XLVII. LOUIS XIV. AND RELIGION.
Independently of simple submission to the Catholic church, there were three great tendencies which divided serious minds amongst them during the reign of Louis XIV.; three noble passions held possession of pious souls; liberty, faith, and love were, respectively, the groundwork as well as the banner of Protestantism, Jansenism, and Quietism. It was in the name of the fundamental and innate liberty of the soul, its personal responsibility and its direct relations with God, that the Reformation had sprung up and reached growth in France, even more than in Germany and in England. M. de St. Cyran, the head and founder of Jansenism, abandoned the human soul unreservedly to the supreme will of God; his faith soared triumphant over flesh and blood, and his disciples, disdaining the joys and the ties of earth, lived only for eternity. Madame Guyon and Fenelon, less ardent and less austere, discovered in the tender mysticism of pure love that secret of God's which is sought by all pious souls; in the name of divine love, the Quietists renounced all will of their own, just as the Jansenists in the name of faith.
Jansenism is dead after having for a long while brooded in the depths of the most noble souls; Quietism, as a sect, did not survive its illustrious founders; faith and love have withstood the excess of zeal and the erroneous tendencies which had separated them from the aggregate of Christian virtues and doctrines; they have come back again into the pious treasury of the universal church. Neither time nor persecutions have been able to destroy in France the strong and independent groundwork of Protestantism. Faithful to its fundamental principle, it has triumphed over exile, the scaffold, and indifference, without other head than God himself and God alone.
Richelieu had slain the political hydra of Huguenots in France; from that time the Reformers had lived in modest retirement. "I have no complaint to make of the little flock," Mazarin would say; "if they eat bad grass, at any rate they do not stray." During the troubles of the Fronde, the Protestants had resumed, in the popular vocabulary, their old nickname of Tant s'en fault (Far from it), which had been given them at the time of the League. "Faithful to the king in those hard times when most Frenchmen were wavering and continually looking to see which way the wind would blow, the Huguenots had been called Tant s'en fault, as being removed from and beyond all suspicion of the League or of conspiracy against the state. And so were they rightly designated, inasmuch as to the cry, 'Qui vive?' (Whom are you for?) instead of answering 'Vive Guise!' or 'Vive la Ligue!' they would answer, 'Tant s'en fault, vive le Roi!' So that, when one Leaguer would ask another, pointing to a Huguenot, 'Is that one of ours?' 'Tant s'en fault,' would be the reply, 'it is one of the new religion.'" Conde had represented to Cromwell all the Reformers of France as ready to rise up in his favor; the agent sent by the Protector assured him it was quite the contrary; and the bearing of the Protestants decided Cromwell to refuse all assistance to the princes. La Rochelle packed off its governor, who was favorable to the Fronde; St. Jean d'Angely equipped soldiers for the king; Montauban, to resist the Frondeurs, repaired the fortifications thrown down by Richelieu. "The crown was tottering upon the king's head," said Count d' Harcourt to the pastors of Guienne, "but you have made it secure." The royal declaration of 1652, confirming and ratifying the edict of Nantes, was a recompense for the services and fidelity of the Huguenots. They did not enjoy it long; an edict of 1656 annulled, at the same time explaining, the favorable declaration of 1652; in 1660 the last national synod was held at Loudun. "His Majesty has resolved," said M. de la Magdelaine, deputed from the king to the synod, "that there shall be no more such assemblies but when he considers it expedient." Fifteen years had rolled by since the synod of Charenton in 1645. "We are only too firmly persuaded of the usefulness of our synods, and how entirely necessary they are for our churches, after having been so long with out them," sorrowfully exclaimed the moderator, Peter Daille.
For two hundred and twelve years the Reformed church of France was deprived of its synods. God at last restored to it this corner-stone of its interior constitution.
The suppression of the edict-chambers instituted by Henry IV. in all the Parliaments for the purpose of taking cognizance of the affairs of the Reformers followed close upon the abolition of national synods. Peter du Bosq, pastor of the church of Caen, an accomplished gentleman and celebrated preacher, was commissioned to set before the king the representations of the Protestants. Louis XIV. listened to him kindly. "That is the finest speaker in my kingdom," he said to his courtiers after the minister's address. The edict-chambers were, nevertheless, suppressed in 1669; the half and half (mi partie) chambers, composed of Reformed and Catholic councillors, underwent the same fate in 1679, and the Protestants found themselves delivered over to the intolerance and religious prejudices of the Parliaments, which were almost everywhere harsher, as regarded them, than the governors and superintendents of provinces.
"It seemed to me, my son," wrote Louis XIV. in his Memoires of the year 1661, "that those who were for employing violent remedies against the religion styled Reformed, did not understand the nature of this malady, caused partly by heated feelings, which should be passed over unnoticed and allowed to die out insensibly, instead of being inflamed afresh by equally strong contradiction, which, moreover, is always useless, when the taint is not confined to a certain known number, but spread throughout the state. I thought, therefore, that the best way of reducing the Huguenots of my kingdom little by little, was, in the first place, not to put any pressure upon them by any fresh rigor against them, to see to the observance of all that they had obtained from my predecessors, but to grant them nothing further, and even to confine the performance thereof within the narrowest limits that justice and propriety would permit. But as to graces that depended upon me alone, I have resolved, and I have pretty regularly kept my resolution ever since, not to do them any, and that from kindness, not from bitterness, in order to force them in that way to reflect from time to time of themselves, and without violence, whether it were for any good reason that they deprived themselves voluntarily of advantages which might be shared by them in common with all my other subjects."
These prudent measures, "quite in kindness and not in bitterness," were not enough to satisfy the fresh zeal with which the king had been inspired. All-powerful in his own kingdom, and triumphant everywhere in Europe, he was quite shocked at the silent obstinacy of those Huguenots who held his favor and graces cheap in comparison with a quiet conscience; his kingly pride and his ignorant piety both equally urged him on to that enterprise which was demanded by the zeal of a portion of the clergy. The system of purchasing conversions had been commenced; and Pellisson, himself originally a Protestant, had charge of the payments, a source of fraud and hypocrisies of every sort. A declaration of 1679 condemned the relapsed to honorable amends (public recantation, &c.), to confiscation and to banishment. The door's of all employments were closed against Huguenots; they could no longer sit in the courts or Parliaments, or administer the finances, or become medical practitioners, barristers, or notaries; infants of seven years of age were empowered to change their religion against their parents' will; a word, a gesture, a look, were sufficient to certify that a child intended to abjure; its parents, however, were bound to bring it up according to its condition, which often facilitated confiscation of property. Pastors were forbidden to enter the houses of their flocks, save to perform some act of their ministry; every chapel into which a new convert had been admitted was to be pulled down, and the pastor was to be banished. It was found necessary to set a guard at the doors of the places of worship to drive away the poor wretches who repented of a moment's weakness; the number of "places of exercise," as the phrase then was, received a gradual reduction; "a single minister had the charge of six, eight, and ten thousand persons," says Elias Benoit, author of the Histoire de l'Edit de Nantes, "making it impossible for him to visit and assist the families, scattered sometimes over a distance of thirty leagues round his own residence." The wish was to reduce the ministers to give up altogether from despair of discharging their functions. The chancellor had expressly said, "If you are reduced to the impossible, so much the worse for you; we shall gain by it." Oppression was not sufficient to break down the Reformers. There was great difficulty in checking emigration, by this time increasing in numbers. Louvois proposed stronger measures. The population was crushed under the burden of military billets. Louvois wrote to Marillac, superintendent of Poitou, "His Majesty has learned with much joy the number of people who continue to become converts in your department. He desires you to go on paying attention thereto; he will think it a good idea to have most of the cavalry and officers quartered upon Protestants; if, according to the regular proportion, the religionists should receive ten, you can make them take twenty." The dragoons took up their quarters in peaceable families, ruining the more well-to-do, maltreating old men, women, and children, striking them with their sticks or the flat of their swords, hauling off Protestants in the churches by the hair of their heads, harnessing laborers to their own ploughs, and goading them like oxen. Conversions became numerous in Poitou. Those who could fly left France, at the risk of being hanged if the attempt happened to fail. "Pray lay out advantageously the money you are going to have," wrote Madame de Maintenon to her brother, M. d'Aubigne. "Land in Poitou is to be had for nothing, and the desolation amongst the Protestants will cause more sales still. You may easily settle in grand style in that province." "We are treated like enemies of the Christian denomination," wrote, in 1662, a minister named Jurieu, already a refugee in Holland. "We are forbidden to go near the children that come into the world, we are banished from the bars and the faculties, we are forbidden the use of all the means which might save us from hunger, we are abandoned to the hatred of the mob, we are deprived of that precious liberty which we purchased with so many services, we are robbed of our children, who are a part of ourselves. . . . Are we Turks? Are we infidels? We believe in Jesus Christ, we do; we believe Him to be the Eternal Son of God, the Redeemer of the world; the maxims of our morality are of so great purity that none dare gainsay them; we respect the king; we are good subjects, good citizens; we are Frenchmen as much as we are Reformed Christians." Jurieu had a right to speak of the respect for the king which animated the French Reformers. There was no trace left of that political leaven which formerly animated the old Huguenots, and made Duke Henry de Rohan say, "You are all republicans; I would rather have to do with a pack of wolves than an assembly of parsons." "The king is hood winked," the Protestants declared; and all their efforts were to get at him and tell his Majesty of their sufferings. The army remained open to them, though without hope of promotion; and the gentlemen showed alacrity in serving the king. "What a position is ours!" they would say; "if we make any resistance, we are treated as rebels; if we are obedient, they pretend we are converted, and they hoodwink the king by means of our very submission."
The misfortunes were redoubling. From Poitou the persecution had extended through all the provinces. Superintendent Foucauld obtained the conversion in mass of the province of Bearn. He egged on the soldiers to torture the inhabitants of the houses they were quartered in, commanding them to keep awake all those who would not give in to other tortures. The dragoons relieved one another so as not to succumb themselves to the punishment they were making others undergo. Beating of drums, blasphemies, shouts, the crash of furniture which they hurled from side to side, commotion in which they kept these poor people in order to force them to be on their feet and hold their eyes open, were the means they employed to deprive them of rest. To pinch, prick, and haul them about, to lay them upon burning coals, and a hundred other cruelties, were the sport of these butchers. All they thought most about was how to find tortures which should be painful without being deadly, reducing their hosts thereby to such a state that they knew not what they were doing, and promised anything that was wanted of them in order to escape from those barbarous bands. Languedoc, Guienne, Angoumois, Saintonge, all the provinces in which the Reformers were numerous, underwent the same fate. The self-restraining character of the Norman people, their respect for law, were manifested even amidst persecution; the children were torn away from Protestant families, and the chapels were demolished by act of Parliament; the soldiery were less violent than elsewhere, but the magistrates were more inveterate. "God has not judged us unworthy to suffer ignominy for His name," said the ministers condemned by the Parliament for having performed the offices of their ministry. "The king has taken no cognizance of the case," exclaimed one of the accused, Legendre, pastor of Rouen; "he has relied upon the judges; it is not his Majesty who shall give account before God; you shall be responsible, and you alone; you who, convinced as you are of our innocence, have nevertheless condemned us and branded us." "The Parliament of Normandy has just broken the ties which held us bound to our churches," said Peter du Bosq. The banished ministers took the road to Holland. The seaboard provinces were beginning to be dispeopled. A momentary disturbance, which led to belief in a rising of the Reformers in the Cevennes and the Vivarais, served as pretext for redoubled rigor. Dauphiny and Languedoc were given up to the soldiery; murder was no longer forbidden them, it was merely punishing rebels; several pastors were sentenced to death; Homel, minister of Soyon in the Vivarais, seventy-five years of age, was broken alive on the wheel. Abjurations multiplied through terror. "There have been sixty thousand conversions in the jurisdiction of Bordeaux, and twenty thousand in that of Montauban," wrote Louvois to his father in the first part of September, 1685; "the rapidity with which this goes on is such, that, before the end of the month, there will not remain ten thousand religionists in the district of Bordeaux, in which there were a hundred and fifty thousand on the 15th of last month." "The towns of Nimes, Alais, Uzes, Villeneuve, and some others, are entirely converted," writes the Duke of Noailles to Louvois in the month of October, 1685; "those of most note in Nimes made abjuration in church the day after our arrival. There was then a lukewarmness; but matters were put in good train again by means of some billets that I had put into the houses of the most obstinate. I am making arrangements for going and scouring the Uvennes with the seven companies of Barbezieux, and my head shall answer for it that before the 25th of November not a Huguenot shall be left there."
And a few days later, at Alais—"I no longer know what to do with the troops, for the places in which I had meant to, post them get converted all in a body, and this goes on so quickly that all the men can do is to sleep for a night at the localities to which I send them. It is certain that you may add very nearly a third to the estimate given you of the people of the religion, amounting to the number of a hundred and eighty-two thousand men, and, when I asked you to give me until the, 25th of next month for their complete conversion, I took too long a term, for I believe that by the end of the month all will be settled. I will not, however, omit to tell you that all we have done in these conversions will be nothing but useless, if the king do not oblige the bishops to send good priests to instruct the people who want to hear the gospel preached. But I fear that the king will be worse obeyed in that respect by the priests than by the religionists. I do not tell you this without grounds." "There is not a courier who does not bring the king great causes for joy," writes Madame de Maintenon, "that is to say, conversions by thousands. I can quite believe that all these conversions are not sincere, but God makes use of all ways of bringing back heretics. Their children, at any rate, will be Catholics; their outward reunion places them within reach of the truth; pray God to enlighten them all; there is nothing the king has more at heart."
In the month of August, 1684, she said, "The king has a design of laboring for the entire conversion of the heretics. He often has conferences about it with M. Le Tellier and M. de Chateauneuf, whereat I was given to understand that I should not be one too many. M. de Chateauneuf proposed measures which are not expedient. There must be no precipitation; it must be conversion, not persecution. M. de Louvois was for gentleness, which is not in accordance with his nature and his eagerness to see matters ended. The king is ready to do what is thought most likely to conduce to the good of religion. Such an achievement will cover him with glory before God and before men. He will have brought back all his subjects into the bosom of the church, and will have destroyed the heresy which his predecessors could not vanquish."
The king's glory was about to be complete; the gentleness of Louvois had prevailed; he had found himself obliged to moderate the zeal of his superintendents; "nothing remained but to weed out the religionists of the small towns and villages;" by stretching a point the process had been carried into the principality of Orange, which still belonged to the house of Nassau, on the pretext that the people of that district had received in their chapels the king's subjects. The Count of Tesse, who had charge of the expedition, wrote to Louvois, "Not only, on one and the same day, did the whole town of Orange become converted, but the state took the same resolution, and the members of the Parliament, who were minded to distinguish themselves by a little more stubbornness, adopted the same course twenty-four hours afterwards. All this was done gently, without violence or disorder. There is only a parson named Chambrun, patriarch of the district, who persists in refusing to listen to reason; for the president, who did aspire to the honor of martyrdom, would, as well as the rest of the Parliament, have turned Mohammedan, if I had desired it. You would not believe how infatuated all these people were, and are still, about the Prince of Orange, his authority, Holland, England, and the Protestants of Germany. I should never end if I were to recount all the foolish and impertinent proposals they have made to me." M. de Tesse did not tell Louvois that he was obliged to have the pastors of Orange seized and carried off. They were kept twelve years in prison at Pierre-Encise; none but M. de Chambrun, who had been taken to Valence, managed to escape and take refuge in Holland, bemoaning to the end of his days a moment's weakness. "I was quite exhausted by torture, and I let fall this unhappy expression: 'Very well, then, I will be reconciled.' This sin has brought me down as it were into hell itself, and I have looked upon myself as a dastardly soldier who turned his back on the day of battle, and as an unfaithful servant who betrayed the interests of his master."
The king assembled his council. The lists of converts were so long that there could scarcely remain in the kingdom more than a few thousand recalcitrants. "His Majesty proposed to take an ultimate resolution as regarded the Edict of Nantes," writes the Duke of Burgundy in a memorandum found amongst his papers. "Monseigneur represented that, according to an anonymous letter he had received the day before, the Huguenots had some expectation of what was coming upon them, that there was perhaps some reason to fear that they would take up arms, relying upon the protection of the princes of their religion, and that, supposing they dared not do so, a great number would leave the kingdom, which would be injurious to commerce and agriculture, and, for that same reason, would weaken the state. The king replied that he had foreseen all for some time past, and had provided for all; that nothing in the world would be more painful to him than to shed a single drop of the blood of his subjects, but that he had armies and good generals whom he would employ in case of need against rebels who courted their own destruction. As for calculations of interest, he thought them worthy of but little consideration in comparison with the advantages of a measure which would restore to religion its splendor, to the state its tranquillity, and to authority all its rights. A resolution was carried unanimously for the suppression of the Edict of Nantes." The declaration, drawn up by Chancellor Le Tellier and Chateauneuf, was signed by the king on the 15th of October, 1685; it was despatched on the 17th to all the superintendents. The edict of pacification, that great work of the liberal and prudent genius of Henry IV., respected and confirmed in its most important particulars by Cardinal Richelieu, recognized over and over again by Louis XIV. himself, disappeared at a single stroke, carrying with it all hope of liberty, repose, and justice, for fifteen hundred thousand subjects of the king. "Our pains," said the preamble of the edict, "have had the end we had proposed, seeing that the better and the greater part of our subjects of the religion styled Reformed have embraced the Catholic. The execution of the Edict of Nantes consequently remaining useless, we have considered that we could not do better, for the purpose of effacing entirely the memory of the evils which this false religion has caused in our kingdom, than revoke entirely the aforesaid Edict of Nantes, and all that has been done in favor of the said religion."
The edict of October 15, 1685, supposed the religion styled Reformed to be already destroyed and abolished. It ordered the demolition of all the chapels that remained standing, and interdicted any assembly or worship; recalcitrant (opiniatres) ministers were ordered to leave the kingdom within fifteen days; the schools were closed; all new-born babies were to be baptized by the parish priests; religionists were forbidden to leave the kingdom on pain of the galleys for the men and confiscation of person and property for the women. "The will of the king," said superintendent Marillac at Rouen, "is, that there be no more than one religion in this kingdom; it is for the glory of God and the well-being of the state." Two hours were allowed the Reformers of Rouen for making their abjuration.
One clause, at the end of the edict of October 15, seemed to extenuate its effect. "Those of our subjects of the religion styled Reformed who shall persist in their errors, pending the time when it may please God to enlighten them like the rest, shall be allowed to remain in the kingdom, country, and lands, which obey the king, there to continue their trade and enjoy their property without being liable to be vexed or hindered on pretext of prayer or worship of the said religion of whatsoever nature they may be." "Never was there illusion more cruel than that which this clause caused people," says Benoit, in his Histoire de l'Edit de Nantes." It was believed that the king meant only to forbid special exercises, but that he intended to leave conscience free, since he granted this grace to all those who were still Reformers, pending the time when it should please God to enlighten them. Many gave up the measures they had taken for leaving the country with their families, many voluntarily returned from the retreats where they had hitherto been fortunate enough to lie hid. The most mistrustful dared not suppose that so solemn a promise was only made to be broken on the morrow. They were all, nevertheless, mistaken; and those who were imprudent enough to return to their homes were only just in time to receive the dragoons there." A letter from Louvois to the Duke of Noailles put a stop to all illusion. "I have no doubt," he wrote, "that some rather heavy billets upon the few amongst the nobility and third estate still remaining of the religionists will undeceive them as to the mistake they are under about the edict M. de Chateauneuf drew up for us. His Majesty desires that you should explain yourself very sternly, and that extreme severity should be employed against those who are not willing to become of his religion; those who have the silly vanity to glory in holding out to the last must be driven to extremity." The pride of Louis XIV. was engaged in the struggle; those of his subjects who refused to sacrifice their religion to him were disobedient, rebellious, and besotted with silly vanity. "It will be quite ridiculous before long to be of that religion," wrote Madame de Maintenon.
Even in his court and amongst his most useful servants the king encountered unexpected opposition. Marshal Schomberg with great difficulty obtained authority to leave the kingdom; Duquesne was refused. The illustrious old man, whom the Algerian corsairs called "the old French capitan, whose bride is the sea, and whom the angel of death has forgotten," received permission to reside in France without being troubled about his religion. "For sixty years I have rendered to Caesar that which was Caesar's," said the sailor proudly; "it is time to render unto God that which is God's." And, when the king regretted that his religion prevented him from properly recognizing his glorious career, "Sir," said Duquesne, "I am a Protestant, but I always thought that my services were Catholic." Duquesne's children went abroad. When he died, 1688, his body was refused to them. His sons raised a monument to him at Aubonne, in the canton of Berne, with this inscription: "This tomb awaits the remains of Duquesne. Passer, should you ask why the Hollanders have raised a superb monument to Ruyter vanquished, and why the French have refused a tomb to Ruyter's vanquisher, the fear and respect inspired by a monarch whose power extends afar do not allow me to answer."
Of the rest, only the Marquis of Ruvigny and the Princess of Tarento, daughter-in-law of the Duke of La Tremoille and issue of the house of Hesse, obtained authority to leave France. All ports were closed, all frontiers watched. The great lords gave way, one after another. Accustomed to enjoy royal favors, attaching to them excessive value, living at court, close to Paris, which was spared a great deal during the persecution, they, without much effort, renounced a faith which closed to them henceforth the door to all offices and all honors. The gentlemen of the provinces were more resolute; many realized as much as they could of their property, and went abroad, braving all dangers, even that of the galleys in case of arrest. The Duke of La Force had abjured, then repented of his abjuration, only to relapse again. One of his cousins, seventy-five years of age, was taken to the galleys. He had for his companion Louis de Marolles, late king's councillor. "I live just now all alone," wrote the latter to his wife. "My meals are brought from outside; if you saw me in my beautiful convict-dress, you would be charmed. The iron I wear on my leg, though it weighs only three pounds, inconvenienced me at first far more than that which you saw me in at La Tournelle." Files of Protestant galley-convicts were halted in the towns, in the hope of inspiring the obstinate with a salutary terror.
The error which had been fallen into, however, was perceived at court. The stand made by Protestants astounded the superintendents as well as Louvois himself. Everywhere men said, as they said at Dieppe, "We will not change our religion for anybody; the king has power over our persons and our property, but he has no power over our consciences." There was fleeing in all directions. The governors grew weary of watching the coasts and the frontiers. "The way to make only a few go," said Louvois, "is to leave them liberty to do so without letting them know it." Any way was good enough to escape from such oppression. "Two days ago," wrote M. de Tesse, who commanded at Grenoble, "a woman, to get safe away, hit upon an invention which deserves to be known. She made a bargain with a Savoyard, an ironmonger, and had herself packed up in a load of iron rods, the ends of which showed. It was carried to the custom-house, and the tradesman paid on the weight of the iron, which was weighed together with the woman, who was not unpacked until she was six leagues from the frontier." "For a long time," says M. Floquet, "there was talk in Normandy of the Count of Marance, who, in the middle of a severe winter, flying with thirty-nine others on board a fishing-smack, encountered a tempest, and remained a long time at sea without provisions, dying of hunger, he, the countess, and all the passengers, amongst whom were pregnant women, mothers with infants at the breast, without resources of any sort, reduced for lack of everything to a little melted snow, with which they moistened the parched lips of the dying babes." It were impossible to estimate precisely the number of emigrations; it was probably between three and four hundred thousand. "To speak only of our own province," writes M. Floquet in his Histoire du Parlement de Normandie, "about one hundred and eighty-four thousand religionists went away; more than twenty-six thousand habitations were deserted; in Rouen there were counted no more than sixty thousand men instead of the eighty thousand that were to be seen there a few years before. Almost all trade was stopped there as well as in the rest of Normandy. The little amount of manufacture that was possible rotted away on the spot for want of transport to foreign countries, whence vessels were no longer found to come. Rouen, Darnetal, Elbeuf, Louviers, Caudebec, Le Havre, Pont-Audemer, Caen, St. Lo, Alencon, and Bayeux were falling into decay, the different branches of trade and industry which had but lately been seen flourishing there having perished through the emigration of the masters whom their skilled workmen followed in shoals." The Norman emigration had been very numerous, thanks to the extent of its coasts and to the habitual communication between Normandy, England, and Holland; Vauban, however, remained very far from the truth when he deplored, in 1688, "the desertion of one hundred thousand men, the withdrawal from the kingdom of sixty millions of livres, the enemy's fleets swelled by nine thousand sailors, the best in the kingdom, and the enemy's armies by six hundred officers and twelve thousand soldiers, who had seen service." It is a natural but a striking fact that the Reformers who left France and were received with open arms in Brandenburg, Holland, England, and Switzerland carried in their hearts a profound hatred for the king who drove them away from their country, and everywhere took service against him, whilst the Protestants who remained in France, bound to the soil by a thousand indissoluble ties, continued at the same time to be submissive and faithful. "It is right," said Chanlay, in a Memoire addressed to the king, "whilst we condemn the conduct of the new converts, fugitives, who have borne arms against France since the commencement of this war up to the present, it is right, say I, to give those who have staid in France the praise and credit they deserve. Indeed, if we except a few disturbances of little consequence which have taken place in Languedoc, we have, besides the fact of their remaining faithful to the king in the provinces, and especially in Dauphiny, even whilst the confederated armies of the emperor, of Spain, and of the Duke of Savoy were in the heart of that province in greater strength than the forces of the king, to note that those who were fit to bear arms have enlisted amongst the troops of his Majesty and done good service." In 1745, after sixty years' persecution, consequent upon the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Matthew Desubas, a young pastor accused before the superintendent of Languedoc, Lenain, said with high-spirited modesty, "The ministers preach nothing but patience and fidelity to the king." "I am aware of it, sir," answered the superintendent. The pastors were hanged or burned, the faithful flock dragged to the galleys and the Tower of Constance. Prayers for the king, nevertheless, were sent up from the proscribed assemblies in the desert, whilst the pulpit of Saurin at the Hague resounded with his anathemas against Louis XIV., and the regiments of emigrant Huguenots were marching against the king's troops under the flags of England or Holland.
The peace of Ryswick had not brought the Protestants the hoped-for alleviation of their woes. Louis XIV. haughtily rejected the petition of the English and Dutch plenipotentiaries on behalf of "those in affliction who ought to have their share in the happiness of Europe." The persecution everywhere continued,—with determination and legality in the north, with violence and passion in the south, abandoned to the tyranny of M. de Lamoignon de Baville, a crafty and cold-bloodedly cruel politician, without the excuse of any zealous religious conviction. The execution of several ministers who had remained in hiding in the Cevennes, or had returned from exile to instruct and comfort their flocks, raised to the highest pitch the enthusiasm of the Reformers of Languedoc. Deprived of their highly-prized assemblies and of their pastors' guidance, men and women, graybeards and children, all at once fancied themselves animated by the spirit of prophecy. Young girls had celestial visions; the little peasant lasses poured out their utterances in French, sometimes in the language and with the sublime eloquence of the Bible, sole source of their religious knowledge. The rumor of these marvels ran from village to village; meetings were held to hear the inspired maidens, in contempt of edicts, the galleys, and the stake. A gentleman glass-worker, named Abraham de la Serre, was, as it were, the Samuel of this new school of prophets. In vain did M. de Baville have three hundred children imprisoned at Uzes, and then send them to the galleys; the religious contagion was too strong for the punishments. "Women found themselves in a single day husbandless, childless, houseless, and penniless," says Court; they remained immovable in their pious ecstasy; the assemblies multiplied; the troops which had so long occupied Languedoc had been summoned away by the war of succession in Spain; the militia could no longer restrain the Reformers growing every day more enthusiastic through the prophetic hopes which were born of their long sufferings. The arch-priest of the Cevennes, Abbe du Chayla, a tyrannical and cruel man, had undertaken a mission at the head of the Capuchins. His house was crammed with condemned Protestants; the breath of revolt passed over the mountains on the night of July 27, 1702, the castle of the arch-priest was surrounded by Huguenots in arms, who demanded the surrender of the prisoners. Du Chayla refused. The gates were forced, the condemned released, the priests who happened to be in the house killed or dispersed. The archpriest had let himself down by a window; he broke his thigh; he was found hiding in a bush; the castle was in flames. "No mercy, no mercy!" shouted the madmen; "the Spirit willeth that he die." Every one of the Huguenots stabbed the poor wretch with their poniards: "That's for my father, broken on the wheel; that's for my brother, sent to the galleys; that's for my mother, who died of grief; that's for my relations in exile!" He received fifty-two wounds. Next day the Cevennes were everywhere in revolt. A prophet named Seguier was at the head of the insurrection. He was soon made prisoner. "How dost thou expect me to treat thee?" asked his judge. "As I would have treated thee, had I caught thee," answered the prophet. He was burned alive in the public square of Pont-de-Montvert, a mountain burgh. "Where do you live?" he had been asked at his examination. "In the desert," he replied, "and soon in heaven." He exhorted the people from the midst of the flames. The insurrection went on spreading. "Say not, What can we do? we are so few; we have no arms!" said another prophet, named Laporte. "The Lord of hosts is our strength! We will intone the battle-psalms, and, from the Lozere to the sea, Israel shall arise! And, as for arms, have we not our axes? They will beget muskets!" The plain rose like the mountain. Baron St. Comes, an early convert, and colonel of the militia, was assassinated near Vauvert; murders multiplied; the priests were especially the object of the revolters' vengeance. They assembled under the name of Children of God, and marched under the command of two chiefs, one, named Roland, who formerly served under Catinat, and the other, a young man, whiles a baker and whiles a shepherd, who was born in the neighborhood of Anduze, and whose name has remained famous. John Cavalier was barely eighteen when M. de Baville launched his brother-in-law, the Count of Broglie, with a few troops upon the revolted Cevenols. The Catholic peasants called them Camisards, the origin of which name has never been clearly ascertained. M. de Broglie was beaten; the insurrection, which was entirely confined to the populace, disappeared all at once in the woods and rocks of the country, to burst once more unexpectedly upon the troops of the king. The great name of Lamoignon shielded Baville; Chamillard had for a long while concealed from Louis XIV. the rising in the Cevennes. He never did know all its gravity. "It is useless," said Madame de Maintenon, "for the king to trouble himself with all the circumstances of this war; it would not cure the mischief, and would do him much." "Take care," wrote Chamillard to Baville, on superseding the Count of Broglie by Marshal Montrevel, "not to give this business the appearance of a serious war." The rumor of the insurrection in Languedoc, however, began to spread in Europe. Conflagrations, murders, executions in cold blood or in the heat of passion, crimes on the part of the insurgents, as well as cruelties on the part of judges and generals, succeeded one another uninterruptedly, without the military authorities being able to crush a revolt that it was impossible to put down by terror or punishments. "I take it for a fact," said a letter to Chamillard from M. de Julien, an able captain of irregulars, lately sent into Languedoc to aid the Count of Broglie, "that there are not in this district forty who are real converts, and are not entirely on the side of the Camisards. I include in that number females as well as males, and the mothers and daughters would give the more striking proofs of their fury if they had the strength of the men. . . . I will say but one word more, which is, that the children who were in their cradles at the time of the general conversions, as well as those who were four or five years old, are now more Huguenot than the fathers; nobody, however, has set eyes upon any minister; how, then, comes it that they are so Huguenot? Because the fathers and mothers brought them up in those sentiments all the time they were going to mass. You may rely upon it that this will continue for many generations." M. de Julien came to the conclusion that the proper way was to put to the sword all the Protestants of the country districts and burn all the villages. M. de Baville protested. "It is not a question of exterminating these people," he said, "but of reducing them, of forcing them to fidelity; the king must have industrious people and flourishing districts preserved to him." The opinion of the generals prevailed; the Cevenols were proclaimed outlaws, and the pope decreed a crusade against them. The military and religious enthusiasm of the Camisards went on increasing. Cavalier, young and enterprising, divided his time between the boldest attempts at surprise and mystical ecstasies, during which he singled out traitors who would have assassinated him or sinners who were not worthy to take part in the Lord's Supper. The king's troops ravaged the country; the Camisards, by way of reprisal, burned the Catholic villages; everywhere the war was becoming horrible. The peaceable inhabitants, Catholic or Protestant, were incessantly changing from wrath to terror. Cavalier, naturally sensible and humane, sometimes sank into despondency. He would fling himself on his knees, crying, "Lord, turn aside the king from following the counsels of the wicked!" and then he would set off again upon a new expedition. The struggle had been going on for two years, and Languedoc was a scene of fire and bloodshed. Marshal Montrevel had gained great advantages when the king ordered Villars to put an end to the revolt. "I made up my mind," writes Villars, in his Memoires, "to try everything, to employ all sorts of ways except that of ruining one of the finest provinces in the kingdom, and that, if I could bring back the offenders without punishing them, I should preserve the best soldiers there are in the kingdom. They are, said I to myself, Frenchmen, very brave and very strong, three qualities to be considered." "I shall always," he adds, "have two ears for two sides."
"We have to do here with a very extraordinary people," wrote the marshal to Chamillard, soon after his arrival; "it is a people unlike anything I ever knew—all alive, turbulent, hasty, susceptible of light as well as deep impressions, tenacious in its opinions. Add thereto zeal for religion, which is as ardent amongst heretics as Catholics, and you will no longer be surprised that we should be often very much embarrassed. There are three sorts of Camisards: the first, with whom we might arrange matters by reason of their being weary of the miseries of war. The second, stark mad on the subject of religion, absolutely intractable on that point; the first little boy or little girl that falls a-trembling and declares that the Holy Spirit is speaking to it, all the people believe it, and, if God with all his angels were to come and speak to them, they would not believe them more; people, moreover, on whom the penalty of death makes not the least impression; in battle they thank those who inflict it upon them; they walk to execution singing the praises of God and exhorting those present, insomuch that it has often been necessary to surround the criminals with drums to prevent the pernicious effect of their speeches. Finally, the third: people without religion, accustomed to pillage, to murder, to quarter themselves upon the peasants; a rascalry furious, fanatical, and swarming with prophetesses."
Villars had arrived in Languedoc the day after the checks encountered by the Camisards. The despondency and suffering were extreme; and the marshal had Cavalier sounded.
"What do you want to lay down your arms?" said the envoy. "Three things," replied the Cevenol chief: "liberty of conscience, the release of our brethren detained in the prisons and the galleys, and if these demands are refused, permission to quit France with ten thousand persons." The negotiators were intrusted with the most flattering offers for Cavalier. Sensible, and yet vain, moved by his country's woes, and flattered by the idea of commanding a king's regiment, the young Camisard allowed himself to be won. He repaired formally to Nimes for an interview with the marshal. "He is a peasant of the lowest grade," wrote Villars to Chamillard, "who is not twenty-two, and does not look eighteen; short, and with no imposing air, qualities essential for the lower orders, but surprising good sense and firmness. I asked him yesterday how he managed to keep his fellows under. 'Is it possible,' said I, 'that, at your age, and not being long used to command, you found no difficulty in often ordering to death your own men?' 'No, sir,' said he, 'when it seemed to me just.' 'But whom did you employ to inflict it?' 'The first whom I ordered, and nobody ever hesitated to follow my orders.' I fancy, sir, that you will consider this rather surprising. Furthermore, he shows great method in the matter of his supplies, and he disposes his troops for an engagement as well as very experienced officers could do. It is a piece of luck if I get such a man away from them."
Cavalier's fellows began to escape from his sway. They had hoped, for a while, that they would get back that liberty for which they had shed their blood. "They are permitted to have public prayer and chant their psalms. No sooner was that known all round," writes Villars, "than behold my madmen rushing up from burghs and castles in the neighborhood, not to surrender, but to chant with the rest. The gates were closed; they leap the walls and force the guards. It is published abroad that I have indefinitely granted free exercise of the religion." The bishops let the marshal be.
"Stuff we our ears," said the Bishop of Narbonne, "and make we an end." The Camisards refused to listen to Cavalier.
"Thou'rt mad," said Roland; "thou hast betrayed thy brethren; thou shouldst die of shame. Go tell the marshal that I am resolved to remain sword in hand until the entire and complete restoration of the Edict of Nantes!" The Cevenols thought themselves certain of aid from England; only a handful followed Cavalier, who remained faithful to his engagements. He was ordered with his troop to Elsass; he slipped away from his watchers and threw himself into Switzerland. At the head of a regiment of refugees he served successively the Duke of Savoy, the States-General, and England; he died at Chelsea in 1740, the only one amongst the Camisards to leave a name in the world.
The insurrection still went on in Languedoc under the orders of Roland, who was more fanatical and more disinterested than Cavalier; he was betrayed and surrounded in the castle of Castelnau on the 16th of August, 1704. Roland just had time to leap out of bed and mount his horse; he was taking to flight with his men by a back door when a detachment of dragoons came up with him; the Camisard chief put his back against an old olive and sold his life dearly. When he fell, his lieutenants let themselves be taken "like lambs" beside his corpse. "They were destined to serve as examples," writes Villars, "but the manner in which they met death was more calculated to confirm their religious spirit in these wrong heads than to destroy it. Lieutenant Maille was a fine young man of wits above the common. He heard his sentence with a smile, passed through the town of Nimes with the same air, begging the priest not to plague him; the blows dealt him did not alter this air in the least, and did not elicit a single exclamation. His arms broken, he still had strength to make signs to the priest to be off, and, as long as he could speak, he encouraged the others. That made me think that the quickest death is always best with these fellows, and that their sentence should above all things bear reference to their obstinacy in revolt rather than in religion." Villars did not carry executions to excess, even in the case of the most stubborn; little by little the chiefs were killed off in petty engagements or died in obscurity of their wounds; provisions were becoming scarce; the country was wasted; submission became more frequent every day. The principals all demanded leave to quit France. "There are left none but a few brigands in the Upper Cevennes," says Villars. Some partial risings, alone recalled, up to 1709, the fact that the old leaven still existed; the war of the Camisards was over. It was the sole attempt in history on the part of French Protestantism since Richelieu, a strange and dangerous effort made by an ignorant and savage people; roused to enthusiasm by persecution, believing itself called upon by the spirit of God to win, sword in hand, the freedom of its creed under the leadership of two shepherd soldiers and prophets. Only the Scottish Cameronians have presented the same mixture of warlike ardor and pious enthusiasm, more gloomy and fierce with the men of the North, more poetical and prophetical with the Cevenols, flowing in Scotland as in Languedoc from religious oppression and from constant reading of the Holy Scriptures. The silence of death succeeded everywhere in France to the plaints of the Reformers and to the crash of arms; Louis XIV. might well suppose that Protestantism in his dominions was dead.
It was a little before the time when the last of the Camisards, Abraham Mazel and Claris, perished near Uzes (in 1710), that the king struck the last blow at Jansenism by destroying its earliest nest and its last refuge, the house of the nuns of Port-Royal des Champs. With truces and intervals of apparent repose, the struggle had lasted more than sixty years between the Jesuits and Jansenism. M. de St. Cyran, who left the Bastille a few months after the death of Richelieu, had dedicated the last days of his life to writing against Protestantism, being so much the more scared by the heresy in that, perhaps, he felt himself attracted thereto by a secret affinity. He was already dying when there appeared the book Frequente Communion, by M. Arnauld, youngest son and twentieth child of that illustrious family of Arnaulds in whom Jansenism seemed to be personified. The author was immediately accused at Rome, and buried himself for twenty years in retirement. M. de St. Cyran was still working, dictating Christian thoughts and points touching death. Stantem mori oportet (One should die in harness), he would say. On the 3d of October, 1643, he succumbed suddenly, in the arms of his friends. "I cast my eyes upon the body, which was still in the same posture in which death had left it," writes Lancelot, "and I thought it so full of majesty and of mien so dignified that I could not tire of admiring it, and I fancied that he would still have been capable, in the state in which he was, of striking with awe the most passionate of his foes, had they seen him." It was the most cruel blow that could have fallen upon the pious nuns of Port-Royal. "Dominus in coelo! (Lord in heaven!)" was all that was said by Mother Angelica Arnauld, who, like M. de St. Cyran himself, centred all her thoughts and all her affections upon eternity.
With his dying breath M. de St. Cyran had said to M. Gudrin, physician to the college of Jesuits, "Sir, tell your Fathers, when I am dead, not to triumph, and that I leave behind me a dozen stronger than I." With all his penetration the director of consciences was mistaken; none of those he left behind him would have done his work; he had inspired with the same ardor and the same constancy the strong and the weak, the violent and the pacific; he had breathed his mighty faith into the most diverse souls, fired with the same zeal penitents and nuns, men rescued from the scorching furnace of life in the world, and women brought up from infancy in the shade of the cloister. M. Arnauld was a great theologian, an indefatigable controversialist, the oracle and guide of his friends in their struggle against the Jesuits; M. de Sacy and M. Singlin were wise and able directors, as austere as M. de St. Cyran in their requirements, less domineering and less rough than he; but M. de St. Cyran alone was and could be the head of Jansenism; he alone could have inspired that idea of immolation of the whole being to the sovereign will of God, as to the truth which resides in Him alone. Once assured of this point, M. de St. Cyran became immovable. Mother Angelica pressed him to appear before the archbishop's council, which was to pronounce upon his book Theologie familiere. "It is always good to humble one's self," she said. "As for you," he replied, "who are in that disposition, and would not in any respect compromise the honor of the truth, you could do it; but as for me, I should break down before the eyes of God if I consented thereto; the weak are more to be feared sometimes than the wicked."
Mother Angelica Arnauld, to whom these lines were addressed, was the most perfect image and the most accomplished disciple of M. de St. Cyran. More gentle and more human than he, she was quite as strong and quite as zealous. "It is necessary to be dead to everything, and after that to await everything; such was the motto of her inward life and of the constant effort made by this impassioned soul, susceptible of all tender affections, to detach herself violently and irrevocably from earth. The instinct of command, loftiness and breadth of views, find their place with the holy priest and with the nun; the mind of M. de St. Cyran was less practical and his judgment less simple than that of the abbess, habituated as she had been from childhood to govern the lives of her nuns as their conscience. A reformer of more than one convent since the day when she had closed the gates of Port-Royal against her father, M. Arnauld, in order to restore the strictness of the cloister, Mother Angelica carried rule along with her, for she carried within herself the government, rigid, no doubt, for it was life in a convent, but characterized by generous largeness of heart, which caused the yoke to be easily borne.
"To be perfect, there is no need to do singular things," she would often repeat, after St. Francis de Sales; "what is needed is to do common things singularly well!" She carried the same zeal from convent to convent, from Port-Royal des Champs to Port-Royal de Paris; from Maubuisson, whither her superiors sent her to establish a reformation, to St. Sacrament, to establish union between the two orders; ever devoted to religion, without having chosen her vocation; attracting around her all that were hers; her mother, a wife at twelve years of age, and astonished to find herself obeying after having commanded her twenty children for fifty years; five of her sisters; nieces and cousins; and in "the Desert," beside Port-Royal des Champs, her brothers, her nephews, her friends, steeped like herself in penitence. Before her, St. Bernard had "dispeopled the world" of those whom he loved, by an error common to zealous souls and exclusive spirits, solely occupied with thoughts of salvation. Even in solitude Mother Angelica had not found rest. "I am not fit to live on earth," she would say; "I know not why I am still there; I can no longer bear either myself or others; there is none that seeketh after God." She was piously unjust towards her age, and still more towards her friends; it was the honorable distinction of M. de St. Cyran and his disciples that they did seek after God and holiness, at every cost and every risk.
Mother Angelica was nearing the repose of eternity, the only repose admitted by her brother M. Arnauld, when the storm of persecution burst upon the monastery. The Augustinus of Jansenius, Bishop of Ypres, a friend of M. de St. Cyran's, had just been condemned at Rome. Five propositions concerning grace were pronounced heretical. "The pope has a right to condemn them," said the Jansenists, "if they are to be found in the Augustinus, but, in fact, they are not to be found there." The dispute waxed hot; M. Arnauld threw himself into it passionately. He, in his turn, was condemned by the Sorbonne. "This is the very day," he wrote to his sister, Mother Angelica, "when I am to be wiped out from the number of the doctors; I hope of God's goodness that He will not on that account wipe me out from the number of His servants. That is the only title I desire to preserve." M. Arnauld's friends pressed him to protest against his condemnation. "Would you let yourself be crushed like a child?" they said. He wrote in the theologian's vein, lengthily and bitterly; his friends listened in silence. Arnauld understood them. "I see quite well that you do not consider this document a good one for its purpose," said he, "and I think you are right; but you who are young," and he turned towards Pascal, who had a short time since retired to Port-Royal, "you ought to do something." This was the origin of the Lettres Provinciales. For the first time Pascal wrote, something other than a treatise on physics. He revealed himself all at once and entirely. The recluses of Port-Royal were obliged to close their schools; they had to disperse. Arnauld concealed himself with his friend Nicole. "I am having search made everywhere for M. Arnauld," said Louis XIV. to Boileau, who was supposed to be much attached to the Jansenists. "Your Majesty always was lucky," replied Boileau; "you will not find him."
The nuns' turn had come; orders were given to send away the pensioners (pupils); Mother Angelica set out for the house at Paris, "where was the battle-ground." [Memoires pour servir a l'Histoire de Port-Royal, t. ii. p. 127.] As she was leaving the house in the fields, which was so dear to her, she met in the court-yard M. d'Andilly, her brother, who was waiting to say good by to her. When he came up to her, she said to him, "Good by, my dear brother; be of good courage, whatever happens." "Fear nothing, my dear sister; I am perfectly so." But she replied, "Brother, brother, let us be humble. Let us remember that humility without fortitude is cowardice, but that fortitude without humility is presumption." "When she arrived at the convent in Paris, she found us for the most part very sad," writes her niece, Mother Angelica de St. Jean, "and some were in tears. She, looking at us with an open and confident countenance, said, 'Why, I believe there is weeping here! Come, my children, what is all this? Have you no faith? And at what are you dismayed? What if men do rage? Eh? Are you afraid of that? They are but flies! You hope in God, and yet fear anything! Fear but Him, and, trust me, all will be well;' and to Madame de Chevreuse, who came to fetch her daughters, 'Madame, when there is no God I shall lose courage; but, so long as God is God, I shall hope in Him.'" She succumbed, however, beneath the burden; and the terror she had always felt of death aggravated her sufferings. "Believe me, my children," she would say to the nuns, "believe what I tell you. People do not know what death is, and do not think about it. As for me, I have apprehended it all my life, and have always been thinking about it. But all I have imagined is less than nothing in comparison with what it is, with what I feel, and with what I comprehend at this moment. It would need but such thoughts to detach us from everything." M. Singlin, being obliged to conceal himself, came secretly to see her; she would not have her nephew, M. de Sacy, run the same risk. "I shall never see him more," she said; "it is God's will; I do not vex myself about it. My nephew without God could be of no use to me, and God without my nephew will be all in all to me." The grand-vicar of the Archbishop of Paris went to Port-Royal to make sure that the pensioners had gone. He sat down beside Mother Angelica's bed. "So you are ill, mother," said he; "pray, what is your complaint?" "I am dropsical, sir," she replied. "Jesus! my dear mother, you say that as if it were nothing at all.—Does not such a complaint dismay you?"
"No, sir," she replied; "I am incomparably more dismayed at what I see happening in our house. For, indeed, I came hither to die here, but I did not come to see all that I now see, and I had no reason to expect the kind of treatment we are having. Sir, sir, this is man's day; God's day will come, who will reveal many things and avenge everything." She died on the 6th of August, 1661, murmuring over and over again, "Good by; good by!" And, when she was asked why she said that, she replied simply, "Because I am going away, my children." She had given instructions to bury her in the preau (court-yard), and not to have any nonsense (badineries) after her death. "I am your Jonas," she said to the nuns; "when I am thrown into the whale's belly the tempest will cease." She was mistaken; the tempest was scarcely beginning.
Cardinal de Retz was still titular Archbishop of Paris, and rather favorable to Jansenism. It was, therefore, the grandvicars who prepared the exhortation to the faithful, calling upon them to accept the papal decision touching Jansen's book. There was drawn up a formula or formulary of adhesion, "turned with some skill," says Madame Perier her biography of Jacqueline Pascal, and in such a way that subscription did not bind the conscience, as theologians most scrupulous about the truth affirmed; the nuns of Port-Royal, however, refused to subscribe. "What hinders us," said a letter to Mother Angelica de St. Jean from Jacqueline Pascal, Sister St. Euphemia in religion, "what hinders all the ecclesiastics who recognize the truth, to reply, when the formulary is presented to them to subscribe, 'I know the respect I owe the bishops, but my conscience does not permit me to subscribe that a thing is in a book in which I have not seen it,' and after that wait for what will happen? What have we to fear? Banishment and dispersion for the nuns, seizure of temporalities, imprisonment and death, if you will; but is not that our glory, and should it not be our joy? Let us renounce the gospel or follow the maxims of the gospel, and deem ourselves happy to suffer somewhat for righteousness' sake. I know that it is not for daughters to defend the truth, though one might say, unfortunately, that since the bishops have the courage of daughters, the daughters must have the courage of bishops; but, if it is not for us to defend the truth, it is for us to die for the truth, and suffer everything rather than abandon it."
Jacqueline subscribed, divided between her instinctive repugnance and her desire to show herself a "humble daughter of the Catholic church." "It is all we can concede," she said; "for the rest, come what may, poverty, dispersion, imprisonment, death, all this seems to me nothing in comparison with the anguish in which I should pass the remainder of my life if I had been wretch enough to make a covenant with death on so excellent an occasion of paying to God the vows of fidelity which our lips have pronounced." "Her health was so shaken by the shock which all this business caused her," writes Madame Prier, "that she fell dangerously ill, and died soon after." "Think not, I beg of you, my father," she wrote to M. Arnauld, "firm as I may appear, that nature does not greatly apprehend all the consequences of this; but I hope that grace will sustain me, and it seems to me as if I feel it." "The king does all he wills," Madame de Guemenee had said to M. Le Tellier, whom she was trying to soften towards Port-Royal; "he makes princes of the blood, he makes archbishops and bishops, and he will make martyrs likewise." Jacqueline Pascal was "the first victim" of the formulary.
She was not the only one. "It will not stop there," said the king, to whom it was announced that the daughters of Port-Royal consented to sign the formulary on condition only of giving an explanation of their conduct. Cardinal de Retz had at last sent in his resignation. M. du Marca, archbishop designate in succession to him, died three days after receiving the bulls from Rome; Hardouin de Porefix had just been nominated in his place. He repaired to Port-Royal. The days of grace were over, the nuns remained indomitable.
"What is the use of all your prayers?" said he to Sister Christine Brisquet; "what ground for God to listen to you? You go to Him and say, 'My God, give me Thy spirit and Thy grace; but, my God, I do not mean to subscribe; I will take good care not to do that for all that may be said.' After that, what ground for God to hearken to you?" He forbade the nuns the sacraments. "They are pure as angels and proud as demons," repeated the archbishop angrily, as he left the convent. On the 25th of August he returned to Port-Royal, accompanied by a numerous escort of ecclesiastics and exons. "When I say a thing, so it must be," he said as he entered; "I will not eat my words." He picked out twelve nuns, who were immediately taken away and dispersed in different monasteries. M. d'Andilly was at the gate, receiving in his carriage his sister, Mother Agnes, aged and infirm, and his three daughters doomed to exile. "I had borne up all day without weeping and without inclination thereto," writes Mother Angelica de St. Jean on arrival at the Annonciades bleues; "but when night came, and, after finishing all my prayers, I thought to lay me down and take some rest, I felt myself all in a moment bruised and lacerated in every part by the separations I had just gone through; I then found sensibly that, to escape weakness in the hour of deep affliction, there must be no dropping of the eyes that have been lifted to the mountains." Ten months later the exiled nuns returned, without having subscribed, to Port-Royal des Champs, a little before the moment when M. de Saci, who had become their secret director since the death of M. Singlin, was arrested, together with his secretary, Fontaine, at six in the morning, in front of the Bastille. "As he had for two years past been expecting imprisonment, he had got the epistles of St. Paul bound up together so as to always carry them about with him. 'Let them do with me what they please,' he was wont to say; 'wherever they put me, provided that I have my St. Paul with me, I fear nothing.'" On the 13th of May, 1666, the day of his arrest, M. de Saci had for once happened to forget his book. He was put into the Bastille, after an examination "which revealed a man of much wit and worth," said the king himself. Fontaine remained separated from him for three months. "Liberty, for me, is to be with M. de Saci," said the faithful secretary; "open the door of his room and that of the Bastille, and you will see to which of the two I shall run. Without him everything will be prison to me; I shall be free wherever I see him." At last he had the joy of recovering his well-beloved master, strictly watched and still deprived of the sacraments. Like Luther at Wartburg, he was finishing the revisal of his translation of the Bible, when his cousins, MM. de Pomponne and Arnauld, entered his room on the 31st of October, 1668. They chatted a while without any appearance of impatience on the part of M. de Saci. "You are free," said his friends at last, who had wanted to prove him; "and they showed him the king's order, which he read," says Abbe Arnauld, "without any change of countenance, and as little affected by joy as he had been a moment before by the longinquity of his release."
He lived fifteen years longer, occupied, during the interval of rest which the Peace of the Church restored to Port-Royal, in directing and fortifying souls. He published, one after another, the volumes of his translation of the Bible, with expositions (eclaircissements) which had been required by the examiners. In 1679 the renewal of the king's severities compelled him to retire completely to Pomponne. On the 3d of January, 1684, at seventy-one years of age, he felt ill and went to bed; he died next day, without being taken by surprise, as regarded either his affairs or his soul, by so speedy an end. "O blessed flames of purgatory!" he said, as he breathed his last. He had requested to be buried at Port-Royal des Champs; he was borne thither at night; the cold was intense, and the roads were covered with snow; the carriages were escorted by men carrying torches. The nuns looked a moment upon the face of the saintly director, whom they had not seen for so many years; and then he was lowered into his grave. "Needs hide in earth what is but earth," said Mother Angelica de St. Jean, in deep accents and a lowly voice, "and return to nothingness what in itself is but nothing." She was, nevertheless, heart-broken, and tarried only for this pious duty to pass away in her turn. "It is time to give up my veil to him from whom I received it," said she. A fortnight after the death of M. de Saci, she expired at Port-Royal, just preceding to the tomb her brother M. de Luzancy, who breathed his last at Pomponne, where he had lived with M. de Saci. "I confess," said the inconsolable Fontaine, "that when I saw this brother and sister stricken with death by that of M. de Saci, I blushed— I who thought I had always loved him—not to follow him like them; and I became, consequently, exasperated with myself for loving so little in comparison with those persons, whose love had been strong as death." The human heart avenges itself for the tortures men pretentiously inflict upon it: the disciples of St. Cyran thought to stifle in their souls all earthly affections, and they died of grief on losing those they loved. "Their life ebbed away in those depths of tears," as M. Vinet has said.
The great Port-Royal was dead with M. de Saci and Mother Angelica de St. Jean, faithful and modest imitators of their illustrious predecessors. The austere virtue and the pious severance from the world existed still in the house in the Fields, under the direction of Duguet; the persecution too continued, persistent and noiseless; the king had given the direction of his conscience to the Jesuits; from Father La Chaise, moderate and prudent, he had passed to Father Letellier, violent and perfidious; furthermore, the long persistence of the Jansenists in their obstinacy, their freedom of thought which infringed the unity so dear to Louis XIV., displeased the monarch, absolute even in his hour of humiliation and defeat. The property of Port-Royal was seized, and Cardinal de Noailles, well disposed at bottom towards the Jansenists, but so feeble in character that determination, disgusted him as if it were a personal insult, ended by once more forbidding the nuns the sacraments; the house in the Fields was surpressed, and its title merged in that of Port-Royal in Paris, for some time past replenished with submissive nuns. Madame de Chateau-Renaud, "the new abbess, went to take possession; the daughters of Mother Angelica protested, but without violence, as she would have done in their place." On the 29th of October, 1709, after prime, Father Letellier having told the king that "Madame de Chateau-Renaud dared not to go to Port-Royal des Champs, being convinced that those headstrong, disobedient, and rebellious daughters would laugh at the king's decree, and that, unless his Majesty would be pleased to give precise orders to disperse them, it would never be possible to carry it out," the king, being pressed in this way, sent his orders to M. d'Argenson, lieutenant of police.
He appeared at Port-Royal with a commissary and two exons. He asked for the prioress; she was at church: when service was over, he summoned all the nuns; one, old and very paralytic, was missing. "Let her be brought," said M. d'Argenson. "His Majesty's orders are," he continued, "that you break up this assemblage, never to meet again. It is your general dispersal that I announce to you; you are allowed but three hours to break up." "We are ready to obey, sir," said the mother-prioress; "half an hour is more than sufficient for us to say our last good by, and take with us a breviary, a Bible, and our regulations." And when he asked her whither she meant to go, "Sir, the moment our community is broken up and dispersed, it is indifferent to me in what place I may be personally, since I hope to find God wherever I shall be." They got into carriages, receiving one after another the farewell and blessing of the mother-prioress, who was the last to depart, remaining firm to the end there were two and twenty, the youngest fifty years old; they all died in the convents to which they were taken. A seizure was at once made of all papers and books left in the cells; Cardinal Noailles did not interfere. M. de St. Cyran had depicted him by anticipation, when he said that the weak were more to be feared than the wicked. He was complaining one day of his differences with his bishops. "What can you expect, Monsignor?" laughingly said a lady well disposed to the Jansenists; "God is just; it is the stones of Port-Royal tumbling upon your head." The tombs were destroyed; some coffins were carried to a distance, others left and profaned; the plough passed over the ruins; the hatred of the enemies of Port-Royal was satiated. A few of the faithful, preserving in their hearts the ardent faith of M. de St. Cyran, narrowed, however, and absorbed by obstinate resistance, a few theologians dying in exile, and leaving in Holland a succession of bishops detached from the Roman church,—this was all that remained of one of the noblest attempts ever made by the human soul to rise, here below, above that which is permitted by human nature. Virtues of the utmost force, Christianity zealously pushed to its extremest limits, and the most invincible courage, sustained the Jansenists in a conscientious struggle against spiritual oppression; its life died out, little by little, amongst the dispersed members. The Catholic church suffered therefrom in its innermost sanctuary. "The Catholic religion would only be more neglected if there were no more religionists," said Vauban, in his Memoire in favor of the Protestants. It was the same as regarded the Jansenists. The Jesuits and Louis XIV., in their ignorant passion, for unity and uniformity, had not comprehended that great principle of healthy freedom and sound justice of which the scientific soldier had a glimmering.
The insurrection of the Camisards, in the Cevennes, had been entirely of a popular character; the Jansenists had penitents amongst the great of this world, though none properly belonged to them or retired to their convents or their solitudes; it was the great French burgessdom, issue for the most part of the magistracy, which supplied their most fervent associates. Fenelon and Madame Guyon founded their little church at court and amongst the great lords; and many remained faithful to them till death. The spiritual letters of Fenelon, models of wisdom, pious tact, moderation, and knowledge of the human heart, are nearly all addressed to persons engaged in the life and the offices of the court, exposed to all the temptations of the world. It is no longer the desert of the penitents of Port-Royal, or the strict cloister of Mother Angelica; Fenelon is for only inward restrictions and an abstention purely spiritual; from afar and in his retreat at Cambrai, he watches over his faithful flock with a tender pre-occupation which does not make him overlook the duties of their position. "Take as penance for your sins," he wrote, "the disagreeable liabilities of the position you are in: the very hinderances which seem injurious to our advancement in piety turn to our profit, provided that we do what depends on ourselves. Fail not in any of your duties towards the court, as regards your office and the proprieties, but be not anxious for posts which awaken ambition." Such are, with their discreet tolerance, the teachings of Fenelon, adapted for the guidance of the Dukes of Beauvilliers and Chevreuse, and of the Duke of Burgundy himself. He went much further, and on less safe a road, when he was living at court, under the influence of Madame Guyon. A widow and still young, gifted with an ardent spirit and a lofty and subtile mind, Madame Guyon had imagined, in her mystical enthusiasm, a theory of pure love, very analogous fundamentally, if not in its practical consequences, to the doctrines taught shortly before by a Spanish priest named Molinos, condemned by the court of Rome in 1687. It was about the same time that Madame Guyon went to Paris, with her book on the Moyen court et facile de faire l'Oraison du Coeur (Short and easy Method of making Orison with the Heart). Prayer, according to this wholly mystical teaching, loses the character of supplication or intercession, to become the simple silence of a soul absorbed in God. "Why are not simple folks so taught?" she said. "Shepherds keeping their flocks would have the spirit of the old anchorites; and laborers, whilst driving the plough, would talk happily with God: all vice would be banished in a little while, and the kingdom of God would be realized on earth."
It was a far cry from the sanguinary struggle against sin and the armed Christianity of the Jansenists; the sublime and specious visions of Madame Guy on fascinated lofty and gentle souls: the Duchess of Charost, daughter of Fouquet, Mesdames de Beauvilliers, de Chevreuse, de Mortemart, daughters of Colbert, and their pious husbands, were the first to be chained to her feet. Fenelon, at that time, preceptor to the children of France (royal family), saw her, admired her, and became imbued with her doctrines. She was for a while admitted to the intimacy of Madame de Maintenon. It was for this little nucleus of faithful friends that she wrote her book of Torrents. The human soul is a torrent which returns to its source, in God, who lives in perfect repose, and who would fain give it to those who are His. The Christian soul has nothing more that is its, neither will nor desire. It has God for soul; He is its principle of life. "In this way there is nothing extraordinary. No visions, no ecstasies, no entrancements. The way is simple, pure, and plain; there the soul sees nothing but in God, as God sees Himself and with His eyes." With less vagueness, and quite as mystically, Fenelon defined the sublime love taught by Madame Guyon in the following maxim, afterwards condemned at Rome: "There is an habitual state of love of God which is pure charity, without any taint of the motive of self-interest. Neither fear of punishment nor desire of reward have any longer part in this love; God is loved not for the merit, or the perfection, or the happiness to be found in loving Him." What singular seductiveness in those theories of pure love which were taught at the court of Louis XIV., by his grandchildren's preceptor, at a woman's instigation, and zealously preached fifty years afterwards by President (of New Jersey College) Jonathan Edwards, in the cold and austere atmosphere of New England!
Led away by the generous enthusiasm of his soul, Fenelon had not probed the dangers of his new doctrine. The gospel and church of Christ, whilst preaching the love of God, had strongly maintained the fact of human individuality and responsibility. The theory of mere (pure) love absorbing the soul in God put an end to repentance, effort to withstand evil, and the need of a Redeemer. Bossuet was not deceived. The elevation of his mind, combined with strong common sense, caused him to see through all the veils of the mysticism. Madame Guyon had submitted her books to him; he disapproved of them, at first quietly, then formally, after a thorough examination in conjunction with two other doctors. Madame Guyon retired to a monastery of Meaux; she soon returned to Paris, and her believers rallied round her. Bossuet, in his anger, no longer held his hand. Madame Guyon was shut up first at Vincennes, and then in the Bastille; she remained seven years in prison, and ended by retiring to near Blois, where she died in 1717, still absorbed in her holy and vague reveries, praying no more inasmuch as she possessed God, "a submissive daughter, however, of the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Church, having and desiring to admit no other opinion but its," as she says in her will. Bourdaloue calls mere (pure) love "a bare faith, which has for its object no verity of the gospel's, no mystery of Jesus Christ's, no attribute of God's, nothing whatever, unless it be, in a word, God." In the presence of death, on the approach of the awful realities of eternity, Madame Guyon no doubt felt the want of a more simple faith in the mighty and living God. Fenelon had not waited so long to surrender.
The instinct of the pious and vigorous souls of the seventeenth century had not allowed them to go astray: there was little talk of pantheism, which had spread considerably in the sixteenth century; but there had been a presentiment of the dangers lurking behind the doctrines of Madame Guyon. Bossuet, that great and noble type of the finest period of the Catholic church in France, made the mistake of pushing his victory too far. Fenelon, a young priest when the great Bishop of Meaux was already in his zenith, had preserved towards him a profound affection and a deep respect. "We are, by anticipation, agreed, however you may decide," he wrote to him on the 28th of July, 1694: "it will be no specious submission, but a sincere conviction. Though that which I suppose myself to have read should appear to me clearer than that two and two make four, I should consider it still less clear than my obligation to mistrust all my lights, and to prefer before them those of a bishop such as you. You have only to give me my lesson in writing; provided that you wrote me precisely what is the doctrine of the church, and what are the articles in which I have slipped, I would tie myself down inviolably to that rule." Bossuet required more; he wanted Fenelon, recently promoted to the Archbishopric of Cambrai, to approve of the book he was preparing on Etats d'Oraison (States of Orison), and explicitly to condemn the works of Madame Guyon. Fenelon refused with generous indignation. "So it is to secure my own reputation," he writes to Madame de Maintenon, in 1696, "that I am wanted to subscribe that a lady, my friend, would plainly deserve to be burned with all her writings, for an execrable form of spirituality, which is the only bond of our friendship? I tell you, madame, I would burn my friend with my own hands, and I would burn myself joyfully, rather than let the church be imperilled. But here is a poor captive woman, overwhelmed with sorrows; there is none to defend her, none to excuse her; they are always afraid to do so. I maintain that this stroke of the pen, given by me against my conscience, from a cowardly policy, would render me forever infamous, and unworthy of my ministry and my position." Fenelon no longer submitted his reason and his conduct, then, to the judgment of Bossuet; he recognized in him an adversary, but he still spoke of him with profound veneration. "Fear not," he writes to Madame de Maintenon, "that I should gainsay M. de Meaux; I shall never speak of him but as of my master, and of his propositions but as the rule of faith." Fenelon was at Cambrai, being regular in the residence which removed him for nine months in the year from the court and the children of France, when there appeared his Explication des Maximes des Saints sur la Vie Interieure (Exposition of the Maxims of the Saints touching the Inner Life), almost at the same moment as Bossuet's Instruction sur les Etats d' Oraison (Lessons on States of Orison). Fenelon's book appeared as dangerous as those of Madame Guyon; he himself submitted it to the pope, and was getting ready to repair to Rome to defend his cause, when the king wrote to him, "I do not think proper to allow you to go to Rome; you must, on the contrary, repair to your diocese, whence I forbid you to go away; you can send to Rome your pleas in justification of your book."
Fenelon departed to an exile which was to last as long as his life; on his departure, he wrote to Madame de Maintenon, "I shall depart hence, madame, to-morrow, Friday, in obedience to the king. My greatest sorrow is to have wearied him and to displease him. I shall not cease, all the days of my life, to pray God to pour His graces upon him. I consent to be crushed more and more. The only thing I ask of his Majesty is, that the diocese of Cambrai, which is guiltless, may not suffer for the errors imputed to me. I ask protection only for the sake of the church, and even that protection I limit to not being disturbed in those few good works which my present position permits me to do, in order to fulfil a pastor's duties. It remains for me, madame, only to ask your pardon for all the trouble I have caused you. I shall all my life be as deeply sensible of your former kindnesses as if I had not forfeited them, and my respectful attachment to yourself, madame, will never diminish."
Fenelon made no mistake in addressing to Madame de Maintenon his farewell and his regrets; she had acted against him with the uneasiness of a person led away for a moment by an irresistible attraction, and returning, quite affrighted, to rule and the beaten paths. The mere love theory had no power to fascinate her for long. The Archbishop of Cambrai did not drop out of that pleasant dignity. The pious councillors of the king were working against him at Rome, bringing all the influence of France to weigh upon Innocent XII. Fenelon had taken no part in the declarations of the Gallican church, in 1682, which had been drawn up by Bossuet; the court of Rome was inclined towards him; the strife became bitter and personal; pamphlets succeeded pamphlets, letters. Bossuet published a Relation du Quietisme (An Account of Quietism), and remarks upon the reply of M. de Cambrai. "I write this for the people," he said, "in order that, the character of M. de Cambrai being known, his eloquence may, with God's permission, no more impose upon anybody." Fenelon replied with a vigor, a fullness, and a moderation which brought men's minds over to him. "You do more for me by the excess of your accusations," said he to Bossuet, "than I could do myself. But what a melancholy consolation when we look at the scandal which troubles the house of God, and which causes so many heretics and libertines (free-thinkers) to triumph! Whatever end may be put by a holy pontiff to this matter, I await it with impatience, having no wish but to obey, no fear but to be in the wrong, no object but peace. I hope that it will be seen from my silence, my unreserved submission, my constant horror of illusion, my isolation from any book and any person of a suspicious sort, that the evil you would fain have caused to be apprehended is as chimerical as the scandal has been real, and that violent measures taken against imaginary evils turn to poison."
Fenelon was condemned on the 12th of March, 1699; the sentence of Rome was mild, and hinted no suspicion of heresy; it had been wrested from the pope by the urgency of Louis XIV. "It would be painful to his Majesty," wrote the Bishop of Meaux in the king's name, "to see a new schism growing up amongst his subjects at the very time that he is applying himself with all his might to the task of extirpating that of Calvin, and if he saw the prolongation, by manoeuvres which are incomprehensible, of a matter which appeared to be at an end. He will know what he has to do, and will take suitable resolutions, still hoping, nevertheless, that his Holiness will not be pleased to reduce him to such disagreeable extremities." When the threat reached Rome, Innocent XII. had already yielded.
Fenelon submitted to the pope's decision completely and unreservedly. "God gives me grace to be at peace amidst bitterness and sorrow," he wrote to the Duke of Beauvilliers on the 29th of March, 1699. "Amongst so many troubles I have one consolation little fitted to be known in the world, but solid enough for those who seek God in good faith, and that is, that my conduct is quite decided upon, and that I have no longer to deliberate. It only remains for me to submit and hold my peace; that is what I have always desired. I have now but to choose the terms of my submission; the shortest, the simplest, the most absolute, the most devoid of any restriction, are those that I rather prefer. My conscience is disburdened in that of my superior. In all this, far from having an eye to my advantage, I have no eye to any man; I see but God, and I am content with what He does."
Bossuet had triumphed: his vaster mind, his more sagacious insight, his stronger judgment had unravelled the dangerous errors in which Fenelon had allowed himself to be entangled. The Archbishop of Cambrai, however, had grown in the estimation of good men on account of his moderation, his gentle and high-spirited independence during the struggle, his submission, full of dignity, after the papal decision. The mind of Bossuet was the greater; the spirit of Fenelon was the nobler and more deeply pious. "I cannot consent to have my book defended even indirectly," he wrote to one of his friends on the 21st of July, 1699. "In God's name, speak not of me but to God only, and leave men to think as they please; as for me, I have no object but silence and peace after my unreserved submission."
Fenelon was not detached from the world and his hopes to quite such an extent as he would have had it appear. He had educated the Duke of Burgundy, who remained passionately attached to him, and might hope for a return of prosperity. He remained in the silence and retirement of his diocese, with the character of an able and saintly bishop, keeping open house, grandly and simply, careful of the welfare of the soldiery who passed through Cambrai, adored by his clergy and the people. "Never a word about the court, or about public affairs of any sort that could be found fault with, or any that smacked the least in the world of baseness, regret, or flattery," writes St. Simon; "never anything that could give a bare hint of what he had been or might be again. He was a tall, thin man, well made, pale, with a large nose, eyes from which fire and intellect streamed like a torrent, and a physiognomy such that I have never seen any like it, and there was no forgetting it when it had been seen but once. It combined everything, and there was no conflict of opposites in it. There were gravity and gallantry, the serious and the gay; it savored equally of the learned doctor, the bishop, and the great lord; that which appeared on its surface, as well as in his whole person, was refinement, intellect, grace, propriety, and, above all, nobility. It required an effort to cease looking at him. His manners corresponded therewith in the same proportion, with an ease which communicated it to others; with all this, a man who never desired to show more wits than they with whom he conversed, who put himself within everybody's range without ever letting it be perceived, in such wise that nobody could drop him, or fight shy of him, or not want to see him again. It was this rare talent, which he possessed to the highest degree, that kept his friends so completely attached to him all his life, in spite of his downfall, and that, in their dispersion, brought them together to speak of him, to sorrow after him, to yearn for him, to bind themselves more and more to him, as the Jews to Jerusalem, and to sigh after his return and hope continually for it, just as that unfortunate people still expects and sighs after the Messiah."
Those faithful friends were dropping one after another. The death of the Duke of Burgundy and of the Duke of Chevreuse in 1712, and that of the Duke of Beauvilliers in 1714, were a fatal blow to the affections as well as to the ambitious hopes of Fenelon. Of delicate health, worn out by the manifold duties of the episcopate, inwardly wearied by long and vain expectation, he succumbed on the 7th of January, 1715, at the moment when the attraction shown by the Duke of Orleans towards him and "the king's declining state" were once more renewing his chances of power. "He was already consulted in private and courted again in public," says St. Simon, "because the inclination of the rising sun had already shown through." He died, however, without letting any sign of yearning for life appear, "regardless of all that he was leaving, and occupied solely with that which he was going to meet, with a tranquillity, a peace, which excluded nothing but disquietude, and which included penitence, despoilment, and a unique care for the spiritual affairs of his diocese." The Christian soul was detaching itself from the world to go before God with sweet and simple confidence. "O, how great is God! how all in all! How as nothing are we when we are so near Him, and when the veil which conceals Him from us is about to lift!" [OEuvres de Fenelon, Lettres Spirituelles, xxv. 128.]
So many fires smouldering in the hearts, so many different struggles going on in the souls, that sought to manifest their personal and independent life have often caused forgetfulness of the great mass of the faithful who were neither Jansenists nor Quietists. Bossuet was the real head and the pride of the great Catholic church of France in the seventeenth century; what he approved of was approved of by the immense majority of the French clergy, what he condemned was condemned by them. Moderate and prudent in conduct as well as in his opinions, pious without being fervent, holding discreetly aloof from all excesses, he was a Gallican without fear and without estrangement as regarded the papal power, to which he steadfastly paid homage. It was with pain, and not without having sought to escape therefrom, that he found himself obliged, at the assembly of the clergy in 1682, to draw up the solemn declarations of the Gallican church. The meeting of the clergy had been called forth by the eternal discussions of the civil power with the court of Rome on the question of the rights of regale, that is to say, the rights of the sovereign to receive the revenues of vacant bishoprics, and to appoint to benefices belonging to them. The French bishops were of independent spirit; the Archbishop of Paris, Francis de Harlay, was on bad terms with Pope Innocent XI.; Bossuet managed to moderate the discussions, and kept within suitable bounds the declaration which he could not avoid. He had always taught and maintained what was proclaimed by the assembly of the clergy of France, "that St. Peter and his successors, vicars of Jesus Christ, and the whole church itself, received from God authority over only spiritual matters and such as appertain to salvation, and not over temporal and civil matters, in such sort that kings and sovereigns are not subject to tiny ecclesiastical power, by order of God, in temporal matters, and cannot be deposed directly or indirectly by authority of the keys of the church; finally, that, though the pope has the principal part in questions of faith, and though his decrees concern all the churches and each church severally, his judgment is, nevertheless, not irrefragable, unless the consent of the church intervene." Old doctrines in the church of France, but never before so solemnly declared and made incumbent upon the teaching of all the faculties of theology in the kingdom.
Constantly occupied in the dogmatic struggle against Protestantism, Bossuet had imported into it a moderation in form which, however, did not keep out injustice. Without any inclination towards persecution, he, with almost unanimity on the part of the bishops of France, approved of the king's piety in the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. "Take up your sacred pens," says he in his funeral oration over Michael Le Tellier, "ye who compose the annals of the church; haste ye to place Louis amongst the peers of Constantine and Theodosius. Our fathers saw not as we have seen an inveterate heresy falling at a single blow, scattered flocks returning in a mass, and our churches too narrow to receive them, their false shepherds leaving them without even awaiting the order, and happy to have their banishment to allege as excuse; all tranquillity amidst so great a movement; the universe astounded to see in so novel an event the most certain sign as well as the most noble use of authority, and the prince's merit more recognized and more revered than even his authority. Moved by so many marvels, say ye to this new Constantine, this new Theodosius, this new Marcieau, this new Charlemagne, what the six hundred and thirty Fathers said aforetime in the council of Chaloedon, You have confirmed the faith; you have exterminated the heretics; that is the worthy achievement of your reign, that is its own characteristic. Through you heresy is no more. God alone could have wrought this marvel. King of heaven, preserve the king of earth; that is the prayer of the churches, that is the prayer of the bishops." Bossuet, like Louis XIV., believed Protestantism to be destroyed. "Heresy is no more," he said. It was the same feeling that prompted Louis XIV., when dying, to the edict of March 8, 1715. "We learn," said he, "that, abjurations being frequently made in provinces distant from those in which our newly converted subjects die, our judges to whom those who die relapsed are denounced find a difficulty in condemning them, for want of proof of their abjuration. The stay which those who were of the religion styled Reformed have made in our kingdom since we abolished therein all exercise of the said religion is a more than sufficient proof that they have embraced the Catholic religion, without which they would have been neither suffered nor tolerated." There did not exist, there could not exist, any more Protestants in France; all who died without sacraments were relapsed, and as such dragged on the hurdle. Those who were not married at a Catholic church were not married. M. Guizot was born at Nimes on the 4th of October, 1787, before Protestants possessed any civil rights in France.
Bossuet had died on the 12th of April, 1704. When troubles began again in the church, the enemies of the Jansenists obtained from the king a decree interdicting the Reflexions morales cur le Nouveau Testament, an old and highly esteemed work by Father Quesnel, some time an Oratorian, who had become head of the Jansenists on the death of the great Arnauld. Its condemnation at Rome was demanded. Cardinal de Noailles, Archbishop of Paris, had but lately, as Bishop of Chalons, approved of the book; he refused to retract his approbation; the Jesuits made urgent representations to the pope; Clement XI. launched the bull Unigenitus, condemning a hundred and one propositions extracted from the Reflexions morales. Eight prelates, with Cardinal de Noailles at their head, protested against the bull; it was, nevertheless, enregistered at the Parliament, but not without difficulty. The archbishop still held out, supported by the greater part of the religious orders and the majority of the doctors of Sorbonne. The king's confessor, Letellier, pressed him to prosecute the cardinal and get him deposed by a national council; the affair dragged its slow length along at Rome; the archbishop had suspended from the sacred functions all the Jesuits of his diocese; the struggle had commenced under the name of Jansenism against the whole Gallican church. The king was about to bring the matter before his bed of justice, when he fell ill. He saw no more of Cardinal de Noailles, and this rupture vexed him. "I am sorry to leave the affairs of the church in the state in which they are," he said to his councillors. "I am perfectly ignorant in the matter; you know, and I call you to witness, that I have done nothing therein but what you wanted, and that I have done all you wanted. It is you who will answer before God for all that has been done, whether too much or too little. I charge you with it before Him, and I have a clear conscience. I am but a know-nothing who have left myself to your guidance." An awful appeal from a dying king to the guides of his conscience. He had dispeopled his kingdom, reduced to exile, despair, or falsehood fifteen hundred thousand of his subjects, but the memory of the persecutions inflicted upon the Protestants did not trouble him; they were for him rather a pledge of his salvation and of his acceptance before God. He was thinking of the Catholic church, the holy priests exiled or imprisoned, the nuns driven from their convent, the division among the bishops, the scandal amongst the faithful. The great burden of absolute power was evident to his eyes; he sought to let it fall back upon the shoulders of those who had enticed him or urged him upon that fatal path. A vain attempt in the eyes of men, whatever may be the judgment of God's sovereign mercy. History has left weighing upon Louis XIV. the crushing weight of the religious persecutions ordered under his reign.