth article of the Charte connected would have no meaning. And one with these regulations, loses its cha- may aver, fearless of contradiction racter of a naked maxim, of an ab- from any quarter, that the words are stract proposition, and becomes a law never employed, except in allusion, complete and sufficient for all practi- either retrospective or actual, to percal purposes.
sons who have renounced communion We shall see presently how sum- with established churches. With these marily the first law court in France persons or societies commences a prin. has sought to deprive this body of men ciple of action which previously could of this their strong argument. But have had no application. It is, therepreviously we must dwell for a while fore, manifestly an act of false and on the curious preamble of sophistical treacherous reasoning to drive this reasoning by which the act of tyranny principle back, thence to receive the in which it terminated was introduced. rule of development, to institutions
M. Dupin, formerly the warm ad. in which it incurs annihilation. vocate of the chartered rights of the Another reason strongly urged by French Protestants, is the person who M. Dupin for the interference of the has attacked these rights most severe- state in the religious proceedings of its ly on the occasion of the Montargis subjects was, that should that interserence be disallowed, some might wish sophistries of the French lawyer canto re-establish Paganism, and others not stand for a second. to celebrate the mysteries of Isis; and It must be borne in mind that M. that all sorts of fantastic and immoral Dupin has had directly in his contemabsurdities might be let loose upon the plation, throughout the whole speech country. Thus a hypothetical possibi- on which we are commenting, classes lity, and moral impossibility, was called of religionists which form a great porup and appealed to, to make out the tion of the population of England and doctrine, that freedom of worship of America, and which have been should be merely permissive, and that knownin Europe for centuries. It is the it owes its origin to the will of govern. creed of these men, which he referred ments.
to several times, whilst pleading against Having taken this wide aerial sweep them, as a new religion ; it is the opin, to gather wind into his wings, and to ions of these men, which he stigmapounce down from such a height with tizes frequently in bis harangue as pothe greater force upon his prey, the litically dangerous. French orator came nearer to his sub. We have exposed somewhat miject. Ho referred to the suppression nutely the main arguments of the forof the Jesuit societies, and to the sup- mer procureur-general of France, to pression of St Simonianism, as in- the prejudice of his Protestant counstances in point to prove, that the state trymen, not because there is any
show has a right to interpose a supreme even of force in them, but because authority in matters of religion ; and their singular character of premedita
; if, he argued, a society annexed to a ted unfairness makes it evident that a recognised church may be dealt with resolution has been formed in high according to this rule, much more are places in that kingdom, not to look religionists utterly unknown to the the question of religious liberty straight law subject to its operation. But the in the face, but to blend and shuffle it reply to this imperfect statement and up together with extraneous considerfalse inference, is clear and unrefuta. ations; to play at hide and seek with ble. When associations, or even in- the subject, and by the aid of an endividuals, entertain, under religious tangled perplexing sophistry, to expretexts, political aims, as did the Je. plain and refine away the rights of the suits and St Simonians, or when, as French Protestants, or, in other words, the latter did, and the worshippers of to leave them at the mercy of the civil Isis would do, they attack the legal authority. morality of the land they inhabit ; The upshot of the whole long disthen, indeed, having transgressed their course, of which we have noticed the own legitimate sphere of influence, prominent parts, was an announcethey fall fairly under the dominion of ment from the first law-officer of the the temporal power. But a case of French crown, that the edict of the this kind must always be made out 17th Vendemiaire was abrogated. An against them, in order to justify the act of more flagitious tyranny, disintervention of the civil magistrate in guised under legal forms, is not upon their affairs. This intervention rests record. upon special grounds, by which reli- Heretofore, when the more zealous gious liberty is in no way affected or portion of the Reformed population of compromised.
France have been attacked by arguThe argument of M. Dupin might ments like those of M. Dupin--when have been employed by Pagans against it has been asserted that they demandthe primitive Christians, or by the In- ed an unlimited liberty dangerous to quisition against heretics, (and was the state-they have appealed to the probably employed by both ;) for it edict of the 17th Vendemiaire, as furwould have sufficed them for all their nishing a triumphant refutation to impurposes, whether of intolerance or putations so utterly groundless. “ The persecution. It was in opposition, in supervision of the civil authority," direct defiance of the principle on they have always repeated, “ we in which the argument is founded, that vite, we invoke. We rest our cause Christianity first spread through the mainly on a decree which brings us earth. The vein of reflections which immediately under this supervision, this fact opens is full of pregnant con- which gives entire security to the go. clusions, in the presence of which the vernment against any political or un
NO, CCXCVI. VOL. XLVII.
lawful projeets we might possibly en they affect not each other at all. The tertain; but we will not place our distinetion of date between them, religion in the hands of a temporal therefore, cannot invalidate the earlier power, belonging to a hostile church, enactment. The law of the 17th thence to receive the rule and limit of Vendemiaire is general ; it applies to its existence.” This position, which all Frenchmen, no matter what creed they were able to take up, gave them they profess, whilst that of the 10th immense advantages. It put the jus- Germinal has a specific limited pur. tice and the logic of the question they pose. It has relation expressly and had to debate so clearly on their side, only to the state Protestant Establishthat when they were defeated in main
The forcier law concerns or taining their rights, an act of arbitrary concerned (for we should write in the oppression, which they could exhibit past tense) primarily and essentially, to the world as such, could be mani. dissenters or religionists who act befestly laid to the charge of the magis. yond the bounds of establishments; for tracy and the law courts. It became though all may in theory profit by it, essential, therefore, in the view of the and the Nationalists really do so, yet ruling authorities of France, to deprive it was never intended for particular them of this vantage ground, and this churches who have separate organizathe decision of the Court of Cassation, tions of their own; whereas it consti. in the case under consideration, en- tuted itself the sole organization, redeavours to accomplish. The French cognised by the civil power, that Protestants who adhere not to the French dissenting congregations have National Establishment, are, as far as ever had. this decision can effect that purpose, In brief, the law of the 10th Gerthrown back upon the 5th article of minal, combined with the 5th article the Charte solely, which they them- of the Charte, forms the code of the selves acknowledge to be, in its isola- Reformed Establishment of France, as tion, too abstract and too wide to ad- the privileges of the Gallican Church, mit of any distinct practical applica- combined with the same article, form tion.
that of the Romish communion; and The wilful misreasonings by which as the edict of the 17th Vendemiaire, the edict of the 17th Vendemiaire is whilst it is available to both the fordeclared to be abrogated, is on a par mer forms, in conjunction with the in point of iniquity with its abrogation same article of the Charte, the rule of itself, when it shall have been effected existence to independent sects. conclusively by the French legislature, Thus the Court of Cassation might as it is at present in a preliminary sense have abolished the law of the 10th by the decision of the Court of Cassa. Germinal, and have referred the Nation. This edict is alleged to be, and is, tionalist Protestants to the Church of of a prior date to a decree called of the Rome for the satisfaction of their 18th Germinal of the year ten of the rights, in strict accordance with the Republic, which is a constituent law principle by which the edict of the of the National Reformed Church of 17th Vendemiaire has been declared France; and on account of this prio abrogated; and the French Dissenters, rity of date, and its pretended discre- or separatists, referred to the decree of pancy with the more recent enactinent, the IUth Germinal for the expression its abolition has been pronounced. and fruition of theirs. What should Nothing can appear fairer than this we think if a Lord Chief Justice of upon a superficial view; yet a closer England should declare that all our examination will show that nothing Dissenters must, despite express acts can be conceived more fraudulent and of Parliament to a contrary effect, by base. There is a double villany in his breath blown away, submit to the this reasoning, and the conclusion discipline and regulations of our Nadrawn from it, which we will at pre- tional Church, or be content to live by sent make evident.
no law except the arbitrary capricious 1st. The two laws in question have will of the Government ? Yet this is separate objects, and consequently exactly the proceeding M. Dupin were we to admit, which we do not, has adopted towards French Dissenthat if they met at the same point they ters. would be contradictory, branching 2d. The judges of the Court of Casout, as they do, in different directions, sation having declared that a posterior
law abrogates a prior one when they the presidents of all the Reformed conare found to be inconsistent with each sistories throughout that kingdom, and other, how is it that, in the very judg- tending to remodel completely the orment wherein they have misapplied, ganization of the French Protestant they should have shunned to apply establishments, are the following:this legal truism when its application
“Art 1. The circumscription of the was so strongly called for? All the
consistorial churches can only be fixed Protestants of France to a man, aver that the 291st article of the penal code forms:
and modified according to the following is in open and violent contradiction of
• The préfet must, as a preliminary the 5th article of the Charte. The
measure, institute an enquiry in the interCour Royal of Orleans came, on the ested communes ; the consistory must occasion of the trial which has pro- then be called upon to pronounce its voked these remarks, to the same con- opinion ; this opinion must be delivered clusion; whilst the highest court of efficiently to our State Council; and this judicature of the French realm, with- document must designate specially the out denying the universal averment, communes comprised in the consistorial has insisted that this article of the circumscription. penal code remains in full force.
" Art. 2. Ne consistories can build Let us now sum up briefly the com- no temple without being authorized to do • plicated iniquity of the judgment of so by our Council of State. the Court of Cassation in the case of
“ Art. 3. No other place can be deMessrs Doine and Lemair, under the
voted to the public exercise of worship, presiding influence of M. Dupin :
within the circumscription of a consisto. Ist. The edict of the 17th Vende
rial church, except on the deinand of the miaire formed the proper completion consistory, and by the sanction of the and corollary of the 5th article of the
préfet. The pastors of the consistorial
church can alone fulfil there the functions Charte, and it is therefore abrogated.
of an Evangelical minister. 2d. The 291st article of the penal
“ Art 12. The consistories must decode destroys the 5th article of the
termine by a regulation which must be Charte, and therefore it is attached
sent to the préfet, the number and times to it.
of their meetings. 3d. The abrogation of the edict of “ Art. 25. In case of the insufficiency the 17th Vendemiaire has been effected of the credits allowed by the state, for the [as far as the Court of Cassation can creation of new posts for pastors, there do so] under the false assumption that may be established, on the demand of the it is in contradiction of a more re- consistories, associations of the faithful cent enactment.
and of the communes, in order that they 4th. The 291st article of the penal may enter into an engagement to pay the code is in glaring contradiction of salary of the new pastor, and defray the a more recent fundamental law of the expenses which may result from the new Great Charter of France: it is retained establishment. The new posts of pastors in all its pristine force.
can only be created, after enquiry, at the We shall next make known to our
recommendation of the municipal coun. readers an event of very late occur.
cils, and by an ordinance of our State
Council.” rence, which forms the progressive sequel of the memorable judgment on The jet of all these articles is the which we have felt ourselves bound to same; viz. to hinder the diffusion of dwell so emphatically. The attack Protestantism, and to bring all the on Protestantism which we have now Reformed churches, whether connected to record, has taken shape in a pro- with the state or not, under the arbijected ordinance issued by M. Teste, trary regulations and absolute control late Ministre des Cultes. If the Ca- of the legislature. But they have a binet of which he was member had more subtle and complicated purpose not suddenly broken down, this ordi- still, which is, to round out and en. nance might at this time be in process
circle the national establishment of of execution, and nothing is more pro- the Reformation so effectually, that no 19 bable than that it may be, at a conve
communication or interchange of zealnient season, adopted and enforced by ous services and good offices may in the present or any future Ministry of future take place between them and France. The principal articles of this the unsalaried religionists. Hitherto, extraordinary document, addressed to the Nationalists and Independents
have made common cause. They have them, the pastor could not have at joined hand in hand, most fraternally, once accepted their invitation, the in all the work they have mutually ac- town being out of his circumscription. complished. The latter are often He would have had to consult the supplied by the former with funds to préfet, the consistory, and the state send preachers to particular spots and council ; and the veto of any one of establish a worship. If success at these authorities, whose veto would tend the mission, and it be otherwise doubtless have been unanimous, would advisable, the new flock, in case the have sufficed to hinder an evangelizing consent of the Government can be ob. effort, which has been attended with tained, then enter into the fold of the very remarkable success. We could state. This happened lately at Tours, mention numerous other places, Thiers and similar facts occur very frequently. for instance, in the south of France, In truth, the word Dissenter does not where, had the ordinance been in force properly apply to the great majority of late years, there could not have of French Protestants who belong existed, as there does now exist in not to the National Communion. each of them, a promising or flourishThey adhere not to this communion, ing Reformed congregation. Besides, simply because by so doing they would many districts of France there are be compelled to remain quite inactive, where Protestants are scattered here and besides might be left altogether and there. These Protestants espewithout any religious services. The cially are frequently obliged by the legislature will not give any sensible site of their property, or by their extension to the establishment. They affairs, to live beyond the circumscripare thus forced to quit it, in order at tion of consistorial churches; they the same time to provide for them. would be thus, if belonging to the selves the means of worship, and to National Temple, completely cut off extend their faith ; and, in their ef- by the proposed law from the exerforts to this end, they meet with the cise of their worship. cordial energetic co-operation of those The second article of the ordinance from whom they are not separated in has a signification which may escape principle or in doctrine, but only in the inattentive reader. It seems, being position and external circumstances. addressed to a state institution, to It is to put a stop to this co-operation, say no more than this-that no house which, on both sides, has been attend. of worship can be built at the expense ed with great success to effect a real of the Government without the authoseparation, to draw an impassable line rity of the Government. But if it betwixt the two denominations of really meant only this, it would be French Protestants, that the ordinance superfluous formally to reiterate an has chiefly in view. This is openly obligation which no individual or body avowed by one of its ablest advocates, of men can possibly gainsay or resist. a M. Coqueril, who is a Socinian or It does, however, we are persuaded, Rationalist pastor, and a member of mean to say more than its words litethe Paris consistory. But let us ex. rally express. Its real intent is examine the provisions of the impending plained in a circular letter of M. statute more closely.
Barthé, when he was minister. In By the first article it is provided, that letter to the préfets and presis that before any place can be admitted dents of consistories, there is the folwithin the limits of a consistoriallowing passage :-" In every case, church, the préfet, the consistory, you must bear in mind that no new and the Government must all concur edifice for public worship can be conto bring the act about ; and this is just structed without the sanction of the tantamount to declaring that no spot competent authorities, whether the at present out of the bounds of the Government and the communes partiNational Temple shall ever be in- cipate in the expense, or whether it cluded within them. Had the pro- be entirely defrayed by the subscriptions jected ordinance been a law a few of the fuithful, and the revenues of the years ago, when many of the inhabi. consistories." So much to hinder the tants of Sionville, a small town in construction of churches. Normandy; all at that time Roman With reference to any other places Catholics, invited a Protestant pastor of assembly for religious services, the to come among them and preach to third article would take care that they