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magic. She returned home. The day of her departure passed long and beavily. I smiled at myself, and anticipated forgetfulness and tranquillity on the morrow. The morrow came, and the day after, but they brought neither forgetfulness nor tranquillity, but many new trains of thought, simple enough, yet disquieting in the extreme. If to love it is necessary to believe all beauty and all amiability centred in one woman, I was certainly not in that predicament. But the charming social intercourse which had been suddenly broken up, had made a revelation to me of what existed in my own heart, which it seemed impossible again to forget. I could not follow her. I could not marry. For the first time in my life I knew that I was poor.
"And now there rushed upon me at once, as if up to that moment I had been stone blind, the vision of the real world. I saw it as it stood in relation to me. I stood face to face with it. O God! how I felt the utter loneliness of that moment! I had spent my days in weaving a miserable screenwork between me and the sole happiness of life. I had forfeited, I had thrown away, I had lost for ever, that only boon which seemed to justify the providence of God in the creation of this world. You, my friend, came upon me in the height of this despair. You found me sitting alone in my study. You remember the scene that followed. I cannot recur to it. I have felt a pleasure in recalling the past wanderings of my spirit; but those moments of passion I cannot dwell upon. You know how bitterly I
railed, scoffed, jeered at myself, and at every employment that had ever engrossed me. I had found in philosophy no faith, in the world no path of duty, in my heart I had found af fections, and these were to be utterly crushed. I had somewhere read, I think in one of the novels of Goethe, of a melancholy man, who, finding his thoughts run much and incontrollably upon self-destruction, procured a dagger, and whenever the black hour of his melancholy recurred, the production of the keen and polished instrument, the handling it, and the consciousness that if he pleased he might
used to calm the fever of his heart, A vague idea that either in this way or another, I might find a remedy in such an instrument, induced me to procure one, and I had deposited it in my writing-desk. As I chafed myself with bitter and miserable talk, I suddenly snatched it from its hidingplace, and dashed the blade against my heart. It would have been driven to the hilt, but that you rushed forward and struck it from my hand. Can either of us ever forget that moment when we both looked upon the dagger as it lay upon the floor?
"Doggedly, sullenly, but without a relapse, I have since laboured at the profession in which you find me. You may perceive that my labours have not been without their recompense. But this is not half my reward. and steady occupation has brought with it an equanimity of mind which I need not tell you is more precious than wealth. My friend, the wine stays with you."
PROGRESS OF PROTESTANTISM IN FRANCE.
WE some few years ago laid before our readers certain papers entitled "the State of Protestantism in France." We are happy now to be able to substitute for the word "state" the word
progress." In order to justify, however, the assertion implied by this change of phrase, we shall not enter into many small details. These, when separately dwelt upon, appear so humble and insignificant, that they fail to convey an adequate impression of the effect which their frequent occurrence, which their multiplicity, really produce. We shall therefore proceed differently. Instead of enumerating, in the first instance, detached facts, we shall point out some joint results of these facts, which will prove, in a most unequivocal manner, their importance; and afterwards, if our limits permit, we shall mention a few of those minute interesting particulars to which we deem it judicious to give a prominent place.
The first result, the massive consequence, of the progression of the Reformed creed in France, to which we refer is, the hostility it has provoked from the French Government and civil authorities. This has been manifested in legal proceedings the most oppressive against the French Protestants. We shall commence by stating one most grave case of this sort of oppression. We shall make no apology for the length of our remarks upon it. Whatever relates to Protestantism, has not a foreign but a home interest for Englishmen. shall therefore treat our subject with as much emphasis and earnestness, as if the events we have to dwell upon had happened amongst ourselves. By so doing we feel assured we shall not weary our readers, but on the contrary engage their most lively sympathies, and best incite them to come to the help of their own cause—the cause of the Reformation among the French: i. e. the cause of the Reformation throughout Europe. In commenting on the case to which we have just alluded, we shall be obliged, to avoid obscurity, briefly to recapitulate in other words a statement and an argument which we have more amply dealt with on a former similar occa
sion. This case is recorded in the third volume of Mr Browning's History of the Huguenots, a work containing much valuable information, no. where else to be met with in so compendious a form. It is as follows:A little more than a year ago, two individuals by name Doine and Lemair, were charged at Montargis with having held a religious meeting consisting of more than twenty persons. The authorities of that town insisted that this act was contrary to the law, and the accused were condemned to several months' imprisonment. They appealed,however, against this sentence to the Cour Royal of Orleans, which reversed the judgment and pronounced a verdict of acquittal. Against this acquittal another appeal was made, at the instigation of the Ministre des Cultes, to the Court of Cassation, when on special grounds the latter sentence was confirmed, whilst the legal view of the case taken by the Montargis tribunal was declared to be the right one. This view is, that French religionists disconnected with the state, or not having the permission of the civil authorities, have no right to assemble more than twenty persons, and that they violate positive laws in so doing.
The laws to which allusion is here made, are the articles 291 and 294 of the penal code of France, and also an enactment of a late date against associations. The articles of the penal code pronounce all assemblies amounting to more than twenty persons, which are held without the authorization of the Government, or of a chief magistrate, to be illegal. The law against associations is identical with these articles, only it gives wider powers.
Against these two laws the French Protestants invoke in their defence, primarily, the fifth article of the Charte of 1830, which runs thus :-Every individual is free to profess his religion with equal liberty, and will obtain for his worship an equal protection." This article is to them their edict of Nantes of the nineteenth century. They insist that, being of a posterior date to those of the penal code just mentioned, the more recent enactment must, from
the very fact of its being more recent, abolish any anterior statute with which it may be in contradiction. With respect to the law against associations, they have the most positive proof that it can have no application to religious assemblies; for when it was passed M. Persil, then keeper of the great seal, solemnly affirmed (we repeat his de. claration, which we have formerly given) that, "with reference to meetings held for the worship of the Deity, this law is not applicable." And a few days afterwards, when the bill was brought before the Chamber of Peers, the reporter repeated the same words, and added, "If the declaration be not part of the law itself, it at least forms its official and inseparable commentary. It is on the faith of this assurance that the law has been enacted by the other Chamber, and on the same faith also it can only be passed here. There is certainly no tribunal in France who can understand it in any other sense."
To the fifth article of the Charte, we must now mention, is attached a law, called of the 17th Vendemiaire. By this law it is provided that any person designing to establish a public religious service, must make previously a declaration to that effect to the chief magistrate of the parish in which it is to be holden, must specify the locality, and the hour, in which such service is to take place, and must leave the doors of the house or edifice appropriated to this worship open, that the police may interfere, should any disorderly or illegal proceedings be attempted. Now the French Protestants maintain that the fifth article of the Charte connected with these regulations, loses its character of a naked maxim, of an abstract proposition, and becomes a law complete and sufficient for all practical purposes.
We shall see presently how summarily the first law court in France has sought to deprive this body of men of this their strong argument. But previously we must dwell for a while on the curious preamble of sophistical reasoning by which the act of tyranny in which it terminated was introduced.
M. Dupin, formerly the warm advocate of the chartered rights of the French Protestants, is the person who has attacked these rights most severely on the occasion of the Montargis
trial. Commenting on the fifth article of the Charte, he, on that occasion, maintained that the equal liberty promised to all religions is a restricted liberty. Hence he argued that the restrictions which are accepted by any specific body of religionists, must apply to them all. The Roman Catholic Church of France, he said, is subject to state regulations: the Reformed national worship also. He concluded it therefore preposterous, that sects or individuals should, merely because they receive no salary from the public treasury, lay claim to a condition of wider freedom than these establishments. Thus, according to M. Dupin, restrictions voluntarily acquiesced in, and restrictions arbitrarily imposed, are consistent with an equal liberty, and place the assenting and dissenting parties, with regard to these restrictions, on a par touching the freedom they respectively possess. This is strange logic!
One single axiom, which we will now lay down as incontrovertible, will nullify the whole of M. Dupin's reasoning: it is this, that the question of religious liberty begins where the question of ecclesiastical establishments ends. Establishments, by the very fact of their being such, are placed out of consideration in this matter. They have their own distinct laws and privileges, which constitute all the rights they demand. The doctrine of religious liberty comes only into operation when a separation from establishments takes place. Anteriorly, it can have no practical existence. The term freedom of worship points directly at dissent; irrespective of dissent it would have no meaning. And one may aver, fearless of contradiction from any quarter, that the words are never employed, except in allusion, either retrospective or actual, to persons who have renounced communion with established churches. With these persons or societies commences a principle of action which previously could have had no application. It is, therefore, manifestly an act of false and treacherous reasoning to drive this principle back, thence to receive the rule of its development, to institutions in which it incurs annihilation.
Another reason strongly urged by M. Dupin for the interference of the state in the religious proceedings of its subjects was, that should that interse
rence be disallowed, some might wish to re-establish Paganism, and others to celebrate the mysteries of Isis; and that all sorts of fantastic and immoral absurdities might be let loose upon the country. Thus a hypothetical possibility, and moral impossibility, was called up and appealed to, to make out the doctrine, that freedom of worship should be merely permissive, and that it owes its origin to the will of governments.
Having taken this wide aerial sweep to gather wind into his wings, and to pounce down from such a height with the greater force upon his prey, the French orator came nearer to his sub. ject. He referred to the suppression of the Jesuit societies, and to the suppression of St Simonianism, as instances in point to prove, that the state has a right to interpose a supreme authority in matters of religion; and if, he argued, a society annexed to a recognised church may be dealt with according to this rule, much more are religionists utterly unknown to the law subject to its operation. But the reply to this imperfect statement and false inference, is clear and unrefutable. When associations, or even individuals, entertain, under religious pretexts, political aims, as did the Je. suits and St Simonians, or when, as the latter did, and the worshippers of Isis would do, they attack the legal morality of the land they inhabit; then, indeed, having transgressed their own legitimate sphere of influence, they fall fairly under the dominion of the temporal power. But a case of this kind must always be made out against them, in order to justify the intervention of the civil magistrate in their affairs. This intervention rests upon special grounds, by which religious liberty is in no way affected or compromised.
The argument of M. Dupin might have been employed by Pagans against the primitive Christians, or by the Inquisition against heretics, (and was probably employed by both ;) for it would have sufficed them for all their purposes, whether of intolerance or persecution. It was in opposition, in direct defiance of the principle on which the argument is founded, that Christianity first spread through the earth. The vein of reflections which this fact opens is full of pregnant conclusions, in the presence of which the
NO. CCXCVI. VOL. XLVII.
sophistries of the French lawyer cannot stand for a second.
It must be borne in mind that M. Dupin has had directly in his contemplation, throughout the whole speech on which we are commenting, classes of religionists which form a great portion of the population of England and of America, and which have been known in Europe for centuries. It is the creed of these men, which he referred to several times, whilst pleading against them, as a new religion; it is the opinions of these men, which he stigmatizes frequently in his harangue as politically dangerous.
We have exposed somewhat minutely the main arguments of the former procureur-general of France, to the prejudice of his Protestant countrymen, not because there is any show even of force in them, but because their singular character of premeditated unfairness makes it evident that a resolution has been formed in high places in that kingdom, not to look the question of religious liberty straight in the face, but to blend and shuffle it up together with extraneous considerations; to play at hide and seek with the subject, and by the aid of an entangled perplexing sophistry, to explain and refine away the rights of the French Protestants, or, in other words, to leave them at the mercy of the civil authority.
The upshot of the whole long discourse, of which we have noticed the prominent parts, was an announcement from the first law-officer of the French crown, that the edict of the 17th Vendemiaire was abrogated. An act of more flagitious tyranny, disguised under legal forms, is not upon record.
Heretofore, when the more zealous portion of the Reformed population of France have been attacked by arguments like those of M. Dupin-when it has been asserted that they demanded an unlimited liberty dangerous to the state-they have appealed to the edict of the 17th Vendemiaire, as furnishing a triumphant refutation to imputations so utterly groundless. "The supervision of the civil authority," they have always repeated, "we invite, we invoke. We rest our cause mainly on a decree which brings us immediately under this supervision, which gives entire security to the go. vernment against any political or un
lawful projects we might possibly entertain; but we will not place our religion in the hands of a temporal power, belonging to a hostile church, thence to receive the rule and limit of its existence." This position, which they were able to take up, gave them immense advantages. It put the justice and the logic of the question they had to debate so clearly on their side, that when they were defeated in maintaining their rights, an act of arbitrary oppression, which they could exhibit to the world as such, could be manifestly laid to the charge of the magistracy and the law courts. It became essential, therefore, in the view of the ruling authorities of France, to deprive them of this vantage ground, and this the decision of the Court of Cassation, in the case under consideration, endeavours to accomplish. The French Protestants who adhere not to the National Establishment, are, as far as this decision can effect that purpose, thrown back upon the 5th article of the Charte solely, which they themselves acknowledge to be, in its isolation, too abstract and too wide to admit of any distinct practical application.
The wilful misreasonings by which the edict of the 17th Vendemiaire is declared to be abrogated, is on a par in point of iniquity with its abrogation itself, when it shall have been effected conclusively by the French legislature, as it is at present in a preliminary sense by the decision of the Court of Cassation. This edict is alleged to be, and is, of a prior date to a decree called of the 18th Germinal of the year ten of the Republic, which is a constituent law of the National Reformed Church of France; and on account of this priority of date, and its pretended discrepancy with the more recent enactment, its abolition has been pronounced. Nothing can appear fairer than this upon a superficial view; yet a closer examination will show that nothing can be conceived more fraudulent and base. There is a double villany in this reasoning, and the conclusion drawn from it, which we will at present make evident.
1st. The two laws in question have separate objects, and consequently were we to admit, which we do not, that if they met at the same point they would be contradictory, branching out, as they do, in different directions,
they affect not each other at all. The distinetion of date between them, therefore, cannot invalidate the earlier enactment. The law of the 17th Vendemiaire is general; it applies to all Frenchmen, no matter what creed they profess, whilst that of the 10th Germinal has a specific limited purpose. It has relation expressly and only to the state Protestant Establishment. The former law concerns or concerned [for we should write in the past tense] primarily and essentially, dissenters or religionists who act beyond the bounds of establishments; for though all may in theory profit by it, and the Nationalists really do so, yet it was never intended for particular churches who have separate organizations of their own; whereas it constituted itself the sole organization, recognised by the civil power, that French dissenting congregations have ever had.
In brief, the law of the 10th Germinal, combined with the 5th article of the Charte, forms the code of the Reformed Establishment of France, as the privileges of the Gallican Church, combined with the same article, form that of the Romish communion; and as the edict of the 17th Vendemiaire, whilst it is available to both the former forms, in conjunction with the same article of the Charte, the rule of existence to independent sects.
Thus the Court of Cassation might have abolished the law of the 10th Germinal, and have referred the Nationalist Protestants to the Church of Rome for the satisfaction of their rights, in strict accordance with the principle by which the edict of the 17th Vendemiaire has been declared abrogated; and the French Dissenters, or separatists, referred to the decree of the 10th Germinal for the expression and fruition of theirs. What should we think if a Lord Chief-Justice of England should declare that all our Dissenters must, despite express acts of Parliament to a contrary effect, by his breath blown away, submit to the discipline and regulations of our National Church, or be content to live by no law except the arbitrary capricious will of the Government? Yet this is exactly the proceeding M. Dupin has adopted towards French Dissenters.
2d. The judges of the Court of Cassation having declared that a posterior