Page images
PDF
EPUB

COBBETT’S WEEKLY POLITICAL REGISTER.

Vol. XXVI. No. 12.) LONDON, SATURDAY, SEPT. 3, 1814. [Price 1s.

350).

-(290 SUMMARY OF POLITICS. pied, and saved France the degradation

of having her capital entered by a foreign BALANCE OF Power. This nice busi- enemy. His having neglected this, was ness, of which we have beard so much, and one of the greatest sins he committed, and which was to be settled as easy as the toss for which he is now deservedly suffering the up of a halfpenoy, whenever Napolcon was punishment.—But although the Norih of put down, will not, it now appears, be so Europe, through the apparently onambitious speedily adjusted as what these wise-acres disposition of the Emperor of Russia, is pretended. There were too many contend-likely, for some time, to enjoy repose, it ing parties in the field; too many clashing is said not to be so very clear that this will interests to consider, to render this a mat- be the case in the South. Every thing has ter of easy accomplishment; and it always indeed been done by our corrupt press, to appeared to me to betray a very superficial rekindle the flames of war on the Continent, knowledge of the relative situations of the and to excite jealousy among the Sobellegerents, and of their separate views, to vereigns who were formerly leagued against attempt to give any other colouring to the France. These attempts have been die subject. Amongst all the contending rected, in particular, against Austria, who, powers who will figure in the approaching it is pretended, meditates the aggrandizeCongress, Russia seems the least disposed ment of herself in Italy, and in the Nether. to grasp at new acquisitions of territory. tands, greatly to the prejudice of those SoveThe balance of power in the North may reigns who have a legitimate claim to these be considered in a great measure settled, by States. France also is accused of wishing the annexation of Norway to Sweden. I to repossess herself of the Belgic pronever thought that the Norwegians would vinces, the people of whom, it is said, are be able to resist, for any length of time, the unanimous in their wishes to be restored vast combination that was formed against to the mild sway, established under the them. I am pleased, however, to find that operation of the code Napoleon, and which they are not to be transferred, as was in they now perceive is enjoyed by all tended by the treaty of Kiel, to their new Frenchmen, notwithstanding the return of masters like horned cattle, but that they the Bourbons. It would be an unprofitable are to have something to say in the forma- and idle speculation, to enter into a consi. tion of their government, and in the enact- deration of the various topics which these ment of the laws by which justice is to be rumours present to the mind. administered. In this arrangement, is difficulties will arise, during the discussions, evidently to be discovered, some of the be- about to take place at Vienna, for the final neficial fruits of the French Revolution, settlement of the peace of the Continent, which, however fatal in its - consequences there cannot be the smallest doubt. But to many who were actively engaged in that these wel terminate in any other way it, has produced more good in the ag- than amicably, there does not appear, to gregate, than any other event recorded me at least, any well founded reason to. in luistory.--It would seem as if some suppose. The war faction, who exist, in a thing was intended favourable to unfor- greater or less degree, in every country, tunate Poland. It is supposed, and I will not be slow in their endeavours to think it would be good policy, that Alex-excite discord; but I think, even supposing ander wishes to restore the Poles to inde- the Monarchs of Europe to be totally rependence. Had Napoleon done this, when gardless of the sufferings of their people, he had it so often in his power, he would that they have sufficient personal motives have gained the affections, and the support for wishing an end pnt to the contest. of a nation, that would have succoured him Most of them have already run the risk of in all his difficulties; that would have se- losing their crowns; the preservation of cured to him the thrones which he occu-'whicb, let it never be forgotten, they of in

That great

K

66

entirely to the generosity of the man whom “ torture' cannot be applied in any case. they so lately dethroned. Besides, the The charges are to be so specific, that maxim which now seems to be recognised, slight or violent suspicion of heresy canand acted upon as a fundamental law in “ not suffice, without a commencement of Europe, that the rights and interests of proofs, for ordering the arrest of any inSovereigns may be separated from those of 6 dividual. Jews may be allowed to emthe people, is a principle, which none of “ploy Christian nurses without being called them would like to incur the risk of seeing “ to account by the Inquisitio.f. His acted upon in their own particular case. “Majesty appears disposed to submit criA state of war is frequently dangerous to “ minal affairs, in matters of religion, to a Government. It leads to the imposition “ the ordinary forms of criminal jastice. of additional taxes, and these, in the most The property of the condemned cannot favour:ible circumstances, excite discon “ in any case fall to the Inquisition. The tent, and frequently murmurs, that expences of the Supreme Council are to often prove fatal to the head of a State ; “ be defrayed by the Royal Treasury; the the more especially, if the management

“ families of the condemned are to be adis in the hands of a weak and unpopular

“ miited to their inheritances. This Me. Minister. --Such are the principal reasons “morial, full of wise views, and such as why I feel disposed to believe, that matters are in harmony with the glory of reliwill be settled at the ensuing Congress, gion, and the present enlightened state without another appeal to arms. The seeds “ of the world, has been well received by of discontent, and future quarrels, it is his Holiness, who, it is said, has since more than probable, will be plentifully

“had several conferences with his Ma. sown at this meeting, but it is the interest "jesty King Charles JV."-In the last of all concerned to pause a little, before Register I published a letter upon this they renew a strife, for which they cannot, subject, well calculated to excite a general at present, be supposed to be well prepared, detestation against the Inquisition, and to and which, at any period, must be attended inuince the active partizans of the Slave, with very serious consequences.

Trade abolition, in particular, to raise

their voices against the re-establishment of THE INQUISITION.—Respecting this a tribunal, which, under the sanctified pre

,' abominable Institution, the original idea tence of zeal for the glory of God, and the. of establishing which never could have safety of religion, has committed more entered the mind of any other being, but atrocious murders, and inflicted greater that of a gloomy and barbarous Monk; torments on their fellow men, than are de. the following article appeared in the Paris tailed in all the accounts that have been papers of the 26th ultimo :-"Rome, published, of the cruelties practised by the

Aug. 12.-We are assured that Fer- most savage dealer in human flesh. I • dinand VII. has addressed a long Me- doubt much, however, that any appeal upon “morial to bis Holiness, praying him this, or even upon any other subject, in "to regulate the jurisprudence of the Su- which the real happiness of mankind is the “ preme Council of the Inquisition by a prinary and sole object, can arouse the “ Bull. His Majesty proposes to abolish public feeling; can induce people to bestis Łó the code called Directorium Inquisito- themselves ; can render them active in

It is in that code, the author of their present state of apathy and spiritless ** which was Nicholas Rimeric, a Domini- submission to the most abominable system

can, that we read the following sentence: of corruption that ever disgraced any * •Let no man say that he is condemned country, pretending to be civilizeda The

“unjustly, nor complain of his ecclesiasti- greater part of those who have signed the “cal judges, nor of the judgment of the petitions against the Slave Trade, have " "church; but if he be unjustly condemn- done so, I readily admit, from motives of " bed, led him make it matter of joy that the purest philanthropy; but I question *'be suffers for justice.' Mahometans, whether as much can be said of the lead** Jews, and other infidels, will no longer ing men among'them, who have chosen this

be allowed to give, testimony in matters particular moment to agitate the question ; of retigion against Catholics accused of who, while the French West India Islands baromests, Fives, children, relations, were in other hands made no stir about the

arcz pot to be admitted as emancipation of the blacks; and who, while

st instante, The the mass of the natives of Ireland are sunk

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

in the grossest superstition, and groaning I writer of the Times newspaper, that the under the most appressive tyranny, exerted Inquisition has lately “ lost many of its themselves no further to obtain the aboli-" terrors, and that its tribunals were not tion of this white slave traffic, than they “ so bloody and barbarous as in the days found consistent with their own riews of " of their youthful vigour.”—This sort of aggrandizement; with procuring lucrative language, I find, is made use of to lessen posts in the State for themselves and public indignation against the restoration à few select friends. Was it not because of this Institution, merely because it was the war faction had baulked them in their abolished by Napoleon ; and in the same schemes of getting into power? was it not way would these wretches justify the total because they had left them no loop hole destruction, in France, of all those excelthrough which to get at a share of the lent laws, those benevolent institutions, public plunder, that they were driven, as and those proofs of the glory which Napoto a dernier resort, to make a noise and a leon acquired for France, those imperishe clamour about the total abolition of slavery able monuments of his fame, merely because in the West Indies; of which, it would they owe their existence to his superior scem, Ministers were not sufficiently atten- skill, and anxious desire to render his tive in the treaty of peace lately concluded country great and respected.

But the with France ? I am afraid, that the great truth is, this paltry subterfuge ought rather leaders in this business were influenced by to be attributed to a natural hostility, enmotives of this description. I am much tertained by these enemies of Napoleon, inclined to suspect, that it is not the love of against the introduction of all liberal pofreedom which stimulates them to say so licy, against the emancipation of every much, as they have done of late, in behalf people, and against the enactment of every of the injured African ; but that this arises law which might tend to check them in from the want of other grounds of com- their infamous career. For, instead of any. plaint against Ministers, than those which well-founded reasons existing for holding, applied to themselves when the reins of that the Inquisition, in latter times, had Government were entrusted to their hands. lost any of its terrors, or that its tribunals The faction who hold the strings of the were less bloody and barbarous than at public parse, had done nothing more, and former periods, I think there is sufficient perhaps far less, against general liberty, reason for believing that its members are than these humanity men. In this particular as wicked as formerly, and consequently instance, however, Ministers seem to have that they are as cruel and unrelenting. acted rather tamely, though probably not To establish this, it is scarcely necessary to more so than their opponents would have go farther for authorities than the article I done, had they been placed in similar have quoted above, which comes from circumstances. This really appears to be Rome itself. There, it is plainly admitthe true cause of their zeal; for which ted, that it is, at this very moment, a prin they are entitled to no credit, and for ciple recognised by the priests composing which they deserve to be held in sovereign the tribunal of the Inquisition, that if'a man contempt by every enemy of corruption. If be unjustly condemned, by bis ecclesiastical it were otherwise; if these strenuous advo-judges, he is not to be at liberty to say so, cates for, the abolition of the African nor to complain of the judgment of the Slave Trade were genuine patriots, they Church, however erroneous ;

" but if he would be as desirous and as forward to be unjustly condemned, let him make it obtain the destruction of slavery in Spain matter of joy that he suffers for justice !!!" and in Portugal, as they profess to be for Was there ever such hellish principles its overthrow in the French West India heard of? What! is it an amelioration Islands: they would be as eager to con- in the laws of the Inquisition, that a man, tsibute for the diffusion of knowledge after suffering all the cruelties that the among the illiterate and uncultivated Irishi

, ingenuity of these blood hounds could inas they are to promote expensive missions vent, to force bim to confess à crime of to the coast of Africa, to the East Indies, which he was not guilty, should be threatenor to the islands of the Pacific, to instructed with additional tortures, if he ventured the natives in the first principles of reli- to complain of bis sufferings ; should be gion. But some have contended, and I doomed again to the rack, perlaps to the observe the same sentiments have been put stake, if he did not actually rejoice for the forth by the canting and hypocritical injustice which these holy gladiators bad

K 2

.

S

donc bin? Tliis, I dare say, is that sort | resist all applications to have the Inof amelioration in the laws, which the quisition restored? Or why, in yielding Times writer, and all his admirers, would to these, did he not qualify that restoration like to sce operated upon those who dare with such conditions as would have enabled to question the omnipotence of their own him to modify the laws of the office in the opinions. But, except the disciples of this way he now proposes? When I look into jesuitical teacher, I do not believe there the history of the Inquisition, I find that is a man, possessed of his reason, in this even Kings and Popes were not exempt country, that does not consider the recog- from the influence of its terriblo mandates. nition of such a principle, as sufficient to Thc conduct of Ferdinand, in this instance, constitute the Inquisition, even in these would lead one to suppose, that he recny: diost enlightened times, as barbarous a nised this principle in so far as respected tribunal, and as capable of bloody deeds, Monarcby. What a blessed reign the Spaas ever it was at any former period of its niards are to expect from a Sovereign so history. This, herever, is nct the only bigotted to religion, and so much under feature which marks the atrocily of this the controul of an ignorant clergy, like that infernal office. It is proved, by the above with which Spain is inundated! What article, that the torture exists in Spain happiness, what comfort, they are to enjoy, at present, else why address a Memorial to where the will of a sot of blood-thirsty the Pope to have it abolished. It is proved, Monks is paramount to that of the Moby the same document, that persons are narch, or of the law !-All the Spanish arrested and sent to the dungeons of the writers, who give a history of the original Inquisition, upon slight suspicions of heresy, laws of the Inquisition, tell us, that no (i. e. of being Protestants), without any one can be apprehended on a warrant from previous investigation as to their gnilt. It the Holy Office, until a summary inquest is proved, that wives, children, relations, be first had concerning the crime laid to and domestics, are compelled to be wit-liis charge, and this particularly to be obnesses, even in the first instance, against served as to the crime of heresy; that, their unfortunate relatives. It is proved, before a witness is admitted to give evithat the Inquisition lays its fangs upon the dence, even in this previous stage, he is to property of all persons they condcnm, and be admonished by the Judge in a most that no part of it is ever restored to their solemn manner as to the sacredness of an families. Need more be proved to shev, oath; that, when apprehended and imthat this office, called, by way of eminence, prisoned, the party is to be allowed such the Holy Tlouse, and connected with which provisions as he may think fit, if he has all good Catholics must believe every thing the meaus of providing for them; and that to be holy, under pain of damnation. Does all his property, which these rapacious it, I say, require stronger evidence than knaves then lay their hands upon, must be what this statement from home affords, restored to him on his being set at liberty. that the Inquisition, as now constituted, is These are good regulations in so far as the wickedest, and the most abominable they go; and were I only made acquainted institution that ever existed on the earth? | with the fundamental laws of this Order, I Or is it possible to suppose a period, when might, perhaps, be led to pronounce it a its mandates

' were less barbarous, or its wise and excellent Institution. But when punishments less cruel and bloody, tiian [ dip a little into its history; when I they are at this very day? It is no doubt examine even superficially its subsequent said, that the "belóveil, the devout, the acts, I find that this Sancta Casa was not amiable Ferdinand, “ full of wise views,"long in departing from its own original has applied “to his Holiness, praying him rules; did not long hesitate about violating " to regulate the jurisprudence of the its sacred institutions; nor in substituting © Supreme Council of the Inquisition by a the barbarous and vile maxim, “ that no “ Bull.” But why did not this Monarch faith ought to be kept with herctics," in regulate this aflair by the same power which place of that rule of right, which served as enabled him to re-establish the Inquisition? the foundation of their early code of laws. Why consider it necessary to apply to a - Notwithstanding the uncommon paips -spirituel authority, to settle the mere sub)- which were taken to conceal the private ordinate matters of a tribunal, the very proceedings of the Inquisition; notwitb. Fristence of which depended upon his own standing the dreadful penalties that were free will ?

Why did he not at once attached to a breach of the path of secreCHE

which even every menial servant of the office troul the turbulence of this dangerous porwas bound to swear; and notwithstanding tion of his subjects. Whether liis Holithe terrible punishments which were in- ness interfere or not, it is very clear, that flicted, as an example to others, upon some this appeal of Ferdinand must increası, inindividuals who, in spite of their oaths, did stead of diminishing the insolence of his not hesitate to make disclosures. Notwith- clergy. They will regard it as an acknowstanding all this, there have been numbers ledgment, on the part of the Crown, that of well authenticated cases published, from the Inquisition, which is nothing but an which it appears, that the Holy Office, instrument of the Church to support even where the persons aecused of offences its arrogant assumptions, is above the conagainst their Order were known to be troul of the civil power. As to the Popc Catholics, considered themselves justified himself, he cannot bot laugh at the simpli. in departing from their established laws, city of any Monarch who could be so fool. whether as to receiving information re- isl as to apply to him, in the nineteenth specting the charge, the mode of conduct century, to regulate any part of the intering the proceedings against the accused, nal affairs of his dominions. In a History bis treatment in prison, the restoration of of the Inquisition, composed by a Jesuit his property, or the manner of his punish- named Macedo, it is stated, that God was ment. "In no one instance, indeed, have the first Inquisitor. He says, that the they scrupled to disregard their own rules Almighty sat in this character, upon and regulations, when they found it conve- Adan and Evc, upon Cain, and upon

thie nient, or calculated to promote the interest founders of the Tower of Babel. St. Peter of the Order, to depart from them. How be also designates with the same title. He then is it to be expected that the clergy asserts, that Peter displayed the powers of his in Spain, of the present day, will consider office in the case of Ananias and Saphira ; themselves bound by any other motives and he maintains that similar powers were than those which influenced their prede- transmitted by this Apostle to his succescessors? Will not their conduct be looked sors who filled the papal chair, and who to as an example deserving of imitation thereby acquired a right to confer them on and, in answer to any charge that might be whom they pleased. It is easy to understand brought against them of invovation upon why a race of interested Nlonks; a ban. the laws of their Order, will they not plead ditti of sanctified robbers, should have forthe innovations of former Inquisitors, as a merly succeeded, iv imposing these absurd precedent in their favour? Is it very doctrines upon the votaries of their faith. likely that a body of men, so formidable in But it is amazing to find that so many ennumber as the Spanish clergy, and posses- tire nations, so many millions of rational sing, as they do, so unlimited a controul beings, should still continue to be their over the people, will be disposed so readily willing dupes. Such, indeed, bas been to.give up any part of the empire which the powerful effects of the Inquisition; they have so long exercised over the mind ? such its extensive and decided influence This is too agreeable a sway to be so over the human mind, that many of those, tamely relinguisbed; and the late attempts employed in the affairs of that tribunal, of Napolcon to destroy their power altoge- who at first disbelieved their pretensions, ther, were not of a nature to induce them have afterwards become real converts to to relinquish a part when they have again, them, and persuaded that they were in and so easily got possession of the whole. I reality serving God when they were torturcan very well conceive, that the Monks and ing, and leading to the stake, the miserable other religious orders, in all Catholic coun- victims of their blind and infuriated zeal. tries, may have become more insolent and Among the people of Spain and Portugal, sioverbearing, in consequence of the favour. milar effects are likewise produced. So great able turn in their affairs. This, I can well is their confidence in these sainted ruffians; suppose, may have made Ferdinand, as well so fully are they convinced of the sanctity as some other sovereigns, somewhat uneasy. and sincerity of this tribunal, that when They have, very likely, found the clergy any individual is apprehended to be brought less pliable, and more disposed to clamour before them, they readily give up their

Proabout their “divinc rights” than they were perty of every description to the officers, some years ago ; and this, it is more than under a firm persuasion that the whole will

approbable, has given birth to the Spanish be restored when tlieir innocence ski Kionarcb's application to the Pope to con- 1 pcar; and although innumeralı stances

« PreviousContinue »