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The French Church Prior to the Revolution

The French Church Prior to the Revolution


In the treatment of the preceding topics the general course of events belonging to the present subject has necessarily been anticipated. There are some special points, however, which may be accorded a brief attention, such as the extent of the protest against the bull Unigenitus; the amount of papal sanction given to the bull; the relation of the controversy to the insinuation of Ultramontanism; the crowning scandal of the controversy effected by imposing the bull upon the consciences of penitents as a condition of absolution; the closing stage of Jansenism; the downfall of the Jesuits; and the fortunes of Protestants.


Mention has been made of the fact that the majority of the bishops adhered to the bull Unigenitus. This adhesion was not the result of any fervent affection for that document. Some of them, doubtless, sharing the animosity of those who instigated the Pope to issue the bull, approved it as a means of annihilating the Jansenist party. A larger number probably were influenced by their double dependence upon King and Pope. They had learned that it was not easy to resist the will of Louis X1V., even when he was acting counter to Rome. In the Unigenitus affair they saw that King and Pope were united. Deeming it, therefore, hazardous to resist, and not being seriously troubled with theological convictions, they subscribed. The ensuing death of Louis gave, it is true, a temporary release from royal pressure; but to retract was a humiliating step, and also of doubtful prudence, since it would expose them to the Pope's displeasure, and would be very embarrassing in case the papal constitution should finally be sustained.


The position of the majority in the episcopate was too well explained to be of much weight with those whose independence was less hampered. In fact the protesting party greatly exceeded that of the subscribers. Voltaire, who had reached the verge of manhood at the publication of the constitution Unigenitus, thus describes the relative strength of the two parties, as the matter stood a few years later: "The Church of France continued to be divided into two parties, the accepters and the rejecters. The accepters were the hundred bishops who had adhered under Louis XIV. with the Jesuits and the Capuchins. The rejecters were fifteen bishops and the whole nation. The accepters enjoyed the support of Rome; the other party that of the universities, the parliaments and the people." Siècle de Louis XIV, chap. xxxvii., edit. 1829-40. Nearly a score of years were requisite to overcome the opposition so far as to secure a nominal assent to the detested constitution. It was only after forty-eight doctors had been expelled that the Sorbonne was constrained to subscribe in an unqualified manner (1729). As for the Parliament of Paris, it gave no voluntary assent, and the registration of the declaration for the execution of the constitution could be obtained only through the arbitrary mandate of the King (1730). Before reaching this result the government had signalized its inflexible resolution by afflicting numbers of the protesting clergy with fines, banishment, or imprisonment. The amount of violence used did not tend to increase the impression of the people respecting the holiness of the papal constitution. It was also a dubious element in the case that the infamous Dubois had been the means of turning the scale in favor of subscription at a crucial point in the controversy, and had been rewarded with a cardinal's hat.


It has been thought that Clement XI. doubted the wisdom of sending forth the bull which was to give him such an unenviable notoriety, and yielded with a measure of reluctance to the pressure of intemperate partisans. However this may have been, both he and the succeeding Popes made no concessions to the appeals with which they were assailed. Near the end of 1716 he issued briefs to various parties in France, wherein he insisted upon unqualified subscription and declared that to demand explanations of the bull was "to hanker after the fruit of the forbidden tree." Two years later, in a communication addressed to all Christians, he pronounced all who had refused or should refuse obedience to the bull contumacious, and sundered from communion with the apostolic see until they should thoroughly repent of their fault. 1 Magnum Bullarium Romanum, Continuatio, Pars ii. pp. 205-207. Innocent XIII. approved the position of his predecessor, declaring in letters to the King and the Regent that the bull Unigenitus condemned nothing but manifest errors. Benedict XIII., notwithstanding his anti-Molinist views in theology, commanded the strict observance of the bull (1725). Finally Benedict XIV,, in a brief, or encyclical letter, of the year 1756, gave this unmistakable decision: "Such is the authority of the constitution Unigenitus that no faithful Christian can refuse to submit to it, or oppose it in any way whatever, but at the risk of his eternal salvation." 2 Jervis, History of the Church of France, ii. 322. That the several Popes who had occasion to render a verdict upon the subject should have taken this ground is entirely explicable. They could not have done otherwise without exposing papal authority to the disgrace of a most glaring contradiction. For the constitution was from the start as plainly an ex cathedra document as it was possible for a pope to construct. It assumed to bind every member of the Roman Catholic Church, not to think, teach, or preach, any of the condemned propositions.

3 Omnes at singulas propositiones præinsertas, tanquam falsas, captiosas, etc., hac nostra perpetuò valitura constitutione declaramus, damnamus, et reprobamus; mandantes omnibus utriusque sexus Christifidelibus, ne de dictis propositionibus sentire, docere, ac prædicare aliter præsumant, quàm in hac eadem nostra constitutione continetur; ita ut quicumque illas, vel illarum aliquam conjunctim, vel divisim docuerit, defenderit, eliderit, aut de eis, etiam disputativè, publicè, ant privatim tractaverit, nisi forsan impugnando, ecclesiasticis censuris, aliisque contra similia perpetrantes a jure statutis pœnis ipso facto absque alia declaratione subjaceat.
To retract was out of the question on the part of those who had no higher interest than their own absolute authority. To explain was nearly equally out of the question. The bull had been issued, not against abstract propositions, but against sentences contained in a specific work. Some of these sentences were as clearly expressive of a definite idea as it was possible for language to frame. To allow, therefore, that they were not condemned in their apparent sense would be equivalent to allowing that they were not condemned at all, and so would expose the Pope to the charge of folly or malice in having sought to discredit the writing of an eminent author by marshaling against it an extended line of bugbears.


The circumstances and the issue of the strife involved a partial victory for Ultramontanism. The Gallican sentiment, cherished by a large part of the nation, was indeed far from being quenched. On the contrary, it was kindled in many minds to an intensity which threatened to burn away all real bonds of connection with Rome. But the exigencies of controversy naturally led the supporters of the papal constitution in the reverse direction. In their attempts to silence opponents they were in a manner driven to magnify the authority of the Pope, and the duty of unqualified obedience. The position taken by the majority of the bishops constrained them for the time practically to ignore, if not formally to deny, the principles of Gallicanism. Some of them indulged in statements of a decidedly ultra cast. Early in the strife the Archbishop of Arles made bold to declare that the opposers of the bull were more guilty than Adam was after the primal trespass. Various writings began to be circulated which advocated the infallibility of the Pope. In one of these the author was pleased to say that it was not less heretical to reject the bull Unigenitus than to deny the incarnation of the Word and the divinity of Jesus Christ. 1 Rocquain, L'Esprit Révolutionnaire avant la Révolution, pp. 8, 17, 36.


Whatever degree of assent the bishops may have given to formal statements of this class, some of them proceeded at length to act as if they were undoubtedly true. In 1749 and the following years a scheme was set on foot to honor the Unigenitus constitution by making it a kind of indispensable passport into paradise. In pursuance of this purpose, De Beaumont, Archbishop of Paris, issued the requisition that applicants for sacraments--at least in cases where there was any doubt about their frame of mind--should be required to produce "billets de confession," or certificates signed by orthodox priests, and testifying that the bearers cordially accepted the bull Unigenitus. This requisition was copied in nearly all the dioceses. The result was that some of the most conscientious men in the realm were denied the sacraments in the dying hour, and were left to expire without a title to Christian burial. Great wrath was naturally provoked; but it was a number of years before the tyrannous requisition was abandoned. The disreputable game of the "billets de confession" may well be characterized as a fitting conclusion to a peculiarly disgraceful chapter in religious history. In truth, the atheistic revel of the revolutionary era was scarcely more of a sacrilege against Christianity than was the whole ungodly fracas of which the bull Unigenitus was the central and the most responsible factor.


It may have been noticed that little mention has been made of the Jansenists in the above account. The reason has been that in the great party opposed to the papal constitution the Jansenists proper were not the most considerable fraction. Their Augustinian theology had never been acceptable to the larger portion of the French people. In the later stages of their history they had no great writers to recommend their theology, no names comparable with those which had adorned their early annals. Moreover, an unhappy episode inflicted much damage upon their reputation. As in previous times the zeal of rival parties in the Church had created a fruitful demand for miracles, so it was in case of the Jansenists. During the dark days when the unholy fiat which Jesuit malice had obtained from Rome was being made effectual against their adherents, their excited feelings were ready to claim relief in any appearance of supernatural intervention. The first token which met their watchful eyes was in 1725. A woman claimed to have been miraculously healed while accompanying a procession in which a priest who belonged to the appellant or protesting party was carrying the consecrated host. The Jansenists made much of the event; but soon it became unnecessary for them to dwell upon this single instance. In 1729 and the following years miracles in their behalf were, so to speak, an every-day occurrence. These were connected primarily with the grave of a Jansenist ascetic, François Pâris, in the cemetery of Saint Médard. It was claimed that sick people who visited this grave were supernaturally cured of their maladies. Extraordinary symptoms were sometimes manifested by the patients, such as convulsions, prophesyings, and trances. The like phenomena still appeared in other quarters after access to the wonder-working grave had been prevented by the authorities. Excessive enthusiasm ran into a crude physical rô1e, which justified the name convulsionnaires that was applied to the subjects of this overpowering excitement. At length the sober-minded among the Jansenists themselves were revolted, and constrained to censure the strange proceedings of their brethren as unworthy of religion.


It is needless to say that these miracles, especially when their credit was at its height, were not pleasing to the foes of Jansenism. As Roman Catholics, they were ready to welcome any quantity of prodigies, provided they should be rightly placed; but to have miracles at a Jansenist tomb was simply intolerable. The Jesuits in particular were cut to the heart. The glory of their order, it is true, was sustained by a record of all sorts of prodigies. But most of these occurred afar off, beyond the dim outlines of distant continents. An objector had a chance to say that the wonderful stories which were told had grown in the process of transmission. But here were miracles wrought beneath the eyes of critical Paris, miracles every way as well attested as any which had happened at the shrine of Becket. In their distress they could think of no safer expedient than to give the credit of the whole business to the devil. Not denying the strange workings of a mysterious power, they classed them among lying wonders. This was the position taken by one of their number in a writing published in 1737, under the title "Traité dogmatique sur les faux miracles du temps." Many others coincided with the Jesuits in this interpretation. Indeed the writer of the above treatise might have quoted Pope Clement XII., as well as the archbishop of Paris, in support of the view that the Jansenist miracles were wrought by the farer of the arch Deceiver. In the final result, while the Jansenists suffered discredit, their opponents also made but doubtful gains. The main advantage accrued to those who had no special love for either party, -- to the school of free-thinkers.

1 Barbier, Journal Historique du Règne de Louis XV., années 1729-1732; Grégoire, Histoire des Sectes Religieuses, tome ii. chap. 13; Martin, Histoire de France, tome xv.; Bauer, Kirchengeschichte der Neueren Zeit, pp. 513-518; Jervis, Church of France, ii. 281-287.


Before leaving the Jansenists, we may add a word respecting that memorial of their struggle which has been perpetuated in the Netherlands. In the time of persecution various representatives of their party had found a refuge in this region. Here the resident Roman Catholics awarded them so much sympathy as to fall themselves under suspicion and accusation. Adverse reports were carried to Rome, and the Pope was constrained in 1704 to depose the Archbishop of Utrecht. This measure, instead of subduing the minds of the people served to make them all the more friendly to the Jansenist interest. Finally, inasmuch as the Pope would not recognize the newly elected archbishop, it was decided in 1723 to install him without waiting longer for the papal authorization. From this date the succession has been continued in the episcopal see of Utrecht. At each new election of a bishop request is made of the Pope for confirmation. This is always refused, and so communion with Rome, though not repudiated in principle, is continually postponed.


About the time that the epidemic enthusiasm which spread from the grave of François Pâris was bringing discredit upon the Jansenist cause, the populace found occasion for irreverent witticisms in a book by the Bishop of Soissons, which was devoted to the memory of Marie Alacoque. 1 Barbier, Journal, i. 307, 308; Grégoire, Histoire des Sectes Religieuses, tome ii, chap. 20; Rocquain, L'Esprit Révolutionnaire avant la Révolution, pp. 80, 81. The book was a tribute to a form of religious distemper less violent than that of the convulsionnaires, but not many degrees superior in the sight of rational piety. This Marie Alacoque, whose story the bishop recounted, was supposed, near the end of the preceding century, to have been favored with the sight of the heart of Jesus in his opened breast. Stimulated by this fanciful vision, the mediæval faculty for materializing everything, which enters into the essence of the Romish Church, went to work to organize a specific devotion of the Sacred Heart. The Jesuits patronized the new auxiliary to a sentimental and superstitious worship. It did not, however, make great progress till the latter part of the century, when Clement XIII. gave it his approval.

A question soon arose as to whether the Pope had approved devotion to anything more than the symbolical heart, as distinguished from the physical organ.
A special devotion to the heart of Jesus fostered inevitably a parallel honor to Mary, and there are some indications that the latter was rendered in no grudging measure. One of the fervent writers of the time speaks of the heart of Mary as "the storehouse of divine compassions, the furnace of the celestial fire, the library of the Old and of the New Testament." 2 Grégoire, Histoire des Sectes, tome ii, chap. 20. Another peculiar form of devotion prevailed for a season, at least within a limited circle. As D'Argensan, writing in 1751, informs us, the Queen and a number of the court ladies made use of skulls as an aid to their piety. "They adorn," he says, "these heads of the dead with ribbons and pendants; or they illuminate them with lamps, and they meditate before them for a half-hour." 3 Mémoires, vii. 16, 17.


It is supposed that Clement XIII. had some reference to the existing needs of the Jesuits, for whom he had large sympathy, when he approved the devotion to the Sacred Heart, designing to supply thereby a means of encouragement and union to the members of the Order, and those who shared in their griefs. There was certainly occasion enough for any encouragement that the friendly Pontiff had to offer. The time of reckoning had come for the disciples of Loyola.


The conduct of the Jesuits just before the storm burst upon them cannot be said to have been specially odious. They had not been unusually aggressive and intriguing. The storm was not the offspring of fresh provocation; it was rather the accumulated retribution which the misconduct of generations had earned. There may have been indeed some special provocations at this juncture. But these did not necessarily affect the standing of the whole Order. Had there not been a foregoing history, begetting in many minds the conviction that incorrigible evil was ingrained into this society, it might have successfully met any temporary causes of objection and ill-will.


A Jesuit writer has expressed surprise that it was precisely in Portugal, where the Jesuits seemed to be so firmly entrenched, that the great attack upon them was begun. "At the court," he says, "they were not only the guides of the consciences and conduct of the royal princes and princesses, but also were made the advisers of the King and his ministers in the most important matters. No position in the administration of the State or the Church was awarded without their consent and their influence, so that in truth the higher clergy, the nobles, and the people vied with each other to obtain their intercession and favor." 1 Georgel, quoted by Theiner, Geschichte des Pontificats Clemens XIV. i. 5. These words used in justification of surprise might better be employed for a contrary purpose. The overgrown influence of the Jesuits in Portugal is by itself a large part of the explanation of the attack upon them. To a statesman like Pombal, confident, energetic, and aggressive, it seemed a thing intolerable that a parcel of ecclesiastics should so completely dominate the nation. Having once entered upon the task of reducing their influence, he doubtless found that either he or they would have to go under. He therefore utilized to the full whatever might be turned to the discredit of the Jesuit fathers. He found in their mercantile projects a cause for complaint. Their alleged complicity in the armed rebellion of the natives in Paraguay gave him a vantage ground against them. Still more their alleged complicity in an attempt to assassinate the King (1758) gave him a formidable advantage. In 1759 came the unsparing edict for their banishment. They were sent in a body to their spiritual father, the Pope.


The news from Portugal caused a profound sensation in France, and in all likelihood raised the question in many minds whether the example of the sister realm might not be successfully imitated. As it happened, there was no occasion to harbor this inquiry for a long time. The impolicy of the Jesuits themselves placed effective weapons in the hands of their opponents. One of the fathers of the Order, Antoine Lavalette, who resided in Martinque, had engaged in large mercantile enterprises. The capture of several of his ships entailed so great a loss on the French firms with which he was financially connected that they were compelled to go into bankruptcy. The creditors of the bankrupt merchants then sued Lavalette and his immediate superior. It being hopeless to secure from them the large sum that was owed, they next tried the expedient of making the Order itself, as a corporate body in the realm, responsible. The Marseilles tribunal agreed to their plea. But the Jesuits were not convinced. Being advised that their establishments had no such oneness in law that all could be held to account for the liabilities of each, they concluded that they would try a legal shift rather than pay the money. With strange fatuity they submitted their case to the Parliament of Paris, the very body which had long and fiercely contended against their schemes. In answer to the claim that the Order could not be held responsible for the debt of a member, the Parliament asked for their constitution. This document, till then unknown to the public, was produced. It is needless to say that it made no favorable impression upon the minds of zealous Gallicans. Those who insisted that the State could not endure the unlimited authority claimed by the foreign ecclesiastic dwelling in the Vatican, were naturally jealous of an institute which delivered a powerful company of men within the realm, body and soul, to a foreign head. The determination of Parliament mounted at once beyond the affair of Lavalette. The examination of the books of casuistry which followed was rather a means of justifying its resolution to overthrow the Society than a basis of judgment.


An attempt was made to save the Jesuits by a compromise measure, providing that certain restrictions agreeable to Gallicanism should be accepted by the Order. A scheme of this kind, endorsed by the King, was forwarded to Rome. The response was a rejection of the proposal, uttered either by the Pope or the General, in these unequivocal words: "Sint ut sunt, aut non sint,"--"let them be as they are, or let them cease to be." Public opinion in France dictated the latter alternative. The royal order for the suppression of the Society was issued in November, 1764. This did not prohibit the residence of former members in France. But sentence of banishment was near at hand; it fell upon them in 1767.


Clement XIII. was profoundly disturbed by the overthrow of the Jesuits in France. As a means of censuring past and checking future assaults he issued the bull Apostolicum (January, 1765). This is nothing less than a warm commendation of the Order, wherein the Pope pronounces the charges made against its principles to be malicious and unfounded, and repels them in these terms: "We publish and declare that the Institute of the Society of Jesus savors in the highest degree of piety and sanctity both on account of the high end which it specially contemplates, namely, the defence and propagation of the Catholic religion, and also on account of the means which it applies to the attainment of this end." 1 Bullarii Romani Continuatio, Clemene XIII., iii, 38, 39.


This commendation was vain. The nations did not consider it necessary to ask the Pope what they should think of the Jesuits. Against the tempest which had begun to blow, the apostolic voice was no better than common breath.


The next and most far-reaching visitation upon the doomed Order was in the Spanish dominions, European and American. The decree of banishment was issued in 1767. An insurrection of the preceding year is presumed to have afforded the pretext. Beyond this all is involved in obscurity. There was no public process, and the King did not deign to assign a single specific reason for his summary measure. The following announcement to the Pope gives his motive for this secrecy: "To spare the world a great scandal, I will keep forever in my own heart the abominable plot which has necessitated these rigors. Your Holiness should believe me upon my word. The safety of my life demands of me a profound silence in this matter." 1 Crétineau-Joly, Histoire de la Compagnie de Jésus, v. 302.


The kingdom of Naples and Sicily was made forbidden ground to the Jesuits (1767), as also the duchy of Parma (1768). In connection with the latter, Clement XIII. conceived that a suitable occasion had been given for the manifestation of his displeasure, some steps adverse to papal control having been added to the unkind treatment of his favorites. Reviving an old claim that this territory was a fief of the papacy, he undertook to treat the Duke of Parma as a rebellious vassal, and launched against him a sentence of excommunication. The boldness of the act was its only recommendation. The duke was related to the sovereigns of Spain, France, and Naples. Resenting the papal onslaught as an insult to the Bourbon family, they made reprisals by seizing papal territory. Nor was this all; they laid a formal demand upon the Pontiff to wholly abolish the Order of Jesuits. Whether Clement XIII. would have resisted this formidable combination was not to be made manifest. His death in 1769 transferred the fate of the Order to the hands of his successor.


Clement XIV. came to the papal throne, if not under an implicit engagement to fulfill the demand of the sovereigns, with far less of disinclination to do so than was cherished by the preceding Pope. Amiable and moderate in disposition, he was ready to study the interests of peace. As the Bourbon governments continued to press their demand, that of Spain being especially energetic and pertinacious, he at length gave them satisfaction. The brief for the dissolution of the Order of Jesuits was issued in 1773. In this writing, after taking note of precedents for dissolving orders, and calling attention to the numerous dissensions of which the Jesuits had been the occasion, and which it seemed impossible to prevent or allay, the Pope thus pronounced his decision: "Actuated by so many and important considerations, and, as we hope, aided by the presence and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, compelled besides by the necessity of our ministry, which strictly obliges us to conciliate, maintain, and confirm the peace and tranquillity of the Christian republic, and remove every obstacle which may tend to trouble it; having further considered that the said Company of Jesus can no longer produce those abundant fruits and those great advantages with a view to which it was instituted, approved by so many of our predecessors, and endowed with so many and extensive privileges; that on the contrary, it was very difficult not to say impossible, that the Church could recover a firm and durable peace so long as the said Society subsisted; in consequence hereof, and determined by the particular reasons we have alleged, and forced by other motives which prudence and the good government of the Church have dictated, the knowledge of which we reserve to ourselves ...we suppress and abolish the said Company."


Clement XIV. died the next year. His sickness was such as to lead some nearest to his person to believe that he had been poisoned. The question as to who administered the poison--supposing death to have been effected by that cause--lies too purely in the region of speculation to be considered here.


Cast out of their own household the Jesuits found refuge with the heretic and the schismatic. Doubtless it was not for the purpose of heaping coals of fire on their heads in the apostolic sense that Frederic II. of Prussia and the Russian Empress Catharine II. gave friendly entertainment to the members of the proscribed Order. Frederic had recently acquired territories largely Roman Catholic in population. He had promised to allow these territories to remain in statu quo as respects religion. The resident Jesuits were acceptable to the people. They were also largely employed as teachers, and it would make some trouble to supply their places. He therefore concluded to let them rest in peace. In communicating with the Pope upon the subject, he mischievously suggested that, inasmuch as he was a heretic, his Holiness was not able to release him from his obligation to keep his word, or from the duty of being an honest man. 1 Crétineau-Joly, v. 465. The motives of Catharine were very much the same as those of Frederic. She thought that she could safely use the Jesuits in the recently acquired Polish territory. Here they were allowed to receive novices. In fact Russian patronage served in a special sense to carry the Order through the period of legal nonentity.


It is interesting to note that adversity brought some dogmatic ameliorations to the minds of the Jesuits. As they were awaiting their fate in France a streak of genuine Gallican light shot across the leaden sky of their Ultramontanism. The illumination was sudden, and doubtless was not very permanent. But while it lasted, it had its effect. One hundred and sixteen fathers, including provincials and superiors, gave their written assent to the strong Gallican articles of the Assembly of 1682. 1 Crétineau-Joly, v. 260, 261; Theiner, Geschichte des Pontificats Clemens XIV., i. 21-23. A few years later some of their brethren in Germany were favored with a similar illumination, in virtue of which they gave their support to theses utterly irreconcilable with Ultramontane maxims. 2 Theiner, ii. 490, 491.


The interior broils of the French Church were not so engrossing in this period as to withdraw attention entirely from the duty of vexing the Protestants. There were intervals indeed during which they received a measure of indulgence. Some of the harsher provisions against them were left very largely in abeyance during the regency of the Duke of Orleans. But a bitter atonement was usually exacted for such a season of relative quiet. To permit the harvest to grow was to create an extra demand for the use of the scythe. So we find the government issuing in 1724 a peculiarly cruel edict. "To the penalty of death decreed against preachers was added the galleys for life for men, and perpetual imprisonment for women, against all who did not inform against them. It was enjoined on curés, or vicars, to visit the sick suspected of heresy, and to exhort them in private and without witnesses. An arbitrary fine was decreed against relatives, friends, or servants, who should prevent the curé from having access to the sick, and the galleys for life against concealed Protestants who should exhort or assist the sick secretly. The law condemning every Protestant, who should be cured after having refused the sacraments, to the galleys for life, and to confiscation of property as a backslider, was confirmed; if the sick man died his memory was to be prosecuted, and his property confiscated. Formerly it was necessary that the refusal of the sacraments should be attested by a magistrate; now the testimony of the curé was sufficient. The parish priest was constituted an official informer. Parents were forbidden to consent to the marriage of their children in foreign countries, without express permission from the King, under penalty of the galleys for life for men, and perpetual banishment for women, with confiscation of property. At the same time the new Catholics (and under this title were comprehended all Protestants, according to the fiction of the law of 1715, which denied that there were any Protestants remaining in France) were ordered to observe in their marriages the formalities prescribed by the holy canons and the ordinances. A11 civil status was thus annihilated for Protestants; there were thenceforth in France, before the law, only Catholics, and backsliders liable to the galleys." 1 Henri Martin, Histoire de France, tome xv., pp. 118, 119, in Eng. translation. An equally unsparing edict was issued in 1745.


While the practice was not perseveringly kept on a level with this barbarous code, there were numerous instances of intolerable vexation. Now and then a preacher was visited with a capital sentence. Bénezet was hanged in 1752, Lafage in 1754, Rochette in 1762.


It was first in 1788, on the eve of the Revolution, that a scant measure of legal toleration was granted to the Protestants. Even then the concession provoked the protest of the clergy. It required a very special tuition to instil into them the lesson of tolerance. The Faculty of Theology in Paris had not yet learned the alphabet of the subject in 1766. In their censure of a work published in that year they declared that religious intolerance was an essential principle of Catholicism. Rocquain, Esprit révolutionnaire avant la Révolution, p. 262. "The Assemblies of the clergy held from the accession of Louis XVI. up to the Revolution continually complained of the attempts of the Protestants to secure liberty of conscience. The following words appear in the report of the Abbé de 1a Rochefoucauld presented in 1789: 'This sect, which in the midst of its ruins retains the audacious and independent spirit which it had from its origin, wishes to usurp for falsehood the rights which belong only to the truth.'" 1 De Pressensé L'Église et la Révolution Française, p. 23.

The Skeptical Movement

The Sceptical Movement


An acute observer of events wrote in 1158: "The loss of religion in France cannot properly be attributed to the English philosophy, which has gained at Paris only a hundred philosophers, but to the hatred conceived toward the clergy which now runs to an excess. Scarcely can these ministers of religion show themselves on the streets without being hooted; and cell this comes from the bull Unigenitus, and from the disgrace of the Parliament."1 D'Argenson, Mémoires, viii. 35 The next year the same writer expressed himself in terms like these: "It is the priests who push from all sides into these troubles and this disorder, and so the minds of men are turned to discontent and disobedience, and everything is moving onward to a great revolution in religion as well as in government." 2 Ibid, viii. 242.


That this verdict of a contemporary has considerable plausibility cannot be denied. It is reasonable to suppose that the bull Unigenitus, violently enforced as it was, was provocative of skepticism. When an authority, claiming supreme and divine right over Christendom, condemned propositions which have an exact equivalent in the New Testament, and undertook to teach men that the fear of an unjust excommunication ought to hinder one from doing his duty, 3 All shuffling apart, no different meaning can be drawn from the condemnation of the following: Excommunicationis injustæ metus, nunquam debet nos impedire ab implendo debito nostro: nunquam eximus ab ecclesia, etiam quando hominum nequitiâ videmur ab ea expulsi, quando Deo, Jesu Christo, atque ipsi ecclesiæ per charitatem affixi sumus. it is not strange that various individuals, who had imperfectly learned the art of blind obedience, and did not wish to be put to shame by pagans, should think it time to look around for some system compatible with common sense and instinctive morality. Nor will it be strange if the like quest should yet be repeated in France and elsewhere, now that the action of the Vatican council has assigned to this specimen of papal wisdom an indubitable place in the moral code of the Romish Church. Still, it is not proper to burden a single cause with responsibility for results which have flowed from several causes. While the Unigenitus scandal had a baleful efficiency, it but added momentum to a current already started. Back of the sceptical movement of the eighteenth century in general lay the intolerant dogmatism which dominated so large a part of Europe through the seventeenth century. In France especially this dogmatism had taken on a hideous aspect from the time that Louis XIV. laid his hand to the task of extirpating Protestantism. While thus despotic intolerance provoked reaction, the moral levity and corruption which invaded the higher circles of French society in the first half of the eighteenth century favored laxity of belief. Men who lived practically as materialists and epicureans were not well braced against the materialistic and agnostic creed. An appreciable influence may also be attributed to the sensational philosophy and deistical school of England. The soil had been so well prepared in France that the types of thought which they presented could hardly fail to take root there.


An early work of Montesquieu, which achieved no little popularity, gives us a token of relaxed belief. In his "Persian Letters" (1721), we see, if not the same sparkle and piquancy which were put into the "Praise of Folly," a freedom in dealing with the affairs of the Church as bold as that which Erasmus had exhibited in his humorous critique. These Letters, assuming to be written by Persian visitors in France, make the Pope to figure as the head magician, who enforces belief in defiance of mathematics and the evidences of the senses, and who, in order to keep up the habit of belief in Christians, issues articles from time to time, a recent and much talked of constitution being an example. Remarks in a similar vein are passed upon various classes of ecclesiastics. A principal function of the bishops, it is said, is the granting of dispensations. It is characteristic of Christianity that it imposes an infinite number of practices, and inasmuch as it is esteemed more difficult to fulfill these practices than to support bishops to dispense from them, the latter alternative is chosen. This dispensing power reaches even to the canceling of a sworn engagement. Confessors are a kind of dervishes who do not suit the interests of heirs so well as the physicians. Casuists have a great function to perform in showing men how many sins they can commit without periling their salvation by a mortal fault. They are also very useful in taking away from sins their sinful quality by persuading the doer that they were not really sins, if being an acknowledged principle that it is not the act itself, but rather the conviction of the doer respecting the act, which determines its moral character. A commentator is one who searches the Bible to find there his own views, -- a method that is fruitful of variety; in fact, there are about as many points of dispute as there are lines in the Scriptures. A heretic does not fare the same in all regions. In France and Germany he will get clear by making a distinction; but in Spain and Portugal they do not care to listen to dogmatic refinements. A peculiar stroke of politeness has place in Spain. As a captain there will not beat a soldier without first asking his permission, so the Inquisition never burns a Jew without making excuses to him. The numerous stories told about the wrestling of the old monks with the devil indicate that they did not keep very good company. The monastic institute is at present a great check upon national progress. From this point of view, "it is certain that the religion of the Protestants gives them an infinite advantage over the Catholics. I venture to say that, in the condition in which Europe is now found, it is not possible for the Catholic religion to subsist five hundred years." 1 See Letters xxiv., xxix., xxv., lvii., Ixxviii.,lxxv., xciii., cxvii.,cxxiv.


The veil of humor is not so thick as to hide effectually the real opinions of the author of the "Lettres Persanes. " Their import, conjoined with other evidence, leaves no doubt that the papal system was to him a dead letter. His positive creed is not determined with quite the same certainty. Probably it affiliated with that type of deism which was outlined later in the century by Rousseau. He is said to have persevered in his way of thinking to the end. To the Jesuits, who approached him in his last sickness, and urged upon him the duty of retracting, he made only this answer:
"I have always respected religion; the morality of the gospel is the best gift that God could have made to mankind."


Montesquieu died in 1755. Voltaire was then at the middle point of his career. More than twenty-five years before, he had taken the pen of the author, and he was unceasingly occupied with literary tasks till his death in 1778.


In Voltaire more than in any other Frenchman, the sceptical revival of the eighteenth century found its impersonation. He supplied to it a more penetrative genius and a vaster industry than any one of his countrymen besides.1 The genius of the Genevese Rousseau was doubtless equally penetrating, but his literary activity was less extensive. In the latter respect, indeed, he has few equals in the annals of literature. He was as prodigiously busy in his way as was his contemporary, John Wesley, in a far different way.


As respects the native endowments of Voltaire, it is sufficiently obvious that he was a man of great swiftness and versatility of intellectual movement. With these gifts was associated another which made for them a well-nigh perfect vehicle. Voltaire was a great word artist. Never was language a more obedient subject to any one than was the French speech to him. The very clearness of his discourse was adapted to work conviction by giving an impression of mastery. Add to this a subtle wit, a unique gift for raillery, and one can see that this man was well prepared to impress powerfully that restless generation.


What has been said describes brilliancy rather than profundity. The latter, in fact, cannot be claimed for Voltaire. While in many relations he showed an admirable keenness of perception, he was not largely endowed with the philosophic faculty, and his impetuous temper was opposed to the prolonged and severe reflection which needs to be expended upon the deeper problems of human thinking. He had no aptitude or relish for anything transcendental. To the realm of grandeur and spiritual suggestiveness he was well-nigh a stranger, as appears from his estimate of the antique poets, of Shakespeare, and of others. 2 The following from Martin may be compared: "An essentially active and polemic genius, with little depth and immense surface, he rejected what was profound like what was obscure, what was abstract like what was subtle, and turned with instinctive repugnance from everything that was mysterious." (Histoire de France, tome xv., p 330 in Eng translation.) Dwelling always upon the surface of the earth in his emotions and affections, he was conspicuously lacking in the sense for the ideal and the infinite. A real awe for holiness seemed to be no part of his experience. Taste rather than principle was at the basis of such repugnance as he entertained for gross vices. Any great amount of moral fastidiousness certainly cannot be ascribed to the author of "La Pucelle."


Some of the biographers of Voltaire credit him with a fair measure of truthfulness. Probably he was truthful in the sense that he would not lie for the mere pleasure of the performance. But when occasion pressed he did not spare a falsehood, and his life was prolific in pressing occasions. The way in which he evaded responsibility for his books involved a continuous chain of deceitful innuendoes from the beginning to the end of his career. The expedients which he employed to gain admission to the French Academy justify the statement that he crawled to the coveted honor over a road paved with flatteries and falsehoods. His presentation of himself for the communion, and insistence upon his title to absolution as being a good Catholic, was an audacious stroke in mendacity, which might well have provoked the Father of Lies to envy. Voltaire, it is true, had his excuse; but the excuse when sifted down amounts simply to the conclusion that his personal comfort and safety were so precious as to justify any amount of crookedness. In the company of his friends, Voltaire himself was not far from putting the case in this form. Being asked one day by his secretary what he would have done if he had been born in Spain, he replied: "I would have gone to mass every day; I would have kissed the sleeve of the monks; and I would have tried to set fire to all their convents." This may have been the language of pleasantry; but in what different light did he figure when posing before a Romish altar as a good Catholic, while at the same time he was laboring with full energy to tear down the whole fabric of Roman Catholic faith and authority?


If the above shows the weakest and basest side of Voltaire in respect of feeling and conduct, his abhorrence of intolerance and his generous efforts in behalf of outraged Protestants and other victims of oppression present his best side. It cannot, indeed, be claimed that his habit of thought and feeling provided any complete basis for tolerance. There was in his mind too little respect for man as man. The pride of intellect which made him look with a species of contempt upon the masses, and allowed him to speak of them as canaille, was not intrinsically the best sort of foundation for a high type of tolerance. Still it would be niggardly not to credit Voltaire with an honest and intense abhorrence of intolerant bigotry. A long series of acts sustains his words on this subject, and makes credible his assertion that he felt a touch of fever on each returning anniversary of the Saint Bartholomew massacre. One will be the less tempted to see mere rhetoric in this declaration, when he remembers that still in Voltaire's time that stupendous crime was publicly celebrated as a great triumph of the Christian Church. 1 In the city of Toulouse the anniversary of the massacre was regularly celebrated as a two days' festival, under sanction of municipal law and e.papal bull. (Parton, Life of Voltaire, ii. 353.)


The intolerance practiced in the assumed interest of Christianity, if it did not create the infidel animosity in the heart of Voltaire, supplied it with fuel, and added to it many degrees of intensity. Ultimately, as is well known, a tolerably white heat was reached. In the private correspondence of Voltaire, during the last twenty years of his life, this intensified animosity glared forth in the formula Écrasez l' Infâme, "Crush the Monster."


What is the meaning of these sinister-looking words? Some have supposed them to refer to the Christian religion, or even to the central figure in that religion. That Voltaire had no faith in Christianity as a revealed religion, and would have been glad to see it displaced by a deistic creed, is entirely certain. But that he meant to apply this intolerant formula specifically and unqualifiedly to the Christian religion, admits of some doubt. A biographer who may be presumed to have looked carefully through the evidence draws this conclusion: "The 'Infâme' of Voltaire was not religion, nor the Christian religion, nor the Roman Catholic Church. It was religion claiming supernatural authority, and enforcing that authority by pains and penalties. This is the fairest answer to the question, taking his whole life into view."2 Parton, Life of Voltaire, ii. 286. Carlyle, who had no inconsiderable occasion to look into the views and schemes of the great sceptic, says: "Voltaire is deeply alive to the horrors and miseries which have issued on mankind from a Fanatic Popish Superstition, or Creed of Incredibilities,- which (except from the throat outwards, from the bewildered tongue outwards) the orthodox themselves cannot believe, but only pretend and struggle to believe. This, Voltaire calls ' The Infamous;' and this -- what name can any of us give it? The man who believes in falsities is very miserable. The man who cannot believe them, but only struggles and pretends to believe, and yet, being armed with the power of tile sword, industriously keeps menacing and slashing all round, to compel every neighbor to do like him, -- what is to be done with such a man ? Human Nature calls him a Social Nuisance; needing to be handcuffed, gagged, and abated. Human Nature, if it be in a terrified and imperiled state, with the sword of this fellow swashing around it calls him 'Infamous,' and a Monster of Chaos. He is indeed the select Monster of that region; the Patriarch of all the Monsters, little as he dreams of being such . . . More signal enemy to God, and friend of the Other Party, walks not the Earth in our day." (History of Frederick the Great, xiii. 6, 7.)


Not disputing this conclusion, we would still suggest that if the aggressive ecclesiasticism of the Romish Church was reckoned by Voltaire an inseparable characteristic, he certainly had an ardent desire for the destruction of that Church.


In writings designed for the public, ridicule, generally managed with sufficient skill to avoid the appearance of brusqueness, was Voltaire's favorite weapon of attack. Nor was this belligerent facetiousness wholly confined to words. His jesting ran over into deeds, when by feigning sickness he forced an unwilling priest to grant him absolution, or when he secured a friendly letter from the Pope, or when finally he obtained from Rome a piece of the hair shirt of Saint Francis, to serve as a relic in the church which he had built upon his estate at Ferney. The relic is said to have arrived on the same day as the portrait of Madame Pompadour, the potent mistress of the King,-- a circumstance which led Voltaire to remark that he was now very well both for this world and for the other.


The positive creed of Voltaire requires no prolix description, since it was neither extensive nor original. It was essentially the deistic creed of Bolingbroke, to whose tuition he was not a little indebted in his earlier years. While granting the existence of God, he had small confidence in the soul's immortality. It is thought, however, that near the close of life he became less doubtful upon the latter subject.


Opposition to the current faith was so much of a recommendation in the eyes of Voltaire, that the greater part of the radical unbelievers shared his regard, not-withstanding considerable divergence, in some instances, from his platform. The sceptical school -- if school it can be called exhibited in truth but moderate homogeneity. Buffon, the distinguished naturalist, the first three volumes of whose work were published in 1749, appears in peculiar contrast with Voltaire, inasmuch as he had a tolerably firm faith in immortality, and only a wavering belief in the existence of God. Among the chief authors of the 'L Encyclopedia " (1750-1765) D'Alembert gravitated toward universal scepticism, while Diderot embraced a sort of pantheistic naturalism. Positive atheism and materialism were represented by D'Holbach, Lamettrie, and Helvetius. As regards the tone of the "Encyclopedia," it should be noticed that a prudent regard to the peril of suppression dictated a measure of reserve and compromise. We find D'Alembert writing as follows, in answer to some strictures from Voltaire: "Doubtless we have some bad articles on theology and metaphysics; but with a theological censorship and an official privilege, I defy you to make them better. There are other articles, less conspicuous, in which all errors are corrected. Time will demonstrate the distinction between what we have thought and what we have said." 1 Quoted by Jervis, Church of France. ii. 335.


While the "Encyclopedia " was in process of publication, a work appeared (1762), which caused the sceptics to look askance. Not a few of them, Voltaire included, felt that there was an alien vein in the new production that boded no good to their cause. We refer to the treatise on education, "Émile, on De L'Éducation," by Jean Jacques Rousseau. In the midst of this treatise occurs the Savoyard Vicar's profession of faith. While this assumes to be simply a specimen of religious method, or of the manner in which a pupil may be led into the domain of pious belief, it is doubtless a compendium of Rousseau's own convictions. A glance into it will show that the sceptics of the era had reason to regard if with a jealous eye. It was not congenial to their negations. While it admitted grave objections to positive revelation, if recognized elements foreign to their system, since it gave a large significance to the innate religious sentiment of man, and eloquently portrayed the unique power of the Christian oracles to satisfy this sentiment. As compared with the writings of contemporary free-thinkers, that of Rousseau had somewhat of a constructive tendency. It was fitted to serve as a stepping-stone out of the blankness into which they were leading. That it exerted a far-reaching influence cannot properly be questioned.


Rousseau does not make his spokesman, the Savoyard Vicar, entirely to discard reasoning in favor of innate sentiment or spontaneous feeling. Arguments for theism are presented with a fair degree of cogency, and the truth is discreetly set forth that among possible hypotheses all of which are attended with difficulties, the one which best explains known facts is to be preferred. Grounds are also given for predicating the immateriality of the soul. Among these the weighty consideration is touched upon, that materialism, with its mechanical necessity, makes nugatory the distinction between truth and error, between correct and mistaken judgments. But interspersed with discussions of this kind, the opinion is expressed that philosophy has no plummet wherewith to sound these deep subjects, and fends rather to confusion than to enlightenment. "Never has the jargon of metaphysics," it is said, "discovered one single truth." Again it is remarked: "I perceive God in His works, I feel Him in myself, I see Him all around me; but as soon as I attempt to discover where He is, what He is, what is His substance, He escapes me, and my troubled spirit no longer perceives anything. ... The more I force myself to contemplate this infinite essence, the less I understand it; but it exists; that suffices me; the less I understand it, the more I adore, I humble myself before Him and say: Being of beings, I am because Thou art; it is to raise myself to my source that I meditate upon Thee without ceasing. The most worthy use of my reason is to annihilate itself before Thee: this is the rapture of my spirit, this the charm of my feebleness, to feel myself overwhelmed by Thy grandeur."


In determining the rules of conduct, as in searching for the knowledge of God, philosophy is a vain dependence. The law of right is expressed in the spontaneous convictions and emotions of the soul. " All which I feel to be good is good; all that which I feel to be evil is evil: the best of all casuists is the conscience, and it is only as a man begins to haggle with if that he has recourse to the subtleties of reasoning."


The fountain of religious and moral truth being thus within, an external revelation, it is concluded, cannot be strictly necessary. At least, to make eternal salvation depend upon the acceptance of a particular external revelation involves enormous difficulties. In that case every man would be under obligation to sift the evidence for and against different systems claiming to be revealed from Heaven. The study of their relative claims would be a life and death matter; no other task would be comparable with this in solemnity and import. From this tremendous labor not a single individual of the race could be excused. "If the son of a Christian does well to follow, without a profound and impartial examination, the religion of his father, why would it be evil for the son of a Turk to follow in like manner the religion of his father ? " It impeaches the benevolence of God thus to hang the immortal destiny of men upon a choice which in so many instances must be extremely difficult or even impossible. The expedient of the Romanist in asserting the authority of the Church provides no legitimate relief. To be told, "The Church decides that the Church has the right to decide," does not give a man any rational foundation. He is just as much bound to test this assumed right as he is to test the authority of the assumed revelation, and the former task is every whit as difficult as the latter.


This vigorous protest against a necessary dependence upon external revelation is not meant to be taken as an unequivocal denial of such a revelation. When it comes to the Christian oracles, Rousseau, without stopping to balance arguments, declares that there are proofs which he cannot combat, as well as objections which he cannot solve. It is in this connection that the spirited and oft-quoted passage occurs: "I confess that the majesty of the Scriptures astonishes me, the holiness of the gospel speaks to my heart. Behold the books of the philosophers, with all their pomp; how petty they are in comparison with those writings ! Is it possible that a book at once so sublime, and so simple, should be the work of men? Is it possible that he whose history it contains should have been himself only a man ? Is that the tone of an enthusiast or of an ambitious sectary? What mildness, what purity in his manners! what touching grace in his teachings! what elevation in his maxims ! what profound sagacity in his discourse ! what presence of mind, what skill, and what justice in his replies! what sovereignty over the passions! Where is the man, where is the sage, who knows how to act, to suffer, and to die without feebleness and without ostentation?... If the life and death of Socrates were those of a sage, the life and death of Jesus were those of a God. Will you tell me that the gospel history was invented at pleasure? My friend, it is not so that invention occurs; and the facts respecting Socrates, doubted by no one, are less perfectly attested than those respecting Jesus Christ. In reality this supposition only pushes back the difficulty without overcoming it; it would be more inconceivable that several men should have agreed in fabricating this book than it is that one alone should have furnished the subject. a company of Jewish writers could never have invented either the tone or the morals which are found here; and the gospel has marks of truth so great, so striking, so perfectly inimitable, that the inventor of them would be more astonishing than the hero. With all that, however, this same gospel is full of things incredible and repugnant to reason, and which it is impossible for any man of sense to conceive or to admit. What ought we to do in the midst of all these contradictions? To be always modest and circumspect; to respect in silence that which we are able neither to reject nor to comprehend, and to humble ourselves before the Great Being, who alone knows the truth."


It cannot be denied that Rousseau presented a needful offset to the dry intellectual schemes of the philosophers or would-be philosophers. Sentiment has a place as well as logic in the sanctuary of man's being, and it serves in no small degree to mirror to him the spiritual verities with which it is his high privilege to be conversant. But has not Rousseau exalted overmuch the function of mere sentiment, or unreasoned emotion? For our part, we do not hesitate to answer that some of his utterances savor of a misleading extreme. No doubt it may be urged that he is in orthodox company. It often happens that the pulpit responds to the strictures of rationalism with an appeal to sentiment very much in the style of Rousseau. It is well that the appeal should be made; but let the due restriction be applied. Sentiment must have a framework of rationality to grow upon, if it is to rise in beauty and healthfulness. Let go the demand for industrious thoughtfulness and genuine rationality, and there is no telling what superstitions will invade the religious realm, what vagaries, what puerilities, what fooleries with relics and the like, what grievous list of mere doll-baby attachments. As religion is properly the function of the whole man, so the safeguard of its purity lies in the exercise of all the faculties. In the right synthesis of history, reason, and emotion is provided the basis of a normal and healthy religious life.


Rousseau's sentimental deism, or semi-scepticism, may be regarded as the concluding phase of French free-thinking in the eighteenth century. The vulgar atheism which cropped out at the crisis of the Revolution was rather a phase of frenzy than of any kind of thinking.


To arrest an advancing scepticism, like that which has been described, was obviously no easy task. Its insinuating methods and unfixed character embarrassed the effort to bring it to close quarters. Even with the best management a speedy victory was not likely to be forthcoming. But the actual management of the subject was far from being well chosen and efficient. The feeble and inconsequent efforts of the authorities to suppress the offending writings sufficed for little else than to irritate the sceptics, and to inflame their zeal. While the appeal to force and authority was thus abortive, there was at the same time a dearth of fresh and effective argumentation. "Most of the replies were not above the rank of indigested balderdash." 1 De Pressensé, L'Église et la Révolution Française, p. 14. Orthodox intellect seemed to have become a missing article in France. A few writers, however, showed that complete sterility had not been reached. Duguet used his pen to good advantage in his Traité des Principes de la Foi Chrétienne." But the most trenchant apology was written by Antoine Guenée, under the title "Lettres de quelques, Juifs, Portugais, Allemands, et Polonais à M. de Voltaire." We know from the words of Voltaire himself that he was touched to the quick by Guenée's criticism, at once polite and deft.

The Political Movement In France

The Political Movement In France


IN approaching this subject one naturally measures back from the Revolution of 1789. All other enquiries become secondary to that respecting the causes of the great upheaval which overturned the monarchy and the associated institutions.


Giving at once the result of our investigation, we would enumerate these causes as follows: (1) forfeiture of respect on the part of the rulers by moral turpitude; (2) the vacillating policy of the government, or its alternation between concession and despotic authority; (3) bitter religious controversies, in which the government united with a majority of the higher clergy to override the preference of the great body of the people; (4) ambition of the parliaments, and especially of the Parliament of Paris, to reach the position, and to fulfill the functions of a coordinate branch of the government; (5) political writings which discredited the notion of absolute monarchy, and set forth the superior merits of republican or democratic rule; (6) discontent in large masses of the people, provoked by poverty and hunger.


Before the burial of Louis XIV. the eyes of Frenchmen had begun to be opened to the shadowed side of his reign. Looking beyond the glory of royalty they saw the tyranny and the shame. Very few mourned the death of the magnificent despot.


The succeeding rulers were in no wise calculated to make good the deficit in esteem and veneration which had already been incurred. On the contrary, they perpetuated all the shame of the reign of Louis XIV. without reproducing aught of its glory. The Duke of Orleans, who acted as regent during the minority of the King, was an unblushing libertine. Louis XV., in his personal habits, was a disgrace to royalty throughout the greater part of his long reign. As in the times of Henry III., the mistress bore the sceptre, and religion was abased to the semblance of a vapid and despicable superstition by being mixed with moral outrage and indecency. Louis XVI. was doubtless exemplary in his general conduct, but he had not sufficient force of character to recover lost prestige.


The forfeiture of respect which had been wrought in this manner was aggravated by the unsteadiness of the administration. While the monarch affronted the growing taste for self-government by repeating the assumptions of Louis XIV. and claiming once and again to be the impersonation of the entire sovereignty of the realm, he did not maintain himself firmly upon this ground. Yielding at times to popular disquiet, he gave indulgence to the party representing opposing claims. Concessions of this sort, not having the appearance of free gifts, won no gratitude, and only served to encourage to new efforts those who, from interest or principle, were desirous to limit the authority of the crown. The people were neither crowded down to passivity by a strong despotism nor made content by a liberal treatment.


The crowning indiscretion of the government was in the management of religious affairs. Following the behests of the Jesuits and the Pope, it loaned its power to the base enterprise of enthroning a dogmatic constitution -- the bull Unigenitus -- which struck not only at the roots of Gallicanism, but at the foundations of morality itself. A partial exposition of this astonishing document has been given in the preceding volume, and further reference will be made to it presently. What we wish to emphasize here is the fact that the miserable and harassing measures by which the obnoxious constitution was enforced revolted profoundly the greater part of the thinking element in the nation, and well-nigh precipitated an outbreak more than a generation before the Revolution. This is abundantly indicated by reports which have come down to us from the middle part of the eighteenth century. The Memoirs of the Marquis d'Argenson, for example, show that, while yet the school of free-thinkers was in its incipiency, and had done comparatively little toward leavening the popular mind with innovating opinions, a revolutionary stir was in the air. As early as 1743 we find him writing: "Revolution is certain to come in this State; it is crumbling at its foundations; one has only to detach himself from his country, and to prepare to pass under other masters and some other form of government." 1 Mémoires, iv. 83. In 1751 he wrote: "There is much questioning in the minds of the people respecting this impending revolution in the government; nothing else is talked about, and all classes, even down to the peasants, are imbued with the subject." 1 Mémoires, vii. 23. A few months later he recorded this reflection: "Will despotism increase, or will it diminish in France? For my part, I hold to the second alternative, and prophesy even the coming of a republic. I have seen in my days the respect and love of the people for royalty diminish. Louis XV. has not known how to govern either as tyrant or as the good chief of a republic. Evil hour for the royal authority when one undertakes neither rôle!" 2 Ibid., vii. 242. In various passages, D'Argenson indicates with sufficient distinctness his conviction that the revolutionary ferment which he describes had its origin largely in resentments against the pressure and violence with which the theological scheme of a faction was imposed upon the nation. 3 Ibid., vi. 453, 454; viii. 35. In fine, the bull Unigenitus, or the plot which it served, fulfilled no inconspicuous part in laying the train for the explosion which was to leave palace and throne in fragments.


Aside from the general import of the Unigenitus controversy, as exasperating the minds of a large body of the people, it had a special political bearing, inasmuch as it gave to the Parliament of Paris the means of magnifying its own importance. In its proper character this body, like the several provincial parliaments, had no legislative functions. Its special office in connection with the making or promulgation of laws was the formal registration of them. But in course of time it began to esteem its function in registration as something more than simply ministerial. It assumed the prerogative to delay in the matter, and to interpose objections to royal decrees. Under the powerful absolutism of Louis XIV. it was indeed overawed and reduced to a quiescent attitude. But in the subsequent era its bent to independent action was repeatedly manifested. The odiousness of the royal policy in the controversy over the papal constitution gave to it the support of a powerful party. It was inspired, therefore, with confidence to resist the royal will again and again. This continued antagonism was naturally fruitful of political thinking. While the parliament, as actually constituted, was rather a privileged body than a representative assembly, its position over against the monarch was analogous to that of such an assembly, and helped to foster the idea, that government is a matter which belongs to the nation, and not merely to the king. Touching upon this point D'Argenson wrote in 1754: "It is observed that never before have the names of Nation and State been repeated as they are to-day. These two names were not pronounced under Louis XIV., and the very idea which belongs to them was wanting. The people have never been so well instructed as to-day in the rights of the nation and of liberty." 1 Mémoires, viii. 315.


It may be concluded from the above that the movement in favor of limited monarchy and the prerogatives of the nation did not wait for formal political treatises. Writings of this order, however, came forward to reinforce the movement. In 1748 appeared Montesquieu's "Spirit of Laws." This in its general animus was far from being an inflammatory or revolutionary book. Political problems are discussed therein with great circumspection, and with large reference to historical data. Still it requires no great keenness of insight to discover in the treatise an underlying hostility to unrestricted monarchy. Tokens of this hostility are found in the favorable judgment of Montesquieu upon the system of mutual checks appearing in the English government; in his conviction that the union in the same person of legislative with executive or judicial functions is incompatible with liberty; and in his declaration that virtue is a necessary foundation for a republic, while the principle of honor suffices for a monarchy, and that of fear answers the needs of a despotism. His reflections go to enforce the conclusion that the republican is intrinsically the higher form of government, and should be introduced wherever suitable conditions for its maintenance exist.


Fourteen years after the publication of the "Spirit of Laws," Jean Jacques Rousseau gave to France the treatise which became ere long the Bible of the ultra revolutionists. The "Social Contract" was a genuine specimen of doctrinaire politics. It takes indeed some account of the diverse requisites of different stages in the progress of nations, as also of the characteristics resulting from special experiences and environments. Still the practical difficulties which are likely to be encountered in the application of theories are but lightly regarded. General maxims are enthroned, and pushed boldly to their consequences.


According to Rousseau, the State originates in a convention or contract. For the sake of the greater good of order, protection, and secure sustenance, men resign the independence belonging to them in the state of nature. Thus the community is constituted. As in forming the community all make an entire surrender of their separate rights, they stand in their new relations upon a precise legal equality. The surrender being made, not to this or that individual, but to the whole body, no place is left for personal precedence as respects rights or authority. Inasmuch as an entire surrender is made by all, an unrestricted sovereignty is constituted. This sovereignty inheres in the whole body. The people in their collective capacity are the sovereign. The general will is the supreme authority. The executive, whether king or president, has only to fulfill the general will. He is but the agent of the sovereign. For this agent to act in any wise as the principal, or to usurp any part of the sovereignty, is to break the pact on which the community is founded. When the people are in assembly, as they hold the undivided sovereignty, they can cancel any delegated authority, and adopt any new plan of administration which may command their suffrage or the suffrage of a majority. In fine, as is evident from this outline, the political ideal set forth by Rousseau, was that of an omnipotent democracy, held within no definite limits by organic laws, and unembarrassed by any positive guaranties of historical continuity in its action. Grant that he was not himself a revolutionary zealot, and that he spoke of the dangers which accrue from sudden transitions in government, his book was nevertheless well adapted to be the delight of any hasty and impassioned theorists who should determine to establish at once a political millennium. Amid the great hopes and enthusiasms which were evoked by the assembling of the States-General, or the national representatives, in 1789, the "Social Contract " was thoroughly adapted to gratify and to stimulate a throng of eager minds.


If the presentation of new and alluring ideals kindled the desire of change in some minds, there were large numbers in France who needed no speculative incentive to make them long for a different order of things. Their misery was so near the utmost extremity that the notion of change could hardly signify to them anything else than the possibility of relief. The great body of the peasantry lived on the border of abject penury, so that any unusual dearth exposed them to starvation. Many died of want in 1739 and 1740. The like misery was experienced in 1750, 1751, and 1753. There was also a famine in 1770 and in 1773. The winter of 1789, which preceded the opening of the States-General, was a time of great distress. Now it lay in the nature of the case that so much misery should provoke a popular ferment. Men cannot remain quiet under an intolerable lot. The peasantry too had some excuse for revolutionary fever, since no small part of their hardships was due to a most oppressive and unequal system of taxation, which granted large exemptions to the wealthy, and so threw the principal burden upon the poor laborers.


These causes of political crisis were reinforced in some measure by the successful struggle of the American colonies, and the close association of France with them in that struggle. "The American war," says Henri Martin, "at once postponed and paved the way for the Revolution; it afforded a temporary diversion abroad to the most energetic sentiments of France; but these sentiments returned to us, defined and strengthened by the sight of facts more powerful than books and theories." 1 Histoire de France, tome xvi, p. 442 in Eng. translation.


The years which followed the accession of Louis XVI. (1774) were less stormy than some of those which had preceded. The relative calm might have led an observer to think that the forces of upheaval had been dissipated. But it only needed a special occasion to reveal their presence and energy. When the discovery of a serious deficit in the treasury brought the government into embarrassment, and made it willing to issue the call for the assembling of the States-General, it was speedily made manifest that the idea of a great political regeneration was in many minds.


The barriers of conservatism in the States-General were at once broken down by the successful contention of the commons that the nobles and the clergy should unite with them, instead of forming separate houses. The Constituent Assembly which was thus organized yielded more and more to an impetuous demand for change. Many useful reforms were indeed accomplished. Overgrown privileges were canceled, and various elements of crudity and arbitrariness were eliminated from the judicial system of the realm. But the prudent mean failed to be observed. Legislation so far outran the inclination of a large part of the nation that a fearful discord was made inevitable. Not content to take from the nobility anomalous rights which had been transmitted from the feudal system, the Assembly proceeded to sweep away the estate itself. The clergy were treated with almost as scant forbearance, and the Church was remodeled in defiance of its traditions and preferences.


The Legislative Assembly, which met in October, 1791, had less of the restraints of sober wisdom and prudence than its predecessor. The National Convention of the next year marked a still further descent. The enthusiast, the theorist, and the demagogue were now at the front. Men with no political education and no equipment for the task of statesmen except a stock of phrases and abstractions undertook to make over society from top to bottom. With the King sent to the scaffold (January, 1793), and the old institutions overturned, they esteemed themselves ready to bring in the golden age of liberty and equality. Before the glory of the new regime the meagre past faded completely out of sight, and it was thought best to reckon time from the autumnal equinox of 1792, and in place of the weekly festival of the resurrection to substitute the decade of days.


Meanwhile the presence of insurrection and the danger of foreign invasion gave a sombre tinge to enthusiasm. Those who had been most voluble in praise of brotherhood and liberty were quick to assail with inquisitorial rigor any who dared to think otherwise than themselves. To secure liberty for the future, it was thought necessary to smite it to the earth in the present. So the "reign of terror" was inaugurated. Government became the spoil of the most unscrupulous and inexorable. The National Convention was subordinated to the revolutionary club. "Paris holds France down while a handful of revolutionists tyrannize over Paris." H.A. Taine, The French Revolution. The words of Madame de Staël are scarcely too strong to describe the course of events during the fourteen months which followed the proscription of the Girondists at the hands of the Jacobins (May 31, 1793). "There seemed," she writes, "to be a constant descent, like that which Dante describes, from circle to circle, toward a lower plane in hell. To the fierce hate against the nobles and the priests one saw succeed the irritation against land-owners, then against talents, then against beauty itself; finally against everything which remained of the great and the generous in human nature." 2 Considérations sur les Principaux Evénements de la Révolution Française, ii. 112. The number of lives sacrificed by massacre or execution, though far from inconsiderable, may not have been without its parallels. Indeed, for that matter, the unbridled ambition of Napoleon was vastly more cruel than the fury of the Jacobin chiefs. For the thousands who were destroyed at their beck, there were tens of thousands of Frenchmen who found their graves in Spain and Russia. It was the vindictiveness with which all eminence and merit were assailed that made "the reign of terror" a period of unique horror.


As might have been prophesied, and in fact was prophesied, the excesses of the Revolution prepared for the return of despotism. The rule of the Directory was not such as to assure or reconcile the large number who had been alienated by the preceding violence. From a state of fever and over tension there followed naturally a condition of relaxation or relative political indifference. At the same time a new idol was brought forward to share the homage which had been rendered at the shrine of liberty and equality. The eyes of Frenchmen were dazzled by the military glory which the marvelous generalship of Napoleon Bonaparte had secured for their armies. They interposed, therefore, no serious obstacle to the several steps by which the military captain ascended to the imperial dignity (1799-1804).


The rule of Napoleon, whatever elements of respectability it may have embraced, was the nullification of all that the more generous and liberal minds of France had been striving for in the preceding generations. Never before the fall of the Bastile had there been a more thorough despotism than that which he introduced. Intrinsically the Napoleonic regime was a dwarfing absolutism, and had not its effects been offset in a measure by the great enterprise of exterior conquests, it would stand clearly revealed as such in the history of France.

Questions Of Morals And Reform

Questions Of Morals And Reform


The strict keeping of Sunday was a characteristic of New England throughout the colonial era. Between the long services of the sanctuary, two of which were held by daylight, and the pious duties of the home, the day was so largely preoccupied that there would have been little room for diversion even had it been tolerated. Outside of New England, Sunday observance was less rigidly enforced. Virginia, it is true, started out with a strict injunction on the subject. But the scattered state of the population in that province, as in much of the South, placed the conduct of the people beyond the reach of careful oversight. Moreover, there was no such grim pertinacity in this quarter, on the part of ministers and magistrates, as was needful to sustain a strict Sabbath regime. In New England it was early a question whether the sacred day should begin at sunset, or at midnight, of Saturday. "The former computation was favored in Connecticut. The latter was approved by Massachusetts law." 1 Palfrey, History of New England, ii. 44.


Theatrical plays were regarded in the earlier times of New England as little better than sacrifices to the devil. In Boston a license for such diversions was first granted after the close of the colonial period. In their opposition to the theatre the Quakers agreed with the Puritans. The early laws of Pennsylvania forbade theatrical exhibitions "as tending to looseness and immorality." It was nearly seventy years before an attempt was made to introduce them into the province, and then they encountered a strong opposition. 2 Bowden, History of the Society of Friends in America, ii. 287, 288. In New York, as well as in Philadelphia, a large party was in favor of excluding the theatre, as late as 1785. Baltimore, on the other hand, and some other places were at that date quite enthusiastic patrons of the histrionic art. 3 J. B. McMaster, History of the People of the United States, i. 83-95.


In the direction of prison reform the colonial history shows very little trace of any humanitarian impulse. Some of the prisons, in their structure, appointments, and discipline, were a disgrace to civilization, pesthouses both physically and morally. 4 Ibid., i. 98-102.


The drinking habits of the people were little to their credit. Probably excess was not very common till the closing part of the seventeenth century; but from that time the waste and wreckage of the rum traffic covered an ever-enlarging area. The social code of the times made the proffering of liquors a matter of ordinary hospitality. They were expected to grace festival occasions, and were a regular appendix to funeral solemnities.


A vital sense of the enormous evils of intemperance seems first to have been aroused near the end of the eighteenth century. We read indeed that in the early days of the colonies some effort was made to restrict the sale of the deadly fire-water to the Indians; that Governor Winthrop opposed the custom of drinking healths as being accessory to intemperance; that the laws of Connecticut placed restrictions on the drinking of spirituous liquors, forbidding that a certain quantity should be exceeded at one time, and that tippling should occur after a certain hour in the evening. 1 Elliott, New England History, i. 483. We read also that rum was a prohibited article in Georgia from the founding of the colony. But the prohibitory policy was soon abandoned in Georgia, and such restrictions as were put on record elsewhere were of little practical avail. Temperance agitation, as a thing of persistence and increasing momentum, did not begin till the last quarter of the eighteenth century. The Methodist body at this time, in harmony with the precepts of Wesley, took decided action against the traffic in ardent spirits. The Conference of 1780 voted to disown any members engaged in the traffic. Three years later the Conference enjoined the preachers to instruct the people to keep clear of the wrong of making and selling liquors and also of using them "as drams." In the "General Rules," as approved by the Conference of 1784, refraining from buying, selling, and drinking spirituous liquors was included among the necessary outward tokens of a serious Christian purpose. Near the same time the Quakers, at their Pearly Meeting in New England, obligated themselves to the maintenance of temperance principles in their Society. In 1785 Dr. Benjamin Rush, of Philadelphia, appeared as an able champion of the temperance cause in an essay entitled "The Effects of Ardent Spirits on the Human Mind and Body;" and in subsequent years his zeal for the reform was repeatedly manifested. The first temperance association in this country was formed in 1789 by two hundred or more farmers of Litchfield County, Connecticut, who pledged themselves to carry on their business without the use of distilled spirits as an article of refreshment for themselves or for those in their employ. 1 See Daniel Dorchester, Liquor Problem in All Ages; also, History of Christianity in the United States, pp. 351-355.


In a previous connection notice was taken of the spread of anti-slavery sentiments among civilians. It remains for us here to observe the advances made by such sentiments in the different religious communions.


The Quakers were among the foremost to protest against slavery, and to free themselves from all connection with the institution. As early as 1688 the German Quakers residing in Germantown, Pennsylvania, urged the inconsistency of buying, selling, and enslaving men. In 1696 the Yearly Meeting for that province advised the members of the Society to guard in the future against importing African slaves. In 1710 the Pennsylvania legislature, consisting mostly of Quakers, prohibited any further importation of Negroes. Shortly after the middle of the century, influenced by such apostles of emancipation as John Woolman and Anthony Benezet, the Quakers adopted a more decided policy. The Yearly Meeting of Pennsylvania in 1755 concluded that any member of the Society who should be concerned in importing or buying slaves ought to be reported for discipline. Three years later it was ordered that any persons buying, selling, or holding slaves should not be allowed to take part in the affairs of the Church. In 1776 it was voted to disown members who were in possession of slaves, and who would not execute proper instruments for giving them their freedom. 1 Bowden, History of the Society of Friends in America; Clarkson, Abolition of the African Slave-Trade.


The Congregationalists had come generally, before the close of the Revolutionary era, to be opposed to slavery. Samuel Hopkins of Newport bore an honorable part in stirring up conscience on the subject.


The Presbyterians at the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, in 1787, commended the interest manifested in the different States for promoting the abolition of slavery, and advised that care should be taken to educate those in bondage, so that they might be able to make a worthy use of freedom.


The Methodist Conference of 1780 pronounced slavery "contrary to the laws of God, man, and nature, and hurtful to society." It voted also to advise all Methodists to give freedom to their slaves. The General Conference of 1784 went still farther, and assumed to command instead of merely advising. In States where the laws allowed of manumission, it required every member, as a condition of continued fellowship, to emancipate, within a prescribed term of years, all slaves in his possession, and ordered that in the future no slaveholder should be counted eligible to membership. 1 Leroy M. Lee, Life and Times of Jesse Lee, pp. 165, 166; H.N. McTyeire, History of Methodism, pp. 377, 378. It was found, however, very difficult to carry through so heroic a measure. A large majority of Methodists were at that time residents of States in which slaveholding was a common practice. So strong an opposition was raised to the requisition of emancipation that the ministers felt that its execution was impracticable, and before the close of 1785 notice was given that a future Conference would consider the requisition in question, its immediate enforcement being waived, a retreat having once been made, it was no easy task to regain the former ground. In its "General Rules," however, the Methodist Church never ceased to keep on record a protest against slavery.


Strong ground was taken against slavery by the Baptist associations in Virginia (1787, 1789). They declared hereditary bondage a "violent deprivation of the rights of nature." 2 History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia, pp. 79, 303, 304. In the practical application of such views, however, the Baptists were subject to much the same embarrassments as the Methodists.


At the first Convention of Universalists, held in Philadelphia in 1790, the following resolution was adopted: "We believe it to be inconsistent with the union of the human race in a common Saviour, and the obligations to mutual and universal love which how from that union, to hold any part of our fellow-creatures in bondage. We therefore recommend a total refraining from the African trade, and the adoption of prudent measures for the gradual abolition of the slavery of the Negroes in our country." 1 Eddy, Universalism in America, i. 301.


The record shows unmistakably that opposition to slavery, on moral and religious grounds, was very widespread in the American churches in the years immediately following the declaration and the achievement of the country's independence.

Universalists

Universalists


UNIVERSALISTS.-- Organized Universalism in this country is traced back to John Murray more than to any single individual beside. Murray, from being a Calvinistic Methodist, became a disciple of the London Universalist, James Relly. His arrival in America occurred in 1770. After a season of comparative reserve, during which he was known as a spirited Calvinistic preacher, he began an energetic propagandism of the doctrine of the final recovery of all moral beings.


Murray's teaching was not altogether a novelty in the colonies. Though there was no ecclesiastical body here that made it their shibboleth, restorationism had already a sporadic existence. The German Baptists in Pennsylvania were not averse to the doctrine, finding no doubt a recommendation for it in the fact that various of their kin among the Anabaptists on the Continent had been its advocates. Several Episcopalian ministers, in the middle and the latter part of the eighteenth century, as Richard Clarke in South Carolina, Robert Yancey in Virginia, and John Tyler in Connecticut, were more or less pronounced restorationists. A few of the Congregationalist ministers in New England were at the same time inclined to the restorationist creed. This was notably the case with Charles Chauncy, whose views first obtained definite expression before the public in works issued in 1782 and 1784, but had been held by him for a score of years or more.

2 Jonathan Mayhew has sometimes been coupled with Chauncy as a believer in restorationism. But the passage which is cited as evidence, whatever ground it may afford for a suspicion, affords none for a positive verdict. Among the points of certainty are these: Mayhew denied that the punishment which is to be visited upon the sinner in the future will be simply corrective, or designed for the good of its subject. He applied the terms "eternal" and "everlasting" to this punishment, without taking pains to qualify their force. He did not hesitate to speak of "finally hardened" and "irreclaimable" transgressors, and acknowledged that the Scriptures seem to speak of some as given over to "incurable blindness." (Sermons on Striving to Enter in at the Strait Gate; Sermons on God's Goodness; Answer to Mr. Cleaveland, quoted in Alden Bradford's Life of Mayhew.)


Murray's conversion to a new faith did not eliminate the old Calvinistic leaven. In his doctrine of universal recovery he simply extended the conception of sovereign grace. All men, he conceived, are regarded by God as united to the atoning Saviour, so that His righteousness is made to cover their sins, and all are accounted heirs of eternal life. A large proportion of the first converts to Universalism were likewise of Calvinistic antecedents, and retained some traces of their former way of thinking. The Calvinistic bias, however, was only a transient phase. Probably the influence of Elhanan Winchester, who was hardly second to Murray as an active propagandist, had something to do with forwarding a change of sentiment. Winchester, it is true, had embraced high Calvinism before the writings of Siegvolck and Stonehouse had converted him to Universalism (1778-1781). But later he seems to have inclined to a creed essentially Arminian as respects divine sovereignty and grace.

1 Richard Eddy says: "Mr. Winchester's religious views differed but little from Arminian orthodoxy, except in regard to the design and duration of punishment." (Universalism in America, i. 247.)
Winchester came from the Baptists, as did also a considerable part of the ministers and membership of the Universalist body in its early years.


While Murray called himself a Trinitarian, it is understood that his views on the Godhead were of a Sabellian cast. Elhanan Winchester, on the other hand, so far as we have been able to discover, was not interested to improve on the ordinary Trinitarian theory. For a time the Universalists appear to have regarded themselves as a Trinitarian body. But the leaven of Unitarianism began early to work in some of their societies.


There was also a drift in the views entertained respecting the future state. Murray regarded those dying in their impenitence as subject in the other world to divine chastisements or painful consequences of sin, though he seems to have thought of these as having place only in the interval between death and the general judgment.

1 Some Hints relative to the Forming of a Christian Church, quoted in Richard Eddy's Universalism in America, i. 370-372.
Winchester held a more emphatic theory, teaching that sharp punishments, covering, perchance, thousands of years, and reaching beyond the judgment, will be visited upon the more obdurate sinners. That death is the end of pain for all men was not the belief of the great majority of the first Universalists. Their Convention, held at Philadelphia in 1791, set forth the denominational position as follows: "We believe that all that die without the knowledge of their salvation in Christ Jesus must be called unbelievers, and in the Scripture sense do die in their sins; that such will not be purged from their sins -or unbelief by death, but necessarily must appear in the next state under all that darkness, fear, and torment, and conscious guilt which is the natural consequence of the unbelief of the truth. What may be the degree or duration of this state of unbelief and misery we know not." Eddy, i. 349, 350. But in the same year that this statement was recorded, Murray wrote as though some Universalists were in favor of the notion that death will place all men upon a level, and release all alike from every form of suffering. He combated the frivolous imagination very earnestly. It was destined, nevertheless, to make large headway, for a season, in the Universalist body.


The Unitarian drift among the Universalists was part of a wider movement. But of that movement, or the rise and progress of Unitarianism in New England, we can speak more appropriately in a subsequent chapter.

Lutherans

Lutherans


THE LUTHERANS, --The Swedes who began their settlement on the Delaware in 1637 were the first Lutherans in America who could boast of a complete church organization and house of worship. It is probable, however, that representatives of Lutheranism were found among the Dutch in New York prior to the planting of the Swedish colony. The Jesuit Jogues noticed their presence during his stay in the province (1642, 1643). But, while they were early on the ground, they were not in condition to make much advancement. The Dutch Reformed were of the opinion that the Augsburg Confession was not entitled to any hospitality in a territory which had been consecrated to the sacred theology of Dort. Scant privileges were therefore allowed to the Lutherans; and when their first pastor arrived, in 1657, he was ungraciously ordered back. This extreme of intolerance was indeed corrected some years later by the home authorities. Still it was not till the English occupation that the Lutherans in New York obtained pastoral oversight.


A few years after the surrender of New York by the Dutch, a detachment of Lutherans proceeded to the Carolinas. Of their religious history in their southern abode next to nothing is known till the eighteenth century. In the course of that century the Lutheran community in the Carolinas was augmented by emigrants from Germany and Switzerland.


The expatriation of the Salzburgers brought a considerable community of Lutherans to Georgia in the first years of its history. In 1741 they numbered not less than twelve hundred. Among all the immigrants professing the Lutheran faith none gave more careful heed to the claims of religion than this community.


A very large influx of German Lutherans, from Würtemberg, the Palatinate, Hesse-Darmstadt, and other German principalities, occurred in the first sixty years of the eighteenth century. The greater portion of them settled in Pennsylvania. Being generally very poor, and receiving no aid from the father-land, they were left for a time in strange destitution as regards religious ministrations, the number of pastors in the country being utterly inadequate to the demand. At length the cry of the more earnest for messengers of the gospel found a sympathetic response in Pietistic Halle. Heinrich Melchior Muhlenberg, who arrived from that institution in 1742, proved to be the forerunner of an efficient company of ministers from the same source.


In a few years the Lutheran interest presented a more organized and progressive aspect. The first Synod was constituted in 1748, with Lancaster and Philadelphia as the places of meeting, a second Synod was formed at Albany in 1786. The Revolutionary War intervened as a disturbing agency. Advance was also retarded by the ultra conservatism of a large party in maintaining the use of the German language for all church purposes. Still, assisted by a continuous stream of immigration, the Lutheran Church was destined in the next century to exhibit a very large growth. 1 See E. J. Wolf, The Lutherans in America.