Page images
PDF
EPUB

sador from the Court of Sweden to that of France” in 1634. He made his public entry into Paris in 1635, and, in the first audience which he had with the French Monarch, he received some distinguished tokens of his Majesty's personal regard, which are described in two of his letters, but which could not compensate for the loss of his daughter Mary, whose sudden death, just after his first appearance at Court, he and her mother bore with the feelings of those who are familiar with misfortune." -On the 23d of March he thus addressed Gerard

[ocr errors]

"*

detraction and hatred of men, who, in no point whatever, can admit of a comparison with them.-I am also glad that you have correctly ascertained the purpose which I had in view, when I wrote my treatise De Jure Belli Pacisque. For I proposed two objects to myself: (1.) To withdraw the men in authority from that ferocious cruelty in conducting a war which is disgraceful to men, but, most of all, to christians, concerning whom it has been matter of doubt with some good people whether they have any permission whatever to engage in warfare. But no good man can entertain a sin, gle doubt respecting the unlawfulness of waging war iu a savage mapper.-(2.). The other object was, to provide for the exigences of those who, to employ a simile, were ready to set sail in the study of the laws -and particularly those to whom leisure and youth supply prosperous breezes, -by marking out certain points, like stars, according to which they might steer and direct their course. If the book contains any thing remarkable for ils excellence, I am indebted for that to the writers whose authority I have followed and extolled.” &c.

* My veneration for the memory of Grotius, who was highly estimable both in his public and private character, will not suffer me to with-hold from my readers the following beautiful letter, which he addressed to his Father on that mournful occasion. “ Dearest and best of Parents, while I deferred writing to you until I had surmounted the impediments that were raised [by Cardinal Richelieu] first against the embassy itself, and afterwards against the dignity of my embassy, behold a fresh wound is inflicted on me, which bas torn open the scars that had begun to be healed! I was received by the King of France with declarations of the greatest benevolence, both to the Queen in whose name I have come, and towards myself: I had scarcely returned home from my first audience, when, in a manner which I cannot describe, almost without pain, and affording indubitable proofs of piety with her last breath, our Maria was snatched away, not from us who are following her, but from this life of misery. She had beeu indisposed ju her old complaint in the bowels, which was contracted by the cold to which she had been exposed on her journey, and from which the Physician expected a lingering and tedious disorder. I and my wife bear this disaster, as people do who are ipured to misfortunes. But why should I call this a disaster, if God resume in his own right the gift which he had bestowed, and if he send our daughter before us to partake of those heavenly delights after the enjoyment of which young people should as ardently aspire as those who are older! This catastrophe frees us from the great anxiety of finding a husband, who would please her father and mother as well as herself—a combination wbich seldom occurs ! And even if she had found a suitable husband, there might have been some danger lest their dispositions, which were previously cou. cealed under a slight covering, should differ, and thus prove to be a mutual cross and an incessant trouble. But, granting all these events to have oc: curred according to our wishes, how many and great troubles are connected with child-bearing, the maintenance of the infants and their education, and with that anxiety for the welfare of the progeny, from which we are now liberated as it regards our daughter! Our dear Maria will not tread in the sorrowful footsteps of her mother : She will not behold the countenances of a company of packed judges, bloating with rage against her innocent busband, and the more so on account of that very innocence: She will not purchase a sight of her husband at the expence of partaking of the horrors of

of you

Vossius : “Most learned Vossius, the best of my friends! The fact of my coming to Paris in the name of the Queen and the States of Sweden, has, I suppose, been related at Amsterdam, either by those who wish me well, or by my enemies who behold what they dislike, not only in matters that transpire in their own presence, but likewise in those which occur at a distance. But omitting all mention of this, I will inform you

that the kindness of the French Monarch towards me has been extreme: and that he has given me strong proofs of the very high gratification which he experiences at this my return into his dominions with no common honour. Bignonius, Thuanus, and Cordesius are causes sufficiently powerful to induce one to reside as a private individual at Paris, rather than loaded with honours in any other city: They love you, and make mention

whenever I converse with them. Let me know what engages your attention at present, and thus we shall all know. Six of the principal of the Calvinist Pastors have already tendered me their congratulations: It is marvellous to perceive the great alteration of mind which they have learnt in the school of adversity.+ They wish to see the union of all evangehis prison : The faithful companion of his long exile, she will not exchange one country for another. We may congratulate the spirit of our departed child on her removal from this world, before she had become too well acquainted either with those things which are called the blessings of the world, or with those which are poignantly felt az its evils. We may also congratu: late ourselves, who have been permitted to enjoy her society while it was all sweetness and had in it no tendency to bitterness. What is there now throughout Christendom,-agitated as it is by sects, dissensions and wars, that can make it desirable to live? How many wounds are inflicted in every direction, what a multitude of reproaches are cast upon the weaker sex, what a number of sudden and cruel deaths have occurred, and how manifold and diversified are the roads which lead to indigence! All the inhabitants of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia are in a state of banishment ; aud the beirs of the most nuble families live by the bounty of others,-if that can be called life which consists of passing one day after another in continual desire of death. Most excellent pareut, I have transmitted to you these cogitations of my mind, with the design that you and my dear mother, who have always acted the part of father and mother towards my children rather than that of grandfather and grandmother, may enjoy them with me; and that, if you have any other consoling reflections to add, you may in return make me a partaker. I pray God to be present with you aud my mother, in his saving power, to the very close of life !--Paris, 23 March, *1635.”

+ The reader must be reminded, that Grotius left France soon after the fate of Rochelle bad been decided, as related in page 266, and consequently had scarcely any opportunity of observing the better temper and altered tone of the Calvinistic pastors, many of whom theu imbibed the more scriptural opinions of Cameron and Amyraut both on politics and Religion.? (See pages 220-225.) But though a great change had been effected in them, and the free exercise of their religion had been insured to those who remained peaceable and loyal subjects, yet a few extracts from the letters of Grotius will shew the insidious policy of the Church of Rome, which never relaxed in its efforts to have the kivgdom of France rid of the Protestant heretics. Louis the Thirteenth would not listen to such a dishonourable proposal; but bis ambitious successor, who was not so scrupulous, became the willing instrument of the Papal hatred to every thing which bore the marks of Protestantism.

In a letter to his brother, dated the 9th of January, 1629, he says :s Montmorency covsiders it sufficient, with the small number of his forces, to prevent Rolan from attempting any further enterprise. If he can succeed in his design, that matter will be easily delayed till the Italian war be finished;

lical professors; and they promote that good object as far as possible, both in their discourses and their writings. Some of them are now more moderate in their sentiments on the doctrines in controversy, so as not to deny that they are more favourable to Melanction. But these men picture to themselves most wonderful accounts concerning England, from reports with the origin of which I am unacquainted. They say, that images are restored, and superstitions which had been long abolished'; ' and the difference remaining between Protestantism and Po‘pery is now exceedingly trifling.** I refute these rumours, and say, that they proceed from the excessive hatred which the Puritans indulge against the Bishops. The authors of their own credulity speak highly in commendation of the letters of Soubise. I receive intelligence quite of an opposite description, from the persons who manage the English affairs in Paris; and I insist that the representation which these persons (the English Ambassadors] give, is more worthy of belief."

The Calvinistic pastors soon afterwards waited upon Grotius, and invited him to join in communion with them at Charenton, as the reader will see in a preceding page, (222,) but the result for the conclusion of which the Pope is desirous, on account of his solicitude for Italy, and has written a letter to the King of France, extolling his victory (at the siege of Rochelle], and recommending his Majesty to purge his kingdom from the remains of sectarian poison. But the King has distinguished the limits of the obedience which is due to him and to God, and has framed an edict, not yet published, in which he threatens all possible severity against those who retain their arms, and gives his sacred promise, that the rest of the Protestants shall continue to eujoy their religious liberties according to the edicts."

At the close of the year 1637, Grotius transmitted the following information to the Chancellor Oxenstern : “ A new coalition, which has been formed among the Popish ecclesiastics of this kingdom, excites great apprehensions in the breasts of the French Protestants : It is called the Congregation for propagating the Faith. The Protestants are afraid, that by degrees this contrivance may be turned against them, and thus become an engine of compulsion. I think nothing of magnitude will arise from it; but that the Court of Rome seeks to gain favour (among the French ecclesiastics] by every plausible method. Some of the same Protestants suspect, that something beyond a mere fault has been committed in the loss of the fortifications on the Rhine; that the French government act thus, in order to remove the Protestants as far as possible from the neighbourhood and the sight of France; that it is the Cardinal (Richelieu) to whom the Kirg has transferred not only the collation to all ecclesiastical benefices, (for his Majesty acknowledges this himself,) but also in some degree the management of the kingdom itself; and the two persons next in power to the Cardinal are Father Joseph aud Noyere, both of whom are candidates for the same purple,"&c.-Grotius does not say, that the French Reformed were wrong in these remarks; and the subsequent history of that unfortunate race of Christians proves them to have been more than bare conjectures. For the coalition, of which they were then afraid, ultimately became the instrument of dragooning thein either into the ranks of Popery or out of their native country. Whatever the deeds of their predecessors had been, those sufferers after the rise of Amyraut had generally been loyal subjects, and were undoubtedly entitled to better treatment.

* How untrue these rumours were, the reader need not be told who has perused Mr. Mede's modest account of them in pages 517--540.

[ocr errors]

*of that application is not there narrated. After Grotius had consented to attend the services of their church, in his quality of Swedish Ambassador, he required to have a pew or seat appropriated to him, is the custom with all those who are the public representatives of their sovereigns in foreign countries. That distinction the Consistory of Charenton refused to grant, though it was allowed to the Protestant Ambassadors of other countries, whose religious establishments differed, as much as that of Sweden, from the Calvinist church at Charenton.*

On this subject he thus addressed his brother in October, 1635:“ I have in a former letter acquainted you with my reasons for

* The English Ambassador, prior to the death of Charles the First, had a distinct seat assigned for his use in the Reformed Church at Charenton ; but after tbat mournful catastrophe, the presence of the usurper's ambassador was preferred to that of his Majesty's, according to the following very curious extract from one of Sir Richard Browne's letters in 1656 to Lord Clarendon:

“ In the conversation I have had abroad in my travail, as well as here in Paris since my return bad with the French Protestants, I find them generally much involved in Cromwell's interests, he having dexterously insinuated into their belief that he will maintain them in the enjoyment of their privileges : á more manifest demonstration of their good inclinations to him may also doubtless be, their having, since Locker's arrival, effaced the name of King out of the inscription of the seat for the English Ambassadors at Charenton, and left only pour les Ambassadeurs de la Grande Breta zne.'

Olim tempus erit magno cum optaverit emptum

Intactum Epigraphen. And in their discourse upon all occasions, they fervently declare their great good wishes of the prosperity of the army of the King of Sweden, as abetting upon that hand in order to the ruiu of Antichrist, under that King and Cromwell's banners."

Some persons may suppose in charity, that this petty act of malice towards royalty in exile was done out of subserviency to the known predilectiou of the French ministry for the usurper Cromwell ; but on referring to page 313, the reader will find, that the Presbyterians throughout Europe were nearly unanimous in expressing their approbation of their English brethren. Amyraut and his connections form au honourable exception. After such an exposition as that of Sir Richard Browne, one cannot avoid wondering at the following expressions, in a letter from Daille, one of the pastors of Charenton, in 1660, at the Restoration of King Charles the Second, whom he recommended tó his Presbyterian friends in England as a monarch untinctured with Popery :

“ I cannot but sejoice with you for the happy news wbich is conveyed to us from the place where you are; whereby we are informed, that the universal desire of the people seems with a common voice to recall their natural and lawful King. Besides, that generosity and equity itself obliges us to wish, that this prince may return into bis own kingdom and inheritance of which he hath been unjustly deprived, we ought also to desire it for the honour of our religion, wbich should be more dear to us than any other interest. For when our adversaries formerly would charge the blame of the death of the late King of England on our religion, you know we could very well guard ourselves from this reproach, by çasting it entirely upon the sectaries, who indeed were only guilty of that horrible criine. But at present we do not stand upon the same terms, since there is such a change of affairs; the sectarians having lost their credit, or at least being fallen from that sovereign power which they had grasped; and on the contrary the Presbyterian party, which is ours, now governing in England. Sy that if they let slip the fair opportunity which God seems to open to them, for the re-establishing of the King of Great Britain in his dominion, and to re-advance him to the throne of his ancestors, it is most apparent there will be no further ground to excuse themselves upon the sectaries, nor to wash our holy religion from that spot from which, by the grace of God, it hath always been preserved pure and

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

not yet appearing in the church of Charenton. I am amazed at the inconstancy of the men, who, after having invited the Lutherans to them,t now deny that they can admit the Swedish clean to this present. It is objected against this, that during the whole space of time which the King of Great Britain passed in the Court of France, he never came to our religious assemblies, and that amongst others he never came to Charenton ju the days of our worship. But although this may at first view appearstrange to those who know not ihe reason of it, pevertheless, as we are better informed of this than any one, we can testify that religion was not the cause of it, and that he abstained from coming upon politic and prudential considerations, which may be peculiar to ear Church. And the proof of this appears in that, when the King of England hath been out of Paris, he hath willingly gone to sermon in the churches of our brethren; as for instance in Caen and some other towns; and in Holland also, he hath several times heard the sermons of thefamous Monsieur More, who at present is our colleague.” See pages 379—391.

As a complete contrast to this pliable sycophancy, for which the Calvinists of that period were famous, I subjoin an extract from an able Arminian letter, addressed by Poelenburgh to Professor Hartsoecker at Amsterdam in 1651, soon after the unfortunate battle of Worcester. Having described the youthful monarch's flight, and his concealment in the umbrageous foliage of an oak, he proceeds to observe concerning the Independents aud the Presbyterians, « They are raised up on high, in order to suffer a more grievous fall. And it would be no cause of amazement to me, if, after these wicked men had sufficiently fulfilled their lusts in shedding the blood of the King and extirpating those who are attached to the royal party, they should then turn their rage against each other, and should fall down together wounded by their own mutual violence and cruelty : Such is the usual fate of robbers, upon whom by this method God in just judgment exercises bis vengeance, when they treat all the laws with coutempt and are not afraid of other judges.

-Many indeed among us have fallen into error, and principally those who call themselves the purely Reformed, though they dislike to be styled Puritans, and who openly in their sermons beseech God to bless the arms of the Parliament which have been justly taken up for the cause of religion. And there were vot wanting men who 'manifested the greatest pleasure, when they perceived the late King to be near the close of his sufferings : Whether such villainy as this may be excused under the simple term of an error, I caupot easily determine. They are undoubtedly imprudent mortals, not to call them foolish or stupid, who do not suppose that sometimes the greatest wickedness is concealed under the pretext of religion. But what has rendered these men thus excessively hostile to the King's party? Does a difference in religion ? That cannot be, for the King openly professes the Reformed Religion. Is it a difference in the mode of church-government ? That is exactly the

point. For, as they relate, Calvin was perpetually complaining that the English had left the floor [of the Church) besmeared with this nastiness (rites and ceremonies]? To whom, on the contrary, the English Prelates replied, “We must sweep and cleanse the house of God, so

as not at the same time to pull up the stones with which it is paved.' Was this a matter of such consequence, that, on account of a difference in ecclesiastical regimen they should be desirous of taking up arms against the King, of shedding such a profusion of blood, and of perpetrating shameful and degrading acts ?, particularly when the Episcopal order has been established from times the most ancient. But since Cromwell is wholly intent on occupying the palace and seizing the kingdom for himself, after having expelled the royal owner and wretchedly murdered him upou his own threshold, the anger which in the minds of many persons rankled [against the late King) is turned into pity and commiseration. I am likewise afraid, that in process of time these our own countrymen may acknowledge a kindred feeling in themselves, if by chance the English gladiators should some time or other turn against us (the Dutch] the violence of their fury. -Whatever the event may be, we [the Arminians] must never favour those men who take up arms against their lawful rulers under any pretext.”—This is the characteristic boast of GENUINE ARMINIANISM throughout the world!

+ This refers to the liberal proposals which the French Protestants had transmitted to the Convention at Frankfort in 1634, at which Duræus was

6

« PreviousContinue »