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D.t.L., LL.D., ETC. ETC. 









THE Editors desire to thank the members of the Acton 
family for their help and advice during the preparation of 
this volume and of the volume of Historical Essays and 
Studies. They have had the advantage of access to 
many of Acton's letters, especially those to Dollinger 
and Lady Blennerhasset They have thus been provided 
with valuable material for the Introduction. At the same 

time they wish to take the entire responsibility for the 

opinions expressed therein. They are again indebted to 

Professor Henry Jackson for valuable suggestions. 

This volume consists^of articles reprinted from the 
following journals : The Quarterly Review, The English 
Historical Review, The Nineteenth Century, The Rambler, 
The Howe and Foreign Review, TAe North British 
Review^ The Bridgnortk Journal The Editors have to 
thank Mr. John Murray, Messrs. Longmans, Kegan Paul, 
Williams and Norgate, and the proprietors of The Bridg- 
north Journal for their kind permission to republish these 
articles, and also the Delegacy of the Clarendon Press for 
allowing the reprint of the Introduction to Mr. Burd's 
edition of // Principe. They desire to point out that in 
Lord Acton and his Circle the article on "The Protestant 
Theory of Persecution " is attributed to Simpson : this is 
an error. 

J. N. F. 

K- V. L. 
August 24, 1907. 


THE two volumes here published contain but a small 
selection from the numerous writings of Acton on a 
variety of topics, which are to be found scattered 
through many periodicals of the last half-century. The 
result here displayed is therefore not complete. A 
further, selection of nearly equal quantity might be made, 
and still much that is valuable in Acton's work would 
remain buried. Here, for instance, we have extracted 
nothing from the Chronicle ; and Acton's gifts as a leader- 
writer remain without illustration. Yet they were re- 
markable. Rarely did he show to better advantage than 
in the articles and reviews he wrote in that short-lived 
rival of the Saturday Review. From the two bound 
volumes of that single weekly, there might be made 
a selection which would be of high interest to all who 
cared to learn what was passing in the minds of the most 
acute and enlightened members of the Roman Communion 
at one of the most critical epochs in the history of the 
papacy. But what could never be reproduced is the 
general impression of Acton's many contributions to the 
Rambler, the Home and Foreign, and the North British 
Review. Perhaps none of his longer and more cere- 
monious writings 'can give to the reader so vivid a sense 
at once of the range of Acton's erudition and the strength 
of his critical faculty as does the perusal of these short 

notices. Any one who wished to understand the 

be b 


personality of Acton could not do better than take the 
published Bibliography and read a few of the articles on 
" contemporary literature " furnished by him to the three 
Reviews. In no other way could the reader so clearly 
realise the complexity of his mind or the vast number 
of subjects which he could touch with the hand of a 
master. In a single number there are twenty-eight such 
notices. His writing before he was thirty years of age 
shows an intimate and detailed knowledge of documents 
and authorities which with most students is the "hard 
won and hardly won" achievement of a lifetime of 
labour. He always writes as the student, never as 
the litterateur. Even the memorable phrases which give 
point to his briefest articles are judicial, not journalistic. 
Yet he treats of matters which range from the dawn of 
history through the ancient empires down to subjects so 
essentially modern as the vast literature of revolutionary 
Prance or the leaders of the romantic movement which 
replaced it. In all these writings of Acton those qualities 
manifest themselves, which only grew stronger with time, 
and gave him a distinct and unique place among his con- 
temporaries. Here is the same austere love of truth, the 
same resolve to dig to the bed-rock of fact, and to exhaust 
all sources of possible illumination, the same breadth of 
view and intensity of inquiring ardour, which stimulated 
his studies and limited his productive power. Above 
all, there is the same unwavering faith in principles, as 
affording the only criterion of judgment amid the ever- 
fluctuating welter of human passions, political manoeuvring, 
and ecclesiastical intrigue. But this is not all. We note 
the same value for great books as the source of wisdom, 
combined with the same enthusiasm for immediate 
justice which made Acton the despair of the mere 
academic student, an enigma among men of the world, 
and a stumbling-block to the politician of the clubs 


Beyond this, we find that certainty and decision of judg- 
ment, that crisp concentration of phrase, that grave and 
deliberate irony and that mastery of subtlety, allusion, 
and wit, which make his interpretation an adventure and 
his judgment a sword. 

A few instances may be given. In criticising a 
professor of history famous in every way rather than 
as a student, Acton says, " his Lectures are indeed not 
entirely unhistorical, for he has borrowed quite dis- 
criminatingly from Tocqueville." Of another writer he 
says that "ideas, if they occur to him, he rejects like 
temptations to sin." Of Ranke, thinking perhaps also of 
himself, he declares that " his intimate knowledge of all 
the contemporary history of Europe is a merit not suited 
to his insular readers." Of a partisan French writer 
under Louis Napoleon he says that " he will have a fair 
grievance if he fails to obtain from a discriminating 
government some acknowledgment of the services which 
mere historical science will find it hard to appreciate." 
Of Laurent he says, that " sometimes it even happens that 
his information is not second-hand, and there are some 
original authorities with which he is evidently familiar. 
The ardour of his opinions, so different from those which 
have usually distorted history, gives an interest even to 
his grossest errors. Mr. Buckle, if he had been able to 
distinguish a good book from a bad one, would have 
been a tolerable imitation of M. Laurent." Perhaps, 
however, the most characteristic of these forgotten 
judgments is the description of Lord Liverpool and the 
class which supported him. Not even Disraeli painting 
the leader of that party which he was destined so 
strangely to "educate" could equal the austere and 
accurate irony with which Acton, writing as a student, 
not as a novelist, sums up the characteristics of the class 
of his birth. 


Lord Liverpool governed England in the greatest crisis of the 
war, and for twelve troubled years of peace, chosen not by the 
nation, but by the owners of the land. The English gentry were 
well content with an order of things by which for a century and a 
quarter they had enjoyed so much prosperity and power. Desiring 
no change they wished for no ideas. They sympathised with the 
complacent respectability of Lord Liverpool's character, and knew 
how to value the safe sterility of his mind. He distanced statesmen 
like Grenville, Wellesley, and Canning, not in spite of his inferiority, 
but by reason of it His mediocrity was his merit The secret of 
his policy was that he had none. For six years his administration 
outdid the Holy Alliance. For five years it led the liberal move- 
ment throughout the world. The Prime Minister hardly knew the 
difference. He it was who forced Canning on the King. In the 
same spirit he wished his government to include men who were in 
favour of the Catholic claims and men who were opposed to them. 
His career exemplifies, not the accidental combination but the 
natural affinity, between the love of conservatism and the fear 
of ideas. 

The longer essays republished in these volumes exhibit 
in most of its characteristics a personality which even 
those who disagreed with his views must allow to have 
been one of the most remarkable products of European 
culture in the nineteenth century. They will show in 
some degree how Acton's rnind developed in the three 
chief periods of his activity, something of the influences 
which moulded it, a great deal of its preferences and its 
antipathies, and nearly all its directing ideals. During 
the first period roughly to be dated from 1855 to 1863 
he was hopefully striving, under the influence of Dol- 
linger (his teacher from the age of seventeen), to educate 
his co-religionists in breadth and sympathy, and to place 
before his countrymen ideals of right in politics, which 
were to him bound up with the Catholic faith. The 
combination of scientific inquiry with true rules of political 
justice he claimed, in a letter to Dollinger, as the aim of 
the Home and Foreign Review. The result is to be seen 


in a quarterly, forgotten, like all such quarterlies to-day, but 
far surpassing, alike in knowledge, range, and certainty, 
any of the other quarterlies, political, or ecclesiastical, or 
specialist, which the nineteenth century produced. There 
is indeed no general periodical which comes near to it 
for thoroughness of erudition and strength of thought, if 
not for brilliance and ease; while it touches on topics 
contemporary and political in a way impossible to any 
specialist journal. A comparison with the British Critic 
in the religious sphere, with the Edinburgh in the political, 
will show how in all the weightier matters of learning 
and thought, the Hoitie ami Foreign (indeed the Rambler) 
was their superior, while it displayed a cosmopolitan 
interest foreign to most English journals. 

We need not recapitulate the story so admirably told 
already by Doctor Gasquet of the beginning and end of 
the various journalistic enterprises with which Acton was 
connected. So far as he was concerned, however, the time 
may be regarded as that of youth and hope. 

Next came what must be termed the " fighting period," 
when he stood forth as the leader among laymen of the 
party opposed to that " insolent and aggressive faction " 
which achieved its imagined triumph at the Vatican 
Council This period, which may perhaps be dated from 
the issue of the Syllabus by Pius IX. in 1864, may be 
considered to close with the reply to Mr. Gladstone's 
pamphlet on The Vatican Decrees," and with the attempt 
of the famous Cardinal, in whose mind history was 
identified with heresy, to drive from the Roman com- 
munion its most illustrious English layman. Part of this 
stoiy tells itself in the letters published by the Abbot 
Gasquet ; and more will be known when those to Dul- 
linger are given to the world. 

We may date the third period of Acton's life from the 
failure of Manning's attempt, or indeed a little earlier. 


He had now given up all attempt to contend against the 
dominant influence of the Court of Rome, though feeling 
that loyalty to the Church of his Baptism, as a living 
body, was independent of the disastrous policy of its 
hierarchy. During this time he was occupied with the 
great unrealised project of the history of liberty or in 
movements of English politics and in the usual avocations 
of a student In the earlier part of this period are to be 
placed some of the best things that Acton ever wrote, 
such as the lectures on Liberty, here republished. It 
is characterised by his discovery in the "eighties" that 
Dollinger and he were divided on the question of the 
severity of condemnation to be passed on persecutors and 
their approvers. Acton found to his dismay that Dollinger 
(like Creighton) was willing to accept picas in arrest of 
judgment or at least mitigation of sentence, which the 
layman's sterner code repudiated. Finding that he had 
misunderstood his master, Acton was for a time profoundly 
discouraged, declared himself isolated, and surrendered 
the outlook of literary work as vain. He found, in fact, 
that in ecclesiastical as in general politics he was alone, 
however much he might sympathise with others up to a 
certain point On the other hand, these years witnessed 
a gradual mellowing of his judgment in regard to the 
prospects of the Church, and its capacity to absorb and 
interpret in a harmless sense the dogma against whose 
promulgation he had fought so eagerly. It might also 
be correct to say that the English element in Acton 
came out most strongly in this period, closing as it did 
with the Cambridge Professorship, and including the 
development of the friendship between himself and Mr. 

We have spoken both of the English element in 
Acton and of his European importance. This is the 
only way in which it is possible to present or understand 


him. There were in him strains of many races. On his 
father's side he was an English country squire, but 
foreign residence and the Neapolitan Court had laigdy 
affected the family, in addition to that flavour of cosmo- 
politan culture which belongs to the more highly placed 
Englishmen of the Roman Communion. On his mother's 
side he was a member of one of the oldest and greatest 
families in Germany, which was only not princely. The 
Dalbergs, moreover, had intermarried with an Italian 
family, the Brignoli. Trained first at Oscott under 
Wiseman, and afterwards at Munich under Dollinger, in 
whose house he lived, Acton by education as well as birth 
was a cosmopolitan, while his marriage with the family 
of Arco- Valley introduced a further strain of Bavarian 
influence into his life. His mother's second marriage 
with Lord Granville brought him into connection with 
the dominant influences of the great Whig Houses. For 
a brief period, like many another county magnate, he was 
a member of the House of Commons, but he never became 
accustomed to its atmosphere; For a longer time he lived at 
his house in Shropshire, and was a stately and sympathetic 
host, though without much taste for the avocations of 
country life. His English birth and Whig surroundings 
were largely responsible for that intense constitutionalism, 
which was to him a religion, and in regard both to 
ecclesiastical and civil politics formed his guiding criterion. 
This explains his detestation of all forms of absolutism on 
the one hand, and what he always called " the revolution " 
on the other. 

It was not, however, the English strain that was most 
obvious in Acton, but the German. It was natural that 
he should become fired under Bellinger's influence with 
the ideals of continental scholarship and exact and minute 
investigation. He had a good deal of the massive solidity 
of the German intellect. He liked, as in the " Letter to a 


German Bishop/ 1 to make his judgment appear as the 
culmination of so much weighty evidence, that it seemed 
to speak for itself. He had, too, a little of the German 
habit of breaking a butterfly upon a wheel, and at times he 
makes reading difficult by a more than Teutonic allusive- 
ness. It was not easy for Acton to bear in mind that the 
public is often ignorant of even the names of distinguished 
scholars, and that " a European reputation " is sometimes 
confined to the readers of specialist publications. 

The Italian strain in Acton is apparent in another 
quality, which is perhaps his one point of kinship with 
Machiavelli, the absence of hesitation from his thought, 
and of mystery from his writing. Subtle and ironic as 
his style is, charged with allusion and weighted with 
passion, it is yet entirely devoid both of German senti- 
ment and English vagueness. There was no haze in his 
mind. He judges, but does not paint pictures. It may 
have been this absence of half-tones in his vein of thought, 
and of chiaroscuro in his imagination that made Manning, 
an intelligent however hostile critic, speak of " the ruth- 
less talk of undergraduates." 

But however much or little be allowed to the diverse 
strains of hereditary influence or outward circumstances, 
the interest of Acton to the student lies in his intense 
individuality. That austerity of moral judgment, that 
sense of the greatness of human affairs, and of the vast 
issues that lie in action and in thought, was no product 
of outside influences, and went beyond what he had learnt 
from his master Dollingcr. To treat politics as a game, 
to play with truth or make it subservient to any cause 
other than itself, to take trivial views, was to Acton as 
deep a crime as to waste in pleasure or futility the hours 
so brief given for salvation of the soul would have seemed 
to Baxter or Bunyan ; indeed, there was an element of 
Puritan severity in his attitude towards statesmen both 


ecclesiastical and civil. He was no "light half- believer 
of a casual creed/' but had a sense of reality more like 
Dante than many moderns. 

This, perhaps, it was that drew him ever closer to Mr. 
Gladstone, while it made the House of Commons and the 
daily doings of politicians uncongenial. There is no 
doubt that he had learned too well "the secret of in- 
tellectual detachment" Early in his life his shrewd and 
kindly stepfather had pointed out to him the danger of 
losing influence by a too unrestrained desire to escape 
worshipping the idols of the market-place. There are, it 
is true, not wanting signs that his view of the true rela- 
tions of States and Churches may become one day more 
dominant, for it appears as though once more the earlier 
Middle Ages will be justified, and religious bodies become 
the guardians of freedom, even in the' political sphere. 
Still, a successful career in public life could hardly be 
predicted for one who felt at the beginning that c< I agree 
with nobody, and nobody agrees with me," and towards 
the close admitted that he " never had any contempor- 
aries." On the other hand, it may be questioned whether, 
in the chief of his self-imposed tasks, he failed so greatly 
as at first appeared. If he did not prevent infallibility " 
being decreed, the action of the party of Strossmayer and 
Ketteler assuredly prevented the form of the decree being 
so dangerous as they at first feared. We can only hazard 
a guess that the mild and minimising terms of the 
dogma, especially as they have since been interpreted, 
were in reality no triumph to Veuillot and the Jesuits. 
In later life Acton seems to have felt that they need 
not have the dangerous consequences, both in regard to 
historical judgments or political principles, which he had 
feared from the registered victory of ultramontane reaction. 
However this may be, Acton's whole career is evidence of 
his detachment of mind, and entire independence even of 


his closest associates. It was a matter to him not of 
taste but of principle. What mainly marked him out 
among men was the intense reality of his faith. This 
gave to all his studies their practical tone. He had none 
of the pedant* s contempt for ordinary life, none of the 
aesthete's contempt for action as a "little vulgar," and 
no desire to make of intellectual pursuits an end in 
themselves. His scholarship was to him as practical as 
his politics, and his politics as ethical as his faith. Thus 
his whole life was a unity. All his various interests were 
inspired by one unconquered resolve, the aim of securing 
universally, alike in Church and in State, the recognition 
of the paramountcy of principles over interests, of liberty 
over tyranny, of truth over all forms of evasion or equivo- 
cation. His ideal in the political world was, as 'he said, 
that of securing situm cuique to every individual or 
association of human life, and to prevent any institution, 
however holy its aims, acquiring more. 

To understand the ardour of his efforts it is necessary 
to bear in mind the world into which he was born, and 
the crises intellectual, religious, and political which he 
lived to witness and sometimes to influence. Born in the 
early days of the July monarchy, when reform in England 
was a novelty, and Catholic freedom a late-won boon, 
Acton ?is he grew to manhood in Munich and in England 
had presented to his regard a series of scenes well cal- 
culated to arouse a thoughtful mind to consideration, 
of the deepest problems, both of politics and religion. 
What must have been the " long, long thoughts " of a 
youth, naturally reflective and acutely observant, as he 
witnessed the break-up of the old order in '48 and the 
years that followed. In the most impressionable age of 
life he was driven to contemplate a Europe in solution ; 
the crash of the kingdoms ; the Pope a Liberal, an exile, 
and a reactionary ; the principle of nationality claiming to 


supersede all vested rights, and to absorb and complete 
the work of '89 ; even socialism for once striving to reduce 
theory to practice, till there came the " saviour of society * 
with the coup d'ttat and a new era of authority and 
despotism. This was the outward aspect In the world 
of thought he looked upon a period of moral and intel- 
lectual anarchy. Philosopher had succeeded philosopher, 
critic had followed critic, Strauss and Baur were names 
to conjure with, and Hegel was still unforgotten in the 
land of his birth. Materialistic science was in the very hey- 
day of its parvenu and tawdry intolerance, and historical 
knowledge in the splendid dawn of that new world of 
knowledge, of which Ranke was the Columbus. Every- 
where faith was shaken, and except for a few resolute 
and unconquered spirits, it seemed as though its defence 
were left to a class of men who thought the only refuge 
of religion was in obscurity, the sole bulwark of order was 
tyranny, and the one support of eternal truth plausible 
and convenient fiction. What wonder then that the 
pupil of DSllinger should exhaust the intellectual and 
moral energies of a lifetime, in preaching to those who 
direct the affairs of men the paramount supremacy of 
principle. The course of the plebiscitary Empire, and 
that gradual campaign in the United States by which 
the will of the majority became identified with that neces- 
sity which knows no law, contributed further to educate 
his sense of right in politics, and to augment the distrust 
of power natural to a pupil of the great Whigs, of Burke, 
of Montesquieu, of Madame de Stae'l. On the other hand, 
as a pupil of Bellinger, his religious faith was deeper than 
could be touched by the recognition of facts, of which too 
many were notorious to make it even good policy to deny 
the rest; and he demanded with passion that history 
should set the follies and the crimes of ecclesiastical 
authority in no better light than those of civil 


We cannot understand Acton aright, if we do not 
remember that he was an English Roman Catholic, to 
whom the penal laws and the exploitation of Ireland were 
a burning injustice. They were in his view as foul a blot 
on the Protestant establishment and the Whig aristocracy 
as was the St Bartholomew's medal on the memory of 
Gregory XIII., or the murder of the due d'Enghien on the 
genius of Napoleon, or the burning of Servetus on the 
sanctity of Calvin, or the permission of bigamy on the 
character of Luther, or the September Massacres on 

Two other tendencies dominant in Germany ten- 
dencies which had and have a great power in the minds 
of scholars, yet to Acton, both as a Christian and a man, 
seemed corrupting compelled him to a search for prin- 
ciples which might deliver him from slavery alike to tradi- 
tions and to fashion, from the historian's vice of condoning 
whatever has got itself allowed to exist, and from the 
politician's habit of mere opportunist acquiescence in 
popular standards. 

First of these is the famous maxim of Schiller, Die 
Welt-Gcschichte i&t da$ Welt-Gerickt> which, as commonly 
interpreted, definitely identifies success with right, and is 
based, consciously or unconsciously, on a pantheistic 
philosophy. This tendency, especially when envisaged 
by an age passing through revolutionary nationalism back 
to Machiavelli's ideals and real politik, is clearly sub- 
versive of any system of public law or morality, and 
indeed is generally recognised as such nowadays even by 
its adherents. 

The second tendency against which Acton's moral 
sense revolted, had arisen out of the laudable determina- 
tion of historians to be sympathetic towards men of 
distant ages and of alien modes of thought With the 
romantic movement the early nineteenth century placed a 


check upon the habit of despising mediaeval ideals, which 
had been increasing from the days of the Renaissance and 
had culminated in Voltaire. Instead of this, there arose 
a sentiment of admiration for the past, while the general 
growth of historical methods of thinking supplied a sense 
of the relativity of moral principles, and led to a desire to 
condone if not to commend the crimes of other ages. It 
became almost a trick of style to talk of judging men by 
the standard of their day and to allege the spirit of the 
age in excuse for the Albigensian Crusade or the burning 
of Hus. Acton felt that this was to destroy the very bases 
of moral judgment and to open the way to a boundless 
scepticism. Anxious as he was to uphold the doctrine 
of growth in theology, he allowed nothing for it in the 
realm of morals, at any rate in the Christian era, since 
the thirteenth century. He demanded a code of moral 
judgment independent of place and time, and not merely 
relative to a particular civilisation. He also demanded 
that it should be independent of religion* His reverence 
for scholars knew no limits of creed or church, and he 
desired some body of rules which all might recognise, 
independently of such historical phenomena as religious 
institutions. At a time when such varied and contra- 
dictory opinions, both within and without the limits of 
Christian belief, were supported by some of the most 
powerful minds and distinguished investigators, it seemed 
idle to look for any basis of agreement beyond some 
simple moral principles. But he thought that all men 
might agree in admitting the sanctity of human life and 
judging accordingly every man or system which need- 
lessly sacrificed it It is this preaching in season and out 
of season against the reality of wickedness, and against 
every interference with the conscience, that is the real 
inspiration both of Acton's life and of his writings. 

It is related of Frederick Robertson of Brighton, that 


during one of his periods of intellectual perplexity he 
found that the only rope to hold fast by was the convic- 
tion, it must be right to do right" The whole of Lord 
Acton's career might be summed up in a counterphrase, 
"it must be wrong to do wrong." It was this conviction, 
universally and unwaveringly applied, and combined with 
an unalterable faith in Christ, which gave unity to all his 
efforts, sustained him in his struggle with ecclesiastical 
authority, accounted for all his sympathies, and accentuated 
his antipathies, while it at once expanded and limited his 
interests. It is this that made his personality so much 
greater a gift to the world than any book which he might 
have written had he cared less for the end and more for 
the process of historical knowledge. 

He was interested in knowledge that it might 
diminish prejudice and break down barriers. To a world 
in which the very bases of civilisation seemed to be dis- 
solving he preached the need of directing ideals. 

Artistic interests were not strong in him, and the 
decadent pursuit of culture as a mere luxury had no 
stronger enemy. Intellectual activity, apart from moral 
purpose, was anathema to Acton. He has been censured 
for bidding the student of his hundred best books to 
steel his mind against the charm of literary beauty and 
style. Yet he was right His list of books was expressly 
framed to be a guide, not a pleasure ; it was intended to 
supply the place of University direction to those who 
could not afford a college life, and it throws light upon 
the various strands that mingled in Acton and the his- 
torical, scientific, and political influences which formed his 
mind. He felt the danger that lurks in the charm of 
literary beauty and style, for he had both as a writer and 
a reader a strong taste for rhetoric, and he knew how 
young minds arc apt to be enchained rather by the per- 
suasive spell of the manner than the living thought beneath 


it Above all, he detested the modern journalistic craze 
for novelty, and despised the shallowness which rates 
cleverness above wisdom. 

In the same way his eulogy of George Eliot has been 
censured far more than it has been understood. It was 
not as an artist superior to all others that he praised the 
author of Daniel Deronda and the translator of Strauss. 
It was because she supplied in her own person the solution 
of the problem nearest to his heart, and redeemed (so far 
as teaching went) infidelity in religion from immorality in 
ethics. It was, above all, as a constructive teacher of 
morals that he admired George Eliot, who might, in his 
view, save a daily increasing scepticism from its worst 
dangers, and preserve morals which a future age of faith 
might once more inspire with religious ideals. Here was 
a writer at the summit of modern culture, saturated with 
materialistic science, a convinced and unchanging atheist, 
who, in spite of this, proclaimed in all her work that 
moral law is binding, and upheld a code of ethics, Christian 
in content, though not in foundation. 

In the same way his admiration for Mr. Gladstone is 
to be explained. It was not his successes so much as his 
failures that attracted Acton, and above all, his refusal to 
admit that nations, in their dealings with one another, arc 
subject to no law but that of greed. Doubtless one who 
gave himself no credit for practical aptitude in public 
affairs, admired a man who had gifts that were not 
his own. But what Acton most admired was what many 
condemned. It was because he was not like Lord 
Palmerston, because Bismarck disliked him, because he 
gave back the Transvaal to the Boers, and tried to restore 
Ireland to its people, because his love of liberty never 
weaned him from loyalty to the Crown, and his politics 
were part of his religion, that Acton used of Gladstone 
language rarely used, and still more rarely applicable, to 


any statesman. For this very reason his belief that 
political differences do, while religious differences do not, 
imply a different morality he censured so severely the 
generous eulogy of Disraeli, just as in Bellinger's case 
he blamed the praise of Dupanloup. For Acton was 
intolerant of all leniency towards methods and individuals 
whom he thought immoral. He could give quarter to 
the infidel more easily than to the Jesuit. 

We may, of course, deny that Acton was right. But 
few intelligent observers can dispute the accuracy of his 
diagnosis, or deny that more than anything else the disease 
of Western civilisation is a general lack of directing ideals 
other than those which are included in the gospel of com- 
mercialism. It may surely be further admitted that even 
intellectual activity has too much of triviality about it 
to-day ; that if people despise the schoolmen, it is rather 
owing to their virtues than their defects, because impres- 
sionism has taken the place of thought, and brilliancy that 
of labour. On the other hand, Acton's dream of ethical 
agreement, apart from religion, seems further off from 
realisation than ever. 

Acton, however, wrote for a world which breathed in 
the atmosphere created by Kant His position was some- 
thing as follows : After the discover}* of facts, a matter 
of honesty and industry independent of any opinions, 
history needs a criterion of judgment by which it may 
appraise men's actions. This criterion cannot be afforded 
by religion, for religion is one part of the historic process 
of which we arc tracing the flow. The principles on 
which all can combine are the inviolable sanctity of human 
life, and the unalterable principle of even justice and 
toleration. Wherever these are violated our course is 
dear. Neither custom nor convenience, neither distance 
of time nor difference of culture may excuse or even 
limit our condemnation. Murder is always murder, 


whether it be committed by populace or patricians, by 
councils or kings or popes. Had they had their dues, 
Paolo Sarpi would have been in Newgate and George I., 
would have died at Tyburn. 

The unbending severity of his judgment, which is 
sometimes carried to an excess almost ludicrous, is 
further explained by another element in his experience. 
In his letters to Dollinger and others he more than once 
relates how in early life he had sought guidance in the 
difficult historical and ethical questions which beset the 
history of the papacy from many of the most eminent 
ultramontanes. Later on he was able to test their answers 
in the light of his constant study of original authorities 
and his careful investigation of archives. He found that 
the answers given him had been at the best but plausible 
evasions. The letters make it clear that the harshness 
with which Acton always regarded ultramontanes was due 
to that bitter feeling which arises in any reflecting mind on 
the discovery that it has been put off with explanations 
that did not explain, or left in ignorance of material facts. 

Liberalism, we must remember, was a religion to 
Acton z.& liberalism as he understood it, by no means 
always what goes by the name. His conviction that 
ultramontane theories lead to immoral politics prompted 
his ecclesiastical antipathies. His anger was aroused, not 
by any feeling that Papal infallibility was a theological 
error, but by the belief that it enshrined in the Church 
monarchical autocracy, which could never maintain itself 
apart from crime committed or condoned. It was not 
intellectual error but moral obliquity that was to him 
here, as everywhere, the enemy. He could tolerate un- 
belief, he could not tolerate sin. Machiavelli represented 
to him the worst of political principles, because in the 
name of the public weal he destroyed the individual's 
conscience. Yet he left a loophole in private life for 


religion, and a sinning statesman might one day become 
converted. But when the same principles are applied, as 
they have been applied by the Jesuit organisers of ultra- 
montane reaction (also on occasion by Protestants), ad 
majorem dei gloriam, it is clear that the soul is corrupted 
at its highest point, and the very means of serving God 
are made the occasion of denying him. Because for 
Acton there was no comparison between goodness and 
knowledge, and because life was to him more than 
thought, because the passion of his life was to secure for 
all souls the freedom to live as God would have them 
live, he hated in the Church the politics of ultramon- 
tanism, and in the State the principles of Machiavelli. 
In the same way he denied the legitimacy of every form 
of government, every economic wrong, every party creed, 
which sacrificed to the pleasures or the safety of the few 
the righteousness and salvation of the many. His one 
belief was the right of every man not to have, but to 
be, his best 

This fact gives the key to what seems to many an 
unsolved contradiction, that the man who said what he 
did say and fought as he had fought should yet declare 
in private that it had never occurred to him to doubt any 
single dogma of his Church, and assert in public that 
communion with it was "dearer than life itself. 19 Yet all 
the evidence both of his writings and his most intimate 
associates confirms this view. His opposition to the 
doctrine of infallibility was ethical and political rather 
than theological. As he wrote to Dollinger, the evil lay 
deeper, and Vaticanism was but the last triumph of a 
policy that was centuries old. Unless he were turned 
out of her he would see no more reason to leave the 
Church of his baptism on account of the Vatican Decrees 
than on account of those of the Lateran Council To the 
dogma of the Immaculate Conception he had no hostility, 


and could not understand Bellinger's condemnation of it, 
or reconcile it with his previous utterances. He had great 
sympathy with the position of Liberal High Anglicans ; 
but there is not the slightest reason to suppose that he 
ever desired to join the English Church. Even with the 
old Catholic movement he had no sympathy, and dis- 
suaded his friends from joining it 1 All forms of Galli- 
canism were distasteful to Acton, and he looked to the 
future for the victory of his ideas. His position in the 
Roman Church symbolises in an acute form what may 
be called the soul's tragedy of the whole nineteenth 
century, but Acton had not the smallest inclination to 
follow either Gavazzi or Lamennais. It was, in truth, 
the unwavering loyalty of his churchmanship and his 
far-reaching historical sense that enabled him to attack 
with such vehemence evils which he believed to be 
accidental and temporary, even though they might have 
endured for a millennium. Long searching of the vista of 
history preserved Acton from the common danger of 
confusing the eternal with what is merely lengthy. To 
such a mind as his, it no more occurred to leave the 
Church because he disapproved some of its official pro- 
cedure, than it would to an Englishman to surrender his 
nationality when his political opponents came into office, 
He distinguished, as he said Froschammer ought to have 
done, between the authorities and the authority of the 
Church. He had a strong belief in the doctrine of 
development, and felt that it would prove impossible in 
the long run to bind the Christian community to any ex- 
planation of the faith which should have a non-Christian 
or immoral tendency. He left it to time and the common 

1 There is no foundation for the statement of Canon Meyrick in his tmi- 
nisemets, that Acton, had he lived on the Continent, would have undoubtedly 
become an Old Catholic. He did very largely live on the Continent Nor did 
even DBllinger, of whom Dr. Meyrick also asserts it. ever become an adherent 
of that movement. 


conscience to clear the dogma from association with 
dangerous political tendencies, for his loyalty to the 
institution was too deep to be affected by his dislike of 
the Camarilla in power. He not only did not desire to 
leave the Church, but took pains to make his confession 
and receive absolution immediately after his letters 
appeared in the Times. It must also be stated that so 
far from approving Mr. Gladstone's attack on Vaticanism, 
he did his utmost to prevent its publication, which he 
regarded as neither fair nor wise. 

It is true that Acton's whole tendency was individualistic, 
and his inner respect for mere authority apart from know- 
ledge and judgment was doubtless small. But here we 
must remember what he said once of the political sphere 
that neither liberty nor authority is conceivable ex- 
cept in an ordered society, and that they are both relative 
to conditions remote alike from anarchy and tyranny. 
Doubtless he leaned away from those in power, and 
probably felt of Manning as strongly as the latter wrote 
of him. Yet his individualism was always active within the 
religious society, and never contemplated itself as outside. 
He showed no sympathy for any form of Protestantism, 
except the purely political side of the Independents and 
other sects which have promoted liberty of conscience. 

Acton's position as a churchman is made clearer by a 
view of his politics. At once an admirer and an adviser 
of Mr. Gladstone, he probably helped more than any 
other single friend to make his leader a Home Ruler. 
Yet he was anything but a modern Radical : for liberty 
was his goddess, not equality, and he dreaded any single 
power in a State, whether it was the King, or Parliament, 
or People. Neither popes nor princes, not even Pro- 
testant persecutors, did Acton condemn more deeply than 
the crimes of majorities and the fury of uncontrolled 
democracy. It was not the rule of one or many that was 


his ideal, but a balance of powers that might preserve 
freedom and keep every kind of authority subject to law. 
For, as he said, " liberty is not a means to a higher end, 
it is itself the highest political end. 1 ' His preference was, 
therefore, not for any sovereign one or number, such as 
formed the ideal of Rousseau or the absolutists ; but for 
a monarchy of the English type, with due representation 
to the aristocratic and propertied classes, as well as 
adequate power to the people. He did not believe in the 
doctrine of numbers, and had no sympathy with the cry 
Vox populi Vox Dei ; on the other hand, he felt strongly 
that the stake in the country argument really applied 
with fullest force to the poor, for while political error 
means mere discomfort to the rich, it means to the poor 
the loss of all that makes life noble and even of life itself. 
As he said in one of his already published letters : 

The men who pay wages ought not to be the political masters of 
those who earn them, for laws should be adapted to those who have 
the heaviest stake in the country, for whom misgovcmment means 
not mortified pride or stinted luxury, but want and pain and degrada- 
tion, and risk to their own lives and to their children's souls. 

While he felt the dangers of Rousseau's doctrine of 
equality, declaring that in the end it would be destructive 
alike of liberty and religion, he was yet strongly imbued 
with the need of reconciling some of the socialists' ideals 
with the regard due to the principles which he respected. 
He was anxious to promote the study of Roschcr and the 
historical economists, and he seems to have thought that 
by their means some solution of the great economic evils 
of the modern world might be found, which should avoid 
injustice either to the capitalist or the wage-earner. He 
had a burning hatred of injustice and tyranny, which made 
him anxious to see the horrors of the modern proletariat 
system mitigated and destroyed : but combined with this 


Acton's political conscience was also very broad on 
the side technically called moral. No one had higher 
ideals of purity. Yet he had little desire to pry into the 
private morality of kings or politicians. It was by the 
presence or absence of political principles that he judged 
them. He would have condemned Pope Paul the Fourth 
more than Rodrigo Borgia, and the inventor of the "dra- 
gonnades" more than his great-grandson. He did not 
view personal morality as relevant to political judgment 

In this, if in nothing else, he agreed with Crcighton. 
His correspondence with the latter throws his principles 
into the strongest light, and forms the best material for 
a judgment For it must, we think, be admitted that he 
applied these doctrines with a rigidity which human 
affairs will not admit, and assumed a knowledge beyond 
our capacity. To declare that no one could be in a state 
of grace who praised S. Carlo Borromco, because the 
latter followed the evil principle of his day in the matter 
of persecution, "is not merely to make the historian a 
hanging judge," but to ignore the great truth that if crime 
is always crime, degrees of temptation arc widely variable. 
The fact is, Acton's desire to maintain the view that 
" morality is not ambulatory," led him at times to ignore 
the complementary doctrine that it certainly develops, 
and that the difficulties of statesmen or ecclesiastics, if 
they do not excuse, at least at times explain their less 
admirable courses. At the very close of his life Acton 
came to this view himself. In a pathetic conversation 
with his son, he lamented the harshness of some of his 
judgments, and hoped the example would not be followed. 

Still, Acton, if he erred here, erred on the nobler side, 
The doctrine of moral relativity had been overdone by 
historians, and the principles of Machiavclli had become 
so common a cry of politicians, that severe protest was 
necessary. The ethics of Nietzsche are the logical ex- 


pansion of Machiavelli, and his influence is proof that, 
in the long-run, men cannot separate their international 
code from their private one. We must remember that 
Acton lived in a time when, as he said, the course of 
history had been "twenty-five times diverted by actual 
or attempted crime," and when the old ideals of liberty 
seemed swallowed up by the pursuit of gain. To all 
those who reflect on history or politics, it was a gain of 
the highest order that at the very summit of historical 
scholarship and profound political knowledge there should 
be placed a leader who erred on the unfashionable side, 
who denied the statesmen's claim to subject justice to 
expediency, and opposed the partisan's attempt to palter 
with facts in the interest of his creed. 

It is these principles which both explain Acton's work 
as a student, and make it so difficult to understand. He 
believed, that as an investigator of facts the historian 
must know no passion, save that of a desire to sift 
evidence ; and his notion of this sifting was of the re- 
morseless scientific school of Germany, which sometimes, 
perhaps, expects more in the way of testimony than 
human life affords. At any rate, Acton demanded that 
the historian must never misconceive the case of the 
adversaries of his views, or leave in shade the faults of 
his own side. But on the other hand, when he comes 
to interpret facts or to trace their relation, his views and 
even his temperament will affect the result It is only 
the barest outline that can be quite objective. In 
Acton's view the historian as investigator is one thing, 
the historian as judge another. In an early essay on 
Dollinger he makes a distinction of this kind. The 
reader must bear it in mind in considering Acton's 
own writing. Some of the essays here printed, and still 
more the ledures, are anything but colourless ; they show 
very distinctly the predilections of the writer, and it is 


hardly conceivable that they should have been written by 
a defender of absolutism, or even by an old-fashioned Tory. 
What Acton really demanded was not the academic aloof- 
ness of the pedant who stands apart from the strife of 
principles, but the honesty of purpose which C( throws itself 
into the mind of one's opponents, and accounts for their 
mistakes," giving their case the best possible colouring. 
For, to be sure of one's ground, one must meet one's 
adversaries' strongest arguments, and not be content with 
merely picking holes in his armour. Otherwise one's own 
belief may be at the mercy of the next clever opponent 
The reader may doubt how far Acton succeeded in his 
own aim, for there was a touch of intolerance in his 
hatred of absolutism, and he believed himself to be 
divided from his ecclesiastical and political foes by no mere 
intellectual difference but by a moral cleavage. Further, 
his writing is never half-hearted. His convictions were 
certitudes based on continual reading and reflection, 
and admitting in his mind of no qualification. He was 
eminently a Victorian in his confidence that he was right 
He had none of the invertebrate tendency of mind which 
thinks it is impartial, merely because it is undecided, and 
regards the judicial attitude as that which refrains from 
judging. Acton's was not a doubting mind. If he now 
and then suspended his judgment, it was as an act of 
deliberate choice, because he had made up his mind that 
the matter could not be decided, not because he could 
not decide to make up his mind. Whether he was right 
or wrong, he always knew what he thought, and his 
language was as exact an expression of his meaning as 
he could make it It was true that his subtle and far- 
sighted intelligence makes his style now and then like a 
boomerang, as when he says of Ranke's method * it is a 
discipline we shall all do well to adopt; and also do well 
to relinquish." Indeed, it is hardly possible to read a 


single essay without observing this marked characteristic. 
He has been called a " Meredith turned historian," and 
that there is truth in this judgment, any one who sees at 
once the difficulty and the suggestiveness of his reviews 
can bear witness. He could hardly write the briefest 
note without stamping his personality upon it and exhibit- 
ing the marks of a very complex culture. But the main 
characteristic of his style is that it represents the ideals 
of a man to whom every word was sacred. Its analogies 
are rather in sculpture than painting. Each paragraph, 
almost every sentence is a perfectly chiselled whole, im- 
pressive by no brilliance or outside polish, so much as by 
the inward intensity of which it is the symbol. Thus his 
writing is never fluent or easy, but it has a moral dignity 
rare and unfashionable. 

Acton, indeed, was by no means without a gift of 
rhetoric, and in the " Lecture on Mexico," here republished, 
there is ample evidence of a power of handling words 
which should impress a popular audience. It is in gravity 
of judgment and in the light he can draw from small 
details that his power is most plainly shown. On the 
other hand, he had a little of the scholar's love of clinging 
to the bank, and, as the notes to his " Inaugural " show, 
he seems at times too much disposed to use the crutches 
of quotation to prop up positions which need no such 
support It was of course the same habit the desire not 
to speak before he had read everything that was relevant, 
whether in print or manuscript that hindered so severely 
his output His projected History of Liberty was, from the 
first, impossible of achievement It would have required 
the intellects of Napoleon and Julius Caesar combined, and 
the lifetime of the patriarchs, to have executed that project 
as Acton appears to have planned it A History of 
Liberty^ beginning with the ancient world and carried 
down to our* own day, to be based entirely upon original 


sources, treating both of the institutions which secured it, 
the persons who fought for it, and the ideas which 
expressed it, and taking note of all that scholars had 
written about every several portion of the subject, was and 
is beyond the reach of a single man. Probably towards 
the close of his life Acton had felt this. The Cambridge 
Modern History^ which required the co-operation of so 
many specialists, was to him really but a fragment of this 
great project 

Two other causes limited Acton's output Towards 
the close of the seventies he began to suspect, and 
eventually discovered, that he and Dollinger were not so 
close together as he had believed. That is to say, he 
found that in regard to the crimes of the past, Dollinger's 
position was more like that of Crcighton than his own 
that, while he was willing to say persecution was always 
wrong, he was not willing to go so far as Acton in 
rejecting every kind of mitigating pica and with medi- 
aeval certainty consigning the persecutors to perdition. 
Acton, who had, as he thought, learnt all this from 
Dollinger, was distressed at what seemed to him the 
weakness and the sacerdotal prejudice of his master, felt 
that he was now indeed alone, and for the time surrendered, 
as he said, all views of literary work. This was the time 
when he had been gathering materials for a History of 
t/M Council of Trent. That this cleavage, coming when 
it did, had a paralysing effect on Acton's productive 
energy is most probable, for It made him feel that he was 
no longer one of a school, and was without sympathy and 
support in the things that lay nearest his heart 

Another cause retarded production his determination 
to know all about the work of others. Acton desired to 
be in touch with university life all over Europe, to 
be aware, if possible through personal knowledge, of the 
trend of investigation and thought of scholars* working in 


all the cognate branches of his subject To keep up 
thoroughly with other people's work, and do much 
original writing of one's own, is rarely possible. At any 
rate we may say that the same man could not have 
produced the essay on German schools of history, and 
written a magnum opus of his own. 

His life marks what, in an age of minute specialism, 
must always be at once the crown and the catastrophe of 
those who take all knowledge for their province. His 
achievement is something different from any book. 
Acton's life-work was, in fact, himself. Those who lament 
what he might have written as a historian would do well 
to reflect on the unique position which he held in the 
world of letters, and to ask themselves how far he could 
have wielded the influence that was his, or held the 
standard so high, had his own achievement been greater. 
Men such as Acton and Hort give to the world, by their 
example and disposition, more than any written volume 
could convey. In both cases a great part of their pub- 
lished writings has had, at least in book form, to be 
posthumous. But their influence on other workers is 
incalculable, and has not yet determined. 

To an age doubting on all things, and with the moral 
basis of its action largely undermined, Acton gave the 
spectacle of a career which was as moving as it was rare. 
He stood for a spirit of unwavering and even childlike 
faith united to a passion for scientific inquiry, and a scorn 
of consequences, which at times made him almost an 
iconoclast His whole life was dedicated to one high end, 
the aim of preaching the need of principles based on the 
widest induction and the most penetrating thought, as the 
only refuge amid the storm and welter of sophistical 
philosophies and ecclesiastical intrigues. The union of 
faith with knowledge, and the eternal supremacy of 
righteousness, this was the message of Acton to mankind. 


It may be thought that he sometimes exaggerated his 
thesis, that he preached it out of season, that he laid 
himself open to the charge of being doctrinaire, and that 
in fighting for it he failed to utter the resources of his 
vast learning. Enough, however, is left to enable the 
world to judge what he was. No books ever do more 
than that for any man. Those who are nice in com- 
parisons may weigh against the book lost the man gained. 
Those who loved him will know no doubt 

The following document was found among Lord 
Acton's Papers. It records in an imaginative form the 
ideals which he set before him. Perhaps it forms the 
most fitting conclusion to this Introduction. 

This day's post informed me of the death of Adrian, who was the 
best of all men I have known. He loved retirement, and avoided 
company, but you might sometimes meet him coming from scenes of 
sorrow, silent and appalled, as if he had seen a ghost, or in the 
darkest corner of churches, his dim eyes radiant with light from 
another world In youth he had gone through much anxiety and 
contention ; but he lived to be tnistcd and honoured. At last he 
dropped out of notice and the memory of men, and that part of his 
life was the happiest. 

Years ago, when I saw much of him, most people had not found 
him out There was something in his best qualities themselves that 
baffled observation, and fell short of decided excellence. He looked 
absent and preoccupied, as if thinking of things he cared not to 
speak of, and seemed but little interested in the cares and events of 
the day. Often it was hard to decide whether he had an opinion, 
and when he showed it, he would defend it with more eagerness and 
obstinacy than we liked. He did not mingle readily with others or 
co-operate in any common undertaking, so that one could not rely on 
him socially, or for practical objects. As he never spoke harshly of 
persons, so he seldom praised them warmly, and there was some 
apparent indifference and want of feeling. Ill success did not 
depress, but happy prospects did not elate him, and though never 
impatient, he was not actively hopeful. Facetious friends called him 
the weather-cock, or Mr. Facinghothways, because there was no 
heartiness in his judgments, and he satisfied nobody, and said things 


that were at first sight grossly inconsistent, without attempting to 
reconcile them. He was reserved about himself, and gave no 
explanations, so that he was constantly misunderstood, and there 
was a sense of failure, of disappointment, of perplexity about him. 

These things struck me, as well as others, and at first repelled me. 
I could see indeed, at the same time, that his conduct was remark- 
ably methodical, and was guided at every step by an inexhaustible 
provision of maxims. He had meditated on every contingency in 
life, and was prepared with rules and precepts, which he never 
disobeyed. But I doubted whether all this was not artificial, a 
contrivance to satisfy the pride of intellect and establish a cold 
superiority. In time I discovered that it was the perfection of a 
developed character. He had disciplined his soul with such wisdom 
and energy as to make it the obedient and spontaneous instrument 
of God's will, and he moved in an orbit of thoughts beyond our reach. 

It was part of his religion to live much hi the past, to realise 
every phase of thought, every crisis of controversy, every stage of 
progress the Church has gone through. So that the events and ideas 
of his own day lost much of their importance in comparison, were 
old friends with new faces, and impressed him less than the multitude 
of those that went before. This caused him to seem absent and 
indifferent, rarely given to admire, or to expect He respected other 
men's opinions, fearing to give pain, or to tempt with anger by con- 
tradiction, and when forced to defend his own he felt bound to assume 
that every one would look sincerely for the truth, and would gladly 
recognise it But he could not easily enter into their motives when 
they were mixed, and finding them generally mixed, he avoided 
contention by holding much aloo Being quite sincere, he was quite 
impartial, and pleaded with equal zeal for what seemed true, whether 
it was on one side or on the other. He would have felt dishonest if 
he had unduly favoured people of his own country, his own religion, 
or his own party, or if he had entertained the shadow of a prejudice 
against those who were against them, and when he was asked why 
he did not try to clear himself from misrepresentation, he said that 
he was silent both from humility and pride. 

At last I understood that what we had disliked in him was his 
virtue it self! 

J. N. F. 
R. V. L. 



LIBERTY, next to religion, has been the motive of good 
deeds and the common pretext of crime, from the sowing 
of the seed at Athens, two thousand four hundred and 
sixty years ago, until the ripened harvest was gathered 
by men of our race. It is the delicate fruit of a 
mature civilisation; and scarcely a century has passed 
since nations, that knew the meaning of the term, 
resolved to be free. In every age its progress has been 
beset by its natural enemies, by ignorance and super- \ 
stitution, by lust of conquest and by love of ease, > 
by the strong man's craving for power, and the poor I 
man's craving for food. During long intervals it has t 
been utterly arrested, when nations were being rescued 
from barbarism and from the grasp of strangers, and 
when the perpetual struggle for existence, depriving men 
of all interest and understanding in politics, has made 
them eager to sell their birthright for a pottage, and 
ignorant of the treasure they resigned. At all times 
sincere friends of freedom have been rare, and its triumphs - 
have been due to minorities, that have prevailed by 
associating themselves with auxiliaries whose objects often 
differed from their own; and this association, which is 
always dangerous, has been sometimes disastrous, by 
giving to opponents just grounds of opposition, and by 
kindling dispute over the spoils in the hour of success. 

1 An address delivered to the members of the Bridgnorth Institution at the 
Agricultural Hall, a6th February 1877. 

55 ' B 


No obstacle has been so constant, or so difficult to over- 
come, as uncertainty and confusion touching the nature 
of true liberty. If hostile interests have wrought much 
injury, false ideas have wrought still more; and its 
advance is recorded in the increase of knowledge, as much 
as in the improvement of laws. The history of in- 
stitutions is often a history of deception and illusions ; for 
their virtue depends on the ideas that produce and on the 
spirit that preserves them, and the form may remain 
unaltered when the substance has passed away. 

A few familiar examples from modern politics will 
explain why it is that the burden of my argument will lie 
outside the domain of legislation. It is often said that 
our Constitution attained its formal perfection in 1679, 
when the Habeas Corpus Act was passed. Yet 
Charles II. succeeded, only two years later, in making 
himself independent of Parliament In 1789, while the 
States -General assembled at Versailles, the Spanish 
Cortes, older than Magna Charta and more venerable 
than our House of Commons, were summoned after an 
interval of generations, but they immediately prayed the 
King to abstain from consulting them, and to make his 
reforms of his own wisdom and authority. According 
to the common opinion, indirect elections are a safe- 
guard of conservatism. But all the Assemblies of the 
French Revolution issued from indirect elections. A 
restricted suffrage Is another reputed security for monarchy. 
But the Parliament of Charles X,, which was returned by 
90,000 electors, resisted and overthrew the throne ; while 
the Parliament of Louis Philippe, chosen by a Constitution 
of 250,000, obsequiously promoted the reactionary policy 
of his Ministers, and in the fatal division which, by 
rejecting reform, laid the monarchy in the dust, Guizofs 
majority was obtained by the votes of 129 public 
functionaries. An unpaid legislature is, for obvious 
reasons, more independent than most of the Continental 
legislatures which receive pay. But it would be unreason- 
able in America to .send a member as far as from here 
to Constantinople to live for twelve months at his own 


expense in the dearest of capital cities. Legally and to 
outward seeming the American President is the successor 
of Washington, and still enjoys powers devised and limited 
by the Convention of Philadelphia. In reality the new 
President differs from the Magistrate imagined by the 
Fathers of the Republic as widely as Monarchy from 
Democracy, for he is expected to make 70,000 changes 
in the public service ; fifty years ago John Quincy Adams 
dismissed only two men. The purchase of judicial 
appointments is manifestly indefensible; yet in the old 
French monarchy that monstrous practice created the 
only corporation able to resist the king. Official cor- 
ruption, which would ruin a commonwealth, serves in 
Russia as a salutary relief from the pressure of absolutism. 
There are conditions in which it is scarcely a hyperbole 
to say that slavery itself is a stage on the road to 
freedom. Therefore we are not so much concerned this 
evening with the dead letter of edicts and of statutes as 
with the living thoughts of men. A century ago it was 
perfectly well known that whoever had one audience of a 
Master in Chancery was made to pay for three, but no 
man heeded the enormity until it suggested to a young 
lawyer that it might be well to question and examine 
with rigorous suspicion every part of a system in which 
such things were done. The day on which that gleam 
lighted up tije clear hard mind of Jeremy Bentham is 
memorable in the political calendar beyond the entire 
administration of many statesmen. It would be easy to 
point out a paragraph in St Augustine, or a sentence of 
Grotius that outweighs in influence the Acts of fifty 
Parliaments, and our cause owes more to Cicero and 
Seneca, to Vinet and Tocqueville, than to the laws of 
Lycurgus or the Five Codes of France. 

By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall 

be protected in doing: what he believes., his duty against 

the influence of authority and majorities, custom and 

, opinion. The State is competent to assign duties and 

'., draw the line between good and evil only in its immediate 

'sphere. Beyond the limits of things necessary for its 


well-being, it can only give indirect help to fight the battle 
of life by promoting the influences which prevail against 
temptation, religion, education, and the distribution of 
wealth. In ancient times the State absorbed authorities 
not its own, and intruded on the domain of personal 
freedom. In the Middle Ages it possessed too little 
authority, and suffered others to intrude. Modern States 
fall habitually into both excesses. The most certain test 
by which we judge whether a country is really free is the 
amount of security enjoyed by minoritiea Liberty, by 
this definition, is the essential condition and guardian 
of religion; and it is in the history of the Chosen 
People, accordingly, that the first illustrations of my 
subject are obtained. The government of the Israelites 
was a Federation, held together by no political authority, 
but by the unity of race and faith, and founded, not on 
physical force, but on a voluntary covenant. The 
principle of self-government was carried out not only in 
each tribe, but in every group of at least 120 families; 
and there was neither privilege of rank nor inequality 
before the law. Monarchy was so alien to the primitive 
spirit of the community that it was resisted by Samuel in 
that momentous protestation and warning which all the 
kingdoms of Asia and many of the kingdoms of Europe 
have unceasingly confirmed The throne was erected 
on a compact ; and the king was deprived of the right 
of legislation among a people that recognised no lawgiver 
but God, whose highest aim in politics was to restore 
the original purity of the constitution, and to make its 
government conform to the ideal type that was hallowed 
by the sanctions of heaven. The inspired men who rose 
in unfailing succession to prophesy against the usurper and 
the tyrant, constantly proclaimed that the laws, which were 
divine, were paramount over sinful rulers, and appealed 
from the established authorities, from the king, the 
priests, and the princes of the people, to the healing forces 
that slept in the uncorrupted consciences of the masses. 
Thus the example of the Hebrew nation laid down the 
parallel lines on which all freedom has been won the 


doctrine of national tradition and the doctrine of the 
Higher "law ; the' priiiclple'that a constitution grows froija 
a* root, by process of development, and not of essential 
change ; and the principle that all political authorities must 
be tested and reformed according to a code which was 
not made by man. The operation of these principles, in 
unison, or in antagonism, occupies the whole of the space 
we are going over together. 

The conflict between liberty under divine authority 
and the absolutism of human authorities ended disastrously. 
In the year 622 a supreme effort was made at Jerusalem 
to reform and preserve the State; The High Priest pro- 
duced from the temple of Jehovah the book of the deserted 
and forgotten Law, and both king and people bound 
themselves by solemn oaths to observe it. But that early 
example of limited monarchy and of the supremacy of 
law neither lasted nor spread ; and the forces by which 
freedom has conquered must be sought elsewhere. In 
the very year 586, in which the flood of Asiatic despotism 
closed over the city which had been, and was destined 
again to be, the sanctuary of freedom in the East, a new 
home was prepared for it in the West, where, guarded by 
the sea and the mountains, and by valiant hearts, that 
stately plant was reared under whose shade we dwell, and 
which is extending its invincible arms so slowly and yet 
so surely over the civilised world. 

According to a famous saying of the most famous 
authoress of the Continent, libgESX., Js ^ancient, airi it is 
despotism that .is new. It has been the'" pride of recent 
historians to vindicate' the truth of that maxim. The 
1 heroic age of Greece confirms it, and it is still more con- 
spicuously true of Teutonic Europe Wherever we can 
trace the earlier life of the Aryan nations we discover 
germs which favouring circumstances and assiduous 
culture might have developed into free societies. They 
exhibit some sense of common interest in common con** 
cerns, little reverence for external authority, and an 
imperfect sense of the function and supremacy of the 
State. Where the division of property and labour is 


of his constitution, without breach of continuity or loss 
of stability, that for centuries after his death the Attic 
orators attributed to him, and quoted by his name, the 
whole structure of Athenian law. The direction of its 
growth was determined by the fundamental doctrine of 
Solon, that political power ought to be commensurate with 
public service. In the Persian war the services of the 
Democracy eclipsed those of the Patrician orders, for the 
fleet that swept the Asiatics from the Egcan Sea was 
manned by the poorer Athenians. That class, whose 
valour had saved the State and had preserved European 
civilisation, had gained a title to increase of influence and 
privilege. The offices of State, which had been a mono- 
poly of the rich, were thrown open to the poor, and 
in order to make sure that they should obtain their 
share, all but the highest commands were distributed 
by lot 

Whilst the ancient authorities were decaying, there 
was no accepted standard of moral and political right to 
make the framework of society fast in the midst of change. 
The instability that had set2cd on the forms threatened 
the very principles of government The national beliefs 
were yielding to doubt, and doubt was not yet making 
way for knowledge. There had been a time when the 
obligations of public as well as private life were identified 
with the will of the gods. But that time had passed. 
Pallas, the ethereal goddess of the Athenians, and the 
Sun god whose oracles, delivered from the temple between 
the twin summits of Parnassus, did so much for the Greek 
nationality, aided in keeping up a lofty ideal of religion ; 
but when the enlightened men of Greece learnt to apply 
their keen faculty of reasoning to the system of their 
inherited belief, they became quickly conscious that the 
conceptions of the gods corrupted the life and degraded 
the minds of the public. Popular morality could not be 
sustained by the popular religion. The moral instruction 
which was no longer supplied by the gods could not yet 
be found in books. There was no venerable code ex- 
pounded by experts, no doctrine proclaimed by men of 


reputed sanctity like those teachers of the far East whose 
words still rule the fate of nearly half mankind* The 
effort to account for things by close observation and 
exact reasoning began by destroying. There came a 
time when the philosophers of the Porch and the Academy 
wrought the dictates of wisdom and virtue into a system 
so consistent and profound that it has vastly shortened 
the task of the Christian divines. But that time had not 
yet come. 

The epoch of doubt and transition during which the 
Greeks passed from the dim fancies of mythology to the 
fierce light of science was the age of Pericles, and the 
endeavour to substitute certain truth for the prescriptions * 
of impaired authorities, which was then beginning- to 
absorb the energies of the Greek intellect, is the grandest 
movement in the profane annals of mankind, for to it we 
owe, even after the immeasurable progress accomplished 
by Christianity, much of our philosophy and far the 
better part of the political knowledge we possess. 
Pericles, who was at the head of the Athenian Govern- 
ment, was the first statesman who encountered the 
problem which the rapid weakening of traditions forced 
on the political world. No authority in morals or in 
politics remained unshaken by the motion that was in 
the air. No guide could be confidently trusted; there 
was no available criterion to appeal to, for the means of 
controlling or denying convictions that prevailed among 
the people. The popular sentiment as to what was right 
might be mistaken, but it was subject to no test. The 
people were, for practical purposes, the seat of the know- , 
ledge of good and evil. The people, therefore, were the ! 
seat of power. 

The political philosophy of Pericles consisted of this 
conclusion. He resolutely struck away all the props that 
still sustained the artificial preponderance of wealth. For 
the ancient doctrine that power goes with land, he intro- 
duced the idea that power ought to be so equitably 
diffused as to afford equal security to all. That one part 
of the community should govern the whole, or that one 


class should make laws for another, he declared to be 
tyrannical. The abolition of privilege would have served 
only to transfer the supremacy from the rich to the poor, 
if Pericles had not redressed the balance by restricting the 
right of citizenship to Athenians of pure descent By 
this measure the class which formed what we should call 
the third estate was brought down to 14,000 citizens, 
and became about equal in numbers with the higher 
ranks. Pericles held that every Athenian who neglected 
to take his part in the public business inflicted an injury 
on the commonwealth. That none might be excluded by 
poverty, he caused the poor to be paid for their attend- 
ance out of the funds of the State ; for his administration 
of the federal tribute had brought together a treasure of 
more than two million sterling. The instrument of his 
sway was the art of speaking. He governed by per- 
suasion. Everything was decided by argument in open 
deliberation, and every influence bowed before the 
ascendency of mind. The idea that the object of 
constitutions is not to confirm the predominance of any 
interest, but to prevent it ; to preserve with equal care the 
independence of labour and the security of property ; to 
make the rich safe against envy, and the poor against 
oppression, marks the highest level attained by the 
statesmanship of Greece. It hardly survived the great 
patriot who conceived it; and all history has been 
occupied with the endeavour to upset the balance of 
power by giving the advantage to money, land, or 
numbers. A generation followed that has never been 
equalled in talent a generation of men whose works, in 
poetry and eloquence, are still the envy of the world, and 
in history, philosophy, and politics remain unsurpassed. 
But it produced no successor to Pericles, and no man was 
able to wield the sceptre that fell from his hand. 

It was a momentous step in the progress of nations 
when the principle that every interest should have the 
right and the means of asserting iteelf was iadoptetT'bjT" 
the THESnlan" Constitution. But for those who were 
beaten in the vote there was no redress. The law did 


not check the triumph of majorities or resbjSj^ the . 
minority from the dire penalty of having beefir-JiWv 
numbered. When the overwhelming influence of Pericles 
was removed, the conflict between classes raged without 
restraint, and the slaughter that befell the higher tanks in 
the Peloponnesian war gave an irresistible preponderance 
to the lower. The restless and inquiring spirit of the 
Athenians was prompt to unfold the reason of every 
institution and the consequences of every principle, and 
their Constitution ran its course from infancy to decrepitude 
with unexampled speed. 

Two men's lives span the interval from the first 
admission of popular influence, under Solon, to the down- 
fall of the State. Their history furnishes the classic 
example of the peril of Democracy under conditions 
singularly favourable. For the Athenians were not only 
brave and patriotic and capable of generous sacrifice, but 
they were the most religious of the Greeks. They 
venerated the Constitution which had given them pros- 
perity, and equality, and freedom, and never questioned 
the fundamental laws which regulated the enormous 
power of the Assembly. They tolerated considerable 
variety of opinion and great licence of speech ; and their 
humanity towards their slaves roused the indignation even 
of the most intelligent partisan of aristocracy. Thus 
they became the only people of antiquity that grew great 
by democratic institutions. But the possession of un- 
limited power, which corrodes the conscience, hardens thei 
heart, and confounds the understanding of monarchsj 
exercised its oemoralisinfif influence on the illustrious 
democracy of Athens. It is bad to be oppressed by a 
minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority. 
For there is a reserve of latent power in the masses 
which, if it is called into play, the minority can seldom 
resist But from the absolute will of an entire people 
there is no appeal, no redemption, no refuge but treason. 
The humblest and most numerous class of the Athenians 
united the legislative, the judicial, and, in part; the 
executive power. The philosophy that was then in the 


ascendant taught them that there is no law superior to 
JP* that of the State the lawgiver is above the law. 

It followed that the sovereign people had a right to 
do whatever was within its power, and was bound by no 
rule of right or wrong but its own judgment of expediency. 
On a memorable occasion the assembled Athenians de- 
clared it monstrous that they should be prevented from 
doing whatever they chose. No force that existed could 
restrain them; and they resolved that no duty should 
restrain them, and that they would be bound by no laws 
that were not of their own making. In this way the 
emancipated people of Athens became a tyrant; and 
their Government; the pioneer of European freedom, 
stands condemned with a terrible unanimity by all the 
wisest of the ancients. They ruined their city by 
attempting to conduct war by debate in the market- 
place. Like the French Republic, they put their un- 
successful commanders to death. They treated their 
dependencies with such injustice that they lost their 
maritime Empire. They plundered the rich until the 
rich conspired with the public enemy, and they crowned 
their guilt by the martyrdom of Socrates. 

.When the absolute sway of numbers had endured for 
near a quarter of a century, nothing but bare existence 
was left for the State to lose; and the Athenians, 
wearied and despondent confessed the true cause of their 
ruin. They understood that for liberty, justice, and equal 
laws, it is as necessary that Democracy should restrain 
itself as it had been that it should restrain the Oligarchy 
They resolved to take their stand once more upon the 
ancient ways, and to restore the order of things which 
had subsisted when the monopoly of power had been 
taken from the rich and had not been acquired by the 
poor. After a first restoration had failed, which is only 
memorable because Thucydides, whose judgment in 
politics IB never at faulty pronounced it the best Govern- 
ment Athens had enjoyed, the attempt was renewed with 
more experience and greater singleness of purpose. The 
hostile parties were reconciled, and proclaimed an amnesty 


the first in history. They resolved to govern by con- 
currence. The laws, which had the sanction of tradition, 
were reduced to a code ; and no act of the sovereign 
assembly was valid with which they might be found to 
disagree. Between the sacred lines of the Constitution 
which were to remain inviolate, and the decrees which 
met from time to time the needs and notions of the day, 
a broad distinction was drawn ; and the fabric of a law 
which had been the work of generations was made 
independent of momentary variations in the popular 
will. The repentance of the Athenians came too late to 
save the Republic. But the lesson of their experience 
endures for all times, for it teaches that government by 
the whole people, being the government of the most 
numerous and most powerful class, is an evil of the same 
nature as unmixed monarchy, and requires, for nearly the 
same reasons, institutions that shall protect it against 
itself, and shall uphold the . permanent reign of law 
against arbitrary revolyfions of opinion. 

Parallel with the rise and fall of Athenian freedom, 
Rome was employed in working out the same problems, 
with greater constructive sense, and greater temporary 
success, but ending at last in a far more terrible catas- 
trophe. That which among the ingenious Athenians 
had been a development carried forward by the spell of j 
plausible argument, was in Rome a conflict between rival 
forces. Speculative politics had no attraction for the 
grim and practical genius of the Romans. They did not 
consider what would be the cleverest way of getting over 
a difficulty, but what way was indicated by analogous 
cases ; and they assigned less influence to the impulse 
and spirit of the moment, than to precedent and example. 
Their peculiar character prompted them to ascribe the 
origin of their laws to early times, and in their desire to 
justify the continuity of their institutions, and to get rid 
of the reproach of innovation, they imagined the legendary 
history of the kings of Rome. The energy of their 
adherence to traditions made their progress slow, they 


advanced only under compulsion of almost unavoidable 
necessity, and the same questions recurred often, before 
they were settled. The constitutional history of the 
Republic turns on the endeavours of the aristocracy, who 
claimed to be the only true Romans, to retain in their 
hands the power they had wrested from the kings, and 
of the plebeians to get an equal share in it And this 
controversy, which the eager and restless Athenians went 
through in one generation, lasted for more than two 
centuries, from a time when the plcbs were excluded from 
the government of the city, and were taxed, and made to 
serve without pay, until, in the year 285, they were 
admitted to political equality. Then followed one hun- 
dred and fifty years of unexampled prosperity and glory ; 
and then, out of the original conflict which had been 
compromised, if not theoretically settled, a new struggle 
arose which was without an issue. 

The mass of poorer families, impoverished by incessant 
service in war, were reduced to dependence on an aristo- 
cracy of about two thousand wealthy men, who divided 
among themselves the immense domain of the State. 
When the need became intense the Gracchi tried to 
relieve it by inducing the richer classes to allot some share 
in the public lands to the common people, The old and 
famous aristocracy of birth and rank had made a stubborn 
resistance, but it knew the art of yielding. The later and 
more selfish aristocracy was unable to learn it The 
character of the people was changed by the sterner 
motives of dispute. The fight for political power had 
been carried on with the moderation which is so honour- 
able a quality of party contests in England. But the 
struggle for the objects of material existence grew to be 
as ferocious as civil controversies in France. Repulsed 
by the rich, after a struggle of twenty-two years, the 
people, three hundred and twenty thousand of whom 
depended on public rations for food, were ready to follow 
any man who promised to obtain for them by revolution 
what they could not obtain by law. 

For a time the Senate, representing the ancient and 


threatened order of things, was strong enough to over- 
come every popular leader that arose, until Julius Caesar, 
supported by an army which he had led in an unparalleled 
career of conquest, and by the famished masses which he 
won by his lavish liberality, and skilled beyond all other 
men in the art of governing, converted the Republic into 
a Monarchy by a series of measures that were neither 
violent nor injurious. 

The Empire preserved the Republican forms until the 
reign of Diocletian ; but the will of the Emperors was as 
uncontrolled as that of the people had been after the 
victory of the Tribunes. Their power was arbitrary even 
when it was most wisely employed, and yet the Roman 
Empire rendered greater services to the cause of liberty 
than the Roman Republic. I do not mean by reason of 
the temporary accident that there were emperors who 
made good use of their immense opportunities, such as 
Ncrva, of whom Tacitus says that he combined monarchy 
and liberty, things otherwise incompatible; or that the 
Empire was what its panegyrists declared it, the perfection 
of Democracy. In truth it was at best an ill-disguised 
and odious despotism. But Frederic the Great was a 
despot ; yet he was a friend to toleration and free discus- 
sion. The Bonapartes were despotic ; yet no liberal ruler 
was ever more acceptable to the masses of the people than 
the First Napoleon, after he had destroyed the Republic, in 
1805, and the Third Napoleon at the height of his power 
in 1 859- In the same way, the Roman Empire possessed 
merits which, at a distance, and especially at a great 
distance of time, concern men more deeply than the 
tragic tyranny which was felt in the neighbourhood of 
the Palace* The poor had what they had demanded in 
vain of the Republic. The rich fared better than during 
the Triumvirate. The rights of Roman citizens were 
extended to the people of the provinces. To the imperial 
epoch belong the better part of Roman literature and 
nearly the entire Civil Law ; and it was the Empire that 
mitigated slavery, instituted religious toleration, made a 
beginning of the law of nations, and created a perfect 


system of the law of property. The Republic which Caesar 
overthrew had been anything but a free State It provided 
admirable securities for the rights of citizens ; it treated 
with savage disregard the rights of men ; and allowed the 
free Roman to inflict atrocious wrongs on his children, on 
debtors and dependants, on prisoners and slaves. Those 
deeper ideas of right and duty, which are not found on the 
tables of municipal law, but with which the generous minds 
of Greece were conversant; were held of little account, and 
the philosophy which dealt with such speculations was re- 
peatedly proscribed, as a teacher of sedition and impiety. 

At length, in the year 155, the Athenian philosopher 
Cameades appeared at Rome, on a political mission* 
During an interval of official business he delivered two 
public orations, to give the unlettered conquerors of his 
country a taste of the disputations that flourished in the 
Attic schools. On the first day he discoursed of natural 
justice. On the next he denied its existence, arguing 
that all our notions of good and evil are derived from 
positive enactment From the time of that memorable 
display, the genius of the vanquished held its conquerors 
in thrall. The most eminent of the public men of Rome, 
such as Scipio and Cicero, formed their minds on Grecian 
models, and her jurists underwent the rigorous discipline 
of Zeno and Chrysippus. 

If, drawing the limit in the second century, when the 
influence of Christianity becomes perceptible, we should 
form our judgment of the politics of antiquity by its 
actual legislation, our estimate would be low. The 
prevailing notions of freedom were imperfect, and the 
endeavours to realise them were wide of the mark. The 
ancients understood the regulation of power better than 
the regulation of liberty. They concentrated so many 
prerogatives in the State as to leave no footing from 
which a man could deny its jurisdiction or assign bounds 
to its activity. If I may employ an expressive ana- 
chronism, the vice of the classic State was that it wan 
both,. Churdh t and State in one. Morality was uriaft- 
tinguished from religion and politics from morals; and 


in religion, morality, and politics there was only one 
legislator and one authority. The State, while it did 
deplorably little for education, for practical science, for 
the indigent and helpless, or for the spiritual needs of 
man, nevertheless claimed the use of all his faculties and 
the determination of all his duties. Individuals and 
families, associations and dependencies were so much 
material that the sovereign power consumed for its own 
purposes. What the slave was in the hands of his 
master, the citizen was in the hands of the community. 
The most sacred obligations vanished before the public 
advantage. The passengers existed for the sake of the 
ship. By their disregard for private interests, and for 
the moral welfare and improvement of the people, both 
Greece and Rome destroyed the vital elements on which 
the prosperity of nations rests, and perished by the decay 
of families and the depopulation of the country. They 
survive not in their institutions, but in their ideas, and 
by their ideas, especially on the art of government, they 

The dead, but sceptred sovereigns who still rule 

Our spirits from their urns. 

To them, indeed, may be tracked nearly all the errors 
that arc undermining political society Communism, Utili- 
tarianism, the confusion between tyranny and authority, 
and between lawlessness and freedom. 

The notion that men lived originally in a state of 
nature, by violence and without laws, is due to Critias. 
Communism in its grossest form was recommended by 
Diogenes of Sinope. According to the Sophists, there 
is no duty above expediency and no virtue apart from 
pleasure. Laws are an invention of weak men to rob 
their betters of the reasonable enjoyment of their 
superiority. It is better to inflict than to suffer wrong ; 
and as there is no greater good than to do evil without 
fear of retribution, so there is no worse evil than to suffer 
without the consolation of revenge. Justice is the mask 
of a craven spirit ; injustice is worldly wisdom ; and duty, 
obedience, self-denial are the impostures of hypocrisy. 



Government is absolute, and may ordain what it pleases, 
and no subject can complain that it does him wrong, but 
as long as he can escape compulsion and punishment, he 
is always free to disobey. Happiness consists in obtain- 
ing power and in eluding the necessity of obedience ; and 
he that gains a throne by perfidy and murder, deserves to 
be truly envied. 

Epicurus differed but little from the propounders of 
the code of revolutionary despotism. All societies, he 
said, are founded on contract for mutual protection. 
Good and evil are conventional terms, for the thunder- 
bolts of heaven fall alike on the just and the unjust 
The objection to wrongdoing is not the act, but in its 
consequences to the wrongdoer. Wise men contrive laws, 
not to bind, but to protect themselves ; and when they 
prove to be unprofitable they cease to be valid. The 
illiberal sentiments of even the most illustrious meta- 
physicians are disclosed in the saying of Aristotle, that 
the mark of the worst governments is that they leave men 
free to live as they please. 

If you will bear in mind that Socrates, the best of the 
pagans, knew of no higher criterion for men, of no better 
guide of conduct, than the laws of each country; that 
Plato, whose sublime doctrine was so near an anticipa- 
tion of Christianity that celebrated theologians wished his 
works to be forbidden, lest men should he content with 
them, and indifferent to any higher dogma to whom was 
granted that prophetic vision of the Just Man, accused, 
condemned and scourged, and dying on a Cross neverthe- 
less employed the most splendid intellect ever bestowed 
on man to advocate the abolition of the family and the 
exposure of infants ; that Aristotle, the ablest moralist of 
antiquity, saw no harm in making raids upon a neighbour- 
ing people, for the sake of reducing them to slavery 
still more, if you will consider that, among the moderns, 
men of genius equal to these have held political doctrines 
not less criminal or absurd it will be apparent to you 
how stubborn a phalanx of error blocks the paths of 
truth; that pure reason is as powerless as custom to 


solve the problem of free government ; that it can only 
be the fruit of long, manifold, and painful experience; 
and that the tracing of the methods by which divine 
wisdom has educated the nations to appreciate and to ' 
assume the duties of freedom, is not the least part of 
that true philosophy that studies to 

Assert eternal Providence, 
And justify the ways of God to men. 

But, having sounded the depth of their errors, I should 
give you a very inadequate idea of the wisdom of the 
ancients if I allowed it to appear that their precepts were 
no better than their practice. While statesmen and 
senates and popular assemblies supplied examples of 
every description of blunder, a noble literature arose, in 
which a priceless treasure of political knowledge was 
stored, and in which the defects of the existing institutions 
were exposed with unsparing sagacity. The point on 
which the ancients were most nearly unanimous is the 
right of the people to govern, and their inability to govern,. 
aloneT" To meet this difficulty, to give to the popular 
eteffneht a full share without a monopoly of power, they 
adopted very generally the theory of a mixed Constitution. 
They differed from our notion of the same thing, because 
modern Constitutions have been a device for limiting 
monarchy; with them they were invented to curb 
democracy. The idea arose in the time of Plato 
though he repelled it when the early monarchies and 
oligarchies had vanished, and it continued to be cherished 
long after all democracies had been absorbed in the 
Roman Empire. But whereas a sovereign prince who 
surrenders part of his authority yields to the argument 
of superior force, a sovereign people relinquishing its 
own prerogative succumbs to the influence of reason. 
And it has in all times proved more easy to create 
limitations by the use of force than by persuasion. 

The ancient writers saw very clearly that each 

principle of government standing alone is carried to 

-f excess and provokes a reaction. Monarchy hardens 


into despotism. Aristocracy contracts into oligarchy. 
Democracy expands into the supremacy of numbers. 
They therefore imagined that to restrain each element 
by combining it with the others would avert the natural 
process of self-destruction, and endow the State with 
perpetual youth. But this harmony of monarchy, aristo- 
cracy, and democracy blended together, which was the 
ideal of many writers, and which they supposed to be 
exhibited by Sparta, by Carthage, and by Rome, was a 
chimera of philosophers never realised by antiquity. At 
last Tacitus, wiser than the rest, confessed that the 
mixed Constitution, however admirable in theory, was 
difficult to establish and impossible to maintain. His 
disheartening avowal is not disowned by later experience. 
The experiment has been tried more often than I can 
tell, with a combination of resources that were unknown 
to the ancients with Christianity, parliamentary govern- 
ment, and a free press. Yet there is no example of such 
a balanced Constitution having lasted a century. If it 
has succeeded anywhere it has been in our favoured 
country and in our time ; and we know not yet 'how long 
the wisdom of the nation will preserve the equipoise. 
The Federal check was as familiar to the ancients as the 
Constitutional. For the type of all their Republics was 
the government of a city by its own inhabitants meeting 
in the public place. An administration embracing many 
cities was known to them only in the form of the 
oppression which Sparta exercised over the Messenians, 
Athens over her Confederates, and Rome over Italy. 
The resources which, in modern times, enabled a great 
people to govern itself through a single centre did not 
exist Equality could be preserved only by Federalism ; 
and it occurs more often amongst them than in the 
modern world. If the distribution of power among the 
several parts of the State is the most efficient restraint on 
monarchy, the distribution of power among several States 
is the best check on democracy. By multiplying centres 
of government and discussion it promotes the diffusion 
of political knowledge and the maintenance of healthy 


and independent opinion. It is the protectorate of 
minorities, and the consecration of self-government But 
although it must be enumerated among the better achieve- 
ments of practical genius in antiquity, it arose from 
necessity, and its properties were imperfectly investigated 
in theory. 

When the Greeks began to reflect on the problems of 
society, they first of all accepted things as they were, and 
did their best to explain and defend them. Inquiry, 
which with us is stimulated by doubt, began with them in 
wonder. The most illustrious of the early philosophers, 
Pythagoras, promulgated a theory for the preservation of 
political power in the educated class, and ennobled a 
form of government which was generally founded on 
popular ignorance and on strong class interests. He 
preached authority and subordination, and dwelt more on 
duties than on rights, on religion than on policy ; and his 
system perished in the revolution by which oligarchies 
were swept away. The revolution afterwards developed 
its own philosophy, whose excesses I have described. 

But between the two eras, between the rigid didactics 
of the early Pythagoreans and the dissolving theories of 
Protagoras, a philosopher arose who stood aloof from both 
extremes, and whose difficult sayings were never really 
understood or valued until our time. Heraclitus, of 
Ephesus, deposited his book in the temple of Diana. 
The book has perished, like the temple and the worship, 
but its fragments have been collected and interpreted 
with incredible ardour, by the scholars, the divines, the 
philosophers, and politicians who have been engaged the 
most intensely in the toil and stress of this century. The 
most renowned logician of the last century adopted every 
one of his impositions ; and the most brilliant agitator 
among Continental Socialists composed a work of eight 
hundred and forty pages to celebrate his memory. 

Heraclitus complained that the masses were deaf to 
truth, and knew not that one good man counts for more 
than thousands; but he held the existing order in no 
superstitious reverence. Strife, he says, is the source and 


the master of all things. Life is perpetual motion, and 
repose is death. No man can plunge twice into the same 
current, for it is always flowing and passing, and is never 
the same. The only thing fixed and certain in the midst 
of change is the universal and sovereign reason, which all 
men may not perceive, but which is common to all 
Laws are sustained by no human authority, but by virtue 
of their derivation from the one law that is divine. 
These sayings, which recall the grand outlines of political 
truth which we have found in the Sacred Books, and 
carry us forward to the latest teaching of our most 
enlightened contemporaries, would bear a good deal of 
elucidation and comment. Heraclitus is, unfortunately, 
so obscure that Socrates could not understand him, and 
I won't pretend to have succeeded better. 

If the topic of my address was the history of political 
science, the highest and the largest place would belong 
to Plato and Aristotle. The Laws of the one, the Politics 
of the other, are, if I may trust my own experience, 
the books from which we may learn the most about the 
principles of politics. The penetration with which those 
great masters of thought analysed the institutions of 
Greece, and exposed their vices, is not surpassed by 
anything in later literature ; by Burke or Hamilton, the 
best political writers of the last century ; by Tocquevllle 
or Roscher, the most eminent of our own. But Plato 
and Aristotle were philosophers, studious not of ungujded 
freedom, but of intelligent government They saw'tfie 
disastrous effects of ill-directed striving for liberty ; and 
they resolved that it was better not to strive for it, but to 
be content with a strong administration, prudently adapted 
to make men prosperous and happy. 

Now liberty and good government do not exclude 
each other; and there arc excellent reasons why they 
.should go together. Liberty is not a means to a higher . 
ipolitical end. It is itself the highest ^ '.politigarssa: 
I It'll* tot 1 for the sake of a good public administration* 
that it is required, but for security in the pursuit of 
the highest objects of civil society, and of private life. 


Increase of freedom in the State may sometimes pro- 
mote mediocrity, and give vitality to prejudice ; it may 
even retard useful legislation, diminish the capacity for 
war, and restrict the boundaries of Empire. It might 
be plausibly argued that, if many things would be worse 
in England or Ireland under an intelligent despotism, 
some things would be managed better ; that the Roman 
Government was more enlightened under Augustus and 
Antoninus than under the Senate, in the days of Marius 
or of Pompey. A generous spirit prefers that his country 
should be poor, and weak, and of no account, but free, 
rather than powerful, prosperous, and enslaved It is better 
to be the citizen of a humble commonwealth in the Alps, 
without a prospect of influence beyond the narrow frontier, 
than a subject of the superb autocracy that overshadows 
half of Asia and of Europe. But it may be urged, on the 
other side, that liberty is not the sum or the substitute of 
all the things men ought to live for ; that to be real it must 
be circumscribed, and that the limits of circumscription 
vary; that advancing civilisation invests the State with 
increased rights and duties, and imposes increased burdens 
and constraint on the subject; that a highly instructed 
and intelligent community may perceive the benefit of 
compulsoty obligations which, at a lower stage, would be 
thought unbearable ; that liberal progress is not vague or 
indefinite, but aims at a point where the public is subject 
to no restrictions but those of which it feels the advantage; 
that a free country may be less capable of doing much for 
the advancement of religion, the prevention of vice, or the 
relief of suffering, than one that does not shrink from 
confronting great emergencies by some sacrifice of indi- 
vidual rights, and some concentration of power ; and that 
the supreme political object ought to be sometimes post- 
poned to still higher moral objects. My argument 
involves no collision with these qualifying reflections. 
We are dealing, not with the effects of freedom, but with 
its causes. We 'are seeking out the influences which 
brought arbitrary government under control, either by the 
diffusion of power, or by the appeal to an< authority which 


transcends all government, and among those influences 
the greatest philosophers of Greece have no claim to be 

It is the Stoics who emancipated mankind from its 
subjugation to despotic rule, and whose enlightened and 
elevated views of life bridged the chasm that separates 
the ancient from the Christian state, and led the way to 
freedom. Seeing how little security there is that the 
laws of any land shall be wise or just, and that the 
unanimous will of a people and the assent of nations are 
liable to err, the Stoics looked beyond those narrow 
barriers, and above those inferior sanctions, for the 
principles that ought to regulate the lives of men and 
the existence of society. They made it known that there 
is a will superior to the collective will of man, and a law 
that overrules those of Solon and Lycurgus. Their test 
of good government is its conformity to principles that 
can be traced to a higher legislator. That which we 
must obey, that to which we are bound to reduce all civil 
authorities, and to sacrifice every earthly interest, is that 
immutable law which is perfect and eternal as God 
Himself, which proceeds from His nature, and reigns 
over heaven and earth and over all the nations. 

The great question is to discover, not what govern- 
ments prescribe, but what they ought to prescribe ; for no 
prescription is valid against the conscience of mankind. 
Before God, there is neither Greek nor barbarian, neither 
rich nor poor, and the slave is as good as his master, for 
by birth all men are free; they are citizens of that 
universal commonwealth which embraces all the world, 
brethren of one family, and children of God. The true 
guide of our conduct is no outward authority, but the 
voice of God, who comes down to dwell in our souls, who 
knows all our thoughts, to whom are owing all the truth 
we know, and all the good we do ; for vice is voluntary, 
and virtue comes from the grace of the heavenly spirit 

What the teaching of that divine voice is, the philosophers 
who had imbibed the sublime ethics of the Porch went on 


to expound : It is not enough to act up to the written 
law, or to give all men their due ; we ought to give them 
more than their due, to be generous and beneficent, to 
devote ourselves for the good of others, seeking our 
reward in self-denial and sacrifice, acting from the motive 
of sympathy and not of personal advantage. Therefore 
we must treat others as we wish to be treated by them, 
and must persist until death in doing good to our enemies, 
regardless of unworthiness and ingratitude. For we must 
be at war with evil, but at peace with men, and it is better 
to suffer than to commit injustice. True freedom, says 
the most eloquent of the Stoics, consists in obeying God. 
A State governed by such principles as these would have 
been free far beyond the measure of Greek or Roman 
freedom ; for they open a door to religious toleration, and 
close it against slavery. Neither conquest nor purchase, 
said Zeno, can make one man the property of another. 

These doctrines were adopted and applied by the great 
jurists of the Empire. The law of nature, they said, is 
superior to the written law, and slavery contradicts the 
law of nature. Men have no right to do what they please 
with their own, or to make profit out of another's loss. 
Such is the political wisdom of the ancients, touching 
the foundations of liberty, as we find it in its highest 
development, in Cicero, and Seneca, and Philo, a Jew of 
Alexandria. Their writings impress upon us the greatness 
of the work of preparation for the Gospel which had been 
accomplished among men on the eve of the mission of the 
Apostles. St. Augustine, after quoting Seneca, exclaims: 
" What more could a Christian say than this Pagan has 
said ? " The enlightened pagans had reached nearly the 
last point attainable without a new dispensation, when 
the fulness of time was come. We have seen the breadth 
and the splendour of the domain of Hellenic thought, and 
it has brought us to the threshold of a greater kingdom. 
The best of the later classics speak almost the language 
of Christianity, and they border on its spirit 

But in all that I have been able to cite from classical 
literature, three things are wanting, representative 


government, the emancipation of the slaves, and liberty of 
conscience. There were, it is true, deliberative assemblies, 
chosen by the people ; and confederate cities, of which, 
both in Asia and Africa, there were so many leagues, sent 
their delegates to sit in Federal Councils. But govern- 
ment by an elected Parliament was even in theory a thing 
unknown. It is congruous with the nature of Polytheism 
to admit some measure of toleration. And Socrates, 
when he avowed that he must obey God rather than the 
Athenians, and the Stoics, when they set the wise man 
above the law, were very near giving utterance to the 
principle. But it was first proclaimed and established by 
enactment, not in polytheistic and philosophical Greece, 
but in India, by Asoka, the earliest of the Buddhist kings, 
two hundred and fifty years before the birth of Christ 

Slavery has been, far more than intolerance, the 
perpetual curse and reproach of ancient civilisation, and 
although its rightfulncss was disputed as early as the days 
of Aristotle, and was implicitly, if not definitely, denied 
by several Stoics, the moral philosophy of the Greeks 
and Romans, as well as their practice, pronounced 
decidedly in its favour. But there was one extraordinary 
people who, in this as in other things, anticipated the 
purer precept that was to come. Philo of Alexandria is 
one of the writers whose views on society were most 
advanced. He applauds not only liberty but equality in 
the enjoyment of wealth. He believes that a limited 
democracy, purged of its grosser elements, is the most 
perfect government, and will extend itself gradually over 
all the world. By freedom he understood the following 
of God. Philo, though he required that the condition of 
the slave should be made compatible with the wants and 
claims of his higher nature, did not absolutely condemn; 
slavery. But he has put on record the customs of the 
Essenes of Palestine, a people who, uniting the wisdom 
of the Gentiles with the faith of the Jews, led lives which 
were uncontamlnatcd by the surrounding civilisation, and 
were the first to reject slavery both in principle and 
practice. They formed a religious community rather than 


a State, and their numbers did not exceed 4000. But 
their example testifies to how great a height religious 
men were able to raise their conception of society even 
without the succour of the New Testament, and affords 
the strongest condemnation of their contemporaries. 

This, then, is the conclusion to which our survey 
brings us : There is hardly a truth in politics or in the 
system of the rights of man that was not grasped by the 
wisest of the Gentiles and the Jews, or that they did not 
declare with a refinement of thought and a nobleness of 
expression that later writers could never surpass. I 
might go on for hours, reciting to you passages on the 
law of nature and the duties of man, so solemn and 
religious that though they come from the profane theatre 
on the Acropolis, and from the Roman Forum, you would 
deem that you were listening to the hymns of Christian 
Churches and the discourse of ordained divines. But 
although the maxims of the great classic teachers, of 
Sophocles, and Plato, and Seneca, and the glorious 
examples of public virtue were in the mouths of all men, 
there was no power in them to avert the doom of that 
civilisation for which the blood of so many patriots and 
the genius of such incomparable writers had been wasted 
in vain. The liberties of the ancient nations were crushed 
beneath a hopeless and inevitable despotism, and their 
vitality was spent, when the new power came forth from 
Galilee, giving what was wanting to the efficacy of human 
knowledge to redeem societies as well as men. 

It would be presumptuous if I attempted to indicate 
the numberless channels by which Christian influence 
gradually penetrated the State. The first striking 
phenomenon is the slowness with which an action destined 
to be so prodigious became manifest Going forth to all 
nations, in many stages of civilisation and under almost 
every form of government, Christianity had none of the 
character of a political apostolate, and in its absorbing 
mission to individuals did not challenge public authority. 
The early Christians avoided contact with the State, 
abstained from the responsibilities of office, and were even 


reluctant to serve in the army. Cherishing their citizen- 
ship of a kingdom not of this world, they despaired of 
an empire which seemed too powerful to be resisted and 
too corrupt to be converted, whose institutions, the work 
and the pride of untold centuries of paganism, drew 
their sanctions from the gods whom the Christians 
accounted devils, which plunged its hands from age to 
age in the blood of martyrs, and was beyond the hope of 
regeneration and foredoomed to perish. They were so 
much overawed as to imagine that the fall of the State 
would be the end of the Church and of the world, and 
no man dreamed of the boundless future of spiritual and 
social influence that awaited their religion among the 
race of destroyers that were bringing the empire of 
Augustus and of Constantino to humiliation and ruin. 
The duties of government were less in their thoughts 
than the private virtues and duties of subjects ; and it 
was long before they became aware of the burden of 
power in their faith. Down almost to the time of 
Chrysostom, they shrank from contemplating the obliga- 
tion to emancipate the slaves. 

Although the doctrine of self-reliance and self-denial, 
which is the foundation of political economy, was written 
as legibly in the New Testament as in the Wealth of 
Nations, it was not recognised until our age. Tertullian 
boasts of the passive obedience of the Christians. Melito 
writes to a pagan Emperor as if he were incapable of 
giving an unjust command; and in Christian times 
Optatus thought that whoever presumed to find fault 
with his sovereign exalted himself almost to the level 
of a god. But this political quietism was not universal 
Origcn, the ablest writer of early times, spoke with 
approval of conspiring for the destruction of tyranny* 

After the fourth century the declarations against 
slavery are earnest and continual. And in a theological ' 
but yet pregnant sense, divines of the second century 
insist on liberty, and divines of the fourth century on ; 
equality. There was one essential and inevitable trans- 
formation in politics. Popular governments had existed, 


and also mixed and federal governments, but there had 
been no limited government, no State the circumference 

' of whose authority had been defined by a force external 
to its own. That was the great problem which philosophy 
had raised, and which no statesmanship had been able to 
solve. Those who proclaimed the assistance of a higher 
authority had indeed drawn a metaphysical barrier before 
the governments, but they had not known how to make 
it real. All that Socrates could effect by way of protest 
against the tyranny of the reformed democracy was to 
die for his convictions. The Stoics could only advise 
the wise man to hold aloof from politics, keeping the 
unwritten law in his heart But when Christ said: 
"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and 
unto God the things that are God's/ 9 those words, spoken 
on His last visit to the Temple, three days before His 
death, gave to the civil power, under the protection of 
conscience, a sacredness it had never enjoyed, and bounds 

it had never acknowledged ; and they were the repudia- 
tion of absolutism and the inauguration of freedom. For 
our Lord not only delivered the precept, but created the 
force to execute it To maintain the necessary immunity 
in one supreme sphere, to reduce all political authority 
within defined limits, ceased to be an aspiration of 
patient reasoners, and was made the perpetual charge 
and care of the most energetic institution and the most 
universal association in the world. The new law, the new 
spirit, the new authority, gave to liberty a meaning and 
a value it had not possessed in the philosophy or in the 
constitution of Greece or Rome before the knowledge of 
the truth that makes us free. 



WHEN Constantino the Great carried the seat of empire 
from Rome to Constantinople he set up in the market- 
place of the new capital a porphyry pillar which had 
come from Egypt, and of which a strange tale is told. 
In a vault beneath he secretly buried the seven sacred 
emblems of the Roman State, which were guarded by 
the virgins in the temple of Vesta, with the fire that 
might never be quenched. On the summit he raised a 
statue of Apollo, representing himself, and enclosing a 
fragment of the Cross ; and he crowned it with a diadem 
of rays consisting of the nails employed at the Cruci- 
fixion, which his mother was believed to have found at 

The pillar still stands, the most significant monument 
that exists of the converted empire ; for the notion that 
the nails which had pierced the body of Christ became a 
fit ornament for a heathen idol as soon as it was called 
by the name of a living emperor indicates the position 
designed for Christianity in the imperial structure of Con- 
stantino. Diocletian's attempt to transform the Roman 
Government into a despotism of the Eastern type had 
brought on the last and most serious persecution of the 
Christians ; and Constantine, in adopting their faith, in- 
tended neither to abandon his predecessor's scheme of 

1 An addreai delivered to the memton of the Bridfnorth Institution at the 
Agricultural Hall, 8th May 1877* 



policy nor to renounce the fascinations of arbitrary 
authority, but to strengthen his throne with the support 
of a religion which had astonished the world by its power 
of resistance, and to obtain that support absolutely and 
without a drawback he fixed the seat of his government 
in the East, with a patriarch of his own creation. 

Nobody warned him that by promoting the Christian 
religion he was tying one of his hands, and surrendering 
the prerogative of the Caesars. As the acknowledged 
author of the liberty and superiority of the Church, he was 
appealed to as the guardian of her unity. He admitted 
the obligation ; he accepted the trust ; and the divisions 
that prevailed among the Christians supplied his succes- 
sors with many opportunities of extending that protec- 
torate, and preventing any reduction of the claims or of 
the resources of imperialism. 

Constantine declared his own will equivalent to a 
canon of the Church. According to Justinian, the 
Roman people had formally transferred to the emperors 
the entire plenitude of its authority, and, therefore, the 
Emperor's pleasure, expressed by edict or by letter, had 
force of law. Even in the fervent age of its conversion 
the Empire employed its refined civilisation, the accumu- 
lated wisdom of ancient sages, the reasonableness and 
sublety of Roman law, and the entire inheritance of the 
Jewish, the Pagan, and the Christian world, to make the 
Church serve as a gilded crutch of absolutism. Neither 
an enlightened philosophy, nor all the political wisdom 
of Rome, nor even the faith and virtue of the Christians 
availed against the incorrigible tradition of antiquity. 
Something was wanted beyond all the gifts of reflection 
and experience a faculty of self-government and self- : 
control, developed like 'its* language fri tfie fibre ' ffTnatlon, : 
afla" growing with its growth. This"wS5r^ 
many centurfcs of warfare, of anarchy, of oppression had 
extinguished' in the countries that were still draped in the 
pomp of ancient civilisation, was deposited on the soil of 
Christendom by the fertilising stream of migration that 
overthrew the empire of the West 


stronger, holier than their newly founded States. The 
clergy supplied the means of conducting the new govern- 
ments, and were made exempt from taxation, from the 
jurisdiction of the civil magistrate, and of the political 
administrator. They taught that power ought to be con- 
ferred by election ; and the Councils of Toledo furnished 
the framework of the Parliamentary system of Spain, 
which is, by a long interval, the oldest in the world. 
But the monarchy of the Goths in Spain, as well as that 
of the Saxons in England, in both of which the nobles 
and the prelates surrounded the throne with the semblance 
of free institutions, passed away; and the people that 
prospered and overshadowed the rest were the Franks, 
who had no native nobility, whose law of succession to 
the Crown became for one thousand years the fixed 
object of an unchanging superstition, and under whom 
the feudal system was developed to excess. 

Feudalism made land the measure and the master of 
all things. Having no other source of wealth than the 
produce of the soil, men depended on the landlord for the 
means of escaping starvation ; and thus his power became 
paramount over the liberty of the subject and the authority 
of the State. Every baron, said the French maxim, is 
sovereign in his own domain. The nations of the West 
lay between the competing tyrannies of local magnates 
and of absolute monarchs, when a force was brought upon 
the scene which proved for a time superior alike to the 
vassal and his lord. 

In the days of the Conquest, when the Normans 
destroyed the liberties of England, the rude institutions 
which had come with the Saxons, the Goths, and the 
Franks from the forests of Germany were suffering decay, 
and the new element of popular government afterwards 
supplied by the rise of towns and the formation of a 
middle class was not yet active. The only influence 
capable of resisting the feudal hierarchy was the ecclesi- 
astical hierarchy ; and they came into collision, when the 
process of feudalism threatened the independence of the 
Church by subjecting the prelates severally to that form 


of personal dependence on the kings which was peculiar 
to the Teutonic state. 

To that conflict of four hundred years we owe the rise 
of civil liberty. If the Church had continued to buttress 
the thrones of the king whom it anointed, or if the 
struggle had terminated speedily in an undivided victory, 
all Europe would have sunk down under a Byzantine or 
Muscovite despotism. For the aim of both contending 
parties was absolute authority. But although liberty was 
not the end for which they strove, it was the means by 
which the temporal and the spiritual power called the 
nations to their aid. The towns of Italy and Germany 
won their franchises, France got her States-General, and 
England her Parliament out of the alternate phases of the 
contest ; and as long as it lasted it prevented the rise of 
divine right A disposition existed to regard the crown 
as an estate descending under the law of real property 
in the family that possessed it But the authority of 
religion, and especially of the papacy, was thrown on 
the side that denied the indefeasible title of kings. In 
France what was afterwards called the Gallican theory 
maintained that the reigning house was above the law, , 
and that the sceptre was not to pass away from it as i 
long as there should be princes of the royal blood of St 
Louis. But in other countries the oath of fidelity itself 
attested that it was conditional, and should be kept only 
during good behaviour ; and it was in conformity with the 
public law to which all monarchs were held subject, that 
King John was declared a rebel against the barons, and 
that the men who raised Edward III. to the throne from 
which they had deposed his father invoked the maxim 
VoxpcpuK Vox Dei. 

And this doctrine of the divine right of the people 
to raise up and pull down princes, after obtaining the 
sanctions of religion, was made to stand on broader 
grounds, and was strong enough to resist both Church 
and king. In the struggle between the House of Bruce 
and the House of Plantagenet for the possession of Scot- 
land and Ireland, the English claim was backed by the 


censures of Rome. But the Irish and the Scots refused 
it, and the address in which the Scottish Parliament 
informed the Pope of their resolution shows how firmly 
the popular doctrine had taken root. Speaking of Robert 
Bruce, they say: "Divine Providence, the laws and 
customs of the country, which we will defend till death, 
and the choice of the people, have made him our king. 
If he should ever betray his principles, and consent that 
we should be subjects of the English king, then we shall 
treat him as an enemy, as the subvertcr of our rights and 
his own, and shall elect another in his place. We care 
not for glory or for wealth, but for that liberty which no 
true man will give up but with his life/' This estimate 
of royalty was natural among men accustomed to see 
those whom they most respected in constant strife with 
their rulers. Gregory VII. had begun the disparagement 
of civil authorities by saying that they are the work of 
the devil ; and already in his time both parties were 
driven to acknowledge the sovereignty of the people, and 
appealed to it as the immediate source of power. 

Two centuries later this political theory had gained 
both in clefinitcncss and in force among the Guelphs, who 
were the Church party, and among the Ghibcllines, or 
Imperialists. Here arc the sentiments of the most 
celebrated of all the Guclphic writers: "A king who 
is unfaithful to his duty forfeits his claim to obedience. 
It is not rebellion to depose him, for he is himself a 
rebel whom the nation has a right to put down. But it 
is better to abridge his power, that he may be unable to 
abuse it For this purpose, the whole nation ought to 
have a share in governing itself ; the Constitution ought 
to combine a limited and elective monarchy, with an 
aristocracy of merit, and such an admixture of democracy 
as shall admit all classes to office, by popular election. 
No government has a right to levy taxes beyond the 
limit determined by the people. All political authority is 
derived from popular suffrage, and all laws must be made 
by the people or their representatives. There is no 
security for us as long as we depend on the will of 


another man." This language, which contains the earliest 
exposition of the Whig theory of the revolution, is taken 
from the works of St Thomas Aquinas, of whom Lord 
Bacon says that he had the largest heart of the school 
divines. And it is worth while to observe that he wrote 
at the very moment when Simon de Montfort summoned 
the Commons ; and that the politics of the Neapolitan 
friar are centuries in advance of the English statesman's. 

The ablest writer of the Ghibelline party was Marsilius 
of Padua. " Laws," he said, " derive their authority from 
the nation, and are invalid without its assent As the 
whole is greater than any part, it is wrong that any 
part should legislate for the whole; and as men are 
equal, it is wrong that one should be bound by laws 
made by another. But in obeying laws to which all men 
have agreed, all men, in reality, govern themselves. The 
monarch, who is instituted by the legislature to execute 
its will, ought to be armed with a force sufficient to coerce 
individuals, but not sufficient to control the majority of 
the people. He is responsible to the nation, and subject 
to the law ; and the nation that appoints him, and assigns 
him his duties, has to see that he obeys the Constitution, 
and has to dismiss him if he breaks it The rights of 
citizens are independent of the faith they profess ; and no 
man may be punished for his religion. 1 ' This writer, who 
saw in some respects farther than Locke or Montesquieu, 
who, in regard to the sovereignty of the nation, repre- 
sentative government, the superiority of the legislature 
over the executive, and the liberty of conscience, had so 
firm a grasp of the principles that were to sway the 
modern world, live'd in the reign of Edward II., five 
hundred and fifty years ago. 

It is significant that these two writers should agree on 
so many of the fundamental points which have been, ever 
since, the topic of controversy; for they belonged to 
hostile schools, and one of them would have thought the 
other worthy of death* St Thomas would have made 
the papacy control all Christian governments. Marsilius 
would have had the clergy submit to the law of the land ; 


and would have put them under restrictions both as to 
property and numbers. As the great debate went on, 
many things gradually made themselves clear, and grew 
into settled convictions. For these were not only the 
thoughts of prophetic minds that surpassed the level of 
contemporaries ; there was some prospect that they would 
master the practical world. The ancient reign of the 
barons was seriously threatened. The opening of the 
East by the Crusades had imparted a great stimulus to 
industry. A stream set in from the country to the towns, 
and there was no room for the government of towns 
in the feudal machinery. When men found a way of 
earning a livelihood without depending for it on the good 
will of the class that owned the land, the landowner lost 
much of his importance, and it began to pass to the 
possessors of moveable wealth. The townspeople not 
only made themselves free from the control of prelates and 
barons, but endeavoured to obtain for their own class and 
interest the command of the State. 

The fourteenth century was filled with the tumult of 
this struggle between democracy and chivalry. The 
Italian towns, foremost in intelligence and civilisation, led 
the way with democratic constitutions of an ideal and 
generally an impracticable type. The Swiss cast off the 
yoke of Austria. Two long chains of free cities arose, 
along the valley of the Rhine, and across the heart of 
Germany. The citizens of Paris got possession of the 
king, reformed the State, and began their tremendous 
career of experiments to govern France. But the most 
healthy and vigorous growth of municipal liberties was in 
Belgium, of all countries on the Continent, that which has 
been from immemorial ages the most stubborn in its 
fidelity to the principle of self-government So vast were 
the resources concentrated in the Flemish towns, so wide- 
spread was the movement of democracy, that it was long 
doubtful whether the new interest would not prevail, and 
whether the ascendency of the military aristocracy would 
not pass over to the wealth and intelligence of the men 
that lived by trade. But Rienzi, Marcel, Artevelde, and 


the other champions of the unripe democracy of those days, 
lived and died in vain. The upheaval of the middle class 
had disclosed the need, the passions, the aspirations of the 
suffering poor below; ferocious insurrections in France 
and England caused a reaction that retarded for centuries 
the readjustment of power, and the red spectre of social 
revolution arose in the track of democracy. The armed 
citizens of Ghent were crushed by the French chivalry ; 
and monarchy alone reaped the fruit of the change that 
was going on in the position of classes, and stirred the 
minds of men. 

Looking back over the space of a thousand years, which 
we call the Middle Ages, to get an estimate of the work 
they had done, if not towards perfection in their institu- 
tions, at least towards attaining the knowledge of political 
truth, this is what we find : Representative government, 
which was unknown to the ancients, was almost universal 
The methods of election were crude ; but the principle 
that no tax was lawful that was not granted by the class 
that paid it that is, that taxation was inseparable from 
representation was recognised, not as the privilege of 
certain countries, but as the right of all. Not a prince in 
the world, said Philip de Commines, can levy a penny 
without the consent of the people. Slavery was almost 
everywhere extinct ; and absolute power was deemed more 
intolerable and more criminal than slavery. The right of 
insurrection was not only admitted but defined, as a duty 
sanctioned by religion. Even the principles of the 
Habeas Corpus Act, and the method of the Income Tax, 
were already known. The issue of ancient politics was an 
absolute state planted on slavery. The political produce 
of the Middle Ages was a system of states in which 
authority was restricted by the representation of powerful 
classes, by privileged associations, and by the acknow- 
ledgment of duties superior to those which are imposed 
by man. 

As regards the realisation in practice of what was 
seen to be good, there was almost everything to do. 
But the great problems of principle had been solved, 


and we come to the question, How did the sixteenth 
century husband the treasure which the Middle Ages 
had stored up? The most visible sign of the times was 
the decline of the religious influence that had reigned 
so long. Sixty years passed after the invention of 
printing, and thirty thousand books had issued from 
European presses, before anybody undertook to print the 
Greek Testament In the days when every State made 
the unity of faith its first care, it came to be thought that 
the rights of men, and the duties of neighbours and of 
rulers towards them, varied according to their religion; and 
society did not acknowledge the same obligations to a 
Turk or a Jew, a pagan or a heretic, or a devil worshipper, 
as to an orthodox Christian. As the ascendency of 
religion grew weaker, this privilege of treating its enemies 
on exceptional principles was claimed by the State for its 
own benefit ; and the idea that the ends of government 
justify the means employed was worked into system by 
Machiavclli. He was an acute political!, sincerely anxious 
that the obstacles to the intelligent government of Italy 
should be swept away. It appeared to him that the 
most vexatious obstacle to intellect is conscience, and that 
the vigorous use of statecraft necessary for the success of 
difficult schemes would never be made if governments 
allowed themselves to be hampered by the precepts of the 

His audacious doctrine was avowed in the succeeding 
age by men whose personal character stood high. They 
saw that in critical times good men have seldom strength 
for their goodness, and yield to those who have grasped 
the meaning of the maxim that you cannot make an 
omelette if you are afraid to break the eggs. They saw 
that public morality differs from private, because no 
Government can turn the other cheek, or can admit that 
mercy is better than justice. And they could not define 
the difference or draw the limits of exception ; or tell 
what other standard for a nation's acts there is than the 
judgment which Heaven pronounces in this world by 


Machiavelli's teaching would hardly have stood the 
test of Parliamentary government, for public discussion 
demands at least the profession of good faith. But it 
gave an immense impulse to absolutism by silencing the 
consciences of very religious kings, and made the good 
and the bad very much alike. Charles V. offered 5000 
crowns for the murder of an enemy. Ferdinand I. and 
Ferdinand II., Henry III. and Louis XIII., each caused 
his most powerful subject to be treacherously despatched. 
Elizabeth and Mary Stuart tried to do the same to each 
other. The way was paved for absolute monarchy to ( 
triumph over the spirit and institutions of a better age, 
not by isolated acts of wickedness, but by a studied 
philosophy of crime and so thorough a perversion of the 
moral sense that the like of it had not been since the 
Stoics reformed the morality of paganism. 

The clergy, who had in so many ways served the cause 
of freedom during the prolonged strife against feudalism 
and slavery, were associated now with the interest of 
royalty. Attempts had been made to reform the Church 
on the Constitutional model; they had failed, but they 
had united the hierarchy and the crown against the 
system of divided power as against a common enemy. 
Strong kings were able to bring the spirituality under 
subjection in France and Spain, in Sicily and in England 
The absolute monarchy of France was built up in the two 
following centuries by twelve political cardinals. The 
kings of Spain obtained the same effect almost at a single 
stroke by reviving and appropriating to their own use 
the tribunal of the Inquisition, which had been growing 
obsolete, but now served to arm them with terrors which 
effectually made them despotic One generation beheld 
the change all over Europe, from the anarchy of the 
days of the Roses to the passionate submission, the 
gratified acquiescence in tyranny that marks the reign of 
Henry VIII. and the kings of his time. 

The tide was running fast when the Reformation began 

, at Wittenberg, and it was to be expected that Luther's 

influence would stem the flood of absolutism. For he 


Germany. Sir Nicholas Bacon was one of the ministers 
who suppressed the mass in England Yet when the 
Huguenot refugees came over he liked them so little that 
he reminded Parliament of the summary way in which 
Henry V. at Agincourt dealt with the Frenchmen who 
fell into his hands. John Knox thought that every 
Catholic in Scotland ought to be put to death, and no 
man ever had disciples of a sterner or more relentless 
temper. But his counsel was not followed. 

All through the religious conflict policy kept the 
upper hand When the last of the Reformers died, 
religion, instead of emancipating the nations, had be- 
come an excuse for the criminal art of despots. Calvin 
preached and Bellarmine lectured, but MachiavelH reigned. 
Before the close of the century three events occurred 
which mark the beginning of a momentous change. The 
massacre of St Bartholomew convinced the bulk of 
Calvinists of the lawfulness of rebellion against tyrants, 
and they became advocates of that doctrine in which the 
Bishop of Winchester had led the way, 1 and which 
Knox and Buchanan had received, through their master 
at Paris, straight from the mediaeval schools. Adopted 
out of aversion to the King of France, it was soon put 
in practice against the King of Spain. The revolted 
Netherlands, by a solemn Act, deposed Philip II., and 
made themselves independent undcy the Prince of 
Orange, who had been, and continued to be^ styled his 
Lieutenant Their example was important, not only 
because subjects of one religion deposed a monarch of 
another, for that had been seen in Scotland, but because, 
moreover, it put a republic in the place of a monarchy, 
and forced the public law of Europe to recognise the 
accomplished revolution. At the same time, the French 
Catholics, rising against Henry III, who was the most 
contemptible of tyrants, and against his heir, Henry of 
Navarre, who, as a Protestant, repelled the majority of 
the nation, fought for the same principles with sword 
and pen. 

i [Poynct, in his Ttoatte on P&lWeal Pawr.] 


Many shelves might be filled with the boolcs which 
came out in their defence during half a century, and 
they include the most comprehensive treatises on laws 
ever written. Nearly all are vitiated by the defect which 
disfigured political literature in the Middle Ages. That 
literature, as I have tried to show, is extremely remark- 
able, and its services in aiding human progress are very- 
great. But from the death of St Bernard until the 
appearance of Sir Thomas More's Utopia, there was 
hardly a writer who did not make his politics subservient 
to the interest of either Pope or King. And those who 
came after the Reformation were always thinking of laws 
as they might affect Catholics or Protestants. Knox 
thundered against what he called the Monstrous Regiment 
of Women, because the Queen went to mass, and Mariana 
praised the assassin of Henry III. because the King 
was in league with Huguenots. For the belief that it is 
right to murder tyrants, first taught among Christians, 
I believe, by John of Salisbury, the most distinguished 
English writer of the twelfth century, and confirmed by 
Roger Bacon, the most celebrated Englishman of the 
thirteenth, had acquired about this time a fatal significance. 
Nobody sincerely thought of politics as a law for the 
just and the unjust, or tried to find out a set of prin- 
ciples that should hold good alike under all changes of 
religion. Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity stands almost 
alone among the works I am speaking of, and is still 
read with admiration by every thoughtful man as the 
earliest and one of the finest prose classics in our 
language. But though few of the others have survived, 
they contributed to hand down masculine notions of 
limited authority and conditional obedience from the 
epoch of theory to generations of free men. Even the 
coarse violence of Buchanan and Boucher was a link in 
the chain of tradition that connects the Hildebrandine 
controversy with the Long Parliament, and St. Thomas 
with Edmund Burke. 

That men should understand that governments do. 
not exist by divine right, and that arbitrary government' 


is the violation of divine right, was no doubt the medicine 
suited to the malady under which Europe languished. 
But although the knowledge of this truth might become 
an element of salutary destruction, it could give little aid 
to progress and reform. Resistance to tyranny implied 
no faculty of constructing a legal government in its place. 
Tyburn tree may be a useful thing, but it is better still 
that the offender should live for repentance and reforma- 
tion. The principles which discriminate in politics 
between good and evil, and make States worthy to last, 
were not yet found 

The French philosopher Charron was one of the 
men least demoralised by party spirit, and least blinded 
by zeal for a cause. In a passage almost literally 
taken from St. Thomas, he describes our subordination 
under a law of nature, to which all legislation must 
conform ; and he ascertains it not by the light of revealed 
religion, but by the voice of universal reason, through 
which God enlightens the consciences of men. Upon 
this foundation Grotius drew the lines of real political 
science. In gathering the materials of international law, 
he had to go beyond national treaties and denominational 
interests for a principle embracing all mankind. The 
principles of law must stand, he said, even if we suppose 
that there is no God. By these inaccurate terms he 
meant that they must be found independently of revela- 
tion. From that time it became possible to make politics 
a matter of principle and of conscience, so that men and 
nations differing in all other things could live in peace 
together, under the sanctions of a common law. Grotius 
himself used his discovery to little purpose, as he deprived 
it of immediate effect by admitting that the right to 
reign may be enjoyed as a freehold, subject to no 

When Cumberland and Pufendorf unfolded the true 
significance of his doctrine, every settled authority, every 
triumphant interest recoiled aghast None were willing 
to surrender advantages won by force or skill, because 
they might be in contradiction, not with the Ten 


Commandments, but with an unknown code, which 
Grotius himself had not attempted to draw up, and 
touching which no two philosophers agreed. It was 
manifest that all persons who had learned that political 
science is an affair of conscience rather than of might or 
expediency, must regard their adversaries as men without 
principle, that the controversy between them would per- 
petually involve morality, and could not be governed by 
the plea of good intentions, which softens down the 
asperities of religious strife. Nearly all the greatest men 
of the seventeenth century repudiated the innovation. 
In the eighteenth, the two ideas of Grotius, that there 
are certain political truths by which every State and 
every interest must stand or fall, and that society is knit 
together by a series of real and hypothetical contracts, 
became, in other hands, the lever that displaced the world. 
When, by what seemed the operation of an irresistible 
and constant law, royalty had prevailed over all enemies 
and all competitors, it became a religion. Its ancient 
rivals, the baron and the prelate, figured as supporters 
by its side. Year after year, the assemblies that re- 
presented the self - government of provinces and of 
privileged classes, all over the Continent, met for the 
last time and passed away, to the satisfaction of the 
people, who had learned to venerate the throne as the 
constructor of their unity, the promoter of prosperity and 
power, the defender of orthodoxy, and the employer of 

The Bourbons, who had snatched the crown from a 
rebellious democracy, the Stuarts, who had come in as 
usurpers, set up the doctrine that States are formed by 
the valour, the policy, and the appropriate marriages of 
the royal family; that the king is consequently anterior 
to the people, that he is its maker rather than its handi- 
work, and reigns independently of consent Theology 
followed up divine right with passive obedience. In the 
golden age of religious science, Archbishop Ussher, the 
most learned of Anglican prelates, and Bossuet, the ablest 
of the French, declared that resistance to kings is a crime, 


and that they may lawfully employ compulsion against 
the faith of their subjects. The philosophers heartily 
supported the divines. Bacon fixed his hope of all human 
progress on the strong hand of kings. Descartes advised 
them to crush all those who might be able to resist their 
power. Hobbes taught that authority is always in the 
right Pascal considered it absurd to reform laws, or to 
set up an ideal justice against actual force. Even Spinoza, 
who was a Republican and a Jew, assigned to the State 
the absolute control of religion. 

Monarchy exerted a charm over the imagination, so 
unlike the unceremonious spirit of the Middle Ages, that, 
on learning the execution of Charles L, men died of the 
shock; and the same thing occurred at the death of 
Louis XVI. and of the Duke of Enghien. The classic land 
of absolute monarchy was France. Richelieu held that it 
would be impossible to keep the people down if they were 
suffered to be well off. The Chancellor affirmed that 
France could not be governed without the right of 
arbitrary arrest and exile ; and that in case of danger to 
the State it may be well that a hundred innocent men 
should perish. The Minister of Finance called it sedition 
to demand that the Crown should keep faith. One who 
lived on intimate terms with Louis XIV. says that even 
the slightest disobedience to the royal will is a crime to 
be punished with death* Louis employed these precepts 
to their fullest extent. He candidly avows that kings 
arc no more bound by the terms of a treaty than by the 
words of a compliment ; and that there is nothing in the 
possession of their subjects which they may not lawfully 
take from them. In obedience to this principle, when- 
Marshal Vauban, appalled by the misery of the people^ 
proposed that all existing imposts should be repealed for 
a single tax that would be less onerous, the King took his 
advice, but retained all the old taxes whilst he imposed 
the new. With half the present population, he maintained 
I an army of 450,000 men ; nearly twice as large as that 
1 which the late Emperor Napoleon assembled to attack 
Germany. Meanwhile the people starved on grass. 


France, said F&nelon, is one enormous hospital. French 
historians believe that in a single generation six millions 
of people died of want It would be easy to find tyrants 
more violent, more malignant, more odious than Louis 
XIV., but there was not one who ever used his power to 
inflict greater suffering or greater wrong ; and the admira- 
tion with which he inspired the most illustrious men of 
his time denotes the lowest depth to which the turpitude 
of absolutism has ever degraded the conscience of Europe. 

The Republics of that day were, for the most part, so 
governed as to reconcile men with the less opprobrious 
vices of monarchy. Poland was a State made up of 
centrifugal forces. What the nobles called liberty was the 
right of each of them to veto the acts of the Diet, and to 
persecute the peasants on his estates rights which they 
refused to surrender up to the time of the partition, and 
thus verified the warning of a preacher spoken long ago : 
"You will perish, not by invasion or war, but by your 
infernal liberties.' 1 Venice suffered from the opposite evil 
of excessive concentration. It was the most sagacious of 
Governments, and would rarely have made mistakes if it 
had not imputed to others motives as wise as its own, and 
had taken account of passions and follies of which it had 
little cognisance. But the supreme power of the nobility 
had passed to a committee, from the committee to a 
Council of Ten, from the Ten to three Inquisitors of State; 
and in this intensely centralised form it became, about the 
year 1600, a frightful despotism. I have shown you how 
Machiavelli supplied the immoral theory needful for the 
consummation of royal absolutism ; the absolute oligarchy 
of Venice required the same assurance against the revolt 
of conscience. It was provided by a writer as able as 
Machiavelli, who analysed the wants and resources of 
aristocracy, and made known that its best security is 
poison. As late as a century ago, Venetian senators of 
honourable and even religious lives employed assassins for 
the public good with no more compunction than Philip IL 
or Charles IX. 

The Swiss Cantons, especially Geneva, profoundly 


influenced opinion in the days preceding the French 
Revolution, but they had had no part in the earlier move- 
ment to inaugurate the reign of law. That honour belongs 
to the Netherlands alone among the Commonwealths. 
They earned it, not by their form of government, which was 
defective and precarious, for the Orange party perpetually 
plotted against it, and slew the two most eminent of the 
Republican statesmen, and William III. himself intrigued 
for English aid to set the crown upon his head ; but by 
the freedom of the press, which made Holland the vantage* 
ground from which, in the darkest hour of oppression, the 
victims of the oppressors obtained the car of Europe. 

The ordinance of Louis XIV., that every French 
Protestant should immediately renounce his religion, 
went out in the year in which James II. became king. 
The Protestant refugees did what their ancestors had done 
a century before. They asserted the deposing power of 
subjects over rulers who had broken the original contract 
between them, and all the Powers, excepting France, 
countenanced their argument, and sent forth William 
of Orange on that expedition which was the faint dawn 
of a brighter day. 

It is to this unexampled combination of things on 
the Continent, more than to her own energy, that 
England owes her deliverance. The efforts made by 
the Scots, by the Irish, and at last by the Long Parlia- 
ment to get rid of the misrule of the Stuarts had been 
foiled, not by the resistance of Monarchy, but by the 
helplessness of the Republic. State and Church were 
swept away ; new institutions were raised up under the 
ablest ruler that had ever sprung from a revolution ; and 
England, seething with the toil of political thought, had 
produced at least two writers who in many directions saw 
as far and as clearly as we do now. But Cromwell's 
Constitution was rolled up like a scroll ; Harrington and 
tLilburne were laughed at for a time and forgotten, the 
jcountry confessed the failure of its striving, disavowed its 
\aims, and flung itself with enthusiasm, and without any 
effective stipulations, at the feet of a worthless king. 


If the people of England had accomplished no more 
than this to relieve mankind from the pervading pressure 
of unlimited monarchy, they would have done more harm 
than good. By the fanatical treachery with which, violat- 
ing the Parliament and the law, they contrived the death 
of King Charles, by the ribaldry of the Latin pamphlet 
with which Milton justified the act before the world, by 
persuading the world that the Republicans were hostile 
alike to liberty and to authority, and did not believe in 
themselves, they gave strength and reason to the current 
of Royalism, which, at the Restoration, overwhelmed their 
work. If there had been nothing to make up for this 
defect of certainty and of constancy in politics England 
would have gone the way of other nations. 

At that time there was some truth in the old joke 
which describes the English dislike of speculation by 
saying that all our philosophy consists of a short 
catechism in two questions : " What is mind ? No 
matter. What is matter? Never mind." The only 
accepted appeal was to tradition. Patriots were in the 
habit of saying that they took their stand upon the 
ancient ways, and would not have the laws of England 
changed. To enforce their argument they invented a 
story that the constitution had come from Troy, and that 
the Romans had allowed it to subsist untouched. Such 
fables did not avail against Strafford ; and the oracle 
of precedent sometimes gave responses adverse to the 
popular cause. In the sovereign question of religion, 
this was decisive, for the practice of the sixteenth 
century, as well as of the fifteenth, testified in favour of 
intolerance. By royal command, the nation had passed 
four times in one generation from one faith to another, 
with a facility that made a fatal impression on Laud. 
In a country that had proscribed every religion in turn, 
and had submitted to such a variety of penal measures 
against Lollard and Arian, against Augsburg and Rome, 
it seemed there could be no danger in cropping the ears 
of a Puritan. 

But an age of stronger conviction had arrived ; and 


men resolved to abandon the ancient ways that led to 
the scaffold and the rack, and to make the wisdom of 
their ancestors and the statutes of the land bow before 
an unwritten law. Religious liberty had been the dream 
of great Christian writers in the age of Constantine and 
Valentinian, a dream never wholly realised in the Empire, 
and rudely dispelled when the barbarians found that it 
exceeded the resources of their art to govern civilised 
populations of another religion, and unity of worship was 
imposed by laws of blood and by theories more cruel 
than the laws. But from St Athanasius and St. 
Ambrose down to Erasmus and More, each age heard 
the protest of earnest men in behalf of the liberty of 
conscience, and the peaceful days before the Reforma- 
tion were full of promise that it would prevail. 

In the commotion that followed, men were glad to get 
tolerated themselves by way of privilege and compromise, 
and willingly renounced the wider application of the 
principle. Socinus was the first who, on the ground 
that Church and State ought to be separated, required 
universal toleration. But Socinus disarmed his own 
theory, for he was a strict advocate of passive obedience. 

The idea that religious liberty is the generating 
principle of civil, and that civil liberty is the necessary 
condition of religious, was a discovery reserved for the 
seventeenth century. Many years before the names of 
Milton and Taylor, of Baxter and Locke were made 
illustrious by their partial condemnation of intolerance, 
there were men among the Independent congregations 
who grasped with vigour and sincerity the principle that 
it is only by abridging the authority of States that the 
liberty of Churches can be assured. That great political 
idea, sanctifying freedom and consecrating it to God, 
teaching men to treasure the liberties of others as their 
own, and to defend them for the love of justice and 
charity more than as a claim of right, has been the soul 
of what is great and good in the progress of the last 
two hundred years. The cause of religion, even under 
the unregencrate influence of worldly passion, had as 


much to do as any clear notions of policy in making 
this country the foremost of the free. It had been 
the deepest current in the movement of 1641, and it 
remained the strongest motive that survived the reaction 
of 1660. 

The greatest writers of the Whig party, Burke and 
Macaulay, constantly represented the statesmen of the 
Revolution as the legitimate ancestors of modern liberty. 
It is humiliating to trace a political lineage to Algernon 
Sidney, who was the paid agent of the French king ; to 
Lord Russell, who opposed religious toleration at least as 
much as absolute monarchy ; to Shaftesbury, who dipped 
his hands in the innocent blood shed by the perjury of 
Titus Oates; to Halifax, who insisted that the plot 
must be supported even if untrue ; to Marlborough, who 
sent his comrades to perish on an expedition which he 
had betrayed to the French ; to Locke, whose notion of 
liberty involves nothing more spiritual than the security 
of property, and is consistent with slavery and persecu- 
tion ; or even to Addison, who conceived that the right 
of voting taxes belonged to no country but his own. 
Defoe affirms that from the time of Charles II. to that 
of George L he never knew a politician who truly held 
the faith of either party ; and the perversity of the states- 
men who led the assault against the later Stuarts threw 
back the cause of progress for a century. 

When the purport of the secret treaty became sus- 
pected by which Louis XIV. pledged himself to support 
Charles II. with an army for the destruction of Parliament, 
if Charles would overthrow the Anglican Church, it was 
found necessary to make concession to the popular alarm. It 
was proposed that whenever James should succeed, great 
part of the royal prerogative and patronage should be trans- 
ferred to Parliament At the same time, the disabilities 
of Nonconformists and Catholics would have been removed. 
If the Limitation Bill, which Halifax supported with signal 
ability, had passed, the Monarchical constitution would 
have advanced, in the seventeenth century, farther than 
it was destined to do until the second quarter of the 


nineteenth. But the enemies of James, guided by the 
Prince of Orange, preferred a Protestant king who should 
be nearly absolute, to a constitutional king who should be 
a Catholic. The scheme failed. James succeeded to a 
power which, in more cautious hands, would have been 
practically uncontrolled, and the storm that cast him 
down gathered beyond the sea. 

By arresting the preponderance of France, the Re- 
volution of 1688 struck the first real blow at Continental 
despotism. At home it relieved Dissent, purified justice, 
developed the national energies and resources, and ulti- 
mately, by the Act of Settlement, placed the crown in 
the gift of the people. But it neither introduced nor 
determined any important principle, and, that both parties 
might be able to work together, it left untouched the 
fundamental question between Whig and Tory. For the 
divine right of kings it established, in the words of Defoe, 
the divine right of freeholders; and their domination 
extended for seventy years, under the authority of John 
Locke, the philosopher of government by the gentry. 
Even Ilumc did not enlarge the bounds of his ideas ; and 
his narrow materialistic belief in the connection between 
liberty and property captivated even the bolder mind of 

liy his idea that the powers of government ought to 
be divided according to their nature, and not according 
to the division of classes, which Montesquieu took up and 
developed with consummate talent, Locke is the originator 
of the long reign of English institutions in foreign lands. 
And his doctrine of resistance, or, as he finally termed it, 
the appeal to Heaven, ruled the judgment of Chatham at 
a moment of solemn transition in the history of the world. 
Our Parliamentary system, managed by the great re- 
volution families, was a contrivance by which electors 
were compelled, and legislators were induced to vote 
against their convictions; and the intimidation of the 
constituencies was rewarded by the corruption of their 
representatives. About the year 1770 things had been 
brought back, by indirect ways, nearly to the condition 


which the Revolution had been designed to remedy for 
ever. Europe seemed incapable of becoming the home 
of free States. It was from America that the plain ideas 
that men ought to mind their own business, and that 
the nation is responsible to Heaven for the acts of 
the State, ideas long locked in the breast of solitary 
thinkers, and hidden among Latin folios, burst forth like 
a conqueror upon the world they were destined to trans- 
form, under the title of the Rights of Man. Whether the 
British legislature had a constitutional right to tax a 
subject colony was hard to say, by the letter of the law. 
The general presumption was immense on the side of 
authority ; and the world believed that the will of the 
constituted ruler ought to be supreme, and not the will of 
the subject people. Very few bold writers went so far 
as to say that lawful power may be resisted in cases of 
extreme necessity. But the colonisers of America, who 
had gone forth not in search of gain, but to escape from 
laws under which other Englishmen were content to live, 
were so sensitive even to appearances that the Blue Laws 
of Connecticut forbade men to walk to church within ten 
feet of their wives. And the proposed tax, of only 
; 1 2,000 a year, might have been easily borne. But 
the reasons why Edward I. and his Council were not 
allowed to tax England were reasons why George III. 
and his Parliament should not tax America. The 
dispute involved a principle, namely, the right of 
controlling government Furthermore, it involved the 
conclusion that the Parliament brought together by a 
derisive election had no just right over the unrepresented 
nation, and it called on the people of England to take 
back its power. Our best statesmen saw that whatever 
might be the law, the rights of the nation were at stake. 
Chatham, in speeches better remembered than any that 
have been delivered in Parliament, exhorted America 
to be firm. Lord Camden, the late Chancellor, said: 
"Taxation and representation are inseparably united. 
God hath joined them. No British Parliament can 
separate them." 


From the elements of that crisis Burke built up the 
noblest political philosophy in the world. "I do not 
know the method," said he, " of drawing up an indict- 
ment against a whole people. The natural rights of 
mankind are indeed sacred things, and if any public 
measure is proved mischievously to affect them, the 
objection ought to be fatal to that measure, even if no 
charter at all could be set up against it Only a 
sovereign reason, paramount to all forms of legislation 
and administration, should dictate." In this way, just a 
hundred years ago, the opportune reticence, the politic 
hesitancy of European statesmanship, was at last broken 
down ; and the principle gained ground, that a nation can 
never abandon its fate to an authority it cannot control 
The Americans placed it at the foundation of their new 
government They did more; for having subjected all 
civil authorities to the popular will, they surrounded the 
popular will with restrictions that the British legislature 
would not endure. 

During the revolution in France the example of 
England, which had been held up so long, could not for a 
moment compete with the influence of a country whose 
institutions were so wisely framed to protect freedom even 
against the perils of democracy. When Louis Philippe 
became king, he assured the old Republican, Lafayette, 
that what he had seen in the United States had convinced 
him that no government can be so good as a Republic 
There was a time in the Presidency of Monroe, about 
fifty-five years ago, which men still speak of as "the era of 
good feeling," when most of the incongruities that had 
come down from the Stuarts had been reformed, and the 
motives of later divisions were yet inactive, The causes 
of old-world trouble, popular ignorance, pauperism, the 
glaring contrast between rich and poor, religious strife, 
public debts, standing armies and war, were almost 
unknown. No other age or country had solved so suc- 
cessfully the problems that attend the growth of free 
societies, and time was to bring no further progress. 

But I have reached the end of my time, and have 


hardly come to the beginning of my task. In the ages 
of which I have spoken, the history of freedom was the 
history of the thing that was not But since the De- 
claration of Independence, or, to speak more justly, since 
the Spaniards, deprived of their king, made a new govern- 
ment for themselves, the only known forms of liberty, 
' Republics and Constitutional Monarchy, have made their 
way over the world. It would have been interesting to 
trace the reaction of America on the Monarchies that 
achieved its independence; to see how the sudden rise 
of political economy suggested the idea of applying the 
methods of science to the art of government; how 
Louis XVL, after confessing that despotism was useless, 
even to make men happy by compulsion, appealed to 
the nation to do what was beyond his skill, and thereby 
resigned his sceptre to the middle class, and the intelligent 
men of France, shuddering at the awful recollections of 
their own experience, struggled to shut out the past, that 
they might deliver their children from the prince of the 
world and rescue the living from the clutch of the dead, 
until the finest opportunity ever given to the world was 
thrown away, because the passion for equality made vain 
the hope of freedom. 

And I should have wished to show you that the same 
deliberate rejection of the moral code which smoothed 
the paths of absolute monarchy and of oligarchy, signalised 
the advent of the democratic claim to unlimited power, 
that one of its leading champions avowed the design of 
corrupting the moral sense of men, in order to destroy 
the influence of religion, and a famous apostle of enlighten- 
ment and toleration wished that the last king might be 
strangled with the entrails of the last priest I would 
have tried to explain the connection between the doctrine 
of Adam Smith, that labour is the original source of all 
wealth, and the conclusion that the producers of wealth 
virtually compose the nation, by which Siey&s subverted 
historic France ; and to show that Rousseau's definition of 
the social compact as a voluntary association of equal 
partners conducted Marat, by short and unavoidable 


stages, to declare that the poorer classes were absolved, 
by the law of self-preservation, from the conditions of a 
contract which awarded to them misery and death ; that 
they were at war with society, and had a right to all 
they could get by exterminating the rich, and that their 
inflexible theory of equality, the chief legacy of the 
Revolution, together with the avowed inadequacy of 
economic science to grapple with problems of the poor, 
revived the idea of renovating society on the principle of 
self-sacrifice, which had been the generous aspiration of 
the Essenes and the early Christians, of Fathers and 
Canonists and Friars ; of Erasmus, the most celebrated 
precursor of the Reformation ; of Sir Thomas More, its 
most illustrious victim ; and of Flnelon, the most popular 
of bishops, but which, during the forty years of its revival, 
has been associated with envy and hatred and bloodshed, 
and is now the most dangerous enemy lurking in our path. 
Last, and most of all, having told so much of the un- 
wisdom of our ancestors, having exposed the sterility of 
the convulsion that burned what they adored, and made 
the sins of the Republic mount up as high as those of 
the monarchy, having shown that Legitimacy, which re- 
pudiated the Revolution, and Imperialism, which crowned 
it, were but disguises of the same element of violence and 
wrong, I should have wished, in order that my address 
might not break off without a meaning or a moral, to 
relate by whom, and in what connection, the true law of 
the formation of free States was recognised, and how that 
discovery, closely akin to those which, under the names 
of development, evolution, and continuity, have given a 
new and deeper method to other sciences, solved the 
ancient problem between stability and change, and 
determined the authority of tradition on the progress of 
thought ; how that theory, which Sir James Mackintosh 
expressed by saying that Constitutions are not made, but 
grow; the theory that custom and the national gualitjes^of 
the governed, and not tEe will of the government^ arejhe 
makers of the law; and therefore that the nation^ wjiich 
& the soufcc' of its own organic institutions, should be 


charged with the perpetual custody of their integrity, and 
TJMfh the duty uf bringing the form into harmony with 
the spirit, was made, by the singular co-operation of the 
purest Conservative intellect with red-handed revolution, 
of Niebuhr with Mazzini, to yield the idea of nationality, 
which, far more than the idea of liberty, has governed ' 
the movement of the present age. 

I do not like to conclude without inviting attention to 
the impressive fact that so much of the hard fighting, the 
thinking, the enduring that has contributed to the deliver- 
ance of man from the power of man, has been the work 
of our countrymen, and of their descendants in other 
lands. We have had to contend, as much as any people, 
against monarchs of strong will and of resources secured 
by their foreign possession, against men of rare capacity, 
against whole dynasties of born tyrants. And yet that 
proud prerogative stands out on the background of our 
history. Within a generation of the Conquest, the 
Normans were compelled to recognise, in some grudging 
measure, the claims of the English people. When the 
struggle between Church and State extended to England, 
our Churchmen learned to associate themselves with the 
popular cause; and, with few exceptions, neither the 
hierarchical spirit of the foreign divines, nor the 
monarchical bias peculiar to the French, characterised 
the writers of the English school. The Civil Law, 
transmitted from the degenerate Empire to be the 
common prop of absolute power, was excluded from 
England. The Canon Law was restrained, and this 
country never admitted the Inquisition, nor fully accepted 
the use of torture which invested Continental royalty 
with so many terrors. At the end of the Middle Ages 
foreign writers acknowledged our superiority, and pointed 
to these causes. After that, our gentry maintained the 
means of local self-government such as no other country 
possessed. Divisions in religion forced toleration. The 
confusion of the common law taught the people that 
their best safeguard was the independence and the in- 
tegrity of the judges. 


All these explanations lie on the surface, and are as 
visible as the protecting ocean; but they can only be 
successive effects of a constant cause which must lie in 
the same native qualities of perseverance, moderation, 
individuality, and the manly sense of duty, which give "to 
the English race its supremacy in the stern art of labour, 
which has enabled it to thrive as no other can on 
inhospitable shores, and which (although no great people 
has less of the bloodthirsty craving for glory and an army 
of 50,000 English soldiers has never been seen in battle) 
caused Napoleon to exclaim, as he rode away from 
Waterloo, " It has always been the same since Crecy." 

Therefore, if there is reason for pride in the past, 
there is more for hope in the time to come. Our 
advantages increase, while other nations fear their neigh- 
bours or covet their neighbours 9 goods. Anomalies and 
defects there are, fewer and less intolerable, if not less 
flagrant than of old. 

But I have fixed my eyes on the spaces that Heaven's 
light illuminates, that I may not lay too heavy a strain on 
the indulgence with which you have accompanied me over 
the dreary and heart-breaking course by which men have 
passed to freedom ; and because the light that has guided 
us is still unqucnched, and the causes that have carried us 
so far in the van of free nations have not spent their 
power ; because the story of the future is written in the 
past, and that which hath been is the same thing that 
shall be. 



SCARCELY thirty years separate the Europe of Gtrizot and 
Metternich from these days of universal suffrage both in 
France and in United Germany; when a condemned 
insurgent of 1848 is the constitutional Minister of 
Austria; when Italy, from the Alps to the ' Adriatic, is 
governed by friends of Mazzini; and statesmen who 
recoiled from the temerities of Feel have doubled the 
electoral constituency of England If the philosopher who 
proclaimed the law that democratic progress is constant 
and irrepressible had lived to see old age, he would have 
been startled by the fulfilment of his prophecy. Through- 
out these years of revolutionary change Sir Thomas 
Erskine May has been more closely and constantly con- 
nected with the centre of public affairs than any other 
Englishman, and his place, during most of the time, has 
been at the table of the House of Commons, where he has 
sat, like Canute, and watched the rising tide. Few could 
be better prepared to be the historian of European 
Democracy than one who, having so long studied the 
mechanism of popular government in the most illustrious 
of assemblies at the height of its power, has written its 
history, and taught its methods to the world. 

It is not strange that so delicate and laborious a task 
'.should have remained unattempted. Democracy is a 
gigantic current that has been fed by many springs. 

1 The Quarterly Review, January 1878. 


establishment of political equality by Licinius. An 
impeachment of England for having imposed slavery on 
America was carefully expunged from the Declaration of 
Independence; and the French Assembly, having pro- 
claimed the Rights of Man, declared that they did not 
extend to the colonies. The abolition controversy has 
made everybody familiar with Burke's saying, that men 
learn the price of freedom by being masters of slaves.'] 

From the best days of Athens, the days of Anaxagoras, 
Protagoras, and Socrates, a strange affinity has subsisted 
between democracy and religious persecution. The 
bloodiest deed committed between the wars of religion and 
the revolution was due to the fanaticism of men living 
under the primitive republic in the Rhaetian Alps ; and of 
six democratic cantons only one tolerated Protestants, and 
that after a struggle which lasted the better part of two 
centuries. In 1578 the fifteen Catholic provinces would 
have joined the revolted Netherlands but for the furious 
bigotry of Ghent ; and the democracy of Friesland was 
the most intolerant of the States. The aristocratic 
colonies in America defended toleration against their 
democratic neighbours, and its triumph in Rhode Island 
and Pennsylvania was the work not of policy but of 
religion. The French Republic came to ruin because it 
found the lesson of religious liberty too hard to learn. 
Down to the eighteenth century, indeed, it was understood 
in monarchies more often than in free commonwealths. 
Richelieu acknowledged the principle whilst he was 
constructing the despotism of the Bourbons ; so did the 
electors of Brandenburg, at the time when they made 
themselves absolute ; and after the fall of Clarendon, the 
notion of Indulgence was inseparable from the design of 
Charles IL to .subvert the constitution. 

A government strong enough to act in defiance of 
public feeling may disregard the plausible heresy that 
prevention is better than punishment, for it is able to 
punish. But a government entirely dependent on opinion 
looks for some security what that opinion shall be, strives 
for the control of the forces that shape it, and is fearful 


of suffering the people to be educated in sentiments 
hostile to its institutions. When General Grant attempted 
to grapple with polygamy in Utah, it was found necessary 
to pack the juries with Gentiles ; and the Supreme Court 
decided that the proceedings were illegal, and that the 
prisoners must be set free. Even the murderer Lee was 
absolved, in 1875, by a jury of Mormons. 

Modern democracy presents many problems too vari- 
ous and obscure to be solved without a larger range of 
materials than Tocqueville obtained from his American 
authorities or his own observation. To understand why 
the hopes and the fears that it excites have been always 
inseparable, to determine under what conditions it advances 
or retards the progress of the people and the welfare of 
free states, there is no better course than to follow Sir 
Erskine May upon the road which he has been the first 
to open. 

In the midst of an invincible despotism, among paternal, 
military, and sacerdotal monarchies, the dawn rises with 
the deliverance of Israel out of bondage, and with the 
covenant which began their political life. The tribes 
broke up into smaller communities, administering their 
own affairs under the law they had sworn to observe, 
but which there was no civil power to enforce. They 
governed themselves without a central authority, a legis- 
lature, or a dominant priesthood ; and this polity, which, 
under the. forms of primitive society, realised some aspira- 
tions of developed democracy, resisted for above three 
hundred years the constant peril of anarchy and subjuga- 
tion. The monarchy itself was limited by the same 
absence of a legislative power, by the submission of the 
king to the law that bound his subjects, by the perpetual 
appeal of prophets to the conscience of the people as its 
appointed guardian, and by the ready resource of de- 
position. Later still, in the decay of the religious and 
national constitution, the same ideas appeared with intense 
energy, in an extraordinary association of men who lived 
in austerity and self-denial, rejected slavery, maintained 
equality, and held their property in common, and who 



constituted in miniature an almost perfect Republic. But 
the Essenes perished with the city and the Temple, and 
for many ages the example of the Hebrews was more 
serviceable to authority than to freedom. After the Re- 
formation, the sects that broke resolutely with the tradi- 
tions of Church and State as they came down from 
Catholic times, and sought for their new institutions a 
higher authority than custom, reverted to the memory 
of a commonwealth founded on a voluntary contract, on 
self-government, federalism, equality, in which election 
was preferred to inheritance, and monarchy was an 
emblem of the heathen ; and they conceived that there 
was no better model for themselves than a nation con- 
stituted by religion, owning no lawgiver but Moses, and 
obeying no king but God. Political thought had until 
then been guided by pagan experience. 

Among the Greeks, Athens, the boldest pioneer of 
republican discovery, was the only democracy that pros- 
pered. It underwent the changes that were the common 
lot of Greek society, but it met them in a way that dis- 
played a singular genius for politics. The struggle of 
competing classes for supremacy, almost everywhere a 
cause of oppression and bloodshed, became with them a 
genuine struggle for freedom ; and the Athenian consti- 
tution grew, with little pressure from below, under the 
intelligent action of statesmen who were swayed by 
political reasoning more than by public opinion. They 
avoided violent and convulsive change, because the rate of 
their reforms kept ahead of the popular demand. Solon, 
whose laws began the reign of mind over force, instituted 
democracy by making the people, not indeed the admini- 
strators, but the source ' of jpoweri He committed ffie 
Government riot 16 'rank 'or' birth^ but to land; and he 
regulated the political influence of the landowners by 
their share in the burdens of the public service. To the 
lower class, who neither bore arms nor paid taxes, and 
were excluded from the Government, he granted the 
privilege of choosing and of calling to account the men 
by whom they were governed, of confirming or rejecting 


the acts of the legislature and the judgments of the 
courts. Although he charged the Areopagus with the 
preservation of his laws, he provided that they might 
be revised according to need; and the ideal before his 
mind was government by all free citizens. His con- 
cessions to the popular element were narrow, and were 
carefully guarded. He yielded no more than was neces- 
sary to guarantee the attachment of the whole people to 
the State. But he admitted principles that went further 
than the claims which he conceded. He took only 
one step towards democracy, but it was the first of a 

When the Persian wars, which converted aristocratic 
Athens into a maritime state, had developed new sources 
of wealth and a new description of interests, the class 
which had supplied many of the ships and most of the 
men that had saved the national independence and founded 
an empire, could not be excluded from power. Solon's 
principle, that political influence should be commensurate 
with political service/ broke through the' forms in which 
he hacl confined it, atid the spirit of his constitution was 
too strong for the letter. The fourth estate was admitted 
to office, and in order that its candidates might obtain 
their share, and no more than their share, and that neither 
interest nor numbers might prevail, many public func- 
tionaries were appointed by lot The Athenian idea of 
a Republic was to substitute the impersonal supremacy 
of law for the government of inSr""Mfcdiocrit^ was a 
safeguard against the pretensions of superior capacity, for 
the established order was in danger, not from the average 
citizens, but from men, like Miltiades, of exceptional re- 
nown. The people of Athens venerated their constitution 
as a gift of the gods, the source and title of their power, a 
thing too sacred for wanton change. They had demanded 
a code, that the unwritten law might no longer be in- 
Irepreted at will by Archons and Areopagites; and a 
well-defined and authoritative legislation was a triumph 
of the democracy. 

So well was this conservative spirit understood, that 


the revolution which abolished the privileges of the aris- 
tocracy was promoted by Aristides and completed by 
Pericles, men free from the reproach of flattering the 
multitude. They associated all the free Athenians with 
the interest of the State, and called them, without dis- 
tinction of class, to administer the powers that belonged to 
them. Solon had threatened with the loss of citizenship 
all who showed themselves indifferent in party conflicts, 
and Pericles declared that every man who neglected his 
share of public duty was a useless member of the 
community. That wealth might confer no unfair advan- 
tage, that the poor might not take bribes from the rich, 
he took them into the pay of the State during their 
attendance as jurors. That their numbers might give 
them no unjust superiority, he restricted the right of 
citizenship to those who came from Athenian parents 
on both sides ; and thus he expelled more than 4000 
men of mixed descent from the Assembly. This bold 
measure, which was made acceptable by a distribution of 
grain from Efjypt among those who proved their full 
| Athenian parentage, reduced the fourth class to an 
equality with the owners of real property. For Pericles, 
or Ephialtcs for it would appear that all their reforms 
had been carried in the year 460, when Ephialtes died 
is the first democratic statesman who grasped the notion 
of political equality. The measures which made all 
citizens equal might' have created a new inequality 
between classes, and the artificial privilege of land might 
have been succeeded by the more crushing preponderance 
of numbers. But Pericles held it to be intolerable that 
one portion of the people should be required to obey laws 
which others have the exclusive right of making ; and he 
was able, during thirty ycaw, to preserve the equipoise, 
governing by the general consent of the community, 
formed by free debate. He made the undivided people 
sovereign ; but he subjected the popular initiative to a 
court of revision, and assigned a penalty to the proposer 
of any measure which should be found to be unconsti- 
tutional Athens, under Pericles, was the most successful 


Republic that existed before the system of representation ; 
but its splendour ended with his life. 

The danger to liberty from the predominance either of 
privilege or majorities was so manifest, that an idea arose 
that equality of fortune would be the only way to prevent 
the conflict of class interests. The philosophers, Phaleas, 
Plato, Aristotle, suggested various expedients to level the 
difference between rich and poor. Solon had endeavoured 
to check the increase of estates; and Pericles had not 
only strengthened the public resources by bringing the 
rich under the control of an assembly in which they were 
not supreme, but he had employed those resources in 
improving the condition and the capacity of the masses. 
The grievance of those who were taxed for the benefit of 
others was easily borne so long as the tribute of the 
confederates filled the treasury. But the Peloponnesian 
war increased the strain on the revenue. and deprived 
Athens of its dependencies. The balance was upset; 
and the policy of making one class give, that another 
might receive, was recommended not only by the interest 
of the poor, but by a growing theory, that wealth and 
poverty make bad citizens, that the middle class is the 
one most easily led by reason, and that the way to make 
it predominate is to depress whatever rises above the 
common level, and to raise whatever falls below it This 
theory, which became inseparable from democracy, and 
contained a force which alone seems able to destroy it, 
was fatal to Athens, for it drove the minority to treason. 
The glory of the Athenian democrats is, not that they 
escaped the worst consequences of their principle, but 
that, having twice cast out the usurping oligarchy, they 
set bounds to their own power. They forgave their 
vanquished enemies; they abolished pay for attendance 
in the assembly ; they established the supremacy of law 
by making the code superior to the people; they dis- 
tinguished things that were constitutional from things 
liar were legal, and resblveaiR^ni-b'tegisTative act should 
pass' until it had been pronounced consistent with the 


The causes which ruined the Republic of Athens 
illustrate the connection of ethics with politics rather 
than the vices inherent to democracy. A State which 
has only 30,000 full citizens in a population of 500,000, 
and is governed, practically, by about 3000 people at 
a public meeting, is scarcely democratic. The short 
triumph of Athenian liberty, and its quick decline, belong 
to an age which possessed no fixed standard of right and 
wrong. An unparalleled activity of intellect was shaking 
the credit of the gods, and the gods were the givers of 
the law. It was a very short step from the suspicion of 
Protagoras, that there were no gods, to the assertion of 
Critias that there is no sanction for laws. If nothing was 
certain in theology, there was no certainty in ethics and 
no moral obligation. The will of man, not the will of 
God, was the rule of life, and every man and body of men 
had the right to do what they had the means of doing. 
Tyranny was no wrong, and it was hypocrisy to deny 
oneself the enjoyment it affords. The doctrine of the 
Sophists gave no limits to power and no security to 
freedom ; it inspired that cry of the Athenians, that they 
must not be hindered from doing what they pleased, and 
the speeches of men like Athenagoras and Euphemus, 
that the democracy may punish men who have done no 
wrong, and that nothing that is profitable is amiss. And 
Socrates perished by the reaction which they provoked. 

The disciples of Socrates obtained the ear of posterity. 
Their testimony against the government that put the best 
of citizens to death is enshrined in writings that compete 
with Christianity itself for influence on the opinions of 
men. Greece has governed the world by her philosophy, 
and the loudest note in Greek philosophy is the protest 
against Athenian democracy. But although Socrates 
derided the practice of leaving the choice of magistrates to 
chance, and Plato admired the bloodstained tyrant Critias, 
and Aristotle deemed Theramencs a greater statesman 
than Pericles, yet these are the men who laid the first 
stones of a purer system, and became the lawgivers of 
future commonwealths. 


The main point in the method of Socrates was 
essentially democratic. He urged men to bring all 
things to the test of incessant inquiry, and not to content 
themselves with the verdict of authorities, majorities, or 
custom ; to judge of right and wrong, not by the will or 
sentiment of others, but by the light which God has set 
in each man's reason and conscience. He proclaimed 
that authority is often wrong, and has no warrant to 
silence or to impose conviction. But he gave no warrant 
to resistance. He emancipated men for thought, but not 
for action. The sublime history of his death shows that 
the superstition of the State was undisturbed by his con- 
tempt for its rulers. 

Plato had not his master's patriotism, nor his reverence 
for the civil power. He believed that no State can 
command obedience if it does not deserve respect ; and 
he encouraged citizens to despise their government if 
they were not governed by wise men. To the aristocracy 
of philosophers he assigned a boundless prerogative ; but 
as no government satisfied that test, his plea for despotism 
was hypothetical. When the lapse of years roused him 
from the fantastic dream of his Republic, his belief in 
divine government moderated his intolerance of human 
freedom. Plato would not suffer a democratic polity; 
but he challenged all existing authorities to justify them- 
selves before a superior tribunal; he desired that all 
constitutions should be thoroughly remodelled, and he 
supplied the greatest need of Greek democracy, the con- 
viction that the will of the people is subject to the will of 
God, and that all civil authority, except that of an imag- 
inary state, is limited and conditional The prodigious 
vitality of his writings has kept the glaring perils of 
popular government constantly before mankind; but it has 
also preserved the belief in ideal politics and the notion 
of judging the powers of this world by a standard from 
heaven. There has been no fiercer enemy of democracy; 
but there has been no stronger advocate of revolution. 

In the EtJiics Aristotle condemns democracy, even 
with a property qualification, as the worst of governments. 


But near the end of his life, when he composed his 
Politics, he was brought, grudgingly, to make a memor- 
able concession. To preserve the sovereignty of law, 
which is the reason and the custom of generations, and to 
restrict the realm of choice and change, he conceived it 
best that no class of society should preponderate, that 
one man should not be subject to another, that all should 
command and all obey. He advised that power should 
be distributed to high and low ; to the first according to 
their property, to the others according to numbers ; and 
that it should centre in the middle class. If aristocracy 
and democracy were fairly combined and balanced against 
each other, he thought that none would be interested to 
disturb the serene majesty of impersonal government 
To reconcile the two principles, he would admit even the 
poorer citizens to office and pay them for the discharge of 
public duties ; but he would compel the rich to take their 
share, and would appoint magistrates by election and not 
by lot In his indignation at the extravagance of Plato, 
and his sense of the significance of facts, he became, 
against his will, the prophetic exponent of a limited and 
regenerated democracy. But the Politics, which, to the 
world of living men, is the most valuable of his works, 
acquired no influence on antiquity, and is never quoted 
before the time of Cicero. Again it disappeared for 
many centuries; it was unknown to the Arabian com- 
mentators, and in Western Europe it was first brought 
to light by St Thomas Aquinas, at the very time when 
an infusion of popular elements was modifying feudalism? 
and it helped to emancipate political philosophy from 
despotic theories and to confirm it in the ways of freedom. 
The three generations of the Socratic school did 
more for the future reign of the people than all the 
institutions of the States of Greece. They vindicated 
conscience against authority, and subjected both to a 
higher law; and they proclaimed that doctrine of a 
mixed constitution, which has prevailed at last over 
absolute monarchy, and still has to contend against 
extreme Republicans and Socialists, and against the 


masters of a hundred legions. But their views of liberty 
were based on expediency, not on justice, They legislated 
for the favoured citizens of Greece, and were conscious of 
no principle that extended the same rights to the stranger 
and the slave. That discovery, without which all political 
science was merely conventional, belongs to the followers 
of Zeno. 

The dimness and poverty of their theological specula- 
tion caused the Stoics to attribute the government of the 
universe less to the uncertain design of gods than to a 
definite law of nature. By that law, which is superior to 
religious traditions and national authorities, and which 
every man can learn from a guardian angel who neither 
sleeps nor errs, all are governed alike, all are equal, all 
are bound in charity to each other, as members of one 
community and children of the same God. The unity 
of mankind implied the existence of rights and duties 
common to all men, which legislation neither gives nor 
takes away. The Stoics held in no esteem the institutions 
that vary with time and place, and their ideal society 
resembled a universal Church more than an actual State, 
In every collision between authority and conscience they 
preferred the inner to the outer guide ; and, in the words 
of Epictetus, regarded the laws of the gods, not the 
wretched laws of the dead. Their doctrine of equality, of 
fraternity, of humanity ; their defence of individualism 
against public authority; their repudiation of slavery, 
redeemed democracy from the narrowness, the want of 
. principle and of sympathy, which are its reproach among 
the Greeks. In practical life they preferred a mixed 
constitution to a purely popular government Chrysippus 
thought it impossible to please both gods and men ; and 
Seneca declared that the people is corrupt and incapable, 
and that nothing was wanting, under Nero, to the fulness 
of liberty, except the possibility of destroying it But 
their lofty conception of freedom, as no exceptional 
privilege but the birthright of mankind, survived in the 
law of nations and purified the equity of Rome. 

Whilst Dorian oligarchs and Macedonian kings crushed 


the liberties of Greece, the Roman Republic was ruined, 
not by its enemies, for there was no enemy it did not 
conquer, but by its own vices. It was free from many 
causes of instability and dissolution that were active in 
Greece the eager quickness, the philosophic thought, the 
independent belief, the pursuit of unsubstantial grace and 
beauty. It was protected by many subtle contrivances 
against the sovereignty of numbers and against legislation 
by surprise. Constitutional battles had to be fought over 
and over again ; and progress was so slow, that reforms 
were often voted many years before they could be carried 
into effect The authority allowed to fathers, to masters, 
to creditors, was as incompatible with the spirit of freedom 
as the practice of the servile East The Roman citizen 
revelled in the luxury of power ; and his jealous dread of 
every change that might impair its enjoyment portended 
a gloomy oligarchy. The cause which transformed the 
domination of rigid and exclusive patricians into the model 
Republic, and which out of the decomposed Republic; 
built up the archetype of all despotism, was the fact that 
the Roman Commonwealth consisted of two States in one. 
The constitution was made up of compromises between 
independent bodies, and the obligation of observing 
contracts was the standing security for freedom. The 
plcbs obtained self-government and an equal sovereignty, 
by the aid of the tribunes of the people, the peculiar, 
salient, and decisive invention of Roman statecraft. The 
powers conferred on the tribunes, that they might be the 
guardians of the weak, were ill defined, but practically 
were irresistible. They could not govern, but they could 
arrest all government The first and the last step of 
plebeian progress was gained neither by violence nor 
persuasion, but by seceding; and, in like manner, the 
tribunes overcame all the authorities of the State by the 
weapon of obstruction. It was by stopping public 
business for five years that Licinius established demo- 
cratic equality. The safeguard against abuse was the 
right of each tribune to veto the acts of his colleagues. 
As they were independent of their electors, and as there 


could hardly fail to be one wise and honest man 
among the ten, this was the most effective instrument for 
the defence of minorities ever devised by man. After the 
Hortensian law, which in the year 287 gave to the 
plebeian assembly co-ordinate legislative authority, the 
tribunes ceased to represent the cause of a minority, and 
their work was done. 

A scheme less plausible or less hopeful than one 
which created two sovereign legislatures side by side in 
the same community would be hard to find. Yet it 
effectually closed the conflict of centuries, and gave to 
Rome an epoch of constant prosperity and greatness. 
No real division subsisted in the people, corresponding 
to the artificial division in the State. Fifty years passed 
away before the popular assembly made use of its pre- 
rogative, and passed a law in opposition to the senate. 
Polybius could not detect a flaw in the structure as it 
stood. The harmony seemed to be complete, and he 
judged that a more perfect example of composite govern- 
ment could not exist But during those happy years the 
cause which wrought the ruin of Roman freedom was in 
full activity ; for it was the condition of perpetual war 
that brought about the three great changes which were 
the beginning of the end the reforms of the Gracchi, 
the arming of the paupers, and the gift of the Roman 
suffrage to the people of Italy. 

Before the Romans began their career of foreign con- 
quest they possessed an army of 770,000 men ; and 
from that time the consumption of citizens in war was 
incessant. Regions once crowded with the small free- 
holds of four or five acres, which were the ideal unit of 
Roman society and the sinew of the army and the State, 
were covered with herds of cattle and herds of slaves, 
and the substance of the governing democracy was 
drained. The policy of the agrarian reform was to re- 
constitute this peasant class out of the public domains, 
that is, out of lands which the ruling families had 
possessed for generations, which they had bought and 
sold, inherited, divided, cultivated, and improved. The 


conflict of interests that had so long slumbered revived 
with a fury unknown in the controversy between the 
patricians and the plebs. For it was now a question not 
of equal rights but of subjugation. The social restoration 
of democratic elements could not be accomplished without 
demolishing the senate; and this crisis at last exposed 
the defect of the machinery and the peril of divided 
powers that were not to be controlled or reconciled. 
The popular assembly, led by Gracchus, had the power 
of making laws ; and the only constitutional check was, 
that one of the tribunes should be induced to bar the 
proceedings. Accordingly, the tribune Octavius inter- 
posed his veto. The tribunician power, the most sacred 
of powers, which could not be questioned because it was 
founded on a covenant between the two parts of the 
community and formed the keystone of their union, was 
employed, in opposition to the will of the people, to 
prevent a reform on which the preservation of the de- 
mocracy depended. Gracchus caused Octavius to be 
deposed. Though not illegal, this was a thing unheard 
of, and it seemed to the Romans a sacrilegious act that 
shook the pillars of the State, for it was the first signifi- 
cant revelation of democratic sovereignty, A tribune 
might burn the arsenal and betray the city, yet he could 
not be called to account until his year of office had 
expired Hut when he employed against the people the 
authority with which they had invested him, the spell 
was dissolved. The tribunes had been instituted as the 
champions of the oppressed, when tho plebs feared 
oppression. It was resolved that they should not inter- 
fere on the weaker side when the democracy were the 
strongest They were chosen by the people as their 
defence against the aristocracy. It was not to be borne 
that they should become the agents of the aristocracy 
to make them once more supreme. Against a popular 
tribune, whom no colleague was suffered to oppose, the 
wealthy classes were defenceless. It is true that he held 
office, and was inviolable, only for a yean But the 
younger Gracchus was re-elected The nobles accused 


him of aiming at the crown. A tribune who should be 
practically irremovable, as well as legally irresistible, was 
little less than an emperor. The senate carried on the 
conflict as men do who fight, not for public interests but 
for their own existence. They rescinded the agrarian 
laws. They murdered the popular leaders. They aban- 
doned the constitution to save themselves, and invested 
Sylla with a power beyond all monarchs, to exterminate 
their foes. The ghastly conception of a magistrate legally 
proclaimed superior to all the laws was familiar to the 
stern spirit of the Romans. The decemvirs had enjoyed 
that arbitrary authority ; but practically they were re- 
strained by the two provisions which alone were deemed 
efficacious in Rome, the short duration of office, and its 
distribution among several colleagues. But the appoint- 
ment of Sylla was neither limited nor divided. It was 
to last as long as he chose. Whatever he might do was 
right; and he was empowered to put whomsoever he 
pleased to death, without trial or accusation. All the 
victims who were butchered by his satellites suffered with 
the full sanction of the law. 

When at last the democracy conquered, the Augustan 
monarchy, by which they perpetuated their triumph, was 
moderate in comparison with the licensed tyranny of the 
aristocratic chief. The Emperor was the constitutional 
head of the Republic, armed with all the powers requisite 
to master the senate. The instrument which had served 
to cast down the patricians was efficient against the new 
aristocracy of wealth and office. The tribunician power, 
conferred in perpetuity, made it unnecessary to create a 
king or a dictator. Thrice the senate proposed to 
Augustus the supreme power of making laws. He 
declared that the power of the tribunes already supplied 
him with all that he required. It enabled him to preserve 
the forms of a simulated republic. The most popular of j 
all the magistracies of Rome furnished the marrow of; 
Imperialism. For the Empire was created, not by 1 
usurpation, but by the legal act of a jubilant people, 
eager to close the era of bloodshed and to secure the 


largess of grain and coin, which amounted, at last, to 
900,000 pounds a year. The people transferred to the 
Emperor the plenitude of their own sovereignty. To 
limit his delegated power was to challenge their omnipo- 
tence, to renew the issue between the many and the few 
which had been decided at Pharsalus and Philippi. The 
Romans upheld the absolutism of the Empire because it 
was their own. The elementary antagonism between 
liberty and democracy, between the welfare of minorities 
and the supremacy of masses, became manifest. The 
friend of the one was a traitor to the other. The dogma, 
that absolute power may, by the hypothesis of a popular 
origin, be as legitimate as constitutional freedom, began, 
by the combined support of the people and the throne, 
to darken the air. 

Legitimate, in the technical sense of modern politics, 
the Empire was not meant to be. It had no right or 
claim to subsist apart from the will of the people. To 
limit the Emperor's authority was to renounce their own ; 
but to take it away was to assert their own. They #iv<; 
the Empire as they chose. They took it away as they 
chose. The Revolution was as lawful and as irrespon- 
sible as the Empire. Democratic institutions continued to 
develop. The provinces were no longer subject to an 
assembly meeting in a distant capital. They obtained 
the privileges of Roman citizens. Long after Tiberius 
had stripped the inhabitants of Rome of their electoral 
function, the provincials continued in undisturbed enjoy- 
ment of the right of choosing their own magistrates. 
They governed themselves like a vast confederation of 
municipal republics; and, even after Diocletian had 
brought in the forms as well as the reality of despotism, 
provincial assemblies, the obscure germ of representative 
institutions, exercised some control over the Imperial 

But the Empire owed the intensity of its force to the 
popular fiction. The principle, that the Emperor is not 
subject to laws from which he can dispense others, princeps 
bffibus so/utus, was interpreted to imply that he was above 


all legal restraint There was no appeal from his sentence. 
He was the living law. The Roman jurists, whilst they 
adorned their writings with the exalted philosophy of the 
Stoics, consecrated every excess of Imperial prerogative 
with those famous maxims which have been balxn to so 
many consciences and have sanctioned so much wrong; 
and the code of Justinian became the greatest obstacle, 
next to feudalism, with which liberty had to contend. 

Ancient democracy, as it was in Athens in the best 
days of Pericles, or in Rome when Polybius described it, 
or even as it is idealised by Aristotle in the Sixth Book 
of his Politics^ and by Cicero in the beginning of the 
Republic, was never more than a partial and insincere 
solution of the problem of popular government The 
aftcient politicians aimed no higher than to diffuse power 
among a numerous class. Their liberty was bound up with 
slavery. They never attempted to found a free State on 
the thrift and energy of free labour* They never divined 
the harder but more grateful task that constitutes the 
political life of Christian nations. 

By humbling the supremacy of rank and wealth ; by 
forbidding the State to encroach on the domain which 
belongs to God ; by teaching man to love his neighbour 
as himself; by promoting the sense of equality ; by con- 
demning the pride of race, which was a stimulus of con- 
quest, and the doctrine of separate descent, which formed 
the philosopher's defence of slavery ; and by addressing 
not the rulers but the masses of mankind, and making 
opinion superior to authority, the Church that preached 
the Gospel to the poor had visible points of contact with 
democracy. And yet Christianity did not directly influence 
political progress. The ancient watchword of the Republic 
was translated by Papinian into the language of the 
Church : " Summa cst ratio quze pro religione fiat : " and 
for eleven hundred years, from the first to the last of 
the Constantines, the Christian Empire was as despotic 
as the pagan. 

Meanwhile Western Europe was overrun by men who 
in their early home had been Republicans. The primi- 


tive constitution of the German communities was based 
on association rather than on subordination. They were 
accustomed to govern their affairs by common delibera- 
tion, and to obey authorities that were temporary and 
defined. It is one of the desperate enterprises of histori- 
cal science to trace the free institutions of Europe and 
America, and Australia, to the life that was led in the 
forests of Germany. But the new States were founded 
on conquest, and in war the Germans were commanded 
by kings. The doctrine of self-government, applied to 
Gaul and Spain, would have made Frank and Goth 
disappear in the mass of the conquered people. It 
needed all the resources of a vigorous monarchy, of a 
military aristocracy, and of a territorial clergy, to con- 
struct States that were able to last The result was 
the feudal system, th most absolute contradiction of 
democracy that 'Has coexisted with civilisation. 

The revival of democracy was due neither to the 
Christian Church nor to the Teutonic State, but to the 
quarrel between them. The effect followed the cause 
instantaneously. As soon as Gregory VII. made the 
Papacy independent of the Empire, the great conflict 
began ; and the same pontificate gave birth to the theory 
of the sovereignty of the people. The Gregorian party 
argued that the Emperor derived his crown from the 
nation, and that the nation could take away what it had 
bestowed. The Imperialists replied that nobody could 
take away what the nation had given. It is idle to look 
for the spark either in flint or steel. The object of both 
parties was unqualified supremacy. Fitznigel has no 
more idea of ecclesiastical liberty than John of Salisbury 
of political. Innocent IV. is as perfect an absolutist as 
Peter de Vineis. But each party encouraged democracy 
in turn, by seeking the aid of the towns ; each party in 
turn appealed to the people, and gave strength to the 
constitutional theory. In the fourteenth century English 
Parliaments judged and deposed their kings, as a matter 
of right ; the Estates governed France without king or 
noble; and the wealth and liberties of the towns, which 


had worked out their independence from the centre of 
Italy to the North Sea, promised for a moment to trans- 
form European society. Even in the capitals of great 
princes, in Rome, in Paris, and, for two terrible days, in 
London, the commons obtained sway. But the curse of 
instability was on the municipal republics. Strasburg, 
according to Erasmus and Bodin, the best governed of 
all, suffered from perpetual commotions. An ingenious 
historian has reckoned seven thousand revolutions in the 
Italian cities. The democracies succeeded no better than 
feudalism in regulating the balance between rich and 
poor. The atrocities of the Jacquerie, and of Wat 
Tyler's rebellion, hardened the hearts of men against 
the common people. Church and State combined to 
put them down. And the last memorable struggles of 
mediaeval liberty the insurrection of the Comuneros in 
Castile, the Peasants' War in Germany, the Republic of 
Florence, and the Revolt of Ghent were suppressed by 
Charles V. in the early years of the Reformation. 

The middle ages had forged a complete arsenal of 
constitutional maxims : trial by jury, taxation by repre- 
sentation, local self-government, ecclesiastical independ- 
ence, responsible authority. But they were not secured 
by institutions, and the Reformation began by making 
the dry bones more dry. Luther claimed to be the first 
divine who did justice to the civil power. He made the 
Lutheran Church the bulwark of political stability, and 
bequeathed to his disciples the doctrine of divine right 
and passive obedience. Zwingli, who was a staunch 
republican, desired that all magistrates should be elected, 
and should be liable to be dismissed by their electors ; 
but he died too soon for his influence, and the permanent 
action of the Reformation on democracy was exercised 
through the Presbyterian constitution of Calvin. 

It was long before the democratic element in Fresby- 
terianism began to tell. The Netherlands resisted Philip 
II. for fifteen years before they took courage to depose 
him, and the scheme of the ultra-Calvinist Deventer, to 
subvert the ascendency of the leading States by the 



sovereign action of the whole people, was foiled by 
Leicester's incapacity, and by the consummate policy of 
Barnevelt The Huguenots, having lost their leaders in 
1572, reconstituted themselves on a democratic footing, 
and learned to think that a king who murders his sub- 
jects forfeits his divine right to be obeyed. But Junius 
Brutus and Buchanan damaged their credit by advocating 
regicide; and Hotoman, whose Franco- Gcdlia is the 
most serious work of the group, deserted his liberal 
opinions when the chief of his own party became king. 
The most violent explosion of democracy in that age 
proceeded from the opposite quarter. When Henry of 
Navarre became the next heir to the throne of France, 
the theory of the deposing power, which had proved 
ineffectual for more than a century, awoke with a new 
and more vigorous life. One-half of the nation accepted 
the view, that they were not bound to submit to a king 
they would not have chosen. A Committee of Sixteen 
made itself master of Paris, and, with the aid of Spain, 
succeeded for years in excluding Henry from his capital. 
The impulse thus given endured in literature for a whole 
generation, and produced a library of treatises on the 
right of Catholics to choose, to control, and to cashier 
their magistrates. They were on the losing side. Most 
of them were bloodthirsty, and were soon forgotten. But 
the greater part of the political ideas of Milton, Locke, 
and Rousseau, may be found in the ponderous Latin of 
Jesuits who were subjects of the Spanish Crown, of 
Lessius, Molina, Mariana, and Suarcz. 

The ideas were there, and were taken up when it 
suited them by extreme adherents of Rome and of 
Geneva; but they produced 'no lasting fruit until, a 
century after the Reformation, they became incorporated 
in new religious systems. Five years of civil war could 
not exhaust the royalism of the Presbyterians, and it 
required the expulsion of the majority to make the Long 
Parliament abandon monarchy. It had defended the 
constitution against the crown with legal arts, defending 
precedent against innovation, and setting up an ideal in 


the past which, with all the learning of Selden and of 
Prynne, was less certain than the Puritan statesmen sup- 
posed. The Independants brought in a new principle. 
Tradition had no authority for them, and the past no 
virtue. Liberty of conscience, a thing not to be found 
in the constitution, was more prized by many of them 
than all the statutes of the Plantagenets. Their idea 
that each congregation should govern itself abolished the 
force which is needed to preserve unity, and deprived 
monarchy of the weapon which made it injurious to 
freedom. An immense revolutionary energy resided in 
their doctrine, and it took root in America, and deeply 
coloured political thought in later times. But in England 
the sectarian democracy was strong only to destroy. 
Cromwell refused to be bound by it ; and John Lilburne, 
the boldest thinker among English democrats, declared 
that it would be better for liberty to bring back Charles 
Stuart than to live under the sword of the Protector. 

Lilburne was among the first to understand the real 
conditions of democracy, and the obstacle to its success 
in England. Equality of power could not be preserved, 
except by violence, together with an extreme inequality 
of possessions. There would always be danger, if power 
was not made to wait on property, that property would 
go to those who had the power. This idea of the neces- 
saiytolja,9 l Qe..of property, developed by Harringtott;"ahd 
acKSpted by Milton iiThTs later pamphlets, appeared to 
Toland, and even to John Adams, as important as the 
invention of printing, or the discovery of the circulation 
of the blood. At least it indicates the true explanation 
of the strange completeness with which the Republican 
party had vanished, a dozen years after the solemn trial 
and execution of the King. No extremity of misgovern- 
ment was able to revive it When the treason of Charles 
II. against the constitution was divulged, and the Whigs 
plotted to expel the incorrigible dynasty, their aspirations 
went no farther than a Venetian oligarchy, with Monmouth 
for Doge. The Revolution of 1688 confined power to 
the aristocracy of freeholders. The conservatism of the 


age was unconquerable. Republicanism was distorted even 
in Switzerland, and became in the eighteenth century as 
oppressive and as intolerant as its neighbours. 

In 1769, when Faoli fled from Corsica, it seemed that, 
in Europe at least, democracy was dead. It had, indeed, 
lately been defended in books by a man of bad reputa- 
tion, whom the leaders of public opinion treated with 
contumely, and whose declamations excited so little 
alarm that George III. offered him a pension. What 
gave to Rousseau a power far exceeding that which any 
political writer had ever attained was the progress of 
events in America. The Stuarts had been willing that 
the colonies should serve as a refuge from their system 
of Church and State, and of all their colonies the one 
most favoured was the territory granted to William Penn. 
By the principles of the Society to which he belonged, it 
was necessary that the new State should be founded on 
liberty and equality. But Fenn was further noted among 
Quakers as a follower of the new doctrine of Toleration. 
Thus it came to pass that Pennsylvania enjoyed the most 
democratic constitution in the world, and held up to the 
admiration of the eighteenth century an almost solitary 
example of freedom. It was principally through Franklin 
and the Quaker State that America influenced political 
opinion in Europe, and that the fanaticism of one 
revolutionary epoch was converted into the rationalism 
of another. American independence was the beginning 
of a new era, not merely as a revival of Revolution, 
but because no other Revolution ever proceeded from 
so slight a cause, or was ever conducted with so much 
moderation. The European monarchies supported it. 
The greatest statesmen in England averred that it was 
just. It established a pure democracy; but it was 
democracy in its highest perfection, armed and vigilant, 
less against aristocracy and monarchy than against its 
own weakness and excess. Whilst England was admired 
for the safeguards with which, in the course of many 
centuries, it had fortified liberty against the power of the 
crown, America appeared still more worthy of admiration 


for the safeguards which, in the deliberations of a single 
memorable year, it had set up against the power of its 
own sovereign people. It resembled no other known 
democracy, for it respected freedom, authority, and law. 
It resembled no other constitution, for it was contained in 
half a dozen intelligible articles. Ancient Europe opened 
its mind to two new ideas that Revolution with very 
little provocation may be just; and" tai democracy in 
very large dimensions may be safe. " ' 

1 Whilst America was making itself independent, the spirit 
of reform had been abroad- in Europe. Intelligent minis- 
ters, like Campomanes and Struensee, and well-meaning 
monarchs, of whom the most liberal was Leopold of 
Tuscany, were trying what could be done to make men 
happy by command. Centuries of absolute and intoler- 
ant rule had bequeathed abuses which nothing but the 
most vigorous use of power could remove. The age pre- 
ferred the reign of intellect to the reign of liberty. Turgot, 
the ablest and most far-seeing reformer then living, 
attempted to do for France what less gifted men were 
doing with success in Lombardy, and Tuscany, and 
Parma. He attempted to employ the royal power for the 
good of the people, at the expense of the higher classes. 
The higher classes proved too strong for the crown alone; 
and Louis XVI. abandoned internal reforms in despair, 
and turned for compensation to a war with England for 
the deliverance of her American Colonies. When the 
increasing debt obliged him to seek heroic remedies, and 
he was again repulsed by the privileged orders, he 
appealed at last to the nation. When the States-General 
met, the power had already passed to the middle class, 
for it was by them alone that the country could be 
saved. They were strong enough to triumph by waiting. 
Neither the Court, nor the nobles, nor the army, could do 
anything against them. During the six months from 
January 1789 to the fall of the Bastille in July, France 
travelled as far as England in the six hundred years 
between the Earl of Leicester and Lord Beaconsfield. 
Ten years after the American alliance, the Rights of Man, 


which had been proclaimed at Philadelphia, were repeated 
at Versailles. The alliance had borne fruit on both sides of 
the Atlantic, and for France, the fruit was the triumph of 
American ideas over English. They were more popular, 
more simple, more effective against privilege, and, strange 
to say, more acceptable to the King. The new French 
constitution allowed no privileged orders, no parlia- 
mentary ministry, no power of dissolution, and only a 
suspensive veto. But the characteristic safeguards of the 
American Government were rejected : Federalism, separa- 
tion of Church and State, the Second Chamber, the 
political arbitration of the supreme judicial body. That 
which weakened the Executive was taken: that which 
restrained the Legislature was left. Checks on the crown 
abounded ; but should the crown be vacant, the powers 
that remained would be without a check. The pre- 
cautions were all in one direction. Nobody would con- 
template the contingency that there might be no king. 
The constitution was inspired by a profound disbelief in 
Louis XVI. and a pertinacious belief in monarchy. The 
assembly voted without debate, by acclamation, a Civil 
List three times as large as that of Queen Victoria. 
When Louis fled, and the throne was actually vacant, 
they brought him back to it, preferring the phantom of a 
king who was a prisoner to the reality of no king at all. 

Next to this misapplication of American examples, 
which was the fault of nearly all the leading statesmen, 
excepting Mounier, Mirabcau, and Sieyos, the cause of 
the Revolution was injured by its religious policy. The 
most novel and impressive lesson taught by the fathers 
of the American Republic was that the people, and not 
the administration, should govern. Men in office were 
salaried agents, by whom the nation wrought its will. 
Authority submitted to public opinion, and left to it 
not only the control, but the initiative of government. 
Patience in waiting for a wind, alacrity in catching it, 
the dread of exerting unnecessary influence, characterise 
the early presidents. Some of the French politicians 
shared this view, though with less exaggeration than 


Washington. They wished to decentralise the govern- 
ment, and to obtain, for good or evil, the genuine 
expression of popular sentiment Necker himself, and 
Buzot, the most thoughtful of the Girondins, dreamed 
of federalising France. In the United States there was 
no current of opinion, and no combination of forces, to 
be seriously feared. The government needed no security 
against being propelled in a wrong direction. But the 
French Revolution was accomplished at the expense of 
powerful classes. Besides the nobles, the Assembly, 
which had been made supreme by the accession of the 
clergy, and had been led at first by popular ecclesiastics, 
by Siey&s, Talleyrand, Cic, La Luzerne, made an enemy 
of the clergy. The prerogative could not be destroyed 
without touching the Church. Ecclesiastical patronage 
had helped to make the crown absolute. To leave it 
in the hands of Louis and his ministers was to renounce 
the entire policy of the constitution. To disestablish, 
was to make it over to the Pope. It was consistent 
with the democratic principle to introduce election into 
the Church. It involved a breach with Rome ; but so, 
indeed, did the laws of Joseph II., Charles IIL, and 
Leopold. The Pope was not likely to cast away the 
friendship of France, if he could help it ; and the French 
clergy were not likely to give trouble by their attachment 
to Rome. Therefore, amid the indifference of many, and 
against the urgent, and probably sincere, remonstrances 
of Robespierre and Marat, the Jansenists, who had a 
century of persecution to avenge, carried the Civil Con- 
stitution. The coercive measures which enforced it led to 
the breach with the King, and the fall of the monarchy ; 
to the revolt of the provinces, and the fall of liberty. 
The Jacobins determined that public opinion should not 
reign, that the State should not remain at the mercy of 
powerful combinations. They held the representatives of 
the people under control, by the people itself. They 
attributed higher authority to the direct than to the 
indirect voice of the democratic oracle. They armed 
themselves with power to crush every adverse, every 


independent force, and especially to put down the Church, 
in whose cause the provinces had risen against the capital. 
They met the centrifugal federalism of the friends of the 
Gironde by the most resolute centralisation. France was 
governed by Paris ; and Paris by its municipality and its 
mob. Obeying Rousseau's maxim, that the people cannot 
delegate its power, they raised the elementary constituency 
above its representatives. As the greatest constituent 
body, the most numerous accumulation of primary electors, 
the largest portion of sovereignty, was in the people of 
Paris, they designed that the people of Paris should rule 
over France, as the people of Rome, the mob as well as 
the senate, had ruled, not ingloriously, over Italy, and 
over half the nations that surround the Mediterranean. 
Although the Jacobins were scarcely more irreligious than 
the Abb Siey&s or Madame Roland, although Robespierre 
wanted to force men to believe in God, although Danton 
went to confession and Bar&re was a professing Christian, 
they imparted to modern democracy that implacable hatred 
of religion which contrasts so strangely with the example 
of its Puritan prototype. 

The deepest cause which made the French Revolution 
i so disastrous to liberty was its theory of equality. Liberty 
was the watchword of the middle class, equality of the 
lower. It was the lower dass that won the battles of 
the third estate ; that took the Bastille, and made France 
a constitutional monarchy; that took the Tuileries, and 
made France a Republic. They claimed their reward. 
The middle class, having cast down the upper orders 
with the aid of the lower, instituted a new inequality and 
a privilege for itself. By means of a taxpaying qualifi- 
cation it deprived its confederates of their vote. To 
those, therefore, who had accomplished the Revolution, 
its promise was not fulfilled. Equality did nothing for 
'them. The opinion, at that time, was almost universal, 
that society is founded on an agreement which is volun- 
tary and conditional, and that the links which bind men 
to it are terminable, for sufficient reason, like those which 
subject them to authority. From these popular premises 


the logic of Marat drew his sanguinary conclusions. He 
told the famished people that the conditions on which 
they had consented to bear their evil lot, and had re- 
frained from violence, had not been kept to them. It 
was suicide, it was murder, to submit to starve and to 
see one's children starving, by the fault of the rich. The ; 
bonds of society were dissolved by the wrong it inflicted. 
The state of nature had come back, in which every man 
had a right to what he could take. The time had come 
for the rich to make way for the poor. With this theory 
of equality, liberty was quenched in blood, and French- 
men became ready to sacrifice all other tilings to save 
life and fortune. 

Twenty years after the splendid opportunity that 
opened in 1789, the reaction had triumphed everywhere 
in Europe ; ancient constitutions had perished as well as 
new; and even England afforded them neither protec- 
tion nor sympathy. The liberal, at least the democratic 
revival, came from Spain. The Spaniards fought against 
the French for a king, who was a prisoner in France. 
They gave themselves a constitution, and placed his 
name at the head of it They had a monarchy, without 
a king. It required to be so contrived that it would work 
in the absence, possibly the permanent absence, of the 
monarch. It became, therefore, a monarchy only in 
namc^ composed, in fact, of democratic forces. The 
constitution of 1812 was the attempt of inexperienced 
men to accomplish the most difficult task in politics. It 
was smitten with sterility. For many years it was the 
standard of abortive revolutions among the so-called 
Latin nations. It promulgated the notion of a king who 
should flourish only in name, and should not even 
dischaxge the humble function which Hegel assigns to 
royalty, of dotting Fs for the people. 

The overthrow of the Cadiz constitution, in 1823, was 
the supreme triumph of the restored monarchy of France. 
Five years later, under a wise and liberal minister, the 
Restoration was advancing fairly on the constitutional 
paths, when the incurable distrust of the Liberal party 


defeated Martignac, and brought in the ministry of 
extreme royalists that ruined the monarchy. In labour- 
ing to transfer power from the class which the Revolution 
had enfranchised to those which it had overthrown, 
Folignac and La Bourdonnaie would gladly have made 
terms with the working men. To break the influence of 
intellect and capital by means of universal suffrage, was 
an idea long and zealously advocated by some of their 
supporters. They had not foresight or ability to divide 
their adversaries, and they were vanquished in 1830 by 
the united democracy. 

The promise of tie Revolution of July was to reconcile 
royalists and democrats. The King assured Lafayette 
that he was a republican at heart ; and Lafayette assured 
France that Louis Philippe was the best of republics. 
The shock of the great event was felt in Poland, and 
Belgium, and even in England. It gave a direct impulse 
to democratic movements in Switzerland. 

Swiss democracy had been in abeyance since 1815. 
The national will had no organ. The cantons were 
supreme ; and governed as inefficiently as other govern- 
ments under the protecting shade of the Holy Alliance. 
There was no dispute that Switzerland called for extensive 
reforms, and no doubt of the direction they would take. 
The number of the cantons was the great obstacle to all 
improvement It was useless to have twenty-five govern- 
ments in a country equal to one American State, and 
inferior in population to one great city. It was impossible 
that they should be good governments. A central power 
was the manifest need of the country. In the absence of 
an efficient federal power, seven cantons formed a separate 
league for the protection of their own interests. Whilst 
democratic ideas were making way in Switzerland, the 
Papacy was travelling in the opposite direction, and show* 
ing an inflexible hostility for ideas which arc the breath 
of democratic life. The growing democracy and the 
growing Ultramontanism came into collision. The 
Sonderbund could aver with truth that there was no 
safety for its rights under the Federal Constitution. The 


others could reply, with equal truth, that there was nc 
safety for the constitution with the Sonderbund. In 
1847, it came to a war between national sovereignty and 
cantonal sovereignty. The Sonderbund was dissolved, 
and a new Federal Constitution was adopted, avowedly 
and ostensibly charged with the duty of carrying out 
democracy, and repressing the adverse influence of Rome. 
It was a delusive imitation of the American system. The 
President was powerless. The Senate was powerless. 
The Supreme Court was powerless. The sovereignty of 
the cantons was undermined, and their power centred in 
the House of Representatives. The Constitution of 1848 
was a first step towards the destruction of Federalism. 
Another and almost a final step in the direction of central- 
isation was taken in 1874. The railways, and the vast 
interests they created, made the position of the cantonal 
governments untenable. The conflict with the Ultra- 
montanes increased the demand for vigorous action ; and 
the destruction of State Rights in the American war 
strengthened the hands of the Centralists. The Consti- 
tution of 1874 is one of the most significant works of 
modern democracy. It is the triumph of democratic 
force over democratic freedom. It overrules not only the 
Federal principle, but the representative principle. It 
carries important measures away from the Federal Legis- 
lature to submit them to the votes of the entire people, 
separating decision from deliberation. The operation is so 
cumbrous as to be generally ineffective: But it constitutes 
a power such as exists, we believe, under the laws of no 
other country. A Swiss jurist has frankly expressed the 
spirit of the reigning system by saying, that the State is 
the appointed conscience of the nation. 

The moving force in Switzerland has been democracy 
relieved of all constraint, the principle of putting in action 
the greatest force of the greatest number. The prosperity 
of the country has prevented complications such as arose 
in France. The ministers of Louis Philippe, able and 
enlightened men, believed that they would make the 
people prosper if they could have their own way, and 


could shut out public opinion. They acted as if the 
intelligent middle class was destined by heaven to govern. 
The upper class had proved its unfitness before 1789; 
the lower class, since 1789. Government by professional 
men, by manufacturers and scholars, was sure to be safe, 
and almost sure to be reasonable and practical. Money 
became the object of a political superstition, such as had 
formerly attached to land, and afterwards attached to 
labour. The masses of the people, who had fought 
against Marmont, became aware that they had not fought 
for their own benefit They were still governed by their 

When the King parted with Lafayette, and it was 
found that he would not only reign but govern, the 
indignation of the republicans found a vent in street 
fighting. In 1836, when the horrors of the infernal 
machine had armed the crown with ampler powers, and 
had silenced the republican party, the term Socialism 
made its appearance in literature. Tocqucville, who was 
writing the philosophic chapters that conclude his work, 
failed to discover the power which the new system was 
destined to exercise on democracy. Until then, democrats 
and communists had stood apart. Although the socialist 
doctrines were defended by the best intellects of France, 
by Thierry, Comte, Chevalier, and Georges Sand, they 
excited more attention as a literary curiosity than as the 
cause of future revolutions. Towards 1 840, in the recesses 
of secret societies, republicans and socialists coalesced. 
Whilst the Liberal leaders, Lamartine and Barrot, dis- 
coursed on the surface concerning reform, Ledru Rollin 
and Louis Blanc were quietly digging a grave for the 
monarchy, the Liberal party, and the reign of wealth. 
They worked so well, and the vanquished republicans 
recovered so thoroughly, by this coalition, the influence 
they had lost by a long series of crimes and follies, that, 
in 1848, they were able to conquer without fighting. 
The fruit of their victory was universal suffrage. 

From that time the promises of socialism have supplied 
the best energy of democracy. Their coalition has been 


the ruling fact in French politics. It created the "saviour 
of society," and the Commune ; and it still entangles the 
footsteps of the Republic. It is the only shape in which 
democracy has found an entrance into Germany. Liberty 
has lost its spell ; and democracy maintains itself by the 
promise of substantial gifts to the masses of the people. 

Since the Revolution of July and the Presidency of 
Jackson gave the impulse which has made democracy 
preponderate, the ablest political writers, Tocqueville, 
Calhoun, Mill, and Laboulaye, have drawn, in the name 
of freedom, a formidable indictment against it. They 
have shown democracy without respect for the past or 
care for the future, regardless of public faith and of 
national honour, extravagant and inconstant, jealous of 
talent and of knowledge, indifferent to justice but servile 
towards opinion, incapable of organisation, impatient of 
authority, averse from obedience, hostile to religion and 
to established law. Evidence indeed abounds, even if 
the true cause be not proved. But it is not to these 
symptoms that we must impute the permanent danger 
and the irrepressible conflict As much might be made 
good against monarchy, and an unsympathising reasoner 
might in the same way argue that religion is intolerant, 
that conscience makes cowards, that piety rejoices in 
fraud. Recent experience has added little to the observa- 
tions of those who witnessed the decline after Pericles, 
of Thucydides, Aristophanes, Plato, and of the writer 
whose brilliant tract against the Athenian Republic is 
printed among the works of Xenophon. The manifest, 
the avowed difficulty is that democracy, no less than 
monarchy or aristocracy, sacrifices everything to maintain 
itself, and strives, with an energy and a plausibility that 
kings and nobles cannot attain, to override representation, 
to annul all the forces of resistance and deviation, and to 
secure, by Plebiscite, Referendum, or Caucus, free play 
for the will of the majority. The true democratic 
principle, that none shall have power over the people, is 
taken to mean that none shall be"aBte"tb 'restrain or to 
elude its power. The true democratic principle, that the 


people shall not be made to do what it does not like^ is 
taken to mean that it shall never 'be required" to tolerate 
what it does not like. The true democratic principle, 
that every man's free will shall be as unfettered as pos- 
sible, is taken to mean that the free will of the 'collective* 
people shall be fettered in nothing. Religious toleration, 
judicial independence, dread of centralisation, jealousy of 
State interference, become obstacles to freedom instead 
of safeguards, when the centralised force of the State is 
wielded by the hands of the people. Democracy claims 
to be not only supreme, without authority above, but 
absolute, without independence below; to be its own 
master, not a trustee. The old sovereigns of the world 
are exchanged for a new one, who may be flattered and 
deceived, but whom it is impossible to corrupt or to resist, 
and to whom must be rendered the things that are 
Caesar's and also the things that are God's. The enemy 
to be overcome is no longer the absolutism of the State, 
but the liberty of the subject Nothing is more signifi- 
cant than the relish with which Ferrari, the most powerful 
democratic writer since Rousseau, enumerates the merits 
of tyrants, and prefers devils to saints in the interest of 
the community. 

For the old notions of civil liberty and of social order 
did not benefit the masses of the people. Wealth in- 
creased, without relieving their wants. The progress of 
knowledge left them in abject ignorance. Religion 
flourished, but failed to reach them. Society, whose 
laws were made by the upper class alone, announced that 
the best thing for the poor is not to be born, and the 
next best, to die in childhood, and suffered them to live 
in misery and crime and pain. As surely as .,&... IfiQg 
reign ,.pf .the rich has been employed 'in prompting the 
; accusation of wealth, the advent of the poor JQ.JWPHE 
j will be followed by schemes for diffusing it Seeing how 
little was* done by the wisdom of former times for educa- 
tion and public health, for insurance, association, and 
savings, for the protection of labour against the law of 
self-interest, and how much has been accomplished in this 


generation, there is reason in the fixed belief that a great 
change was needed, and that democracy has not striven 
in vain. Liberty, for the mass, is not happiness ; and 
institutions arS"flot an end but a means. The thing they 
seek is a force sufficient to sweep away scruples and the 
obstacle of rival interests, and, in some degree, to better 
their condition. They mean that the strong hand that 
heretofore has formed great States, protected religions, 
and defended the independence of nations, shall help 
them by preserving life, and endowing it for them with 
some, at least, of the things men live for. That is the 
notorious danger of modem democracy. That is also its ; 
purpose and its strength. And against this threatening : 
power the weapons that struck down other despots do 
not avail The greatest happiness principle positively 
confirms it The principle of equality, besides being as 
easily applied to property as to power, opposes the exist- 
ence of persons or groups of persons exempt from the 
common law, and independent of the common will ; and 
the principle, that authority is a matter of contract, may 
hold good against kings, but not against the sovereign 
people^ because a contract implies two parties. 

If we have not done more than the ancients to 
develop and to examine the disease, we have far sur- 
passed them in studying the remedy. Besides the 
French Constitution of the year III., and that of the 
American Confederates, the most remarkable attempts 
that have been made since the archonship of Euclides 
to meet democratic evils with the antidotes which 
democracy itself supplies, our age has been prolific in 
this branch of experimental politics. 

Many expedients have been tried, that have been 
evaded or defeated. A divided executive, which was 
an important phase in the transformation of ancient 
monarchies into republics, and which, through the advo- 
cacy of Condorcet, took root in France, has proved to be 
weakness itself. 

The constitution of 1795, the work of a learned priest, 
confined the franchise to those who should know how 


to read and write; and in 1849 this provision was 
rejected by men who intended that the ignorant voter 
should help them to overturn the Republic. In our time 
no democracy could long subsist without educating the 
masses ; and the scheme of Daunou is simply an indirect 
encouragement to elementary instruction. 

In 1799 Siey&s suggested to Bonaparte the idea of a 
great Council, whose function it should be to keep the acts 
of the Legislature in harmony with the constitution a 
function which the Nomophylakcs discharged at Athens, 
and the Supreme Court in the United States, and which 
produced the Snat Conservateur, one of the favourite 
implements of Imperialism. Siey&s meant that his Council 
should also serve the purpose of a gilded ostracism, having 
power to absorb any obnoxious politician, and to silence 
him with a thousand a year. 

Napoleon the Third's plan of depriving unmarried men 
of their votes would have disfranchised the two greatest 
Conservative classes in France, the priest and the soldier. 

In the American constitution it was intended that the 
chief of the executive should be chosen by a body of 
carefully selected electors. But since, in 1825, the 
popular candidate succumbed to one who had only a 
minority of votes, it has become the practice to elect the 
President by the pledged delegates of universal suffrage. 

The exclusion of ministers from Congress has been 
one of the severest strains on the American system ; and 
the law which required a majority of three to qne enabled 
Louis Napoleon to make himself Emperor. Large con- 
stituencies make independent deputies; but experience 
proves that small assemblies, the consequence of large 
constituencies, can be managed by Government 

The composite vote and the cumulative vote have 
been almost universally rejected as schemes for baffling 
the majority. But the principle of dividing the represen- 
tatives equally between population and property has 
never had fair play. It was introduced by Thouret into 
the constitution of 1791. The Revolution made it 
inoperative; and it was so manipulated from 1817 to 


1848 by the fatal dexterity of Guizot as to make opinion 
ripe for universal suffrage. 

Constitutions which forbid the payment of deputies 
and the system of imperative instructions, which deny the 
power of dissolution, and make the Legislature last for a 
fixed term, or renew it by partial re-elections, and which 
require an interval between the several debates on the 
same measure, evidently strengthen the independence of 
the representative assembly. The Swiss veto has the 
same effect, as it suspends legislation only when opposed 
by a majority of the whole electoral body, not by a 
majority of those who actually vote upon it 

Indirect elections are scarcely anywhere in use out 
of Germany, but they have been a favourite corrective of 
democracy with many thoughtful politicians. Where the 
extent of the electoral district obliges constituents to vote 
for candidates who are unknown to them, the election is 
not free. It is managed by wire-pullers, and by party 
machinery, beyond the control of the electors. Indirect 
election puts the choice of the managers into their hands. 
The objection is that the intermediate electors are 
generally too few to span the interval between voters and 
candidates, and that they choose representatives not of 
better quality, but of different politics. If the inter- 
mediate body consisted of one in ten of the whole 
constituency, the contact would be preserved, the people 
would be really represented, and the ticket system would 
be broken down. 

The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny 
of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the 
majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying 
elections. To break off that point is to avert the danger. 
The common system of representation perpetuates the 
danger. Unequal electorates afford no security to 
majorities. Equal electorates give none to minorities. 
Thirty-five years ago it was pointed out that the remedy 
is proportional representation. It is profoundly demo- 
cratic, for it increases the influence of thousands who 
would otherwise have no voice in the government ; and it 



brings men more near an equality by so contriving that 
no vote shall be wasted, and that every voter shall 
contribute to bring into Parliament a member of his own 
opinions. The origin of the idea is variously claimed for 
Lord Grey and for Consid&ant The successful example 
of Denmark and the earnest advocacy of Mill gave it 
prominence in the world of politics. It has gained 
popularity with the growth of democracy, and we are 
informed by M. Naville that in Switzerland Conservatives 
and Radicals combined to promote it 

Of all checks on democracy, federalism has been the 
most efficacious and the most congenial ; but, becoming 
associated with the Red Republic, with feudalism, with 
the Jesuits, and with slavery, it has fallen into disrepute, 
and is giving way to centralism. The federal system 
limits and restrains the sovereign power by dividing it, 
and by assigning to Government only certain defined 
rights. It is the only method of curbing not only the 
majority but the power of the whole people, and it 
affords the strongest basis for a second chamber, which 
has been found the essential security for freedom in 
every genuine democracy. 

The fall of Guizot discredited the famous maxim of 
the Doctrinaires, that Reason is sovereign, and not king 
or people ; and it was further exposed to the scoffer by 
the promise of Comtc that Positivist philosophers shall 
manufacture political ideas, which no man shall be 
permitted to dispute. But putting aside international 
and criminal law, in which there is some approach to 
uniformity, the domain of political economy seems 
destined to admit the rigorous certainty of science. 
Whenever that shall be attained, when the battle 
between Economists and Socialists is ended, the evil 
force which Socialism imparts to democracy will be 
spent The battle is raging more violently than ever, 
but it has entered into a new phase, by the rise of a 
middle party. Whether that remarkable movement, 
which is promoted by some of the first economists in 
Europe, is destined to shake the authority of their 


science, or to conquer socialism, by robbing it of that 
which is the secret of its strength, it must be recorded 
here as the latest and the most serious effort that has been 
made to disprove the weighty sentence of Rousseau, that 
democracy is a government for gods, but unfit for man. 

We have been able to touch on only a few of the 

topics that crowd Sir Erskine May's volumes. Although 

he has perceived more clearly than Tocqueville the contact 

of democracy with socialism, his judgment is untinged 

with Tocqueville's despondency, and he contemplates the 

direction of progress with a confidence that approaches 

optimism. The notion of an inflexible logic in history 

does not depress him, for he concerns himself with facts 

and with men more than with doctrines, and his book 

is a history of several democracies, not of democracy. 

There are links in the argument, there are phases of 

development which he leaves unnoticed, because his 

object has not been to trace out the properties and 

the connection of ideas, but to explain the results of 

experience. We should consult his pages, probably, 

without effect, if we wished to follow the origin and 

sequence of the democratic dogmas, that all men are 

equal; that speech and thought are free; that each 

generation is a law to itself only ; that there shall be 

no endowments, no entails, no primogeniture; that the 

people are sovereign ; that the people can do no wrong. 

The great mass of those who, of necessity, are interested 

in practical politics have no such antiquarian curiosity. 

They want to know what can be learned from the 

countries where the democratic experiments have been 

tried; but they do not care to be told how M. 

Waddington has emended the Monumentum Avuyranum> 

what connection there was between Mariana and Milton, 

or between Penn and Rousseau, or who invented the 

proverb Vox PopuK Vox Dei. Sir Erskine May's 

reluctance to deal with matters speculative and doctrinal, 

and to devote his space to the mere literary history of 

politics, has made his touch somewhat uncertain in 

treating of the political action of Christianity, perhaps 


the most complex and comprehensive question that can 
embarrass a historian. He disparages the influence of 
the mediaeval Church on nations just emerging from a 
barbarous paganism, and he exalts it when it had become 
associated with despotism and persecution. He insists 
on the liberating action of the Reformation in the 
sixteenth century, when it gave a stimulus to absolutism ; 
and he is slow to recognise, in the enthusiasm and violence 
of the sects in the seventeenth, the most potent agency 
ever brought to bear on democratic history. The 
omission of America creates a void between 1660 and 
1789, and leaves much unexplained in the revolutionary 
movement of the last hundred years, which is the 
central problem of the book. But if some things are 
missed from the design, if the execution is not equal 
in every part, the praise remains to Sir Erskine May, 
that he is the only writer who has ever brought together 
the materials for a comparative study of democracy, that 
he has avoided the temper of party, that has shown a 
hearty sympathy for the progress and improvement of 
mankind, and a steadfast faith in the wisdom and the 
power that guide it 


THE way in which Coligny and his adherents met their 
death has been handed down by a crowd of trustworthy 
witnesses, and few things in history are known in more 
exact detail But the origin and motives of the tragedy, 
and the manner of its reception by the opinion of 
Christian Europe, are still subject to controversy. Some 
of the evidence has been difficult of access, part is lost, 
and much has been deliberately destroyed. No letters 
written from Paris at the time have been found in the 
Austrian archives. In the correspondence of thirteen 
agents of the House of Este at the Court of Rome, every 
paper relating to the event has disappeared. All the 
documents of 1572, both from Rome and Paris, are 
wanting in the archives of Venice. In the Registers of 
many French towns the leaves which contained the 
records of August and September in that year have been 
torn out The first reports sent to England by Walsing- 
ham and by the French Government have not been 
recovered. Three accounts printed at Rome, when the 
facts were new, speedily became so rare that they have 
been forgotten. The Bull of Gregory XIII. was not 
admitted into the official collections; and the reply to 
Muretus has escaped notice until now. The letters of 
Charles IX. to Rome, with the important exception of 
that which he wrote on the 24th of August, have been 
dispersed and lost The letters of Gregory XIII. to 
France have never been seen by persons willing to make 

1 North British Review, Oct. 1869. 


them public. In the absence of these documents the 
most authentic information is that which is supplied 
by the French Ambassador and by the Nuncio. The 
despatches of Ferralz, describing the attitude of the 
Roman court, are extant, but have not been used. Those 
of Salviati have long been known. Chateaubriand took 
a copy when the papal archives were at Paris, and 
projected a work on the events with which they are 
concerned. Some extracts were published, with his 
consent, by the continuator of Mackintosh ; and a larger 
selection, from the originals in the Vatican, appeared in 
Thciner^s Annals of Gregory XIII. The letters written 
under Pius V. are beyond the limits of that work ; and 
Theiner, moreover, has omitted whatever seemed irrelevant 
to his purpose. The criterion of relevancy is uncertain ; 
and we shall avail ourselves largely of the unpublished 
portions of Salviati's correspondence, which were tran- 
scribed by Chateaubriand. These manuscripts, with others 
of equal importance not previously consulted, determine 
several doubtful questions, of policy and design. 

The Protestants never occupied a more triumphant 
position, and their prospects were never brighter, than in 
the summer of 1572. For many years the progress of 
their religion had been incessant The most valuable 
of the conquests it has retained were already made ; and 
the period of its reverses had not begun. The great 
division which aided Catholicism afterwards to recover 
so much lost ground was not openly confessed ; and the 
effectual unity of the Reformed Churches was not yet 
dissolved. In controversial theology the defence was 
weaker than the attack. The works to which the Refor- 
mation owed its popularity and system were in the hands 
of thousands, while the best authors of the Catholic 
restoration had not begun to write. The press continued 
to serve the new opinions better than the old ; and in 
literature Protestantism was supreme. Persecuted in the 
South, and established by violence in the North, it had 
overcome the resistance of princes in Central Europe, and 
had won toleration without ceasing to be intolerant In 


France and Poland, in the dominions of the Emperor and 
under the German prelates, the attempt to arrest its 
advance by physical force had been abandoned. In 
Germany it covered twice the area that remained to it in 
the next generation, and, except in Bavaria, Catholicism 
was fast dying out The Polish Government had not 
strength to persecute, and Poland became the refuge 
of the sects. When the bishops found that they could 
not prevent toleration, they resolved that they would not 
restrict it Trusting to the maxim, " Bellum Haereticorum 
pax est Ecclesiae," they insisted that liberty should 
extend to those whom the Reformers would have ex- 
terminated. 1 The Polish Protestants, in spite of their 
dissensions, formed themselves into one great party. 
When the death of the last of the Jagellons, on the 7th 
of July 1572, made the monarchy elective, they were 
strong enough to enforce their conditions on the candi- 
dates; and it was thought that they would be able to 
decide the election, and obtain a king of their own 
choosing. Alva's reign of Terror had failed to pacify the 
Low Countries, and he was about to resign the hopeless 
task to an incapable successor. The taking of the Brill 
in April was the first of those maritime victories which 
led to the independence of the Dutch. Mons fell in 
May; and in July the important province of Holland 
declared for the Prince of Orange. The Catholics 
believed that all was lost if Alva remained in command. 8 
The decisive struggle was in France. During the 
minority of Charles IX. persecution had given way to 
civil war, and the Regent, his mother, had vainly striven, 
by submitting to neither party, to uphold the authority 
of the Crown. She checked the victorious Catholics, by 
granting to the Huguenots terms which constituted them, 
in spite of continual disaster in the field, a vast and 
organised power in the State. To escape their influence 

* Satiua fora duceban, si minus profligari possent onraes, ut ferrentur omnes, 
quo mordentes et comedentes invicem, consumerantur ab invicem (Hoshu to 
Karnkowsky, Feb. aS, 1568). 

The Secretary of Medina Cell to Sayas, June 94. *57 (&"**&***** A 

j/.i 1L 264). 


it would have been necessary to invoke the help of 
Philip II., and to accept protection which would have 
made France subordinate to Spain. Philip laboured to 
establish such an alliance; and it was to promote this 
scheme that he sent his queen, Elizabeth of Valois, to 
meet her mother at Bayonne. In 1568 Elizabeth died; 
and a rumour came to Catherine touching the manner of 
her death which made it hard to listen to friendly over- 
tures from her husband. Antonio Perez, at that time 
an unscrupulous instrument of his master's will, afterwards 
accused him of having poisoned his wife. " On parle fort 
sinistrement de sa mort, pour avoir 6t6 advancfe," says 
Brant6me. After the massacre of the Protestants, the 
ambassador at Venice, a man distinguished as a jurist and a 
statesman,reproached Catherine with having thrown France 
into the hands of him in whom the world recognised 
her daughter's murderer. Catherine did not deny the truth 
of the report She replied that she was " bound to think 
of her sons in preference to her daughters, that the foul- 
play was not fully proved, and that if it were it could not 
be avenged so long as France was weakened by religious 
discord." l She wrote as she could not have written if she 
had been convinced that the suspicion was unjust. 

When Charles IX. began to be his own master he 
seemed resolved to follow his father and grandfather in 
their hostility to the Spanish Power. He wrote to a 
trusted servant that all his thoughts were bent on thwarting 
Philip. 8 While the Christian navies were fighting at 
Lcpanto, the King of France was treating with the Turks. 
His menacing attitude in the following year kept Don 

1 Qiumt a ce qui me touche a moy en parliculicr, encores que j'nyme unlcquc- 
ment tous raes enffons, je vculx prercrer, comma il est bien raysonnable, les filx 
aux filles ; ot pour Ic regard de ce que me mondez de cclluy qui n faict mourir 
ma fillet, c'est chose que Ton ne tieut point pour certainc, et oft elle Ic seroit, le 
roy monsieur mondit ills n'en jxmvoit faire lit vengcncc en 1'estnt que son 
royaulrao cstoit Ion ; mais a present qu'tt cst tout uui, il awra asses de moion 
et de forces pour sen resscntir quint 1'occasion s'en prdsentcm (Catherine to 
Du Ferrier, Get x, 1579; Bib. Imp. F. Wr. X5555)* '**& despatches of 
Fourquevnulx from Madrid, published by the Marquis Du Prat in the Hisioirt 
fMUfdMk A Vabitt do not confirm the rumour. 

* Toutes roe* fentaisics sont banddcs pour m'opposer a la grandeur des 
Espognols, et delibero m'y conduire le plus dextrement qu'il me sera possible 
(Charles IX to Noallles, May a, 1573 ; NoaiUes, Henri A Vdtris, I 8). 



Juan in Sicilian waters, and made his victory baSrijm for 
Christendom. Encouraged by French protection, v<i548^ 
withdrew from the League. Even in Corsica there was 
a movement which men interpreted as a prelude to the 
storm that France was raising against the empire of Spain. 
Rome trembled in expectation of a Huguenot invasion of 
Italy ; for Charles was active in conciliating the Protes- 
tants both abroad and at home. He married a daughter 
of the tolerant Emperor Maximilian II. ; and he carried 
on negotiations for the marriage of his brother with Queen 
Elizabeth, not with any hope of success, but in order to 
impress public opinion. 1 He made treaties of alliance, in 
quick succession, with England, with the German Protes- 
tants, and with the Prince of Orange. He determined 
that his brother Anjou, the champion of the Catholics, of 
whom it was said that he had vowed to root out the 
Protestants to a man, 2 should be banished to the throne 
of Poland. Disregarding the threats and entreaties of 
the Pope, he gave his sister in marriage to Navarre. By 
the peace of St Germains the Huguenots had secured, 
within certain limits, freedom from persecution and the 
liberty of persecuting; so that Pius V. declared that 
France had been made the slave of heretics. Coligny 
was now the most powerful man in the kingdom. His 
scheme for closing the civil wars by an expedition for the 
conquest of the Netherlands began to be put in motion. 
French auxiliaries followed Lewis of Nassau into Mons ; 
an army of Huguenots had already gone to his assistance ; 
another was being collected near the frontier, and Coligny 
was preparing to take the command in a war which might 
become a Protestant crusade, and which left the Catholics no 
hope of victory. Meanwhile many hundreds of his officers 
followed him to Paris, to attend the wedding which was to 
reconcile the factions, and cement the peace of religion. 

1 n firalt, et Je vous prie no feillir, quand bien II seroit du tout rompu, et qua 
verrtes qu'il n'y auroit nulle esptirance, de trouver moyen d'en entrettcnir toujours 
doucement le propos, d'fti a qudque temps ; car cella ne pent que bien scrvir a 
establir mes affaires et aussy poor ma reputation (Charles IX. to La Mothe, 
Aug. 9> X573 ; Corr. de La Motht, vil 311). 

" This is stated both lay his mother and by the Cfetllnal of Lorraine (Michctet, 


In the midst of those lofty designs and hopes, Coligny 
was struck down. On the morning of the 22nd of August 
he was shot at and badly wounded. Two days later 
he was killed; and a general attack was made on the 
Huguenots of Paris. It lasted some weeks, and was 
imitated in about twenty places. The chief provincial 
towns of France were among them. 

Judged by its immediate result, the massacre of St. 
Bartholomew was a measure weakly planned and 
irresolutely executed, which deprived Protestantism of 
its political leaders, and left it for a time to the control 
of zealots. There is no evidence to make it probable 
that more than seven thousand victims perished. Judged 
by later events, it was the beginning of a vast change in 
the conflict of the churches. At first it was believed that 
a hundred thousand Huguenots had fallen. It was said 
that the survivors were abjuring by thousands, 1 that the 
children of the slain were made Catholics, that those 
whom the priest had admitted to absolution and com- 
munion were nevertheless put to death. 8 Men who were 
far beyond the reach of the French Government lost their 
faith in a religion which Providence had visited with so 
tremendous a judgment ; 8 and foreign princes took heart 
to employ severities which could excite no horror after 
the scenes in France. 

Contemporaries were persuaded that the Huguenots 
had been flattered and their policy adopted only for their 
destruction, and that the murder of Coligny and his 
followers was a long premeditated crime. Catholics and 
Protestants vied with each other in detecting proofs of 
that which they variously esteemed a sign of supernatural 
inspiration or of diabolical depravity. In the last forty 
years a different opinion has prevailed. It has been 

1 In rcliqua Gallia fuit et est incredibflis defectio, quae tiuneu usque adeo non 
pacavit imnianes lllas feras, utculam cos qui dofecerunt (qul pene sunt innumera- 
bfles) aemol ad internecionera una cum fategris fiunfflis trucidare prorsus decre- 
roint (Bcza, Dec. 3, 1572 ; III. vin Mft. StL, p. 6ax, 1617). 

> Longuet to the Duke of Saxony, Nov. 30, 1573 (Arcana, sec. rri. 183). 

* VIdi et cum dolore intcllexi lonienara fllam Gtallicam pcrfidlssimam et 
atrocissimam plurimos per Germaniam ita ofiendisse, ut jam etiom de veritate 
nosttae Retiglonis et doctrinae dubitarc incoepertat (Bullinger to Wittgenstein. 
Feb. 93, 1573; ttriedlttnder, BtitrSgt *ur rel Gto&, p. 254). 


deemed more probable, more consistent with testimony 
and with the position of affairs at the time, that Coligny 
succeeded in acquiring extraordinary influence over the 
mind of Charles, that his advice really predominated, and 
that the sanguinary resolution was suddenly embraced by 
his adversaries as the last means of regaining power. 
This opinion is made plausible by many facts. It is 
supported by several writers who were then living, and 
by the document known as the Confession of Anjou. 
The best authorities of the present day are nearly 
unanimous in rejecting premeditation. 

The evidence on the opposite side is stronger than 
they suppose. The doom which awaited the Huguenots 
had been long expected and often foretold. People at a 
distance, Monluc in Languedoc, and the Protestant Mylius 
in Italy, drew the same inference from the news that 
came from the court Strangers meeting on the road 
discussed the infatuation of the Admiral. 1 Letters brought 
from Rome to the Emperor the significant intimation that 
the birds were all caged, and now was the time to lay 
hands on them. 8 Duplessis-Mornay, the future chief of 
the Huguenots, was so much oppressed with a sense of 
coming evil, that he hardly ventured into the streets on 
the wedding-day. He warned the Admiral of the general 
belief among their friends that the marriage concealed 
a plot for their ruin, and that the festivities would end 
in some horrible surprise. 8 Coligny was proof against 
suspicion. Several of his followers left Paris, but he 
remained unmoved. At one moment the excessive 
readiness to grant all his requests shook the confidence 
of his son-in-law Tiligny ; but the doubt vanished so 
completely that Tfligny himself prevented the flight of 
his partisans after the attempt on the Admiral's life. On 
the morning of the fatal day, Montgomery sent word to 
Walsingham that Coligny was safe under protection of 

1 De Thou, Mimrirts, p. 9. 

1 n me dist qu'on luy avoist escrfpt de Rome, n'avoit qne trois semaines ou 
environ, sur le propos des noces du roy de Navarre en ces propres tennes ; Que 
a ceste heure que tous les oiseaux estoient en cage, on les pouvoit prendre tons 
ensemble (Vnlcob to Charles IX., Sept. a6, 1572 ; NoaiUes, iii. 3x4). 

9 Mtmrirts dt Dupkssis-Momay, i. 38 ; Ambert, Dupksszs-Mortiay, p. 30. 


the King's Guards, and that no further stir was to be 
apprehended. 1 

For many years foreign advisers had urged Catherine 
to make away with these men. At first it was computed 
that half a dozen victims would be enough. 2 That was 
the original estimate of Alva, at Bayonne. 8 When the 
Duke of Ferrara was in France, in 1564, he proposed 
a larger measure, and he repeated this advice by the 
mouth of every agent whom he sent to France. 4 After 
the event, both Alva and Alfonso reminded Catherine 
that she had done no more than follow their advice. 5 
Alva's letter explicitly confirms the popular notion which 
connects the massacre with the conference of Bayonne ; 
and it can no longer now be doubted that La Roche-sur- 
Yon, on his death-bed, informed Coligny that murderous 
resolutions had been taken on that occasion. But the 
Nuncio, Santa Croce, who was present, wrote to Cardinal 
Borromeo that the Queen had indeed promised to punish 
the infraction of the Edict of Pacification, but that this 
was a very different thing from undertaking to extirpate 
heresy. Catherine affirmed that in this way the law 
could reach all the Huguenot ministers; and Alva 
professed to believe her. 7 Whatever studied ambiguity 

, Ctnxpleat Ambassador, pp. 076, 855. 
Corrcr, JRrlavfate; Tommaseo, li. 116. 

8 He said to Catherine : Quo quando qulsiescn usar de otro y averlo, con no 
mas parsonas que con cine o scys que sou el cnbo de todo esto, los tomasen a su 
mnno y les cortosen las cabccas (Aim to Philip II. , June sx, 1565 ; Papicrs de 
GranveUe, ix. 998).. 

4 UnUIeipfamoconlamacst&wmcontuttol'a^ 

prosa quclla risoiuiiono cos) opportunaracnte sopra la quale noi stosso 1' ultima 
volta che fummo in Fnuncin, pnrlammo con la Rogina Madrc. . . . Dipoi per 
diversi gentilhnomini chc in vnrie occorrenee habbiomo mandate in corte siamo 
install nel suddetto ricordo (Alfonso XL to Fogliani, Sept 13, 1572; Modena 

8 Muohns vczes me ha occordado de aver dicho a Su Mag. esto misxno en 
Kayona, y do lo que mi offrecio, y veo que ha rauy bien desempefindo su palabra 
(Alva to /ufitea, Sept. 9, 1572 ; Coquorel, La, St. ttartktlemy, p. xa). 

Kluckhohn, Zur Ocxkiekte ttes em&blichen Windtiisses von Bayonn*, p. 36, 

7 n siguor duca di Alva . . . mi disse, che come in questo abboccomento 
negotio alcimo non havcvano trattato, ne volevano trattttre, altro che della religione, 
cosi la lor diflferenza em nata per questo, pcrohd non vedera che la regina d 
pigliasse risolutiono a niodo suo ne de altro, die di buone parole ben general!. 
. . , E state risoluto chc alia tomato in Paxigi si fare, una ricerca di quelU che 
hanno contravenuto all 1 cditto, e si castignmnno ; nel che dice a M. che gli 
Ugonotti d sono talmente compresi, che spera con questo mezzo solo cacciaro i 


of language she may have used, the action of 1572 was 
uninfluenced by deliberations which were seven years old. 
During the spring and summer the Tuscan agents 
diligently prepared their master for what was to come. 
Fetrucci wrote on the ipth of March that, for a reason 
which he could not trust to paper, the marriage would 
certainly take place, though not until the Huguenots had 
delivered up their strongholds. Four weeks later Ala- 
manni announced that the Queen's pious design for 
restoring unity of faith would, by the grace of God, be 
speedily accomplished. On the pth. of August Fetrucci 
was able to report that the plan arranged at Bayonne was 
near execution. 1 Yet he was not fully initiated. The 
Queen afterwards assured him that she had confided the 
secret to no foreign resident except the Nuncio, 9 and 
Fetrucci resentfully complains that she had also consulted 
the Ambassador of Savoy. Venice, like Florence and 
Savoy, was not taken by surprise. In February the 
ambassador Contarini explained to the Senate the 
specious tranquillity in France, by saying that the 
Government reckoned on the death of the Admiral or 
the Queen of Navarre to work a momentous change; 8 
Cavalli, his successor, judged that a business so grossly 
mismanaged showed no signs of deliberation. 4 There 
was another Venetian at Paris who was better informed. 
The Republic was seeking to withdraw from the league 
against the Turks; and her most illustrious statesman, 
Giovanni Michiel, was sent to solicit the help of France 
in negotiating peace. 5 The account which he gave of his 
mission has been pronounced by a consummate judge 

Ministri di Frenda. .. . II Signer Duca di Alva si satisfa phi di questa delibera- 
tione di me, perche io non trovo die serva all' estirpation dell* heresia il castignr 
quelli che hanno contravenuto all' editto (Santa Grace to Bonomeo, Bayonne, 
Julyx, 1565. MS.). 

1 Desjardins, Negotiations awe la Tasean*, ffl. 756, 765, 809. 

' Io non ho fhtto intendero ooBa alcuna a nessuno prinoipo ho ben porloto al 
nuncio solo (Desp. Aug. 31 ; Desjardins, iii. 828). 

* Albert, Relation* Pout*, xil 950. 

* Alberi, xii. 3 a8. 

8 Son principal but et dessein estoit de sentir quelle esperance ilz pourroient 
avoir de parvenir a la paiz avec le G. S. dont il s'est ouvert et a demandg oe qu'il 
en pouvoit esperer et attendre (Charles IX. to Du Forrier, Sept. 28, 1573 ; 
Charriere, Negotiation* dans k Levant, iii. 3x0). 


of Venetian State-Papers the most valuable report of the 
sixteenth century. 1 He was admitted almost daily to 
secret conference with Anjou, Nevers, and the group 
of Italians on whom the chief odium rests; and there 
was no counsellor to whom Catherine more willingly gave 
ear. 2 Michiel affirms that the intention had been long 
entertained, and that the Nuncio had been directed to 
reveal it privately to Pius V. 8 

Salviati was related to Catherine, and had gained her 
good opinion as Nuncio in the year 1570. The Pope 
had sent him back because nobody seemed more capable 
of diverting her and her son from the policy which 
caused so much uneasiness at Rome. 4 He died many 
years later, with the reputation of having been one of the 
most eminent Cardinals at a time when the Sacred 
College was unusually rich in talent Personally, he had 
always favoured stern measures of repression. When the 
Countess of Entremont was married to Coligny, Salviati 
declared that she had made herself liable to severe 
penalties by entertaining proposals of marriage with so 
notorious a heretic, and demanded that the Duke of 
Savoy should, by all the means in his power, cause that 
wicked bride to be put out of the way. 6 When the 
peace of St Gcrmains was concluded, he assured Charles 
and Catherine that their lives were in danger, as the 
Huguenots were seeking to pull down the throne as well 
as the altar. He believed that all intercourse with them 
was sinful, and that the sole remedy was utter extermina- 
tion by the sword. "I am convinced/ 1 he wrote, "that 
it will come to this." " If they do the tenth part of what 
I have advised, it will be well for them." 6 After an. 
audience of two hours, at which he had presented a letter 
from Pius V., prophesying the wrath of Heaven, Salviati 
perceived that his exhortations made some impression. 

1 Rnnke, /touMlrJMf Gcschichte, v. 76. 

Diggtss, p. 958 ; Cosmi, Mtmerie & Morosixi, p. a6. 

* Alberi, x& 994* 

4 Mittit eo Antonfana Marina SnJviaturo, reginao affinem eique pergratum, 
qui cam in officiocontineat (Cordtaolof Vercelli, Comment. foRefas GregoriiXlll. ; 
Ranke, Pdpste, App, 85). 

Desp. Aug. 30, 1570. * Oct. 14, 1570. 


The King and Queen whispered to him that they hoped 
to make the peace yield such fruit that the end would 
more than countervail the badness of the beginning ; and 
the King added, in strict confidence, that his plan was 
one which, once told, could never be executed. 1 This 
might have been said to delude the Nuncio ; but he was 
inclined on the whole to believe that it was sincerely 
meant The impression was confirmed by the Archbishop 
of Sens, Cardinal Fdlev, who informed him that the 
Huguenot leaders were caressed at Court in order to 
detach them from their party, and that after the loss 
of their leaders it would not take more than three days 
to deal with the rest. 9 Salviati on his return to France 
was made aware that his long-deferred hopes were about 
to be fulfilled. He shadowed it forth obscurely in his 
despatches. He reported that the Queen allowed the 
Huguenots to pass into Flanders, believing that the 
admiral would become more and more presumptuous 
until he gave her an opportunity of retribution ; for she 
excelled in that kind of intrigue. Some days later he 
knew more, and wrote that he hoped soon to have good 
news for his Holiness. 8 At the last moment his heart 
misgave him. On the morning of the 2istof August 
the Duke of Montpensier and the Cardinal of Bourbon 
spoke with so much unconcern, in his presence, of what 
was then so near, that he thought it hardly possible the 
secret could be kept 4 

The foremost of the French prelates was the Cardinal 
of Lorraine. He had held a prominent position at the 
council of Trent ; and for many years he had wielded the 

1 Sept 24, 1570. * Nov. 38, 1570. 

9 Quando scrissi at giorai passati alia S. V. Ill ma in dfra, che 1' ammiraglio 
s 1 avanzava troppo et che gli darebbero so. V unge, gin mi ero accorto, che non 
lo volevano piu tollerare, et molto piti mi confermai nelT opinione, quando eon 
caratteri ordinarii glie scrivevo che speravo di dovcr haver occasione di dar 
qualche buona nova a Sua Beatitudine, benche xnai havrel credutola 3L parte di 
quello, che al preaente veggo con gli occhi (Dcsp. Aug. 24; Thdner, Annales, 

* Che molti siano stati consapevoli del fatto e oecessorio, potcndogli dizcr die 
a ailamattina, essendo col Cardinal di Borbone et M. de Montpensicr, viddi che 
lagionavano si domesticamente di quello che dovcva seguire, che in me medesjmo 
restando confuso, conobbi che la prattica andava gEgUarda^ e piutosto disperai di 
boon ^y 1 ** che altrimente (same Desp, Mackintoshi History of England, U. 355)* 


influence of the House of Guise over the Catholics of 
France. In May 1572 he went to Rome; and he was 
still there when the news came from Paris in September. 
He at once made it known that the resolution had been 
taken before he left France, and that it was due to himself 
and his nephew, the Duke of Guise. 1 As the spokesman 
of the Gallican Church in the following year he delivered 
a harangue to Charles IX., in which he declared that 
Charles had eclipsed the glory of preceding kings by 
slaying the false prophets, and especially by the holy 
deceit and pious dissimulation with which he had laid his 

There was one man who did not get his knowledge 
from rumour, and who could not be deceived by lies. 
The King's confessor, Sorbin, afterwards Bishop of Nevers, 
published in 1574 a narrative of the life and death of 
Charles IX. He bears unequivocal testimony that that 
clement and magnanimous act, for so he terms it, was 
resolved upon beforehand, and he praises the secrecy as 
well as the justice of his hero. 8 

Early in the year a mission of extraordinary solemnity 
had appeared in France. Pius V., who was seriously 
alarmed at the conduct of Charles, had sent the Cardinal 
of Alessandria as Legate to the Kings of Spain and 
Portugal, and directed him, in returning, to visit the 
Court at Blois. The Legate was nephew to the Pope, 
and the man whom he most entirely trusted. 4 His char- 
acter stood so high that the reproach of nepotism was 
never raised by his promotion. Several prelates destined 
to future eminence attended him. His chief adviser 

1 Attribuisce a se, et al nipote, et a casa sua, la xnorte del' ammiragUo, 
gloriandosene assai (Desp. Oct. z ; Theiner, p. 331). The Emperor told the 
French ambassador "qua, depuis les choses avenues, on lui avoit mondti de 
Rome que Mr. le Cardinal de Lorraine avoit dit que tout le mit avoit estd ddUbei* 
avant qu'H partist de France" (Vulcob to Charles IX., Nov. 8 ; Grout van 
Prinsterer, Archives A Nassau, iv. App. aa). 

* Marlot, ffistoire de Reims, iv. 436. This language excited the surprise of 
Dale, Walsingham's successor (Mackintosh, Hi. 336). 

1 Artkwes Cvriaws, viii. 305. 

4 Egli solo tra tutti gli altri 6 solito particolarmeute di aostaoere le nostre 
fetiche. , . . EssendoimrtedpedimtdinostriconsigU v etoonsapevoledeaegreti 
dell 1 intimo ammo nostro (Pius V. to Philip II., June ao, 1571 ; Zucchi, J&a aW 
Sqpttario, i. 544). 


was Hippolyto Aldobrandini, who, twenty years later, 
ascended the papal chair as Clement VIII. The com- 
panion whose presence conferred the greatest lustre on 
the mission was the general of the Jesuits, Francis Borgia, 
the holiest of the successors of Ignatius, and the most 
venerated of men then living. Austerities had brought 
him to the last stage of weakness ; and he was sinking 
under the malady of which he was soon to die. But it 
was believed that the words of such a man, pleading for 
the Church, would sway the mind of the King. The 
ostensible purpose of the Legate's journey was to break 
off the match with Navarre, and to bring France into the 
Holy League. He gained neither object When he was 
summoned back to Rome it was understood in France 
that he had reaped nothing but refusals, and that he went 
away disappointed. 1 The jeers of the Protestants pursued 
him. 8 But it was sufficiently certain beforehand that 
France could not plunge into a Turkish war. 8 The real 
business of the Legate, besides proposing a Catholic 
husband for the Princess, was to ascertain the object of the 
expedition which was fitting out in the Western ports. 
On both points he had something favourable to report 
In his last despatch, dated Lyons, the 6th of March, he 
wrote that he had failed to prevent the engagement with 
Navarre, but that he had something for the Pope's private 
ear, which made his journey not altogether unprofitable. 4 
The secret was soon divulged in Italy. The King had 
met the earnest remonstrances of the Legate by assuring 
him that the marriage afforded the only prospect of 
wreaking vengeance on the Huguenots : the event would 
show ; he could say no more, but desired his promise to 

1 Sen-anus, Commmtarii, iv. 14 ; Davfla, ii. 104. 

1 Digges, p. 193. 

* Finis hujus legationis erat non tan snadere Regi ut foedus cum aliis Cbristianis 

flic praetennissus non videretuTi et xevera ut scuretur quo tenderent Gculorum 
cogitationes. Non longe nempe a Rocella naves quasdam praegrandes instruere 

* Con 

Mh^stonmn Legation* CAUyandrini MS,}. 
alcuni particular* one io porto, de f quail ragguagliero N. Signore 
bocca, posso dire di non partirmi afiatto mal espedito (Ranke, Zeitsckrift, iii. 598). 
" ..... " - - (Mtmoire "" 

Le temps et les effect* luy temoigneront encores d'advantage (MAnoire bailU t 
Mgat Alexandria Feb. 1579 ; Bib. Imp. F. Dupuy, 593). 


be carried to the Pope. It was added that he had 
presented a ring to the Legate, as a pledge of sincerity, 
which the Legate refused. The first to publish this story 
was Capilupi, writing only seven months later. It was 
repeated by Folieta, 1 and is given with all details by the 
historians of Pius V. Catena and Gabuzzi. Catena was 
secretary to the Cardinal of Alessandria as early as July 
1572, and submitted his work to him before publication. 8 
Gabuzzi wrote at the instance of the same Cardinal, who 
supplied him with materials ; and his book was examined 
and approved by Borghese, afterwards Paul V. Both the 
Cardinal of Alessandria and Paul V., therefore, were 
instrumental in causing it to be proclaimed that the 
Legate was acquainted in February 1572 with the inten- 
tion which the King carried out in August 

The testimony of Aldobrandini was given still more 
distinctly, and with greater definiteness and authority. 
When he was required, as Pope, to pronounce upon the 
dissolution of the ill-omened marriage, he related to 
Borghese and other Cardinals what had passed in that 
interview between the Legate and the King, adding that, 
when the report of the massacre reached Rome, the 
Cardinal exclaimed: "God be praised 1 the King of 
France has kept his word." Clement referred D'Ossat to 
a narrative of the journey which he had written himself, 
and in which those things would be found. 8 The due 
thus given has been unaccountably neglected, although 
the Report was known to exist One copy is mentioned 
by Giorgi ; and Mazzuchelli knew of another. Neither 
of them had read it ; for they both ascribe it to MSchele 
Bonelli, the Cardinal of Alessandria. The first page 
would have satisfied them that it was not his work, 
Clement VIII. describes the result of the mission to Blois 

1 De Sacra /<Mfe/v f Graevitu Tktsauna, i. 1038. 

* Catena, Vita di /* V., p. 197; Gabutius, Vita PU V., p. 150, and the 

1 D'Ossat to Vttleroy, Sept aa, 1599 ; Lettres* ill 503. An account of the 
Legate's Journey was found by Mentlham among Lord Guildford's manuscripts* 
and Is described in the Supplement to his life of Pius V. , p. 13. It is written by the 
Master of Ceremonies, and possesites no interest The Kelatio already quoted, 
which corresponds to the description given by Clement VIII. of his own work, is 
among the manuscripts of the Marquis Capponi, No. 164. 


in these words: "Quae rationes eo impulerunt regem 
ut semel apprehensa manu Cardinalis in hanc vocem 
proruperit: Significate Pontifici illumque certain reddite 
me totum hoc quod circa id matrimonium feci et facturus 
sum, nulla alia de causa facere, quam ulciscendi inimicos 
Dei et hujus regni, et puniendi tarn infidos rebelles, ut 
eventus ipse docebit, nee aliud vobis amplius significare 
possum. Quo non obstante semper Cardinalis eas 
subtexuit difficultates quas potuit, objiciens regi possetne 
contrahi matrimonium a fidele cum infidele, sitve dispen- 
satio necessaria; quod si est nunquam Pontificem inductum 
iri ut illam concedat Re ipsa ita in suspense relicta 
discedendum esse putavit, cum jam rescivisset qua de 
causa naves parabantur, qui apparatus contra Rocellam 

The opinion that the massacre of St Bartholomew was 
a sudden and unpremeditated act cannot be maintained ; 
but it does not follow that the only alternative is to 
believe that it was the aim of every measure of the 
Government for two years before. Catherine had long 
contemplated it as her last expedient in extremity ; but 
she had decided that she could not resort to it while her 
son was virtually a minor. 1 She suggested the idea to 
him in 1570. In that year he gave orders that the 
Huguenots should be slaughtered at Bourges. The letter 
is preserved in which La Chastre spurned the command : 
" If the people of Bourges learn that your Majesty takes 
pleasure in such tragedies, they will repeat them often. 
If these men must die, let them first be tried ; but do not 
reward my services and sully my reputation by such a 
stain." 2 

In the autumn of 1571 Coligny came to Blois 
Walsingham suspected, and was afterwards convinced 
that the intention to kill him already existed. The Pope 

was much displeased by his presence at Court ; but he 

i Vuol andar con ogni quiete et dissimulatione, fin che fl Re suo figliolo sia in 
eta (Santa Croce, Desp. June 97, *s&3 i L** ** Card. Santa Croc* p. 843). 

La Chastre to Charles IX., Jan. ax, 1570; Raynal, Histoire du Btny, 
iv. 105 ; Lavallde, Histoire dts Francis, u. 478. Both Raynal and Lavallee had 
s to the original 


received assurances from the ambassador which satisfied 
him. It was said at the time that he at first believed that 
Coligny was to be murdered, but that he soon found that 
there was no such praiseworthy design. 1 

In December the King knew that, when the moment 
came, the burghers of Paris would not fail him. Marcel, 
the Frvdt des Marchands, told him that the wealth was 
driven out of the country by the Huguenots: "The 
Catholics will bear it no longer. . . . Let your Majesty 
look to it Your crown is at stake, Paris alone can save 
it" 1 By the month of February 1572 the plan had 
assumed a practical shape The political idea before the 
mind of Charles was the same by which Richelieu 
afterwards made France the first Power in the world ; to 
repress the Protestants at home, and to encourage them 
abroad. No means of effectual repression was left but 
murder. But the idea of raising up enemies to Spain by 
means of Protestantism was thoroughly understood. The 
Huguenots were allowed to make an expedition to aid 
William of Orange. Had they gained some substantial 
success, the Government would have followed it up, and 
the scheme of Coligny would have become for the 
moment the policy of France. But the Huguenot 
commander Gcnlis was defeated and taken. Coligny had 
had his chance. He had played and lost It was useless 
now to propose his great venture against the King of 
Spain. 8 

Philip IL perfectly understood that this event was 
decisive. When the news came from Hainaut, he sent to 

1 H Pajxi credeva che la pace fatta, e 1 'aver conscntito il Re che 1 'Ammiraglio 
vonisBc in corte, msse con dist#no dl ammauarlo ; ma accortosi come possa il 
fatto, non ha crednto oho nel U6 Nostro sia quella brava resoluzlone (Letter of 
Nov. 38, 1571 ; Desjarditw, ill. 739). Pour le regard de M. 1' Admiral, je n'ay 
fiiflly de luy fdire entendre ce que jo devois, miyvant cc qu'il a plou a V. M. me 
command**, dont il cst dcmeurti fort sallsfaict (Ferrate to Charles IX, , Dec. 
*5i W* t Bftfc Imp. F. Fr, 16,039 : Wnlsingham to Herbert, Oct. xo, 1571 ; to 
Smith, Nov. 26, 1573 ; Digges, p. 990). 

9 Marcel to Ctwles IX. December ao, 1571 ; Cabinet Hi*tariqve> tt. 353, 
* Le Roy ftttoit d'JntclHgenco, ayant pcrniis a ccux de la Religion de Vassliter, 
et, cat advermnt que tours entrepriscB suoo&Iassent, qu'il les favoriserait ouverte- 
ment . . . Oenlis, meunnt un secouni daas MODS, mt dibit par le due d'Alve, 
qid avott oomme i&veiti la ville, La jouruee de Saint*Barthelemi se rteolut 
(Bouillon, Wwirts> p. 9). 


the Nuncio Castagna to say that the King of France 
would gain more than himself by the loss of so many 
brave Protestants, and that the time was come for him, 
with the aid of the people of Paris, to get rid of Coligny 
and the rest of his enemies. 1 It appears from the letters 
of Salviati that he also regarded the resolution as having 
been finally taken after the defeat of Genlis. 

The Court had determined to enforce unity of faith 
in France. An edict of toleration was issued for the 
purpose of lulling the Huguenots ; but it was well known 
that it was only a pretence. 8 Strict injunctions were 
sent into the provinces that it should not be obeyed; 3 
and Catherine said openly to the English envoy, "My 
son will have exercise but of one Religion in his Realm." 
On the 26th the King explained his plan to Mondoucet, 
his agent at Brussels : " Since it has pleased God to bring 
matters to the point they have now reached, I mean to 
use the opportunity to secure a perpetual repose in my 
kingdom, and to do something for the good of all 
Christendom. It is probable that the conflagration will 
spread to every town in France, and that they will follow 
the example of Paris, and lay hands on all the Protes- 
tants. ... I have written to the governors to assemble 
forces in order to cut to pieces those who may resist" 4 
The great object was to accomplish the extirpation of 
Protestantism in such a way as might leave intact the 
friendship with Protestant States. Every step was 
governed by this consideration ; and the difficulty of the 
task caused the inconsistencies and the vacillation that 
ensued. By assassinating Coligny alone it was expected 
that such an agitation would be provoked among his 

1 Si potriadistruggerenresto.maxiTOecher aramiragKo si trova in Parigi, 
pppolo Catholico et devote del suo Re, dove potzia se volesse fecalmente levando 
dinnaon per sempre i (Castapa, Desp. Aug. 5, 157* ; Theiner, i 3 a 7 ). 

9 Mtmoires d* Claudi Haion, 687. 

3 En quelque sorte que cesoSt ledict Seigneur estx&ollu faire vivreses subjects 
en sa religion, et ne pennettre jaraais ny tollrfrer, quelqne chose qin* puisse advenir, 
qu'il n'yait aultre forme ny exerdce de religion en son royaulme que deb 
cathohque (Instruction for the Governors of Normandy, Nov. 3, 1572; La 
Mottie* vs. 390)* 

4 0^8 jx. to Mondoucet, Aug. a6, 1573 ; Comfit Rtndu d* la Commission 
RoyaU dffistoin, a Sene, iv. 387. 


partisans as would make it appear that they were killed 
by the Catholics in self-defence. Reports were circulated 
at once with that object A letter written on the 23rd 
states that, after the Admiral was wounded on the day 
before, the Huguenots assembled at the gate of the 
Louvre, to avenge him on the Guises as they came out. 1 
And the first explanation sent forth by the Government 
on the 24th was to the effect that the old feud between 
the Houses of Guise and of Chatillon had broken out 
with a fury which it was impossible to quell. This fable 
lasted only for a single day. On the 25th Charles writes 
that he has begun to discover traces of a Huguenot 
conspiracy ; s and on the following day this was publicly 
substituted for the original story. Neither the vendetta 
of the Guises nor the conspiracy at Paris could be made 
to explain the massacre in the provinces. It required to 
be so managed that the King could disown it ; Salviati 
describes the plan of operations. It was intended that 
the Huguenots should be slaughtered successively by a 
series of spontaneous outbreaks in different parts of the 
country. While Rochclle held out, it was dangerous to 
proceed with a more sweeping method. 3 Accordingly, no 
written instructions from the King are in existence ; and 
the governors were expressly informed that they were to 
expect none. 4 Messengers went into the provinces with 
letters requiring that the verbal orders which they brought 
should be obeyed. 6 Many governors refused to act upon 
directions so vague and so hard to verify. Burgundy was 
preserved in this way. Two gentlemen arrived with letters 
of recommendation from the King, and declared his 

1 LI Ugonotti si ridussero alia porta del Louvre, pear aspcttare che Mons, di 
Guisa e Mons. d'Auroaleuscisscro per ammasaarll (Bono TrottI, Desp, Aug. 33 ; 
Modena Archives). 

* L'ou a commence* a descouvrir la conspiration que ceux do la religion 
preiendue rtiforiutie avoient ftiicle contra moy mesnics, ma mere et mes freres 
(Charles IX to La Motto, Aug. 35 ; La Mothe, vii. 325). 

Desp. Hopt 19. *57a- 

4 II ne fault pas attendre d'cn avoir d'autro comroandomcnt du Roy ne de 
Monaeigneur, car Us ne vous en fcront point (Puygnillord to Montsoreau, Aug. 
a6, 1574 ; Mourtn, IA JRefirm en Anjou t p. 106). 

Vous eroiroB lo present porteur de cti quo jo luy ay donne 1 charge de vous dire 
(Charles IX. to Maiidelot, Aug. 24, x$7 \ dm to Charles 2X. awe Ma*de/ot> 
P 4a> 


commands. They were asked to put them on paper; 
but they refused to give in writing what they had received 
by word of mouth. Mandelot, the Governor of Lyons, the 
most ignoble of the instruments in this foul deed, com- 
plained that the intimation of the royal wishes sent to 
him was obscure and insufficient. 1 He did not do his 
work thoroughly, and incurred the displeasure of the 
King. The orders were complicated as well as obscure. 
The public authorities were required to collect the Hugue- 
nots in some prison or other safe place, where they could 
be got at by hired bands of volunteer assassins. To 
screen the King it was desirable that his officers should 
not superintend the work themselves. Mandelot, having 
locked the gates of Lyons, and shut up the Huguenots 
together, took himself out of the way while they were 
being butchered. Carouge, at Rouen, received a com- 
mission to visit the other towns in his province. The 
magistrates implored him to remain, as nobody, in his 
absence, could restrain the people. When the King had 
twice repeated his commands, Carouge obeyed ; and five 
hundred Huguenots perished. 8 

It was thought unsafe even for the King's brother to 
give distinct orders under his own hand. He wrote to 
his lieutenant in Anjou that he had commissioned 
Fuygaillard to communicate with him on a matter which 
concerned the King's service and his own, and desired that 
his orders should be received as if they came directly from 
himself They were, that every Huguenot in Angers, 
Saumur, and the adjoining country should be put to 
death without delay and without exception. 8 The Duke 
of Montpensier himself sent the same order to Brittany ; 
but it was indignantly rejected by the municipality of 

When reports came in of the manner in which the 

* Je n'en ay uicune ooulpe, n'ayant seen quelte estoit la volume* qua par 
umbra, encores htan tard et & demy (Mandelot to Charles IX, Sept. 17, 

* Floquet, ffistoire du Parlement do Xormantto, ilL xax. 

* Anjou to Montsorcau, Aug. 26; Mourin, p. 107 ; Fallouat, Vied* Pi* V., L 
358 ; Port, Archive A id Mairi* $Angtr*> pp. 41. 43. 


event had been received in foreign countries, the Govern- 
ment began to waver, and the sanguinary orders were 
recalled. Schomberg wrote from Germany that the 
Protestant allies were lost unless they could be satisfied 
that the King had not decreed the extermination of their 
brethren. 1 He was instructed to explain the tumult in 
the provinces by the animosity bequeathed by the wars 
of religion. 8 The Bishop of Valence was intriguing in 
Poland on behalf of Anjou. He wrote that his success 
had been made very doubtful, and that, if further cruelties 
were perpetrated, ten millions of gold pieces would not 
bribe the venal Poles. He advised that a counterfeit 
edict, at least, should be published. 8 Charles perceived 
that he would be compelled to abandon his enterprise, 
and set about appeasing the resentment of the Protestant 
Powers. He promised that an inquiry should be instituted, 
and the proofs of the conspiracy communicated to foreign 
Governments. To give a judicial aspect to the proceedings, 
two prominent Huguenots were ceremoniously hanged. 
When the new ambassador from Spain praised the long 
concealment of the plan, Charles became indignant 4 It 
was repeated everywhere that the thing had been arranged 
with Rome and Spain ; and he was especially studious 
that there should be no symptoms of a private under- 
standing with either power. He was able to flatter 
himself that he had at least partially succeeded. If he had 
not exterminated his Protestant subjects, he had preserved 
his Protestant allies. William the Silent continued to 
solicit his aid ; Elizabeth consented to stand godmother 
to the daughter who was born to him in October; 
he was allowed to raise mercenaries in Switzerland ; and 
the Polish Protestants agreed to the election of his 
brother. The promised evidence of the Huguenot 
conspiracy was forgotten ; and the King suppressed the 

1 Schomberg to Brulart, Oct. xo, 1579 ; Capefigue, La, Rtform*, ill 364. 
9 Instructions for Schomlxsrg, Feb. 15, 1573 ; Noailles, !il 305. 

* Monluo to Brulart, Nov. so, 1570 ; Jan. 90, 1573 : to Charles XX., Jut. aa, 

1573 1 Nodlta, i * a*3> *so. 

4 CharteflX. to St. Gourd, Jan. go, 1573 ; Grocn, iv. App. 99. 

Letter from Purls in Sirype's Life if Parker, iil. xxo ; " Tocsaln contre les 
Massacreurs," Archives Cuntustt, vfi. 7. 


materials which were to have served for an official history 
of the event 1 

Zeal for religion was not the motive which inspired the 
chief authors of this extraordinary crime* They were 
trained to look on the safety of the monarchy as the 
sovereign law, and on the throne as an idol that justified 
sins committed in its worship. At all times there have 
been men, resolute and relentless in the pursuit of their 
aims, whose ardour was too strong to be restricted by 
moral barriers or the instinct of humanity. In the 
sixteenth century, beside the fanaticism of freedom, there 
was an abject idolatry of power ; and laws both human 
and divine were made to yield to the intoxication of 
authority and the reign of will It was laid down that 
kings have the right of disposing of the lives of their 
subjects, and may dispense with the forms of justice. 
The Church herself, whose supreme pontiff was now an 
absolute monarch, was infected with this superstition. 
Catholic writers found an opportune argument for their 
religion in the assertion that it makes the prince master 
of the consciences as well as the bodies of the people, and 
enjoins submission even to the vilest tyranny. 8 Men whose 
lives were precious to the Catholic cause could be murdered 
by royal command, without protest from Rome. When the 
Duke of Guise, with the Cardinal his brother, was slain by 
Henry III., he was the most powerful and devoted upholder 
of Catholicism in France. Sixtus V. thundered against the 
sacrilegious tyrant who was stained with the blood of a 
prince of the Church ; but he let it be known very distinctly 
that the death of the Duke caused him little concern. 8 

i Mn quecequevousav dress<S deschoscspas3^i la Salnt-BartbSleniyne 
puisse etre publtt panni le people, et mfenoment e&tre lea Granger*, oomme 11 y 
en a plusieurs qui se melent d'toire et qui pourraient prendre occasion d'y 
repondre, Je vous prie qu'il n'en soit rien imprime 1 ni en fiancais ni en Latin, mats 
a vous en avez retenu quelque chose, le garder vers vous (Charles IX. to the Pte- 
sident de Cely, March a* 1573 ! *** XfinWutto,, * Stfrie, ffl. ia S > 

* Botero, DtUa JRagion di Stato, 99. A contemporary says that the Protestants 
were cut to pieces out of economy, "pour afin d'eviterle const des executions 
qu'ileust convenu payer pour lea faire pendre"; and that this was done "par 
permission divine" (delation. At troublts A Row* far vn ttmoin oculaire, ed. 
Pottier, 36, 46). 

Del resto poco importerebbe a Roma (Card. Montalto to Card. Moroaini; 
Tempesti, Vita diSisto K t iL 116). 


Catherine was the daughter of that Medici to whom 
Machiavelli had dedicated his Prince. So little did 
religion actuate her conduct that she challenged Elizabeth 
to do to the Catholics of England what she herself had done 
to the Protestants of France, promising that if they were 
destroyed there would be no loss of her good will. 1 The 
levity of her religious feelings appears from her reply 
when asked by Gomicourt what message he should take 
to the Duke of Alva : " I must give you the answer of 
Christ to the disciples of St John, ' Ite et nuntiate quae 
vidistis et audivistis ; caeci vident, claudi ambulant, leprosi 
mundantur.' " And she added, " Beatus qui non fuerit in 
me scandalizatus." s 

If mere fanaticism had been their motive, the men who 
were most active in the massacre would not have spared 
so many lives. While Guise was galloping after Ferriferes 
and Montgomery, who had taken horse betimes, and made 
for the coast, his house at Paris was crowded with families 
belonging to the proscribed faith, and strangers to him. 
A young girl who was amongst them has described his 
return, when he sent for the children, spoke to them 
kindly, and gave orders that they should be well treated 
as long as his roof sheltered them. 3 Protestants even 
spoke of him as a humane and chivalrous enemy. 4 
Nevers was considered to have disgraced himself by the 
number of those whom he enabled to escape. 5 The 
Nuncio was shocked at their ill-timed generosity. He 
reported to Rome that the only one who had acted in the 
spirit of a Christian, and had refrained from mercy, was 
the King ; while the other princes, who pretended to be 
good Catholics, and to deserve the favour of the Pope, 
had striven, one and all, to save as many Huguenots as 
they could. 6 

1 Quand oe seroit contra touts les Catholiqucs, que nous nc nous en 
empescherfons. ny alttfrerions aucunement 1'araitie* rl'entre die et nous (Catherine 
to La Mothc, Sept 13, 1572 ; La Mothe, vil. 349). 

* Afra's Report ; Bulletins dt TAcadlmit ttg BruxelUs, ix, 564. 
' Jean Dlodati, door Setotsl, 88. 

* OSwru fa Brant6mt> ed. Lnlonne, iv. 38. 

6 Ottos que solvo el Duque de Nevers con harto vituperio stiyo (Cabrera de 
Cordova, Mlft Stgwtdo, p* 733), 

II R6 Chriatianissimo In turn qucsti accident!, in luogo di gfadlcio e di valore 


The worst criminals were not the men who did the 
deed. The crime of mobs and courtiers, infuriated by the 
lust of vengeance and of power, is not so strange a portent 
as the exultation of peaceful men, influenced by no present 
injury or momentary rage, but by the permanent and 
incurable perversion of moral sense wrought by a 
distorted piety. 

Philip II., who had long suspected the court of France, 
was at once relieved from the dread which had oppressed 
him, and betrayed an excess of joy foreign to his phleg- 
matic nature. 1 He immediately sent six thousand crowns 
to the murderer of Coligny.* He persuaded himself that 
the breach between France and her allies was irreparable, 
that Charles would now be driven to seek his friendship, 
and that the Netherlands were out of danger. 8 He listened 
readily to the French ambassador, who assured him that 
his court had never swerved from the line of Catholic 
policy, but had intended all along to effect this great 
change. 4 Ayamonte carried his congratulations to Paris, 
and pretended that his master had been in the secret It 
suited Philip that this should be believed by Protestant 
princes, in order to estrange them still more from France ; 
but he wrote on the margin of Ayamonte's instructions, 
that it was uncertain how long previously the purpose 
had subsisted. 6 Juan and Diego de Zufiiga, his ambassadors 
at Rome and at Paris, were convinced that the long 
display of enmity to Spain was genuine, that the death 

ha mostrato animo christiono, con tutto habbia salvato alcuno. Ma li altri 
prindpi che fanno gran professione di Cattolici et di meritar favori e gratie del 
papa hanno poi con estrema dillgensa cercato a salvare quelli pit di Ugouotti che 
hanno potato, e se non gli nomino particolarmente, noil si maravigli, per che 
indifereutemente tutti hanno fatto a un modo (Solviati, Desp. Sept a, 1573). 

1 Estque dictu minim, quantopere Regem exhilaravit nova Gallica (Hopperus 
to Viglius, Madrid, Sept 7, IS7 I &*&* E#. 360). 

* Ha avuto, con questa occasione, dal RA di Spagna, sei mila scudi a conto 
della dote di sua moglie e a richiesta di casa di Guise (Pctrucci, Desp. Sept 
16, 1579; Dcsjardins, iii. 838). On the 87th of December 1574, the Cardinal 
of Guise asks Philip for more money for the same man (BouilU, Histoirt <Us 
Dues de Guise, ii. 505). 

3 Siendo cosaclara que, de hoy mas, ni los protestantes de Alemania, ni la 
reyna de Inglaterra se fiaxan del (Philip to Alva, Sept x8, 1572 ; BulUtins & 
Bruxettes, xvL 955). 

* St Goord to Charles IX., Sept xa, 1579 ; Groen, iv. App. la ; Raumer, 
Brief* aus Paris, i. 191. 

* Archives dttZmpire, K. 1530, B. 34, 299- 


of Coligny had been decided at the last moment, and 
that the rest was not the effect of design. 1 This opinion 
found friends at first in Spain. The General of the 
Franciscans undertook to explode it. He assured Philip 
that he had seen the King and the Queen-mother two 
years before, and had found them already so intent on 
the massacre that he wondered how anybody could have 
the courage to detract from their merit by denying it 8 
This view generally prevailed in Spain. Mendoga knows 
not which to admire more, the loyal and Catholic inhabi- 
tants of Paris, or Charles, who justified his title of the 
most Christian King by helping with his own hands to 
slaughter his subjects. 3 Mariana witnessed the carnage, 
and imagined that it must gladden every Catholic heart 
Other Spaniards were gratified to think that it had been 
contrived with Alva at Bayonne. 

Alva himself did not judge the event by the same 
light as Philip. He also had distrusted the French 
Government; but he had not feared it during the 
ascendency of the Huguenots. Their fall appeared to 
him to strengthen France. In public he rejoiced with 
the rest. He complimented Charles on his valour and 
his religion, and claimed his own share of merit But he 
warned Philip that things had not changed favourably for 
Spain, and that the King of France was now a formidable 
neighbour. 4 For himself, he said, he never would have 
committed so base a deed. 

The seven Catholic Cantons had their own reason for 
congratulation. Their countrymen had been busy actors 
on the scene ; and three soldiers of the Swiss guard of 
Anjou were named as the slayers of the Admiral. 6 On 
the 2nd of October they agreed to raise 6000 men for 
the King's service. At the following Diet they demanded 

1 Zuiiigato Alvn, Aug. 31, 1579 : No fuecnsopcnsadosinorepemino (ArMws 
toPRnpif*, K. 1530, B. 34, 66). 

* St Gourd to Catherine, Jan. 6, 1573 ; Groan, iv. App. 28. 

* Comment. & /?. efe Afewtofa, I 344. 

4 Alva to Philip, Oct. 13, 1579; Corr. & PhiHtfx //., fl. 087. On the 
asrd of August Zufiiga wrote to Philip that he hoped that Coligny would recover 
from his wound, because, if he should die, Charles would be able to obtain 
obedience from all men (Archive de FJKmpire, K. 1530, E 34* 65). 

8 VullttiHs A la SociMfwr tllistvirt du Protestantism* Francis, viii. 990. 


the expulsion of the fugitive Huguenots who had taken 
refuge in the Protestant parts of the Confederation. They 
made overtures to the Pope for a secret alliance against 
their Confederates. 1 

In Italy, where the life of a heretic was cheap, their 
wholesale destruction was confessed a highly politic and 
ingenious act Even the sage Venetians were constrained 
to celebrate it with a procession. The Grand Duke 
Cosmo had pointed out two years before that an insidious 
peace would afford excellent opportunities of extinguishing 
Protestantism ; and he derived inexpressible consolation 
from the heroic enterprise. 2 The Viceroy of Naples, 
Cardinal Granvelle, received the tidings coldly. He was 
surprised that the event had been so long postponed, and 
he reproved the Cardinal of Lorraine for the unstates- 
manlike delay. 8 The Italians generally were excited to 
warmer feelings. They saw nothing to regret but the death 
of certain Catholics who had been sacrificed to private 
revenge. Profane men approved the skill with which the 
trap was laid ; and pious men acknowledged the presence 
of a genuine religious spirit in the French court 4 The 
nobles and the Parisian populace were admired for their 
valour in obeying the sanctified commands of the good 
King. One fervent enthusiast praises God for the heavenly 
news, and also St Bartholomew for having lent his 
extremely penetrating knife for the salutary sacrifice. 5 A 
month after the event the renowned preacher Panigarola 
delivered from the pulpit a panegyric on the monarch 
who had achieved what none had ever heard or read 
before, by banishing heresy in a single day, and by a 
single word, from the Christian land of France.* 

* Eidgendssische Abxfued*, iv. a, 501, 503, 506, 510, 

* Cosmo to Camaiani, Oct. 6, 1570 (Cant*, Gli Erttici d* Italia, Hi. ) ; 
Cosmo to Charles IX., Sept. 4, 157* (Gochaid, &apport $ur Us AnMvu de 

* Grappin, Mtmoire ffistorifu* sur It Cord, die Grawtto, 73. 

Bardi, E& dd Mondo, 1581, IT. 2011 ; Ounpaaa, Historie del Mondo, 

5 Si6degnatodiprestarealliauoidivotiil stio taglientisshno colteUo in cosi 
Mluttfero sacrificio (Letter of Aug. a6 ; Albert, Vita di Caterina & Mrfki> 401). 
ilJti^DtouHvatechnte '^ ' 


The French churches had often resounded with furious 
declamations ; and they afterwards rang with canticles of 
unholy joy. But the French clergy does not figure 
prominently in the inception or the execution of the 
sanguinary decree. Conti, a contemporary indeed, but 
too distant for accurate knowledge, relates that the parish 
priest went round, marking with a white cross the dwellings 
of the people who were doomed. 1 He is contradicted by 
the municipal Registers of Paris. 8 Morvilliers, Bishop of 
Orleans, though he had resigned the seals which he 
received from L'Hdpital, still occupied the first place at 
the royal council. He was consulted at the last moment, 
and it is said that he nearly fainted with horror. He 
recovered, and gave his opinion with the rest He is the 
only French prelate, except the cardinals, whose com- 
plicity appears to be ascertained. But at Orleans, where 
the bloodshed was more dreadful in proportion than at 
Paris, the signal is said to have been given, not by the 
bishop, but by the King's preacher, Sorbin. 

Sorbin is the only priest of the capital who is distinctly 
associated with the act of the Government It was his 
opinion that God has ordained that no mercy shall be 
shown to heretics, that Charles was bound in conscience 
to do what he did, and that leniency would have been as 
censurable in his case as precipitation was in that of 
Thcodosius. What the Calvinists called perfidy and 
cruelty seemed to him nothing but generosity and kind- 
ness. 8 These were the sentiments of the man from whose 
hands Charles IX. received the last consolations of his 
religion. It has been related that he was tortured in his 
last moments with remorse for the blood he had shed. 
His spiritual adviser was fitted to dispel such scruples. 
He tells us that he heard the last confession of the dying 

1 Natalia Cornea, Hittoriac sui temporis, 512. 

* Cnpefiguft, Hi. 150. 

* P0uifont*4ls ftffguisr do tronfoon te feu roy qu Sis Dmsphcnient luy donnvxt 
Ic nom de tyran, veu qu'il n'a rieu entropris et cafoit* quo ce qu'il pouvoit fttae 
par 1 espresso parole do Dieu ... Dicu commando qu'on no psrdonne on faoon 
quo ce soit *ux i&venteut* on sectateuro <lo nouvellei opinions on Mrfcies. . . . 
Ce que vous estimez cruaut* estre plutut vroye magnanlmitf et doulceur (Sorbin, 
Lt Vray ruvtilfamatin da Catoinistes, 1576, pp. 79, 74, 78). 


King, and that his most grievous sorrow was that he left 
the work unfinished. 1 In all that blood-stained history 
there is nothing more tragic than the scene in which the 
last words preparing the soul for judgment were spoken 
by such a confessor as Sorbin to such a penitent as 

Emond Auger, one of the most able and eloquent of 
the Jesuits, was at that time attracting multitudes by his 
sermons at Bordeaux. He denounced with so much 
violence the heretics and the people in authority who 
protected them, that the magistrates, fearing a cry for 
blood, proposed to silence or to moderate the preacher. 
Montpezat, Lieutenant of Guienne, arrived in time to 
prevent it. On the soth of September he wrote to the 
King that he had done this, and that there were a score 
of the inhabitants who might be despatched with advan- 
tage. Three days later, when he was gone, more than 
two hundred Huguenots were murdered. 8 

Apart from these two instances it is not known that 
the clergy interfered in any part of France to encourage 
the assassins. 

II commanda a chacun de se retirer au cabinet et & moy de m'asseoir au chcvet 
de son lict, tant pour ouyr sa confession, et luy donner ministerialcment absolution 
deses. p&taz, que aussi pour le consoler durant et apres la rnesse (Sorbin, Vie de 
ChaHes IX. ; Archives Cvneuses, viii. 287 . Est trcs certain que le plus grand 
regret qu'il avoit a rheure de sa mort estoit de ce qu'il voyoit 1'idole Calvincsque 
n'estre encores du tout chassee { Vray resveilh-matin, 88). 
,J, T ! ie *?& a S ainst * cl ergy * Bordeaux is brought by D'Aubign<5 
(Hisfotre UnweneUe, H. 37) and by De Thou, De Thou was very hostile to the 
Jesuits, and his language is not positive. D'Aubignd was a furious bigot The 
truth of the charge would not be proved, without the letters of the President 
L'Agebaston and of the Lieutenant Montpezat : " Quelques prescheurs se sont 
par leurs sermons (ainsi que dern!6rement j'ai escript^lus a^emou Tvoto-e 
majesty) estudi* de tout leur pouvoir de troubter del ct t^ttaoStopnfa 
i sedition, et en cefaisant & passer par lemdel'esp&tousceukdelapi^duC 
religion reformee. . . . Apres avoir dcs le premier et deuzieme de ceste mois 
fait cwimr un bruit sourd que vous, Sire, nviez envoye* nom par nom un rolle 
sign6 de votre propre main au Sieur de Montferaud, poi par vdede fSt sw 

aultre forme de justice, mcttro a mort quarante des r" 1 " *- * " 

(L'Agebaston to Charles XX., Oct. 7, 1572 ; Mackio 

nilA WttteMwvvw jd 1 .^..._ J-. 1 TL . 

de ectta vine " 

Madditoeh, ffi. 3S ). JW 

.. . J aoe, . 

qn. merfera de la cour de pulement avoyent unM qw 
pwchenr, seroit appdM en ladfete court poor luy felre d 
quelque lanpige qu'tt tendt en , monB, te^daat i 

duoyent ttqnej'.ybienvoHUuempeidier.^gnantQ^ 
eelk east onim^ ptadeun del hablttmti et eitte *. de qu 

SfS? 1 " Oattm quant j ' euMe P"" 1 * ^ U>U n 'y qn-nne 
(Montpet to Ctattte IX., Sept 30, * 5 7 ; -< A 


The belief was common at the time,- and is not 
yet extinct, that the massacre had been promoted and 
sanctioned by the Court of Rome. No evidence of this 
complicity, prior to the event, has ever been produced; 
but it seemed consistent with what was supposed to have 
occurred in the affair of the dispensation. The marriage 
of Margaret of Valois with the King of Navarre was 
invalid and illicit in the eyes of the Church ; and it was 
known that Pius V. had sworn that he would never per- 
mit it When it had been celebrated by a Cardinal, in 
the presence of a splendid court, and no more was heard 
of resistance on the part of Rome, the world concluded 
that the dispensation had been obtained. De Thou says, 
in a manuscript note, that it had been sent; and was 
afterwards suppressed by Salviati ; and the French bishop, 
Spondanus, assigns the reasons which induced Gregory 
XIII. to give way. 1 Others affirmed that he had yielded 
when he learned that the marriage was a snare, so that 
the massacre was the price of the dispensation. 2 The 
Cardinal of Lorraine gave currency to the story. As he 
caused it to be understood that he had been in the secret, 
it seemed probable that he had told the Pope ; for they 
had been old friends. 8 In the commemorative inscription 
which he put up in the Church of St Lewis he spoke of 
the King's gratitude to the Holy See for its assistance 
and for its advice in the matter "consiliorum ad earn 
rem datorum." It is probable that he inspired the narra- 
tive which has contributed most to sustain the imputation. 

Among the Italians of the French faction who made 
it their duty to glorify the act of Charles IX., the Capilupi 
family was conspicuous. They came from Mantua, and 
appear to have been connected with the French interest 
through Lewis Gonzaga, who had become by marriage 
Duke of Nevers, and one of the foremost personages 
in France. Hippolyto Capilupi, Bishop of Fano, and 
formerly Nuncio at Venice, resided at Rome, busy with 

1 Anna/. Baronii Contin. it 734 ; Bossuet says : " La dispense vint tello qu'on 
la pouvoit dftirer" (Histoir* A JPranc*, p. Sao). 

1 Orraegreguy, Rtjlunans sur ta Potitique to Prance, p. 
1 De Thou, iv. 



French politics and Latin poetry. When Charles refused 
to join the League, the Bishop of Fano vindicated his 
neutrality in a letter to the Duke of Urbino. 1 When he 
slew the Huguenots, the Bishop addressed him in verse, 

Fortunate puer, paret cui Gallica tellus, 

Qttique vafros ludis pervigil arte viros, 
Ille tibi debet, toti qui praesidet Orbi, 

Cui nihil est cordi relligione prius. . . . 

Qui tibi saepe dolos struxi^ qui vincla paravit, 
Tu puer in laqueos induis arte senem. . . . 

Nunc florent, toUuntque caput tua lilia, et astris 
Claxius hostili tincta cruore micant* 

Camillo Capilupi, a nephew of the Mantuan bard, held 
office about the person of the Pope, and was employed on 
missions of consequence. 8 As soon as the news from 
Paris reached Rome he drew up the account which became 
so famous under the title of Lo Stratagemma di Carlo 
IX. The dedication is dated the i8th of September 
1572.* This tract was suppressed, and was soon so rare 
that its existence was unknown in 1574 to the French 
translator of the second edition. Capilupi republished 
his book with alterations, and a preface dated the 22nd 
of October. The substance and purpose of the two 
editions is the same. Capilupi is not the official organ of 
the Roman court : he was not allowed to see the letters 
of the Nuncio. He wrote to proclaim the praises of the 
King of France and the Duke of Nevers. At that 
moment the French party in Rome was divided by the 
quarrel between the ambassador Ferralz and the Cardinal 
of Lorraine, who had contrived to get the management of 
French affairs into his own hands. 6 Capilupi was on the 

1 Charriere, iii. 154. 

Carmina 111 Pottarum Italorum, iii. 9x3, ax& 

9 Tiepolo, Desp. Aug. 6, 1575 ; Mutinolli, Storia Arcana, i. xxx. 

4 Parendoml, cbe sia cosa, la quote possa apportar piacere, e utile al moudo, 
si per la qualitA del soggetto istesso, come anco per 1' eleganm, e bello ordiuu con 
che vieue con leggiadramente descritto questo nobile, e glorioso fatto . . . u 
fine che uxta cos! egregia attione non resti defraudata dell* honor, che merit* 
(The editor, Gianfrancesco Ferrari, to the reader). 

5 Hue accedit, Oratorem Ser* Regis Galliae, et impulsu inimlcorum socporlicti 
Domini Cardinalis, et quia summopere Jlli displicuit, quod suporiorihus menslbus 
Illma Sua Dominatio operam dedisset, hoc sibi mondari, ut omnia Regis ncgotia 



side of the Cardinal, and received information from those 
who' were about him. The chief anxiety of these men 
was that the official version which attributed the massacre 
to a Huguenot conspiracy should obtain no credence at 
Rome. If the Cardinal's enemies were overthrown with- 
out his participation, it would confirm the report that he 
had become a cipher in the State. He desired to vindi- 
cate for himself and his family the authorship of the 
catastrophe. Catherine could not tolerate their claim to 
a merit which she had made her own ; and there was 
competition between them for the first and largest share 
in the gratitude of the Holy See. Lorraine prevailed 
with the Pope, who not only loaded him with honours, 
but rewarded him with benefices worth 4000 crowns a 
year for his nephew, and a gift of 20,000 crowns for his 
son. But he found that he had fallen into disgrace at 
Paris, and feared for his position at Rome. 1 In these 
circumstances Capilupi's book appeared, and enumerated 
a series of facts proving that the Cardinal was cognisant 
of the royal design. It adds little to the evidence of pre- 
meditation. Capilupi relates that Santa Croce, returning 
from France, had assured Pius V., in the name of Catherine, 

(Cardinal Delfino to the Knipcror, Rome, Nov. 29, 1572 ; Vienna Archives). 

1 Ka ogni favor et gratia gli addimanda il Cardinale di Lorena, il consiglio del 
quote usa in tutte le pifc important! negotiation! V occorro di haver a trattar (Cusano 
to the Emperor, Rome, Sept. 37, 1573). Conscia igitur Sua Dominatio 111"* 
quorundam arcanorum Regni Galliue, crcato I'ontifice sibi in Concflio Tridentino 
cognito et cunico, stntnit hue se recipere, ut privntis suis rebus consuleret, et quia 
tune fooderati contra Thurcara, propter suspicionem Rcgi Catholico injectam de 
Orangio, et Gallis, non admodum vidubantur Concordes, et non mullo post 
advenit nuncius mortis Domini de Colligni, et Sllius asscclarum ; Pontifex justa 
de causa existimavit dictum JU mlutt Cardinaluiu favore et gratia sua merito osso 
coflinlectendum. ISvenit postmodiinii ut ad Screnfssimnm Rcginam OSalliarum 
defcrretur, bonum hunc Dominum jactiuiso se, quod particeps fuerit consihorum 
contiu dictum Colligni ; id quod ilia SoronhHiima Domfna iniquo anSmo tulit, quoe 
neminem gloriae socium vult haherc ; sibi enim totam vcndicat, quod sola talis 
fadnoris auetor, et Dux extiterit. Idcirco commorationem ipsius Lotharingiae in 
hoc aula improljani, ac ruprehendere aggressa est Hoec cum illc lllustrissfanus 
Cardinalis perceperit, oblata sibi occnsSone utens, cxoravit a Sna Sanctitate 
gratuitara expeditionum quatuor millia scutonun reditus pro suo Nepote, et ao 
mfllla pro filio praeter sollidtationem, quam prno se fert, ut dietus Nepos 

hujus Domini in Gallia imminuta videatur, ipseque praevideat, quanto in Gallia 
minoris aeatlmobitur, tanto mfnori etlam loco hie se habitum irf, statuit optinio 
judicio, ac pro eo quod suae existimacioni magis conducit, in QaUiam reverti 
(Delfino, it tufra, tooth in the Vienna Archives). 


that she intended one day to entrap Coligny, and to make 
a signal butchery of him and his adherents, and that 
letters in which the Queen renewed this promise to the 
Pope had been read by credible witnesses. Santa Croce 
was living, and did not contradict the statement The 
Stratagema had originally stated that Lorraine had in- 
formed Sermoneta of the project soon after he arrived at 
Rome. In the reprint this passage was omitted. The 
book had, therefore, undergone a censorial revision, which 
enhances the authenticity of the final narrative. 

Two other pieces are extant, which were printed at 
the Stamperia Camerale, and show what was believed at 
Rome. One is in the shape of a letter written at Lyons 
in the midst of scenes of death, and describing what the 
author had witnessed on the spot, and what he heard from 
Paris. 1 He reports that the King had positively com- 
manded that not one Huguenot should escape, and was 
overjoyed at the accomplishment of his orders. He 
believes the thing to have been premeditated, and inspired 
by Divine justice. The other tract is remarkable because 
it strives to reconcile the pretended conspiracy with the 
hypothesis of premeditation. 8 There were two plots 
which went parallel for months. The King knew that 
Coligny was compassing his death, and deceived him by 
feigning to enter into his plan for the invasion of the Low 
Countries ; and Coligny, allowing himself to be overreached, 
summoned his friends to Paris, for the purpose of killing 
Charles, on the 2 3rd of August The writer expects that 
there will soon be no Huguenots in France. Capilupi at 
first borrowed several of his facts, which he afterwards 

The real particulars relative to the marriage are set 
forth minutely in the correspondence of Ferralz; and 
they absolutely contradict the supposition of the complicity 
of Rome. 8 It was celebrated in flagrant defiance of the 
Pope, who persisted in refusing the dispensation, and 

\ Miera Relation* dtUa Morte ddf Ammiraglio. 

^3**?% ***** "** et ***** ***** ***** M*fcta CArMeniuima nilla 
dutrutoon* Mia Ma dtgli U&noOi Cat la morie deff Ammiraglio, etc, 
8 Bib. Imp. F. FT. 16,139. 


therefore acted in a way which could only serve to mar 
the plot The accusation has been kept alive by his 
conduct after the event The Jesuit who wrote his life 
by desire of his son, says that Gregory thanked God in 
private, but that in public he gave signs of a tempered 
joy. 1 But the illuminations and processions, the singing 
of Te Deum and the firing of the castle guns, the jubilee, 
the medal, and the paintings whose faded colours still 
vividly preserve to our age the passions of that day, 
nearly exhaust the modes by which a Pope could manifest 

Charles IX. and Salviati both wrote to Rome on St. 
Bartholomew's Day ; and the ambassador's nephew, Beau- 
ville, set off with the tidings. They were known before 
he arrived. On the 2 7th, Mandelofs secretary despatched 
a secret messenger from Lyons with orders to inform the 
Pope that the Huguenot leaders were slain, and that their 
adherents were to be secured all over France. The 
messenger reached Rome on the 2nd of September, and 
was immediately carried to the Pope by the Cardinal of 
Lorraine. Gregory rewarded him for the welcome intel- 
ligence with a present of a hundred crowns, and desired 
that Rome should be at once illuminated. This was 
prevented by Ferralz, who tried the patience of the 
Romans by declining their congratulations as long as he 
was not officially informed. 9 Beauville and the courier of 
the Nuncio arrived on the 5th. The King's letter, like 

* Mofibi, Annali di Gregorio AY//., i. 34. 

9 La nouvcllo qui niriva la deuxieme jour du pnSsent par wig courier qui 
estoit depcschd secrdtement do Lyon par ting nommg Danes, secretaire do M. do 
Mandclot ... ft, ung commandeur de Sainct Anlhoine, nonim* Mr. de Gou, il 
luy nianda qu'il allast advertir le Pujxi, pour en avoir quelquo prdsant on bicnfiilct, 
de la mort de tous tefl chafe dc coulx do la religion prdtendue refform<Je, et de tous 
leu Hugucnotz do Franco, et quo V. M. avoit mande* et command* a tous les 
gouvernours do so suisir de tous iceulx huguenots en leurs gouverucmens ; ceste 
nouvclle, Sire, appoxta si grand contcntement a S. &, quc sons ce quo jo luy 
remonstroy lors tno trouvant sur le lieu, en presence de Monseigneur le C l de 
Lorraine, qu'elte clevoit attendre ce quo V. M. ra'en uutnderoit et ce que son 
nonce luy en esoriroit, cllc en vouloit incontinent falrc dcs feux de joye, . . . 
Et pour ce que jts ne voulois falrc ledict feu de joye la premiere nuict que ledit 
courricr envoy6 par ledict Danes feust arrive 1 , ny en recevoir les congratulations 
que Von m'en envoyoit faire, que premiercinent Je n'eusse eu nouveUes de V. M. 
pour scavotr et sa voulantd et cotnmo Ju m'avoys a conduire, aucuns commenooient 
desja de m'en regarder do maulvais coills (Ferralz to Charles IX., Rome, 


all that he wrote on the first day, ascribed the outbreak 
to the old hatred between the rival Houses, and to the 
late attempt on the Admiral's life. He expressed a hope 
that the dispensation would not now be withheld, but left 
all particulars to Beauville, whose own eyes had beheld 
the scene. 1 Beauville told his story, and repeated the 
King's request ; but Gregory, though much gratified with 
what he heard, remained inflexible. 2 

Salviati had written on the afternoon of the 24th. 
He desired to fling himself at the Pope's feet to wish him 
joy. His fondest hopes had been surpassed. Although 
he had known what was in store for Coligny, he had 
not expected that there would be energy and prudence 
to seize the occasion for the destruction of the rest A 
new era had commenced ; a new compass was required 
for French affairs. It was a fair sight to see the Catholics 
in the streets wearing white crosses, and cutting down 
heretics; and it was thought that, as fast as the news 
spread, the same thing would be done in all the towns 
of France. 8 This letter was read before the assembled 
Cardinals at the Venetian palace, and they thereupon 
attended the Pope to a Te Deum in the nearest church. 4 

Sept. xz, 1579 ; Bib. Imp. F. FT. 16,040). Al oozriero che porto tal nuova 
Nostro Signore diede xoo Scudi oltre li aoo che hcbbc daJT Ilhistrissimo Lorcna, 
che con grandissima allegrezza se n'ando subito a dar tal nuova per allegrarsenc 
con Sua Santita (Letter from Rome to the Emperor, Sept. 6, 1573 ; Vienna 

1 Charles IX. to Ferrate, Aug. 94, 1572 ; Mackintosh, iii. 348. 

9 Elle fust merveDheusement ayse d f entendre le discours que mondit neueu de 
Beauville luy en feist. Lequel, apres luy avoir contd le susdit aftayre, supplia 
sadicte Sainctete 1 , suyvant la charge expresse qu'il avoit do V. M. de vouloir 
concealer, pour lefruict de ceste allegresse, la dispense du manage du roy et royne 
de Navarre, date de quelques jours avant que les nopoes en feuasent fuctes, 
ensemble 1'absolution pour Messeigneurs les Cardinauz de Bourbon et de 
Ramboflhet, et pour tons les aultres evesques et prelate qui y avoient assisted . . , 
H nous felt pour fin response qu il y adviseroit (perralz, nt sufrtt}* 

9 Pensasi che per tutte le dtta di Franda debba seguire il simfle, subitoche 
arrivi la nuova deU 1 esecutione di Parigi. . . . A N. & mi faccia gratia di basciar 
i piedi in nome mio, col quale mi raUcgro con le viscere del cuore che sia piaciuto 
alia Dlo. Mta, d' incaminar nel principio del suo pontificate si felicemente e 
honoratamente le cose di questo regno, havendo talmente havuto in protettione 
il Re e Regina Madre che hanno saputo e potuto sbarrare queste pcstiferc radid 
con tanta prudenza, in tempo tanto opportune, che tutti lor ribelli crano sotto 
chiave in gabbia (Salviati, Desp. Aug. 94 ; Theiner, i. 339 ; Mackintosh, iii. 355). 

4 Sezta Septembris, mane, in Senatu Pontificis et Cardinalium lectae sum 
fiterae a legato Pontifido e Qallia scriptae, admiralium et Huguenotos, destinata 
Regis voluntate atque consensu, truddatos esse. Ea re in eodem Senatu decretum 


The guns of St Angelo were fired in the evening, and 
the city was illuminated for three nights. To disregard 
the Pope's will in this respect would have savoured of 
heresy. Gregory XIII. exclaimed that the massacre was 
more agreeable to him than fifty victories of Lepanto. 
For some weeks the news from the French provinces 
sustained the rapture and excitement of the Court. 1 It 
was hoped that other countries would follow the example 
of France; the Emperor was informed that something of the 
same kind was expected of him. 8 On the 8th of September 
the Pope went in procession to the French Church of St. 
Lewis, where three-and-thirty Cardinals attended at a 
mass of thanksgiving. On the nth he proclaimed a 
jubilee. In the Bull he said that forasmuch as God had 
armed the King of France to inflict vengeance on the 
heretics for the injuries done to religion, and to punish 
the leaders of the rebellion which had devastated his 

esse, lit fade recta Pontifux cunt Cardiiuxlibus in audem D. Marci concoderet, 
Dcoque Opt Max. pro tnnto benuficio Sedi Komanae orbiquc Christiana collate 
gratias solemn! more ngunit (Scri/ifuw Roma mitsvm in Capilupi, 1574, p. 84). 
<Juia Uiu a praedicti mensis Seplninbris S' uu * D. N. ccrtior foetus fuerat Colignium 
Franciau Ammiralium a populo ftirisusn. oceisum raisso ct citin no niultos ex Ducibus 
et primorilius U^onotnrum hacruticonuu cius sequacibus Kcge ipso Prancfao 
approlninte, ex quo spus rat truiiquiUittttum in dicto Regno nxliturara expulsis 
hncrelicis, idcirco S^u* Sun expluto concistorio desccndit ad occlcsiam Sancti 
Marci, prneccdeuto cnice et sequontibus Gurdinalibus ct gcnuttexus ante tiltare 
mains, ubi posituai fucsrnt Kanctiiwiuiuiii Saunuucntum, oravit gratlos Deo ngens, 
etinchonvit canttuido hymnum To Duum (/<>. Mucantii Diaria, B. M. Add. 
MS& a6,8u). 

1 Aprbs quolqucs autres discours qu'il me feist sur le contentement quo luy et 
le college dcs Curdinaux avoient rcceu do Indicte execution foicto et dcs nouvelles 
qui journeliemaut orrivoicnt en ceste court de scmblablcs executions quo Ton a 
feictc et font encore on. plusieuro villes du vostre royauxne, qui, d dire la vfrilc, 
sent los nouvelles les plus agr&iblcs quc jo pcnse qu'on oust scuu apportcr en ccste 
villc, sndicte Sninctetd pour fin me cotumauda de vous cscrire quo cest (3v6neincnt 
luy a este* cent fois plus agr&ible quo cimjuonto victoires semblubles d cello quo 
ceulx do la liguc obtiiulrent 1'annee passed contrc le l^xrcq, no voulant oublier 
vous dire, Sire, les comniondemens ostroictz qu'Il nous feist atous, mesnienieut aux 
francois d'cn fiiiro feu de joye, et qui no I'oust faiot eust mal senty de la foy ( b'erralz, 

Tuttn Roimi at:\ in allfffria cli tal fatto et fra i pit! grandi si dice, cbe '1 Re di 
Fraacla ha insetfiwto alii Principi cbristiani ch* htuiiio do siniili vtissulli 116 stati 
loro a libcmrsciie, ot dicouo dio vostra Maesti\ O-sarn dovreblxs casligaro il 
conto Poliitiuo timto numico dclla SerenisHima casa d' Austria, ct delta, fr 
cattolica, come 1' auni {xiasati feeo contra il Duca di Sassonia tiene tuttavia \ 
ohe a un tempo vundlcareblxi le tnnto inffiuric ha fatto dctto Palntiuo alii 
di Dio, et povcri Christian!, et alia Maestri. Vontra et sua Casa Senmissima 
spnomndo li suoi cdltti et conunandainciui, et privnrlo dell* clottione del- 
riraperio et darto al Duca di liaviora (Cusatio to the Emperor, Rome, Sept. 
6, 1579 ; Vitsruw, Arcliives). 


kingdom, Catholics should pray that he might have grace 
to pursue his auspicious enterprise to the end, and so 
complete what he had begun so well. 1 Before a month 
had passed Vasari was summoned from Florence to 
decorate the hall of kings with paintings of the massacre. 2 
The work was pronounced his masterpiece; and the 
shameful scene may still be traced upon the wall, where, 
for three centuries, it has insulted every pontiff that 
entered the Sixtine Chapel. 

The story that the Huguenots had perished because 
they were detected plotting the King's death was known 
at Rome on the 6th of September. While the sham edict 
and the imaginary trial served to confirm it in the eyes of 
Europe, Catherine and her son took care that it should 
not deceive the Pope. They assured him that they meant 
to disregard the edict To excuse his sister's marriage, 
the King pleaded that it had been concluded for no object 
but vengeance ; and he promised that there would soon 
be not a heretic in the country. 8 This was corroborated 
by Salviati. As to the proclaimed toleration, he knew 
that it was a device to disarm foreign enmity, and prevent 
a popular commotion. He testified that the Queen spoke 
truly when she said that she had confided to him, long 
before, the real purpose of her daughter's engagement 4 

i The Bull, as published in Paris, is printed by Strype (Life <f JPartor, iii. 
197). La pnma occasione che a ti6 lo mosse ft per ID stratagemma fatto da 
Carlo Nemo Christianissimo Re di Francia contra Coligno Ammiraglio, capo 
<T UgDnotti, et suoi seguad, tagliati a peoi in Parigi (Ciappi, Vita di Grtgorio 

A///., 1596, p. 63). 

* Vasari to BorghinJ, Oct. 5, i S7 a; March 5, 1573 ; to Francesco Medicf, 
Nov. 17, I57S ; Gaye, Cartcggio f ArtM, iii. 328, 366, 341. 

Indubttatamente non si osservara. interaxnente, havendomi in questo modo, 
punto cue torno dalT audienza promesso il Re, imponendomi di darneconto in 
sno nome a Nostro Signore, di volere in breve tempo liberate il Regno dalli 
Ugonotd. ... Mi ha parlato della dispensa, escusandosi non haw fatto fl 
Paientado per ultro, che per llberarsi da suoi inimici (Salviati, Desp. Sept 3f 
Sept 2, Oct. 1x^1572). * r F * 

6 per pigliar piede (Salviati, Desp. Sept 4). Qua! Regina in progresso di tempo 
intende pur non solo di revocare tal editto, ma per mezzo della giustitia di restituir 
la fede cattolica neU' antica oaservanza, parendogli che nessuno ne debba dubitare 
adesso, che hanno fatto morire 1* ammiraglio con tanti altri huomini di valore, con- 
forme ai raggionamenti altre volte havuti con esso meco essendo a Bles, ot 
trattando del parentodo di Navarra, et dell' altre cose che correvano in quei tempi, 
Icheosendovero, neposso rendere testimoniansa, e a Nostro Signore e a tutto 
U mondo (Aug. 97 ; Theiner, L 329, 330). 


He exposed the hollow pretence of the plot He 
announced that its existence would be established by 
formalities of law, but added that it was so notoriously 
false that none but an idiot could believe in it 1 
Gregory gave no countenance to the official falsehood. 
At the reception of the French ambassador, Ram- 
bouillet, on the 23rd of December, Muretus made his 
famous speech. He said that there could not have 
been a happier beginning for a new pontificate, and 
alluded to the fabulous plot in the tone exacted of 
French officials. The Secretary, Boccapaduli, replying 
in behalf of the Pope, thanked the King for destroying 
the enemies of Christ; but strictly avoided the con- 
ventional fable. 8 

Cardinal Orsini went as Legate to France. He had 
been appointed in August, and he was to try to turn 
the King's course into that line of policy from which he 
had strayed under Protestant guidance. He had not left 
Rome when the events occurred which altered the whole 
situation. Orsini was now charged with felicitations, and 
was to urge Charles not to stop half-way. 8 An ancient 
and obsolete ceremonial was suddenly revived ; and the 
Cardinals accompanied him to the Flaminian gate. 4 This 
journey of Orsini, and the pomp with which it was 
surrounded, were exceedingly unwelcome at Paris. It 
was likely to be taken as proof of that secret understand- 
ing with Rome which threatened to rend the delicate web 
in which Charles was striving to hold the confidence of 

* Dcsp. Sept a, 1579, 

9 The reply of Boccapaduli is printed in French, with the translation of the 
oration of Munstus, Paris, 1573. 

* Trovcrft lo cose eosi ben disposte, ohe dunuft poca fattica in ottener cjiud 
tuxto si dtisidera per 8ua Dcatitudinc, ftxui havera pita presto da ringnitfar quell A 
Maesta Chrlstlanissima di eosi buona et sant' opera, ha fatto for, che da durnre 
xnolta fatica in perauaderli I 1 unione eon la Santa Chiesa Romana (Cusnno to the 
Emperor, Rome, Sept 6). Sereno (Comment, tkttaguerra di Cipro, p. 309) under- 

^ Omnes inulns ascendentes cappis et galoris pontificallbus induti MBodarupt 

can obi faotis tnultfs revorcntiis own ibi roliciuerunt, juxta tituni anticjuum in 
oeremoniali libro descriptum <jui longo tenporo intocmissus roerat, ita Fox&tifice 
ittbenteinG^eUtortohodi(mo(AfM^7ZMffr/<7). IstaassoeiatSoniitdfiterminata 
in Condstorio vooati* X. Cardinalibus et ex improvise excquuti fuimus (C. Firmani 
Diaria, 3. M. Add. MS& 8448). 


the Protestant world 1 He requested that the Legate 
might be recalled ; and the Pope was willing that there 
should be some delay. While Orsini tarried on his way, 
Gregory's reply to the announcement of the massacre 
arrived at Paris. It was a great consolation to himself, 
he said, and an extraordinary grace vouchsafed to 
Christendom. But he desired, for the glory of God 
and the good of France, that the Huguenots should be 
extirpated utterly ; and with that view he demanded the 
revocation of the edict When Catherine knew that the 
Pope was not yet satisfied, and sought to direct the 
actions of the King, she could hardly restrain her rage. 
Salviati had never seen her so furious. The words had 
hardly passed his lips when she exclaimed that she 
wondered at such designs, and was resolved to tolerate 
no interference in the government of the kingdom. She 
and her son were Catholics from conviction, and not 
through fear or influence. Let the Pope content himself 
with that 2 The Nuncio had at once foreseen that the 
court, after crushing the Huguenots, would not become 
more amenable to the counsels of Rome. He wrote, on 
the very day of St Bartholomew, that the King would be 
very jealous of his authority, and would exact obedience 
from both sides alike. 

At this untoward juncture Orsini appeared at Court 
To Charles, who had done so much, it seemed unreason- 
able that he should be asked for more. He represented 
to Orsini that it was impossible to eradicate all the 
remnants of a faction which had been so strong. He 
had put seventy thousand Huguenots to the sword ; and, 
if he had shown compassion to the rest, it was in order 
that they might become good Catholics. 8 

1 Mette in conaideratione alia Santita Sua cbe havendo deputato tm Legato 
apostolico su la morte ddl' ammiraglio, et altri cap! Ugonotti, ha&tti amraazzare 
a Parigi, saria per metterla in molto sospetto et diffidensa deffl Frincipi Proles- 
tanti, etdellaReginad' InghHtena, ch'ella fosse d' accordo. con la sedeApostolica, 
et Printipi Gattolici per ferli guana, i quali oerca d' acquettar con accertarli 
tutti, che non ha fetto aimnamar 1* ammiraglio et suoi scguad per conto della 
Religione (Cusano to the Emperor, Sept 37). 

Salviati, Desp. Sept. aa, i S7 a. 

* Charles IX. to S. Goard, Oct. 5, 1573 ; Chanicre, iii. 330. Ne poteva . 
esser bastante segno 1* haver egli doppo la morte dell 1 Ammiraglio fatto nn editto, 


The hidden thoughts which the Court of Rome betrayed 
by its conduct on this memorable occasion have brought 
upon the Pope himself an amount of hatred greater than 
he deserved. Gregory XIII. appears as a pale figure 
between the two strongest of the modern Popes, without 
the intense zeal of the one and the ruthless volition of 
the other. He was not prone to large conceptions or 
violent resolutions. He had been converted late in life to 
the spirit of the Tridentine Reformation ; and when he 
showed rigour it was thought to be not in his character, 
but in the counsels of those who influenced him. 1 He 
did not instigate the crime, nor the atrocious sentiments 
that hailed it In the religious struggle a frenzy had 
been kindled which made weakness violent, and turned 
good men into prodigies of ferocity ; and at Rome, where 
every loss inflicted on Catholicism and every wound was 
felt, the belief that, in dealing with heretics, murder is 
better than toleration prevailed for half a century. The 
predecessor of Gregory had been Inquisitor-General. In his 
eyes Protestants were worse than Pagans, and Lutherans 
more dangerous than other Protestants. 8 The Capuchin 
preacher, Pistoja, bore witness that men were hanged and 
quartered almost daily at Rome ;* and Pius declared that 
he would release a culprit guilty of a hundred murders 
rather than one obstinate heretic. 4 He seriously contem- 
plated razing the town of Faenza because it was infested 
with religious error, and he recommended a similar 
expedient to the King of France. 6 He adjured him to 

cho in tutti i luqghi del suo regno fosscro posti a fil di spada qtuinti hesretici vi si 
trovassuro, ondo in podii giorni n* onuio stall amnuumti sottama mllla c d' avow- 
taggio (Cicnrclli, Vita di Gr^riXm.\ Platina, We dtf Pontcfici, 1715, 59*). 

r a tenguno quosiche ta fllo ot il ncccssittmo a far cose contra la sua natura e 
la sua volonta porche S. S to e scsmpro stnto di nnturn piacevolo o doloe (Kdationt 
di Grttfono Xf/f. ; Ranko, /^/j/^ App. 80). Faict Cardinal par le pape |<fo 
IV., le 13 cte Mars 1559, tequd on le ewSaro, dit qu'ii n'avoit cnte un cardinal 
alns un pu]9e (Kcrrak to Charles IX., May 141 1579). 

a gum Domiiius Nosterdixit uullam concordiaiu vel paccan dctxtre ncc posse 
ease inter nos ct hcrcticos, et cum eis nullum foedus Sneunduni t luilwndum . . . 
verissimum est dutorioros eswe haercticos gtmtSUbus, co quod sunt ftdco jxsrvcri t 
obstinati, ut propemodum infideles siut (Acta Concistorialia, June 18, 1571 ; liib. 
Imp, F. Lat. 19,561). 

1 Ogniglorno facevaimpiecareesciuartare orauno. oraun altro (Caatu, IL 4x0). 

* UfrHimidi SmiiiaSi, 436, 443. 

* Elle desire infininient que voslre Mnjost^ fece ciuelque reuentcment plus 


hold no intercourse with the Huguenots, to make no terms 
with them, and not to observe the terms he had made. 
He required that they should be pursued to the death, 
that not one should be spared under any pretence, that 
all prisoners should suffer death. 1 He threatened Charles 
with the punishment of Saul when he forebore to extermi- 
nate the Amalekites.* He told him that it was his 
mission to avenge the injuries of the Lord, and that 
nothing is more cruel than mercy to the impious 8 When 
he sanctioned the murder of Elizabeth he proposed that it 
should be done in execution of his sentence against her. 4 
It became usual with those who meditated assassination 
or regicide on the plea of religion to look upon the 
representatives of Rome as their natural advisers. On the 
2 1 st of January 1 5 9 1 , a young Capuchin came, by permission 
of his superiors, to Sega, Bishop of Piacenza, then Nuncio 
at Paris. He said that he was inflamed with the desire 
of a martyr's death ; and having been assured by divines 
that it would be meritorious to kill that heretic and tyrant, 
Henry of Navarre, he asked to be dispensed from the rule 
of his Order while he prepared his measures and watched 
his opportunity. The Nuncio would not do this without 
authority from Rome; but the prudence, courage, and 
humility which he discerned in the friar made him believe 
that the design was really inspired from above. To make 
this certain, and to remove all scruples, he submitted the 
matter to the Pope, and asked his blessing upon it, 
promising that whatever he decided should be executed 
with all discretion. 5 

qu'eUen'a&ictjusques a ceste heure contra oeux qui lui font In guerre, eomme 
de raser quelques-unes de leurs principles maisons pour une perpctuelle nuSmovre 
(Rambouillet to Charles IX., Rome, Jan. 17, 1569 J Bib. Imp, F. tfr. 17,989). 

i Pius V. to Catherine, April 13, 1569. *' 

9 Pius V. to Charles IX., March 98, 1569. 

Sa Sainctete* m'a diet quo j'escrive a. vostre majest* qua icelle se souvienne 

E- "e combat pour la querelle de Dieu, et que ceste 4 die de feire ses venramnces 
iboufllet to Charles IX., Rome, March 14, 1569 ; Bib. Imp. F. ft. 16,0^9). 
est emm ea pietate misericordioque omdelius, quae in inipios ct ultima 
supplicia meritos confertur (Pius V. to Charles IX., Oct *o, 1569). 
f C<mp0nAoux**Plittito*U. t ii. 185. ' 

inJL^^ii 1 * i?' anno a fi i di ****** * ** * martirio * P" la 
liberations deDa rdigione, et delle patria per messo della mortc del tiranno, et 

accurate da Theologi che fl fatto saria stato meritorio, non ne haveva con tutto 
ci6maipotutootteneredasuperiorisuoilaHceniaodispeiisa. . . . Jo qntm tunquc 


The same ideas pervaded the Sacred College under 
Gregory. There are letters of profuse congratulation by 
the Cardinals of Lorraine, Este, and Pellevl. Bourbon 
was an accomplice before the fact Granvelle condemned 
not the act but the delay. Delfino and Santorio approved. 
The Cardinal of Alessandria had refused the King's gift 
at Blois, and had opposed his wishes at the conclave. 
Circumstances were now so much altered that the ring 
was offered to him again, and this time it was accepted. 1 
The one dissentient from the chorus of applause is said to 
have been Montalto. His conduct when he became Pope 
makes it very improbable ; and there is no good authority 
for the story. But Let! has it, who is so far from a 
panegyrist that it deserves mention* 

The theory which was framed to justify these practices 
has done more than plots and massacres to cast discredit 
on the Catholics. This theory was as follows: Con- 
firmed heretics must be rigorously punished whenever it 
can be done without the probability of greater evil to 
religion. Where that is feared, the penalty may be 
suspended or delayed for a season, provided it be inflicted 
whenever the danger is past 2 Treaties made with heretics, 
and promises given to them must not be kept, because 
sinful promises do not bind, and no agreement is lawful 
which may injure religion or ecclesiastical authority. No 

ml am piino di trovorlo picno di tele humiU/i, prudcnza, spirito fit core ch6 
nrguiscono cbc qucsta sia inspirationo veranioiite piuttosto che tomer ita o Icgvircftzat 
non cognoscondo tuttavia di poterglida conccdere 1* ho penraaso a tornanxtnc nel 
suo covento raccommnndnrsi n Dio et attendcre all' obbedicnza dolli suoi supcriori 
finch6 io attenclessi dallo asseriso o ripulsa del Papa che huvurei interpellate jxar 
la sun santa heneditione, acs questo spirito afyt veraracntc da Dio donde si potra 
conjetturore cbu sia voneiulo approvnto cln Sim S*, e pcrcid sari pifc fticuro da 
usscre CKCgailo. . . . Kwrta bora die V. S. Ill" 8 * mi fiivorisca di communicate a 
S. R. il caflOi et scrivcrmcne coxnc la supplico qutuito prinia per duplioiLtfi ot 
triplicate lettere la sua santa dctwminationcassicurandosi che IXJT quanto mir& in 
me il nc^otio son\ trattato con la dehita cfrcumspctiono (Sega, Desp. I*aris, Jan. 
3 1591 i deciphered in Rome, March aft). 

1 Fumde to Charles IX., NOT. 18, T)(tc. 93, 1570. 

* Do Cafttro, ttrJitstaUacret. JP^nithmf, 1547* p. 119. lure Divino obliguitur 
eos extirparo, ai nlaqtw maiori incommodo possint (I Ancclotttu, I/urcticum quart 
pcrCatfolicum yttia, 1615, p. 579). Ubi quid imluljrendum ait, ratio aamper exacta 
habeatur, an Religion! ICcGleaiai;, ot Reipul>licae quid vice mutua accedot quod 
majorii ait moment!, et pitas produce iiossit (1'ameliua, De Keiig. diwrtit non 
eutmittouNs, 1589, p. 159), Coutogium iatud sic gmMatum cat, ut corrupta masfca 
non fent aatiquiaainms legefl, soveriuisquc ttmtiapcr remittenda sit (Poaaevinua, 
Animadv. in Tfaanum\ Xucharmc, lUr 2Mtcrarium> p. 391). 


civil power may enter into engagements which impede the 
free scope of the Church's law. 1 It is part of the punish- 
ment of heretics that faith shall not be kept with them. 8 
It is even mercy to kill them that they may sin no more. 8 
Such were the precepts and the examples by which 
the French Catholics learned to confound piety and 
ferocity, and were made ready to immolate their country- 
men. During the civil war an association was formed in 
the South for the purpose of making war upon the 
Huguenots ; and it was fortified by Pius V. with blessings 
and indulgences. "We doubt not/ 1 it proclaimed, "that 
we shall be victorious over these enemies of God and of 
all humankind ; and if we fall, our blood will be as a 
second baptism, by which, without impediment, we shall 
join the other martyrs straightway in heaven." 4 Monluc, 
who told Alva at Bayonne that he had never spared an 
enemy, was shot through the face at the siege of Rabasteins. 
Whilst he believed that he was dying, they came to tell 
him that the place was taken. "Thank God 1* he said, 
"that I have lived long enough to behold our victory; 
and now I care not for death. Go back, I beseech you, 
and give me a last proof of friendship, by seeing that not 
one man of the garrison escapes alive." 6 When Alva 
had defeated and captured Genlis, and expected to make 
many more Huguenot prisoners in the garrison of Mons, 
Charles IX. wrote to Mondoucet " that it would be for the 
service of God, and of the King of Spain, that they should 
die. If the Duke of Alva answers that this is a tacit 
request to have all the prisoners cut to pieces, you will 
tell him that that is what he must do, and that he will 

i Prindpi s&eculari nullaratione pennissum est, hneretids liccntiam tribuere 
haereses suag docendi, atque adeo contractus iUe iniustus, ... Si quid Princepa 
saecularis attentet in praeiudidum Ecclesiastics potestatis, aut contra cam alicmJd 
stotuat et padscatnr, pactuin fflud nulhun futurum (R. Sweertii, D* Md* 
&aeretic%s servanda, 1611, p. 36). 

1 Ad poenam quoque pertinet et odium haereticorum quod fides fflls data 
servandanondtJSimanclia, In*. Cat*, pp. <frp)T^ ^ "" * *""* 

Si nofcnt convert!, expedit eos dtius tollere e inedio, ne gravius postca 
damnentur, unde non militat contra mansuetudinem ohristianain occidera 
Haeredcos, quin potius est opus maadmae misericordioe (Lancclottus, p. 

* De Rozoy, Amtalesde Toulouse, Hi. 65. l ^ 

, , . . 

Alva to Philip, June 5, 1565 ; J*<#. A tf/*r, ix. 288 ; Cm***, dt 

t IU. 495. 


injure both himself and all Christendom if he fails to do 
it" 1 This request also reached Alva through Spain. 
Philip wrote on the margin of the despatch that, if he 
had not yet put them out of the world, he must do so 
immediately, as there could be no reason for delay. 2 The 
same thought occurred to others. On the 22nd of July 
Salviati writes that it would be a serious blow to the 
faction if Alva would kill his prisoners ; and Granvelle 
wrote that, as they were all Huguenots, it would be well 
to throw them all into the river. 8 

Where these sentiments prevailed, Gregory XIII. was 
not alone in deploring that the work had been but half 
done. After the first explosion of gratified surprise men 
perceived that the thing was a failure, and began to call 
for more. The clergy of Rouen Cathedral instituted 
a procession of thanksgiving, and prayed that the King 
might continue what he had so virtuously begun, until 
all France should profess one faith. 4 There are signs 
that Charles was tempted at one moment, during the 
month of October, to follow up the blow. 6 But he died 
without pursuing the design ; and the hopes were turned 
to his successor. When Henry HI. passed through Italy 
on his way to assume the crown, there were some who 
hoped that the Pope would induce him to set resolutely 
about the extinction of the Huguenots. A petition was 
addressed to Gregory for this purpose, in which the 
writer says that hitherto the French court has erred on 
the side of mercy, but that the new king might make 
good the error if rejecting that pernicious maxim that 
noble blood spilt weakens a kingdom, he would appoint 
an execution which would be cruel only in appearance, 
but in reality glorious and holy, and destroy the heretics 
totally, sparing neither life nor property. 6 Similar 

1 Charles IX. to Mondoucet, Aug. 31, 1579 ; Compte Rcndu, iv. 349. 
Bulletins ttcJBruxelto, xvi. 056. 

* Gronvcllc to Morillon, Sept. xx, 1579 ; Michclct, p. 475. 
< Floqiwt, Hi. 137. 

' Walstagham to Smith, Nov. x, 1573 ; Digges, p. 379. Ita enim sttttutom ab 
iiiii fait die 97 Octobria (Beaa, Pec. 3, 1578 ; ///. vin Hpp. SeL 6ai). 1* 
Motfae, v. 164 ; Faiistino TUHHO, Uistorte & tMstri tempt, 1583, p, 343. 

Discorso di Movignor Ttrraci** * Grtgorio XltL ; Thuauri Politiei 

* x6x8, pp. 73-76. 


exhortations were addressed from Rome to Henry him- 
self by Muzio, a layman who had gained repute, among 
other things, by controversial writings, of which Pius V. 
said that they had preserved the faith in whole districts, 
and who had been charged with the task of refuting the 
Centuriators. On the i/th of July 1574, Muzio wrote 
to the King that all Italy waited in reliance on his justice 
and valour, and besought him to spare neither old nor 
young, and to regard neither rank nor ties of blood. 3 
These hopes also were doomed to disappointment ; and 
a Frenchman, writing in the year of Henry's death, 
laments over the cruel clemency and inhuman mercy that 
reigned on St Bartholomew's Day* 9 

This was not the general opinion of the Catholic 
world. In Spain and Italy, where hearts were hardened 
and consciences corrupted by the Inquisition ; in Switzer- 
land, where the Catholics lived in suspicion and dread of 
their Protestant neighbours ; among ecclesiastical princes 
in Germany, whose authority waned as fast as their subjects 
abjured their faith, the massacre was welcomed as an act 
of Christian fortitude. But in France itself the great 
mass of the people was struck with consternation. 8 
"Which maner of proceedings," writes Walsingham on 
the 1 3th of September, "is by the Catholiques themselves 
utterly condemned, who desire to depart hence out of 
this country, to quit themselves of this strange kind of 
government, for that they see here none can assure 
themselves of either goods or life." Even in places still 
steeped in mourning for the atrocities suffered at the 
hands of Huguenots during the civil war, at Nlmes, for 
instance, the King's orders produced no act of vengeance. 
At Carcassonne, the ancient seat of the Inquisition, the 
Catholics concealed the Protestants in their houses. 4 In 

i infin che ne vivwA grande, o picciolo di loro, mal non 10 mancheranno insid o 
(Letter* dtlMutta, 1590, p. 239). 

9 Coupcz, tronquez, dsaiUet, ne pardonnec a para* ny amis, princes et sublets, 
ny a quelque personne de quelque condition qu'ils soient {D'Orl&ws Prcitticr 
toterHxe*** d* CafoKg** AgM* **r J&urt CM^^of^Z). 
The notion that Carles bad displayed an extreme benignity ? inmany 
books: "Nostrc Phnce a surpass* tout raesure de cleniencc" (Lo Jflrere de 
Laval Histoircdes 7hwtf t 1576, p. ea 7 ). V 

Serranus, Comment, iv. 51. * Bouges, Histoire de Carcassonnt, \>. 343. 


Provence, the news from Lyons and the corpses that came 
down in the poisoned waters of the Rhone awakened 
nothing but horror and compassion. 1 Sir Thomas Smith 
wrote to Walsingham that in England " the minds of the 
most number are much alienated from that nation, even 
of the very Papists." * At Rome itself Zufiiga pronounced 
the treachery of which the French were boasting unjustifi- 
able, even in the case of heretics and rebels ; 8 and it was 
felt as an outrage to public opinion when the murderer 
of Coligny was presented to the Pope. 4 The Emperor 
was filled with grief and indignation. He said that the 
King and Queen-mother would live to learn that nothing 
could have been more iniquitously contrived or executed : 
his uncle Charles V., and his father Ferdinand, had made 
war on the Protestants, but they had never been guilty 
of so cruel an act 5 At that moment Maximilian was 
seeking the crown of Poland for his son ; and the events 
in France were a weapon in his hands against his rival, 
Anjou. Even the Czar of Muscovy, Ivan the Terrible, 
replying to his letters, protested that all Christian princes 
must lament the barbarous and needless shedding of so 
much innocent blood. It was not the rivalry of the 
moment that animated Maximilian. His whole life 
proves him to have been an enemy of violence and 
cruelty; and his celebrated letter to Schwendi, written 
long after, shows that his judgment remained unchanged. 
It was the Catholic Emperor who roused the Lutheran 
Elector of Saxony to something like resentment of the 
butchery in France. 

1 Sufftmtiire dc fa Ftlonie comwise A Lytm. A contemporary tract reprinted by 
Gonon, 1848, p. 33i. 

* On this point Smith may ho trusted rather than Parker ( Corrvspondetice, p. 399). 
8 ttulletitudeltruxelles, xvi. 249. 

* Qui 6 vetiuto quello che dette 1* archibusata all 1 ammiraglio di Prancta, et fe 
stato condotto dnl Cardinal di Lorena et doll' Ambasciutor di Kranoiii, ol papn. 
A molti uon 6 piiiciuto ehe costui sia venuto in Roma (Prohpcro Count Arco to 
the Kmpcror, Rome, Nov. 15, 1573 ; Vienna Archives). 

8 Zufiiga to Philip, March 4, 1573; Arch, tie f/Sni/Hn, K. 1531, B. 35, 70. 
Zuftiga heard it from Lorraine. 

6 Et est touus la dispute encores sur les dcrniera eVenemens de la France, 
contra lesquftU 1'Klecteur art beauuoup plus aigre cju'il n'estoyt a man aultre voynRti, 
clcpuys qu'U a est<$ en 1'escole a Vicnue (Schomberg to Brulart, May za, 1573 ; 
Gro&n, iVi App* 76)1 


For the Lutherans were not disposed to recognise the 
victims of Charles IX. as martyre for the Protestant cause. 
During the wars of religion Lutheran auxiliaries were led 
by a Saxon prince, a margrave of Baden, and other 
German magnates, to aid the Catholic forces in putting 
down the heresy of Calvin. These feelings were so well 
known that the French Government demanded of the 
Duke of Wirtemberg the surrender of the Huguenots who 
had fled into his dominions. 1 Lutheran divines flattered 
themselves at first with the belief that it was the 
Calvinistic error, not the Protestant truth, that had 
invited and received the blow. 2 The most influential of 
them, Andreas, declared that the Huguenots were not 
martyrs but rebels, who had died not for religion but 
sedition ; and he bade the princes beware of the contagion 
of their spirit, which had deluged other lands with blood. 
When Elizabeth proposed a league for the defence of 
Protestantism, the North German divines protested against 
an alliance with men whose crime was not only religious 
error but blasphemous obstinacy, the root of many dread- 
ful heresies. The very proposal, they said, argued a 
disposition to prefer human succour rather than the word 
of God. 8 When another invitation came from Henry of 
Navarre, the famous divine Chemnitz declared union with 
the disciples of Calvin a useless abomination. 4 

The very men whose own brethren had perished in 
France were not hearty or unanimous in execrating the 
deed. 6 There were Huguenots who thought that their 
party had brought ruin on itself, by provoking its enemies, 
and following the rash counsels of ambitious men. This 

Saltier, Gexhictevon Wiirtenbtrg, v. 23. 

feralium celebrationem pertinadae Gallorum in scrael rcccpta do sacnimentiUlbus 
mysteriis sententia acceptam referee et praeter fllos pciti ncmincm aoiimiiux' 
(Steinberger to Crato, Nov. 93, 157* j GilJet, Craio w Cra/th$im, Si. 519). 

8 Heppe, Geschichte des deittscketi P/vtestantisuws, iv. 37, 47, 49. 

Hachfeld, Marti* Chenmitx, p. 137. 

8 Sunt taxaen qui hoc factum et exousare et defendere tentont (Itallingtrr to 
Hotoman, Oct TI, 1579 ; Hotoman, Spis. 35). 

6 Nee dubium eat melius cum ipsis actum fulsse, si quemodmodum A iwinttipia 
instituerant, cum dlsciplinam ecdesiasticam introduxero, viros modcstuB c.1 pitw 
veneque refonnationis cupidos tantum in auos coctus adiubissuut, rciwrtia 



was the opinion of their chief, Theodore Beza, himself. 
Six weeks before, he wrote that they were gaining in 
numbers but losing in quality, and he feared lest, after 
destroying superstition, they should destroy religion : 
"Valde metuo ne superstition! successerit impietas." 1 
And afterwards he declared that nobody who had known 
the state of the French Protestants could deny that it was 
a most just judgment upon them. 8 

Beza held very stringent doctrines touching the duty 
of the civil magistrate to repress religious error. He 
thought that heresy is worse than murder, and that the 
good of society requires no crime to be more severely 
punished 8 He declared toleration contrary to revealed 
religion and the constant tradition of the Church, and 
taught that lawful authority must be obeyed, even by 
those whom it persecutes. He expressly recognised this 
function in Catholic States, and urged Sigismund not to 
rest until he had got rid of the Socinians in Poland ; 4 but 
he could not prevail against the vehement resistance of 
Cardinal Hosius. It was embarrassing to limit these 
principles when they were applied against his own Church* 
For a moment Beza doubted whether it had not received 
its death-blow in France. But he did not qualify the 
propositions which were open to be interpreted so fatally, 5 
or deny that his people, by their vices, if not by their 
errors, had deserved what they had suffered. 

The applause which greeted their fate came not from 
the Catholics generally, nor from the Catholics alone. 
While the Protestants were ready to palliate or excuse it, 
the majority of the Catholics who were not under the 

pctulnntilnis at fervidis ingrniis, qun< cos in diros tumultus, ut inextricalrilia mala 
QQnitiuurant (DiuothuH, DC Jiello C.Vv/7/, 1580, p. 043). 

I Kei to 'fllius, July 5, 1578 ; III. vtr. Jtyp. Set. 607. 

9 QuotitiS autem ego haee ijisc pnicdixi 1 quotios prwmonui 1 Scsd sic Itoo 
vittim fS8t, iustissirais do causls irato, et tiuncn servixtori (Bexu to Tilius, Sept. 10, 
15781 ^14)* Nihil istorum mm iustiiwinio indicia accident noiKtsmt rst futuri, qui 
Qallfarum statum norunt (Ikwi to C;mto, Auff. 26, 1573 ; Uiilttt, II. 591). 

II Ut mlhi quiddin nuitfis altNurdo fnw jns vidiMintur <IJMU bi wiurilc^H iMrrlcldni 
puniendos negiircm, quum sJnt iitiH oinnilnis luutrutici infinitis jxirtibug dctoriorea, 
... In trallos uaquom homincift stivcrius qiuun in hwrtrtieos, bbmphemof et 
impiM debet fuimadvertctnt (/> Uatretitis puni*ndi*> Tnict TheoL i, 143, 159). 

* Rpist. Thtolog. 1575, p. 338. 

* Ifeca to WittgansWMn, Pentecost, 1583; FHedUlnder, 143. 


direct influence of Madrid or Rome recognised the inexpi- 
able horror of the crime. But the desire to defend what 
the Pope approved survived sporadically, when the old 
fierceness of dogmatic hatred was extinct A generation 
passed without any perceptible change in the judgment 
of Rome. It was a common charge against De Thou 
that he had condemned the blameless act of Charles IX. 
The blasphemies of the Huguenots, said one of his critics, 
were more abominable than their retribution. 1 His 
History was put on the Index; and Cardinal Barbcrini 
let him know that he was condemned because he not only 
favoured Protestants to the detriment of Catholics, but 
had even disapproved the Massacre of St Bartholomew. 8 
Eudaemon-Johannes, the friend of Bellarmine, pronounces 
it a pious and charitable act, which immortalised its 
author. 8 Another Jesuit, Bompiani, says that it was 
grateful to Gregory, because it was likely to relieve the 
Church. 4 The well-known apology for Charles IX. by 
Naud6 is based rather on political than religious grounds ; 
but his contemporary Guyon, whose History of Orleans 
is pronounced by the censors full of sound doctrine and 
pious sentiment, deems it unworthy of Catholics to speak 
of the murder of heretics as if it were a crime, because, 
when done under lawful authority, it is a blessed thing. 5 
When Innocent XL refused to approve the Revocation 
of the Edict of Nantes, Frenchmen wondered that he 
should so far depart from the example which was kept 
before him by one of the most conspicuous ornaments 

* Lobo de Sflveis to De Thou, July 7, 1616 ; fftstotn, acv. 371 ; J. R Gollus, 
JfftOm p. 435* 

Le Cardinal Bnrberin, que je tiens pour Servitcur du Roy, a parltf franche- 
ment sur ce*e affaire, et m'a dit qu'fl croyoft pnaqu'impossiblc qtfffl se trouve 
jamaisremede, si vous nelavoulez recommeuccr ; disont quo depute le oommencii- 
ment jusqu'a la fin vous vous estes monstre* du tout possionn* contre GO oui est 
de I'honneur et de la grandeur de rfeb* qu'il se tSuvem iS ^SLSSSi 
quevo^nepartejaniaisdes Catholiques qu'avee du mepris et de la touange'te 
^ i?^ 011 ; que mesine ww **** blosmfi ce que feu Monsieur Ic 


of his palace. 1 The old spirit was decaying fast in 
France, and the superb indignation of Bossuet fairly 
expresses the general opinion of his time. Two works were 
published on the medals of the Popes, by a French and 
an Italian writer. The Frenchman awkwardly palliates 
the conduct of Gregory XIII.; the Italian heartily 
defends it 8 In Italy it was still dangerous ground. 
Muratori shrinks from pronouncing on the question, 8 
while Cienfuegos, a Jesuit whom his Order esteemed one 
of the most distinguished Cardinals of the day, judges 
that Charles IX. died too soon for his fame. 4 Tempesti, 
who lived under the enlightened rule of Benedict XIV., 
accuses Catherine of having arrested the slaughter, in 
order that some cause should remain to create a demand 
for her counsels. 5 The German Jesuit Biner and the 
Papal historian Piatti, just a century ago, are among 
the last downright apologists. 6 

Then there was a change. A time came when the 
Catholics, having long relied on force, were compelled to 
appeal to opinion. That which had been defiantly 
acknowledged and defended required to be ingeniously 
explained away. The same motive which had justified 
the murder now prompted the lie. Men shrank from the 
conviction that the rulers and restorers of their Church 
had been murderers and abetters of murder, and that so 
much infamy had been coupled with so much zeal They 
feared to say that the most monstrous of crimes had been 
solemnly approved at Rome, lest they should devote the 
Papacy to the execration of mankind. A swarm of facts 
were invented to meet the difficulty: The victims wore 
insignificant in number; they were slain for no reason 

* Germain to Brotngne, Rome, Dee. 94, 1685; Valery, Corresp. tie Afttlillox, 
i. 199. 

* DuMoIinet, Hist. S. Pont, per Numismata, 1679, 93 ; Buormnni, Numismata 
Pontificum, i. 336. 

9 Annali tf ttalia ad mm. 1579. 

* Si huviuni raspinulo mo* tionipo, huviera rtaclo a eiitewlcr ol mundo, quc 
avia Key en la Francia, y Dies en Israel ( Vid& * S. /***& D* Borja t 446). 

' W*<tlSteor.,i. 119. 

* Quo demum res evaderent, si Regibus non esaet integrum, In rebdta, sub- 
ditot, qoietisqua publicac turbatoras aaimadvcrtcre? (Apparatus ruditionis> 
vii. 503 ; Piatti f Storia M Ponis/id XI., p. A 7 x). 


connected with religion; the Pope believed in the existence 
of the plot ; the plot was a reality ; the medal is fictitious; 
the massacre was a feint concerted with the Protestants 
themselves ; the Pope rejoiced only when he heard that it 
was over. 1 These things were repeated so often that they 
have been sometimes believed ; and men have fallen into 
this way of speaking whose sincerity was unimpeachable, 
and who were not shaken in their religion by the errors 
or the vices of Popes. MShler was pre-eminently such a 
man. In his lectures on the history of the Church, which 
were published only last year, 8 he said that the Catholics, 
as such, took no part in the massacre ; that no cardinal, 
bishop, or priest shared in the councils that prepared it ; 
that Charles informed the Pope that a conspiracy had 
been discovered ; and that Gregory made his thanksgiving 
only because the King's life was saved. 8 Such things 
will cease to be written when men perceive that truth is 
the only merit that gives dignity and worth to history. 

1 Per le notizie die ricevette della cessata strage (Moroni, Disienario di 
Erudition* Ecclesiastic*, antii. 998). 

9 [1868.] Kirt^n S eschichte t iif. an. 


THE manner in which Religion influences State policy is 
more easily ascertained in the case of Protestantism than 
in that of the Catholic Church : for whilst the expression 
of Catholic doctrines is authoritative and unvarying, the 
great social problems did not all arise at once, and have 
at various times received different solutions. The 
reformers failed to construct a complete and harmonious 
code of doctrine ; but they were compelled to supplement 
the new theology by a body of new rules for the guidance 
of their followers in those innumerable questions with 
regard to which the practice of the Church had grown out 
of the experience of ages. And although the dogmatic 
system of Protestantism was not completed in their time, 
yet the Protestant spirit animated them in greater purity 
and force than it did any later generation. Now, when a 
religion is applied to the social and political sphere, its 
general spirit must be considered, rather than its particular 
precepts. So that in studying the points of this applica- 
tion in the case of Protestantism, we may consult the 
writings of the reformers with greater confidence than 
we could do for an exposition of Protestant theology ; 
and accept them as a greater authority, because they 
agree more entirely among themselves. We can be more 
sure that we have the true Protestant opinion in a 
political or social question on which all the reformers are 
agreed, than in a theological question on which they 

* The Rambler, March x86a. 


differ; for the concurrent opinion must be founded on 
an element common to all, and therefore essential If it 
should further appear that this opinion was injurious to 
their actual interests, and maintained at a sacrifice to 
themselves, we should then have an additional security 
for its necessary connection with their fundamental 

The most important example of this law is the 
Protestant theory of toleration. The views of the re- 
formers on religious liberty are not fragmentary, accidental 
opinions, unconnected with their doctrines, or suggested 
by the circumstances amidst which they lived ; but the 
product of their theological system, and of their ideas of 
political and ecclesiastical government Civil and religious 
liberty are so commonly associated in people's mouths, 
and are so rare in fact, that their definition is evidently 
as little understood as the principle of their connection. 
The point at which they unite, the common root from 
which they derive their sustenance, is the right of self- 
government The modern theory, which has swept away 
every authority except that of the State, and has made 
the sovereign power irresistible by multiplying those who 
share it, is the enemy of that common freedom in which 
religious freedom is included. It condemns, as a State 
within the State, every inner group and community, class 
or corporation, administering its own affairs ; and, by 
proclaiming the abolition of privileges, it emancipates the 
subjects of every such authority in order to transfer 
them exclusively to its own. It recognises liberty only in 
the individual, because it is only in the individual that 
liberty can be separated from authority, and the right of 
conditional obedience deprived of the security of a limited 
command. Under its sway, therefore, every man may 
profess his own religion more or less freely; but his 
religion is not free to administer its own laws. In other 
words, religious profession is free, but Church government 
is controlled. And where ecclesiastical authority is 
restricted, religious liberty is virtually denied. 

For religious liberty is not the negative right of being 


without any particular religion, just as self-government 
is not anarchy. It is the right of religious communities 
to the practice of their own duties, the enjoyment 
of their own constitution, and the protection of the 
law, which equally secures to all the possession of 
their own independence. Far from implying a general 
toleration, it is best secured by a limited one. In an 
indifferent State, that is, in a State without any definite 
religious character (if such a thing is conceivable), no 
ecclesiastical authority could exist. A hierarchical 
organisation would not be tolerated by the sects that 
have none, or by the enemies of all definite religion ; for 
it would be in contradiction to the prevailing theory of 
atomic freedom. Nor can a religion be free when it is 
alone, unless it makes the State subject to it For 
governments restrict the liberty of the favoured Church, 
by way of remunerating themselves for their service in 
preserving her unity. The most violent and prolonged 
conflicts for religious freedom occurred in the Middle 
Ages between a Church which was not threatened by 
rivals and States which were most attentive to preserve 
her exclusive predominance. Frederic IL, the most 
tyrannical oppressor of the Church among the German 
emperors, was the author of those sanguinary laws against 
heresy which prevailed so long in many parts of Europe. 
The Inquisition, which upheld the religious unity of the 
Spanish nation, imposed the severest restrictions on the 
Spanish Church; and in England conformity has been 
most rigorously exacted by those sovereigns who have 
most completely tyrannised over the Established Church. 
Religious liberty, therefore, is possible only where the co- 
existence of different religions is admitted, with an equal 
right to govern themselves according to their own several 
principles* Tolerance of error is requisite for freedom ; 
but freedom will be most complete where there is no 
actual diversity to be resisted, and no theoretical unity to 
be maintained, but where unity exists as the triumph of 
truth, not of force, through the victory of the Church, not 
through the enactment of the State. 


This freedom is attainable only in communities where 
rights are sacred, and where law is supreme. If the 
first duty is held to be obedience to authority and the 
preservation of order, as in the case of aristocracies and 
monarchies of the patriarchal type, there is no safety for 
the liberties either of individuals or of religion. Where 
the highest consideration is the public good and the 
popular will, as in democracies, and in constitutional 
monarchies after the French pattern, majority takes the 
place of authority; an irresistible power is substituted 
for an idolatrous principle, and all private rights are 
equally insecure. The true theory of freedom excludes 
all absolute power and arbitrary action, and requires that 
a tyrannical or revolutionary government shall be coerced 
by the people ; but it teaches that insurrection is criminal, 
except as a corrective of revolution and tyranny. In 
order to understand the views of the Protestant reformers 
on toleration, they must be considered with reference to 
these points. 

While the Reformation was an act' of individual 
resistance and npt a system, and when the secular 
Powers were engaged in supporting the authority of the 
Church, the authors of the movement were compelled to 
claim impunity for their opinions, and they held language 
regarding the right of governments to interfere with 
religious belief which resembles that of friends of tolera- 
tion. Every religious party, however exclusive or servile 
its theory may be, if it is in contradiction with a system 
generally accepted and protected by law, must necessarily, 
at its first appearance, assume the protection of the idea 
that the conscience is free. 1 Before a new authority can 
be set up in the place of one that exists, there is an 
interval when the right of dissent must be proclaimed. 
At the beginning of Luther's contest with the Holy See 

1 "Le vrai principe de Luther est odui-ci : La volant* at esclave 
nature. . . . Le libra exaraen a 6t6 poor Luther un moyen et non un i 

Ils'en est servi, et 6tait oontraint de s'en servir pour tftablir son vrai t 

qtii^taitlatoute-puissancedelafoietdelagrlce. . . . C'est atan qua le 

eaaaoens'imposaanProtestaatisme. L'accessoire devint 10 principal, et la forme 
(Wvora plus ou moins le fond" (Janet, Histoire A la Philosophic Monk, SL 
38, 39)- 


there was no rival authority for him to appeal to. No 
ecclesiastical organism existed, the civil power was not on 
his side, and not even a definite system had yet been 
evolved by controversy out of his original doctrine of 
justification. His first efforts were acts of hostility, his 
exhortations were entirely aggressive, and his appeal was 
to the masses. When the prohibition of his New Testa- 
ment confirmed him in the belief that no favour was to be 
expected from the princes, he published his book on the 
Civil Power, which he judged superior to' everything that 
had been written on government since the days of the 
Apostles, and in which he asserts that authority is given 
to the State only against the wicked, and that it cannot 
coerce the godly. " Princes," he says, "are not to be obeyed 
when they command submission to superstitious errors, 
but their aid is not to be invoked in support of the Word 
of God " l Heretics must be converted by the Scriptures, 
and not by fire, otherwise the hangman would be the 
greatest doctor* At the time when this was written 
Luther was expecting the bull of excommunication and 
the ban of the empire, and for several years it appeared 
doubtful whether he would escape the treatment he con- 
demned. He lived in constant fear of assassination, and 
his friends amused themselves with his terrors. At one 
time he believed that a Jew had been hired by the Polish 
bishops to despatch him ; that an invisible physician was 
on his way to Wittenberg to murder him ; that the pulpit 
from which he preached was impregnated with a subtle 

1 "If they prohibit true doctrine, and punish their subjects for receiving 
the entire sacrament, as Christ ordained it, compel the people to idolatrous 
practices, with masses for the dead, indulgences, invocation of saints, and the 
like, in these things they exceed their office, and seek to deprive God of the 
obudience due to Him. For God requires front us this above all, that we hear 
His Word, and follow it ; but where the Government desires to prevent this* the 
subjcctH must know that they are not bound to obey It " (Luther's Werke, xili. 
9044). " Non est, mi Siialatine, principnm et Istius sacculi Pontificum tueri 
verbuxn Dei, nee ca gratia ullorum peto praesldiuin " (Luther s Bntfa ed. 
De Wette, i. 591, Nov. 4, 1520). " I will compel and urge by force no 
man ; lor the fuith must be voluntary and not compulsory, and must be adopted 
without violence" ("Sermonen an Carlstodt," Werte, xx. 94, 1599). 

* " Schrift an den christlichen Adel " ( Wcr** t x. 574, June 1590). His pro. 
position, K&trttieos cmluri esu contra wluntattm spiritus* was one of those 
condemned by Leo X. as pestilent, scandalous, and contrary to Christian 


poison. 1 These alarms dictated his language during 
those early years. It was not the true expression of his 
views, which he was not yet strong enough openly to put 
forth. 2 

The Zwinglian schism, the rise of the Anabaptists, 
and the Peasants' War altered the aspect of affairs. 
Luther recognised in them the fruits of his theory of the 
right of private judgment and of dissent, 8 and the moment 
had arrived to secure his Church against the application 
of the same dissolving principles which had served him 
to break off from his allegiance to Rome. 4 The excesses 
of the social war threatened to deprive the movement of 
the sympathy of the higher classes, especially of the 
governments ; and with the defeat of the peasants the 
popular phase of the Reformation came to an end on the 
Continent "The devil/' Luther said, "having failed to 
put him down by the help of the Pope, was seeking his 

1 "Nihilnontentabunt Romanenses, nee potest satis Huttenus me monere, 
adeo mihi de veneno timet " (De Wette, i. 487). "Etiam inimid md quidam 
miserti per amicos ex Halberstadio fecerunt moneri me : esse queradam doctorem 
medidnae, qui arte magica factus pro libito invisibilis, quemdam occiditt 

cam ostensionis reliquiarum : valde hoc constanter narratur " (De Wette, i 441). 
"Est hie apod nos Judaeus Polonns, missus sab pretio aooo aureorum, nt me 
veneno perdat, ab ainicis per literas mihi proditus. Doctor est medidnae, et 
nihfl non audere et fecere paratus incredibili astutia et agilitate" (De Wette, ii. 
6x6). See also Jaxdce, Studicn zvr Geschickte der Reformation, p. 176. 

a "Multa ego premo et causa prradpls et universitatis nostrae cohibeo, quae 
(si alibi essem) evomerem in vastatricem Scripturae et Ecdesiae Romanae. . . . 
Timeo miser, ne forte non sim dignus pati et occidi pro tali causa : erit ista 
felidtas meliorum hominum, non tarn foedi peccatoris. Dixi tibi semper me 
paxatum esse cedere loco, si qua ego principi ill. viderer periculo bic vivere, 

satis aduler Romanae Ecdesiae et Pontifid, si quid forte id prosit " (De Wette, i. 
360, 261). " Ubi periculum est, ne iis protectoribus tutus saevius in Romanenses 
sim grassaturus, quam si sub prindpis imperio publids mnitarem officiis 
docendi . . . Ego vidssira, nisi ignem habere nequeam damnabo, publiceque 
concremabo jus pontifidum totum, id est, lernam illom haeresium ; et finem 
habebit hnmilifatis exhibitae hactenusque frustratae observantia qua nolo amplius 
inflari hostes Evangelii " (Ibid. pp. 465, 466, July xo, 1520). 

* "Out of the Gospel and divine truth come devilish lies; ... from the 
blood in our body comes corruption ; out of Luther come Mflntser, and rebels, 
Anabaptists, Sacramentarians, and felse brethren " ( Wtrh, i. 75). 

4 "Habemus," wrote Erasmus, "fructxim tui spiritus. . . . Non agtioscis 
hosce seditiosos, opinor, sed illi te agooscunt ... nee tamen efficis quominus 
credant homines per tuos libdlos ... pro libertate evangeUca, contra tyran- 
nidem humanam, hisce tumultibus fuisse datam occasionem." "And who will 
deny," adds a Protestant classic, "that the fault was partly owing to them?" 
(Planck, GeschicktederprototanHschtnKirche, ii. 183). 


destruction through the preachers of treason and blood." l 
He instantly turned from the people to the princes; 2 
impressed on his party that character of political depend- 
ence, and that habit of passive obedience to the State, 
which it has ever since retained, and gave it a stability it 
could never otherwise have acquired. In thus taking 
refuge in the arms of the civil power, purchasing the 
safety of his doctrine by the sacrifice of its freedom, and 
conferring on the State, together with the right of control, 
the duty of imposing it at the point of the sword, Luther 
in reality reverted to his original teaching. 8 The notion 
of liberty, whether civil or religious, was hateful to his 
despotic nature, and contrary to his interpretation of 
Scripture. As early as 1519 he had said that even the 
Turk was to be reverenced as an authority. 4 The 
demoralising servitude and lawless oppression which the 
peasants endured, gave them, in his eyes, no right to 
relief; and when they rushed to arms, invoking his name 
as their deliverer, he exhorted the nobles to take a merci- 
less revenge. 6 Their crime was, that they were animated 
by the sectarian spirit, which it was the most important 
interest of Luther to suppress. 

* " Icb sehe clus wohl, doss der Teufel, so er raich bisher nicht hat miigen 
umhringen dutch den I'ubst, sucht er mich dnrch die blutdurstigon Mordpro- 
photon und Kottengeistcaii so miter euoh rind, cu vertilgen und auflresscn " 
(ttVAr,*vi. 77). 

* Schenkd, Wtun As JPntfa9ffismw t iii. 348, 351 ; Hagen, deist der JK*> 
formation, U. 146, 151 ; Menzel, Ncutre Geschickte dtr Deutscken. L 1x5. 

a ftx the best of his biographies, J Urgent Luther 1 s tekn, iii. 601. 

4 "Quid hoe nd me? qui sciam otinm Turcam honornndum et furondura 
potmtotiR gmtin, Quia oertus mm non nisi volente Deo ullam potestatem con- 
HiKtfru"(DeW'ltc f i. 036). 

" 1 l*g firfit of all that you will not hlp to mollify (2ount Allx;rt in these 
mnttra, but Itt him go on as he has begun. . . . Knconmgc him to go on 
briskly, to leave things in the hnmto of (tod, and obey His divine command to 
wield the Hword as long as he am." "Do not allow youraidviiff to IKS much diN- 
tnrlxtd, for it will redound to the advantage of many souls that will be terrified 
by it, mid pJVKurwxl." " If there are Snnoront pi-rsons amongst them, (iod will 
surely Havu and JOT-SUTVQ them, ns lie did with I-ot and JiTcnniah. If He does 
not, then they am (MMliiinly not innocitnt. . . . W< nuwt pray for them that 
they obey, otherwises thia is no time fur compawnon ; just Irt the guns deal with 
them." " Sentio mclhis cswt omneK rustioos niiKti <iiuini i>rindpcs et maglstfmtns, 
eo quod rusttei sine nntnritate lxi gladium aecipiunt Qutitu nccjuitiam Satauoe 
equi non potnst nisi mem Sataniin vastitas rcgni 1 )!, et mundi prindpes etsi 
excedunt, tamen gladium nutoriuitu JX*i gnrunt* Ibi utrumque regnum eon* 
Sstere poteit, quore nulla niiw-rk-ordla, nulla Miticntia nwtlcis deljetur, sod ira 
et indignatio Dei et humiuum" (I)e Wctte, ii. 653, 655, 666, 669, 671). 


The Protestant authorities throughout Southern Ger- 
many were perplexed by their victory over the Anabap- 
tists. It was not easy to show that their political tenets 
were revolutionary, and the only subversive portion of 
their doctrine was that they held, with the Catholics, 
that the State is not responsible for religion. 1 They 
were punished, therefore, because they taught that no 
man ought to suffer for his faith. At Nuremberg the 
magistrates did not know how to proceed against them. 
They seemed no worse than the Catholics, whom there 
was no question at that time of exterminating. The 
celebrated Osiander deemed these scruples inconsistent 
The Papists, he said, ought also to be suppressed ; and 
so long as this was not done, it was impossible to pro- 
ceed to extremities against the Anabaptists, who were no 
worse than they. Luther also was consulted, and he 
decided that they ought not to be punished unless they 
refused to conform at the command of the Government 9 
The Margrave of Brandenburg was also advised by the 
divines that a heretic who could not be converted out of 
Scripture might be condemned ; but that in his sentence 
nothing should be said about heresy, but only about 
sedition and murderous intent, though he should be guilt- 
less of these: 8 With the aid of this artifice great numbers 
were put to death. 

Luther's proud and ardent spirit despised such pre- 
tences. He had cast off all reserve, and spoke his mind 
openly on the rights and duties of the State towards the 
Church and the people. His first step was to proclaim 

1 "Wir lehren die chrlstlich Obrigkeit m&ge niclrt nur, sondern sollc auch 
sich der Religion und Glaubenssachen nit ESrnst tinnchnicsn ; ckivon halten die 
Wiedertttufer stdf das Widerspiel, welches sle ouch nun Theii gemein haben mit 
den PrtOaten der rOmischcn Kirehe" (Declaration of the ftotustanta, quoted in 
Jtttt, Devischland von 1532 Ms 1596, p. 709). 

" As to your question, how they are to be punished, I do not consider them 
blasphemers, but regard them in the light of the Turks, or deluded Christians, 
whom the civil power has not to punish, at least bodily. But if they refuse to 
acknowledge and to obey the civil authority, then they forfeit all they have and 
are, for then sedition and murder are certainly in their hearts" (De Wettc, ii. 

* "Dass in dcm Urtheil Tiffd dMiftlbfip Ofientlicher Verkfkndigung koines 
IrrthuiDs oder Ketsereien . sondern allein dcr Aufruhr und fUrgeiiommcncn 
Morderei, die ihra doch laut seiner Urgicht nie licb gewesen, gedacUt werde" 
(Jflrg, p. 708). 


it the office of the civil power to prevent abomina- 
tions. 1 He provided no security that, in discharging this 
duty, the sovereign should be guided by the advice of 
orthodox divines; 2 but he held the duty itself to be 
imperative. In obedience to the fundamental principle, 
that the Bible is the sole guide in all things, he defined 
the office and justified it by scriptural precedents. The 
Mosaic code, he argued, awarded to false prophets the 
punishment of death, and the majesty of God is not to be 
less deeply reverenced or less rigorously vindicated under 
the New Testament than under the Old; in a more 
perfect revelation the obligation is stronger. Those who 
will not hear the Church must be excluded from the 
communion ; but the civil power is to intervene when the 
ecclesiastical excommunication has been pronounced, and 
men must be compelled to come in. For, according to 
the more accurate definition of the Church which is given 
in the Confession of Schmalkald, and in the Apology of 
the Confession of Augsburg, excommunication involves 
damnation. There is no salvation to be hoped for out of 
the Church, and the test of orthodoxy against the Pope, 
the devil, and all the world, is the dogma of justification 
by faith. 8 

The defence of religion became, on this theory, not 
only the duty of the civil power, but the object of its 
institution. Its business was solely the coercion of those 
who were out of the Church. The faithful could not be 
the objects of its action ; they did of their own accord 
more than any laws required. " A good tree," says Luther, 
" brings forth good fruit by nature, without compulsion ; 
is it not madness to prescribe laws to an apple-tree that 
it shall boar apples and not thorns ? " 4 This view naturally 
proceeded from the axiom of the certainty of the salvation 

1 " Princiixs noatri lion cogunt n<l fidcm ot Evjingcllnn, sed cohibent externns 
ttbominatiom*" (Do Wette, iii. 50). " Wcnn die wultliche Obrigkeit die Vcr- 
brechen widr rile jwdto (Scactwsttifol bestnifcn, und aus dur menschlichen 
Gteellsohaft lilgc.1* solle, wie vielmehr ctenn die Verbrecheu wider die erste?" 
(Luther, apud Bucholtz, C*schithtt Ferdinands /., iii. 571). 

* Planck, iv. 6z, cxpliiinn why this wns not thought o& 

9 Undo, Siaatskircto, p. 33. " Dear I'upst sammt seinem Haufen glaubt nicht ; 
darum bekennen wir, er werdc nicht suslig, dns ist vordammt wcrden" (Tabl*- 
7V//*, ii 350). 4 Kttluaiboro, rorULtfcrfa Gnrtvi. ao8. 


of all who believe in the Confession of Augsburg. 1 It is 
the most important element in Luther's political system, 
because, while it made all Protestant governments 
despotic, it led to the rejection of the authority of 
Catholic governments. This is the point where Protest- 
ant and Catholic intolerance meet. If the State were 
instituted to promote the faith, no obedience could be due 
to a State of a different faith. Protestants could not 
conscientiously be faithful subjects of Catholic Powers, 
and they could not therefore be tolerated. Misbelievers 
would have no rights under an orthodox State, and a 
misbelieving prince would have no authority over orthodox 
subjects. The more, therefore, Luther expounded the 
guilt of resistance and the Divine sanction of authority, 
the more subversive his influence became in Catholic 
countries. His system was alike revolutionary, whether 
he defied the Catholic powers or promoted a Protestant 
tyranny. He had no notion of political right He found 
no authority for such a claim in the New Testament, and 
he held that righteousness does not need to exhibit itself 
in works. 

It was the same helpless dependence on the letter of 
Scripture which led the reformers to consequences more 
subversive of Christian morality than their views on 
questions of polity. When Carlstadt cited the Mosaic 
law in defence of polygamy, Luther was indignant. If 
the Mosaic law is to govern everything, he said, we should 
be compelled to adopt circumcision. 8 Nevertheless, as 
there is no prohibition of polygamy in the New Testament, 
the reformers were unable to condemn it They did not 
forbid it as a matter of Divine law, and referred it entirely 
to the decision of the civil legislator. 8 This, accordingly 

1 Mahler, Symbolik, 438. 

a "QuodfflunamlegemMosicogim^ 

et totam legem servare oportebiL . . . Nunc veto non sumus amplius sub loge 
Mosi, sed subject! legibus cmlibus in talibus rebus" (Luther to Barnes, Sept 
& 1531 ! De Wette, iv. 396). ** 

to be free and not forbidden. Circumcision is abolished, but not so that it 
wouM be a sin to perform it, but optional, neither sinful nor acceptable. . . . 
In like manner it is not forbidden that a man should have more than one wife. 
Even at the present day I could not prohibit it ; but I would not recommend it" 


was the view which guided Luther and Melanchthon in 
treating the problem, the ultimate solution of which was 
the separation of England from the Church. 1 When the 
Landgrave Philip afterwards appealed to this opinion, and 
to the earlier commentaries of Luther, the reformers were 
compelled to approve his having two wives. Melanchthon 
was a witness at the wedding of the second, and the only 
reservation was a request that the matter should not be 
allowed to get abroad. 8 It was the same portion of 
Luther's theology, and the same opposition to the spirit of 
the Church in the treatment of Scripture, that induced 
him to believe in astrology and to ridicule the Copernican 

(Commentary on Genesis, 1508 ; see Jarcke, Siudicn, p. xo8). " Ego sane feteor, 
me non posse prohibere, siquis plures vclit mores ducere, nee repugnat sacris 
literis : verum tamen apud Christianos id exempli nollem primo introduci, apud 
quos deoet etiam ca intcrniittcre, qune licita sunt, pro vitando scandalo, et pro 
honestate vitae" (De Wette, ii. 459, Jan. 13, 1524). "From these instances 
of bigamy (Lomech, Jacob) no rule can be drawn for our times; and such 
examples have no power with us Christiana, for we live under our authorities, and 
are subject to our civil laws " ( Table-Talk, v. 64), 

1 "Antequam tale repudium, prolxurcm potius rcgi permittcrem alteram 
rcgiimm quoque ductsrc, et exemplo patnxm et regum duos simul uxores sen 
ruffimis haljuro. ... Si peccavit ducendo uxorem fratris mortui, peccavit in 
Itiftuin huniaxuim sen civilum ; si auteni repudiuverit, peccabit in legcm mere 
divinum " (Du Wettc, iv. 996). " Ilftud dubio rex Angliae uxorem fratris mortui 
(luctam nstineru polest . . . doccndus quod has res politicas commiserit Deus 
nutfttetratibutt, nuque nos alligavtirit ad Moisen. ... Si vult rex successioni 
prospiccre, quanto satins eat, id facere sine infamia prioris conjugii. Ac potest id 
fieri sine ullo pcrlculo conscientiae cujuscuuque ant fiamae per polygamiam. Etsi 
cnim non vdim concedcro polygamiam vulgo, dixi enim supra, nos non fare leges, 
tamen in hoc cnsu proptcr magnum utilftatem regni, fortassis etiam propter 
conscientiain regis, ita pronuncio : tutissimum esse regi, si ducat secundam 

jure divino, nee ros ct omnino hmsitata" {Mtlwtihonis Opera, ed. Bretschnedder, 
ii. 5^4* 5^)* ' ' NolumuH esKC nuctorciS divortu, cum conjugium cum jure divino 
non piifpict. Hi, qui divcrsum pronuituiant, terribilitcr exaggerant et exasperant 
jas divinum. Nos contra exoKgeramus in rebus politick auctoritotem magistratus, 
qune profucto non est Icivis, multacjue junta mint propter magistratus auctoritatem, 
cfUito fllioqui in dubium vocantur" (Mcbuichthon to Bucer, Bretschneider, 

'Suadere non possutmu ut introdncatur publice et velut lege sanciatur 
pcnuissio, plures qunm uiuun uxores duccndi. . . . Primura ante omnia caven- 
dum, TUJ hivcc ret inducatur in ortxan ad modum legis, quam sequendi libera 
omnibiLS sit potuHnts. I3eind(t euiMidxararc dlgnetur vcstro celsitudo scandalnm, 
nlnxirum quod Kvangelio hostess exclamoturi sint, nos similes esse Anabaptistis, 
qui plun simul duxmuit uxona" (De Wette, v. 836. Signed by Luther, 
Melanchthon, and Uuccr). 

" He thirt would appear wise will not be satisfied with anything that others 
do ; he must do something for himself, and that must be better than anything. 
This fool (Copernicus) wants to overturn the whole science of astronomy. But, 
as the holy Scriptures tall us, Joshua told the sun to stand still, and not the 
earth" (Tal>U*Talk, iv. 575). 


His view of the authority of Scripture and his theory 
of justification both precluded him from appreciating 
freedom. "Christian freedom," he said, "consists in the 
belief that we require no works to attain piety and 
salvation." l Thus he became the inventor of the theory 
of passive obedience, according to which no motives or 
provocation can justify a revolt ; and the party against 
whom the revolt is directed, whatever its guilt may be, is 
to be preferred to the party revolting, however just its 
cause. 9 In 1530 he therefore declared that the German 
princes had no right to resist the Emperor in defence of 
their religion. " It was the duty of a Christian," he said, u to 
suffer wrong, and no breach of oath or of duty could 
deprive the Emperor of his right to the unconditional 
obedience of his subjects." 8 Even the empire seemed to 
him a despotism, from his scriptural belief that it was a 
continuation of the last of the four monarchies. 4 He 
preferred submission, in the hope of seeing a future 
Protestant Emperor, to a resistance which might have 
dismembered the empire if it had succeeded, and in which 
failure would have been fatal to the Protestants ; and he 
was always afraid to draw the logical consequences of 
his theory of the duty of Protestants towards Catholic 
sovereigns. In consequence of this fact, Ranke affirms that 
the great reformer was also one of the greatest conserva- 
tives that ever lived ; and his biographer, Jiirgens, makes 
the more discriminating remark that history knows of no 
man who was at once so great an insurgent and so great 

1 "DasistdiechristUcfteFi^dt, te 

wir mfissiggehen oderfibel thun mdgen, sondera dass wfr kernes Wcrksbedflr- 
fen, die Frttmmigkeit und Seligkeit zu erlangen" (Sermon, von der Freiheit}. 
A Protestant historian, who quotes this passage, goes on to say: "On the 
other hand, the body must be brought under discipline by every means, in order 
that it may obey and not burden the inner man. Outward servitude, therefore, 
assists the progress towards internal freedom" (Bensen, GacJUcJUt da Bauem- 
***&> 69-) * Werte, x. 413. 

According to Scripture, it is by no means proper that one who would be 
a Christian should set himself against his superiors, whether by God's permission 
they act justly or unjustly. But a Christian must suffer violence and wrong, 
eapedally from his superiors. ... As the emperor continues emperor, and 
princes princes, though they transgress all God's commandments, yea, even if 
they be heathen, so they do even when they do not observe their oath and duty. 
* Sin, does not suspend authority and allegiance" (De Wette, iii. 560). 

* Ranke, Reformation, iii. 183. ' 



an upholder of order as he. 1 Neither of these writers 
understood that the same principle lies at the root both of 
revolution and of passive obedience, and that the difference 
is only in the temper of the person who applies it, and in 
the outward circumstances. 

Luther's theory is apparently in opposition to Protestant 
interests, for it entitles Catholicism to the protection of 
Catholic Powers. He disguised from himself this 
inconsistency, and reconciled theory with expediency by 
the calculation that the immense advantages which his 
system offered to the princes would induce them all to 
adopt it For, besides the consolatory doctrine of 
justification, "a doctrine original, specious, persuasive, 
powerful against Rome, and wonderfully adapted, as if 
prophetically, to the genius of the times which were to 
follow, 1 ' 2 he bribed the princes with the wealth of the 
Church, independence of ecclesiastical authority, facilities 
for polygamy, and absolute power. He told the peasants 
not to take arms against the Church unless they could 
persuade the Government to give the order ; but thinking 
it probable, in 1522, that the Catholic clergy would, in 
spite of his advice, be exterminated by the fury of the 
people, he urged the Government to suppress them, 
because what was done by the constituted authority could 
not be wrong. 8 Persuaded that the sovereign power 
would be on his side, he allowed no limits to its extent. 
It is absurd, he says, to imagine that, even with the best 
intentions, kings can avoid committing occasional in- 
justice ; they stand, therefore, particularly in need not 
of safeguards against the abuse of power, but of the 
forgiveness of sins. 4 The power thus concentrated in the 
hands of the rulers for the guardianship of the faith, he 
wished to be used with the utmost severity against 

1 Rankc, iv. 7 ; Jtirgens, iii. 6ox. 

* Newman, Lectures on Justljicaiion, p. 386. 

* " Was durch ordtsntliche Gewult geschieht, 1st nicht fflr Aufruhr u batten" 
(Bensen, p. 969 ; Jorcke, StutKen, p, 3 i Janet, ii. 40). 

* " Princes, and all rulers and governments, however pious and God-fearing 
they may be, cannot be without sin in their office and temporal administration. 
. . , They cannot always be so exactly just and successful as some wiseacres 
suppose; therefore they are above all in need of the forgiveness of sins" (see 
Kaltenborn, p. 009). 


unregenerate men, in whom there was neither moral virtue 
nor civil rights, and from whom no good could come until 
they were converted. He therefore required that all 
crimes should be most cruelly punished and that the 
secular arm should be employed to convert where it did . 
not destroy. The idea of mercy tempering justice he 
denounced as a Popish superstition. 1 

The chief object of the severity thus recommended 
was, of course, efficaciously to promote the end for which 
Government itself was held to be instituted The clergy 
had authority over the conscience, but it was thought 
necessary that they should be supported by the State with 
the absolute penalties of outlawry, in order that error 
might be exterminated, although it was impossible to 
banish sin. 8 No Government, it was maintained, could 
tolerate heresy without being responsible for the souls 
that were seduced by it ; 8 and as Ezechiel destroyed the 
brazen serpent to prevent idolatry, the mass must be sup- 
pressed, for the mass was the worst kind of idolatry. 4 
In 1530, when it was proposed to leave the matters in 
dispute to the decision of the future Council, Luther 
declared that the mass and monastic life could not be 
tolerated in the meantime, because it was unlawful to 
connive at error. 5 * It will lie heavy on your conscience," 
he writes to the Duke of Saxony, " if you tolerate the 
Catholic worship; for no secular prince can permit his 

1 " Of old, under the Papacy, princes and lords, and all judges, were very 
timid in shedding blood, and punishing robbers, murderers, thieves, and an 
manner of evil-doers ; for they knew not how to distinguish a private individual 
who is not in office from one in office, charged with the duty of punishing. . . . 
The executioner had always to do penance, and to apologise beforehand to the 
convicted criminal for what be was going to do to him, just as if it was sinful and 
wrong." " Thus they were persuaded by monks to be gracious, indulgent, and 
peaceable. But authorities, princes and lords ought not to be merciful" (Table- 
Talk, iv. 259, 160). 

* "Den weltlichen Bann sollten Kttnige und Kaiser wieder oufrichten, denn 
wir konnen ihn jetrt nicht anrichten. . . . Aber so wir nicht kOnnen die Stinde 
des Lebens baanen und strafen, so bannen wir doch die Sttnde der Lehre" (Brans, 
LutWs Prcdigten, 6$). V 

"Wo sie solche Rottengeister wurden culassen und leiden, so sie es doch 
wehren und vorkommen kCSnnen, wurden sie ihre Gewissen gritulich beschweren, 
und vfelleicht nimmermehr widder stillen ktinnen, nicht allein der Seelen halben. 
die dadurch verfOhrt und verdammt warden . . . sondern auch der gancen 
heiligen Kirchen halben " (De Wette, iv. 355). 

4 "NuistaUeAbgWtereygegendie Mes-eeingeringes" (De Wette, v. 19x5 
sec. iv. 307) < Bucholts, Hi. 570. 


subjects to be divided by the preaching of opposite doc- 
trines. The Catholics have no right to complain, for they 
do not prove the truth of their doctrine from Scripture, 
and therefore do not conscientiously believe it" 1 He 
would tolerate them only if they acknowledged them- 
selves, like the Jews, enemies of Christ and of the Emperor, 
and consented to exist as outcasts of society. 2 " Heretics," 
he said, " are not to be disputed with, but to be condemned 
unheard, and whilst they perish by fire, the faithful ought 
to pursue the evil to its source, and bathe their hands in 
the blood of the Catholic bishops, and of the Pope, who is 
a devil in disguise." 3 

The persecuting principles which were involved in 
Luther's system, but which he cared neither to develop, 
to apply, nor to defend, were formed into a definite 
theory by the colder genius of Melanchthonu Destitute 
of Luther's confidence in his own strength, and in the 
infallible success of his doctrine, he clung more eagerly to 
the hope of achieving victory by the use of physical force. 
Like his master he too hesitated at first, and opposed the 
use of severe measures against the Zwickau prophets ; 
hut when he saw the development of that early gcrtn of 
dissent, and the gradual dissolution of Lutheran unity, he 
repented of his ill-timed clemency. 4 lie was not deterred 
from asserting the duty of persecution by the risk of 
putting arms into the hands of the enemies of the Refor- 
mation. He acknowledged the danger, but he denied the 
right Catholic powers, he deemed, might justly perse- 
cute, but they could only persecute error. They must 
apply the same criterion which the Lutherans applied, 

1 "Sic nt*r vcriichtcn UV Si'hrift muthwillitflirh, durum wilmi *i* \fi\\\K IULI 
ftor rinif'cii ( fraich xu Milieu, mtiT nlriit m Icitlcu "(!>< Wcttt*. iti. <*<). 

* " hiii ill NY wic ilir Jiutai sryn, itktlit Christen hcbvn, nin-li Kuivis 
tilled* Y, Mtiulcru f.irh laswn Chrislus untl Kuisfra Kriiuk! nciiwii, wit* <tit; Juilni ; 
wohfiin, ! wollcn wir'fi inu*h Iridcit, duss sit? in iliri'ii Syiui^^n, wiit !i* Jud?n, 
V4Tn:lilcr*M-n l,i:>ti-rn, so lan^; sic wullcn" (I)c WiAtc, iv. 94). 

' kifliit, KinhHWMkhktf, ii, <;; yv/M*-7>/tf, iii, 171;, 

* ' Ktyt all iiiiUti, rum prhimm ciifp! tioyw* ( 'i<'*ui!u *t < *kfniism fiurtiotictn, 
undo hrx! totum w>iw\ Aiiali.i|>tiMjinuii <fx<irttn tt .t, fui Nltilu* i'liMiutim. HniUia- 
IKUU isniiii et ulii tuufit'tittis non CMP* fcrro opprhniMHl^i, Kt tutit; dux FrfcMciw 
vflwRUitT irattiH v.n\i (*ioniiic: w nisi anulis iwttw <**.w:t, fiiihHut cte htmiintt 
furi<iho tit perdlto nmlti Htuntnni .si|ili'iin, Niitu* nut fjiut cteiticinttuis ncm jwruin 
pucnilct. , . . UraatltuaitubdfwciiHdst" (IfriitMituuiicUir, II 17. Feb. 1530). 


and then they were justified in persecuting those whom 
the Lutherans also proscribed. For the civil power had 
no right to proscribe a religion in order to save itself from 
the dangers of a distracted and divided population. The 
judge of the fact and of the danger must be, not the 
magistrate^ but the clergy. 1 The crime lay, not in dissent, 
but in error. Here, therefore, Melanchthon repudiated 
the theory and practice of the Catholics, whose aid he 
invoked ; for all the intolerance in the Catholic times was 
founded on the combination of two ideas the criminality 
of apostasy, and the inability of the State to maintain its 
authority where the moral sense of a part of the com- 
munity was in opposition to it The reformers, therefore, 
approved the Catholic practice of intolerance, and even 
encouraged it, although their own principles of persecution 
were destitute not only of connection, but even of analogy, 
with it By simply accepting the inheritance of the 
mediaeval theory of the religious unity of the empire, they 
would have been its victims. By asserting that persecu- 
tion was justifiable only against error, that is, only when 
purely religious, they set up a shield for themselves, and 
a sword against those sects for whose destruction they 
were more eager than the Catholics. Whether we refer 
the origin of Protestant intolerance to the doctrines or to 
the interests of the Reformation, it appears totally un- 
connected with the tradition of Catholic ages, or the 
atmosphere of Catholicism. All severities exercised by 
Catholics before that time had a practical motive ; but 
Protestant persecution was based on a purely speculative 
foundation, and was due partly to the influence of Scrip- 
ture examples, partly to the supposed interests of the 
Protestant parly. It never admitted the exclusion of 
dissent to be a political right of the State, but maintained 

1 ' ' Sed objidunt exexnpluni nobis periculosuxn : si haec pertinent ad magis- 
trates, (juoties igitur xnagistratus judicabit alicjuos errarei saeviet in eos. Cacsnr 
igitur debet nos opprimere, quoniam ita judicat nos exrare. Respondeo : certe 
debet errores et prohlbere et punire. . . . Non est enim solius Caesaris cognitio, 
sicot in urbibns haec cognitio non est tantuxn magistratus prophani, scd est 
doctorum. Viderit igitur magistrates vt recte judicet" (Bretsehneider, ii. 7x3). 
" Deliberent igitur principes, non cum tyrannis, non cum pontificibuSi non 

iritis, xnonachis aut aliis ( sed cum ipsa Bvongelii voce. cum probntis 

s" (Bretschneider.iii. 254), 


the suppression of error to be its political duty. To say, 
therefore, that the Protestants learnt persecution from the 
Catholics, is as false as to say that they used it by way of 
revenge. For they founded it on very different and con- 
tradictory grounds, and they admitted the right of the 
Catholics to persecute even the Protestant sects. 

Melanchthon taught that the sects ought to be put 
down by the sword, and that any individual who started 
new opinions ought to be punished with death. 1 He 
carefully laid down that these severities were requisite, 
not in consideration of the danger to the State, nor of 
immoral teaching, nor even of such differences as would 
weaken the authority or arrest the action of the ecclesias- 
tical organisation, but simply on account of a difference, 
however slight, in the theologumena of Protestantism. 8 
Thamer, who held the possibility of salvation among the 

1 " Quaro ita stmtias, nmgistratum clcbcrii uti samtna severitate in coercendis 
hujusmodi gpiritiljus. . . . Sines igitur novis exemptis timorem incuti multi- 
tudiul . . . ad haws notao tibi sint cuusae suditionum, quas gladio prohiberi 
oportut. . . . I'ropUirea simtio dta his qui ctiamsi non defcndunt seditiosos 
articulos, hnbuiit manifesto hlnsphcinos, quod interfici a magistrate debeant" 
(iL 17, 18). " I)<J AnalMiptistis tulimtishic in guncro sententiam : quia constat 
suctam i Lfadjoltaun us*;, nun osso tolurauclam : dissipori enim ccclcsias per eos, 
cum ipsi nullum habcanl curtiun ductrinom. . . . Ideo in capita fectionum in 
slngulis locis ultima supplicia coiistituenda csse judicavimus" (iL 549). "It is 
ctaar that it us the duty of secular government to punish blasphemy, false 
doctrine, and heresy, on the bodies of thosu who are guilty of them. . . . Since 
it is evident that them are gross errors in tho Articles of the Anabaptist sect, we 
conclude that in this case tho obstinate ought to be punished with death" 
(iii. too). "Propter hauc causam Iteus ordinavit politins ut EvangeUum 
propapiri poasit . . . neo revocsmius politiam Moysi, sed lex monalis perpetua 
est ommuin tmtatuni . . . qwimdocuniquo coiistat doctrinam esse irapiam, nihil 
dublum est quin stuiior pun Kcch>siae dcbcat malos pastores removere et abolcre 
impios cuUm Et luinc cmciulationeiu prnucipue adjuvare debent magistratus, 
taiiqiuim pcrtiom membra KedMbw" (Hi. 84*. 44)-. "Thammerus, qui 
MahomuticttH seu Kthnicna opinion* s^git, va^itur m diocccsi Mindensi, 
quern puWicis suppliciis adfjcoitj delx^nt . . . Evomuit blasphemias, quae 
rcfutaiuUio sunt nun tixntum dispuUitioue aut scriptis, scd ctiam justo officio pu 
macistttitiw " (ix* 135, xar). 

"Voco uutcm blusplwmos quiarticulos habent, qui proprie non pertinent 
d dvilem fttatum, sed continent Oeuplat ut do divinitate Christ! et similes. Etsi 
enim Rnwliw <juidin sunt, tanum hue etiam refero baptisnmm infantum. . . . 
Quia mjiifiHtmtui ainunissa <t tutela totius legis, quod attinet ad externam 
discipliiuuii t wrti'rmifucta. Qunrc tlclicta oxtenia contra primarn tebujam 
proWbcro uc i>unire debet . . . t^Juaro non solum concessum est, sed etiam 
Sinun est nuigistnitui, impias cioctrinas abolcre, et tueri pias m suis 
ditionibus" til 711). " Kcclosiastica potestas ttintum judicat et excommunicat 
haeretieos, non bccidit. So<i ^testas civilis clebet constitute poenaset suwlicia 
in hftcreticoi, slcut in Wasphemos constituit suppluaa. . . . Non enim ptoctitur 


heathen ; Schwenkfeld, who taught that not the written 
Word, but the internal illumination of grace in the 
soul was the channel of God's influence on man; the 
Zwinglians, with their error on the Eucharist, all these 
met with no more favour than the fanatical Anabaptists. 1 
The State was held bound to vindicate the first table of 
the law with the same severity as those commandments 
on which civil society depends for its existence. The 
government of the Church being administered by the 
civil magistrates, it was their office also to enforce the 
ordinances of religion ; and the same power whose voice 
proclaimed religious orthodoxy and law held in its 
hand the sword by which they were enforced. No 
religious authority existed except through the civil 
power. 9 The Church was merged in the State; but 
the laws of the State, in return, were identified with the 
commandments of religion. 8 

In accordance with these principles, the condemnation 
of Servetus by a civil tribunal, which had no authority 
over him, and no jurisdiction over his crime the most 
aggressive and revolutionary act, therefore, that is con- 
ceivable in the casuistry of persecution was highly 
approved by Melanchthon. He declared it a most 
useful example for all future ages, and could not under- 
stand that there should be any who did not regard it 
in the same favourable light 4 It is true that Servetus, 

i " Notum est etiam, quosdam tetra et M*$WMI dizisse de sanguine Cbristi, 
quos puniri oportuit, et propter gloriam Christ!, et exempli causa" (viii. 553). 
" Argumentatur ille praestigiator (Schwenkfeld), verbum externum non esse 
medium, quo Deus est efficax. Talis sophistlca principttm severitate com- 
pescendaerat" (be, 579). 

9 "The office of preacher is distinct from that of governor, yet both have 
to contribute to the praise of God. Princes are not only to protect the goods 
and bodily life of their subjects, but the principal function is to promote the 
honour of God, and to prevent idolatry and blasphemy" (iii. 199). "Errant 
igitur magistrates, qui divellunt gubernationem a fine, et se tantum pads ac 
ventris custodes esse existixnant. . . At si tantum venter cnrandus esset, quid 
different principes ab armentariis? Nam longe aUter sentiend-um est Polities 

quaerenda et fruenda ventris bona, sed multo magis, ut Deus in socdetate 

8 "Neque ilia barbarica excusatio audienda est, leges Bias pertinere ad 
polltiam Mosaicam, non ad nostram. Ut Decalogus ipse ad omnes pertinet, 
ita judez ubique omnia Decalogi officia in externa disciplina tueatur " (viii. 590). 

* "Legi scriptnm tuum, in QUO refutasti luculenter horrendas Serveti 


by denying the divinity of Christ, was open to the charge 
of blasphemy in a stricter sense than that in which the 
reformers generally applied it But this was not the 
case with the Catholics. They did not represent, like 
the sects, an element of dissolution in Protestantism, and 
the bulk of their doctrine was admitted by the reformers. 
They were not in revolt against existing authority ; they 
required no special innovations for their protection ; they 
demanded only that the change of religion should not 
be compulsory. Yet Melanchthon held that they too 
were to be proscribed, because their worship was idola- 
trous. 1 In doing this he adopted the principle of 
aggressive intolerance, which was at that time new to 
the Christian world ; and which the Popes and Councils 
of the Catholic Church had condemned when the zeal 
of laymen had gone beyond the lawful measure. In 
the Middle Ages there had been persecution far more 
sanguinary than any that has been inflicted by 
Protestants. Various motives had occasioned it and 
various arguments had been used in its defence. But 
the principle on which the Protestants oppressed the 
Catholics was new. The Catholics had never admitted 
the theory of absolute toleration, as it was defined at 
first by Luther, and afterwards by some of the sects. 
In principle, their tolerance differed from that of the 
Protestants as widely as their intolerance. They had 
exterminated sects which, like the Albigenses, threatened 
to overturn the fabric of Christian society. They had 

blnsphemias, ac Alio Dei gratifts ago, qui full ppapwrfy hujus tui agonis. 
Tlbi quoque Ecctasia et mine et ad posteros gRititudinem debet et debebit Too 
judiofo prorsus odsentior. Afllrmo etiam, vestros mugtetratus juste fecisse, quod 
hominem blnsphemura, n online judiaita, iuterfeoerunt" (Melanchthon to Calvin, 
Bietsehiicidtsr, vffl. 360). "Juctico etiam Senatum Genevensem recte fedsse, 
quod hominom pertinacem et non omimurum bhuphemias sustulit. Ac miratus 
awn, esacs, qui soveritoutm illotn improbeiit " (vffl. 593). "Dedit vero et 
Gcnevcnsisrcip. magistrates ante annos quatuor punitae innanabilii blasphemfae 
adveivu* filhim Dei, siibhto Scrveto Arragono pium et memozabOe ad omnem 
postcritiitem cxcunplum " (iXi 133)* 

i "Abuvus missue per moRiBtmtus debet tolli. Non oliter, atque sustulit 
aeneum ierpentem ICxediias, aut exeelsa demolitua est Josias" (I 480). 
" Pollticit magistratlbw sevttrisdme mandatum est, ut suo quiaque loco manibus 
et armis tollant Matuas, ad qua* fium hominum concursufl et invocation*, et 
punlant mppllciiseorponim insanabiles, qui Idolorum cultum pertinaciter retinent, 
aut blMphemlas fomnt " (ix, 77). 


proscribed different religions where the State was founded 
on religious unity, and where this unity formed an integral 
part of its laws and administration. They had gone one 
step further, and punished those whom the Church con- 
demned as apostates; thereby vindicating, not, as in 
the first case, the moral basis of society, nor, as in the 
second, the religious foundation of the State, but the 
authority of the Church and the purity of her doctrine, 
on which they relied as the pillar and bulwark of the 
social and political order. Where a portion of the 
inhabitants of any country preferred a different creed, 
Jew, Mohammedan, heathen, or schismatic, they had been 
generally tolerated, with enjoyment of property and 
personal freedom, but not with that of political power 
or autonomy. But political freedom had been denied 
them because they did not admit the common ideas of 
duty which were its basis. This position, however, was 
not tenable, and was the source of great disorders. The 
Protestants, in like manner, could give reasons for several 
kinds of persecution. They could bring the Socinians 
under the category of blasphemers; and blasphemy, 
like the ridicule of sacred things, destroys reverence 
and awe, and tends to the destruction of society. The 
Anabaptists, they might argue, were revolutionary 
fanatics, whose doctrines were subversive of the civil 
order; and the dogmatic sects threatened the ruin of 
ecclesiastical unity within the Protestant community 
itself. But by placing the necessity of intolerance on 
the simple ground of religious error, and in directing 
it against the Church which they themselves had 
abandoned, they introduced a purely subjective test; 
and a purely revolutionary system. It is on this account 
that the iu quoque, or retaliatory argument, is inadmissible 
between Catholics and Protestants. Catholic intolerance 
is handed down from an age when unity subsisted, and 
when its preservation, being essential for that of society, 
became a necessity of State as well as a result of cir- 
cumstances. Protestant intolerance, on the contrary, 
was the peculiar fruit of a dogmatic system in con- 


tradiction with the facts and principles on which the 
intolerance actually existing among Catholics was 
founded. Spanish intolerance has been infinitely more 
sanguinary than Swedish; but in Spain, independently 
of the interests of religion, there were strong political 
and social reasons to justify persecution without seeking 
any theory to prop it up; whilst in Sweden all those 
practical considerations have either been wanting, or 
have been opposed to persecution, which has consequently 
had no justification except the theory of the Reformation. 
The only instance in which the Protestant theory has 
been adopted by Catholics is the revocation of the 
Edict of Nantes. 

Towards the end of his life, Melanchthon, having 
ceased to be a strict Lutheran, receded somewhat from 
his former uncompromising position, and was adverse to 
a strict scrutiny into minor theological differences. He 
drew a distinction between errors that required punish- 
ment and variations that were not of practical importance. 1 
The English Calvinists who took refuge in Germany in 
the reign of Mary Tudor were ungraciously received by 
those who were stricter Lutherans than Melanchthon. He 
was consulted concerning the course to be adopted towards 
the refugees, and he recommended toleration. But both 
at Wesel and at Frankfort his advice was, to his great 
disgust, overruled. 8 

1 ' If the French and English community at Frankfort shared the errors of 
Servetus or Thamer, or other enemies of the Symbols, or the errors of the Ana- 
Ixiptisls on infant baptism, against the authority of the State, etc., I should 
faithfully advise and strongly recommend that they should be soon driven away ; 
for the civil power is txmnd to prevent and to punish proved blasphemy and 
fiedition. But i find that this community is orthodox in the symbolical articles on 
the Son of God, and in trthor articles of the Symbol. ... If the faith of the 
citizens in every town were inquired into, what trouble and confusion would not 
arise in many countries and towns I " (ix. 179). 

* Schmidt, /'*///)/ Mehmchthan, p. 640. His exhortations to the Landgrave 
to put down tli Zwfufflisms are characteristic ; " The Zwinglians, without waiting 
for the Council, persecute the Itopists and the Anabaptists ; why must it be wrong 
for others to prohibit their indefensible doctrine independent of the Council?" 
Philip replied j Forcibly, to prohibit a doctrine which neither contradicts the 
articles of faith iwr ^courages sedition, I do not think right . . . When Luther 
began to write and to preach, he admonished and Instructed the Government that it 
had no right to forbid books or to prevent preaching, and that its office did not 
extend so far, but that it hod only to govern the body and goods. ... I hod 
not heard before that the fcwingiiuns persecute the Papists; but if they abolish 


The severities of the Protestants were chiefly provoked 
by the Anabaptists, who denied the lawfulness of civil 
government, and strove to realise the kingdom of God on 
earth by absorbing the State in the Church. 1 None pro- 
tested more loudly than they against the Lutheran 
intolerance, or suffered from it more severely. But while 
denying the spiritual authority of the State, they claimed 
for their religious community a still more absolute right 
of punishing error by death. Though they sacrificed 
government to religion, the effect was the same as that of 
absorbing the Church in the State. In 1524 Miinzer 
published a sermon, in which he besought the Lutheran 
princes to extirpate Catholicism. " Have no remorse," he 
says ; " for He to whom all power is given in heaven and 
on earth means to govern alone." * He demanded the 
punishment of all heretics, the destruction of all who were 
not of his faith, and the institution of religious unity. 

* Do not pretend," he says, "that the power of God will 
accomplish it without the use of your sword, or it will 
grow rusty in the scabbard. The tree that bringeth not 
forth good fruit must be cut down and cast into the fire." 
And elsewhere, " the ungodly have no right to live, except 
so far as the elect choose to grant it them." 8 When the 
Anabaptists were supreme at Munster, they exhibited the 
same intolerance. At seven in the morning of Friday, 
2/th February 1534, they ran through the streets crying, 

* Away with the ungodly 1 " Breaking into the houses of 
those who refused their baptism, they drove the men out 
of the town, and forcibly rebaptized the women who 
remained behind. 4 Whilst, therefore, the Anabaptists 

abuses, it is not unjust, for the Papists wish to deserve heaven by their works, and 
so blaspheme the Son of God* 'fhat they should persecute the Anabaptists is also 
not wrong, for their doctrine is in part seditious." The divines answered : " If 
by God's grace our true and necessary doctrine is tolerated as it has hitherto been 
by the emperor, though reluctantly, we think that we ought not to prevent it by 
undertaking the defence of the Zwinglian doctrine, if that should not be tolerated. 
. . . As to the argument that we ought to spare the people while persecuting the 
leaders, our answer is, that it is not a question of persons, but only of doctrine, 
whether it be true or false" (Correspondence of Brews and Melanchthon with 
Landgrave Philip of Hesse, Bretschneider, iL 95, 98, xox). 
1 Hardwicke, Reformation, p. 274. 

Seidemann, Thomas AAtawr, p. 35. * Schenkel, iii. 381. 

* Heinrich Grosbeck'a Beruht, ed. Cornelius, 19. 


were punished for questioning the authority of the 
Lutherans in religious matters, they practically justified 
their persecution by their own intolerant doctrines. In 
fact, they carried the Protestant principles of persecution 
to an extreme. For whereas the Lutherans regarded the 
defence of truth and punishment of error as being, in 
part, the object of the institution of civil government, they 
recognised it as an advantage by which the State was 
rewarded for its pains; but the Anabaptists repudiated 
the political element altogether, and held that error should 
be exterminated solely for the sake of truth, and at the 
expense of all existing States. 

Bucer, whose position in the history of the Reforma- 
tion is so peculiar, and who differed in important points 
from the Saxon leaders, agreed with them on the necessity 
of persecuting. He was so anxious for the success of 
Protestantism, that he was ready to sacrifice and renounce 
important doctrines, in order to save the appearance of 
unity; 1 but those opinions in which he took so little 
dogmatic interest, he was resolved to defend by force. 
He was very much dissatisfied with the reluctance of the 
Senate of Strasburg to adopt severe measures against 
the Catholics. His colleague Capito was singularly 
tolerant; for the feeling of the inhabitants was not 
decidedly in favour of the change. 8 But Bucer, his 
biographer tells us, was, in spite of his inclination to 
mediate, not friendly to this temporising system ; partly 
because he had an organising intellect, which relied 
greatly on practical discipline to preserve what had been 
conquered, and on restriction of liberty to be the most 
certain security for its preservation ; partly because he 
had a deep insight into the nature of various religious 
tendencies, and was justly alarmed at their consequences 
for Church and State, 8 This point in the character of 
Bucer provoked a powerful resistance to his system 
of ecclesiastical discipline, for it was feared that he 

* Hawog, RnvekpSditfBrprotottintlscte Thfolyie, H. 4*8. 

* Buttierre, AtaMtanMirt du Protntantime en Atom* p. 49- 

> liauni, Capito und Buter, p. 489* 


would give to the clergy a tyrannical power. 1 It is true 
that the demoralisation which ensued on the destruction 
of the old ecclesiastical authority rendered a strict 
attention on the part of the State to the affairs of 
religion highly necessary. 2 The private and confidential 
communications of the German reformers give a more 
hideous picture of the moral condition of the generation 
which followed the Reformation than they draw in their 
published writings of that which preceded it. It is on 
this account that Bucer so strongly insisted on the 
necessity of the interference of the civil power in support 
of the discipline of the Church. 

The Swiss reformers, between whom and the Saxons 
Bucer forms a connecting link, differ from them in one 
respect, which greatly influenced their notions of govern- 
ment. Luther lived under a monarchy which was almost 
absolute, and in which the common people, who were of 
Slavonic origin, were in the position of the most abject 
servitude ; but the divines of Zurich and Bern were re- 
publicans. They did not therefore entertain his exalted 
views as to the irresistible might of the State ; and in- 
stead of requiring as absolute a theory of the indefecti- 
bility of the civil power as he did, they were satisfied 
with obtaining a preponderating influence for themselves. 
Where the power was in hands less favourable to their 
cause, they had less inducement to exaggerate its rights. 

Zwingli abolishes both the distinction between Church 
and State and the notion of ecclesiastical authority. In 
his system the civil rulers possess the spiritual functions ; 
and, as their foremost duty is the preservation and promo* 
tion of the true religion, it is their business to preach. As 
magistrates are too much occupied with other things, they 
must delegate the ministry of the word to preachers, for 
whose orthodoxy they have to provide. They are bound 
to establish uniformity of doctrine, and to defend it 

1 Baum, p. 493 ; Erbkam, Proiestantische Stkten, p. 581. 

9 Ursinus writes to Bulling*:: "Liberavit nos Deua ab idolatria: succedit 
Hcentia infinite et horribffis divini nominis, ecclesiae doctrinae pnrioris et sacra- 
mentorum prophanatlo et sub pedibus porcorum et canum, conniventibus atque 
utinam non defendentibus iis qui probibere suo loco debebant, conculcatio " 
(Sudhoff, OJeviamu und Ursinus, p. 340). 


against Papists and heretics. This is not only their 
right, but their duty ; and not only their duty, but the 
condition on which they retain office. 1 Rulers who do 
not act in accordance with it are to be dismissed. Thus 
Zwingli combined persecution and revolution in the same 
doctrine. But he was not a fanatical persecutor, and his 
severity was directed less against the Catholics than 
against the Anabaptists, 2 whose prohibition of all civil 
offices was more subversive of order in a republic than 
in a monarchy. Even, however, in the case of the Ana- 
baptists the special provocation was not the peril to the 
State, nor the scandal of their errors, but the schism 
which weakened the Church. 8 The punishment of heresy 
for the glory of God was almost inconsistent with the 
theory that there is no ecclesiastical power. It was not 
so much provoked in Zurich as elsewhere,, because in a 
small republican community, where the governing body 
was supreme over both civil and religious affairs, religious 
unity was a matter of course. The practical necessity of 
maintaining unity put out of sight the speculative question 
of the guilt and penalty of error. 

Soon after Zwingli's death, Leo Judse called for severer 
measures against the Catholics, expressly stating, however, 
that they did not deserve death. " Excommunication/ 1 he 
said, " was too light a punishment to be inflicted by the 
State which wields the sword, and the faults in question 
were not great enough to involve the danger of death." 4 
Afterwards he fell into doubts as to the propriety of 
severe measures against dissenters, but his friends Bul- 
lingcr and Capito succeeded in removing his scruples, and 
in obtaining his acquiescence in that intolerance, which 
was, says his biographer, a question of life and death for 
the Protestant Church. Bullinger took, like Zwingli, a 

* ' ' AdKcrcre Audeinus, noniincnn nuLgistmtum recto gercro no posse quldem, 
nisi ChristitinuHsit" (Kuingli, Opera, iii. 396), " If they shall proceed in an 
unbrotiusrly way, and turainst the ordinance of Christ, then let them bo deposed, 
in God's nuua* (Schenkcl, iii. 362). 

1 Cbrfotoflel, /MMck Zw>ttfi> p. 351. 

* Zwingli'* advice to the Protestants of St Gall, in fresscl, Joachim Vadian, 

* 5 PtaJoi!x!, Neinrich /to///wr, p. 95- * /*&., Leo Juat*, p. 50. 


more practical view of the question than was common in 
Germany. He thought it safer strictly to exclude reli- 
gious differences than to put them down with fire and 
sword ; " for in this case/' he says, " the victims compare 
themselves to the early martyrs, and make their punish- 
ment a weapon of defence." 1 He did not, however, forbid 
capital punishment in cases of heresy. In the year 1535 
he drew up an opinion on the treatment of religious error, 
which is written in a tone of great moderation. In this 
document he says " that all sects which introduce division 
into the Church must be put down, and not only such 
as, like the Anabaptists, threaten to subvert society, for 
the destruction of order and unity often begins in an 
apparently harmless or imperceptible way. The culprit 
should be examined with gentleness. If his disposition 
is good he will not refuse instruction ; if not, still patience 
must be shown until there is no hope of converting him. 
Then he must be treated like other malefactors, and 
handed over to the torturer and the executioner." * After 
this time there were no executions for religion in Zurich, 
and the number, even in the lifetime of Zwingli, was less 
considerable than in many other places. But it was still 
understood that confirmed heretics would be put to death. 
In 1 546, in answer to the Pope's invitation to the Council 
of Trent, Bullinger indignantly repudiates the insinuation 
that the Protestant cantons were heretical, * for, by the 
grace of God, we have always punished the vices of 
heresy and sodomy with fire, and have looked upon them, 
and still look upon them, with horror." 8 This accusation 
of heresy inflamed the zeal of the reformers against 
heretics, in order to prove to the Catholics that they had 
no sympathy with them. On these grounds Bullinger 
recommended the execution of Servetus. " If the high 
Council inflicts on him the fate due to a worthless 
blasphemer, all the world will see that the people of 
Geneva hate blasphemers, and that they punish with the 
sword of justice heretics who are obstinate in their heresy. 
. . . Strict fidelity and vigilance are needed, because our 

1 Pestaload, Htinrich Bullinger, p. 146. * 1W. p. 149. /Mf. p. 070. 


churches are in ill repute abroad, as if we were heretics 
and friends of heresy. Now God's holy providence has 
furnished an opportunity of clearing ourselves of this evil 
suspicion." 1 After the event he advised Calvin to justify 
it, as there were some who were taken aback. " Every- 
where/' he says, " there are excellent men who are con- 
vinced that godless and blaspheming men ought not only 
to be rebuked and imprisoned, but also to be put to 
death. . . . How Servetus could have been spared I cannot 

see." 8 

The position of QEcolampadius in reference to these 
questions was altogether singular and exceptional. He 
dreaded the absorption of the ecclesiastical functions by 
the State, and sought to avoid it by the introduction of a 
council of twelve elders, partly magistrates, partly clergy, 
to direct ecclesiastical affairs. "Many things/ 1 he said, 
rt arc punished by the secular power less severely than the 
dignity of the Church demands. On the other hand, it 
punishes the repentant, to whom the Church shows mercy. 
Either It blunts the edge of its sword by not punishing 
the guilty, or it brings some hatred on the Gospel by 
severity." 8 But the people of Basel were deaf to the argu- 
ments of the reformer, and here, as elsewhere, the civil 
power usurped the office of the Church. In harmony 
with this jealousy of political interference, CEcolampadius 
was veiy merciful to the Anabaptists. " Severe penalties," 
he said, "wens likely to aggravate the evil; forgiveness 
would hasten the cure." * A few months later, however, he 
regretted this leniency. "We perceive," he writes to a 
friend, "that we have sometimes shown too much indul- 
gence ; but this is better than to proceed tyrannically, or 
to surrender the keys of the Church." 8 Whilst, on the 

unfe^thUfettnriea nut to n*Ind ad pumjhed, but i*"*?* 11 * 
SS (taSnoit, to pwttrt thonnds f Wwbitantt'' (/** P- +& 

__ j.m...J j.^J_ Ei BAM 

lierxog, - 

p, 189. 


other hand, he rejoiced at the expulsion of the Catholics, 
he ingeniously justified the practice of the Catholic per- 
secutors. " In the early ages of the Church, when the 
divinity of Christ manifested itself to the world by 
miracles, God incited the Apostles to treat the ungodly 
with severity. When the miracles ceased, and the faith 
was universally adopted, He gained the hearts of princes 
and rulers, so that they undertook to protect with the 
sword the gentleness and patience of the Church. They 
rigorously resisted, in fulfilment of the duties of their 
office, the contemners of the Church." l " The clergy," he 
goeS on to say, " became tyrannical because they usurped 
to themselves a power which they ought to have shared 
with others ; and as the people dread the return of this 
tyranny of ecclesiastical authority, it is wiser for the 
Protestant clergy to make no use of the similar power of 
excommunication which is intrusted to them." 

Calvin, as the subject of an absolute monarch, and the 
ruling spirit in a republic, differed both from the German 
and the Swiss reformers in his idea of the State both in 
its object and in its duty towards the Church. An exile 
from his own country, he had lost the associations and 
habits of monarchy, and his views of discipline as well as 
doctrine were matured before he took up his abode in 
Switzerland. 2 His system was not founded on existing 
facts ; it had no roots in history, but was purely Ideal, 
speculative, and therefore more consistent and inflexible 
than any other. Luther's political ideas were bounded by 
the horizon of the monarchical absolutism under which 
he lived. ZwinglZ's were influenced by the democratic 
forms of his native country, which gave to the whole 
community the right of appointing the governing body. 
Calvin, independent of all such considerations, studied 
only how his doctrine could best be realised, whether 
through the instrumentality of existing authorities, or at 
their expense. In his eyes its interests were paramount, 

> Heraog, tfe Ottolamfads, ii. 195. Henog finds an excuse far the harsh 
torment of the Lutherans at Basel in the stiUpvater severity of the Lutheran 
Churches against the followers of the Swiss reformation (Ibid. ai 3 ). 

Hundeshagen, CoiiflikU As Zwingtianismus *nd Cafoinismus, 41. 



their promotion the supreme duty, opposition to them an 
unpardonable crime. There was nothing in the institu- 
tions of men, no authority, no right, no liberty, that he 
cared to preserve, or towards which he entertained any 
feelings of reverence or obligation. 

His theory made the support of religious truth the 
end and office of the State, 1 which was bound therefore 
to protect, and consequently to obey, the Church, and 
had no control over it In religion the first and highest 
thing was the dogma: the preservation of morals was 
one important office of government ; but the maintenance 
of the purity of doctrine was the highest The result of 
this theory is the institution of a pure theocracy. If the 
elect were alone upon the earth, Calvin taught, there 
would be no need of the political order, and the Ana- 
baptists would be right in rejecting it ; 2 but the elect are 
in a minority ; and there is the mass of reprobates who 
must be coerced by the sword, in order that all the world 
may be made subject to the truth, by the conquerors 
imposing their faith upon the vanquished. 8 He wished 
to extend religion by the sword, but to reserve death as 
the punishment of apostasy ; and as this law would in- 
clude the Catholics, who were in Calvin's eyes apostates 
from the truth, he narrowed it further to those who were 

1 "Hue siiectut (politiu) . . , ne idololcitria, ne in Dei nomen sacrilegia, 
ne odvcrsus cjus vtsritatwn blanpheminc uliacque religionis offensiones publice 
emergant ae in populum HjKirguntur. . . . Politicam ordinationem probo, quae 
In hoe ineumblt, tut wra rclijrfa, quae Dei Icgc contlnetur, palam, publicisque 
sacrilcgus impuue vioU'lur" (Institittio Christiana Religionis, ed. Tholuck, ii. 
477). " Hoc ergo mimmopure rrqniritur a rogibus, ut gladio quo pracditi sunt 
utnntur ad cullum Dcsi assereuduni " (Praeleetiones in Prophetas, Opera, v. 233, 
ed. 1667)* 

a " Huic eliam coHitfsre promptum cst, quam stiilta fuerit imaginatio eorum 
nni volefcuit usum gttulii tidkn o mundo, Kvangelii praeteztu. Scimus Anabap- 
tistas Ausse ttimnUiiutofl, quasi totus ordo puliticus repugnant Cnristi rcgno, 
uuia nigmun Christi ccmtltustur sola doctritm ; deinde nulla futura sit vis. Hoc 
quidem vonini rw&, si esstumu in hoc mundo angeH : sed quemadmodum jam 
dlxi, exiguiw cat piurum uumcrus : ideo nccesKo est roliquam turbam cobiberi 
violoiito freno : quia imnnixti ftiint filii J >ci vel flativis beUuis, vel vulpibus et fraudu- 
tentii hominibtw" (/'r. in MktMeam t v. 3x0). "In quo nonsuam modo in- 
eitiam, stxl disitwliciun fiutum produut, dum pcrfectionem sibi arrogant; cojus 

9 'Tota igittv excclleutla, tota clignitas, tota potcntin Ecclesiae debet hue 
referrl, ut omnia uubjuceant Deo, et qniequid erit in gentibus boo totum sit 
nacrnm, ut wilicet eulluft Dei tarn apud victores quam apud victos vigeaf 
(/*/-. in Mit'fiaetrm, v. 3x7). 


apostates from the community. In this way, he said, 
there was no pretext given to the Catholics to retaliate. 1 
They, as well as the Jews and Mohammedans, must be 
allowed to live : death was only the penalty of Protest- 
ants who relapsed into error; but to them it applied 
equally whether they were converted to the Church or 
joined the sects and fell into unbelief. Only in cases 
where there was no danger of his words being used 
against the Protestants, and in letters not intended for 
publication, he required that Catholics should suffer the 
same penalties as those who were guilty of sedition, on 
the ground that the majesty of God must be as strictly 
avenged as the throne of the king.* 

If the defence of the truth was the purpose for which 
power was intrusted to princes, it was natural that it 
should be also the condition on which they held it 
Long before the revolution of 1688, Calvin had decided 
that princes who deny the true faith, "abdicate" their 
crowns, and are no longer to be obeyed ; 8 and that no 
oaths are binding which are in contradiction to the 
interests of Protestantism. 4 He painted the princes of 
his age in the blackest colours, 6 and prayed to God for 

1 " Ita toUitur offensio, quae multos imperitos fallit, duxa metuunt ne hoc 
praetextu ad saeviendum annentur Papae carnifices. 1 ' Calvin was waned by 
experience of the imprudence of Luther's language. "In Gallis procures in 
excusanda saevitia immani allegant autoritatem Lutheri " (Melanchthon, Opew, 
v. 176). 

* "Vous aves deux especes de mutins qui se sont eslevez entxe le roy et 
1'estat du royaume i Les uns sont gens uintastiquos, qui soubs couleur de I'eVan* 
gfle vouldroient mettre tout en confusion. Les aultres sont gens obstines auz 
superstitions de V Antichrist de Rome. Tons ensemble meritent bien d'estre 
xeprimes par le glayve qui vous est commis, veu qu'ils s'attaschent non seulement 
au roy, mais a Dieu qui 1'a assis an siege royal" (Calvin to Somerset, Oct. 
33, 1540; Lettra de Calvin, ed. Bonnet, i a6>. See also Henry, Leben 
Catvins, ii. Append. 30). 

" Abdicant enim se potestate terreni^principes dum insurgunt contra Demn : 

oportet in ipsorum capita, quam illis parere, ubi ita protervinnt ut velint etiam 
spoliare Deum jure suo, et quasi occupare solium ejus, acsi possent cum a coelo 
detrahere" (Pr. in Danulem, v. 91). 

4 "Quant au serment qu'on vous a contraincte de fidre, comme vous aver 
faiffl et oftens* Dieu en le fiusant, aussi n'estes-vous tenue de le garder" 
(Calvin to the Duchess of Ferrara, Bonnet, ii. 338). She hod taken an oath, at 
her husband's death, that she would not correspond with Calvin. 

"Inaulisiegumvidemusprmasteneriabestiis. Namhodie, nerepetamus 
veteres historias, ut reges fere omnes fetui sunt ac bruti, ita etiam sunt quasi equi 
et asini brutorum animalium. . . . Reges sunt hodle fere mancipia" (Pr. in 
DanUkm, v. 82). "Videmus enim ut hodie quoque pro sua libidine com. 


their destruction; 1 though at the same time he con- 
demned all rebellion on the part of his friends, so long as 
there were great doubts of their success. 2 His principles, 
however, were often stronger than his exhortations, and 
he had difficulty in preventing murders and seditious 
movements in France. 3 When he was dead, nobody 
prevented them, and it became clear that his system, by 
subjecting the civil power to the service of religion, was 
more dangerous to toleration than Luther's plan of giving 
to the State supremacy over the Church. 

Calvin was as positive as Luther in asserting the duty 
of obedience to rulers irrespective of their mode of 
government* He constantly declared that tyranny was 
not to be resisted on political grounds; that no civil 
rights could outweigh the divine sanction of government ; 
except in cases where a special office was appointed for 

moviimt totum orlieni prindpes ; quia produnt alii aliis innoxios populos, et 
cxurvunt foudom mimlinutiuivim, duni quisque commodum suum venatur, et sine 
ullo pudoru, tunluiu nt nugcut suiini poluutiam, olios tradit in manum inimici" 
J/V- in NaAxWt v. 363). " Ilfxliia puck* regcs aliquicl prae so ferre humonum, 

l omiu.-s WJSULS jimu'nmodsint nil tyrannideni" (Pr. in Jereniam, v. 957). 

i "Sur ee (iiui ju vuus avals tUlt^ud, qiie David nous instruict par son 


par son ex- 

ur ee (iiui u , 

ample d listfr lus ijnmmib do Ditsu, vous napondess quc c'cstoit pour oe temps- 
1A diun vd SOILS It loi cUt riffiuiir il cstoit permis dc hair les enncmis. Or, madame, 
ccste iloso surrjit i)uur renwirwir touto 1'Jiscriturc, et partaut il la fault roir comme 
unit wiste nuirtuIkN . . . Combica quw j'ayo tousjoura prfe Dieu de luy faire 
iwtrey, si cst-cu <iuc j f ny wmvunt d^irtJ quo Dicu mist la main sur Iny (Guise) 
nnur UD dwllvrer in Ibises, s'U ue lu vouloit convertir" (Calvin to the 


ucosR of Ki-rnmi, /A>/iw/, II. 550- 

oruTiuIou: "This ywir we must pniy Duke Maurice to death, we must kill 
Wnrwith our prayers \ fur he will be an evil man" (MS. quoted in DoTlinger, 

* ( f jwxl <IM i>nu'j)OHttro iKWlrtirum fiarvore scribis, verissimum est, neque 
ttimwi ullft occurrit inoctomiiU nttio, quia sanis consiliis non pbtemperant. 
P-isshu dtmuntio. si jiulux iwHsin me non minus severe in rabioso, istos impetus 
vmUttiiurum, q^mn suis Hcti mnndat Pcrgendum nihaominus, quaudo 
noH IMw voiuitrtuUiscsso debitor.*" (Calvin to Beza ; Henry, !**** Calvin,, 

iU> i A !? Ihrt* tfmu qti'a moi q Wf ckmutt la ffim de flriot et d-tate: ne 

m >ynt *mira do 1'c.xUsnniner clu moiide (Guise) lesquels ont esti wtenus 

war inn scnlci exhortation."- Bwnei, ii. SS3- . . _ . ^_ 

^ 4 ' II S nobiH si asHiduo ob attimos ct oculos obversctur, eodem deereto con- 

stitui tttlimt mijuteKiiiicis mm quo iiiim njictontas 

animum nobis ilitiow illue cogitatioiies venient, ^ 

reguin nee tuK|uum asu, ut wilKlituH ei DOS pnwstemus, 

non imwsstLt. . . . Ita privatis hoinWbus semper loquor. 

tint popular inftKtetratus lul moderancUun f roRum^bidinflm 

olimttmnt . . . rpliori . . * tribuni . . . (Usmarohi: et qua 

a, u nunc res iw, 

conventufl pcmunt) . . . Won fwxsienti regum Uoentiae pro 

nou veto" (InMufa, Si. 4V3> 495)- 


the purpose, Where there was no such office where^ 
for. instance, the estates of the realm had lost their inde- 
pendence there was no protection. This is one of the 
most important and essential characteristics of the politics 
of the reformers. By making the protection of their 
religion the principal business of government, they put 
out of sight its more immediate and universal duties, and 
made the political objects of the State disappear behind 
its religious end A government was to be judged, in 
their eyes, only by its fidelity to the Protestant Church. 
If it fulfilled those requirements, no other complaints 
against it could be entertained. A tyrannical prince 
could not be resisted if he was orthodox ; a just prince 
could be dethroned if he failed in the more essential 
condition of faith. In this way Protestantism became 
favourable at once to despotism and to revolution, and 
was ever ready to sacrifice good government to its own 
interests. It subverted monarchies, and, at the same 
time, denounced those who, for political causes, sought 
their subversion ; but though the monarchies it subverted 
were sometimes tyrannical, and the seditions it prevented 
sometimes revolutionary, the order it defended or sought 
to establish was never legitimate and free, for it was 
always invested with the function of religious proselytism, 1 
and with the obligation of removing every traditional, 
social, or political right or power which could oppose the 
discharge of that essential duty. 

The part Calvin had taken in the death of Servetus 
obliged him to develop more fully his views on the 
punishment of heresy. He wrote a short account of the 
trial, 3 and argued that governments are bound to suppress 

impune nmnere sua scelem i et in prirois tenebant lioc prlncipium : HOD esse 
poenas sumendas, si quis ab aliis dissideret in religionis doctrioa : quemadmoduzn 
hodie videmus qiiosdam de hac re nimis cupide contenders. Certum est quid 
cupiant. Nam si quis ipsos respiciat, siint iropii Dei contemptores : saltern vdUksat 
nihil certum esse in religions ; ideo tabefitctare, et quantum in se est etiam opn- 
veUere nituntur oxnnia pietatis principia. Ut ergo liceat ipsis evomere virus 
suum, ideo tantopeze litigant pro impanitate, et negant poenas de haereticis et 
blasphemfs sumendas esse" (Pr. in Danitlcm, v. 51). 

" Defensio Orthodoxae Fidei . . . ubi ostenditur Haereticos jure gladii ooer- 
cendos esse," 1554- 


heresy, and that those who deny the justice of the punish- 
ment, themselves deserve it 1 The book was signed by 
all the clergy of Geneva, as Calvin's compurgators. It 
was generally considered a failure; and a refutation 
appeared, which was so skilful as to produce a great 
sensation in the Protestant world. 8 This famous tract, 
now of extreme rarity, did not, as has been said, " contain 
the pith of those arguments which have ultimately 
triumphed in almost every part of Europe ; " nor did it 
preach an unconditional toleration. 3 But it struck hard 
at Calvin by quoting a passage from the first edition of 
his Institutes^ afterwards omitted, in which he spoke for 
toleration. " Some of those," says the author, " whom we 
quote have subsequently written in a different spirit. 
Nevertheless, we have cited the earlier opinion as the true 
one, as it was expressed under the pressure of persecu- 
tion." 4 The first edition, we are informed by Calvin 
himself, was written for the purpose of vindicating the 
Protestants who were put to death, and of putting a stop 

1 ' * Non modo liUi-uin ossc nintflstratfUus pocn;us sumera do coelestis doctrhuic 
corruptoiilms, sed divinitus esse muiidatum, ut pestiferis erroribus impunitatem 
dare nuqueant, quiri desciscaut til) ofllcii sui fide. . . . Nunc voro qufccjuis 
tautrcticis et blujjphemLs injnsto paenam infiigi contendrtret, sdcns et votons u,; 
obstringat blasphemUie ruitu. . . . Uhi a suis fundumentis coiivellitur ruligio, 
delestiindae in lAmm blosphemioe profcrnntur, impiis et pustifurfat dngmatihus in 
cxitium nipiuntur animae ; dattlqiw ubi palam defocllo ab uuico Dem puruciue 
doctrina tcntatur, ad extromum illud rontdium dcsccnrlcrc " (ace Sclienkd, 
ill 389; l>yr, M/ttfCatoin, p. 354 J Henry, iii. 234). 

* JJf Haereticis an tint ferstyuattli, Mnfifdcburgi, 1554. Cluitaillem, to 
vliom it is generally Attributud, was not the author (sec Hcppe, 'JVu'ikhr 
tout, p. 37). 

Hallnm, Literature of Europe, li. 8 c ; Schlomor, M*>i ties Mw, p. 55. 'I 'his 
is proved by the following psiswigo from the dudiciitiou : "'Uiis I say not to 
favour the heretics, whom 1 nbhor, but tiocauM! there (ire hens two dmitfwms nw'ks 
to Ixj avoided. In the finit place, that no ninn nhotild tx: dwtmnl a licn'tio wlii'ii 
he is not, ... and that this raal relxil be distinKitislied from the Christian wlin, 
by following th t<aiehinff and example of his Master, m.-ct-ssurily (tutisi.-s wjwiratiuji 
from the wicked mid untM-licvinf;. The other dan^tr IH, lust the ri'ul liiwticis IN; 
not mom i!V(trely punished than the discipline of tins Church requires" (Kwm, 
Thtvdor Jtrsit, i. ^15). 

4 '* Multis piis hcHiiinibas in (iullia exiwlis ^nive ixuwim apud CjtTiuitnos (Nliiini 
ignis ill! nxcitavitnutt, sjxirsi suiit, ejus rcstinjfu-iidi cawut, intprobi c njMidawm 
libtJlli, non silios tain crudeliter tmctari, qiuim Annlmptistax ae tittlmlmtofi 
homing (jul perventiK delirils mm relitfionom inodo sed totntn ordimmi ix>Iitknint 
oonvttllorent. . . . Haee mihi ed(mdsw* liistitiitionift caiuta fuit, (irimimi ut ab in- 
fiwta eontumoiia vindivantni fnitnjs nuos, c|iiortuu tnra pruti<wa crat in connpectu 

Dcnnlni ; dtsinde quuin inultis miseris itarlcni viHitanait suppllciu, pni iilin dolor 


snltera aliquta et sollicitudo cxtms wntw laiigcn* " (rmefttiw in t*salmM. S 
"illstoria Litteniria du Calvini Institution^" in Scnuittm AMti<jttttriitM> 


to the persecution. It was anonymous, and naturally 
dwelt on the principles of toleration. 

Although this book did not denounce all intolerance, 
and although it was extremely moderate, Calvin and his 
friends were filled with horror. " What remains of Chris- 
tianity/' exclaimed Beza, " if we silently admit what this 
man has expectorated in his preface? . . . Since the 
beginning of Christianity no such blasphemy was ever 
heard." l Beza undertook to defend Calvin in an elabor- 
ate work, 8 in which it was easy for him to cite the authority 
of all the leading reformers in favour of the practice of 
putting heretics to death, and in which he reproduced all 
the arguments of those who had written on the subject 
before him. More systematic than Calvin, he first of all 
excludes those who are not Christians the Jews, Turks, 
and heathen whom his inquiry does not touch ; " among 
Christians," he proceeds to say, " some are schismatics, who 
sin against the peace of the Church, or disbelievers, who 
reject her doctrine. Among these, some err in all sim- 
plicity ; and if their error is not very grave, and if they 
do not seduce others, they need not be punished." 8 " But 
obstinate heretics are far worse than parricides, and de- 
serve death, even if they repent" 4 " It is the duty of the 
State to punish them, for the whole ecclesiastical order is 
upheld by the political." ff In early ages this power was 

1 Boom* L 906. " Telles gens," says Calvin, " seroient contents qu'il n'y eust 
ne toy, ne bride an monde. VoOa ponrquqy ils ont bast! oe beau librae Ds nm 
com&uretutis ffaergticis, on. fls ont &Isifi6 les noms tant des vines que des per- 
sonnes, non pour aultre cause sinon pource que ledit livre est fercy de blasphemes 
insupportables " (Bonnet, ii. x8). 

* Jk ffasreticis a civili Magistrate funividis, 1554. 

8 " Absit autem a nobis, ut in eos, qui vel simplicitate peccant, sinealiormD 

m Scriptuxae l 

pernicie et insigni blasphemia, vel In explicando quopiam Scriptuxae loco dissident 
a recepta opinione, magistratum annemus " (Tractates Tfaologici* i. 95). 

equivalent to treason. Duke 'William of Bavaria ordered obstinate Anabaptists to 
be burnt ; those who recanted to be beheaded, " Welcher xevotir, den soil man 
kOpfen ; welcher nicht revodr, den soil man brennen " (Jflrg, p. 7x7). 

* -l Ex quibus ( omnibus una conjunctio efficitur, istos quibus baeratidl videotur 
non esse puniendi, opinionem In Scclesiaxn Dei conari longe omnium pestflentissi- 
mam invehere et ex diametro repugnantem doctrinaeprimumaDeoPatreproditae, 
deinde a Christo instauratae, ab univena denique Ecclesia orthodoxa perpetuo 
consensu usurpataei ut mini quidem magis absurde fiusere videantur quam si 

infinitis partibus deteriores" (Tract. TheoL 1*143). 


exercised by the temporal sovereigns; they convoked 
councils, punished heretics, promulgated dogmas. The 
Papacy afterwards arose, in evil times, and was a great 
calamity ; but it was preferable a hundred times to the 
anarchy which was defended under the name of merciful 

The circumstances of the condemnation of Servetus 
make it the most perfect and characteristic example of 
the abstract intolerance of the reformers. Servetus was 
guilty of no political crime ; he was not an inhabitant of 
Geneva, and was on the point of leaving it, and nothing 
immoral could be attributed to him. He was not even 
an advocate of absolute toleration. 1 The occasion of his 
apprehension was a dispute between a Catholic and a 
Protestant, as to which party was most zealous in sup- 
pressing egregious errors. Calvin, who had long before 
declared that if Servetus came to Geneva he should never 
leave it alive, 8 did all he could to obtain his condemna- 
tion by the Inquisition at Vienne. At Geneva he was 
anxious that the sentence should be death, 8 and in this he 
was encouraged by the Swiss churches, but especially by 

Petros. Quia Spintus Sanctus tune maxime vigens, quern spreverant, docebat 
esse incomgibiles, in malitia obstinates. Hoc cnn^tui est motto simpliciter 
dignum et apud Deum et apud homines. In aliis autem criminibus, ubi Splritus 
Sanctns speciale Quid non dooet, i^bf non cst inveterata malxtia, ant obstinatio 

sperare potius debemus" (Servetus, Restitute Cbristianismi, 656 ; Henry, iii. 

2 " Namsi venerit, modo valeat mea authoritas, vivum exire nnnquam patiar" 
(Calvin to Farel, in Henry, iii. Append. 65 ; Audin, Vif de Calvin, ii. 314 ; 
Dyer f 544). 

* "Spero capitate saltern fore judxtium: poenae vero atrodtatera remitti 
cnpio " (Calvin to Farel, Henry, iii. 189). Dr. Henry makes no attempt to dear 

he proposed, some years later, that the three-hundredth anniversary of the execu- 
tion should be celebrated in the Church of Geneva by a demonstration. " It 
ought to declare itself in a body, in a manner worthy of our principles, admitting 

Calvin, because he hfl/1 no hand in the business (parceau'il n'a pas trempe* ^p 1 " 8 
cette afiaxre), of which he has unjustly borne the whole burden.' jRie impudence 
of this declaration is surpassed by the editor of the French periodical from which 
we extract it He appends to the words in our parenthesis the following note : 
"We nnri*rifrM in order to pn attention to *frig opinion of Dr. Henry, who is 
so thoroughly acquainted with the whole question " (Bulletin de la SocttU de 
I Histob* du Protestantism* Franfais, ii. 1x4). 


Beza, Farel, Bullinger, and Peter Martyr. 1 All the Pro- 
testant authorities, therefore, agreed in the justice of 
putting a writer to death in whose case all the secondary 
motives of intolerance were wanting. Servetus was not a 
party leader. He had no followers who threatened to 
-upset the peace and unity of the Church. His doctrine 
was speculative, without power or attraction for the masses, 
like Luthe^aiiism ; and without consequences subversive 
of morality, oh affecting in any direct way the existence of 
society, like Anabaptism. 2 He had nothing to do with 
Geneva, and his persecutors would have rejoiced if he had 
been put to death elsewhere. "Bayle," says Hallam, 8 
" has an excellent remark on this controversy." Bayle's 
remark is as follows: "Whenever Protestants complain, 
they are answered by the right which Calvin and Beza 
recognised in magistrates ; and to this day there has been 
nobody who has not failed pitiably against this argu- 
mentum ad hominem." 

No question of the merits of the Reformation or of 
persecution is involved in an inquiry as to the source and 

* * * Qui scnpserunt de non plectendis haereticis, semper mini visi sunt non 
parum erraie" (Farel to Blaarer, Henry, iii. aoa). During the trial be wrote to 
Calvin : " If you desire to diminish the horrible punishment, you will act as a 
friend towards your most dangerous enemy. If I were to seduce anybody from 
the true feith, I should consider myself worthy of death ; I cannot judge differently 
of another than of myself" (Schmidt, Farel und Vint, p. 33). 

Before sentence was pronounced Bullinger wrote to Beza : " Quid vero amplis- 
simus Senatus Genevensis ageret cum blaspheme jllo nebulone Serveto. Si sapit 
et officium suum facit, caedit, ut totus orbis videat Genevans Christi gloriam 
cupere servatam " (Baum, i. 304). With reference to Socinus he wrote : " Sentio 
ego spirituali gladio abstindendos esse homines haeretlcos " (Henry, iii 395). 

Peter Martyr Vermili also gave in his adhesion to Calvin's policy: "De 

filinm, cujus pestifera et detestanda doctrina undique profliganda est, neque 

emendationis nulla indicia in eo possent deprehendi, flliusqueblasphemiae omnino 
intolerabiles essent " (Loci Communes, 1x14. See Schlosser, Leben da Beta und 
fa Peter Martyr Vermili, 513). 

JEfoppfr*, who at the instigation of Bullinger also published a treatise, De 
Haereticis Coerctndis, says of Bern's work : " Non potent non probari summopere 
piis omnibus. Satis superque respondit quidem ille novis istis academicis, ita ut 
supervacanea et inutUis omnino videatur mea tractatio " (Baum, i. 333). 

a "The trial of Servetus/' says a very ardent Calvinist, "is illegal only in one 
point the crime, if crime there be, had not been committed at Geneva ; but long 
before the Councils had usurped the unjust privilege of judging strangers stopping 
at Geneva, although the crimes they were accused of had not been committed 
there" (Haag, La, France Protestants, ill 109). 

* Literature of Europe, ii. 83. 


connection of the opinions on toleration held by the Pro- 
testant reformers. No man's sentiments on the rightfulncss 
of religious persecution will be affected by the theories we 
have described, and they have no bearing whatever on 
doctrinal controversy. Those who in agreement with the 
principle of the early Church, that men are free in matters 
of conscience condemn all intolerance, will censure 
Catholics and Protestants alike. Those who pursue the 
same principle one step farther and practically invert it, 
by insisting on the right and duty not only of professing 
but of extending the truth, must, as it seems to us, 
approve the conduct both of Protestants and Catholics, 
unless they make the justice of the persecution depend on 
the truth of the doctrine defended, in which case they will 
divide on both sides. Such persons, again, as are more 
strongly impressed with the cruelty of actual execu- 
tions than with the danger of false theories, may concen- 
trate their indignation on the Catholics of Langucdoc and 
Spain; while those who judge principles, not by the 
accidental details attending their practical realisation, but 
by the reasoning on which they arc founded, will arrive at 
a verdict adverse to the Protestants. These comparative 
inquiries, however, have little serious interest If we give 
our admiration to tolerance, we must remember that the 
Spanish Moors and the Turks in Europe have been more 
tolerant than the Christians ; and if we admit the prin- 
ciple of intolerance, and judge its application by particular 
conditions, we are bound to acknowledge that the Romans 
had better reason for persecution than any modern State, 
since their empire was involved in the decline of the old 
religion, with which it was bound up, whereas no Christian 
polity has been subverted by the mere presence of religious 
dissent The comparison is, moreover, entirely unreason- 
able, for there is nothing in common between Catholic and 
Protestant intolerance. The Church began with the prin- 
ciple of liberty, both as her claim and as her rule ; and 
external circumstances forced intolerance upon her, after 
her spirit of unity had triumphed, in spite both of the 
freedom she proclaimed and of the persecutions she 


suffered. Protestantism set up intolerance as an impera- 
tive precept and as a part of its doctrine, and it was 
forced to admit toleration by the necessities of its posi- 
tion, after the rigorous penalties it imposed had failed to 
arrest the process of internal dissolution. 1 

At the time when this involuntary change occurred 
the sects that caused it were the bitterest enemies of the 
toleration they demanded. In the same age the Puritans 
and the Catholics sought a refuge beyond the Atlantic 
from the persecution which they suffered together under 
the Stuarts. Flying for the same reason, and from the 
same oppression, they were enabled respectively to carry 
out their own views in the colonies which they founded in 
Massachusetts and Maryland, and the history of those 
two States exhibits faithfully the contrast between the 
two Churches. The Catholic emigrants established, for 
the first time in modern history, a government in which 
religion was free, and with it the germ of that religious 
liberty which now prevails in America. The Puritans, on 
the other hand, revived with greater severity the penal 
laws of the mother country. In process of time the 
liberty of conscience in the Catholic colony was forcibly 
abolished by the neighbouring Protestants of Virginia ; 
while on the borders of Massachusetts the new State of 
Rhode Island was formed- by a party of fugitives from the 
intolerance of their fellow-colonists. 

1 Tills is the ground taken by two Dutch divines in answer to the consultation 
of John of Nassau in 1579 : "Neque in imperio, noquo in GoUiis, neque in 
Bdgio spetanda esset unquam libertas in erterno religionis excrcitio nostris . . . 
ri non aversaj^ rdtfponum exerdfo . . . 

Sic igitur gladio adversus nos armabimus Pontificios, si hanc hypothesin tucbimur, 
quod exerdtium religionis alteri parti nullumprorsus relinqui debeat " (Scriniun 
Antiquarium, L 335). 


THERE is, perhaps, no stronger contrast between the 
revolutionary times in which we live and the Catholic 
ages, or even the period of the Reformation, than in this : 
that the influence which religious motives formerly pos- 
sessed is now in a great measure exercised by political 
opinions. As the theory of the balance of power was 
adopted in Europe as a substitute for the influence of 
religious ideas, incorporated in the power of the Popes, so 
now political zeal occupies the place made vacant by the 
decline of religious fervour, and commands to an almost 
equal extent the enthusiasm of men. It has risen to 
power at the expense of religion, and by reason of its 
decline, and naturally regards the dethroned authority 
with the jealousy of a usurper. This revolution in the 
relative position of religious and political ideas was the 
inevitable consequence of the usurpation by the Protestant 
State of the functions of the Church, and of the supremacy 
which, in the modern system of government, it has assumed 
over her. It follows also that the false principles by which 
religious truth was assailed have been transferred to the 
political order, and that here, too, Catholics must be pre- 
pared to meet them ; whilst the objections made to the 
Church on doctrinal grounds have lost much of their 
attractiveness and effect, the enmity she provokes on 
political grounds is more intense. It is the same old 
enemy with a new face. No reproach is more common, 
no argument better suited to the temper of these times, 

The Rambler % 


than those which are founded on the supposed inferiority 
or incapacity of the Church in political matters. As her 
dogma, for instance, is assailed from opposite sides, as 
she has had to defend the divine nature of Christ against 
the Ebionites, and His humanity against Docetism, and 
was attacked both on the plea of excessive rigorism and 
excessive laxity (Clement Alex., Stroviata, iii. 5), so in 
politics she is arraigned on behalf of the political system 
of every phase of heresy. She was accused of favouring 
revolutionary principles in the time of Elizabeth and 
James L, and of absolutist tendencies under James II. 
and his successors. Since Protestant England has been 
divided into two great political parties, each of these 
reproaches has found a permanent voice in one of them. 
Whilst Tory writers affirm that the Catholic religion is 
the enemy of all conservatism and stability, the Liberals 
consider it radically opposed to all true freedom. 

"What are we to think," says the Edinburgh Review (voL ciii. 
p. 586), " of the penetration or the sincerity of a man who professes 
to study and admire the liberties of England and the character of 
her people, but who does not see that English freedom has been 
nurtured from the earliest tunes by resistance to Papal authority, 
and established by the blessing of a reformed religion ? That is, 
under Heaven, the basis of all the rights we possess ; and the weight 
we might otherwise be disposed to concede to M. de Montalemberfs 
opinions on England is materially lessened by the discovery that, 
after all, he would, if he had the power, place this free country 
under that spiritual bondage which broods over the empires of 
Austria or of Spain." 

On the other hand, let us hearken to the Protestant 
eloquence of the Quarterly Review (vol. xcii. p. 41): 

Tyranny, fraud, base adulation, total insensibility, not only to the 
worth of human freedom, but to the majesty of law and the sacredness 
of public and private right ; these are the malignant and deadly 
features which we see stamped upon the conduct of the Roman 

Besides which, we have the valuable opinion of Lord 
Derby, which no Catholic, we should suppose, east of the 
Shannon has forgotten, that Catholicism is "religiously 
corrupt, and politically dangerous." Lord Macaulay tells 
us that it exclusively promoted the power of the Crown ; 


Ranke, that it favours revolution and regicide. Whilst 
the Belgian and Sardinian Liberals accuse the Church of 
being the enemy of constitutional freedom, the celebrated 
Protestant statesman, Stahl, taunts her with the reproach 
of being the sole support and pillar of the Belgian constitu- 
tion. Thus every error pronounces judgment on itself 
when it attempts to apply its rules to the standard of truth. 
Among Catholics the state of opinion on these ques- 
tions, whether it be considered the result of unavoidable 
circumstances, or a sign of ingenious accommodation, or 
a thing to be deplored, affords at least a glaring refutation 
of the idea that we are united, for good or for evil, in one 
common political system. The Church is vindicated by 
her defenders, according to their individual inclinations, 
from the opposite faults imputed to her ; she is lauded, 
according to circumstances, for the most contradictory 
merits, and her authority is invoked in exclusive support 
of very various systems. O'Connell, Count de Mont- 
alembert, Father Ventura, proclaim her liberal, constitu- 
tional, not to say democratic, character; whilst such 
writers as Bonald and Father Taparelli associate her with 
the cause of absolute government Others there are, too, 
who deny that the Church has a political tendency or 
preference of any kind ; who assert that she is altogether 
independent of, and indifferent to, particular political 
institutions, and, while insensible to their influence, seeks 
to exercise no sort of influence over them. Each view 
may be plausibly defended, and the inexhaustible arsenal 
of history seems to provide impartially instances in cor- 
roboration of each. The last opinion can appeal to the 
example of the Apostles and the early Christians, for 
whom, in the heathen empire, the only part was uncon- 
ditional obedience. This is dwelt upon by the early 
apologists : " Oramus etiam pro imperatoribus, pro mini- 
stris eorum et potestatibus, pro statu saeculi, pro rerum 
quicte, pro mora finis." 1 It has the authority, too, of 

1 Tertullian, Afotoptiatm, 39; see also 30, 39. "We pray also for the 
cmperon, for the mintoten of their Government, for the State, for the peace of the 
world, far the delay of the lost day." 


those who thought with St Augustine that the State had 
a sinful origin and character : " Primus fuit terrenae civi- 
tatis conditor fratricidal 1 The Liberals, at the same 
time, are strong in the authority of many scholastic 
writers, and of many of the older Jesuit divines, of 
St Thomas and Suarez, Bellarmine, and Mariana. The 
absolutists, too, countenanced by Bossuet and the Gal- 
lican Church, and quoting amply from the Old Testa- 
ment, can point triumphantly to the majority of Catholic 
countries in modern times. All these arguments are 
at the same time serviceable to our adversaries ; and 
those by which one objection is answered help to fortify 

The frequent recurrence of this sort of argument 
which appears to us as treacherous for defence as it is 
popular as a weapon of attack, shows that no very 
definite ideas prevail on the subject, and makes it 
doubtful whether history, which passes sentence on so 
many theories, is altogether consistent with any of these. 
Nevertheless it is obviously an inquiry of the greatest 
importance, and one on which controversy can never 
entirely be set at rest ; for the relation of the spiritual 
and the secular power is, like that of speculation and 
revelation of religion and nature, one of those problems 
which remain perpetually open, to receive light from the 
meditations and experience of all ages, and the complete 
solution of which is among the objects, and would be the 
end, of all history. 

At a time when the whole system of ecclesiastical 
government was under discussion, and when the temporal 
power was beginning to predominate over the Church 
in France, the greatest theologian of the age made an 
attempt to apply the principles of secular polity to the 
Church. According to Gerson (Opera, ii. 254), the 
fundamental forms into which Aristotle divides all 
government recur in the ecclesiastical system. The royal 
power is represented in the Papacy, the aristocracy by the 

1 De Civit. Dei, xv. 5. "The fratricide was the first founder of the secular 


college of cardinals, whilst the councils form an ecclesi- 
astical democracy (timocratia). Analogous to this is 
the idea that the constitution of the Church served 
as the model of the Christian States, and that the 
notion of representation, for instance, was borrowed 
from it. But it is not by the analogy of her own forms 
that the Church has influenced those of the State ; for 
in reality there is none subsisting between them, and 
Gerson's adoption of a theory of Grecian origin proves 
that he scarcely understood the spirit of that mediaeval 
polity which, in his own country especially, was already 
in its decay. For not only is the whole system of 
government, whether we consider its origin, its end, or 
its means absolutely and essentially different, but the 
temporal notion of power is altogether unknown in the 
Church. " Ecclesia subjectos non habet ut servos, sed ut 
filios." 1 Our Lord Himself drew the distinction : " Reges 
gentium dominantur eorura ; et qui potestatem habent 
super eos, benefici vocantur. Vos autem non sic : sed qui 
major est in vobis, fiat sicut minor ; et qui praedccessor, 
sicut minor" (Luc. xxii. 25, 26). The supreme authority 
is not the will of the rulers, but the law of the Church, 
which binds those who are its administrators as strictly 
as those who have only to obey it No human laws 
were ever devised which could so thoroughly succeed in 
making the arbitrary exercise of power impossible, as that 
prodigious system of canon law which is the ripe fruit 
of the experience and the inspiration of eighteen hundred 
years. Nothing can be more remote from the political 
notions of monarchy than the authority of the Pope. 
With even less justice can it be said that there is in 
the Church an element of aristocracy, the essence of 
which is the possession of hereditary personal privileges. 
An aristocracy of merit and of office cannot, in a political 
sense, legitimately bear the name. By baptism all men 
are equal before the Church. Yet least of all can any- 
thing be detected corresponding to the democratic 
principle, by which all authority resides in the mass 
1 " The Church reckons her subjects not as her servants but as her children." 


of individuals, and which gives to each one equal rights. 
All authority in the Church is delegated, and recognises 
no such thing as natural rights. 

This confusion of the ideas belonging to different orders 
has been productive of serious and dangerous errors. 
Whilst heretics have raised the episcopate to a level 
with the papacy, the priesthood with the episcopate, 
the laity with the clergy, impugning successively the 
primacy, the episcopal authority, and the sacramental 
character of orders, the application of ideas derived from 
politics to the system of the Church led to the exaggera- 
tion of the papal power in the period immediately 
preceding the Reformation, to the claim of a permanent 
aristocratic government by the Council of Basel, and to 
the democratic extravagance of the Observants in the 
fourteenth century. 

If in the stress of conflicting opinions we seek repose 
and shelter in the view that the kingdom of God is 
not of this world; that the Church, belonging to a 
different order, has no interest in political forms, tolerates 
them all, and is dangerous to none ; if we try to rescue 
her from the dangers of political controversy by this 
method of retreat and evasion, we are compelled to 
admit her inferiority, in point of temporal influence, to 
every other religious system. Every other religion 
impresses its image on the society that professes it, and 
the government always follows die changes of religion. 
Pantheism and Polytheism, Judaism and Islamism, 
Protestantism, and even the various Protestant as well 
as Mahometan sects, call forth corresponding social and 
political forms. All power is from God, and is exercised 
by men in His stead. As men's notions are, therefore, 
in respect to their position towards God, such must their 
notion of temporal power and obedience also be. The 
relation of man to man corresponds with his relations 
to God most of all his relations towards the direct 
representative of God. 

The view we are discussing is one founded on timidity 
and a desire of peace. But peace is not a good great 



enough to be purchased by such sacrifices. We must be 
prepared to do battle for our religious system in every 
other sphere as well as in that of doctrine. Theological 
error affects men's ideas on all other subjects, and we 
cannot accept in politics the consequences of a system 
which is hateful to us in its religious aspect These 
questions cannot be decided by mere reasoning, but we 
may obtain some light by inquiring of the experience of 
history ; our only sure guide is the example of the Church 
herself. " Insolentissima est insania, non modo disputare, 
contra id quod videmus universam ecclesiam credere sed 
etiam contra id quod videmus earn facere. Fides enim 
ecclesiae non modo regula est fidci nostrae, sed etiam 
actiones ipsius actionum nostrarum, consuetudo ipsius 
consuetudinis quam observare dcbemus. " 1 

The Church which our Lord came to establish had a 
twofold mission to fulfil Her system of doctrine, on 
the one hand, had to be defined and perpetually main- 
tained. But it was also necessary that it should prove 
itself more than a mere matter of theory, that it should 
pass into practice, and command the will as well as the 
intellect of men. It was necessary not only to restore the 
image of God in man, but to establish the divine order in 
the world. Religion had to transform the public as well 
as the private life of nations, to effect a system of public 
right corresponding with private morality and without 
which it is imperfect and insecure. It was to exhibit and 
confirm its victory and to perpetuate its influence by 
calling into existence, not only works of private virtue, 
but institutions which are the product of the whole life of 
nations, and bear an unceasing testimony to their religious 
sentiments. The world, instead of being external to the 
Church, was to be adopted by her and imbued with her 
ideas. The first, the doctrinal or intellectual part of the 
work, was chiefly performed in the Roman empire, in 

1 " It to the maddest insolence, not only to dispute against that which wo see the 
universal Church believing, but also ngiiinst what we ace her doing. For not 
only is the faith of the Church the rules of our fiiith, but also her actions of ours, 
and her customs of that whfoh we ought to observe" (Morinus, Comment, d* 
Discifl in administ. Potnifcxtiae, Preface). 


the midst of the civilisation of antiquity and of that 
unparalleled intellectual excitement which followed the 
presence of Christ on earth. There the faith was prepared 
for the world whilst the world was not yet ready to receive 
it The empire in which was concentrated all the learning 
and speculation of ancient times was by its intellectual 
splendour, and in spite, we might even say by reason, of 
its moral depravity, the fit scene of the intellectual 
establishment of Christianity. For its moral degradation 
ensured the most violent antipathy and hostility to the 
new faith ; while the mental cultivation of the age ensured 
a very thorough and ingenious opposition, and supplied 
those striking contrasts which were needed for the full 
discussion and vigorous development of the Christian 
system. Nowhere else, and at no other period, could 
such advantages have been found. 

But for the other, equally essential part of her work 
the Church met with an insurmountable obstacle, which 
even the official conversion of the empire and all the 
efforts of the Christian emperors could not remove. This 
obstacle resided not so much in the resistance of paganism 
as a religion, as in the pagan character of the State. It 
was from a certain political sagacity chiefly that the 
Romans, who tolerated all religions, 1 consistently opposed 
that religion which threatened inevitably to revolutionise 
a state founded on a heathen basis. It appeared from 
the first a pernicious superstition (" exitiabilem super- 
stitionem," Tacit Annal. xv. 44), that taught its followers 
to be bad subjects ("exuere patriam," Tacitus, Htst. v. 5), 
and to be constantly dissatisfied ("quibus praesentia 
semper tempora cum enormi libertate displicent," Vopiscus, 
Vit. Saturn. 7). This hostility continued in spite of the 
protestations of every apologist, and of the submissiveness 
and sincere patriotism of the early Christians. They 
were so far from recognising what their enemies so 
vaguely felt, that the empire could not stand in the 
presence of the new faith, that it was the common belief 
amongst them, founded perhaps on the words of St Paul, 

1 "Apod vos quodvis colere jus est Deoxn verum" (TertuDiaa, Apolog. aodv.J. 


2 Thess. ii. 7, 1 that the Roman empire would last to the 
end of the world. 8 

The persecution of Julian was caused by the feeling of 
the danger which menaced the pagan empire from the 
Christian religion. His hostility was not founded on his 
attachment to the old religion of Rome, which he did not 
attempt to save. He endeavoured to replace it by a new 
system which was to furnish the State with new vigour to 
withstand the decay of the old paganism and the invasion 
of Christianity. He felt that the old religious ideas in 
which the Roman State had grown up had lost their 
power, and that Rome could only be saved by opposing 
at all hazards the new ideas. He was inspired rather 
with a political hatred of Christianity than with a religious 
love of paganism. Consequently Christianity was the 
only religion he could not tolerate. This was the 
beginning of the persecution of the Church on principles 
of liberalism and religious toleration, on the plea of 
political necessity, by men who felt that the existing 
forms of the State were incompatible with her progress. 
It is with the same feeling of patriotic aversion for the 
Church that Symmachus says (Epist x. 61): "We 
demand the restoration of that religion which has so 
long been beneficial to the State ... of that worship 
which has subdued the universe to our laws, of those 
sacrifices which repulsed Hannibal from our walls and the 
Gauls from the Capitol/' 

Very soon after the time of Constantino it began to 
appear that the outward conversion of the empire was a 
boon of doubtful value to religion. "Et postquam ad 
Christianos principes venerint, potentia quidem ct divitiis 
major scd virtutibus minor facta est," says St. Jerome (in 
Vita Matchi}. The zeal with which the emperors applied 
the secular arm for the promotion of Christianity was felt 

1 August, iff Civ. Dei, xx. 19, 3. 

a " Christinnus nullius est hostis, nedum impcratoris, quom . . . ncoeue st 
ut * . . salvum veUt cum toto Romano impcrio qnousque sacculum fitablt ; taradiu 
enlra rtabit" (Ten. ad Scapulam> a). "Cum eaput fflud orbb oeetderit et 
ene ootpnft, quod Sibylla* fore niunt, qute dubitet veniue Jain finem 

bua humonis orbiquo ternirum ? " (Lactantius, Inst. Div* vii. a$). < ' Non prim 
vcnlrt Christui, quam regni Roman! defcctio fiat" (Ambrose adtp.lad Thess.). 


to be incompatible with its spirit and with its interest as 
well. "Religion," says Lactantius (Inst. Div. v. 19), "is 
to be defended by exhorting, not by slaying, not by 
severity, but by patience; not by crime, but by faith: 
. . . nihil enim est tarn voluntarium quam religio"* 
"Deus," says St Hilary of Poitiers (ad Constantium," 
Opp. i. p. 1 22 1 C), " obsequio non eget necessario, non 
requirit coactam confessionem." s St. Athanasius and 
St John Chrysostom protest in like manner against the 
intemperate proselytism of the day. 8 For the result 
which followed the general adoption of Christianity threw 
an unfavourable light on the motives which had caused 
it It became evident that the heathen world was 
incapable of being regenerated, that the weeds were 
choking the good seed. The corruption increased in the 
Church to such a degree that the Christians, unable to 
divest themselves of the Roman notion of the orbis 
terrarum, deemed the end of the world at hand. St. 
Augustine (serwo cv.) rebukes this superstitious fear: 
" Si non manet civitas quae nos carnaliter genuit, manet 
quae nos spiritualiter genuit Numquid (Dominus) 
dormitando aedificium suum perdidit, aut non custo- 
diendo hostes admisit? . . . Quid expavescis quia 
pereunt regna terrena ? Ideo tibi coeleste promissum est, 
ne cum terrenis perires. . . . Transient quae fecit ipse 
Deus; quanto citius quod condidit Romulus. . . . Non 
ergo deficiamus, fratres: finis erit terrenis omnibus regnis." 4 
But even some of the fathers themselves were filled with 
despair at the spectacle of the universal demoralisation : 
" Totius mundi una vox Christus est ... Horret animus 
temporum nostrorum ruinas persequL , . . Romanus orbis 

1 " There is nothing so voluntary as religion.' 1 

8 " God does not want unwilling worship, nor does he require a forced 

* Athanas. I 363 B and 384 c M dwyjrffriF dXXi T#F " not compulsion, 
but persuasion " (Chiysost ii. 540 A and c). 

* " If the State of which we are the secular children passes away, that of which 
we are spiritual children passes not. Has God gone to sleep and let the house 
be destroyed, or let in the enemy through want of watchfulness? Why fearest 
thou when earthly kingdoms fell? Heaven is promised thee, that thou mightest 
not fall with them. The works of God Himself shall pass: how much sooner 
the works of Romulus I Let us not quail, my brethren ; all earthly kingdoms must 
come to an end.' 1 


ruit, et tamen cervix nostra erecta non flectitur. . . . 
Nostris peccatis barbari fortes sunt. Nostris vitiis 
Romanus superatur exercitus. . . . Nee amputamus 
causas morbi, ut morbus pariter auferatur. . . . Orbis 
terrarum ruit, in nobis peccata non ruunt." 1 St. Ambrose 
announces the end still more confidently: "Verborum 
coelestium nulli magis quam nos testes sumus, quos mundi 
finis invenit . . . Quia in occasu saeculi sumus, praece- 
dunt quaedam aegritudines mundi." 2 Two generations 
later Salvianus exclaims: "Quid est aliud paene omnis 
coetus Christianorum quam sentina vitiorum?" 3 And 
St. Leo declares, "Quod temporibus nostris auctore 
diabolo sic vitiata sunt omnia, ut paene nihil sit quod 
absque idolatria transigatur." 4 

When, early in the fifth century, the dismemberment 
of the Western empire commenced, it was clear that 
Christianity had not succeeded in reforming the society 
and the polity of the ancient world. It had arrested for 
a time the decline of the empire, but after the Arian 
separation it could not prevent its fall. The Catholics 
could not dissociate the interests of the Church and those 
of the Roman State, and looked with patriotic as well as 
religious horror at the barbarians by whom the work of 
destruction was done. They could not see that they had 
come to build up as well as to destroy, and that they 
supplied a field for the exercise of all that influence 
which had failed among the Romans. It was very late 
before they understood that the world had run but half 
its course ; that a new skin had been prepared to contain 
the new wine; and that the barbarous tribes were to 

1 " The cry of the whole world is ' Christ* The mind is horrified in reviewing 
the rains of our age. The Roman world Is falling, and yet our stiff neck is not 
bent The barlxtnans' strength is in our sins ; the defeat of the Roman armies 
in our vices. We will not cut off tho occasions of the muhirly, that the malady 
may be healed. The world is fulling, but in us there is no fulling off from sin " 
(St Jerome, #. 35, ad Heliotlorum ; ep> 98, ad tiawlentium}. 

8 " None are batter witnesses of the words of heaven than we, on whom the 
end of the world has come. We assist at the world's setting, and diseases precede 
its dissolution " (Rscpos, Mp. set. Lucam, x.). 

* "What is well-nigh all Christendom but a sink of iniquity?" (* Gut. Dei, 
iii. 9). 

4 " In our age the devil has so defiled everything that scarcely a thing is done 
without idolatry." 


justify their claim to the double inheritance of the faith 
and of the power of Rome. There were two principal 
things which fitted them for their vocation. The Romans 
had been unable to be the instruments of the social action 
of Christianity on account of their moral depravity. It 
was precisely for those virtues in which they were most 
deficient that their barbarous enemies were distinguished. 
Salvianus expresses this in the following words (De Gubem. 
Dei, vii. 6) : " Miramur si terrae . . . nostrorum omnium a 
Deo barbaris datae sunt, cum eas quae Roman! polluerant 
fornicatione, nunc mundent barbari castitate ? * l Whilst 
thus their habits met half-way the morality of the Christian 
system, their mythology, which was the very crown and 
summit of all pagan religions, predisposed them in like 
manner for its adoption, by predicting its own end, and 
announcing the advent of a system which was to displace 
its gods. " It was more than a mere worldly impulse," 
says a famous northern divine, "that urged the northern 
nations to wander forth, and to seek, like birds of passage, 
a milder clime." We cannot, however, say more on the 
predisposition for Christianity of that race to whose hands 
its progress seems for ever committed, or on the wonder- 
ful facility with which the Teutonic invaders accepted it, 
whether presented to them in the form of Catholicism or 
of Arianism.* The great marvel in their history, and 
their chief claim to the dominion of the world, was, that 
they had preserved so long, in the bleak regions in which 
the growth of civilisation was in every way retarded, the 
virtues together with the ignorance of the barbarous 

At a time when Arianism was extinct in the empire, 
it assumed among the Teutonic tribes the character of a 
national religion, and added a theological incitement to 
their animosity against the Romans. The Arian tribes, 

i "Do we wonder that God has granted all oar lands to the barbarians, when 
they now purify by their chastity the places which the Romans had polluted with 
their debauchery?" 

* Pope Anastasius writes to Claris : " Sedes Petri in tanta occasione non potest 

(Bouquet, iv. 50). 


to whom the work of destruction was committed, did it 
thoroughly. But they soon found that their own preserva- 
tion depended on their submission to the Church. Those 
that persisted in their heresy were extirpated. The 
Lombards and Visigoths saved themselves by a tardy 
conversion from the fate with which they were threatened 
so long, as their religion estranged them from the Roman 
population, and cut them off from the civilisation of which 
the Church was already the only guardian. For centuries 
the pre-eminence in the West belonged to that race which 
alone became Catholic at once, and never swerved from 
its orthodoxy. It is a sense of the importance of this 
fidelity which dictated the well-known preamble of the 
Salic law : " Gens Francorum inclita, Deo auctore condita, 
ad Catholicam fidem convcrsa ct immunis ab hacrcsi," etc. 1 
Then followed the ages which arc not unjustly called 
the Dark Ages, in which were laid the foundations of all 
the happiness that has been since enjoyed, and of all the 
greatness that has been achieved, by men. The good 
seed, from which a new Christian civilisation sprang, was 
striking root in the ground. Catholicism appeared as the 
religion of masses. In those times of simple faith there 
was no opportunity to call forth an Augustine or an 
Athanasius. It was not an age of conspicuous saints, but 
sanctity was at no time so general. The holy men of the 
first centuries shine with an intense brilliancy from the 
midst of the surrounding corruption. Legions of saints- 
individually for the most part obscure, because of the 
atmosphere of light around them throng the five illiterate 
centuries, from the close of the great dogmatic controversies 
to the rise of a new theology and the commencement of 
new contests with Hildebrand, Anselm, and Bernard. 
All the manifestations of the Catholic spirit in those days 
bear a character of vastness and popularity. A single 
idea the words of one man electrified hundreds of 
thousands. In such a state of the world, the Christian 
ideas were able to become incarnate, so to speak, in durable 

1 "The noble people of the tanks, founded by God, converted to the Catholic 
faith, and free from homy." 


forms, and succeeded in animating the political institutions 
as well as the social life of the nations. 

The facility with which the Teutonic ideas of Govern- 
ment shaped themselves to the mould of the new religion, 
was the second point in which that race was so peculiarly 
adapted for the position it has ever since occupied towards 
Christianity. They ceased to be barbarians only in 
becoming Christians. Their political system was in its 
infancy, and was capable of being developed variously, 
according to the influences it might undergo. There was 
no hostile civilisation to break down, no traditions to 
oppose which were bound up with the recollections of the 
national greatness. The State is so closely linked with 
religion, that no nation that has changed its religion has 
ever survived in its old political form. In Rome it had 
proved to be impossible to alter the system, which for a 
thousand years had animated every portion of the State ; 
it was incurably pagan. The conversion of the people 
and the outward alliance with the Church could not make 
up for this inconsistency. 

But the Teutonic race received the Catholic ideas 
wholly and without reserve. There was no region into 
which they failed to penetrate. The nation was collectively 
Catholic, as well as individually. The union of the Church 
with the political system of the Germans was so complete, 
that when Hungary adopted the religion of Rome, it 
adopted at the same time, as a natural consequence, the 
institutions of the empire. The ideas of Government which 
the barbarians carried with them into every land which 
they conquered were always in substance the same. The 
Respublica Christiana of the Middle Ages, consisting of 
those States in which the Teutonic element combined 
with the Catholic system, was governed by nearly the 
same laws. The mediaeval institutions had this also in 
common, that they grew up everywhere under the protec- 
tion and guidance of the Church ; and whilst they subsisted 
in their integrity, her influence in every nation, and that 
of the Pope over all the nations, attained their utmost 
height In proportion as they have since degenerated or 


disappeared, the political influence of religion has declined. 
As we have seen that the Church was baffled in the full 
performance of her mission before Europe was flooded by 
the great migration, so it may be said that she has never 
permanently enjoyed her proper position and authority in 
any country where it did not penetrate. No other political 
system has yet been devised, which was consistent with 
the full development and action of Catholic principles, 
but that which was constructed by the northern barbarians 
who destroyed the Western empire. 

From this it does not seem too much to conclude, that 
the Catholic religion tends to inspire and transform the 
public as well as the private life of men ; that it is not 
really master of one without some authority over the 
other. Consequently, where the State is too powerful by 
long tradition and custom, or too far gone in corruption, 
to admit of the influence of religion, it can only prevail 
by ultimately destroying the political system. This helps 
us to understand the almost imperceptible progress of 
Christianity against Mahometanism, and the slowness of 
its increase in China, where its growth must eventually 
undermine the whole fabric of government On the other 
hand, we know with what ease comparatively savage 
tribes as the natives of California and Paraguay were 
converted to a religion which first initiated them in 
civilisation and government There are countries in which 
the natural conditions are yet wanting for the kingdom 
of grace. There is a fulness of time for every nation 
a time at which it first becomes capable of receiving the 
faith. 1 It is not harder to believe that certain political 
conditions are required to make a nation fit for conversion 
than that a certain degree of intellectual development is 
indispensable ; that the language, for instance, must have 
reached a point which that of some nations has not 
attained before it is capable of conveying the truths of 

We cannot, therefore, admit that political principles 

1 " Vetati mint a Spiritu sancto loqui vcrbum Dei in Asia . . . Tentabant ire 
in Bithyniam, et non pcrmislt eos spiritus Jesu " (Acts rvi. 6. 7). 


are a matter of utter indifference to the Church. To 
what sort of principles it is that she inclines may be 
indicated by a 'single example. The Christian notion of 
conscience imperatively demands a corresponding measure 
of personal liberty. The feeling of duty and responsibility 
to God is the only arbiter of a Christian's actions. With 
this no human authority can be permitted to interfere. We 
are bound to extend to the utmost, and to guard from every 
encroachment, the sphere in which we can act in obedience 
to the sole voice of conscience, regardless of any other 
consideration. The Church cannot tolerate any species 
of government in which this right is not recognised. She 
is the irreconcilable enemy of the despotism of the State, 
whatever its name or its forms may be, and through 
whatever instruments it may be exercised. Where the 
State allows the largest amount of this autonomy, the 
subject enjoys the largest measure of freedom, and the 
Church the greatest legitimate influence. The republics 
of antiquity were as incapable as the Oriental despotisms 
of satisfying the Christian notion of freedom, or even of 
subsisting with it. The Church has succeeded in pro- 
ducing the kind of liberty she exacts for her children 
only in those States which she has herself created or 
transformed. Real freedom has been known in no State 
that did not pass through her mediaeval action. The 
history of the Middle Ages is the history of the gradual 
emancipation of man from every species of servitude, in 
proportion as the influence of religion became more 
penetrating and more universal. The Church could 
never abandon that principle of liberty by which she 
conquered pagan Rome. The history of the last three 
centuries exhibits the gradual revival of declining slavery, 
which appears under new forms of oppression as the 
authority of religion has decreased. The efforts of 
deliverance have been violent and reactionary, the 
progress of dependence sure and inevitable. The political 
benefits of the mediaeval system have been enjoyed by 
no nation which is destitute of Teutonic elements. The 
Slavonic races of the north-east, the Celtic tribes of the 


north-west, were deprived of them. In the centre of 
mediaeval civilisation, the republic of Venice, proud of its 
unmixed descent from the Romans, was untouched by 
the new blood, and that Christian people failed to obtain 
a Christian government. Where the influence of the 
ideas which prevailed in those times has not been felt, 
the consequence has been the utmost development of 
extreme principles, such as have doomed Asia for so 
many ages to perpetual stagnation, and America to 
endless heedless change. It is a plain fact, that that 
kind of liberty which the Church everywhere and at all 
times requires has been attained hitherto only in States 
of Teutonic origin. We need hardly glance at the 
importance of this observation in considering the mis- 
sionary vocation of the English race in the distant regions 
it has peopled and among the nations it has conquered ; 
for, in spite of its religious apostacy, no other country has 
preserved so pure that idea of liberty which gave to 
religion of old its power in Europe, and is still the founda- 
tion of the greatness of England Other nations that 
have preserved more faithfully their allegiance to the 
Church have more decidedly broken with those political 
traditions, without which the action of the Church is 

It is equally clear that, in insisting upon one definite 
principle in all government, the Church has at no time 
understood that it could be obtained only by particular 
political forms. She attends to the substance, not to the 
form, in politics. At various times she has successively 
promoted monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy ; and at 
various times she has been betrayed by each. The 
three fundamental forms of all government arc founded 
on the nature of things. Sovereignty must reside with 
an individual, or with a minority, or with the majority. 
But there are seasons and circumstances where one or the 
other is impossible, where one or the other is necessary ; 
and in a growing nation they cannot always remain in 
the same relative proportions* Christianity could neither 
produce nor abolish them. They are all compatible with 



liberty and religion, and are all liable to diverts, into 
tyranny by the exclusive exaggeration of their pnHcJjpJtttf 
It is this exaggeration that has ever been the great danger 
to religion and to liberty, and the object of constant 
resistance, the source of constant suffering for the Church. 

Christianity introduced no new forms of government, 
but a new spirit; which totally transformed the old ones. 
The difference between a Christian and a pagan monarchy, 
or between a Christian and a rationalist democracy, is 
as great, politically, as that between a monarchy and 
a republic. The Government of Athens more nearly 
resembled that of Persia than that of any Christian 
republic, however democratic. If political theorists had 
attended more to the experience of the Christian Ages, 
the Church and the State would have been spared many 
calamities. Unfortunately, it has long been the common 
practice to recur to the authority of the Greeks and the 
Jews. The example of both was equally dangerous ; for 
in the Jewish as in the Gentile world, political and 
religious obligations were made to coincide; in both, 
therefore, in the theocracy of the Jews as in the iroXtr&a 
of the Greeks, the State was absolute. Now it is the 
great object of the Church, by keeping the two spheres 
permanently distinct, by rendering to Caesar the things 
that are Cesar's, and to'God the things that are God's 
to make all absolutism, of whatever kind, impossible. 

As no form of government is in itself incompatible 
with tyranny, either of a person or a principle, nor 
necessarily inconsistent with liberty, there is no natural 
hostility or alliance between the Church and any one of 
them. The same Church which, in the confusion and 
tumult of the great migrations, restored authority by 
raising up and anointing kings, held in later times with 
the aristocracy of the empire, and called into existence 
the democracies of Italy. In the eighth century she 
looked to Charlemagne for the reorganisation of society ; 
in the eleventh she relied on the people to carry out the 
reformation of the clergy. During the first period of the 
Middle Ages, when social and political order had to 


be reconstructed out of ruins, the Church everywhere 
addresses herself to the kings, and seeks to strengthen 
and to sanctify their power. The royal as well as the 
imperial dignity received from her their authority and 
splendour. Whatever her disputes on religious grounds 
with particular sovereigns, such as Lothar, she had in 
those ages as yet no contests with the encroachments of 
monarchical power. Later on in the Middle Ages, on the 
contrary, when the monarchy had prevailed almost every- 
where, and had strengthened itself beyond the limits of 
feudal ideas by the help of the Roman law and of the 
notions of absolute power derived from the ancients, it 
stood in continual conflict with the Church. From the 
time of Gregory VI L, all the most distinguished pontiffs 
were engaged in quarrels with the royal and imperial 
power, which resulted in the victory of the Church in 
Germany and her defeat in France. In this resistance 
to the exaggeration of monarchy, they naturally en- 
deavoured to set barriers to it by promoting popular 
institutions, as the Italian democracies and the aristocratic 
republics of Switzerland, and the capitulations which in 
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries were imposed on 
almost every prince. Times had greatly changed when 
a Pope declared his amazement at a nation which bore 
in silence Hie tyranny of their king. 1 In modern times 
the absolute monarchy in Catholic countries has been, 
next to the Reformation, the greatest and most formidable 
enemy of the Church. For here she again lost in great 
measure her natural influence. In France, Spain, and 
Germany, by Gallicanism, Josephinism, and the Inquisi- 
tion, she came to be reduced to a state of dependence, 
the more fatal and deplorable that the clergy were often 
instrumental in maintaining it All these phenomena 

1 Innocent IV. wrote in 1346 to the Sicilians: "In omnom tcrram vesttae 
some trlbulalionis exivit . . . multis pro miro vehement! ducentibus, quod press! 
tcuo dinio scrvitutis opprolifio* ct pcnonfinun oc rerum gravuii multiplici dctri* 
mento, noglcxeritis hatwre concilium! per quod vobis, sicut gentibus caeteris, 
aliqua provenirent solatia libcrtnlis . . . super hoe apod sodera apostolieun vos 
excusante formidinc, , . . Cogitate ftoque cordc vigili, ut A collo vestrae servitutis 
catena decidot, et universitns vestra in Ulxjrtntis ct quiatis gaudio reflorescat ; sitque 
ubertate conspieuum, ita divina favente potetitia seeum sit libertate decorum" 
(Raynnldus, Ann. ad ann. 1946). 


were simply an adaptation of Catholicism to a political 
system incompatible with it in its integrity; an artifice 
to accommodate the Church to the requirements of absolute 
government, and to furnish absolute princes with a 
resource which was elsewhere supplied by Protestantism. 
The consequence has been, that the Church is at this 
day more free under Protestant than under Catholic 
governments in Prussia or England than in France or 
Piedmont, Naples or Bavaria. 

As we have said that the Church commonly allied 
herself with the political elements which happened to be 
insufficiently represented, and to temper the predominant 
principle by encouraging the others, it might seem hardly 
unfair to conclude that that kind of government in which 
they are all supposed to be combined, "aequatum et 
temperatum ex tribus optimis rerum publicarum modis" 
(Cicero, Rep. i. 45), must be particularly suited to her. 
Practically and we are not here pursuing a theory 
this is a mere fallacy. If we look at Catholic countries, 
we find that in Spain and Piedmont the constitution has 
served only to pillage, oppress, and insult the Church; 
whilst in Austria, since the empire has been purified in 
the fiery ordeal of the revolution, she is free, secure, and 
on the highroad of self-improvement. In constitutional 
Bavaria she has but little protection against the Crown, 
or in Belgium against the mob. The royal power is 
against her in one place, the popular element in the 
other. Turning to Protestant countries, we find that 
in Prussia the Church is comparatively free ; whilst the 
more popular Government of Baden has exhibited the 
most conspicuous instance of oppression which has 
occurred in our time. The popular Government of 
Sweden, again, has renewed the refusal of religious 
toleration at the very time when despotic Russia begins 
to make a show, at least, of conceding it In the 
presence of these facts, it would surely be absurd to 
assume that the Church must look with favour on the 
feeble and transitory constitutions with which the revolu- 
tion has covered half the Continent. It does not actually 


appear that she has derived greater benefits from them 
than she may be said to have done from the revolution 
itself, which in France, for instance in 1848, gave to the 
Church, at least for a season, that liberty and dignity for 
which she had struggled in vain during the constitutional 
period which had preceded. 

The political character of our own country bears 
hardly more resemblance to the Liberal Governments of 
the Continent, which have copied only what is valueless 
in our institutions, than to the superstitious despotism 
of the East, or to the analogous tyranny which in the 
Far West is mocked with the name of freedom. Here, 
as elsewhere, the progress of the constitution, which it 
was the work of the Catholic Ages to build up, on the 
principles common to all the nations of the Teutonic 
stock, was interrupted by the attraction which the growth 
of absolutism abroad excited, and by the Reformation's 
transferring the ecclesiastical power to the Crown. The 
Stuarts justified their abuse of power by the same precepts 
and the same examples by which the Puritans justified 
their resistance to it The liberty aimed at by the 
Levellers was as remote from that which the Middle 
Ages had handed down, as the power of the Stuarts 
from the mediaeval monarchy. The Revolution of 1688 
destroyed one without favouring the other. Unlike the 
rebellion against Charles L, that which overthrew his son 
did not fall into a contrary extreme. It was a restoration 
in some sort of the principles of government, which had 
been alternately assailed by absolute monarchy and by a 
fanatical democracy. But, as it was directed against the 
abuse of kingly and ecclesiastical authority, neither the 
Crown nor the established Church recovered their ancient 
position ; and a jealousy of both has ever since subsisted. 
There can be no question but that the remnants of the 
old system of polity the utter disappearance of which 
keeps the rest of Christendom in a state of continual 
futile revolution exist more copiously in this country 
than in any other. Instead of the revolutions and the 
religious wars by which, in other Protestant countries, 


Catholics have obtained toleration, they have obtained 
it in England by the force of the very principles of the 
constitution. " I should think myself inconsistent," says 
the chief expounder of our political system, "in not 
applying my ideas of civil liberty to religious." And 
speaking of the relaxation of the penal laws, he says: 
" To the great liberality and enlarged sentiments of those 
who are the furthest in the world from you in religious 
tenets, and the furthest from acting with the party which, 
it is thought, the greater part of the Roman Catholics are 
disposed to espouse, it is that you owe the whole, or very 
nearly the whole, of what has been done both here and 
in Ireland." * The danger which menaces the continuance 
of our constitution proceeds simply from the oblivion of 
those Christian ideas by which it was originally inspired. 
It should seem that it is the religious as well as the 
political duty of Catholics to endeavour to avert this 
peril, and to defend from the attacks of the Radicals 
and from the contempt of the Tories the only constitution 
which bears some resemblance to those of Catholic times, 
and the principles which are almost as completely 
forgotten in England as they are misunderstood abroad. 
If three centuries of Protestantism have not entirely 
obliterated the ancient features of our government, if 
they have not been so thoroughly barren of political 
improvement as some of its enemies would have us 
believe, there is surely nothing to marvel at, nothing 
at which we may rejoice. Protestants may well have, 
in some respects, the same terrestrial superiority over 
Catholics that the Gentiles had over the people of God. 
As, at the fall of paganism, the treasures it had produced 
and accumulated during two thousand years became the 
spoils of the victor, when the day of reckoning shall 
come for the great modern apostasy, it will surrender all 
that it has gathered in its diligent application to the things 
of this world ; and those who have remained in the faith 
will have into the bargain those products of the Protestant 
civilisation on which its claims of superiority are founded. 

1 Burke's Work, i 391, 404. 



When, therefore, in the political shipwreck of modern 
Europe, it is asked which political form of party is favoured 
by the Church, the only answer we can give is, that she is 
attached to none ; but that though indifferent to .existing 
forms, she is attached to a spirit which is nearly extinct 
Those who, from a fear of exposing her to political 
animosity, would deny this, forget that the truth is as 
strong against political as against religious error, and shut 
their eyes to the only means by which the political 
regeneration of the modern world is a possibility. For 
the Catholic religion alone will not suffice to save it, as it 
was insufficient to save the ancient world, unless the 
Catholic idea equally manifests itself in the political order. 
The Church alone, without influence on the State, is 
powerless as a security for good government It is 
absurd to pretend that at the present day France, or 
Spain, or Naples, are better governed than England, 
Holland, or Prussia. A country entirely Protestant may 
have more Catholic elements in its government than one 
where the population is wholly Catholic. The State which 
is Catholic par excellence is a by-word for misgovcrnment, 
because the orthodoxy and piety of its administrators are 
deemed a substitute for a better system. The demand for 
a really Catholic system of government falls with the 
greatest weight of reproach on the Catholic States. 

Yet it is important to remember that in the ages of 
faith the same unity prevailed in political ideas, and that 
the civil as well as the religious troubles of our time are 
in great measure due to the Reformation. It is common 
to advise Catholics to make up their minds to accept the 
political doctrines of the day ; but it would be more to 
the purpose to recall the ideas of Catholic times. It is 
not in the results of the political development of the last 
three centuries that the Church can place her trust; 
neither in absolute monarchy, nor in the revolutionary 
liberalism, nor in the infallible constitutional scheme. She 
must create anew or revive her former creations, and 
instil a new life and spirit into those remains of the 
mediaeval system which will bear the mark of the ages 


when heresy and unbelief, Roman law, and heathen 
philosophy, had not obscured the idea of the Christian 
State. These remains are to be found, in various stages 
of decay, in every State, with the exception, perhaps, of 
France, that grew out of the mediaeval civilisation. 
Above all they will be found in the country which, in the 
midst of its apostasy, and in spite of so much guilt 
towards religion, has preserved the Catholic forms in its 
Church establishment more than any other Protestant 
nation, and the Catholic spirit in her political institutions 
more than any Catholic nation. To renew the memory 
of the times in which this spirit prevailed in Europe, and 
to preserve the remains of it, to promote the knowledge 
of what is lost, and the desire of what is most urgently 
needed, is an important service and an important duty 
which it behoves us to perform. We are greatly mistaken 
if these are not reflections which force themselves on 
every one who carefully observes the political history of 
the Church in modern Europe. 



MR. BURD has undertaken to redeem our long inferiority 
in Machiavellian studies, and it will, I think, be found 
that he has given a more completely satisfactory explana- 
tion of The Prince than any country possessed before. 
His annotated edition supplies all the solvents of a famous 
problem in the history of Italy and the literature of 
politics. In truth, the ancient problem is extinct, and 
no reader of this volume will continue to wonder how so 
intelligent and reasonable a man came to propose such 
flagitious counsels. When Machiavelli declared that 
extraordinary objects cannot be accomplished under 
ordinary rules, he recorded the experience of his own 
epoch, but also foretold the secret of men since born. 
He illustrates not only the generation which taught him, 
but the generations which he taught, and has no less in 
common with the men who had his precepts before them 
than with the Viscontis, Borgias, and Baglionis who 
were the masters he observed. He represents more 
than the spirit of his country and his age. Knowledge, 
civilisation, and morality have increased ; but three 
centuries have borne enduring witness to his political 
veracity. He has been as much the exponent of men 
whom posterity esteems as of him whose historian 
writes : " Get homme que Dicu, aprfes 1'avoir fait si grand, 
avait fait bon aussi, n'avait rien de la vertu." The authentic 
interpreter of Machiavelli, the Commentarius Pwpetous of 
the Discorsi and The Prince, is the whole of later history. 



Michelet has said: c< Rapportons-nous-en sur ceci i 
quelqu'un qui fut bien plus Machiavfliste que Machiavel, 
la republique de Venise." Before his day, and long 
after, down almost to the time when a price was set 
on the heads of the Pretender and of Pontiac, Venice 
employed assassins. And this was not the desperate 
resource of politicians at bay, but the avowed practice 
of decorous and religious magistrates. In 1569 Soto 
hazards an impersonal doubt whether the morality of the 
thing was sound : " Non omnibus satis probatur Venetorum 
mos, qui cum complures a patria exules habeant 
condemnatos, singulis facultatem faciunt, ut qui alium 
eorum interfecerit, vita ac libertate donetur." But his 
sovereign shortly after obtained assurance that murder by 
royal command was unanimously approved by divines: 
" A los tales puede el Principe mandarlos matar, aunque 
esten fuera de su distrito y reinos. Sin ser citado, 
secretamente se le puede quitar la vita. Esta es doctrina 
comun y cierta y recevida de todos los theologos." When 
the King of France, by despatching the Guises, had 
restored his good name in Europe, a Venetian, Francesco 
da Molino, hoped that the example would not be thrown 
away on the Council of Ten : " Permeti sua divina bonti. 
che questo esempio habbi giovato a farlo proceder come 
spero con meno fretta e pi& sodamente a cose tali e 
d' importanza." Sarpi, their ablest writer, their official 
theologian, has a string of maxims which seem to have 
been borrowed straight from the Florentine predecessor : 
"Proponendo cosa in apparenza non honesta, scusarla come 
necessaria, come praticata da altri, come propria al tempo, 
che tende a buon fine, et conforme all' opinione de' mold 
La vendetta non giova se non per fugir lo sprezzo. 
Ogn* huomo ha opinione che il mendacio sia buono in ragion 
di medicina, et di far bene a far creder il vero et utile con 
premesse false." One of his countrymen, having examined 
his writings, reports: "I ricordi di questo grand' uomo 
furono piu da politico che da Christiana 91 To him was 
attributed the doctrine of secret punishment, and the use 
of poison against public enemies: "In casi d' cccessi 


incorrigibili si punissero secretamente, a fine che il 
sangue patrizio non resti profanato. II veleno deve esser 
T unico mezzo per levarli dal mondo, quando alia giustizia 
non complisse farli passare sotto la manaia del carnefice." 
Venice, otherwise unlike the rest of Europe, was, in this 
particular, not an exception. 

Machiavelli enjoyed a season of popularity even at 
Rome. The Medicean popes refused all official employ- 
ment to one who had been the brain of a hostile govern- 
ment ; but they encouraged him to write, and were not 
offended by the things he wrote for them. Leo's own 
dealings with the tyrant of Perugia were cited by jurists 
as a suggestive model for men who have an enemy to get 
rid of. Clement confessed to Contarini that honesty 
would be preferable, but that honest men get the worst of 
it : " lo cognosco ccrto che voi dicete il vcro, et che ad 
farla da homo da bene, et a far il debito, seria proceder 
come mi aricordate; ma bisognerebbe trovar la corris- 
pondentia. Non vcdete che il mondo & ridutto a un 
tcrmine che colui il qual & piu astuto ct cum pi& trame fa 
il fatto suo, 6 pift laudato, ct estimate piii valcnte homo, 
ct pi& celebrate, ct chi fa il contrario vicn detto di esso ; 
quel tale & una bona persona, ma non val niente? Et se 
ne sta cum qucl titulo solo di bona persona. Chi va 
bonamcnte vicn trata da bestia" Two years after this 
speech the astute Florentine authorised The Prince to be 
published at Rome. 

It was still imprinted when Pole had it pressed on his 
attention by Cromwell, and Brosch consequently suspects 
the story. Upon the death of Clement, Pole opened the 
attack ; but it was not pursued during the reaction 
against things Medicean which occupied the reign of 
Farncse. Machiavelli was denounced to the Inquisition 
on the nth of November 1550, by Muzio, a man much 
employed in controversy and literary repression, who, 
knowing Greek, was chosen by Pius V. for the work 
afterwards committed to Baronius : " Senza rispetto alcuno 
insegna a non servar ne fede, ne chariti, ne religione ; et 
dice che di queste cose, gli huotmni se ne debbono servire 


per parer buoni, et per le grandezze temporal!, alle quali 
quando non servono non se ne dee fare stima. Et non & 
questo peggio die heretica dottrina ? Vedendosi che ci6 
si comporta, sono accetate come opere approvate dalla 
Santa Madre chiesa." Muzio, who at the same time 
recommended the Decamerone, was not acting from ethical 
motives. His accusation succeeded. When the Index 
was instituted, in 1557, Machiavelli was one of the first 
writers condemned, and he was more rigorously and 
implacably condemned than anybody else. The Trent 
Commissioners themselves prepared editions of certain 
prohibited authors, such as Clarius and Flaminius ; 
Guicciardini was suffered to appear with retrenchments ; 
and the famous revision of Boccaccio was carried out in 
1573. This was due to the influence of Victorius, who 
pleaded in vain for a castigated text of Machiavelli. He 
continued to be specially excepted when permission was 
given to read forbidden books. Sometimes there were 
other exceptions, such as Dumoulin, Marini, or Maimbourg; 
but the exclusion of Machiavelli was permanent, and 
when Lucchesini preached against him at the Gesft, he 
had to apply to the Pope himself for licence to read him. 
Lipsius was advised by his Roman censors to mix a little 
Catholic salt in his Machiavellism, and to suppress a seem- 
ing protest against the universal hatred for a writer qui 
misera qua non manu hodie vapulat. One of the ablest 
but most contentious of the Jesuits, Raynaud, pursued his 
memory with a story like that with which Tronchin 
improved the death of Voltaire : " Exitus impiissimi nebu- 
lonis metuendus est eius aemulatoribus, nam blasphemans 
evomuit reprobum spiritum." 

In spite of this notorious disfavour, he has been 
associated with the excesses of the religious wars. The 
daughter of the man to whom he addressed The Prince 
was Catharine of Medici, and she was reported to have 
taught her children "surtout des traictz de cet athte 
MachiaveL" Boucher asserted that Henty III. carried 
him in his pocket: "qui perpetuus ei in sacculo atque 
manibus est " ; and Montaigne confirms the story when 


he says : " Et diet on, de ce temps, que Machiavel est 
encores ailleurs en credit." The pertinently appropriate 
quotation by which the Queen sanctified her murderous 
resolve was supplied, not by her father's rejected and 
discredited monitor, but by a bishop at the Council of 
Trent, whose sermons had just been published : " Bisogna 
esser severe et acuto, non bisogna esser clemente; & 
crudelti V esser pietoso, k pieti V esser crudele." And the 
argument was afterwards embodied in the Controversies 
of Bellarmin : " Haereticis obstinatis beneficium est, quod 
de hac vita tollantur, nam quo diutius vivunt, eo plures 
errores excogitant; plures pervertunt, et majorem sibi 
damnationem acquirunt." 

The divines who held these doctrines received them 
through their own channels straight from the Middle 
Ages. The germ theory, that the wages of heresy is 
death, was so expanded as to include the rebel, the 
usurper, the heterodox or rebellious town, and it continued 
to develop long after the time of Machiavelli. At first 
it had been doubtful whether a small number of culprits 
justified the demolition of a city : " Vidctur quod si aliqui 
hacrctici sunt in civitatc potcst exuri tota civitas." Under 
Gregory XIII. the right is asserted unequivocally: 
"Civitas ista potest igne destrui, quando in ea plures 
sunt haeretici." In case of sedition, fire is a less suit- 
able agent : " Proptcr rcbellionem civitas quandoque sup- 
ponitur aratro et possunt singuli decapitari." As to 
heretics the view was: "Ut hostes latroncsquc occidi 
possunt etiamsi sunt cleric!/' A king, if he was judged 
a usurper, was handed over to extinction : " Licite potest 
a quolibct de populo occidi, pro libertate populi, quando 
non est recursus ad superiorem, a quo possit iustitia fieri." 
Or, in the words of the scrupulous Soto: "Tune quisque 
ius habet ipsum extinguendi." To the end of the 
seventeenth century theologians taught : " Occidatur, seu 
occidendus proscribatur, quando non alitur potest haberi 
tranquillitas Reipublicae." 

This was not mere theory, or the enforced logic of 
men in thrall to mediaeval antecedents. Under the most 


carnal and unchristian king, the Vaudois of Provence 
were exterminated in the year 1545, and Paul Sadolet 
wrote as follows to Cardinal Farnese just before and just 
after the event: "Aggionta hora questa instantia del 
predetto paese di Provenza a quella die da Mons. Nuntio 
s' era fatta a Sua Maesta Christianissima a nome di Sua 
Beatitudine et di Vostra Reverendissima Signoria, siamo 
in ferma speranza, che vi si debbia pigliare qualche bono 
expediente et farci qualche gagliardaprovisione. fe seguito, 
in questo paese, quel tanto desiderate et tanto necessario 
effetto circa le cose di Cabrieres, che da vostra Signoria 
Reverendissima & stato si lungamente ricordato et sollicitato 
et procurato. w Even Melanchthon was provoked by the 
death of Cromwell to exclaim that there is no better 
deed than the slaughter of a tyrant; "Utinam Deus 
alicui forti viro hanc mentem inseratl" And in 1575 
the Swedish bishops decided that it would be a good 
work to poison their king in a basin of soup an idea 
particularly repugnant to the author of De Rege et Regis 
Institution* Among Mariana's papers I have seen the 
letter from Paris describing the murder of Henry III, 
which he turned to such account in the memorable sixth 
chapter: "Communic6 con sus superiores, si peccaria 
mortalmente un sacerdote que matase a un tirano. Ellos 
le diceron que non era pecado, mas que quedaria irregular. 
Y no contentandose con esto, ni con las disputas que avia 
de ordinario en la Sorbona sobre la materia, continuando 
siempre sus oraciones, lo pregunti a otros theologos, que 
le afirmavan lo mismo ; y con esto se resolvi6 enteramente 
de executarlo. For el successo es de collegir que tuvo el 
fraile alguna revelacion de Nuestro Sefior en particular, y 
inspiracion para executar el caso." Accoxding to Maffei, 
the Pope's biographer, the priests were not content with 
saying that killing was no sin : " Cum illi posse, nee sine 
magno quidem merito censuissent." Regicide was so 
acceptable a work that it seemed fitly assigned to a divine 

When, on the 2ist of January 1591, a youth offered 
his services to make away with Henry IV., the Nuncio 


remitted the matter to Rome : " Quantunque mi sia parso 
di trovarlo pieno di tale humilita, prudenza, spirito et 
cose che arguiscono che questa sia inspiratione veramente 
piuttosto che temerita e leggerezza." In a volume which, 
though recent, is already rare, the Foreign Office published 
D'Avaux's advice to treat the Protestants of Ireland much 
as William treated the Catholics of Glencoe; and the 
argument of the Assassination Plot came originally from 
a Belgian seminary. There were at least three men 
living far into the eighteenth century who defended the 
massacre of St Bartholomew in their books ; and it was 
held as late as 1741 that culprits may be killed before 
they are condemned: "Etiam ante sententiam impune 
occidi possunt, quando de proximo erant banniendi, vel 
quando eorum delictum est notorium, grave, et pro quo 
poena capitis infligenda esset" 

Whilst these principles were current in religion as well 
as in society, the official censures of the Church and the 
protests of every divine since Catharinus were ineffectual. 
Much of the profaner criticism uttered by such authorities 
as the Cardinal de Rctz, Voltaire, Frederic the Great, 
Daunou, and Mazzini is not more convincing or more 
real. Linguet was not altogether wrong in suggesting 
that the assailants knew Machiavelli at second hand: 
" Chaque fois que je jette Ics yeux sur les ouvrages de ce 
grand glnie, je ne saurais concevoir, je 1'avoue, la cause 
du d&ri oil il est tomb. Je soup$onne fortement que 
ses plus grands ennemis spnt ceux qui ne 1'ont pas lu." 
Rctz attributed to him a proposition which is not in his 
writings. Frederic and Algernon Sidney had read only 
one of his books, and Bolingbroke, a congenial spirit, who 
quotes him so often, knew him very little. Hume spoils 
a serious remark by a glaring eighteenth-century comment: 
" There is scarcely any maxim in The Prince which sub- 
sequent experience has not entirely refuted. The errors 
of this politician proceeded, in a great measure, from his 
having lived in too early an age of the world to be a 
good judge of political truth." Bodin had previously 
written: "II n'a jamais sond le gu de la science politique." 


Mazzini complains of his analisi cadaverica ed ignoranza 
della vita; and Barthdlemy St. Hilaire, verging on 
paradox, says : " On dirait vraiment que 1'histoire ne lui a 
rien appris, non plus que la conscience/' That would 
be more scientific treatment than the common censure of 
moralists and the common applause of politicians. It is 
easier to expose errors in practical politics than to remove 
the ethical basis of judgments which the modern world 
employs in common with Machiavelli. 

By plausible and dangerous paths men are drawn to 
the doctrine of the justice of History, of judgment by 
results, the nursling of the nineteenth century, from which 
a sharp incline leads to The Prince. When we say that 
public life is not an affair of morality, that there is no 
available rule of right and wrong, that men must be 
judged by their age, that the code shifts with the 
longitude, that the wisdom which governs the event is 
superior to our own, we cany obscurely tribute to the 
system which bears so odious a name. Few would 
scruple to maintain with Mr. Morley that the equity of 
history requires that we shall judge men of action by 
the standards of men of action ; or with Retz : " Les 
vices d'un archev&que peuvent fitre, dans une infinite dc 
rencontres, les vertus d'un chef de parti." The expounder 
of Adam Smith to France, J. B. Say, confirms the 
ambitious coadjutor : " Louis XIV. et son despotisme et ses 
guerres n'ont jamais fait le mal qui serait rsult des 
conseils de ce bon Fteelon, Papdtre et le martyr de la 
vertu et du bien des hommes." Most successful public 
men deprecate what Sir Heniy Taylor calls much weak 
sensibility of conscience, and approve Lord Grey's language 
to Princess Lieven: "I am a great lover of morality, 
public and private ; but the intercourse of nations cannot 
be strictly regulated by that rule." While Burke was 
denouncing the Revolution, Walpole wrote: "No great 
country was ever saved by good men, because good men 
will not go the lengths that may be necessary." All 
which had been formerly anticipated by Pole : " Quanto 
quis privatam vitam agens Christi similior erit tanto minus 


aptus ad regendum id munus iudicio hominum existima- 
bitur." The main principle of Machiavelli is asserted by 
his most eminent English disciple : " It is the solecism of 
power to think, to command the end, and yet not to 
endure the means." And Bacon leads up to the familiar 
Jesuit : " Cui licet finis, ill! et media permissa sunt" 

The austere Pascal has said : " On ne voit rien de juste 
ou d'injuste qui ne change de qualit6 en changeant de 
climat" (the reading presque ricn was the precaution of an 
editor). The same underlying scepticism is found not 
only in philosophers of the Titanic sort, to whom remorse 
is a prejudice of education, and the moral virtues are " the 
political offspring which flattery begat upon pride," but 
among the masters of living thought Locke, according 
to Mr. Bain, holds that we shall scarcely find any rule of 
morality, excepting such as are necessary to hold society 
together, and these too with great limitations, but what is 
somewhere or other set aside, and an opposite established 
by whole societies of men, Maine dc Biran extracts this 
conclusion from the Esprit dcs Lois : " II n'y a ricn d'absolu 
ni dans la religion, ni dans la morale, ni, a plus forte 
raison, dans la politiquc," In the mercantile economists 
Turgot detects the very doctrine of Hclvctius : " 11 (Stablit 
qu'il n'y a pas lieu k la probitd entre Ics nations, d'oft 
suivroit que la monde doit fitre (Stcrnellement un coupe- 
gorge. En quo! il cst bien d'accord avec les pandgyristcs 
dc Colbert. 1 ' 

These things survive, transmuted, in the edifying and 
popular epigram: "Die Wcltgeschichtc ist das Wcltgericht" 
Lacordairc, though he spoke so well of * L'empirc ct les 
ruses dc la dur6c," recorded his experience in these words : 
" J'ai toujours vu Dicu se justificr & la longuc." Reuss, a 
teacher of opposite tendency and greater name, is equally 
consoling: "Les destinies de 1'homme s'accomplissent 
ici-bas ; la justice de Dicu s'excrcc ct sc manifesto sur 
cette terre." In the infancy of exact observation Massillon 
could safely preach that wickedness ends in ignominy: 
"Dieu aura son tour." The indecisive Providentialtam 
of Bossuet's countrymen is shared by English divines. 


" Contemporaries," says Hare, " look at the agents, at their 
motives and characters; history looks rather at the acts 
and their consequences." Thirlwall hesitates to say that 
whatever is, is best ; " but I have a strong faith that it is 
for the best, and that the general stream of tendency is 
toward good." And Sedgwick, combining induction with 
theology, writes : " If there be a superintending Providence, 
and if His will be manifested by general laws, operating 
both on the physical and moral world, then must a viola- 
tion of those laws be a violation of His will, and be 
pregnant with inevitable misery." 

Apart from the language of Religion, an optimism 
ranging to the bounds of fatalism is the philosophy of 
many, especially of historians : " Le vrai, c'est, en toutes 
choses, le fait." Sainte-Beuve says: "II y a dans tout 
fait gnral et prolong^ une puissance de demonstration 
insensible"; and Scherer describes progress as "une 
esp&ce de logique objective et impersonelle qui rsout les 
questions sans appel." Ranke has written : " Der beste 
Priifstein ist die Zeit" ; and Sybel explains that this was 
not a short way out of confusion and incertitude, but a 
profound generalisation : " Ein Geschlecht, ein Volk lost 
das andere ab, und der Lebende hat Recht." A scholar 
of a different school and fibre, Stahr the Aristotelian, 
expresses the same idea : " Die Geschichte soil die Richtig- 
keit des Denkens bewahren." Richelieu's maxim : " Les 
grands desseins et notables entreprises ne se vrifient 
jamais autrement que par le succ&s " ; and Napoleon's : 
tt je ne juge les hommes que par les rfsultats," are 
seriously appropriated by Fustel de Coulanges : " Ce qui 
caractrise le Writable homme d'&at, c'est le succis, on 
le reconnatt surtout a ce signe, qu'il rfussit." One of 
Machiavelli's gravest critics applied it to him : "Die ewige 
Aufgabe der Politik bleibt unter den gegebenen Verhalt- 
nissen und mit den vorhandenen Mitteln etwas zu 
erreichen. Eine Politik die das verkennt, die auf den 
Erfolg verzichtet, sich auf eine theoretische Propaganda, 
auf ideale Gesichtspunkte beschrankt, von einer verlorenen 
Gegenwart an eine kiinftige Gerechtigkeit appellirt, ist 


keine Politik mehr." One of the mediaeval pioneers, 
Stenzel, delivered a formula of purest Tuscan cinquecento : 
"Was bei anderen Menschen gemeine Schlechtigkeit ist, 
erh&lt, bei den ungewohnlichen Geistern, den Stempel der 
Grosse, der selbst dem Verbrechen sich aufdriickt. Der 
Maassstab ist anders; denn das Ausserordentliche lasst 
sich nur durch Ausserordentliches bewirken." Treitschke 
habitually denounces the impotent Doctrinaires who do 
not understand " dass der Staat Macht ist und der Welt 
des Willens angehort," and who know not how to rise 
"von der Politik des Bekenntnisses zu der Politik der 
That." Schafer, though a less pronounced partisan, derides 
Macaulay for thinking that human happiness concerns 
political science : " Das Wesen des Staates ist die Macht, 
und die Politik die Kunst ihn zu erhalten." Rochau's 
Recdpolitik was a treatise in two volumes written to prove 
"dass der Staat durch seine Selbsterhaltung das oberste 
Gebot der Sittlichkeit erfiillL" Wherefore, nobody finds 
fault when a State in its decline is subjugated by a robust 
neighbour. In one of those telling passages which moved 
Mr. Freeman to complain that he seems unable to under- 
stand that a small State can have any rights, or that a 
generous or patriotic sentiment can find a place anywhere 
except in the breast of a fool, Mommsen justifies the 
Roman conquests: "Kraft des Gesetzes dass das zum 
Staat entwickelte Volk die politisch unmundigen, das 
civilisirte die geistig unmundigen in sich auflost" The 
same idea was imparted into the theory of ethics by 
Kirchmann, and appears, with a sobering touch, in the 
Geschichte Jesu of Hase, the most popular German divine: 
" Der Einzclne wird nach der Grosse seiner Ziele, nach 
den Wirkungen seiner Thaten fur das Wohl der Volker 
gemesscn, aber nicht nach dem Maasse der Moral und 
des Rcchts. Vom Leben im Geiste seiner Zeit hangt 
nicht der sittlichc Worth eines Menschen, aber seine 
gcschichtliche Wirksamkcit ab." Rttmelin, both in politics 
and literature the most brilliant Suabian of his time, and 
a strenuous adversary of Machiavelli, wrote thus in 1874: 
" Fiir den Einzclnen im Staat gilt das Princip der Selbst* 


hingabe, fur den Staat das der Selbstbehauptung. Der 
Einzelne dient dem Recht; der Staat handhabt, leitet 
und schafft dasselbe. Der Einzelne ist nur ein fliichtiges 
Glied in dem sittlichen Ganzen ; der Staat ist, wenn 
nicht dieses Ganze selbst, doch dessen reale, ordnende 
Macht; er ist unsterblich und sich selbst genug. Die 
Erhaltung des Staats rechtfertigt jedes Opfer und steht 
iiber jedem Gebot" Nefftzer, an Alsatian borderer, says : 
<c Le devoir suprfime des individus est de se ddvouer, celui 
des nations est de se conserver, et se confond par con- 
s^quent avec leur int&rfit" Once, in a mood of pantheism, 
Renan wrote : " L'humaniti a tout fait, et, nous voulons 
le croire, tout bien fait" Or, as Michelet abridges the 
Scienza Nuova : " L'humanitg est son oeuvre a elle-mfime. 
Dieu agit sur elle, mais par elle." Mr. Leslie Stephen 
thus lays down the philosophy of history according to 
Carlyle, "that only succeeds which is based on divine 
truth, and permanent success therefore proves the right, 
as the effect proves the cause." Darwin, having met 
Carlyle, notes that "in his eyes might was right," and 
adds that he had a narrow and unscientific mind; but 
Mr. Goldwin Smith discovers the same lesson : " His- 
tory, of itself, if observed as science observes the facts 
of the physical world, can scarcely give man any prin- 
ciple or any object of allegiance, unless it be success." 
Dr. Martineau attributes this doctrine to Mill: "Do 
we ask what determines the moral quality of actions? 
We are referred, not to their spring, but to their con- 
sequences." Jeremy Bentham used to relate how he 
found the greatest happiness principle in 1768, and 
gave a shilling for it, at the corner of Queen's College. 
He found it in Priestley, and he might have gone on 
finding it in Beccaria and Hutcheson, all of whom trace 
their pedigree to the Mandragola : " lo credo che quello 
sia bene che facci bene a 9 pii, e che i pift se ne conten- 
tino." This is the centre of unity in all Machiavelli, 
and gives him touch, not with unconscious imitators 
only, but with the most conspicuous race of reasoners in 
the century. 


English experience has not been familiar with a line 
of thought plainly involving indulgence to Machiavelli. 
Dugald Stewart raises him high, but raises him for a 
heavy fall : " No writer, certainly, either in ancient or in 
modern times, has ever united, in a more remarkable 
degree, a greater variety of the most dissimilar and 
seemingly the most discordant gifts and attainments. To 
his maxims the royal defenders of the Catholic faith have 
been indebted for the spirit of that policy which they 
have uniformly opposed to the innovations of the 
reformers." Hallam indeed has said : " We continually 
find a more flagitious and undisguised abandonment of 
moral rules for the sake of some idol of a general principle 
than can be imputed to The Prince of Machiavel." But 
the unaccustomed hyperbole had been hazarded a century 
before in the obscurity of a Latin dissertation by 
Feuerlein : " Longe detestabiliorcs crrores apud alios doc- 
tores politicos facile invenias, si ciclcm rigorosac censurae 
eorum scripta subiicicnda esscnt" What has been, with us, 
the occasional aphorism of a masterful mind, encountered 
support abroad in accredited systems, and in a vast and 
successful political movement. The recovery of Machia- 
velli has been essentially the product of causes operating 
on the Continent 

When Hegel was dominant to the Rhine, and Cousin 
beyond it, the circumstances favoured his reputation. For 
Hegel taught: "Der Gang dcr Weltgeschichte steht 
ausserhalb der Tugend, dcs Lastcrs, und dcr Gerechtigkeit" 
And the great eclectic renewed, in explicit language, the 
worst maxim of the Istorie Florentine : " L'apologie d'un 
si&cle est dans son existence, car son existence est un 
arrfit et un jugement de Dieu mflme, ou 1'histoire n'est 
qu'une fastasmagorie insignifiante. Le caractcre propre, 
le signe d'un grand homme, c'cst qu'il russit0u nul 
guerrier ne doit fitre appeli grand homme, ou, s'il est 
grand, il faut 1'absoudre, et absoudre en masse tout ce qu'il 
a fait II faut prouver quo le vainqueur non seulement 
sert la civilisation, mais qu'il est meilleur, plus moral, et que 
c'est pour cela qu'il est vainqueur. Maudire la puissance 


(j'entends une puissance longue et durable) c'est blas- 
ph&ner rhumaniti." 

This primitive and everlasting problem assumed a 
peculiar shape in theological controversy. The Catholic 
divines urged that prosperity is a sign by which, even in 
the militant period, the true Church may be known; 
coupling Felidtas Temporally ittis collata qui ecclesiam 
defenderunt with Infclix extius eorum qui ecclesiam 
oppugnant. Le Blanc de Beaulieu, a name famous in the 
history of pacific disputation, holds the opposite opinion : 
" Crucem et perpessiones esse potius ecclesiae notam, nam 
denunciatum piis in verbo Dei fore ut in hoc mundo 
persecutionem patiantur, non vero ut armis sint adversariis 
suis superiores." Renan, outbidding all, finds that honesty 
is the worst policy : " En gn6ral, dans 1'histoire, rhomme 
est puni de ce qu'il fait de bien, et rcompens de ce 
qu'il fait de mai L'histoire est tout le contraire de la 
vertu rcompense." 

The national movement which united, first Italy and 
then Germany, opened a new era for Machiavelli. He 
had come down, laden with the distinctive reproach of 
abetting despotism ; and the men who, in the seventeenth 
century, levelled the course of absolute monarchy, were 
commonly known as novi politid et Machiavellistae. In 
the days of Grotius they are denounced by Besold : " Novi 
politic!, ex Italia redeuntes qui quavis fraude principibus 
a subditis pecuniam extorquere fas licitumque esse putant, 
Machiavelli plerumque praeceptis et exemplis principum, 
quorum rationes non capiunt, ad id abutentes." But the 
immediate purpose with which Italians and Germans 
effected the great change in the European constitution 
was unity, not liberty. They constructed, not securities, 
but forces. Machiavelli's time had come. The problems 
once more were his own: and in many forward and 
resolute minds the spirit also was his, and displayed 
itself in an ascending scale of praise. He was simply a 
faithful observer of facts, who described the fell necessity 
that governs narrow territories and unstable fortunes ; he 
discovered the true line of progress and the law of future 



society; he was a patriot, a republican, a Liberal, but, 
above all this, a man sagacious enough to know that 
politics is an inductive science. A sublime purpose 
justifies him, and he has been wronged by dupes 
and fanatics, by irresponsible dreamers and interested 

The Italian Revolution, passing from the Liberal to 
the national stage, at once adopted his name and placed 
itself under his invocation. Count Sclopis, though he 
declared him Penseur frofond, icrwain admirable, deplored 
this untimely preference : * II m'a 6t6 p^nible de voir le 
gouvernement provisoire de la Tuscane, en 1859, k 
lendemain du jour oft ce pays recouvrait sa libertg, 
publier un dcret, portant qu'unc Edition complete des 
ceuvres de Machiavel scrait faite aux frais de l'tat" 
The research even of our best masters, Villari and 
Tommasini, is prompted by admiration. Ferrari, who 
comes so near him in many qualities of the intellect, 
proclaims him the recorder of fate : " II dcrit les rdles 
que la fatalit distribue aux individus et aux masses dans 
ces moments funcstcs et gloricux oft ils sont appclgs & 
changer la loi et la foi des nations." His advice, says La 
Farina, would have saved Italy. Canello believes that he is 
disliked because he is mistaken for a courtier : " L' orrore 
e 1' antipatia che molti critic! hanno provato per il 
Machiavelli son dcrivati dal pensare che tutti i suoi 
crudi insegnamenti fossero solo a vantaggio del Principe." 
One biographer, Mordenti, exalts him as the very 
champion of conscience: " Risuscitando la dignita del- 
r umana coscienza, ne a(Term6 V esistenza in faccia alia 
ragione" He adds, more truly, **E uno dci persona^! 
del dramma che si va svolgcndo neir et& nostra." 

That is the meaning of Laurent when he says that 
he has imitators but no defenders : " Machiavel nc trouve 
plus un scul partisan au XIX e si&cle. La postrit a 
vou son nom & I'infamie, tout en pratiquant sa doctrine." 
His characteristic universality has been recognised by 
Baudrillart: *En cxprimant ce mauvais c6t, mais ce 
mauvais c6t, hflas, kernel! Machiavel n'est plus 


seulement le publiciste de son pays et de son temps; 
il est le politique de tous les si&cles. S'il fait tout 
dpendre de la puissance individuelle, et de ses facults 
de force, d'habiletS, de ruse, c'est que, plus le theatre 
se rftrfcit, plus ITiomme influe sur la marche des 
6v6nements." Matter finds the same merits which are 
applauded by the Italians: "II a plus innov pour la 
libert que pour le despotisme, car autour de lui la 
libert^ tait inconnue, tandis que le despotisme lui 
posait partout" And his reviewer, Longp&rier, pro- 
nounces the doctrine * parfaitement appropriee aux gtats 
d'ltalie." Nourrisson, with Fehr, one of the few religious 
men who still have a good word for the Secretary, 
admires his sincerity: " Le Prince est un livre de bonne 
foi, oil 1'auteur, sans songer mal, n'a fait que traduire 
en maximes les pratiques habituelles & ses contemporains." 
Thiers, though he surrendered The Prince^ clung to the 
Discorsi the Discorsi, with the pointed and culminating 
text produced by Mr. Burd. In the archives of the 
ministry he might have found how the idea struck his 
successful predecessor, Vergennes : c ' II est des choses plus 
fortes que les hommes, et les grands intrdts des nations 
sont de ce genre, et doivent par consequent 1'emporter 
sur la fagon de penser de quelques particuliers." 

Loyalty to Frederic the Great has not restrained 
German opinion, and philosophers unite with historians in 
rejecting his youthful moralities. Zimmerman wonders 
what would have become of Prussia if the king had 
practised the maxims of the crown prince; and Zeller 
testifies that the Anti-Machiavel was not permitted to 
influence his reign: "Wird man doch weder in seiner 
Staatsleitung noch in seinen politischen Grundsatzen 
etwas von dem vermissen, worauf die Ueberlegenheit einer 
gesunden Realpolitik allem liberalen oder conservative^ 
radikalen oder legitimistischen, Doktrinarismus gegeniiber 
beruht" Ahrens and Windelband insist on the virtue of 
a national government : " Der Staat ist sich selbst genug, 
wenn er in einer Nation wurzelt, das ist der Grund- 
gedanke MachiavelliV Kirchmann celebrates the emanci- 


pation of the State from the moral yoke : " Man hat 
Machiavelli zwar in der Theorie bekampft, allein die 
Praxis der Staaten hat seine Lehren immer eingehalten. 
Wenn seine Lehre verletzt, so kommt diess nur von 
der Kleinheit der Staaten und Fursten, auf die er sie 
verwendet Es spricht nur fur seine tiefe Erkenntniss 
des Staatswesens, dass er die Staatsgewalt nicht den 
Regeln der Frivatmoral unterwirft, sondern selbst vor 
groben Verletzungen dieser Moral durch den Fursten 
nicht zurlickschreckt, wenn das Wohl des Ganzen und die 
Freiheit des Vaterlandes nicht anders vorbereitet und 
vermittelt werden kann." In Kuno Fischer's progress 
through the systems of metaphysics Machiavelli appears 
at almost every step; his influence is manifest to Dr. 
Abbott throughout the whole of Bacon's political writings ; 
Hobbes followed up his theory to the conclusions which 
he abstained from; Spinoza gave him the benefit of a 
liberal interpretation; Leibniz, the inventor of the 
acquiescent doctrine which Bolingbroke transmitted to the 
Essay on Man, said that he drew a good likeness of a bad 
prince ; Herder reports him to mean that a rogue need 
not be a fool ; Fichtc frankly set himself to rehabilitate 
him. In the end, the great master of modern philosophy 
pronounces in his favour, and declares it absurd to robe a 
prince in the cowl of a monk : " Ein politischer Denker 
und Kunstlcr dessen crfahrcncr und tiefcr Verstand aus 
den gcschichtlich gegcbenen Vcrhaltnissen besser, als 
aus den Grundsatzen der Mctaphysik, die politischen 
Nothwendigkeiten, den Charaktcr, die Bildung und Auf- 
gabe weltlichcr Herrschaft zu bcgreifen wusstc. Da 
man weiss, dass politLsche Machtfragen nie, am Wenigsten 
in einem verdcrbten Volkc, mit den Mittcln der Moral zu 
losen sind, so ist cs unverstflndig, das Buch vom Fiirstcn 
zu vcrschrcicn, Machiavelli hattc einen Herrschcr zu 
schildern, kcincn Klosterbruder." 

Ranke was a grateful student of Fichte when he 
spoke of Machiavelli as a meritorious writer, maligned 
by people who could not understand him: "Einem 
Autor ' von hfichstem Verdicnst, und der keineswegs. 


cin boser Mensch war. Die falsche AufFassung des 
Principe beruht eben darauf, dass man die Lehren 
Machiavells als allgemeine betrachtet, wahrend sie bloss 
Anweisungen fur einen bestimmten Zweck sind." To 
Gervinus, in 1853, he is "der grosse Seher," the prophet 
of the modern world : " Er errieth den Geist der neuern 
Geschichte." Gervinus was a democratic Liberal, and, 
taken with Gentz from another quarter, he shows how 
widely the elements of the Machiavellian restoration 
were spread over Europe. Gentz had not forgotten his 
classics in the service of Austria when he wrote to a 
friend: "Wenn selbst das Recht je yerletzt werden darf, 
so geschehe es, um die rechtmassige Macht zu erhalten ; 
in allem Uebrigen herrsche es unbedingt" Twesten is 
as well persuaded as Machiavelli that the world cannot 
be governed " con Pater nostri in mano," and he deemed 
that patriotism atoned for his errors : " Dass der welt- 
geschichtliche Fortschritt nicht mit Schonung und Gelin- 
digkeit, nicht in den Formen des Rechts vollzogen werden 
konnte, hat die Geschichte aller Lander bestatigt Auch 
Machiavellis Siinden mogen wir als geslihnt betrachten, 
durch das hochsinnige Streben fiir das Grosse und das 
Ansehen seines Volkes." One censor of Frederic, Bore- 
tius, makes him answerable for a great deal of presuming 
criticism: "Die Gelehrten sind bis heute in ihrem 
Urtheil iiber Machiavelli nicht einig, die offentliche 
Meinung ist hierin gliicklicher. Die offentliche Meinung 
kann sich fur alle diese Weisheit beim alten Fritz 
bedanken." On the eve of the campaign in Bohemia, 
Herbst pointed out that Machiavelli, though previously a 
republican, sacrificed liberty to unity : " Der Einheit soil 
die innere Freiheit Machiavelli war kurz zuvor noch 
begeisterter Anhanger der Republik geopfert werden." 
According to Feuerlein the heart of the writer was loyal, 
but the conditions of the problem were inexorable ; and 
Klein detects in The Prince, and even in the Mandra- 
gola, "die reformatorische Absicht eines Sittenspiegels." 
Chowanetz wrote a book to hold up Machiavelli as a 
teacher of all ages, but especially of our own: "Die 


Absicht aber, welche Machiavel mit seinem Buche 
verband, ist trefflich fiir alle Zeiten." And Weitzel 
hardly knows a better writer, or one less worthy of 
an evil name: "Im Interesse der Menschheit und 
gesetzmassiger Verfassungen kann kaum ein besseres 
Werk geschrieben werden. Wohl ist mancher in der 
Geschichte, wie in der Tradition der Volker, auf eine 
unschuldige Weise urn seinen verdienten, oder zu einem 
unverdienten Rufe gekommen, aber keiner vielleicht 
unschuldiger als Machiavelli." 

These are remote and forgotten names. Stronger 
men of the imperial epoch have resumed the theme with 
better means of judging, and yet with no harsher 
judgment Hartwig sums up his penetrating and severe 
analysis by confessing that the world as Machiavelli 
saw it, without a conscience, is the real world of history 
as it is: "Die Thatsachen selbst scheinen uns das 
Gcheimniss ihrer Existenz zu verrathen ; wir glauben 
vor uns die Faden sich verknupfen und verschlingen 
zu sehen, dercn Gewcbc die Weltgeschichte ist" Gaspary 
thinks that he hated iniquity, but that he knew of no 
righteousness apart from die State: "Er lobte mit 
Warmc das Gute und tadelte mit Abscheu das Bose; 
aber er studirtc auch dieses mit Interesse. Er erkennt 
eben keine Moral, wie keine Religion, Uber dem Staate, 
sondcrn nur in demselben ; die Mcnschen sind von 
Natur schlccht, die Gcsctze machen sic gut. Wo es 
kein Gericht giebt, bei dcm man klagen konnte, wie in 
den Handlungen der Ftirstcn, betrachtet man immer 
das Ende." The common opinion is expressed by 
Baumgartcn in his Charks the Fifth, that the grandeur 
of the purpose assures indulgence to the means proposed : 
" Wcnn die Umstande zum Wortbruch, zur Grausamkeit, 
Habgier, Lttge treibcn, so hat man sich nicht etwa mit 
Bedaucrn, dass die Not dazu zwinge, sondern schlechtweg, 
weil es cbcn politisch zweckmassig ist und ohne alles 
Bedenkcn so zu verhalten. Ihre Deduktionen sind 
uns unertraglich, wcnn wir nicht sagen konnen: alle 
diese schrecklichen Dinge empfahl Machiavelli, weil er 


nur durch sie die Befreiung seines Vaterlandes zu 
erreichen hoffte. Dieses erhabene Ziel macht uns die 
fiirchterlichen Mittel annehmbar, welche Machiavelli seinem 
Fiirsten empfiehlt" Hillebrand was a more international 
German; he had swum in many European waters, and 
wrote in three languages. He is scarcely less favourable 
in his interpretation : " Cette dictature, il ne faut jamais 
le perdre de vue, ne serait jamais que transitoire, et 
devrait faire place un gouvernement libre d&s que la 
grande rtforme nationale et sociale serait accomplie. 
II a parfaitement conscience du mal. L'atmosph&re 
ambiante de son sifccle et de son pays n'a nullement 
oblitr son sens moral. II a si bien conscience de 
I'faonniti de ces crimes, qu'il la condamne hautement 
lorsque la dernifcre ncessit ne les impose pas." 

Among these utterances of capable and distinguished 
men, it will be seen that some are partially true, and 
others, without a particle of truth, are at least representa- 
tive and significant, and serve to bring Machiavelli within 
fathomable depth. He is the earliest conscious and 
articulate exponent of certain living forces in the present 
world. Religion, progressive enlightenment, the per- 
petual vigilance of public opinion, have not reduced 
his empire, or disproved the justice of his conception 
of mankind. He obtains a new lease of life from causes 
that are still prevailing, and from doctrines that are 
apparent in politics, philosophy, and science. Without 
sparing censure, or employing for comparison the grosser 
symptoms of the age, we find him near our common 
level, and perceive that he is not a vanishing type, but 
a constant and contemporary influence. Where it is 
impossible to praise, to defend, or to excuse, the burden 
of blame may yet be lightened by adjustment and 
distribution, and he is more rationally intelligible when 
illustrated by lights falling not only from the century 
he wrote in, but from our own, which has seen the 
course of its history twenty-five times diverted by actual 
or attempted crime. 


WHEN Macaulay republished his Essays from the 
Edinburgh Review, he had already commenced the 
great -work by which his name will be remembered; 
and he had the prudence to exclude from the collection 
his early paper on the art of historical writing. In the 
maturity of his powers, he was rightly unwilling to bring 
into notice the theories of his youth. At a time when 
he was about to claim a place among the first historians, 
it would have been injudicious to remind men of the 
manner in which he had described the objects of his 
emulation or of his rivalry how in his judgment the 
speeches of Thucydides violate the decencies of fiction, 
and give to his book something of the character of the 
Chinese pleasure-grounds, whilst his political observations 
are very superficial; how Polybius has no other merit 
than that of a faithful narrator of facts ; and how in the 
nineteenth century, from the practice of distorting narra- 
tive in conformity with theory, "history proper is dis- 
appearing." But in that essay, although the judgments 
arc puerile, the ideal at which the writer afterwards aimed 
is distinctly drawn, and his own character is prefigured in 
the description of the author of a history of England as it 
ought to be, who " gives to truth those attractions which 
have been usurped by fiction," "intersperses the details 
which arc the charm of historical romances," and " reclaims 
those materials which the novelist has appropriated" 
Mr. Goldwin Smith, like Macaulay, has written on 

* Tk* JtamMr, March x86ft 


the study of history, and he has been a keen critic of 
other historians before becoming one himself. It is a 
bold thing for a man to bring theory so near to execu- 
tion, and, amidst dispute on his principles and resent- 
ment at his criticism, to give an opportunity of testing 
his theories by his own practice, and of applying his 
own canons to his performance. It reminds us of the 
professor of Cologne, who wrote the best Latin poem 
of modern times, as a model for his pupils ; and of the 
author of an attack on Dryden's Virgil, who is styled 
by Pope the " fairest of critics," " because," says Johnson, 
" he exhibited his own version to be compared with that 
which he condemned." The work* in which the pro- 
fessor of history and critic of historians teaches by 
example is not unworthy of his theory, whilst some of 
its defects may be explained by it. 

The point which most closely connects Mr. Goldwin 
Smith's previous writings with his Irish History is his 
vindication of a moral code against those who identify 
moral with physical laws, who consider the outward 
regularity with which actions are done to be the inward 
reason why they must be done, and who conceive that 
all laws are opposed to freedom. In his opposition to 
this materialism, he goes in one respect too far, in another 
not far enough. 

On the one hand, whilst defending liberty and 
morality, he has not sufficient perception of the spiritual 
element ; and on the other, he seems to fear that it would 
be a concession to his antagonists to dwell on the 
constant laws by which nature asserts herself, and on 
the regularity with which like causes produce like effects. 
Yet it is on the observation of these laws that political, 
social, and economical science rests ; and it is by the 
knowledge of them that a scientific historian is guided 
in grouping his matter. In this he differs from the artist, 
whose principle of arrangement is drawn from himself, 
not from external nature; and from the annalist, who 
has no arrangement, since he sees, not the connection, 
but the succession of events. Facts are intelligible and 


instructive, or, in other words, history exhibits truths as 
well as facts, when they are seen not merely as they 
follow, but as they correspond ; not merely as they have 
happened, but as they are paralleled. The fate of Ireland 
is to be understood not simply from the light of English 
and Irish history, but by the general history of other 
conquests, colonies, dependencies, and establishments. 
In this sort of illustration by analogy and contrast Mr. 
Goldwin Smith is particularly infelicitous. Nor does 
Providence gain what science loses by his treatment of 
history. He rejects materialism, but he confines his view 
to motives and forces which are purely human. 

The Catholic Church receives, therefore, very imperfect 
measure at his hands. Her spiritual character and 
purpose he cannot discern behind the temporal instru- 
ments and appendages of her existence; he confounds 
authority with influence, devotion with bigotry, power 
with force of arms, and estimates the vigour and durability 
of Catholicism by criterions as material as those of the 
philosophers he has so vehemently and so ably refuted. 
Most Protestant writers fail in approbation ; he fails in 
appreciation. It is not so much a religious feeling that 
makes him unjust, as a way of thinking which, in great 
measure, ignores the supernatural, and therefore precludes 
a just estimate of religion in general, and of Catholicism 
in particular. Hence he is unjust rather to the nature 
than to the actions of the Church. He caricatures more 
than he libels hen He is much less given to misrepre- 
sentation and calumny than Macaulay, but he has a less 
exalted idea of the history and character of Catholicism. 
As he underrates what is divine, so he has no very high 
standard for the actions of men, and he is liberal in 
admitting extenuating circumstances. Though he never 
suspends the severity of his moral judgment in considera- 
tion of the purpose or the result, yet he is induced by a 
variety of arguments to mitigate its rigour. In accordance 
with the theory he has formerly developed, he is con- 
stantly sitting in judgment ; and he discusses the morality 
of men and actions far oftencr than history which has 


very different problems to solve either requires or tolerates. 
De Maistre says that in our time compassion is reserved 
for the guilty. Mr. Goldwin Smith is a merciful judge, 
whose compassion generally increases in proportion to 
the greatness of the culprit ; and he has a sympathy for 
what is done in the grand style, which balances his hatred 
of what is wrongly done. 

It would not be fair to judge of an author's notion 
and powers of research by a hasty and popular produc- 
tion. Mr. Goldwin Smith has collected quite enough 
information for the purpose for which he has used it, 
and he has not failed through want of industry. The 
test of solidity is not the quantity read, but the mode in 
which the knowledge has been collected and used. Method, 
not genius, or eloquence, or erudition, makes the historian. 
He may be discovered most easily by his use of authorities. 
The first question is, whether the writer understands the 
comparative value of sources of information, and has the 
habit of giving precedence to the most trustworthy in- 
formant There are some vague indications that Mr. 
Goldwin Smith does not understand the importance of 
this fundamental rule. In his Inaugural Lecture, pub- 
lished two years ago, the following extravagant sentence 
occurs: "Before the Revolution, the fervour and the 
austerity of Rousseau had cast out from good society 
the levity and sensuality of Voltaire" (p. 15). This 
view which he appears to have abandoned, for in his 
Irish History he tells us that France "has now become 
the eldest daughter of Voltaire" he supports by a 
reference to an abridgment of French history, much 
and justly esteemed in French schools, but, like all 
abridgments, not founded on original knowledge, and 
disfigured by exaggeration in the colouring. Moreover, 
the passage he refers to has been misinterpreted. In 
the Irish History Mr. Goldwin Smith quotes, for the 
character of the early Celts, without any sufficient 
reason, another French historian, Martin, who has no 
great authority, and the younger Thierry, who has none 
at all. This is a point of very little weight by itself; 


but until our author vindicates his research by other 
writings, it is not in his favour. 

The defects of Mr. Goldwin Smith's historic art, his 
lax criticism, his superficial acquaintance with foreign 
countries, his occasional proneness to sacrifice accuracy 
for the sake of rhetorical effect, his aversion for spiritual 
things, are all covered by one transcendent merit, which, 
in a man of so much ability, promises great results. 

Writers the most learned, the most accurate in 
details, and the soundest in tendency, frequently fall 
into a habit which can neither be cured nor pardoned, 
the habit of making history into the proof of their 
theories. The absence of a definite didactic purpose 
is the only security for the good faith of a historian. 
This most rare virtue Mr. Goldwin Smith possesses in 
a high degree. He writes to tell the truths he finds, 
not to prove the truths which he believes. In character 
and design he is eminently truthful and fair, though not 
equally so in execution. His candour never falls him, 
and he is never betrayed by his temper; yet his de- 
fective knowledge of general history, and his crude 
notions of the Church, have made him write many 
things which arc untrue, and some which are unjust. 
Prejudice is in all men of such early growth, and so 
difficult to eradicate, that it becomes a misfortune rather 
than a reproach, especially if it is due to ignorance and 
not to passion, and if it has not its seat in the will. In 
the case of Mr. Goldwin Smith it is of the curable and 
harmless kind. The fairness of his intention is far 
beyond his knowledge. When he is unjust, it is not 
from hatred; where he is impartial, it is not always 
from the copiousness of his information. His prejudices 
arc of a nature which his ability and honesty will in 
time inevitably overcome. 

The general result and moral of his book is excellent 
He shows that the land-question has been from the 
beginning the great difficulty in Ireland ; and he concludes 
with a condemnation of the Established Church, and 
a prophecy of its approaching fall. The weakness of 


Ireland and the guilt of England are not disguised ; and 
the author has not written to stimulate the anger of one 
nation or to attenuate the remorse of the other. To both 
he gives wise and statesman-like advice, that may soon 
be very opportune. The first American war was the 
commencement of the deliverance of Ireland, and it may 
be that a new American war will complete the work of 
regeneration which the first began. Agreeing as we do 
with the policy of the author, and admiring the spirit of 
his book, we shall not attempt either to enforce or to 
dispute his conclusions, and we shall confine our remarks 
to less essential points on which he appears to us in the 

There are several instances of inaccuracy and negligence 
which, however trivial in themselves, tend to prove that 
the author is not always very scrupulous in speaking of 
things he has not studied. A purist so severe as to write 
"Kelt" for "Celt" ought not to call Mercury, originally 
a very different personage from Hermes, one of "the 
legendary authors of Greek civilisation " (p. 43) ; and we do 
not believe that anybody who had read the writings of 
the two primates could call Bramhall " an inferior counter- 
part of Laud" (p. 105). In a loftier mood, and therefore 
apparently with still greater license, Mr. Goldwin Smith 
declares that " the glorious blood of Orange could scarcely 
have run in a low persecutor's veins " (p. 123). The blood 
of Orange ran in the veins of William the Silent, the 
threefold hypocrite, who confessed Catholicism whilst he 
hoped to retain his influence at court, Lutheranism when 
there was a chance of obtaining assistance from the 
German princes, Calvinism when he was forced to resort 
to religion in order to excite the people against the crown, 
and who persecuted the Protestants in Orange and the 
Catholics in Holland. These, however, are matters of no, 
consequence whatever in a political history of Ireland; 
but we find ourselves at issue with the author on the 
important question of political freedom. "Even the 
highly civilised Kelt of France, familiar as he is with 
theories of political liberty, seems almost incapable of 


sustaining free institutions. After a moment of constitu- 
tional government, he reverts, with a bias which the 
fatalist might call irresistible, to despotism in some form " 
(p. 1 8). The warning so frequently uttered by Burke in his 
last years, to fly from the liberty of France, is still more 
needful now that French liberty has exhibited itself in a 
far more seductive light The danger is more subtle, 
when able men confound political forms with popular 
rights. France has never been governed by a Constitu- 
tion since 1792, if by a Constitution is meant a definite 
rule and limitation of the governing power. It is not 
that the French failed to preserve the forms of parlia- 
mentary government, but that those forms no more 
implied freedom than the glory which the Empire has 
twice given in their stead. It is a serious fault in our 
author that he has not understood so essential a distinction. 
Has he not read the Rights of Man, by Tom Paine? 

It is not because a part of the government is elective that makes 
it less a despotism, if the persons so elected possess afterwards, as 
a parliament, unlimited powers. Election, in this case, becomes 
separated from representation, and the candidates are candidates 
for despotism. 1 

Napoleon once consulted the cleverest among the 
politicians who served him, respecting the durability 
of some of his institutions. "Ask yourself," was the 
answer, "what it would cost you to destroy them. If 
the destruction would cost no effort, you have created 
nothing ; for politically, as well as physically, only that 
which resists endures." In the year 1802 the same 
great writer said: "Nothing is more pernicious in a 
monarchy than the principles and the forms of de- 
mocracy, for they allow no alternative, but despotism 
and revolutions." With the additional experience of 
half a century, a writer not inferior to the last repeats 
exactly the same idea : 

Of all societies in the world, those which will always have most 
difficulty in permanently escaping absolute government will be pre- 

i Works, U. 47. Tliis is one of the passages which, seventy years ago, were 
declared to be treasonable. We tout we run no risk in confessing that we entirely 
agree with it. 


cisely those societies in which aristocracy is no more, and can no 
more be. 1 

French constitutionalism was but a form by which 
the absence of self-government was concealed. The 
State was as despotic under Villele or Guizot as under 
either of the Bonapartes. The Restoration fenced itself 
round with artificial creations, having no root in the 
condition or in the sympathies of the people ; these 
creations simply weakened it by making it unpopular. 
The hereditary peerage was an anomaly in a country 
unused to primogeniture, and so was the revival, in a 
nation of sceptics, of the Galilean union between Church 
and State. The monarchy of July, which was more 
suited to the nature of French society, and was thus 
enabled to crush a series of insurrections, was at last 
forced, by its position and by the necessity of self-pre- 
servation, to assume a very despotic character. After 
the fortifications of Paris were begun, a tendency set 
in which, under a younger sovereign, would have led 
to a system hardly distinguishable from that which now 
prevails ; and there are princes in the House of Orleans 
whose government would develop the principle of de- 
mocracy in a manner not very remote from the institu- 
tions of the second Empire. It is liberalism more than 
despotism that is opposed to liberty in France; and it 
is a most dangerous error to imagine that the Govern- 
ments of the French Charter really resemble ours. 
There are States without any parliament at all, whose 
principles and fundamental institutions are in much 
closer harmony with our system of autonomy. Mr. 
Goldwin Smith sees half the truth, that there is something 
in the French nation which incapacitates it for liberty; 
but he does not see that what they have always sought, 
and sometimes enjoyed, is not freedom ; that their liberty 
must diminish in proportion as their ideal is attained; 
and that they are not yet familiar with the theory of 
political rights. With this false notion of what constitutes 
liberty, it is not surprising that he should repeatedly 

1 Tocqueville, LAncien Rtgim* <* la Revolution, Ftt&oe, p. zvi 


dwell on its connection with Protestantism, and talk of 
"the political liberty which Protestantism brought in its 
train" (p. 120). Such phrases may console a Protestant 
reader of a book fatal to the Protestant ascendency in 
Ireland; but as there are no arguments in support of 
them, and as they are strangely contradicted by the 
facts in the context, Mr. Goldwin Smith resorts to the 
ingenious artifice of calling to mind as many ugly stories 
about Catholics as he can. The notion constantly recurs 
that, though the Protestants were very wicked in Ireland, 
it was against their principles and general practice, and 
is due to the Catholics, whose system naturally led them 
to be tyrannical and cruel, and thus provoked retaliation. 
Mr. Smith might have been reminded by Peter Plymley 
that when Protestantism has had its own way it has 
uniformly been averse to freedom: "What has Pro- 
testantism done for liberty in Denmark, in Sweden, 
throughout the north of Germany, and in Prussia ? " not 
much less than democracy has done in France. An 
admirer of the constitutions of 1791, 1814, or 1830 may 
be excused if he is not very severe on the absolutism of 
Protestant countries. 

Mr. Goldwin Smith mistakes the character of the 
invasion of Ireland because he has not understood the 
relative position of the civilisation of the two countries at 
the time when it occurred. That of the Celts was in 
many respects more refined than that of the Normans. 
The Celts are not among the progressive, initiative races, 
but among those which supply the materials rather than 
the impulse of history, and are either stationary or 
retrogressive. The Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, 
and the Teutons are the only makers of history, the 
only authors of advancement. Other races possessing 
a highly developed language, a copious literature, a 
speculative religion, enjoying luxury and art, attain to a 
certain pitch of cultivation which they are unable either 
to communicate or to increase. They are a negative 
element in the world ; sometimes the barrier, sometimes 
the instrument, sometimes the material of those races to 


whom it is given to originate and to advance* Their 
existence is cither passive, or reactionary and destructive, 
when, after intervening like the blind forces of nature, they 
speedily exhibit their uncreativc character, and leave 
others to pursue the course to which they have pointed. 
The Chinese are a peuplb of thin kind. They have long 
remained .stationary, and succeeded in excluding the 
influences of general history* So the Hindoos; being 
Pantheists, they have no history of their own, but supply 
objpctH for commerce and for conquest. So the Huns, 
whoso appearance gave a sudcten imjietus to a stagnant 
world. So the Slavonians, who tell only in the ma**, 
and whose influence is iiHCortainuble sometimes by adding 
to the momentum of active force*, sometimes by impeding 
thrnni'h inert tics* the pro^rcat of mankind, 

To this dass of nations al*o belong the Oils of Gaul. 
Thr Roman and the German conqueror* have not altered 
their character as it, was drawn two thousand years ago, 
They have a history, but it I* not their*; their nature 
remains unchanged, their history fs the history of the 
inwuters. The revolution was the revival of the conquered 
race, urut their reaction against the creations of their 
injuttir*. Hut it has been cunning only to destroy; It 
tuts not I'lvwt life to one constructive idea, or durability 
to erne new Institution ; and it ha* exhibited to the world 
an uiftiwralleteil political incapacity, which wan announced 
by Burke, and analysed by Tocqiicsville, in works which 
are the crowning pieces of two great UtctntturcK. 

The Celt* of thc*c islands* in like manner, waited for 
* foreign Influence to set in action the rich twtsur* wtyteh 
(it their own hands could be of no wnil. Their language 
was more flexible, their poetry and music more wptou*, 
than those of the Anglo-Normans Their fops, If ** may 
judge from thaw of Witle^ display a jtxAety fit some 
m|)ccu highly cultivated, ftot, Hice ^ rcrt of that 
group of nations to which t^y betettf * them wai not in 
them the fncctntlyo to action aiHf prpgraun which is given 
by th* coiwlmwrwaw of V jtat In human destiny, by 
the, Mptauion of a high idea, or even by the natural 

' ' 


development of institutions. Their life and literature were 
aimless and wasteful. Without combination or concentra- 
tion, they had no star to guide them in an onward 
course ; and the progress of dawn into day was no more 
to them than to the flocks and to the forests. 

Before the Danish wars, and the decay, which is 
described by St Bernard in terms which must not be 
taken quite literally, had led to the English invasion, 
there was probably as much material, certainly as much 
spiritual, culture in Ireland as in any country in the 
West ; but there was not that by whose sustaining force 
alone these things endure, by which alone the place of 
nations in history is determined there was no political 
civilisation. The State did not keep pace with the 
progress of society. This is the essential and decisive 
inferiority of the Celtic race, as conspicuous among the 
Irish in the twelfth century as among the French in our 
own. They gave way before the higher political aptitude 
of the English. 

The issue of an invasion is generally decided by this 
political aptitude, and the consequences of conquest always 
depend on it Subjection to a people of a higher capacity 
for government is of itself no misfortune ; and it is to 
most countries the condition of their political advance- 
ment The Greeks were more highly cultivated than the 
Romans, the Gauls than the Franks ; yet in both cases 
the higher political intelligence prevailed. For a long 
time the English had, perhaps, no other superiority over 
the Irish ; yet this alone would have made the conquest 
a great blessing to Ireland, but for the separation of the 
races. Conquering races necessarily bring with them their 
own system of government, and there is no other way of 
introducing it. A nation can obtain political education 
only by dependence on another. Art, literature, and 
science may be communicated by the conquered to the 
conqueror ; but government can be taught only by govern- 
ing, therefore only by the governors; politics can only 
be learnt in this school. The most uncivilised of the 
barbarians, whilst they slowly and imperfectly learned the 


arts of Rome, at once remodelled its laws. The two 
kinds of civilisation, social and political, arc wholly uncon- 
nected with each other. Either may subsist, in high 
perfection, alone. Polity grows like language, and is part 
of a people's nature, not dependent on its will. One or 
the other can be developed, modified, corrected ; but they 
cannot be subverted or changed by the people itself with- 
out an act of suicide. Organic change, if it comes at all, 
must come from abroad. Revolution is a malady, a 
frenzy, an interruption of the nation's growth, sometimes 
fatal to its existence, often to its independence. In this 
case revolution, by making the nation subject to others, 
may be the occasion of a new development But it is 
not conceivable that a nation should arbitrarily and 
spontaneously cast off its history, reject its traditions, 
abrogate its law and government, and commence a new 
political existence. 

Nothing in the experience of ages, or in the nature of 
man, allows UK to believe that the attempt of France to 
establish a durable edifice on the ruins of 1789, without 
UH!UK the old materials, can ever succeed, or that she can 
ever cmurge from the vicious circle of the last seventy 
year*, except by returning to the principle which she then 
repudiate.*'!, and by admitting, that if States would live, 
they must preserve their organic connection with their 
origin mul history, which are their root and their stem ; 
that they arc not voluntary creations of human wisdom ; 
and that men labour in vain who would construct them 
without acknowledging God ZIM the artificer. 

Theorist* who hold it to be a wrong that a nation 
tihouk! belong to a foreign State arc therefore in contradic- 
tion with the law of civil progress. This law, or rather 
necessity, which 2* as absolute a* the law that binds 
noddy together, is the force which makes us need one 
another, and only enables us to obtain what we need on 
terms* not of equality, but of dominion and subjection, in 
domestic, economic, or political relations. The political 
theory of nationality iff in contradiction with the historic 
nation. Since a nation derives it ideas and instinct* of 


government, as much as its temperament and its language, 
from God, acting through the influences of nature and of 
history, these ideas and instincts are originally and 
essentially peculiar to it, and not separable from it ; they 
have no practical value in themselves when divided from 
the capacity which corresponds to them. National 
qualities are the incarnations of political ideas. No 
people can receive its government from another without 
receiving at the same time the ministers of government. 
The workman must travel with the work. Such changes 
can only be accomplished by submission to a foreign State, 
or to another race. Europe has seen two great instances 
of such conquests, extending over centuries, the Roman 
Empire, and the settlement of the barbarians in the West 
This it is which gives unity to the history of the Middle 
Ages. The Romans established a universal empire by 
subjecting all countries to the authority of a single power. 
The barbarians introduced into all a single system of law, 
and thus became the instrument of a universal Church. 
The same spirit of freedom, the same notions of the State, 
pervade all the Leges Barbarwum, ami all the Clitics 
they founded in Europe and Asia. They differ widely in 
the surrounding conditions, in the state of society, in the 
degree of advancement, in almost all external things. 
The principle common to them all is to acknowledge the 
freedom of the Church as a corporation and a proprietor, 
and in virtue of the principle of self-government to allow 
religion to develop her influence in the State. Th<; 
great migration which terminated in the Norman con- 
quests and in the Crusades gave the dominion of the 
Latin world to the Teutonic chivalry, and to the Church 
her proper place. All other countries sank into despotism, 
into schism, and at last into barbarism, under the Tartars 
or the Turks. The union between the Teutonic races ami 
the Holy See was founded on their political qualities mum 
than on their religious fervour. In modern times, the 
most pious Catholics have often tyrannised over the Church. 
In the Middle Ages her liberty was often secured awl 
respected where her spiritual injunctions were least 


The growth of the feudal system coinciding with the 
general decay of morals led, in the eleventh century, to 
new efforts of the Church to preserve her freedom. The 
Holy See was delivered from the Roman factions by 
the most illustrious of the emperors, and a series of 
German Popes commenced the great reform. Other 
princes were unwilling to submit to the authority of the 
imperial nominees, and the kings of France and Castile 
showed symptoms of resistance, in which they were 
supported by the heresy of Berengarius. The conduct 
of Henry IV. delivered the Church from the patronage 
of the Empire, whilst the Normans defended her against 
the Gallican tendencies and the feudal tyranny. In 
Sicily, the Normans consented to hold their power from 
the Pope ; and in Normandy, Berengarius found a suc- 
cessful adversary, and the King of France a vassal who 
compelled him to abandon his designs. The chaplain of 
the Conqueror describes his government in terms which 
show how singularly it fulfilled the conditions which the 
Church requires. He tells us that William established in 
Normandy a truly Christian order; that every village^ 
town, and castle enjoyed its own privileges; and that, 
while other princes either forbade the erection of churches 
or seized their endowments, he left his subjects free to make 
pious gifts. In his reign and by his conduct the word 
" bigot " ceased to be a term of reproach, and came to 
signify what we now should call " ultramontane." He was 
the foremost of those Normans who were called by the 
Holy See to reclaim what was degenerate, and to renovate 
the declining States of the North. 

Where the Church addressed herself to the conversion 
of races of purely Teutonic origin, as in Scandinavia, her 
missionaries achieved the work* In other countries, as in 
Poland and Hungary, political dependence on the Empire 
was the channel and safeguard of her influence. The 
Norman conquest of England and of Ireland differs from 
all of these. In both islands the faith had been freely 
preached, adopted, and preserved. The rulers and the 
people were Catholic The last Saxon king who died 


before the Conquest was a saint The last archbishop of 
Dublin appointed before the invasion was a saint. Neither 
of the invasions can be explained simply by the demoral- 
isation of the clergy, or by the spiritual destitution of the 

Catholicism spreads among the nations, not only as 
a doctrine, but as an institution. "The Church," says 
Mr. Goldwin Smith, " is not a disembodied spirit, but a 
spirit embodied in human society." Her teaching is 
directed to the inner man, and is confined to the social 
order ; but her discipline touches on the political. She 
cannot permanently ignore the acts and character of the 
State, or escape its notice. Whilst she preaches sub- 
mission to authorities ordained by God, her nature, not 
her interest, compels her to exert an involuntary influence 
upon them. The jealousy so often exhibited by govern- 
ments is not without reason, for the free action of the 
Church is the test of the free constitution of the State ; 
and without such free constitution there must necessarily 
ensue either persecution or revolution. Between the 
settled organisation of Catholicism and every form of 
arbitrary power, there is an incompatibility which must 
terminate in conflict. In a State which possesses no 
security for authority or freedom, the Church must either 
fight or succumb. Now, as authority and freedom, the 
conditions of her existence, can only be obtained through 
the instrumentality of certain nations, she depends on the 
aid of these nations. Religion alone cannot civilise men, 
or secure its own conquest. It promotes civilisation 
where it has power ; but it has not power where its way 
is not prepared. Its civilising influence is chiefly indirect, 
and acts by its needs and wants as much as by the 
fulness of its ideas. So Christianity extends itself by the 
aid of the secular power, relying, not on the victories of 
Christian arms, but on the progress of institutions and 
ideas that harmonise with ecclesiastical freedom. Hence, 
those who have most actively served the interests of the 
Church are not always those who have been most faithful 
to her .doctrines. The work which the Goth and the 


Frank had done on the continent of Europe the Normans 
came to do in England, where it had been done before 
but had failed, and in Ireland, where neither Roman nor 
German influences had entered. 

Thus the theory of nationality, unknown to Catholic 
ages, is inconsistent both with political reason and with 
Christianity, which requires the dominion of race over 
race, and whose path was made straight by two universal 
empires. The missionary may outstrip, in his devoted 
zeal, the progress of trade or of arms ; but the seed that 
he plants will not take root, unprotected by those ideas 
of right and duty which first came into the world with 
the tribes who destroyed the civilisation of antiquity, and 
whose descendants are in our day carrying those ideas 
to every quarter of the world. It was as impossible to 
realise in Ireland the mediaeval notions of ecclesiastical 
liberty without a great political reform, as to put an end 
to the dissolution of society and the feuds of princes 
without the authority of a supreme lord. 

There is one institution of those days to which Mr. 
Goldwin Smith has not done entire justice. 

It is needless to say that the Eric, or pecuniary composition for 
blood, in place of capital or other punishment, which the Brehon law 
sanctioned, is the reproach of all primitive codes, and of none. It 
is the first step from the license of savage revenge to the ordered 
justice of a regular law (p. 41). 

Pecuniary composition for blood belongs to an 
advanced period of defined and regular criminal juris- 
prudence. In the lowest form of civil society, when the 
State is not yet distinct from the family, the family is 
compelled to defend itself; and the only protection of 
society is the vendetta. It is the private right of self- 
defence combined with the public office of punishment, 
and therefore not only a privilege but an obligation. 
The whole family is bound to avenge the injury; but 
the duty rests first of all with the heir. Precedency in 
the office of avenger is naturally connected with a first 
claim in inheritance; and the succession to property is 
determined by the law of revenge. This leads both to 


primogeniture, because the eldest son is most likely to be 
capable of punishing the culprit ; and, for the same reason, 
to modifications of primogeniture, by the preference of 
the brother before the grandson, and of the male line 
before the female. A practice which appears barbarous 
is, therefore, one of the foundations of civilisation, and 
the origin of some of the refinements of law. In this 
state of society there is no distinction between civil 
and criminal law ; an injury is looked upon as a private 
wrong, not, as religion considers it, a sin, or, as the State 
considers it, a crime. 

Something very similar occurs in feudal society. Here 
all the barons were virtually equal to each other, and 
without any superior to punish their crimes or to avenge 
their wrongs. They were, therefore, compelled to obtain 
safety or reparation, like sovereigns, by force of arms. 
What war is among States, the feud is in feudal society, 
and the vengeance of blood in societies not yet matured 
into States a substitute for the fixed administration of 

The assumption of this duty by the State begins with 
the recognisance of acts done against the State itself. 
At first, political crimes alone are visited with a public 
penally; private injuries demand no public expiation, 
but only satisfaction of the injured party. This appears 
in its most rudimentary form in the lextalionis. Society 
requires that punishment should be inflicted by the State, 
in order to prevent continual disorders. If the injured 
party could be satisfied, and his duty fulfilled without 
inflicting on the criminal an injury corresponding to that 
which he had done, society was obviously the gainer. 
At first it was optional to accept or to refuse satisfaction; 
afterwards it was made obligatory. 

Where property was so valuable that its loss was visited 
on the life or limb of the robber, and injuries against 
property were made a question of life and death, it soon 
followed that injury to life could be made a question of 
payment To expiate robbery by death, and to expiate 
murder by the payment of a fine, are correlative ideas. 


Practically this custom often told with a barbarous in- 
equality against those who were too poor to purchase 
forgiveness ; but it was otherwise both just and humane 
in principle, and it was generally encouraged by the 
Church. For in her eyes the criminal was guilty of an 
act of which it was necessary that he should repent ; 
this made her desire, not his destruction, but his con- 
version. She tried, therefore, to save his life, and to 
put an end to revenge, mutilation, and servitude; and 
for all this the alternative was compensation. This 
purpose was served by the right of asylum. The 
Church surrendered the fugitive only on condition that 
his life and person should be spared in consideration of 
a lawful fine, which she often paid for him herself. 
" Concedatur ei vita et omnia membra. Emendat autem 
causam in quantum potuerit," says a law of Charlemagne, 
given in the year 785, when the influence of religion on 
legislation was most powerful in Europe. 

No idea occurs more frequently in the work we are 
reviewing than that of the persecuting character of the 
Catholic Church; it is used as a perpetual apology for 
the penal laws in Ireland ; 

" When the Catholics writhe under this wrong, let them turn their 
eyes to the history of Catholic countries, and remember that, while 
the Catholic Church was stripped of her endowments and doomed 
to political degradation by Protestant persecutors in Ireland, the 
Protestant churches were exterminated with fire and sword by 
Catfeottc persecutors in France, Austria, Flanders, Italy, and Spain" 

speaks of Catholicism as " a religion which all Proteeta*fe 
beltared to be idolatrous, and knew by fearful experience te ; * 
persecuting" (p. 113). "It would not be difficult to point to pw- 
securing laws more sanguinary than these. Spain, Ftafcce^and 
Austria will at once supply signal examples. , . . That 

was the vice of ca age and not only of t patdctitar tteHgfcte, that it 
disgraced Protwtaatittn $ well s Cfetta&cta* if ftp* . $ut no 
one who retfft tib* litigious history f #wpj **ft *R open mind 
can fail to percewfe tfaai dta j^^ecirtftHSs carowt ott b^ Protestants 

_____ JL^ ' *_ thlm^Jli jfu^JT^i^JiL y *-..%****! jMy. .-' imL^.-L^ ' Ajl a-_J ^^ U__ 

were nur less oioocijr iw^dsv TOBTOPVI twrk wove cameo on oy 
Catholics 5 that they V*m ^^^^tfA^^ tttcusable as acts of 
retaliation j that they K^^c^6wt|X^ticaI *krm, and less from 
fte spirit of the religion; and tha$&e temper of their authors yielded 
rapidly to the advancing influence of humanity and civilisation" 


All these arguments arc fallacies; but as the statements 
at the same time are full of error, we believe that the 
author is wrong because he has not studied the question, 
not because he has designed to misrepresent it The fact 
that he does not distinguish from each other the various 
kinds and occasions of persecution, proves that he is wholly 
ignorant of the things with which it is connected. 

Persecution is the vice of particular religions, and the 
misfortune of particular stages of political society. It is 
the resource by which States that would be subverted by 
religious liberty escape the more dangerous alternative of 
imposing religious disabilities. The exclusion of a part 
of the community by reason of its faith from the full 
benefit of the law is a danger and disadvantage to every 
State, however highly organised its constitution may 
otherwise be. But the actual existence of a religious 
party differing in faith from the majority is dangerous 
only to a State very imperfectly organised* Disabilities 
are always a danger. Multiplicity of religions is only 
dangerous to States of an inferior type. By persecution 
they rkl themselves of the peculiar danger which threatens 
them, without involving themselves in a system universally 
bad Persecution comes naturally in a certain period of 
the progress of society, before a more flexible and com- 
prehensive system has been introduced by that advance 
of religion and civilisation whereby Catholicism gradually 
penetrates into hostile countries, and Christian powers 
acquire dominion over infidel populations. Thus it is the 
token of an epoch In the political, religious, and intellectual 
life of mankind, and it disappears with its epoch, and with 
the advance of the Church militant in her Catholic vocation. 
Intolerance of dissent and impatience of contradiction are 
a characteristic of youth. Those that have no knowledge 
of the truth that underlies opposite opinions, and no 
experience of their consequent force, cannot believe that 
men are sincere in holding them* At a certain point of 
mental growth, tolerance implies indifference, and intoler- 
ance is inseparable from sincerity. Thus intolerance, in 
itself a defect, becomes in this case a merit Again, 


although the political conditions of intolerance belong to 
the youth and immaturity of nations, the motives of 
intolerance may at any time be just and the principle 
high. For the theory of religious unity is founded on the 
most elevated and truest view of the character and function 
of the State, on the perception that its ultimate purpose is 
not distinct from that of the Church. In the pagan State 
they were identified; in the Christian world the end 
remains the same, but the means are different. 

The State aims at the things of another life but 
indirectly. Its course runs parallel to that of the Church ; 
they do not converge. The direct subservience of the 
State to religious ends would imply despotism and 
persecution just as much as the pagan supremacy of civil 
over religious authority. The similarity of the end 
demands harmony in the principles, and creates a decided 
antagonism between the State and a religious community 
whose character is in total contradiction with it With 
such religions there is no possibility of reconciliation* A 
State must be at open war with any system whidh it sees 
would prevent it from fulfilling its legitimate duties. The 
danger, therefore, lies not in the doctrine, but fa the 
practice. But to the pagan and to the mediaeval State, 
the danger was in the doctrine. The Christians were the 
best subjects of the emperor, but Christianity was really 
subversive of the fundamental institutions of the Roman 
Empire* In the infancy of the modern States, the civil 
power required all the help that religion could give In 
order to establish itself against the lawlessness* of 
barbarism and feudal dissolution. The existence of the 
State at that time depended on the power of the Church. 
When, in the thirteenth century, the Empire renounced 
this support* and made war on the Church, It feH at once 
into a number of small saverelgntf& In tfcose cases 
persecution was scAfcfofebce. Jfo ** wttmgly defended 
as an absolute, not as ro0tt<9iS0&i prfadpte ; but such a 
principle was false only tf*1iw acxtern theory of religious 
liberty is false. One wis ,g wrong generalisation from 
true character of the State; the other is a true 


conclusion from a false notion of the State. To say 
that because of the union between Church and State it 
is right to persecute, would condemn all toleration ; and 
to say that the objects of the State have nothing to 
do with religion, would condemn all persecution. But 
peraecutiou and toleration arc equally true in principle, 
considered politically ; only one belongs to a more highly 
developed civilisation than the other, At one period 
toleration would destroy society; at another, persecution 
is fatal to libttrty. The theory of intolerance is wrong 
only if founded absolutely upon religious motives; but 
even then the practice of it is not necessarily censurable. 
It is opposed to the Christian spirit, in the same manner 
as slavery is opposed to it The Church prohibits neither 
intolerance nor slavery, though in proportion as her 
influence extends, and civilisation advances, both gradually 

Unity and liberty are the only legitimate principles 
on which the position of a, Church in a Slate can be 
ir-pilah'd, but the distance between them is immeasurable, 
and the* transition ttxtrvinuly difficult. To pas* from 
rt'litfioua unity to rHigiou-s liberty i.s to effect a complete 
inversion in the character of the State, a change in the 
whole spirit of legislation, and a still greater revolution in 
the mindn and habits of men. So great a change seldom 
hapjxjna all at once* The law naturally follows the 
condition of society, which docs not suddenly change. 
An inlorvcntng stage from unity to liberty, a compromise 
between toleration and persecution, is a common hut 
irrational, tyrannical, and impolitic arrangement. It is 
idle to talk of the guilt of persecution, if we do not 
distinguish the various principles on which religious 
4itfHc:ttt can be treated by the State. The exclusion of 
other religions - the system of Spain, of Sweden, of 

Mecklenburg, Holsteiu, and Tyrol 5s reasonable in 

principle, though practically untenable in the preaent 
*t*te of European society. The #y*U:m of cxpufafon or 
compulsory conformity, adopted by l<ewi XIV, and the 
Emperor Nicholas, is defensible neither on religious nor 


political grounds. But the system applied to Ireland 
which uses religious disabilities for the purpose of politica 
oppression, 1 stands alone in solitary infamy among th< 
crimes and follies of the rulers of men. 

The acquisition of real definite freedom is a very slew 
and tardy process. The great social independence 
enjoyed in the early periods of national history is no- 
yet political freedom. The State has not yet developec 
its authority, or assumed the functions of government 
A period follows when all the action of society if 
absorbed by the ruling power, when the license of earl) 
times is gone, and the liberties of a riper age are not ye 1 
acquired. These liberties are the product of a long 
conflict with absolutism, and of a gradual development 
which, by establishing definite rights revives in positive 
form the negative liberty of an unformed society. The 
object and the result of this process is the organisatior 
of self-government, the substitution of right for force, o 
authority for power, of duty for necessity, and of a mora 
for a physical relation between government and people 
Until this point is reached, religious liberty is an anomaly 
In a State which possesses all power and all authority 
there is no room for the autonomy of religious communities. 
Those States, therefore, not only refuse liberty ol 
conscience, but deprive the favoured Church of ecclesiasti- 
cal freedom. The principles of religious unity and liberty 
are so opposed that no modern State has at once denied 
toleration and allowed freedom to its established Church 
Both of these are unnatural in a State which rejects self- 
government, the only secure basis of all freedom, whethci 

1 " From what I have observed, it is pride, arrogance, and a spirit of domina- 
tion, and not a bigoted spirit of religion, that has caused and kept up those 
oppressive statutes. I am sure I have known those who have oppressed Papist! 
in their civil rights exceedingly indulgent to them in their religious ceremonies 
and who really wished them to continue Catholics, in order to furnish pretence* 
for oppression. These persons never saw a man (by converting) escape out o 
their power but with grudging and regret " (Burke, " On the Penal Laws agains 
Irish &th61ics," WmMv. 505)* 

" 1 vow to God, I would sooner bring myself to put a mnn to immediate duatl 
for opinions I disliked, and so to get rid of the man and his opinions at once 
than to fret him into a feverish being tainted with the jail-distemper of a con 
tniiious servitude, to kexsp him above ground, an animated mass of putrefaction 
corrupted himself, and corrupting all about him " (Speech at Bristol, ibid. iii. 407) 


religious or political. For religious freedom is based on 
political liberty; intolerance, therefore, is a political 
necessity against all religions which threaten the unity of 
faith in a State that is not free, and in every State against 
those religions which threaten its existence. Absolute 
intolerance belongs to the absolute State; special 
persecution may be justified by special causes in any 
State. All mediaeval persecution is of the latter kind, 
for the sects against which it was directed were revolu- 
tionary parties. The State really defended, not its religious 
unity, but its political existence. 

If the Catholic Church was naturally inclined to 
persecute, she would persecute in all cases alike, when 
there was no interest to serve but her own. Instead of 
adapting her conduct to circumstances, and accepting 
theories according to the character of the time, she would 
have developed a consistent theory out of her own system, 
and would have been most severe when she was most free 
from external influences, from political objects, or from 
temporary or national prejudices. She would have 
imposed a common rule of conduct in different countries 
in different ages, instead of submitting to the exigencies 
of each time and place. Her own rule of conduct never 
changed. She treats it as a crime to abandon her, not to 
be outside her. An apostate who returns to her has a 
penance for hut apostasy ; a heretic who is converted has 
no penance for his heresy. Severity against those who 
are outside her fold is against her principles. Persecution 
is contrary to the nature of a universal Church ; it is 
peculiar to the national Churches, 

While the Catholic Church by her progress in freedom 
naturally tends to push the development of States beyond 
the sphere where they are still obliged to preserve the 
unity of religion, and whilst she extends over States in all 
degrees of advancement, Protestantism, which belongs to 
a particular age and state of society, which makes no 
claim to universality, and which is dependent on political 
connection, regards persecution, not as an accident, but as 
a duty. 


Wherever Protestantism prevailed, intolerance became 
a principle of State, and was proclaimed in theory even 
where the Protestants were in a minority, and where the 
theory supplied a weapon against themselves. The 
Reformation made it a general law, not only against 
Catholics by way of self-defence or retaliation, but against 
all who dissented from the reformed doctrines, whom it 
treated, not as enemies, but as criminals, against the 
Protestant sects, against Socinians, and against atheists. 
It was not a right, but a duty ; its object was to avenge! 
God, not to preserve order. There is no analogy between 
the persecution which preserves and the persecution 
which attacks ; or between intolerance as a religious duty, 
and intolerance as a necessity of State. The Reformers 
unanimously declared persecution to be incumbent on 
the civil power; and the Protestant Governments uni- 
versally acted upon their injunctions, until scepticism 
escaped the infliction of penal laws and condemned their 

Doubtless, in the interest of their religion, they acted 
wisely. Freedom is not more decidedly the natural 
condition of Catholicism than intolerance is of Protestant- 
ism; which by the help of persecution succeeded in 
establishing itself in countries where it had no root 
in the affections of the people, and in preserving itself 
from the internal divisions which follow free inquiry. 
Toleration has been at once a cause and an effect of 
its decline. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, 
supported the mediaeval State by religious unity, and has 
saved herself in the modern State by religious freedom. 
No longer compelled to devise theories in justification 
of a system imposed on her by the exigencies of half- 
organised societies, she is enabled to revert to a policy 
more suited to her nature and to her most venerable 
traditions; and the principle of liberty has already 
restored to her much of that which the principle of 
unity took away. It was not, as our author imagines 
(p. 1x9), by the protection of Lewis XIV. that she was 
formidable; nor is it true that in Consequence of the 


loss of temporalities, "the chill of death is gathering 
round the heart of the great theocracy" (p. 94) ; nor that 
"the visible decline of the papacy" is at hand because it 
no longer wields "the more efficacious arms of the great 
Catholic monarchies" (p. 190). 

The same appeal to force, the same principles of 
intolerance which expelled Catholicism from Protestant 
countries, gave rise in Catholic countries to the growth 
of infidelity. The Revolutions of 1789 in France, and 
of 1859 in Italy, attest the danger of a practice which 
requires for its support the doctrines of another religion, 
or the circumstances of a different age. Not till the' 
Church had lost those props in which Mr. Goldwin Smith 
sees the secret of her power, did she recover her 
elasticity and her expansive vigour. Catholics may 
have learnt this truth late, but Protestants, it appears, 
have yet to learn it 

In one point Mr. Goldwin Smith is not so very far 
from the views of the Orange party. He thinks, indeed, 
that the Church is no longer dangerous, and would not 
therefore have Catholics maltreated; but this is due, 
not to her merits, but to her weakness. 

Popes might now be as willing as ever, if they had the power, to 
step between a Protestant State and the allegiance of its subjects 

Mr. Smith seems to think that the Popes claim the 
same authority over the rulers of a Protestant State 
that they formerly possessed over the princes of Catholic 
countries. Yet this political power of the Holy See 
was never a universal right of jurisdiction over States, 
but a special and positive right, which it is as absurd 
to censure as to fear or to regret at the present time. 
Directly, it extended only over territories which were 
held by feudal tenure of the Pope, like the Sicilian 
monarchy. Elsewhere the authority was indirect, not 
political but religious, and its political consequences 
wtere due to the laws of the land. The Catholic countries 
would no more submit to a king not of their communion 
than Protestant countries, England for instance, or 


Denmark. This is as natural and inevitable in a country 
where the whole population is of one religion, as it is 
artificial and unjust in a country where no sort of religious 
unity prevails, and where such a law might compel the 
sovereign to be of the religion of the minority. 

At any rate, nobody who thinks it reasonable that 
any prince abandoning the Established Church should 
forfeit the English throne, can complain of a law which 
compelled the sovereign to be of the religion, not of a 
majority, but of the whole of his subjects. The idea of 
the Pope stepping between a State and the allegiance of 
its subjects is a mere misapprehension. The instrument 
of his authority is the law, and the law resides in the 
State; The Pope could intervene, therefore, only between 
the State and the occupant of the throne ; and his inter- 
vention suspended, not the duty of obeying, but the right 
of governing. The line on which his sentence ran 
separated, not the subjects from the State, but the 
sovereign from the other authorities. It was addressed 
to the nation politically organised against the head of 
the organism, not to the mass of individual subjects 
against the constituted authorities. That such a power 
was inconsistent with the modern notion of sovereignty 
is true ; but it is also true that this notion is as much at 
variance with the nature of ecclesiastical authority as 
with civil liberty. The Roman maxim, princeps legibus 
solutus, could not be admitted by the Church; and an 
absolute prince could not properly be invested in her 
eyes with the sanctity of authority, or protected by the 
duty of submission. A moral, and d fortiori a spiritual, 
authority moves and lives only in an atmosphere of 

There are, however, two things to be considered in 
explanation of the error into which our author and so 
many others have fallen. Law follows life, but not with 
an equal pace. There is a time when it ceases to cor- 
respond to the existing order of things, and meets an 
invincible obstacle in a new society. The exercise of 
the mediaeval authority of the Popes was founded on the 



religious unity of the State, and had no basis in a divided 
community. It was not easy in the period of transition 
to tell when the change took place, and at what moment 
the old power lost its efficacy ; no one could foresee its 
failure, and it still remained the legal and recognised 
means of preventing the change. Accordingly, it was 
twice tried during the wars of religion, in France with 
success, in England with disastrous effects. It is a 
universal rule that a right is not given up until the 
necessity of its surrender is proved But the real 
difficulty arises, not from the mode in which the power 
was exercised, but from the way in which it was defended. 
The mediaeval writers were accustomed to generalise; 
they disregarded particular circumstances, and they were 
generally ignorant of the habits and ideas of their age. 
Living in the cloister, and writing for the school, they 
were unacquainted with the polity and institutions around 
them, and sought their authorities and examples in 
antiquity, in the speculations of Aristotle, and the 
maxims of the civil law. They gave to their political 
doctrines as abstract a form, and attributed to them as 
universal an application, as the modern absolutists or the 
more recent liberals. So regardless were they of the 
difference between ancient times and their own, that the 
Jewish chronicles, the Grecian legislators, and the Roman 
code supplied them indifferently with rules and instances ; 
they could not imagine that a new state of things would 
one day arise in which their theories would be completely 
obsolete. Their definitions of right and law ate absolute 
in the extreme, and seem often to admit of no qualifica- 
tion. Hence their character is essentially revolutionary, 
and they contradict both the authority of law and the 
security of freedom. It is on this contradiction that the 
common notion of the danger of ecclesiastical pretensions 
is founded. But the men who take alarm at the tone 
of the mediaeval claims judge them with a theory just as 
absolute and as excessive. No man can fairly denounce 
imaginary pretensions in the Church of the nineteenth 
century, who does not understand that rights fthich are 


now impossible may have been reasonable and legitimate 
in the days when they were actually exercised. 

The zeal with which Mr. Goldwin Smith condemns 
the Irish establishment and the policy of the ascendency 
is all the more meritorious because he has no conception 
of the' amount of iniquity involved in them. 

The State Church of Ireland, however anomalous and even 
scandalous its position maybe as the Church of a dominant minority 
upheld by force in the midst of a hostile people, does not, in truth, 
rest on a principle different from that of other State Churches. To 
justify the existence of any State Church, it must be assumed as an 
axiom that the State is the judge of religious truth ; and that it is 
bound to impose upon its subjects, or at least to require them as a 
community to maintain, the religion which it judges to be true (p. 91). 

No such analogy in reality subsists as is here assumed. 
There is a great difference between the Irish and the 
English establishment; but even the latter has no 
similarity of principle with the Catholic establishments of 
the continent 

The fundamental distinction is, that in one case the 
religion of the people is adopted by the State, whilst in 
the other the State imposes a religion on the people. For 
the political justification of Catholic establishments, no 
more is required than the theory that it is just that the 
religion of a country should be represented in, and 
protected by, its government. This is evidently and 
universally true; for the moral basis which human laws 
require can only be derived from an influence which was 
originally religious as well as moral. The unity of moral 
consciousness must be- founded on a precedent unity of 
spiritual belief. According to this theory, the character 
of the nation determines the forms of the State. Conse- 
quently it is a theory consistent with freedom. But 
Protestant establishments, according to our author's 
definition, which applies to them, and to them alone, 
rest on the opposite theory, that the will of the State is 
independent of the condition of the community ; and that 
it may, or indeed must, impose on the nation a faith 
which may be that of a minority, and which in some 


cases has been that of the sovereign alone. According 
to the Catholic view, government may preserve in its laws, 
and by its authority, the religion of the community; 
according to the Protestant view it may be bound to 
change it. A government which has power to change 
the faith of its subjects must be absolute in other things ; 
so that one theory is as favourable to tyranny as the 
other is opposed to it The safeguard of the Catholic 
system of Church and State, as contrasted with the 
Protestant, was that very authority which the Holy See 
used to prevent the sovereign from changing the religion 
of the people, by deposing him if he departed from it 
himself. In most Catholic countries the Church preceded 
the State ; some she assisted to form ; all she contributed 
to sustain. Throughout Western Europe Catholicism 
was the religion of the inhabitants before the new 
monarchies were founded. The invaders, who became 
the dominant race and the architects of a new system 
of States, were sooner or later compelled, in order to 
preserve their dominion, to abandon their pagan or their 
Arian religion, and to adopt the common faith of the 
immense majority of the people. The connection between 
Church and State was therefore a natural, not an arbitrary, 
institution ; the result of the submission of the Govern- 
ment to popular influence, and the means by which that 
influence was perpetuated. No Catholic Government ever 
imposed a Catholic establishment on a Protestant com- 
munity, or destroyed a Protestant establishment Even 
the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, the greatest wrong 
ever inflicted on the Protestant subjects of a Catholic 
State, will bear no comparison with the establishment 
of the religion of a minority. It is a far greater wrong 
than the most severe persecution, because persecution 
may be necessary for the preservation of an existing 
society, as in the case of the early Christians and of the 
Albigenses ; but a State Church can only be justified by 
the acquiescence of the nation. In every other case it is 
a great^ social danger, and is inseparable from political 


Mr. Goldwin Smith's vision is bounded by the Pro- 
testant horizon. The Irish establishment has one great 
mark in common with the other Protestant establishments, 
that it is the creature of the State, and an instrument 
of political influence. They were all imposed on the 
nation by the State power, sometimes against the will of 
the people, sometimes against that of the Crown. By the 
help of military power and of penal laws, the State strove 
to provide that the Established Church should not be the 
religion of the minority. But in Ireland the establishment 
was introduced too late when Protestantism had spent 
its expansive force, and the attraction of its doctrine no 
longer aided the efforts of the civil power. Its position 
was false from the beginning, and obliged it to resort 
to persecution and official proselytism in order to put 
an end to the anomaly. Whilst, therefore, in all cases, 
Protestantism became the Established Church by an 
exercise of authority tyrannical in itself, and possible only 
from the absolutism of the ruling power, in Ireland the 
tyranny of its institution was perpetuated in the system 
by which it was upheld, and in the violence with which 
it was introduced; and this tyranny continues through 
all its existence. It is the religion of the minority, 
the church of an alien State, the cause of suffering and 
of disturbance, an instrument, a creature, and a monument 
of conquest and of tyranny. It has nothing in common 
with Catholic establishments, and none of those qualities 
which, in the Anglican Church, redeem in part the 
guilt of its origin.. This is not, however, the only point 
on which our author has mistaken the peculiar and 
enormous character of the evils of Ireland. 

With the injustice which generally attends his historical 
parallels, he compares the policy of the Orange faction 
to that of the Jacobins in France. 

The ferocity of the Jacobins was in a slight degree redeemed 
by their fanaticism. Their objects were not entirely selfish. They 
murdered aristocrats, not only because they hated and feared them, 
but because they wildly imagined them to stand in the way of the 
social and political millennium, which, according to Rousseau, awaited 
the acceptance of mankind (p. 175). 


No comparison can be more unfair than one which 
places the pitiless fanaticism of an idea in the same 
line with the cruelty inspired by a selfish interest The 
Reign of Terror is one of the most portentous events 
in history, because it was the consistent result of the 
simplest and most acceptable principle of the Revolution ; 
it saved France from the coalition, and it was the 
greatest attempt ever made to mould the form of a 
society by force into harmony with a speculative form 
of Government An explanation which treats self-interest 
as its primary motive, and judges other elements as 
merely qualifying it, is ludicrously inadequate. 

The Terrorism of Robespierre was produced by the 
theory of equality, which was not a mere passion, but 
a political doctrine, and at the same time a national 
necessity. Political philosophers who, since the time of 
Hobbes, derive the State from a social compact, neces- 
sarily assume that the contracting parties were equal 
among themselves. By nature, therefore, all men possess 
equal rights, and a right to equality. The introduction 
of the civil power and of private property brought 
inequality into the world. This is opposed to the 
condition and to the rights of the natural state. The 
writers of the eighteenth century attributed to this 
circumstance the evils and sufferings of society. In 
France, the ruin of the public finances and the misery 
of the lower orders were both laid at the door of the 
classes whose property was exempt from taxation. 
The endeavours of successive ministers of Turgot, 
Necker, and Calonne to break down the privileges 
of the aristocracy and of the clergy were defeated by 
the resistance of the old society. The Government 
attempted to save itself by obtaining concessions from 
the Notables, but without success, and then the great 
reform which the State was impotent to carry into 
execution was effected by the people. The destruction 
of the aristocratic society, which the absolute monarchy 
had failed to reform, was the object and the triumph 
of the Revolution; and the Constitution of 1791 de- 


dared all men equal, and withdrew the sanction of the 
law from every privilege. 

This system gave only an equality in civil rights, a 
political equality such as already subsisted in America ; 
but it did not provide against the existence or the growth 
of those social inequalities by which the distribution of 
political power might be affected. But the theory of the 
natural equality of mankind understands equal rights as 
rights to equal things in the State, and requires not only 
an abstract equality of rights, but a positive equality of 
power. The varieties of condition caused by civilisation 
were so objectionable in the eyes of this school, that 
Rousseau wrote earnest vindications of natural society, 
and condemned the whole social fabric of Europe as 
artificial, unnatural, and monstrous. His followers 
laboured to destroy the work of history and the influence 
of the past, and to institute a natural, reasonable order of 
things which should dispose all men on an equal level, 
which no disparity of wealth or education should be 
permitted to disturb. There were, therefore, two opinions 
in the revolutionary party. Those who overthrew the 
monarchy, established the republic, and commenced the 
war, were content with having secured political and legal 
equality, and wished to leave the nation in the enjoyment 
of those advantages which fortune distributes unequally. 
But the consistent partisans of equality required that 
nothing should be allowed to raise one man above another, 
The Girondists wished to preserve liberty, education, and 
property; but the Jacobins, who held that an absolute 
equality should be maintained by the despotism of the 
government over the people, interpreted more justly the 
democratic principles which were common to both parties ; 
and, fortunately for their country, they triumphed over 
their illogical and irresolute adversaries. "When the 
revolutionary movement was once established," says De 
Maistre, " nothing but Jacobinism could save France." 

Three weeks after the fall of the . Gironde, the Con- 
stitution of 1793, by which a purely ideal democracy was 
instituted, was presented to the French people. Its 


adoption exactly coincides with the supremacy of 
Robespierre in the Committee of Public Safety, and with 
the inauguration of the Reign of Terror. The danger of 
invasion made the new tyranny possible, but the political 
doctrine of the Jacobins made it necessary. Robespierre 
explains the system in his report on the principles of 
political morality, presented to the Convention at the 
moment of his greatest power : 

If the principle of a popular government in time of peace is virtue, 
its principle during revolution is virtue and terror combined : virtue, 
without which terror is pernicious; terror, without which virtue is 
powerless. Terror is nothing but rapid, severe, inflexible justice; 
therefore a product of virtue. It is not so much a principle in itself 
as a consequence of the universal principle of democracy in its 
application to the urgent necessities of the country. 

This is perfectly true. Envy, revenge, fear, were 
motives by which individuals were induced or enabled to 
take part in the administration of such a system ; but its 
introduction was not the work of passion, but the inevit- 
able result of a doctrine. The democratic Constitution 
required to be upheld by violence, not only against foreign 
arms, but against the state of society and the nature of 
things. The army could not be made its instrument, 
because the rulers were civilians, and feared, beyond all 
things, the influence of military officers in the State. 
Officers were frequently arrested and condemned as 
traitors, compelled to seek safety in treason, watched and 
controlled by members of the Convention. In the 
absence of a military despotism, the revolutionary tribunal 
was the only resource. 

The same theory of an original state of nature, from 
which the principle of equality was deduced, also taught 
men where they might find the standard of equality; as 
civilisation, by means of civil power, education, and 
wealth, was the source of corruption, the purity of virtue 
was to be found in the classes which had been least ex- 
posed to those disturbing causes. Those who were least 
tainted by the temptations of civilised society remained 
in the natural state. This was the definition of the new 


notion of the people, which became the measure of virtue 
and of equality. The democratic theory required that 
the whole nation should be reduced to the level of the 
lower orders in all those things in which society creates 
disparity, in order to be raised to the level of that re- 
publican virtue which resides among those who have 
retained a primitive simplicity by escaping the influence 
of civilisation. 

The form of government and the condition of society 
must always correspond. Social equality is therefore a 
postulate of pure democracy. It was necessary that it 
should exist if the Constitution was to stand, and if the 
great ideal of popular enthusiasm was ever to be realised. 
The Revolution had begun by altering the social con- 
dition of the country; the correction of society by the 
State had already commenced It did not, therefore, 
seem impossible to continue it until the nation should 
be completely remodelled in conformity with the new 
principles. The system before which the ancient 
monarchy had fallen, which was so fruitful of marvels, 
which was victorious over a more formidable coalition 
than that which had humbled Lewis XIV., was deemed 
equal to the task of completing the social changes which 
had been so extensively begun, and of moulding France 
according to the new and simple pattern. The equality 
which was essential to the existence of the new form of 
government did not in fact exist Privilege was abolished, 
but influence remained. All the inequality founded on 
wealth, education, ability, reputation, even on the virtues 
of a code different from that of republican morality, pre- 
sented obstacles to the establishment of the new rtgime, 
and those who were thus distinguished were necessarily 
enemies of the State. With perfect reason, all that rose 
above the common level, or did not conform to the 
universal rule, was deemed treasonable. The difference 
between the actual society and the ideal equality was so 
great that it could be removed only by violence. The 
great mass of those who perished were really, either by 
attachment or by their condition, in antagonism with the 


State. They were condemned, not for particular acts, 
but for their position, or for acts which denoted, not so 
much a hostile design, as an incompatible habit By the 
loi des suspects, which was provoked by this conflict 
between the form of government and the real state of 
the country, whole classes, rather than ill-disposed 
individuals, were declared objects of alarm. Hence the 
proscription was wholesale. Criminals were judged and 
executed in categories; and the merits of individual 
cases were^ therefore, of little account For this reason, 
leading men of ability, bitterly hostile to the new system, 
were saved by Danton ; for it was often indifferent who 
were the victims, provided the group to which they 
belonged was struck down. The question was not, what 
crimes has the prisoner committed? but, does he belong 
to one of those classes whose existence the Republic 
cannot tolerate? From this point of view, there were 
not so many unjust judgments pronounced, at least in 
Paris, as is generally believed It was necessary to be 
prodigal of blood, or to abandon the theory of liberty 
and equality, which had commanded, for a whole genera- 
tion, the enthusiastic devotion of educated men, and for 
the truth of which thousands of its believers were ready 
to die. The truth of that doctrine was tested by a 
terrible alternative; but the fault lay with those who 
believed it, not exclusively with those who practised it 
There were few who could administer such a system 
without any other motive but devotion to the idea, or 
who could retain the coolness and indifference of which 
St Just is an extraordinary example. Most of the 
Terrorists were swayed by fear for themselves, or by the 
frenzy which is produced by familiarity with slaughter. 
But tiiis is of small account The significance of that 
sanguinary drama lies in the fact, that a political abstrac- 
tion was powerful enough to make men think themselves 
right in destroying masses of their countrymen in the 
attempt to impose it on their country. The horror of 
that system and its failure have given vitality to the 
communistic theory. It was unreasonable to attack the 


effect instead of the cause, and cruel to destroy the pro- 
prietor, while the danger lay in the property. For private 
property necessarily produces that inequality which the 
Jacobin theory condemned ; and the Constitution of 1793 
could not be maintained by Terrorism without Com- 
munism, by proscribing the rich while riches were 
tolerated. The Jacobins were guilty of inconsistency 
in omitting to attack inequality in its source. Yet no 
man who admits their theory has a right to complain of 
their acts. The one proceeded from the other with the 
inflexible logic of history. The Reign of Terror was 
nothing else than the reign of those who conceive that 
liberty and equality can co-exist 

One more quotation will sufficiently justify what we 
have said of the sincerity and ignorance which Mr. 
Goldwin Smith shows in his remarks on Catholic subjects. 
After calling the Bull of Adrian IV. "the stumbling-block 
and the despair of Catholic historians," he proceded to 

Are Catholics filled with perplexity at the sight of infallibility 
sanctioning rapine? They can scarcely be less perplexed by the 
title which infallibility puts forward to the dominion of Ireland. . . . 
But this perplexity arises entirely from the assumption, which may be 
an article of faith, but is not an article of history, that the infallible 
morality of the Pope has never changed (pp. 46, 47). 

It is hard to understand how a man of honour and 
ability can entertain such notions of the character of 
the Papacy as these words imply, or where he can have 
found authorities for so monstrous a caricature. We 
will only say that infallibility is no attribute of the 
political system of the Popes, and that the Bulls of 
Adrian and Alexander are not instances of infallible 

Great as the errors which we have pointed out 
undoubtedly are, the book itself is of real value, and 
encourages us to form sanguine hopes of the future 
services of its author to historical science, and ultimately 
to religion. We are hardly just in complaining of 
Protestant writers who fail to do justice to the Church. 


There are not very many amongst ourselves who^take 
the trouble to ascertain her real character as a visible 
institution, or to know how her nature has been shown 
in her history. We know the doctrine which she teaches ; 
we are familiar with the outlines of her discipline. We 
know that sanctity is one of her marks, and that 
beneficence has characterised her influence. In a general 
way we are confident that historical accusations are as 
false as dogmatic attacks, and most of us have some 
notion of the way in which the current imputations are 
to be met But as to her principles of action in many 
important things, how they have varied in course of 
time, what changes have been effected by circumstances, 
and what rules have never been broken, few are at the 
pains to inquire. As adversaries imagine that in 
exposing a Catholic they strike Catholicism, and that 
the defects of the men are imperfections in the institution 
and a proof that it is not divine, so we grow accustomed 
to confound in our defence that which is defective and 
that which is indefectible, and to discover in the' Church 
merits as self-contradictory as are the accusations of 
her different foes. At one moment we are told that 
Catholicism teaches contempt, and therefore neglect of 
wealth ; at another, that it is false to say that the Church 
does not promote temporal prosperity. If a great 
point is made against persecution, it will be denied that 
she is intolerant, whilst at another time it will be argued 
that heresy and unbelief deserve to be punished. 

We cannot be surprised that Protestants do not know 
the Church better than we do ourselves, or that, while we 
allow no evil to be spoken of her human dements, those 
who deem her altogether human should discover in her 
the defects of human institutions. It is intensely difficult 
to enter into the spirit of a system not our own. 
Particular principles and doctrines are easily mastered; 
but a system answering all the spiritual cravings, all the 
intellectual capabilities of man, demands more than a 
mere mental effort, a submission of the intellect, an act 
of faith, a temporary suspension of the critical faculty. 


This applies not merely to the Christian religion, with its 
unfathomable mysteries and its inexhaustible fund of 
truth, but to the fruits of human speculation. Nobody 
has ever succeeded in writing a history of philosophy 
without incurring either the reproach that he is a mere 
historian, incapable of entering into the genius of any 
system, or a mere metaphysician, who can discern in all 
other philosophies only the relation they bear to his own. 
In religion the difficulty is greater still, and greatest of 
all with Catholicism. For the Church is to be seen, not 
in books, but in life. No divine can put together the 
whole body of her doctrine ; no canonist the whole fabric 
of her law ; no historian the infinite vicissitudes of her 
career. The Protestant who wishes to be informed on all 
these things can be advised to rely on no one manual, on 
no encyclopaedia of her deeds and of her ideas; if he 
seeks to know what these have been, he must be told to 
look around. And to one who surveys her' teaching and 
her fortunes through all ages and all lands, ignorant or 
careless of that which is essential, changeless, and immortal 
in her, it will not be easy to discern through so much 
outward change a regular development, amid such variety 
of forms the unchanging substance, in so many modifica- 
tions fidelity to constant laws ; or to recognise, in a career 
so chequered with failure, disaster, and suffering, with the 
apostasy of heroes, the weakness of rulers, and the errors 
of doctors, the unfailing hand of a heavenly Guide. 



WHENEVER great intellectual cultivation has been com- 
bined with that suffering which is inseparable from 
extensive changes in the condition of the people, men of 
speculative or imaginative genius have sought in the 
contemplation of an ideal society a remedy, or at least a 
consolation, for evils which they were practically unable 
to remove. Poetry has always preserved the idea, that at 
some distant time or place, in the Western islands or the 
Arcadian region, an innocent and contented people, free 
from the corruption and restraint of civilised life, have 
realised the legends of the golden age. The office of the 
poets is always nearly the same, and there is little variation 
in the features of their ideal world ; but when philosophers 
attempt to admonish or reform mankind by devising 
an imaginary state, their motive is more definite and 
immediate, and their commonwealth is a satire as well 
as a model Plato and Plotinus, More and Campanella, 
constructed their fanciful societies with those materials 
which were omitted from the fabric of the actual com- 
munities, by the defects of which they were inspired. The 
Republic, the Utopia, and the City of the Sun were 
protests against a state of things which the experience of 
their authors taught them to condemn, and from the faults 
of which they took refuge in the opposite extremes. They 
remained without influence, and have never passed from 
literary into political history, because something more 
than discontent and speculative ingenuity is needed in 
order to invest a political idea with power over the masaes 

1 Home and Fortign Review, July 1862, 


of mankind. The scheme of a philosopher can command 
the practical allegiance of fanatics only, not of nations ; 
and though oppression may give rise to violent and 
repeated outbreaks, like the convulsions of a man in pain, 
it cannot mature a settled purpose and plan of regeneration, 
unless a new notion of happiness is joined to the sense of 

present evil." 

The history of religion furnishes a complete illustration. 
Between the later mediaeval sects and Protestantism there 
is an essential difference, that outweighs the points of 
analogy found in those systems which are regarded as 
heralds of the Reformation, and is enough to explain the 
vitality of the last in comparison with the others. Whilst 
Wycliffe and Hus contradicted certain particulars of the 
Catholic teaching, Luther rejected the authority of the 
Church, and gave to the individual conscience an inde- 
pendence which was sure to lead to an incessant resistance. 
There is a similar difference between the Revolt of the 
Netherlands, the Great Rebellion, the War of Independ- 
ence, or the rising of Brabant, on the one hand, and the 
French Revolution on the other. Before 1789, insurrec- 
tions were provoked by particular wrongs, and were 
justified by definite complaints and by an appeal to 
principles which all men acknowledged. New theories 
were sometimes advanced in the cause of controversy, but 
they were accidental, and the great argument against 
tyranny was fidelity to the ancient laws. Since the change 
produced by the French Revolution, those aspirations 
which are awakened by the evils and defects of the social 
state have come to act as permanent and energetic forces 
throughout the civilised world. They afe "sjpdntEmeous 
and aggressive, needing no prophet to proclaim, no 
champion to defend them, but popular, unreasoning, and 
almost irresistible, The Revolution effected this change, 
partly by its doctrines, partly by the indirect influence of 
events. It taught the people to regard their wishes and 
", wants as the,, supreme criterion of right 1 ' V-Thtt " rapid 
vicissitudes of power," m whidi^eaai" party'' successively 
appealed to the favour of the masses as the arbiter of 


success, accustomed the masses to be arbitrary as well as 
insubordinate. The fall of many governments, and the 
frequent redistribution of territory, deprived all settlements 
of the dignity of permanence. Tradition and prescription 
ceased to be guardians of authority ; and the arrangements 
which proceeded from revolutions, from the triumphs of 
war, and from treaties of peace, were equally regardless of 
established rights. Duty cannot be dissociated from right, 
and nations refuse to be controlled by laws which are no 

In this condition of the world, theory and action 
follow close upon each other, and practical evils easily give 
birth to opposite systems. In the.rgalms of free-will, the 
regularity of natural progress is .preserved by the, conflict 
of extremes. The impulse of the reaction carries men from 
one 'extremity towards another. The pursuit of a remote 
and ideal object; which captivates the imagination by its 
splendour and the reason by its simplicity, evokes an energy 
which would not be inspired by a rational, possible end, 
limited by many antagonistic claims, and confined to what 
is reasonable, practicable, and just One excess or exag- 
geration is the corrective of the other, and error promotes 
truth, where the masses are concerned, by counterbalancing 
a contrary error. The few have not strength to achieve 
great changes unaided ; the many have not wisdom to be 
moved by truth unmixed. Where the disease is various, 
no particular definite remedy can meet the wants of all 
Only the attraction of an abstract idea, or of an ideal 
state, can unite in a common action multitudes who seek 
a universal cure for many special evils, and a common 
restorative applicable to many different conditions. And 
hence false principles, which correspond with the bad as 
well as with the just aspirations of mankind, are a normal 
and necessary element in the social life of nations. 

Theories of this kind are just, inasmuch as they are 
provoked by definite ascertained evils, and undertake 
their removal. They are useful in opposition, as a 
warning or a threat, to modify existing things, and keep 
awake the consciousness of wrong. They cannot serve 


as a basis for the reconstruction of civil society, as 
medicine cannot serve for food ; but they may influence 
it with advantage, because they point out the direction, 
though not the measure, in which reform is needed. 
They oppose an order of things which is the result of a 
selfish and violent abuse of power by the ruling classes, 
and of artificial restriction on the natural progress of the 
.world, destitute of an ideal element or a moral purpose. 
Practical extremes differ from the theoretical extremes 
they provoke, because the first are both arbitrary and 
violent, whilst the last, though also revolutionary, are at 
the same time remedial. In one case the wrong is 
voluntary, in the other it is inevitable. , This is the 
general character of the contest between the existing 
order and the subversive theories that deny its legiti- 
macy. There are three principal theories of this kind, 
impugning the present distribution of power, of property, 
and of territory, and attacking respectively the aristocracy, 
the middBTjgass, and the sovereignty. They are theTEeones 
of equautj^communism, and nationality. Though sprung 
frotn a commoh^SHgm, opposing" cognate evils, and con- 
nected by many links, they did not appear simultane- 
ously. Rousseau proclaimed the first, Baboeuf the second, 
Mazzini the third ; and the third is the most recent in its 
appearance, the most attractive at the present time, and 
the richest in promise of future power. 

In the old European system, the rights of nationalities 
were neither recognised by governments nor asserted by the 
people. The interest of the reigning families, not those of 
the nations, regulated the frontiers ; and the administration 
was conducted generally without any reference to popular 
desires. Where all liberties were suppressed, the claims 
of national independence were necessarily ignored, and a 
princess, in the words of F&ielon, carried a monarchy in 
her wedding portion. The eighteenth century acquiesced 
in this oblivion of corporate rights on the Continent, for , 
the absolutists cared only for the State, and the liberals 
only for the individual. The Church, the nobles, and the 
nation had no place in the popular theories of the age ; 



and they devised none in their own defence, for they 
were not openly attacked The aristocracy retained its 
privileges, and the Church her property ; and the dynastic 
interest, which overruled the natural inclination of the 
nations and destroyed their independence, nevertheless 
maintained their integrity. The national sentiment was 
not wounded in its most sensitive part To dispossess 
a sovereign of his hereditary crown, and to annex his 
dominions, would have been held to inflict an injury 
upon all monarchies, and to furnish their subjects with a 
dangerous example^ by depriving royalty of its inviolable 
character. In time of war, as there was no national 
cause at stake, there was no attempt to rouse national 
feeling. The courtesy of the rulers towards each other 
was proportionate to the contempt for the lower orders. 
Compliments passed between the commanders of hostile 
armies; there was no bitterness, and no excitement; 
battles were fought with the pomp and pride of a 
parade. The art of war became a slow and learned game. 
The monarchies were united not only by a natural 
community of interests, but by family alliances. A 
marriage contract sometimes became the signal for an 
interminable war, whilst family connections often set a 
barrier to ambition. After the wars of religion came to 
an end in 1648, the only wars were those which were 
waged for an inheritance or a dependency, or against 
countries whose system of government exempted them 
from the common law of dynastic States, and made them 
not only unprotected but obnoxious. These countries 
were England and Holland, until Holland ceased to be a 
republic, and until, in England, the defeat of the Jacobites 
in the forty-five terminated the struggle for the Crown. 
There was one country, however, which still continued 
to be an exception ; one monarch whose place was not 
admitted in the comity of kings. 

Poland did not possess those securities for stability 
which were supplied by dynastic connections and the 
theory of legitimacy, wherever a crown could be obtained 
by marriage or inheritance. A monarch without royal 


blood, a crown bestowed by the nation, were an anomaly 
and an outrage in that age of dynastic absolutism. The 
country was excluded from the European system by the 
nature of its institutions. It excited a cupidity which 
could not be satisfied. It gave the reigning families 
of Europe no hope of permanently strengthening them- 
selves by intermarriage with its rulers, or of obtaining 
it by bequest or by inheritance. The Habsburgs had con- 
tested the possession of Spain and the Indies with the 
French Bourbons, of Italy with the Spanish Bourbons, of 
the empire with the house of Wittelsbach, of Silesia with 
the house of Hohenzollern. There had been wars between 
rival houses for half the territories of Italy and Germany. 
But none could hope to redeem their losses or increase 
their power in a country to which marriage and descent 
gave no claim. Where they could not permanently in- 
herit they endeavoured, by intrigues, to prevail at each 
election, and after contending in support of candidates 
who were their partisans, the neighbours at last appointed 
an instrument for the final demolition of the Polish State. 
Till then no nation had been deprived of its political 
existence by the Christian Powers, and whatever disregard 
had been shown for national interests and sympathies, 
some care had been taken to conceal the wrong by a 
hypocritical perversion of law. But the partition of 
Poland was an act of wanton violence, committed in open 
defiance not only of popular feeling but of public law. 
For the first time in modern history a great State was 
suppressed, and a whole nation divided among its 

This famous measure, the most revolutionary act of 
the old absolutism, awakened the theory of nationality in 
Europe, converting a dormant right into an aspiration, 
and a sentiment into a political claim. "No wise or 
honest man/ 9 wrote Edmund Burke, " can approve of that 
partition, or can contemplate it without prognosticating 
great mischief from it to all countries at some future 
time." 1 Thenceforward there was a nation demanding 

* " Observations on fhe Conduct of the Minority," Works, v. na. 


to. be united in a State, a soul, as it were, wandering in 
search of a body in which to begin life over again ; and, 
for the first time, a cry was heard that the arrangement 
of States was unjust that their limits were unnatural, 
and that a whole people was deprived of its right to 
constitute an independent community. Before that claim 
could be efficiently asserted against the overwhelming 
power of its opponents, before it gained energy, after 
the last partition, to overcome the influence of long habits 
of submission, and of the contempt which previous dis- 
orders had brought upon Poland, the ancient European 
system was in ruins, and a new world was rising in its 

The old despotic policy which made the Poles its prey 
had two adversaries, the spirit of English liberty, and the 
doctrines of that revolution which destroyed the French 
monarchy with its own weapons; and these two contradicted 
in contrary ways the theory that nations have no collective 
rights. At the present day, the theory of nationality is 
not only the most powerful auxiliary of revolution, but its 
actual substance in the movements of the last three years. 
This, however, is a recent alliance, unknown to the first 
French Revolution. The modern theory of nationality 
arose partly as a legitimate consequence, partly as a 
reaction against it As the system which overlooked 
national division was opposed by liberalism in two forms, 
the French and the English, so the system which insists 
upon them proceeds from two distinct sources, and exhibits 
the character either of 1688 or of 1789. When the 
French people abolished the authorities under which it 
lived, and became its own master, France was in danger 
of dissolution : for the common will is difficult to ascertain, 
and does not readily agree. The laws," said Vergniaud' 
in the debate on the sentence of the king, are obligatory 
only as the presumptive will of the people, which retains 
the right of approving or condemning them. The instant 
it manifests its wish the work of the national representa- 
ticin,, the law, must disappear* This doctrine resolved 
society into its natural dements, and threatened to break 


up the country into as many republics as there were com- 
munes. For true republicanism is the principle of self- 
government in the whole and in all the parts. In an 
extensive country, it can prevail only by the union of 
several independent communities in a single confederacy, 
as in Greece, in Switzerland, in the Netherlands, and in 
America; so that a large republic not founded on the 
federal principle must result in the government of a single ; 
city, like Rome and Paris, and, in a less degree, Athens, 
Berne, and Amsterdam ; or, in other words, a great demo- 
cracy must either sacrifice self-government to unity, w of 
preserve it by federalism. 

: The France of history fell together with the French 
State, which was the growth of centuries. The old 
sovereignty was destroyed. The local authorities were 
looked upon with aversion and alarm. The new central 
authority needed to be established on a new principle 
of unity. The state of nature, which was the ideal of 
society, was made the basis of the nation ; descent 
was put in the place of tradition, and the French 
people was regarded as a physical product: an ethno- 
logical, not historic, unit It was assumed that a unity 
existed separate from the representation and the govern- 
ment, wholly independent of the past, and capable at any 
moment of expressing or of changing its mind. In the 
words of Siey&s, it was no longer France, but some un- 
known country to which the nation was transported. The 
central power possessed authority, inasmuch as it obeyed 
the whole, and no divergence was permitted from the 
universal sentiment This power, endowed with volition, 
was personified in the Republic One and Indivisible. The 
title signified that a part could not speak or act for the 
whole, that there was a power supreme over the State, 
distinct from, and independent of, its members ; and it 
expressed, for the first time in history, the notion of an 
abstract nationality. In this manner the idea of _ the 
sovereignty of the people, uncontrolled byTEe pastfgaye 
bi^4QL&eja^ of ' tfie "poiiticaT, 

JMuencej>f .hjstory/ It sprangf from the rejection of the 


two authorities, of the State^ and of the past The king- 
dom of France was, "geographically as well 'as politically, 
the product of a long series of events, and the same in- 
fluences which built up the State formed the territory. The 
Revolution repudiated alike the agencies to which France 
owed her boundaries and those to which she owed her 
government. Every effaceable trace and relic of national 
history was carefully wiped away, the system of adminis- 
i tration, the physical divisions of the country, the classes 
of society, the corporations, the weights and measures, the 
calendar. France was no longer bounded by the limits 
she had received from the condemned influence of her 
history ; she could recognise only those which were set 
by nature: The definition of the nation was borrowed 
from the material world, and, in order to avoid a loss of 
territory, it became not only an abstraction but a fiction. 

There was a principle of nationality in the ethnological 
character of the movement, which is the source of the 
common observation that revolution is more frequent in 
Catholic than in Protestant countries. It is, in fact, more 
frequent in the Latin than in the Teutonic world, because 
it depends partly on a national impulse, which is only 
awakened where there is an alien element, the vestige of 
a foreign dominion, to expel Western Europe has 
undergone two conquests one by the Romans and one 
by the Germans, and twice received laws from the 
invaders. Each time it rose again against the victorious 
race; and the two great reactions, while they differ 
according to the different characters of the two conquests, 
have the phenomenon of imperialism in common. The 
Roman republic laboured to crush the subjugated nations 
into a homogeneous and obedient mass ; but the increase 
which the proconsular authority obtained in the process 
subverted the republican government^ and the reaction of 
this provinces against Rome assisted in establishing the 
Empire. The Caesarean system gave an unprecedented 
freedom to the dependencies, and raised them to a, civil 
eqtiality which put an end to the dominion of race ov6r 
race and of class over class. The monarchy was hailed as 


a refuge from the pride and cupidity of the Roman people ; 
and the love of equality, the hatred of nobility, and the 
tolerance of despotism implanted by Rome became, at least 
in Gaul, the chief feature of the national character. But 
among the nations whose vitality had been broken down 
by the stern republic, not one retained the materials neces- 
sary to enjoy independence, or to develop a new history. 
The political faculty which organises states and finds 
society in a moral order was exhausted, and the Christian 
doctors looked in vain over the waste of ruins for a people 
by whose aid the Church might survive the decay of Rome. 
A new element of national life was brought to that declining 
world by the enemies who destroyed it The flood of 
barbarians settled over it for a season, and then subsided ; 
and when the landmarks of civilisation appeared once 
more, it was found that the soil had been impregnated with 
a fertilising and regenerating influence, and that the inunda- 
tion had laid the germs of future states and of a new society. 
The political sense and energy came with the new blood, 
and was exhibited in the power exercised by the younger 
race upon the old, and in the establishment of ajgraduated 
freedom. Instead of universal" equal" ngtits,"" the" actual 
' enjoyment of which is necessarily contingent on, and com- 
mensurate with, power, the rights of the people were made 
dependent on a variety of conditions, the first of which was 
the distribution of property. Civil society became a classi- 
fied organism instead of a formless combination of atoms, 
and the feudal system gradually arose. 

Roman Gaul had so thoroughly adopted the ideas of 
absolute authority and undistinguished equality during the 
five centuries between Caesar and Clovis, that the people 
could never be reconciled to the new system. Feudalism 
remained a foreign importation, and the feudal aristocracy 
an alien race, and the common people of France sought 
protection against both in the Roman jurisprudence and 
the power of the crown. The development of absolute 
monarchy by v th Jtflp.. Qf^dec^aj^^is lithfi,. pne^constant 
cier 6jF Frend^igtOO^^S^ royal power, feudal at 

firstf and Iimrte2fby the immunities and the great vassals, 


more popular as it grew more absolute ; while the 
suppression of aristocracy, the rembval of thie intermediate 
authorities, was so particularly the object of the nation, 
that it was more energetically accomplished after the fall 
of the throne. The monardiy which had been engaged 
from the thirteenth century in curbing the nobles, was at 
last thrust aside by the democracy, because it was too 
dilatory in the work, and was unable to deny its own origin 
and effectually ruin the class from which it sprang. All 
I those things which constitute the peculiar character of the 
! French Revolution, the demand for equality, the hatred 
of nobility and feudalism, and of the Church which was 
connected with them, the constant reference to pagan 
examples, the suppression of monarchy, the new code of 
law, the breach with tradition, and the substitution of an 
ideal system for everything that had proceeded from 
the mixture and mutual action of the races, all these 
exhibit the common type of a reaction against the 
effects of the Prankish invasion. The hatred of royalty 
was less than the hatred of aristocracy ; privileges were 
more detested than tyranny; and the king perished 
because of the origin of his authority rather than because 
of its abuse. Monarchy unconnected with aristocracy 
became popular in France, even when most uncontrolled ; 
whilst the attempt to reconstitute the throne, and to 
limit and fence it with its peers, broke down, because 
the old Je#tpnic elements on which it relied hereditary^ 
nobility, pnrgogenLto^jmd privilege^were no longer tol- 
erated. The substance crfHEEe ideas .of ,1.783 is not the 
limitation of the sovereign power, but the abrogition/^of _ 
iijfermediate powers. These powers, and the closes which 
enjoyed them, come in Latin Europe from a barbarian 
origin; and the movement which calls itself liberal is 
essentially national. If liberty were its object, its means 
would be the establishment of great independent authorities 
not derived from the State, and its model would be 
England. But its object is equality ; and it seeks, like 
France in 1 789, to cast out the elements of inequality which 
were introduced by the Teutonic race. This is the object 


which Italy and Spain have had in common with France, 
and herein consists the natural league of the Latin nations. 
This national element in the movement was not under- 
stood by the revolutionary leaders. At first, their doctrine 
appeared entirely contrary to the idea of nationality. 
They taught that certain general principles of government 
were absolutely right in all States ; and they asserted in . 
theory the unrestricted freedom of the individual, and the ' 
supremacy of the will over every external necessity or 
obligation. This is in apparent contradiction to the 
national theory, that certain natural forces;ter r 
mine the character, the form, ajid the policy of the State, 
Hy'which a kind of fate is put 'in the lace trf-freedonrT 
Accordingly the national sentiment was not developed 
directly out of the revolution in which it was involved, 
but was exhibited first in resistance to it, when the 
attempt to emancipate had been absorbed in the desire 
to subjugate, and the republic had been succeeded by the 
empire: Napoleon called a new power into existence by 
attacking nationality in Russia, by delivering it in Italy, 
by governing in defiance of it in Germany and Spain. 
The sovereigns of these countries were deposed or 
degraded ; and a system of administration was introduced 
which was French in its origin, its spirit, and its instru- 
ments. The people resisted the change. The movement 
against it was popular and spontaneous, because the rulers 
were absent or helpless ; and it was national, because it 
was directed against foreign institutions. In Tyrol, in 
Spain, and afterwards in Prussia, the people did not 
receive the impulse from the government, but undertook 
of their own accord to cast out the armies and the ideas 
of revolutionised France. Men were made conscious of 
the national element of the revolution by its conquests, 
not in its rise. The three things which the Empire 
most openly oppressed religion, national independence, 
and political liberty united in a short-lived league to { 
animate the great uprising by which Napoleon fell Under 
the influence of that memorable alliance a political spirit 
was called forth on the Continent, which dung to freedom 


and abhorred revolution, and sought to restore, to develop, 
and to reform the decayed national institutions. The 
men who proclaimed these ideas, Stein and Gorres, Hum- 
boldt, Miiller, and De Maistre, 1 were as hostile to Bona- 
partism as to the absolutism of the old governments, and 
insisted on the national rights, which had been invaded 
equally by both, and which they hoped to restore by the 
destruction of the French supremacy. With the cause 
that triumphed at Waterloo the friends of the Revolution 
had no sympathy, for they had learned to identify their 
doctrine with the cause of France. The Holland House 
Whigs in England, the Afrancesados in Spain, the Muratists 
in Italy, and the partisans of the Confederation of the 
Rhine, merging patriotism in their revolutionary affections, 
regretted the fall of the French power, and looked with 
alarm at those new and unknown forces which the War of 
Deliverance had evoked, and which were as menacing to 
French liberalism as to French supremacy. 

But the new aspirations for national and popular rights 
were crushed at the restoration. The liberals of those 
idays cared for freedom, not in the shape of national inde- 
jpendence, but of French institutions ; and they combined 
against the nations with the ambition of the governments. 
They were as ready to sacrifice nationality to their ideal 
as the Holy Alliance was to the interests of absolutism. 
Talleyrand indeed declared at Vienna that the Polish 

1 There are some remarkable thoughts on nationality in the State Papers of 
the Count de Maistre: " En premier lieu les nations sont quelque chose dans le 
xnonde. iln'est pas pennis de les complex pour rien, de lesaffliger dans lens con- 
venances, dans tain affections, dans lean intirets les plus chers. . . . Or le 
trait* da 30 mai aneantft eompUteroent la Savoie; fl divise 1' indivisible ; a 
portage en trois portions une malheureuse nation de 400,000 homines, une par 
la langoe, une pax ;la religion, one par le caractere, one par 1'habitnde uW 
une enfin par les limitesnaturelles. . . . L'union des nations ne soofire pas de 
diffictil tes^sur la carte geographique ; mais dans larfelitt, c'est autre choseTa y 
a ( des nations immiscible*. . . . J e luiparlai par occasion de 1'esprit italien qui 

^JrnS 0mCnt; 5 ( 7* ^rode) me repondit: ?Sf Monsieu?! 
mats cet espnt est un grand raal, car fl peat gtoer les arrangements de I'ltalic'" 
<Cm0to>K Jtytovtiivu de /. *Jtoi** t fl. 7, 8, a "iTn C 
Tear, 18x5, GOrres wrote: "In Italien wie aUerwarts ist das Volk ge^echt: es 
J^eftws grossardges, es will Ideen haben, die, wenn es sie anch nicht gW 
begreift, docheinen freien unendlichen Gesichtskreis seiner EinbOdonff eroflLn. 
** rciner NatDXtrieb * dass ein Volk, also scharf and deuflidi in seine 



question ought to have precedence over all other ques- 
tions, because the partition of Poland had been one of 
the first and greatest causes of the evils which Europe 
had suffered ; but dynastic interests prevailed. All the 
sovereigns represented at Vienna recovered their dominions, 
except the King of Saxony, who was punished for his 
fidelity to Napoleon ; but the States that were unrepre- 
sented in the reigning families Poland, Venice, and Genoa 
were not revived, and even the Pope had great diffi- 
culty in recovering the Legations from the grasp of 
Austria. Nationality, which the old regime had ignored, * 
which had been outraged by the revolution and the 
empire, received, after its first open demonstration, the 
hardest blow at the Congress of Vienna. The principle 
which the first partition had generated, to which the 
revolution had given a basis of theory, which had been 
lashed by the empire into a momentary convulsive effort, 
was matured by the long error of the restoration into a 
consistent doctrine, nourished and justified by the situa- 
tion of Europe. 

The governments of the Holy Alliance devoted them- 
selves to suppress with equal care the revolutionary spirit 
by which they had been threatened, and ' 'IwjRlUnili 
spirit by which they had been restored. Austria, which 
oftftt nothing to the national movement, and had prevented 
its revival after 1809, naturally took the lead in repressing 
it Every disturbance of the final settlements of 1815, 
every aspiration for changes or reforms, was condemned 
as sedition. This system repressed the good with the 
evil tendencies of the age ; and the resistance which it 
provoked, during the generation that passed away from the 
restoration to the fall of Metternich, and again under the 
reaction which commenced with Schwarzenberg and ended 
with the administrations of Bach and Manteuffel, proceeded 
from various combinations of the opposite forms of 
liberalism. In the successive phases of that struggle, the 
idea that national claims are above all other rights j 
gradually rose to the supremacy which it now possesses 
among the revolutionary agencies. 


The first liberal movement^ that of the Carbonari in 
the south of Europe, had no specific national character, 
but was supported by the Bonapartists both in Spain and 
Italy. In the following years the opposite ideas of 18 13 
came to the front, and a revolutionary movement, in many 
respects hostile to the principles of revolution, began in 
defence of liberty, religion, and nationality, All these 
causes were SffifSTih the lris&"a^ItS!T6nf and in the Greek, 
Belgian, and Polish revolutions. Those sentiments which 
had been insulted by Napoleon, and had risen against him, 
rose against the governments of the restoration. They 
had been oppressed by the sword, and then by the treaties. 
The national principle added force, but not justice, to this 
movement, which, in every case but Poland, was successful. 
A period followed in which it degenerated into a purely 
national idea, as the agitation fat repeal succeeded 
emancipation, and Panslavism and Panhellenism arose 
under the auspices of the Eastern Church. This was the 
third phase of the resistance to the settlement of Vienna, 
which was weak, because it failed to satisfy national or 
constitutional aspirations, either of which would have been 
a safeguard against the other, by a moral if not by a 
popular justification. At first; in 1813, the people rose 
against their conquerors, in defence of their legitimate 
rulers. They refusedtoJ^.gasOT^ In 

the period BeEween""T52S and 1831, they resolved that 
they would not be mis^vOTe^by strangers. The 
F^^admi5rsti^,a6n 'was often'bettCT'S^an 'oat which it 
displaced, but there were prior claimants for the authority 
exercised by the French, and at first the national contest 
was a contest for legitimacy. In the second period this 
element was wanting. No dispossessed princes led 
the Greeks, the Belgians, or the Poles. The Turks, the 
Dutch, and the Russians were attacked, not as usurpers, 
but as oppressors, because they misgoverned, not because 
they were of a different race. Then began a time when 
the text simply was, that nations would not fr fpv^n^ 
byforejgners. Power legitimately obtained, and exercised 
was declared invalid. National rights, 


like religion, had borne part in the previous combinations, 
and had been auxiliaries in the struggles for freedom, but 
now nationality became a paramount claim, which was to 
assert itself alone, which might put forward as pretexts 
the rights of rulers, the liberties of the people, the safety 
of religion, but which, if no such union could be formed, 
was to prevail at the expense of every other cause for 
which nations make sacrifices. 

Metternich is, next to Napoleon, the chief promoter 
of this theory; for the anti-national character of the 
restoration was most distinct in Austria, and it is in 
opposition to the Austrian Government that nationality 
grew into a system. Napoleon, who, trusting to his 
armies, despised moral forces in politics, was overthrown 
by their rising. Austria committed the same fault in the 
government of her Italian provinces. The kingdom of 
Italy had united all the northern part of the Peninsula in 
a single State; and the national feelings, which the French 
repressed elsewhere, were encouraged as a safeguard of 
their power in Italy and in Poland When the tide of 
victory turned, Austria invoked against the French the aid 
of the new sentiment they had fostered. Nugent announced, 
in his proclamation to the Italians, that they should 
become an independent nation. The same spirit served 
different masters, and contributed first to the destruction 
of the old States, then to the expulsion of the French, and 
again, under Charles Albert, to a new revolution. It was 
appealed to in the name of the most contradictory 
principles of government, and served all parties in 
succession, because it was one in which all could unite. 
Beginning by a protest against the dominion of race over 
race, its mildest and least-developed form, it grew into a ; 
condemnation of every State that included different races, 
and finally became the complete and consistent theory, 
that the State and the nation must be cto-extensivfc It 
is," sa?TMr. Mill? "in 1 gea^itf^Tii'&cessary 'conciition of 
free institutions, that the boundaries of governments 
should coincide in the main with those of nationalities." 1 

i Considerations on Representative Government, p. 998. 


The outward historical progress of this idea from an 
indefinite aspiration to be the keystone of a political 
system, may be traced in the life of the man who gave to 
it the element in which its strength resides, Giuseppe 
Mazzini. He found Carbonarism impotent against the 
measures of the governments, and resolved to give new 
life to the liberal movement by transferring it to the 
ground of nationality. Earilejis^the Piuflffly.crf jMtfqggjftyi 
as oppression is, the .school,, of liberalism ; and Mazzini 
dfonceived the idea of Young Italy Vhen he was a refugee 
at Marseilles. In the same way, the Polish exiles are the 
champions of every national movement ; for to them all 
political rights are absorbed in the idea of independence, 
which, however they may differ with each other, is the 
one aspiration common to them all Towards the year 
11830 literature also contributed to the national idea. 
It was the time, 1 * says Mazzini, "of the great conflict 
between the romantic and the classical school, which might 
with equal truth be called a conflict between the partisans 
of freedom and of authority." The romantic school was 
infidel in Italy, and Catholic in Germany ; but in both it 
had the common effect of encouraging national history 
and literature, and Dante was as great an authority with 
the Italian democrats as with the leaders of the mediaeval 
revival at Vienna, Munich, and Berlin. But neither the 
influence of the exiles, nor that of the poets and critics of 
the new party, extended over the masses. It was a sect 
without popular sympathy or encouragement, a conspiracy 
founded not on a grievance, but on a doctrine ; and when 
the attempt to rise was made in Savoy, in 1834, under a 
banner with the motto * Unity, Independence, God and 
Humanity," the people were puzzled at its object, and 
indifferent to its failure. But Mazzini continued his 
propaganda, developed his Giovine Italia into a Giovine 
Euwpa, and established in 1847 the international league 
of nations. The people," he said, in his opening address, 
"is penetrated with only one idea, that of unity and 
nationality. . . . There is no international question &s 
to forms of government, but only a national question." 


The revolution of 1848, unsuccessful in its national 
purpose, prepared the subsequent victories of nationality 
in two ways. The first of these was the restoration of the 
Austrian power in Italy, with a new and more energetic 
centralisation, which gave no promise of freedom. Whilst 
that system prevailed, the right was on the side of the 
national aspirations, and they were revived in a more 
complete and cultivated form by Manin. The policy of 
the Austrian Government, which failed during the ten 
years of the reaction to convert the tenure by force into a 
tenure by right, and to establish with free institutions the 
condition of allegiance, gave a negative encouragement 
to the theory. It deprived Francis Joseph of all active 
support and sympathy in 1859, for he was more clearly 
wrong in his conduct than his enemies in their doctrines. 
The real cause of the energy which the national theory 
has acquired is, however, the triumph of the democratic 
principle in France, and its recognition by the European 
Powers. The theory of nationality is involved in the 
democratic theory of the sovereignty of the general will 
" One hardly knows what any division of the human race 
should be free to do, if not to determine with which of the 
various collective bodies of human beings they choose to 
associate themselves." l It is by this act that a nation 
constitutes itsel To have a collective will, unity is 
necessary, and independence is requisite in order to 
assert it Umty and nationality are still more essential 

F*'** **/*. .* ***jtt m *^ 

to the notion of the sovereignty of the people than 
the cashiering of monarchs, or the revocation of laws. 
Arbitrary acts of this kind may be prevented by the 
happiness of the people or the popularity of the king, but 
a nation inspired by the democratic idea cannot with 
consistency allow a part of itself to belong to a foreign 
State, or the whole to be divided into several native 
States. The theory of nationality therefore proceeds 
from both the principles which divide the political 
world, from legitimacy, which ignores its claims, and 
from the revolution, which assumes them; and for the 

1 Mill's Considerations, p. 396. 


same reason it is the chief weapon of the last against 
the first 

In pursuing the outward and visible growth of the 
national theory we are prepared for an examination of its 
political character and value. The absolutism which has 
created it denies equally that absolute right of national 
unity which is a product of democracy, and that claim of 
national liberty which belongs to the theory of freedom. 
Tliese "two "views of nationality, corresponding to the 
French and to the English systems, are connected in name 
only, and are in reality the opposite extremes of political 
thought In one case, nationality is founded on the 
perpetual supremacy ..Qf^tjit ^Q^ve^illjOf^ which the 
uhJtjrof"lBe natfpn is the necessary condition, to which 
every other influence must defer, and 'against which no 
obligation enjoys authority, and all resistance is tyrannical 
The nation is here an ideal junit founded on the race, in 
dffianTof ''the"1in6d^ng acScJn'bf external causes, of 
tradition, and of existing rights. It overrules the rights 
and wishes of the inhabitants, absorbing their divergent 
interests in a fictitious unity ; sacrifices their several in- 
clinations and duties to the higher claim of nationality, 
and crushes all natural rights and all established liberties 
for the propose of vindicating itself. 1 Whenever a single 
definite object js m^e the suj^rrae^end it 

t?^vaffiage of a class, the s^Sy^OT'thV'jpower^of the 
country, the greatest happiness of the greatest number, or 
the support of any speculative idea, the State becomes for 
i the time, inevitably absolute. Liberty "STdrie demands for 
its realisation the limitation of the public authority, for 
liberty is the only object which benefits all alike, and 
provokes no sincere opposition. In supporting the claims 
of national unity, governments must be subverted in whose 
title there is no flaw, and whose policy is beneficent and 

1 "Le sentiment ^independence rationale est encore plus general et plus 
prafiond&neat grave* dans le oceur des peuples que 1'amour d'une libcrt* constitu- 
tbnfeelte. Les nations les pins soumises an despotisme 6prouvent ce sentiment 
avecautant de vivadt6 que les nations libres ; les peuples les plus barbares le 
sentent menxe encore plus vivement que les nations poHcees " (L'ltalU au Dix- 
ruuvUme Stick, p. 148, Paris, 1821). 


equitable, and subjects must be compelled to transfer their 
allegiance to an authority for which they have no attach- 
ment, and which may be practically a foreign domination. 
Connected with this theory in nothing except in the 
common enmity of the absolute state, is the theory which 
represents nationality as an essential, but not a supreme 
element in determining the forms of the State. It is : 
distinguished from the other, because it tends to diversity 
and not to uniformity, to harmony and not to unity; 
because it aims not at an arbitrary change, but at careful 
respect for the existing conditions of political life, and 
because it obeys the laws and results of history, not the 
aspirations of an ideal future. While the theory of unity 
makes the nation a source of despotism and revolution, 
the theory of liberty regards it as the bulwark of self- 
government, and the foremost limit to the excessive power 
of the State. Private rights, which are sacrificed to the 
unity, are preserved by the union of nations. No power 
can so efficiently resist the tendencies of centralisation, of 
corruption, and of absolutism, as that community which 
is the vastest that can be included in a State, which im- 
poses on its members a consistent similarity of character, 
interest, and opinion, and which arrests the action of 
the sovereign by the influence of a divided patriotism. 
The presence of different nations under the same sove- 
reignty is similar in its effect to the independence of 
the Church in the State. It provides against the servility 
which flourishes under the shadow of a single authority, 
by balancing interests, multiplying associations, and giving 
to the subject the restraint and support of a combined 
opinion. In the same way it promotes independence by 
forming definite groups of public opinion, and by affording 
a great source and centre of political sentiments, and of 
notions of duty not derived from the sovereign will. 
Liberty provokes diversity, and diversity preserves liberty 
by supplying the means of organisation. AH those 
portions of law which govern the relations of men with 
each other, and regulate social life, are the varying result 
of national custom and the creation of private society. 



In these things, therefore, the several nations will differ 
from each other; for they themselves have produced 
them, and they do not owe them to the State which rules 
them all This diversify in the same State is a firm 
barrier against the intrusion of the government beyond 
the political sphere which is common to all into the 
social department which escapes legislation and is ruled by 
spontaneous laws. This sort of interference is character- 
istic of an absolute government, and is sure to provoke 
a reaction, and finally a remedy. That intolerance of 
social freedom which is natural to absolutism is sure to 
find a corrective in the national diversities, which no 
other force could so efficiently provide. The co-existence 
of several nations under the same State is a test, as well 
as the best security of its freedom. It is also one of the 
chief instruments of civilisation ; and, as such, it is in the 
natural and providential order, and indicates a state of 
greater advancement than the national unity which is the 
ideal of modern liberalism. 

The combination of different nations in one State is 
as necessary a condition of civilised life as the combina- 
tion of men in society. Inferior races are raised by 
living in political union with races intellectually superior. 
Exhausted and decaying nations are revived by the 
contact of a younger vitality. Nations in which the 
elements of organisation and the capacity for government 
have been lost, either through the demoralising influence 
of despotism, or the disintegrating action of democracy, 
are restored and educated anew under the discipline of a 
stronger and less corrupted race. This fertilising and 
regenerating process can only be obtained by living under 
one government It is in the cauldron of the State that 
the fusion takes place by which the vigour, the knowledge, 
and the capacity of one portion of mankind may be com- 
municated to another. Where political and national bound- 
aries coincide, society ceases to advance, and nations re- 
lapse into a condition corresponding to that of men who 
renounce intercourse with their fellow-men. The difference 
between the two unites mankind not only by the benefits 


it confers on those who live together, but because it 
connects society either by a political or a national bond, 
gives to every people an interest in its neighbours, either 
because they are under the same government or because 
they are of the same race, and thus promotes the interests 
of humanity, of civilisation, and of religion. 

Christianity rejoices at the mixture of races, as pagan- 
ism identifies itself with their differences, because truth 
is universal, and errors various and particular. In the 
ancient world idolatry and nationality went together, 
and the same term is applied in Scripture to both. It 
was the mission of the Church to overcome national 
differences. The period of her undisputed supremacy 
was that in which all Western Europe obeyed the same 
laws, all literature was contained in one language, and 
the political unity of Christendom was personified in a 
single potentate, while its intellectual unity was represented 
in one university. As the ancient Romans concluded 
their conquests by carrying away the gods of the conquered 
people, Charlemagne overcame the national resistance of 
the Saxons only by the forcible destruction of their pagan 
rites. Out of the mediaeval period, and the combined 
action of the German race and the Church, came forth a 
new system of nations and a new conception of nationality* 
Nature was overcome in the nation as well as in the 
individual In pagan and uncultivated times, nations were 
distinguished from each other by the widest diversity, not 
only in religion, but in customs, language, and character. 
Under the new law they had many things in common ; 
the old barriers which separated them were removed, and 
the new principle of self-government, which Christianity 
imposed, enabled them to live together under the same 
authority, without necessarily losing their cherished habits, 
their customs, or their laws. The new idea of freedom 
made room for different races in one State. A nation 
was no longer what it had been to the ancient world, 
the progeny of a common ancestor, or the aboriginal 
product of a particular region, a result of merely physical 
and material causes, but a moral and political Tb^ing ; 


not the creation of geographical or physiological unity, 
but developed in the course of history by the action of 
the State. It is derived from the State, not supreme over 
it A State may in course of time produce a nationality ; 
but that a nationality should constitute a State is contrary 
to the nature of modern civilisation. The nation derives 
its rights and its power from the memory of a former 

The Church has agreed in this respect with the 
tendency of political progress, and discouraged wherever 
she could the isolation of nations ; admonishing them of 
their duties to each other, and regarding conquest and 
feudal investiture as the natural means of raising barbarous 
or sunken nations to a higher level But though she has 
never attributed to national independence an immunity 
from the accidental consequences of feudal law, of hereditary 
claims, or of testamentary arrangements, she defends 
national liberty against uniformity and centralisation with 
an energy inspired by perfect community of interests. 
For the same enemy threatens both ; and the State which 
is reluctant to tolerate differences, and to do justice to 
the peculiar character of various races, must from the 
same cause interfere in the internal government of religion. 
The connection of religious liberty with the emancipation 
of Poland or Ireland is not merely the accidental result 
of local causes ; and the failure of the Concordat to unite 
the subjects of Austria is the natural consequence of a 
policy which did not desire to protect the provinces in 
their diversity and autonomy, and sought to bribe the 
Church by favours instead of strengthening her* by 
independence. From this influence of religion in modem 
history has proceeded a new definition of patriotism. 

The difference between nationality and the State is 
exhibited in the nature of patriotic attachment Our 
connection with the race is merely natural or physical, 
whilst our duties to the political nation are ethical. One 
is ' -a community of affections and instincts infinitely 
important and powerful in savage life, but pertaining 
mdre to the animal than to the civilised man ; the other 


is an authority governing by laws, imposing obligations, 
and giving a moral sanction and character to the natural 
relations of society. Patriotism is in political life what 
faith is in religion, and it stands to the domestic feelings 
and to home-sickness as faith to fanaticism and to super- 
stition. It has one aspect derived from private life and 
nature, for it is an extension of the family affections, as 
the tribe is an extension of the family. But in its real 
political character, patriotism consists in the development 
of the instinct of self-preservation into a moral duty which 
may involve self-sacrifice. Self-preservation is both an 
instinct and a duty, natural and involuntary in one respect, 
and at the same time a moral obligation. By the first 
it produces the family ; by the last the State. If the 
nation could exist without the State, subject only to the 
instinct of self-preservation, it would be incapable of 
denying, controlling, or sacrificing itself; it would be an 
end and a rule to itself. But in the political order moral 
purposes are realised and public ends are pursued to 
which private interests and even existence must be 
sacrificed. The great sign of true patriotism, the develop- 
ment of selfishness into sacrifice, is the product of political 
life. That sense of duty which is supplied by race is not 
entirely separated from its selfish and instinctive basis ; 
and the love of country, like married love, stands at the 
same time on a material and a moral foundation. 'The 
patriot must distinguish between the two causes or objects 
of his devotion. The attachment which is given only to 
the country is like obedience given only to the State a 
submission to physical influences. The man who prefers 
his country before every other duty shows the same spirit 
as the man who surrenders every right to the State. They 
both deny that right is superior to authority. 

There is a moral and political country, in the language 
of Burke, distinct tifeffl the geographical, which may be 
possibly in collision with it The Frenchmen who bore 
arms against the Convention were as patriotic as the 
Englishmen who bore arms against King Charles, for 
they recognised a higher duty than that of obedience to 


the actual sovereign. "In an address to France," said 
Burke, "in an attempt to treat with it, or in considering 
any scheme at all relative to it, it is impossible we should 
mean the geographical, we must always mean the moral 
and political, country. . . . The truth is, that France is 
out of itself the moral France is separated from the 
geographical The master of the house is expelled, and 
the robbers are in possession. If we look for the 
corporate people of Fiance, existing as corporate in the 
eye and intention of public law (that corporate people, 
I mean, who are free to deliberate and to decide, and 
who have a capacity to treat and conclude), they are 
in Flanders and Germany, in Switzerland, Spain, Italy, 
and England. There are all the princes of the blood, 
there are all the orders of the State, there are all the 
parliaments of the kingdom. ... I am sure that if half 
that number of the same description were taken out of 
this country, it would leave hardly anything that I should 
call the people of England." l Rousseau draws nearly the 
same distinction between the country to which we happen 
to belong and that which fulfils towards us the political 
functions of the State. In the Emile he has a sentence 
of which it is not easy in a translation to convey the 
point: "Qui n'a pas une patrie a du moins un pays. 
And in his tract on Political Economy he writes : " How 
shall men love their country if it is nothing more for 
them than for strangers, and bestows on them only that 
which it can refuse to none? 1 ' It is in the same sense 
he says, further on, "La patrie ne peut subsister sans la 

The nationality ^ fomedbvAe State, then, is the only 
one.tq wMcl owe 

tSuT only one which has political rights. The Swiss are 

| teWi RemtksoiithaPc)HyoftheA3Ifai{^*, v. a6, 09. 30). 
'<?*'.>-S?3.S9S.a.7?7. Baaet,ia.pMi e eof <n ttbe^m<] M 

ne eman* qu'on aime la tore oi 1'on habite ensemble, on b 
vBfude eomme tine mere et une noumce commune. . . . Lei homines en efiet 
se sentent lies par quelque chose de fbrt, lorsqu'fls songent, que la meme terra 
qm MS a portes et nourris ftant wants, les recevra dans son sem quand Us serant 
nwrts" ( Politiqoe tM de 1'Ecriture Sainte," GSuvns 9 JL 317). 


ethnologically either French, Italian, or German ; but no 
nationality has the slightest claim upon them, except the 
purely political nationality of Switzerland. The Tuscan 
or the Neapolitan State has formed a nationality, but 
the citizens of Florence and of Naples have no political 
community with each other. There are other States 
which have neither succeeded in absorbing distinct races 
in a political nationality, nor in separating a particular 
district from a larger nation. Austria and Mexico are 
instances on the one hand, Parma and Baden on the 
other. The progress of civilisation deals hardly with the 
last description of States. In order to maintain their 
integrity they must attach themselves by confederations, 
or family alliances, to greater Powers, and thus lose some- 
thing of their independence. Their tendency is to isolate 
and shut off their inhabitants, to narrow the horizon of 
their views, and to dwarf in some degree the proportions 
of their ideas. Public opinion cannot maintain its liberty 
and purity in such small dimensions, and the currents that 
come from larger communities sweep over a contracted 
territory. In a small and homogeneous population there 
is hardly room for a natural classification of society, or for 
inner groups of interests that set bounds to sovereign power. 
The government and the subjects contend with borrowed 
weapons. The resources pf the one and the aspirations 
of the other are derived from some external source, and 
the consequence is that the country becomes the instru- 
ment and the scene of contests in which it is not interested. 
These States, like the minuter communities of the Middle 
Ages, serve a purpose, by constituting partitions and 
securities of self-government in the larger States; but 
they are impediments to the progress of society, which' 

depends on the mixture of races under the same 


The vanity and peril of national claims founded on no 
political tradition, but on race alone, appear in Mexico. 
There the races are divided by blood, without being 
grouped together in different regions. It is, therefore, 
neither possible to unite them nor to convert them into 


the elements of an organised State. They are fluid, shape- 
less, and unconnected, and cannot be precipitated, or 
formed into the basis of political institutions. As they 
cannot be used by the State, they cannot be recognised 
by it; and their peculiar qualities, capabilities, passions, 
and attachments are of no service, and therefore obtain no 
regard. They are necessarily ignored, and are therefore 
perpetually outraged. From this difficulty of races with 
political pretensions, J>ut without political ppsiHoftfthe 
Eastern wxirld escaped by the institution of castes. Where 
there are only two races there is the resource of slavery ; 
but when different races inhabit the different territories 
of one Empire composed of several smaller States, it is 
of all possible combinations the most favourable to the 
establishment of a highly developed system of freedom. 
In Austria there are two circumstances which add to 
the difficulty of the problem, but also increase its import- 
ance. The several nationalities are at very unequal 
degrees of advancement, and there is no single nation 
which is so predominant as to overwhelm or absorb the 
others. These are the conditions necessary for the very 
highest degree of organisation which government is 
capable of receiving. They supply the greatest variety of 
intellectual resource; the perpetual incentive to progress, 
which is afforded not merely by competition, but by the 
spectacle of a more advanced people ; the most abundant 
elements of self-government, combined with the impossi- 
bility for the State to rule all by its own will ; and the 
fullest security for the preservation of local customs and 
ancient rights. In such a country as this, liberty would 
achieve its most glorious results, while centralisation and 
absolutism would be destruction. 

The problem presented to the government of Austria 
is higher than that which is solved in England, because 
of the necessity of admitting the national claims. The 
parliamentary system fails to provide for them, as it 
presupposes the unity of the people. Hence in those 
countries in which different races dwell together, it has 
not satisfied their desires, and is regarded as an imperfect 


form of freedom. It brings out more clearly than before 
the differences it does not recognise, and thus continues 
the work of the old absolutism, and appears as a new 
phase of centralisation. In those countries, therefore, the 
power of the imperial parliament must be limited as 
jealously as the power of the crown, and many of its 
functions must be discharged by provincial diets, and a 
descending series of local authorities. 

The great importance of nationality in the State con- 
sists in the fact that it is the basis of political capacity. 
The character of a nation determines in great measure 
the form and vitality of the State. Certain political habits 
and ideas belong to particular nations, and they vary 
with the course of the national history. A people just 
emerging from barbarism, a people effete from the excesses 
of a luxurious civilisation, cannot possess the means of 
governing itself; a people devoted to equality, or to 
absolute monarchy, is incapable of producing an aristocracy; 
a people averse to the institution of private property is 
without the first element of freedom. Each of these can 
be converted into efficient members of a free community 
only by the contact of a superior race, in whose power 
will lie the future prospects of the State. A system which 
ignores these things, and does not rely for its support on 
the character and aptitude of the people, does not intend 
that they should administer their own affairs, but that 
they should simply be obedient to the supreme command. 
The denial of nationality, therefore, implies the denial of 
political liberty. 

The greatest adversary of the rights of nationality is 
the modern theory of nationality. By making the State 
and the nation commensurate with each other in theory, 
it reduces practically to a subject condition all other 
nationalities that mgy be within the boundary. It cannot 
admit them to an equality with the ruling nation which 
constitutes the State, because the State would then cease 
to be national, which would be a contradiction of the 
principle of its existence. According, therefore, to the 
degree of humanity and civilisation in that dominant 


body which claims all the rights of the community, the 
inferior races are exterminated, or reduced to servitude, 
or outlawed, or put in a condition of dependence. 

If we take the establishment of liberty for the realisa- 
tion of moral .du!^^ we 
must conclude that*those states are substantially the most 
perfect which, like the British and Austrian Empires, 
include various distinct nationalities without oppressing 
them. Those in which no mixture of races has occurred 
are imperfect; and those in which its effects have dis- 
appeared are decrepit A State which is incompetent 
to satisfy different races condemns itself ; a State which 
labours to neutralise, to absorb, or to expel them, 
destroys its own vitality; a State which does not 
include them is destitute of the chief basis of self- 
government The theory of nationality, therefore, is a 
retrograde step in history, It is the most advanced 
form of the revolution, and must retain its power to the 
end of the revolutionary period, of which it announces 
the approach. Its great historical importance depends 
on two chief causes. 

First, it is a chimera. The settlement at which it 
aims is impossible. As it can never be satisfied and 
exhausted, and always continues to assert itself, it 
prevents the government from ever relapsing into the 
condition which provoked its rise. The danger is too 
threatening, and the power over men's minds too great, 
to allow any system to endure which justifies the resistance 
of nationality. It must contribute, therefore, to obtain 
that which in theory it condemns, the liberty of different 
nationalities as members of one sovereign community. 
This is a service which no other force could accomplish ; 
for it is a corrective alike of absolute monarchy, of 
democracy, and of constitutionalism, as well as of the 
.centralisation which is common to all three. Neither the 
monarchical, nor the revolutionary, nor the parliamentary 
sjr?tem can do this ; and all the ideas which have excited 
enthusiasm in past times are impotent for the purpose 
except .nationality alone. 


And secondly, the national theory marks the end of 
the revolutionary doctrine and its logical exhaustion. 
In proclaiming the supremacy of the rights of nationality, 
the system of democratic equality goes beyond its own 
extreme boundary, and falls into contradiction with itself. 
Between the democratic and the national phase of the 
revolution, socialism had intervened, and had already 
carried the consequences of the principle to an absurdity. 
But that phase was passed The revolution survived its 
offspring, and produced another further result Nationality 
is more advanced than socialism, because it is a more 
arbitrary system. The social theory endeavours to pro- 
vide for the existence of the individual beneath the terrible 
burdens which modern society heaps upon labour. It is 
not merely a development of the notion of equality, but 
a refuge from real misery and starvation. However false 
the solution, it was a reasonable demand that the poor 
should be saved from destruction ; and if the freedom of 
the State was sacrificed to the safety of the individual, the 
more immediate object was, at least in theory, attained. 
But nationality does not aim either at liberty or pros- 
perity, both of which it sacrifices to the imperative 
necessity of making the nation the mould and measure of 
the State. Its course will be marked with material as well 
as moral ruin, in order that a new invention may prevail 
over the works 9f God and the interests of mankind. 
There is no principle of change, no phase of political 
speculation conceivable, more comprehensive, more sub* 
versive, or more arbitrary than this. It is a confutation 
of democracy, because it sets limits to the exercise of the 
popular will, and substitutes for it a higher principle. It 
prevents not only the division, but the extension of the 
State, and forbids to terminate war by conquest, and to 
obtain a security for peace. Thus, after surrendering the 
individual to the collective will, the revolutionary system 
makes the collective will subject to conditions which are 
independent of it, and rejects all law, only to be controlled 
by an accident 

Although, therefore, the theory of nationality is more 


absurd and more criminal than the theory of socialism, 
it has an important mission in the world, and marks the 
final conflict, and therefore the end, of two forces which 
are the worst enemies of civil freedom, the absolute 
monarchy and the revolution. 



AFTER half a year's delay, Dr. Dollinger has redeemed 
his promise to publish the text of those lectures which 
made so profound a sensation in the Catholic world. 2 
We are sorry to find that the report which fell into our 
hands at the time, and from which we gave the account 
that appeared in our May Number, was both defective and 
incorrect ; and we should further regret that we did not 
follow the example of those journals which abstained 
from comment so long as no authentic copy was accessible, 
if it did not appear that; although the argument of the 
lecturer was lost, his meaning was not, on the whole, 
seriously misrepresented. Excepting for the sake of the 
author, who became the object, and of those who un- 
fortunately made themselves the organs, of so much 
calumny, it is impossible to lament the existence of the 
erroneous statements which have caused the present 
publication. Intending at first to prefix an introduction 
to the text of his lectures, the Professor has been led on 
by the gravity of the occasion, the extent of his subject, 
and the abundance of materials, to compose a book of 
700 pages. Written with all the author's perspicuity of 
style, though without his usual compression; with the 
exhaustless information which never fails him, but with 
an economy of quotation suited to the general public for 
whom it is designed, it betrays the circumstances of its 
origin. Subjects are sometitiaes introduced out of their 

r, November 1861. 
* Kirckt vndKintk*, Munich, x86x ("Papstum und Kirchenataat"). 



proper place and order; and there are occasional repeti- 
tions, which show that he had not at starting fixed the 
proportions of the different parts of his work. This does 
not, however, affect the logical sequence of the ideas, or 
the accuracy of the induction. No other book contains 
no other writer probably could supply so comprehensive 
and so suggestive a description of the state of the Protestant 
religion, or so impartial an account of the causes which 
have brought on the crisis of the temporal power. 

The Symbolik of Mohler was suggested by the 
beginning of that movement of revival and resuscitation 
amongst the Protestants, of which Ddllinger now surveys 
the fortunes and the result The interval of thirty years 
has greatly altered the position of the Catholic divines 
towards their antagonists. Mohler had to deal with the 
ideas of the Reformation, the works of the Reformers, 
and the teaching of the confessions ; he had to answer in 
the nineteenth century the theology of the sixteenth. 
The Protestantism for which he wrote was a complete 
system, antagonistic to the whole of Catholic theology, 
and he confuted the one by comparing it with the other, 
dogma for dogma. But that of which Dollinger treats 
has lost, for the most part, those distinctive doctrines, not 
by the growth of unbelief, but in consequence of the very 
efforts which its most zealous and religious professors 
have made to defend and to redeem it The contradic- 
tions and errors of the Protestant belief were formerly the 
subject of controversy with its Catholic opponents, but 
now the controversy is anticipated and prevented by the 
undisguised admissions of its desponding friends. It 
stands no longer as a system consistent, complete, satisfy- 
ing the judgment and commanding the unconditional 
allegiance of its followers, and fortified at all points 
against Catholicism; but disorganised as a church, its 
doctrines in a state of dissolution, despaired of by its 
divines, strong and compact only in its hostility to Rome, 
but with no positive principle of unity, no ground of 
resistance^ nothing to have faith in, but the determination 
to reject authority. This, therefore, is the point which 


Dollinger takes up. Reducing the chief phenomena of 
religious and social decline to the one head of failing 
authority; he founds on the state of Protestantism the 
apology of the Papacy. He abandons to the Protestant 
theology the destruction of the Protestant Church, and 
leaves its divines to confute and abjure its principles in 
detail, and to arrive by the exhaustion of the modes of 
error, through a painful but honourable process, at the 
gates of truth ; he meets their arguments simply by a 
chapter of ecclesiastical history, of which experience 
teaches them the force ; and he opposes to their theories, 
not the discussions of controversial theology, but the 
character of a single institution. The opportunity he has 
taken to do this, the assumed coincidence between the 
process of dissolution among the Protestants and the 
process of regeneration in the Court of Rome, is the 
characteristic peculiarity of the book. Before we proceed 
to give an analysis of its contents, we will give some 
extracts from the Preface, which explains the purpose of 
the whole, and which is alone one of the most important 
contributions to the religious discussions of the day. 

This book azpse from two out of four lectures which were 
delivered in April this year. How I came to discuss the most 
difficult and complicated question of our time before a very mixed 
audience, and in a manner widely different from that usually adopted, 
I deem myself bound to explain. It was my intention, when I was first 
requested to lecture, only to speak of the present state of religion in 
general, with a comprehensive view extending over all mankind. 
It happened, however, that from those circles which had given the 
impulse to die lectures, the question was frequently put to me, how 
the position of the Holy See, the partly consummated, partly 
threatening, loss of its secular power is to be explained. What 
answer, I was repeatedly asked, is to be given to those out of the 
Church who point with triumphant scorn to the numerous Episcopal 
manifestoes, in which the States of the Church are declared essential 
and necessary to her existence although the events of the last 
thirty years appear with increasing distinctness to announce their 
downfall? I had found the hope often expressed in newspapers, 
books, and periodicals, that after the destruction of the temporal 
power of the Popes, the Church herself would not escape dissolution. 
At the same time, I was struck by finding hi the memoirs of 
Chateaubriand that Cardinal Bernetti, Secretary of State to Leo 


XII., had said, that if he lived long, there was a chance of his 
beholding the fell of the temporal power of the Papacy. I had 
also read, in the letter of a well-informed and trustworthy corre- 
spondent from Paris, that the Archbishop of Rheims had related on 
his return from Rome that Pius IX. had said to him, "I am under no 
illusions, the temporal power must fell Goyon will abandon me ; I 
flhflll then disband my remaining troops* I sfriill excommunicate the 
king when he enters the city ; and shall calmly await my death." 

I thought already, in April, that I could perceive, what has 
become still more clear in October, that the enemies of the secular 
power of the Papacy are determined, united, predominant, and that 
there is nowhere a protecting power which possesses the will, and 
at the same time the means, of averting the catastrophe. I considered 
it therefore probable that an interruption of the temporal dominion 
would soon ensue an interruption which, like others before it, 
would also come to an end, and would be followed by a restoration. 
I resolved, therefore, to take the opportunity, which the lectures gave 
me, to prepare the public for the coming events, which already cast 
their shadows upon us, and thus to prevent the scandals, the doubt, 
and the offence which must inevitably arise if the States of the 
Church should pass into other hands, although the pastorals of the 
Bishops had so energetically asserted that they belonged to the 
integrity of the Church. I meant, therefore, to say, the Church by 
her nature can very well exist, and did exist for seven centuries, 
without the territorial possessions of the Popes ; afterwards this 
possession became necessary, and, in spite of great changes and 
vicissitudes, has discharged in most cases its function of serving as 
a foundation for the independence and freedom of the Popes. As 
long as the present state and arrangement of Europe endures, we 
can discover no other means to secure to the Holy See its freedom, 
and with it the confidence of all But the knowledge and the 
power of God reach farther than ours, and we must not presume 
to set bounds to the Divine wisdom and omnipotence, or to say to 
it, In this way and no other 1 Should, nevertheless, the threatening 
consummation ensue, and should the Pope be robbed of his land, 
one of three eventualities will assuredly come to pass, Either the 
loss of th* State is only temporary, and the territory will revert, 
after some intervening casualties, either whole or in part, to its legiti- 
mate sovereign ; or Providence will bring about^ by ways unknown 
to us, and combinations which we cannot divine, a state of things in 
which the object^ namely, the independence and free action of the Holy 
See, will be attained without the means which have hitherto served 
or else we are approaching great catastrophes in Europe, the doom 
of the whole edifice of the present social order, events of which the 
ruin of the Roman State is only the precursor and the herald. 

The reasons for which, of these three possibilities, I think the 
first the most probable, I have developed in this book Concerning 
the second alternative, there is nothing to be said; it is an unknowi 


and therefore, indescribable, quantity. Only we mus\^etain it 
against certain over-confident assertions which profess 
secret things to come, and, trespassing on the divine _ 

to subject the Future absolutely to the laws of the immediate Past 
That the third possibility must also be admitted, few of those who 
studiously observe the signs of the time will dispute. One of the 
ablest historians and statesmen Niebuhr wrote on the 5th 
October 1830: "If God does not miraculously aid, a destruction 
is in store for us such as the Roman world underwent in the 
middle of the third century destruction of prosperity, of freedom, 
of civilisation, and of literature." And we have proceeded much 
farther on the inclined plane since then. The European Powers 
have overturned, or have allowed to be overturned, the two pillars 
of their existence, the principle of legitimacy, and the public law of 
nations. Those monarchs who have made themselves the slaves 
of the Revolution, to do its work, are the active agents in the 
historical drama; the others stand aside as quiet spectators, in 
expectation of inheriting something, like Prussia and Russia, or 
bestowing encouragement and assistance, like England j or as 
passive invalids, like Austria and the sinking empire of Turkey. 
But the Revolution is a permanent chronic disease, breaking out 
now in one place, now in another, sometimes seizing several 
members together. The Pentarchy is dissolved ; the Holy Alliance, 
which, however defective or open to abuse, was one form of political 
order, is buried; the right of might prevails in Europe. Is it a 
process of renovation or a process of dissolution in which European 
society is plunged? I still thini the former; but I must, as I have 
said, admit the possibility of the other alternative. If it occurs, 
then, when the powers of destruction have done their work, it will 
be the business of the Church at once to co-operate actively in the 
reconstruction of social order out of the ruins, both as a connecting 
civilising power, and as the preserver and dispenser of moral and 
religious tradition. And thus the Papacy, with or without territory, 
has its own function and its appointed mission. 

These, then, were the ideas from which I started ; and it may 
be supposed that my language concerning the immediate fate of 
the temporal power of the Pope necessarily sounded ambiguous, that 
I could not well come with the confidence which is given to other 
perhaps more far-sighted men before my audience, and say. 
Rely upon it, the States of the Church the land from Radicofani 
to Ceperano, from Ravenna to Civita Vecchia, shall and must and 
will invariably remain to the Popes. Heaven and earth shall pass 
away before the Roman State shall pass away. I could not do this, 
because I did not at that time believe it, nor do I now ; but am 
only confident that the Holy See will not be permanently deprived 
of the conditions necessary for the fulfilment of its mission. Thus 
the substance of my words was this : Let no one lose faith in the 
. Church if the secular principality of the Pope should disappear for 


a season, or for ever. It is not essence, but accident; not end, but 
means ; it began late $ it was formerly something quite different 
from what it is now. It justly appears to us indispensable, and as 
long as the existing order lasts in Europe, it must be maintained at 
any price ; or if it is violently interrupted, it must be restored. But 
a political settlement of Europe is conceivable in which it would be 
superfluous, and then it would be an oppressive burden. At the 
same time I wished to defend Pope Pius IX. and his government 
against many accusations, and to point out that the inward infirmities 
and deficiences which undeniably exist in the country, by which the 
State has been reduced to so deplorable a condition of weakness and 
helplessness, were not attributable to him; that, on the contrary, 
he has shown, both before and since 1848, the best will to reform ; 
and that by him, and under him, much has been really improved 

The newspaper reports, written down at home from memory, gave 
but an inaccurate representation of a discourse which did not attempt 
in the usual way to cut the knot, but which, with bnts and ifs, and 
referring to certain elements in the decision which are generally left 
out of the calculation, spoke of an uncertain future, and of various 
possibilities. This was not to be avoided. Any reproduction which 
was not quite literal must, in spite of the good intentions of the 
reporter, have given rise to false interpretations. When, therefore, 
one of the most widely read papers reported the first lecture, without 
any intentional falsification, but with omissions which altered the 
sense and the tendency of my words, I immediately proposed to the 
conductors to print my manuscript ; but this offer was declined. In 
other accounts in the daily press, I was often unable to recognise my 
ideas; and words were put into my mouth which I had never 
uttered. And here I will admit that, when I gave the lectures, I did 
not think that they would be discussed by the press, but expected that, 
like others of the same land, they would at most be mentioned in a 
couple of words, in futurawt obliirionem. Of the controversy which 
sprang up at once, in separate works and in newspaper articles, in 
Germany, France, England, Italy, and even in America, I shall not 
speak. Much of it I have not read. The writers often did not even 
ask themselves whether the report which accident put into their 
hands, and which they carelessly adopted, was at all accurate. But 
I must refer to an account in one of the most popular English 
periodicals, because I am there brought into a society to which I do 
not belong. The author of an article in the July Number of the 
EdMwrghReview . . . appeals to me, misunderstanding the drift of 
my words, and erroneously believing that I had already published an 
apology of my orthodoxy. ... A sharp attack upon me hi the 
Dublin Review I know only from extracts in English papers ; but I 
can see from the vehemence with which the writer pronounces 
himself against liberal institutions, that, even after the appearance of 
this book, I cannot reckon on coming to an understanding with 
him. . . 


The excitement which was caused by rny lectures, or rather by the 
accounts of them in the papers, had this advantage, that it brought 
to light, in a way which to many was unexpected, how widely, how 
deeply, and how firmly the attachment of the people to the See of St 
Peter is rooted. For the sake of this I was glad to accept all the 
attacks and animosity which fell on me hi consequence. But why, it 
will be asked and I have been asked innumerable times why not 
cut short misunderstandings by the immediate publication of the 
lectures, which must, as a whole, have been written beforehand? 
why wait for five months ? For this I had two reasons : first, it was 
not merely a question of misunderstanding. Much of what I had 
actually said had made an unpleasant impression hi many quarters, 
especially among our optimists. I should, therefore, with my bare 
statements, have become involved in an agitating discussion in 
pamphlets and newspapers, and that was not an attractive prospect 
The second reason was this : I expected that the further progress of 
events in Italy, the irresistible logic of facts, would dispose minds to 
receive certain truths. I hoped that people would learn by degrees, in 
the school of events, that it is not enough always to be reckoning with 
the figures " revolution," " secret societies," " Mazzinism," "Atheism," 
or? to estimate things only by the standard supplied by the "Jew of 
Verona," but that other feet ors must be admitted into the calculation ; 
for instance, the condition of the Italian clergy, and its position 
towards the laity. I wished, therefore, to let a few months go by 
before I came before the public. Whether I judged rightly, the 
reception of this book will show. 

I thoroughly understand those who think it censurable that I 
should have spoken in detail of situations and facts which are gladly 
ignored, or touched with a light and hasty hand, and that especially 
at the present crisis. I myself was restrained for ten years by these 
considerations, in spite of the feeling which urged me to speak on the 
question of the Roman government, and it required the circumstances 
I have described, I may almost say, to compel me to speak publicly on 
the subject I beg of these persons to weigh the following points* 
First, when an author openly exposes a state of things already 
abundantly discussed in the press, if he draws away the necessarily 
very transparent covering from the gaping wounds which are not on 
the Church herself but on an institution nearly connected with her, 
and whose infirmities she is made to feel, it may fairly be supposed 
that he does it, in agreement with the example of earlier friends and 
great men of the Church, only to show the possibility and the 
necessity of the cure, in order, so for as in him lies, to weaken the 
reproach that the defenders of the Church see only the mote in the 
eyes of others, not the beam in their own, and with narrow-hearted 
prejudice endeavour to soften, or to dissimulate, or to deny every fact 
which is or which appears unfavourable to their cause. He does it in 
order that it maybe understood that where the powerlessness of men 
to effect a cure becomes manifest, God interposes in order to sift on 


His threshing-floor the chaff from the wheat, and to consume it with 
the fire of the catastrophes which are only His Judgments and 
remedies. Secondly, I could not, as a historian, present the effects 
without going back to their causes; and it was therefore my duty, as 
it is that of every religious inquirer and observer, to try to contribute 
something to the Theodicfa He that undertakes to write on such 
lofty interests, which nearly affect the weal and woe of the Church, 
cannot avoid examining and displaying the wisdom and justice of 
God in the conduct of terrestrial events regarding them. The fate 
which has overtaken the Roman States must above all be considered 
in the light of a Divine ordinance for the advantage of the Church. 
Seen by that light, it assumes the character of a trial, which will con- 
tinue until the object is attained, and the welfare of the Church so far 

It seemed evident to me, that as a new order of things in Europe 
lies in the design of Providence, the disease, through which for the 
last half-century the States of the Church unquestionably have passed, 
might be the transition to a new form. To describe this malady 
without overlooking or concealing any of the symptoms was, therefore, 
an undertaking which I could not avoid. The disease has its source 
in the inward contradiction and discord of the institutions and 
conditions of the government ; for the modern French institutions 
stand there, without any reconciling qualifications, besides those of 
the mediaeval hierarchy. Neither of these elements is strong enough 
to expel the other; and either of them would, if it prevailed alone, 
be again a form of disease. Yet, in the history of the last few years 
I recognise symptoms of convalescence, however feeble, obscure, and 
equivocal its traces may appear. What we behold is not death or 
hopeless decay, it is a purifying process, painful, consuming, 
penetrating bone and marrow, such as God inflicts on His chosen ' 
persons and institutions. There is abundance of dross, and time is 
necessary before the gold can come pure out of the furnace. In the 
course of this process it may happen that the territorial dominion 
will be interrupted, that the State may be broken up or pass into 
other hands ; but it will revive, though perhaps in another form, and 
with a different kind of government In a word, sanabilibus 
iaboratnus matts~-<ks& is what I wished to show; thai I believe, I 
have shown. Now, and for the last forty years, the condition of the 
Roman States is the heel of Achilles of the Catholic Church, the 
standing reproach for adversaries throughout the world, and a 
stumbling-block for thousands. Not as though the objections, which 
are founded on the fact of this transitory disturbance and discord in 
the social and political sphere, possessed any weight in a theological 
point of view, but it cannot be denied that they are of incalculable 
influence on the disposition of the world external to the Church. 

Whenever a state of disease has appeared in the Church, there 
has been bat one method of cure, that of an awakened, renovated, 
healthy consciousness and of an enlightened public opinion in the 


Church. The goodwill of the ecclesiastical rulers and heads has not 
been able to accomplish the cure, unless sustained by the general 
sense and conviction of the clergy and of the laity. The healing of 
the great malady of the sixteenth century, the true internal reforma- 
tion of the Church, only became possible when people ceased to 
disguise or to deny the evil, and to pass it by with silence and 
concealment^ when so powerful and irresistible a public opinion 
had formed itself in the Church, that its commanding influence could 
no longer be evaded. At the present day, what we want is the 
whole truth, not merely the perception that the temporal power of 
the Pope is required by the Church, for that is obvious to every- 
body, at least out of Italy, and everything has been said that can be 
said about it ; but also the knowledge of the conditions under which 
this power is possible for the future. The history of the Popes is 
full of instances where their best intentions were not fulfilled, and 
their strongest resolutions broke down, because the interests of a 
firmly compacted class resisted like an impenetrable hedge of thorns. 
Hadrian VI. was fully resolved to set about the reformation in 
earnest; and yet he achieved virtually nothing, and felt himself, 
though in possession of supreme power, altogether powerless against 
the passive resistance of all those who should have been his 
instruments in the work. Only when public opinion, even in Italy, 
and in Rome itself was awakened, purified, and strengthened; 
when the cry for reform resounded imperatively on every side, 
then only was it possible for the Popes to overcome the resistance 
in the inferior spheres, and gradually, and step by step, to open 
the way for a more healthy state. May, therefore, a powerful, 
healthy, unanimous public opinion in Catholic Europe come to the 
aid of Pius IX.! . . . 

Concerning another part of this book I have a few words to 
say. I have given a survey of all the Churches and ecclesiastical 
communities now existing. The obligation of attempting this 
presented itself to me, because I had to explain both the universal 
importance of the Papacy as a power for all the world, and the 
things which it actually performs. This could not be done fully 
without exhibiting the internal condition of the Churches which have 
rejected it, and withdrawn from its influence. It is true that the 
plan increased under my hands, and I endeavoured to give as clear 
a picture as possible of the development which has accomplished 
itself in the separated Churches since the Reformation, and through 
it, in consequence of the views and principles which had been 
once for all adopted. I have, therefore, admitted into my description 
no feature which is not, in my opinion, an effect, a result, however 
remote, of those principles and doctrines. There is doubtless room 
for discussion in detail upon this point, and there will unavoidably 
be a decided opposition to this book, if it should be noticed beyond 
the limits of the Church to which I belong. I hope that there also 
the justice will be done me of believing that I was fer from having 


any intention of offending ; that I have only said what must be said, 
if we would go to the bottom of these questions ; that I had to do 
with institutions which) because of the dogmas and principles from 
which they spring, must, like a tree that is nailed to a wall, remain 
iu one position, however unnatural it may be. I am quite ready 
to admit that, on the opposite side, the men are often better than 
the system to which they are, or deem themselves, attached; and 
that, on the contrary, in the Church the individuals are, on the 
average, inferior hi theory and in practice to the system under which 
they live. . . . 

The union of the two religions, which would be socially and 
politically the salvation of Germany and of Europe, is not possible 
at present ; first because the greater, more active, and more influential 
portion of the German Protestants do not desire it, for political or 
religious reasons, in any form or under any practicable conditions. 
It is impossible, secondly, because negotiations concerning the mode 
and the conditions of union can no longer be carried on. For this, 
plenipotentiaries on both sides are required; and these only the 
Catholic Church is able to appoint, by virtue of her ecclesiastical 
organisation, not the Protestants. . . . 

Nevertheless, theologically, Protestants and Catholics have come 
nearer each other; for those capital doctrines, those articles with 
which the Church was to stand or fall, for the sake of which the 
Reformers declared separation from the Catholic Church to be 
necessary, are now conmted and given up by Protestant theology, 
or are retained only nominally, whilst other notions are connected 
with the words. . . . Protestant theology is at the present day less 
hostile, so to speak, than the theologians. For whilst theology has 
levelled the strongest bulwarks and doctrinal barriers which the 
Reformation had set up to confirm the separation, the divines, instead 
of viewing fevourably the consequent facilities for union, often labour, 
on the contrary, to conceal the fact, or to provide new points of 
difference. Many of them probably agree with Stahl of Berlin, who 
said, shortly before his death, Far from supposing that the breach 
of the sixteenth century can be healed, we ought, if it had not already 
occurred, to make it now." This, however, will not continue ; and 
a future generation, perhaps that which is even now growing up, 
will rather adopt the recent declaration of Heinrich Leo, " In the 
Roman Catholic Church a process of purification has taken place 
since Luther's day; and if the Church had been in the days of Luther 
what the Roman Catholic Church in Germany actually is at present, 
it would never have occurred to him to assert his opposition so 
energetically as to bring about a separation." Those who think thus 
will then be the right men and the chosen instruments for the 
acceptable work of the reconciliation of the Churches, and the true 
unity of Germany. Upon the day when, on both sides, the con- 
viction shall arise vivid and strong that Christ really desires the unity 
of His Church, that the division of Christendom, the multiplicity of 


Churches, is displeasing to God, that he who helps to prolong the 
situation must answer for it to the Lord, on that day four-fifths of 
the traditional polemics of the Protestants against the Church will 
with one blow he set aside, like chaff and rubbish ; for four-fifths 
consist of misunderstandings, logomachies, and wilful falsifications, or 
relate to personal, and therefore accidental, things, which are utterly 
insignificant where only principles and dogmas are at stake. 

On that day, also, much will be changed on the Catholic side. 
Thenceforward the character of Luther and the Reformers will no 
more be dragged forward in the pulpit The clergy, mindful of the 
saying, interficite errors*, ffligite homines, will always conduct them- 
selves towards members of other Churches in conformity with the 
rules of charity, and will therefore assume, in all cases where there 
are no clear proofs to the contrary, the bona fides of opponents. 
They will never forget that no man is convinced and won over by 
bitter words and violent attacks, but that every one is rather repelled 
by them. Warned by the words of the Epistle to the Romans 
(xiv. 13), they will be more careful than heretofore to give to their 
separate brethren no scandal, no grounds of accusation against the 
Church. Accordingly, in popular instruction and in religious life, 
they will always make the great truths of salvation the centre of all 
their teaching : they will not treat secondary things in life and 
doctrine as though they were of the first importance ; but, on the 
contrary, they will keep alive b the people the consciousness that 
such things are but means to an end, and are only of inferior con- 
sequence and subsidiary value. 

Until that day shall dawn upon Germany, it is our duty as 
Catholics, in the words of Cardinal Diepenbrock, "to bear the reli- 
gious separation in a spirit of penance for guilt incurred in common." 
We must acknowledge that here also God has caused much good as 
well as much evil to proceed from the errors of men, from the con- 
tests and passions of the sixteenth century ; that the anxiety of the 
German nation to see the intolerable abuses and scandals in the 
Church removed was fully justified, and sprang from the better quali- 
ties of our people, and from their moral indignation at the desecration 
and corruption of holy things, which were degraded to selfish and 
hypocritical purposes. 

We do not refuse to admit that the great separation, and the 
storms and sufferings connected with it^ was an awful judgment upon 
Catholic Christendom, which clergy and laity had but too well 
deserved a judgment which has had an improving and salutary 
effect The great conflict of intellects has purified the European 
atmosphere, has impelled the human mind on to new courses, and 
has promoted a rich scientific and literary life. Protestant the- 
ology, with its restless spirit of inquiry, has gone along by the side 
of the Catholic, exciting and awakening, warning and vivifying ; and 
every eminent Catholic divine in Germany will gladly admit that 
he owes much to the writings of Protestant scholars. 


We must also acknowledge that in the Church the rust of abuses 
and of a mechanical superstition is always forming afresh ; that the 
spiritual in religion is sometimes materialised, and therefore degraded, 
deformed, and applied to their own loss, by the servants of the 
Church, through their indolence and want of intelligence, and by the 
peoptej, through their ignorance. The true spirit of reform must, 
therefore, never depart fiom the Church, but must periodically break 
out with renovating strength, and penetrate the mind and the will of 
the dergy. In this sense we do not refuse to admit the justice of a 
call to penance, when it proceeds from those who are not of us, 
that is, of a warning carefully to examine our religious life and 
pastoral conduct, and to remedy what is found defective. 

At the same time it must not be foigotten that the separation did 
not ensue in consequence of the abuses of the Church. For the duty 
and necessity of removing these abuses has always been recognised ; 
and only tie difficulty of the thing, the not always unjustifiable fear 
lest the wheatshould be pulled up with the lares, prevented for a 
tone the > Reformation, which was accomplished in the Church and 
through her. Separation on account merely of abuses in ecclesiastical 
Me, when the doctrine is the same, is rejected as criminal by the 
Protestants as well as by us. It is, therefore, for doctrine's sake 
tnat tne separation occurred; and the general discontent of the 
people, the weakening O f ecclesiastical authority by the existence of 
abuses, only facilitated the adoption of the new doctrines. But now 
on one side some of these defects and evils in the life of the Church 
have disappeared; the others have greatly diminished since the 
reforming movement; and on the other side, the principal doctrines 
for which they separated, and on the truth of which, and their neces- 

2hL /K? ** ri * ht "* du * rf seccssion was ***** 
given up by Protestant science, deprived of their Scriptural basis by 

SKrf^Jj!* Dnade vcry lmccrtain bv * opposition of the 
most eminent Protestant divines. Meanwhile we live in hopes, com- 
fortmg ourselves with the conviction that history, or that p^ss of 

^ iS bdng A* *efore P 

p fitics M in ""w^ is ** **** 

; "* TO hold out our 

There are two drcumstancea which make us fear that 
the work will not be received in the spirit in which it is 
written, and that its object will not immediately be 
attained The first of these is the extraordinary effect 
which was produced by the declaration which the author 
made on the occasion of the late assembly of the Catholic 
associationa i of Germany at Munich. He stated simply, 
what is understood by every Catholic out of Italy, and 


intelligible to every reasonable Protestant, that the 
freedom of the Church imperatively requires that, in order 
to protect the Pope from the perils which menace him, 
particularly in our age, he should possess a sovereignty 
not merely nominal, and that his right to his dominions 
is as good as that of all other legitimate sovereigns. In 
point of fact, this expression of opinion, which occurs even 
in the garbled reports of the lectures, leaves all those 
questions on which it is possible for serious and dis- 
passionate men to be divided entirely open. It does not 
determine whether there was any excuse for the disaffec- 
tion of the Papal subjects ; whether the security afforded 
by a more extensive dominion is greater than the 
increased difficulty of administration under the conditions 
inherited from the French occupation ; whether an 
organised system of tribute or domains might be sufficient, 
in conjunction with a more restricted territory ; whether 
the actual loss of power is or is not likely to improve 
a misfortune for religion. The storm of applause with 
which these words, simply expressing that in which all 
agree, were received, must have suggested to the speaker 
that his countrymen in general are unprepared to believe 
that one, who has no other aspiration in his life and his 
works than the advancement of the Catholic religion, can 
speak without a reverent awe of the temporal government, 
or can witness without dismay its impending fall. They 
must have persuaded themselves that not only the details, 
but the substance of his lectures had been entirely mis* 
reported, and that his views were as free from novelty as 
destitute of offence. It is hard to believe that such 
persons will be able to reconcile themselves to the fearless 
and straightforward spirit in which the first of Church 
historians discusses the history of his own age. 

Another consideration, almost equally significant with 
the attitude of the great mass of Catholics, is the silence 
of the minority who agree with Dollinger. Those earnest 
Catholics who, in their Italian patriotism, insist on the 
possibility of reconciling the liberty of the Holy See with 
the establishment of an ideal unity, Passaglia, Tosti, the 


interference and a political power. They alone among 
Catholic subjects can bring a pressure to bear on him 
who has had the initiative in the Italian movement 
They fear by silence to incur a responsibility for criminal 
acts. For them it is a season for action, and the time 
has not yet come when they can speak with judicial 
impartiality, or with the freedom of history, or determine 
how far, in the pursuit of his ambitious ends, Napoleon 
III. is the instrument of Providence, or how far, without 
any merit of his own, he is likely to fulfil the expectations 
of those who see in him a new Constantino Whilst they 
maintain this unequal war, they naturally identify the 
rights of the Church with her interests ; and the wrongs 
of the Pope are before their eyes so as to eclipse the 
realities of the Roman government The most vehement 
and one-sided of those who have dwelt exclusively on the 
crimes of the Revolution and the justice of the Papal 
cause, the Bishop of Orleans for instance, or Count de 
Montalembert, might without inconsistency, and doubt- 
less would without hesitation, subscribe to almost every 
word in Bellinger's work ; but in the position they have 
taken they would probably deem such adhesion a great 
rhetorical error, and fetal to the effect of their own 
writings. There is, therefore, an allowance to be made, 
which is by no means a reproach, for the peculiar situation 
of the Catholics in Fiance. 

When Christine of Sweden was observed to gaze long 
and intently at the statue of Truth in Rome, a court-like 
prelate observed that this admiration for Truth did her 
honour, as it was seldom shared by persons in her station. 
"That;* said the Queen, "is because truths are not all 
made of marble." Men are seldom zealous for an idea 
in which they do not perceive some reflection of them- 
selves, in which they have not embarked some portion of 
their individuality, or which they cannot connect with 
some subjective purpose of their own. It is often more 
easy to sympathise with a person in whose opposite views 
we discern a weakness corresponding to our own, than 
with one who unsympathetically avoids to colour the 


objectivity of truth, and is guided in his judgment by 
facts, not by wishes. We endeavoured not many months 
ago to show how remote the theology of Catholic 
Germany is in its scientific spirit from that of other 
countries, and how far asunder are science and policy. 
The same method applied to the events of our own day 
must be yet more startling, and for a time we can scarcely 
anticipate that the author of this work will escape an 
apparent isolation between the reserve of those who share 
his views, but are not free to speak, and the foregone 
conclusions of most of those who have already spoken. 
But a book which treats of contemporary events in 
accordance with the signs of the time, not with the 
aspirations of men, possesses in time itself an invincible 
auxiliary. When the lesson which this great writer draws 
from the example of the mediaeval Popes has borne its 
fruit; when the purpose for which he has written is 
attained, and the freedom of the Holy See from revolu- 
tionary aggression and arbitrary protection is recovered 
by the heroic determination to abandon that which in the 
course of events has ceased to be a basis of independence 
he will be the first, but no longer the only, proclaimer 
of new ideas, and he will not have written in vain. 

The Christian religion, as it addresses and adapts 
itself to all mankind, bears towards the varieties of 
national character a relation of which there was no 
example in the religions of antiquity, and which heresy 
repudiates and inevitably seeks to destroy. For heresy, 
like paganism, is national, and dependent both on the 
particular disposition of the people and on the govern- 
ment of the State. It is identified with definite local 
conditions, and moulded by national and political peculi- 
arities. Catholicity alone is universal in its character 
and mission, and independent of those circumstances by 
which States are established, and nations are distinguished 
from each other. Even Rome had not so far extended 
her limits, nor so thoroughly subjugated and amalga- 
mated the races that obeyed her, as to secure the Church 
from the natural reaction of national spirit against a 


religion which claimed a universality beyond even that of 
the Imperial power. The first and most terrible assault 
of ethnicism was in Persia, where Christianity appeared 
as a Roman, and therefore a foreign and a hostile, system. 
As the Empire gradually declined, and the nationalities, 
no longer oppressed beneath a vigorous central force, 
began to revive, the heresies, by a natural affinity, associ- 
ated themselves with them. The Donatist schism, in 
which no other country joined, was an attempt of the 
African people to establish a separate national Church. 
Later on, the Egyptians adopted the Monophysite heresy 
as the national faith, which has survived to this day in 
the Coptic Church. In Armenia similar causes produced 
like effects. 

In the twelfth century not, as is commonly supposed, 
in the time of Photius and Cerularius, for religious com- 
munion continued to subsist between the Latins and the 
Greeks at Constantinople till about the time of Innocent 
III., but after the Crusades had embittered the antagonism 
between East and West another great national separa- 
tion occurred. In the Eastern Empire the communion 
with Rome was hateful to the two chief authorities. The 
patriarch was ambitious to extend his own absolute juris- 
diction over the whole Empire, the emperor wished to 
increase that power as the instrument of his own': out of 
this threefold combination of interests sprang the Byzan- 
tine system. It was founded on the ecclesiastical as well 
as civil despotism of the emperor, and on the exclusive 
pride of the people in its nationality ; that is, on those 
things which are most essentially opposed to the Catholic 
spirit, and to the nature of a universal Church. In con- 
sequence of the schism, the sovereign became supreme 
over the canons of the Church and the laws of the State ; 
and to this imperial papacy the Archbishop of Thessa- 
lonica, in the beginning of the fifteenth century, justly 
attributes the ruin and degradation of the Empire. Like 
the Eastern schism, the schism of the West in the four- 
teenth century arose from the predominance of national 
interests in the Church : it proceeded from the endeavour 


to convert the Holy See into a possession of the French 
people and a subject of the French crown. Again, not 
long after, the Hussite revolution sprang from the union 
of a new doctrine with the old antipathy of the Bohemians 
for the Germans, which had begun in times when the 
boundaries of Christianity ran between the two nations, 
and which led to a strictly national separation, which 
has not yet exhausted its political effects. Though the 
Reformation had not its origin in national feelings, yet 
they became a powerful instrument in the hands of 
Luther, and ultimately prevailed over the purely theo- 
logical elements of the movement 

The Lutheran system was looked on by the Germans 
with patriotic pride as the native fruit, and especial 
achievement of the genius of their country, and it was 
adopted out of Germany only by the kindred races of 
Scandinavia. In every other land to which it has been 
transplanted by the migrations of this century, Lutheran- 
ism appears as eradicated from its congenial soil, loses 
gradually its distinctive features, and becomes assimilated 
to the more consolatory system of Geneva. Calvinism 
exhibited from the first no traces of the influence of 
national character, and to this it owes its greater ex- 
tension ; whilst in the third form of Protestantism, the 
Anglican Church, nationality is the predominant charac- 
teristic. In whatever country and in whatever form 
Protestantism has prevailed, it has always carried out the 
principle of separation and local limitation by seeking 
to subject itself to the civil power, and to confine the 
Church within the jurisdiction of the State. It is 
dependent not so much on national character as on 
political authority, and has grafted itself rather on the 
State than on the people. But the institution which 
Christ founded in order to collect all nations together in 
one fold under one shepherd, while tolerating and respect- 
ing the natural historical distinctions of nations and of 
States, endeavours to reconcile antagonism, and to smooth 
away barriers between' them, instead of estranging them 
by artificial differences, and erecting new obstacles to 


their harmony. The Church can neither submit as a 
whole to the influence of a particular people, nor impose 
on one the features or the habits of another ; for she is 
exalted in her catholicity above the differences of race, 
and above the claims of political power. At once the 
most firm and the most flexible institution in the world, 
she is all things to all nations educating each in her 
own spirit, without violence to its nature, and assimilating 
it to herself without prejudice to the originality of its 
native character. Whilst she thus transforms them, not 
by reducing them to a uniform type, but by raising them 
towards a common elevation, she receives from them 
services in return. Each healthy and vigorous nation 
that is converted is a dynamic as well as a numerical 
increase in the resources of the Church, by bringing an 
accession of new and peculiar qualities, as well as of 
quantity and numbers. So far from seeking sameness, or 
flourishing only in one atmosphere, she is enriched and 
strengthened by all the varieties of national character and 
intellect In the mission of the Catholic Church, each 
nation has its function, which its own position and nature 
indicate and enable it to fulfil. Thus the extinct nations 
of antiquity survive in the beneficial action they continue 
to exert within her, and she still feels and acknowledges 
the influence of the African or of the Cappadocian mind. 
The condition of this immunity from the predominant 
influence of national and political divisions, and of this 
indifference to the attachment of particular States and 
races, the security of unity and universality,- consists 
in the existence of a single, supreme, independent head. 
The primacy is the bulwark, or rather the corner-stone, 
of Catholicism ; without it, there would be as many churches 
as there are nations or States. Not one of those who 
have denounced the Papacy as a usurpation has ever 
attempted to show that the condition which its absence 
necessarily involves is theologically desirable, or that it is 
the will of God. It remains the most radical and con- 
spiduous distinction between the Catholic Church and the 
sects, Those who attempt to do without it are compelled 


to argue that there is no earthly office divinely appointed 
for the government of the Church, and that nobody has 
received the mission to conduct ecclesiastical affairs, and 
to preserve the divine order in religion. The several 
local churches may have an earthly ruler, but for the 
whole Church of Christ there is no such protection. 
Christ, therefore, is the only head they acknowledge, and 
they must necessarily declare separation, isolation, and 
discord to be a principle and the normal condition of His 
Church. The rejection of the primacy of St Peter has 
driven men on to a slippery course, where all the steps 
are downwards. The Greeks first proclaimed that they 
recognised no Pope, that each patriarch ruled over a 
portion of the Church. The Anglicans rejected both Pope 
and patriarch, and admitted no ecclesiastical order higher 
than the Episcopate Foreign Protestanism refused to 
tolerate even bishops, or any authority but the parish 
clergy under the supremacy of the ruler of the land. 
Then the sects abolished the local jurisdiction of the 
parish clergy, and retained only preachers. At length 
the ministry was rejected as an office altogether, and the 
Quakers made each individual his own prophet, priest, 
and doctor. 

The Papacy, that unique institution, the Crown of 
the Catholic system, exhibits in its history the constant 
working of that law which is at the foundation of the life of 
the Church, the law of continuous organic development 
It shared the vicissitudes of the Church, and had its part 
in everything which influences the course and mode of 
her existence. In early times it grew in silence and 
obscurity, its features were rarely and imperfectly dis- 
tinguishable ; but even then the Popes exerted their 
authority in all directions, and while the wisdom with 
which it was exercised was often questioned, the right 
itself was undisputed. So long as the Roman Empire 
upheld in its strong framework and kept together the 
Church, which was confined mostly within its bounds, and 
checked with the stern discipline of a uniform law the 
manifestations of national and local divergence, thtf 



interference of the Holy See was less frequently required, 
and the reins of Church government did not need to be 
tightly drawn. When a new order of States emerged 
from the chaos of the great migration, the Papacy, which 
alone stood erect amid the ruins of the empire, became 
the centre of a new system and the moderator of a new 
code. The long contest with the Germanic empire 
exhausted the political power both of the empire and of 
the Papacy, and the position of the Holy See, in the 
midst of a multitude of equal States, became more 
difficult and more unfavourable. The Popes were forced 
to rely on the protection of France, their supremacy over 
the States was at an end, and the resistance of the nations 
commenced. The schism, the opposition of the general 
Councils, the circumstances which plunged the Holy See 
into the intrigues of Italian politics, and at last the 
Reformation, hastened the decline of that extensive social 
and political power, the echoes and reminiscences of which 
occasioned disaster and repulse whenever an attempt was 
made to exercise it Ever since the Tridentine age, the 
Popes have confined themselves more and more exclusively 
to the religious domain; and here the Holy See is as 
powerful and as free at the present day as at any previous 
period of its history. The perils and the difficulties 
which surround it arise from temporal concerns, from the 
state of Italy, and from the possessions of the pontifical 

As the Church advances towards fulness and maturity 
in her forms, bringing forward her exhaustless resources, 
and calling into existence a wealth of new dements, 
societies, corporations, and institutions, so is the need 
more deeply felt for a powerful supreme guide to keep 
them all in health and harmony, to direct them in their 
various spheres, and in their several ways towards the 
common ends and purposes of all, and thus to provide 
against decay, variance, and confusion. Such an office 
the Primacy alone can discharge, and the importance of 
the Papacy increases as the organisation of the Church 
is more complete. One of its most important but most 


delicate duties is to act as an independent, impartial, and 
dispassionate mediator between the churches and the 
governments of the different States, and between the 
conflicting claims and contradictory idiosyncrasies of the 
various nations. Yet, though the Papacy is so obviously 
an essential part of a Church whose mission is to all 
mankind, it is the chosen object of attack both to enemies 
of Catholicism and to discontented Catholics. Serious 
and learned men complain of its tyranny, and say that it 
claims universal dominion, and watches for an opportunity 
of obtaining it ; and yet, in reality, there is no power on 
earth whose action is restricted by more sacred and 
irresistible bonds than that of the Holy See. It is only 
by the closest fidelity to the laws and tradition of the 
Church that the Popes are able to secure the obedience 
and the confidence of Catholics. Pius VII., who, by 
sweeping away the ancient church of France, and depriving 
thirty-seven protesting bishops of their sees, committed 
the most arbitrary act ever done by a Pope, has himself 
described the rules which guided the exercise of his 
authority : 

The nature and constitution of the Catholic Church impose on 
the Pope, who is the head of the Church, certain limits which he 
cannot transgress. . . . The Bishops of Rome have never believed 
that they could tolerate any alteration in those portions of the 
discipline which are directly ordained by Jesus Christ ; or in those 
which, by their nature, axe connected with dogma, or in those which 
heretics assail in support of their innovations. 

The chief points urged against the ambition of Rome 
are the claim of the deposing Power, according to the theory 
that all kinds of power are united in the Church, and the 
protest against the Peace of Westphalia, the basis of 
the public law and political order of modem Europe. It 
is enough to cite one of the many authorities which may 
be cited in refutation of the first objection. Cardinal 
Antondli, Prefect of Propaganda, states in his letter to 
the Irish bishops, 1791, that "the See of Rome has never 
taught that faith is not to be kept with those of another 
religion, or that an oath sworn to kings who are separated 


from the Catholic communion may be broken, or that the 
Pope is permitted to touch their temporal rights and 
possessions." The Bull in which Boniface VIII. set up 
the theory of the supremacy of the spiritual over the 
secular power was retracted soon after his death. 

The protest of Innocent X. against the Peace of 
Westphalia is one of the glories of the Papacy. That 
peace was concluded on an unchristian and tyrannical 
principle, introduced by the Reformation, that the subjects 
may be compelled to follow the religion of the ruler. 
This was very different in principle and in effect from the 
intolerance of the ages of faith, when prince and people 
were members of one religion, and all were agreed that 
no other could be permitted in the State. Every heresy 
that arose in the Middle Ages involved revolutionary 
consequences, and would inevitably have overthrown State 
and society, as well as Church, wherever it prevailed. 
The Albigenses, who provoked the cruel legislation against 
heretics, and who were exterminated by fire and sword, 
were the Socialists of those days. They assailed the 
fundamental institutions of society, marriage, family, and 
property, and their triumph would have plunged Europe 
into the barbarism and licence of pagan times. The 
principles of the Waldenses and the Lollards were likewise 
incompatible with European civilisation. In those days 
the law relating to religion was the same for all. The 
Pope as well as the king would have lost his crown if he 
had fallen into heresy. During a thousand years, from 
the fall of Rome to the appearance of Luther, no Catholic 
prince ever made an attempt to introduce a new religion 
into his dominions, or to abandon the old. But the 
Reformation taught that this was the supreme duty of 
princes ; whilst Luther declared that in matters of faith 
the individual is above every authority, and that a child 
could understand the Scriptures better than Popes or 
Councils, he taught at the same time, with an inconsistency 
which he never attempted to remove, that it is the duty 
of the civil power to exterminate popery, to set up the 
Gospel, and to suppress every other religion. 


The result was a despotism such as the world had 
never seen. It was worse than the Byzantine system; 
for there no attempt was made to change the faith of the 
people. The Protestant princes exercised an ecclesiastical 
authority more arbitrary than the Pope had ever possessed ; 
for the papal authority can only be used to maintain 
an existing doctrine, whilst theirs was aggressive and 
wholly unlimited. Possessing the power to command, 
and to alter in religion, they naturally acquired by 
degrees a corresponding absolutism in the civil order. 
The consistories, the office by which the sovereign ruled 
the Church, were the commencement of bureaucratic 
centralisation. A great lawyer of those days says, that 
after the treaties of Westphalia had recognised the 
territorial supremacy over religion, the business of 
administration in the German States increased tenfold. 
Whilst that system remained in its integrity, there could 
be no peaceful neighbourhood between Catholics and 
Protestants. From this point of view, the protest of 
the Pope was entirely justified. So far from having 
been made in the spirit of the mediaeval authority, which 
would have been fatal to the work of the Congress, 
it was never used by any Catholic prince to invalidate 
the treaties. They took advantage of the law in their 
own territories to exercise the jus reformandi. It was 
not possible for them to tolerate a body which still 
refused to tolerate the Catholic religion by the side of 
its own, which accordingly eradicated it wherever it had 
the means, and whose theory made the existence of every 
religion depend on the power and the will of the 
sovereign. A system which so resolutely denied that 
two religions could coexist in the same State, put every 
attempt at mutual toleration out of the question. The 
Reformation was a great movement against the freedom 
of conscience an effprt to subject it to a new authority, 
the arbitrary initiative of a prince who might differ in 
religion from all his subjects. The extermination of 
obstinate Catholics was a matter of course ; Melanchthon 
insisted that the Anabaptists should be put to death, 


and Beza was of opinion that Anti-Trinitarians ought to 
be executed, even after recantation. But no Lutheran 
could complain when the secular arm converted him into 
a Calvinist "Your conscience is in error," he would 
say, "but under the circumstances you are not only 
justified, but compelled, on my own principles, to act 
as you do." l 

The resistance of the Catholic Governments to the 
progress of a religion which announced that it would 
destroy them as soon as it had the power, was an 
instinct of self-preservation. No Protestant divine denied 
or disguised the truth that his party sought the destruc- 
tion of Catholicism, and would accomplish it whenever 
they could The Calvinists, with their usual fearless 
consistency, held that as civil and ecclesiastical power 
must be in the same hands, no prince had any right to 
govern who did not belong to them. Even in the Low 
Countries, where other sects were free, and the notion 
of unify abandoned, the Catholics were oppressed 

This new and aggressive intolerance infected even 
Catholic countries, where there was neither, as in Spain, 
religious unity to be preserved; nor, as in Austria, a 
menacing danger to be resisted For in Spain the 
persecution of the Protestants might be defended on 
the mediaeval principle of unity, whilst under Ferdinand 
II. it was provoked in the hereditary dominions by the 
imminent peril which threatened to dethrone the monarch, 
and to ruin every faithful Catholic But in France the 
Protestant doctrine that every good subject must follow 
the religion of his king grew out of the intensity of 
personal absolutism. At the revocation of the Edict of 
Nantes, the official argument was the will of the sovereign 
an argument which in Germany had reigned so 

isolate as 1791 Pius VL wrote : Discrimen intercept inter homines, qui 
extra gremimn Ecclesiae semper fuenmt, quales snnt Infideles atque Judad, 
atque inter flics qui se Ecclesiae ipsi per susceptum baptism! sacaamentam 
subjeceront Primi enim coastringi ad cathollcam obedientiam non debent, 
contra vero alter! rant coge&di." If this theory had, like that of the 
Protestants, been pat in practice by the Government, it would have furnished 
the Protestants with an argument precisely sumTar to that by which the Catholics 
justified the severity they exercised towards them. 


triumphantly that a single town, which had ten times 
changed masters, changed its religion ten times in a 
century. Bayle justly reproaches the Catholic clergy 
of France with having permitted, and even approved, 
a proceeding so directly contrary to the spirit of their 
religion, and to the wishes of the Pope. A convert, who 
wrote a book to prove that Huguenots were in conscience 
bound to obey the royal edict which proscribed their 
worship, met with applause a hundred years later. This 
fault of the French clergy was expiated in the blood of 
their successors. 

The excess of evil led to its gradual cure. In 
England Protestantism lost its vigour after the victory 
over the Catholic dynasty ; religion faded away, and with 
it that religious zeal which leads to persecution : when 
the religious antagonism was no longer kept alive by a 
political controversy, the sense of right and the spirit of 
freedom which belongs to the Anglo-Saxon race accom- 
plished the work which indifference had begun. In 
Germany the vitality of the Lutheran theology expired 
after it had lasted for about two hundred years. The 
intellectual contradictions and the social consequences of 
the system had become intolerable to the German mind. 
Rationalism had begun to prevail, when Frederick II. 
declared that his subjects should work out their salvation 
in their own way. That generation of men, who looked 
with contempt on religious zeal, looked with horror on 
religious persecution. The Catholic Church, which had 
never taught that princes are supreme over the religion 
of their subjects, could have no difficulty in going along 
with public opinion when it disapproved of compulsion 
in matters of conscience. It was natural that in the new 
order of things, when Christendom had lost its unity, and 
Protestantism its violence, she should revert to the 
position she occupied of old, when she admitted other 
religions to equal rights with herself, and when men like 
St Ambrose, St Martin, and St Leo deprecated the use 
of violence against heretics. Nevertheless, as the preserva- 
tion of morality depends on the preservation of faith, 


both alike are in the interest and within the competence 
of the State. The Church of her own strength is not 
strong enough to resist the advance of heresy and un- 
belief. Those enemies find an auxiliary in the breast of 
every man whose weakness and whose passions repel him 
from a Church which imposes such onerous duties on her 
members. But it is neither possible to define the con- 
ditions without which liberty must be fatal to the State, 
nor the limits beyond which protection and repression 
become tyrannical, and provoke a reaction more terrible 
than the indifference of the civil power. The events of 
the last hundred years have tended in most places to 
mingle Protestants and Catholics together, and to break 
down the social and political lines of demarcation between 
them ; and time will show the providential design which 
has brought about this great change. 

These are the subjects treated in the first two 
chapters on "The Church and the Nations," and on the 
Papacy in connection with the universality of Catholicism, 
as contrasted with the national and political dependence 
of heresy. The two following chapters pursue the topic 
farther in a general historical retrospect, which increases 
in interest and importance as it proceeds from the social 
to the religious purpose and influence of the Papacy, and 
from the past to the present time. The third chapter, 
" The Churches and Civil Liberty," examines the effects 
of Protestantism on civil society. The fourth, entitled 
"The Churches without a Pope," considers the actual 
theological and religious fruits of separation from the 
visible Head of the Church. 

The independence of the Church, through that of her 
Supreme Pontiff, is as nearly connected with political as 
with religious liberty, since the ecclesiastical system which 
rejects the Pope logically leads to arbitrary power. 
Throughout the north of Europe in Sweden and Den- 
mark, in Mecklenburg and Pomerania, in Prussia, Saxony, 
and Brunswick the power which the Reformation gave 
to the State introduced an unmitigated despotism. Every 
security was removed which protected the people against 


the abuse of the sovereign power, and the lower against 
the oppression of the upper class. The crown became, 
sooner or later, despotic ; the peasantry, by a long series 
of enactments, extending to the end of the seventeeth 
century, was reduced to servitude ; the population grew 
scanty, and much of the land went out of cultivation. All 
this is related by the Protestant historians and divines, 
not in the tone of reluctant admission, but with patriotic 
indignation, commensurate with the horrors of the truth. 
In all these countries Lutheran unity subsisted. If 
Calvinism had ever succeeded in obtaining an equal 
predominance in the Netherlands, the power of the House 
of Orange would have become as despotic as that of the 
Danish or the Prussian sovereigns. But its triumph was 
impeded by sects, and by the presence of a large Catholic 
minority, destitute indeed of political rights or religious 
freedom, but for that very reason removed from the con- 
flicts of parties, and therefore an element of conservatism, 
and a natural ally of those who resisted the ambition of 
the Stadtholders. The absence of religious unify baffled 
their attempts to establish arbitrary power on the victory 
of Calvinism, and upheld, in conjunction with the brilliant 
policy abroad, a portion of the ancient freedom. In 
Scotland, the other home of pure Calvinism, where 
intolerance and religious tyranny reached a pitch equalled 
only among the Puritans in America, the perpetual 
troubles hindered the settlement of a fixed political 
system, and the restoration of order after the union 
with England stripped the Presbyterian system of its ex- 
clusive supremacy, and opened the way for tolerance and 

Although the political spirit of Anglicanism was as 
despotic as that of every other Protestant system, circum- 
stances prevented its full development. The Catholic 
Church had bestowed on the English the great elements 
of their political prosperity, the charter of their liberties, 
the fusion of the races, and the abolition of villeinage, 
that is, personal and general freedom, and national unity. 
Hence the people were so thoroughly impregnated with 


Catholicism that the Reformation was imposed on them 
by foreign troops in spite of an armed resistance; and the 
imported manufacture of Geneva remained so strange and 
foreign to them, that no English divine of the sixteenth 
century enriched it with a single original idea. The new 
Church, unlike those of the Continent, was the result of 
an endeavour to conciliate the Catholic disposition of the 
people, by preserving as far as possible the externals to 
which they were attached ; whilst the queen who was a 
Protestant rather by policy than by conviction desired 
no greater change than was necessary for her purpose: 
But the divines whom she placed at the head of the new 
Church were strict Calvinists, and differed from the 
Puritans only in their submission to the court The 
rapidly declining Catholic party accepted Anglicanism as 
the lesser evil ; while zealous Protestants deemed that the 
outward forms ought to correspond to the inward sub- 
stance, and that Calvinistic doctrines required a Calvinistic 
constitutioa Until the end of the century there was no 
Anglican theology ; and the attempt to devise a system 
in harmony with the peculiar scheme and design of the 
institution, began with Hooker. The monarch was ab- 
solute master in the Church, which had been established 
as an instrument of royal influence; and the divines 
acknowledged his right by the theory of passive obedience. 
The consistent section of the Calvinists was won over, for 
a time, by the share which the gentry obtained in the 
spoils of the Church, and by the welcome concession of 
the penal laws against her, until at last they found that 
they had in their intolerance been forging chains for them- 
selves. One thing alone, which our national jurists had 
recognised in the fifteenth century as the cause and the 
sign of our superiority over foreign States the exclusion 
of the Roman code, and the unbroken preservation of the 
common law kept England from sinking beneath a 
despotism as oppressive as that of France or Sweden. 

As the Anglican Church under James and Charles was 
the bulwark of arbitrary power, the popular resistance 
took the form of ecclesiastical opposition. The Church 


continued to be so thoroughly committed to the principle 
of unconditional submission to the power from which it 
derived its existence, that James II. could reckon on this 
servile spirit as a means of effecting the subversion of the 
Establishment; and Defoe reproached the bishops with 
having by their flattery led on the king, whom they aban- 
doned in the moment of his need. The Revolution, which 
reduced the royal prerogative, removed the oppressiveness 
of the royal supremacy. The Established Church was 
not emancipated from the crown, but the Nonconformists 
were emancipated from the tyranny of the Established 
Church. Protestantism, which in the period of its power 
dragged down by its servility the liberties of the nation, 
did afterwards, in its decay and disorganisation, by the 
surrender of its dogmatic as well as of its political prin- 
ciple, promote their recovery and development It lost 
its oppressiveness in proportion as it lost its strength, and 
it ceased to be tyrannical when divines had been forced 
to give up its fundamental doctrine, and when its unity 
had been dissolved by the sects. The revival of those 
liberties which, in the Middle Ages, had taken root under 
the influence of the Church, coincided with the progress 
of the Protestant sects, and with the decay of the penal 
laws. The contrast between the political character of 
those countries in which Protestantism integrally prevailed, 
and that of those in which it was divided against itself, 
and could neither establish its system nor work out its 
consequences, is as strongly marked as the contrast 
between the politics of Catholic times and those which 
were introduced by the Reformation. The evil which it 
wrought in its strength was turned to good by its decline. 
Such is the sketch of the effects of the Protestant 
apostasy in the political order, considered chiefly in rela- 
tion to the absence of a supreme ecclesiastical authority 
independent of political control. It would require far 
more space to exhibit the positive influence of heretical 
principles on the social foundations of political life ; and 
the picture would not be complete without showing the 
contrast exhibited by Catholic States, and tracing their 


passage from the mediaeval system under the influence of 
the reaction against the Reformation. The third chapter 
covers only a portion of this extensive subject; but 
it shows the action of the new mode of ecclesiastical 
government upon the civil order, and proves that the 
importance of the Papacy is not confined to its religious 
sphere. It thus prepares the way for the subject discussed 
in the fourth chapter, the most comprehensive and 
elaborate in the book 

Dr. Dollinger begins his survey of the churches that 
have renounced the Pope with those of the Eastern schism. 
The Patriarch of Constantinople, whose ecclesiastical 
authority is enormous, and whose opportunities of extort- 
ing money are so great that he is generally deposed at 
the end of two or three years, in order that many may 
succeed each other in the enjoyment of such advantages, 
serves not as a protection, but as an instrument for the 
oppression of the Christians. The Greek clergy have 
been the chief means by which the Turks have kept down 
both the Greek and the Slavonic population, and the 
Slavs are by degrees throwing off their influence. Sub- 
mission to the civil power is so natural in communities 
separated from the Universal Church, that the Greeks 
look up to the Turkish authorities as arbiters in ecclesias- 
tical matters. When there was a dispute between Greeks 
and Armenians respecting the mixture of water with the 
wine in the chalice, the question was referred for decision 
to the proper quarter, and the Reis Effendi decided that, 
wine being condemned by the Koran, water alone might 
be used. Yet to this pusillanimous and degenerate 
Church belong the future of European Turkey, and the 
inheritance of the sinking power of the Turks. The 
vitality of the dominant race is nearly exhausted, and the 
Christians on whose pillage they live exceed them, in 
increasing proportions, in numbers, prosperity, intelligence, 
and enterprise. 

The Hellenic Church, obeying the general law of 
schismatical communities, has exchanged the authority 
of the patriarch for that of the crown, exercised through 


a synod, which is appointed on the Russian model by 
the Government The clergy, disabled for religious 
purposes by the necessity of providing for their families, 
have little education and little influence, and have no 
part in the revival of the Grecian intellect But the 
people are attached to their ecclesiastical system, not 
for religion's sake, for infidelity generally accompanies 
education, but as the defence of their nationality. 

In Russia the Catholic Church is considered heretical 
because of her teaching on the procession of the .Holy 
Ghost, and schismatical in consequence of the claims of the 
Pope. In the doctrine of purgatory there is no essential 
difference; and on this point an understanding could 
easily be arrived at, if none had an interest in widening 
the breach. In the seventeenth century, the Russian 
Church retained so much independence that the Metro- 
politan of Kiev could hold in check the power of the 
Czar, and the clergy were the mediators between the 
people and the nobles or the crown. This influence was 
swept away by the despotism of Peter the Great ; and 
under Catherine II. the property of the Church was 
annexed to the crown lands, in order, it was said, to 
relieve the clergy of the burden of administration. Yet 
even now the Protestant doctrine that the sovereign is 
supreme in all matters of religion has not penetrated 
among the Russians. But though the Czar does not 
possess this authority over the national Church, of which 
he i a member, the Protestant system has conceded it 
to him in the Baltic provinces. Not only are all children 
of mixed marriages between Protestants and schismatics 
brought up in the religion of the latter, by which the 
gradual decline of Protcstanism is provided for, but con- 
versions to Protcstanfcm, even of Jews, Mohammedans, 
and heathens, are forbidden; and, in all questions of 
doctrine or of liturgy, the last appeal is to the emperor. 
The religious despotism usually associated with the 
Russian monarchy subsists only for the Protestants. 

The Russian Church is dumb ; the congregation does 
not sing;, the priest does not preach. The people have 


no prayer-books, and are therefore confined to the 
narrow circle of their own religious ideas. Against the 
cloud of superstition which naturally gathers in a religion 
of ceremonies, destitute of the means of keeping alive or 
cultivating the religious sentiments of the people, there 
is no resource. In spite of the degeneracy of their 
clergy, which they are unable to fed, the Russians cling 
with patriotic affection to their Church, and identify its 
progress and prosperity with the increase of their empire. 
As it is an exclusively national institution, every war 
may become a war of religion, and it is the attachment 
to the Church which creates the longing and the claim 
to possess the city from which it came. From the Church 
the empire derives its tendency to expand, and the 
Czar the hopes of that universal dominion which was 
promised to him by the Synod of Moscow in 1619, and 
for which a prayer was then appointed The schismatical 
clergy of Eastern Europe are the channel of Russian 
influence, the pioneers of Russian aggression. The 
political dependence of the Church corresponds to its 
political influence ; subserviency is the condition of the 
power it possesses. The certificate of Easter confession 
and communion is required for every civil act, and is 
consequently an object of traffic. In like manner, the 
confessor is bound to betray to the police all the secrets 
of confession which affect the interest of the Government 
In this deplorable state of corruption, servitude, and 
decay within, and of threatening hostility to Christian 
civilisation abroad, the Russian Church pays the penalty 
of its Byzantine descent 

The Established Church and the sects in England 
furnish few opportunities of treating points which would 
be new to our readers. Perhaps the most suggestive 
portion is the description of the effects of Protestantism 
on the character and condition of the people. The 
plunder and oppression of the poor has everywhere 
followed the plunder of the Church, which was the 
gukrdian and refuge of the poor. The charity of the 
CatMic clergy aimed not merely at relieving, but at 


preventing poverty. It was their object not only to give 
alms, but to give to the lower orders the means of 
obtaining a livelihood. The Reformation at once checked 
alms-giving ; so that, Selden says, in places where twenty 
pounds a year had been distributed formerly, not a 
handful of meal was given away in his time, for the 
wedded clergy could not afford it The confiscation of 
the lands where thousands had tilled the soil under the 
shadow of the monastery or the Church, was followed 
by a new system of cultivation, which deprived the 
peasants of their homes. The sheep, men said, were 
the cause of all the woe ; and whole towns were pulled 
down to make room for them. The prelates of the 
sixteenth century lament the decline of charity since the 
Catholic times; and a divine attributed the growing 
selfishness and harshness to the doctrine of justification 
by faith. The alteration in the condition of the poor 
was followed by severe enactments against vagrancy; 
and the Protestant legislature, after creating a proletariate, 
treated it as a crime; The conversion of Sunday into 
a Jewish Sabbath cut off the holiday amusements and 
soured the cheerfulness of the population. Music, sing- 
ing, and dancing, the favourite relaxation of a contented 
people, disappeared, and, especially after the war in the 
Low Countries, drunkenness began to prevail among a 
nation which in earlier times had been reckoned the 
most sober of Northern Europe, The institution which 
introduced these changes has become a State, not a 
national Church, whose services are more attended by 
the rich than by the poor. 

After describing the various parties in the Anglican 
system, the decay of its divinity, and the general aversion 
to theological research, Dollinger concludes that its dis- 
solution is a question of time. No State Church can long 
subsist fa modern society which professes the religion of 
the minority. Whilst the want of a definite system of 
doctrine, allowing every clergyman to be the mouthpiece, 
not of a church, but of a party, drives an increasing 
portion of the people to join the sects which have a fixed 


doctrine and allow less independence tp their preachers, 
the great danger which menaces the Church comes from 
the State itself. The progress of dissent and of democracy 
in the legislature will make the Church more and more 
entirely dependent on the will of the majority, and will 
drive the best men from the communion of a servile 
establishment, The rise and fortunes of Methodism are 
related with peculiar predilection by the author, who 
speaks of John Wesley as the greatest intellect English 
Protestantism has produced, next to Baxter. 

The first characteristic of Scottish Fresbyterianism is 
the absence of a theology. The only considerable divines 
that have appeared in Scotland since the Reformation, 
Leighton and Forbes, were prelates of the Episcopal 
Church. Calvinism was unable to produce a the6logical 
literature, in spite of the influence of English writers, of 
the example of Holland, and of the great natural in- 
telligence of the Scots. "Their theology," says a dis- 
tinguished Lutheran divine, "possesses no system of 
Christian ethics." This Dollinger attributes to the strict- 
ness with which they have held to the doctrine of impu- 
tation, which is incompatible with any system of moral 
theology. In other countries it was the same; where 
that doctrine prevailed, there was no ethical system, and 
where ethics were cultivated, the doctrine was abandoned. 
For a century after Luther, no moral theology was 
written in Germany. The first who attempted it, Calixtus, 
gave up the Lutheran doctrine. The Dutch historians of 
Calvinism in the Netherlands record, in like manner, that 
there the dread of a collision with the dogma silenced the 
teaching of ethics both in literature and at the universities. 
Accordingly, all the great Protestant moralists were 
opposed to the Protestant doctrine of justification. In 
Scotland the intellectual lethargy of churchmen is not 
confined to the department of ethics ; and Presbyterianism 
only prolongs its existence by suppressing theological 
writing, and by concealing the contradictions which would 
otherwise bring down on the clergy the contempt of their 


Whilst Scotland has clung to the original dogma of 
Calvin, at the price of complete theological stagnation, 
the Dutch Church has lost its primitive orthodoxy in the 
progress of theological learning. Not one of the several 
schools into which the clergy of the Netherlands are 
divided has remained faithful to the five articles of the 
synod of Dortrccht, which still command so extensive an 
allegiance in Great Britain and America. The con- 
servative party, headed by the statesman and historian, 
Grocn van Prinsterer, who holds fast to the theology 
which is so closely interwoven with the history of his 
country and with the fortunes of the reigning house, and 
who invokes the aid of the secular arm in support of pure 
Calvinism, is not represented at the universities. For all 
the Dutch divines know that the system cannot be revived 
without sacrificing the theological activity by which it has 
been extinguished. The old confessional writings have 
lost their authority; and the general synod of 1854 
decided that, " as it is impossible to reconcile all opinions 
and wishes, even in the shortest confession, the Church 
tolerates divergence from the symbolical books." The 
only unity, says Grocn, consists in this, that all the 
preachers are paid out of the same fund. The bulk of 
the clergy arc Arrninians or Socinians. From the 
spectacle of the Dutch Church, Dr. Dollingcr comes to 
the following result : first, that without a code of doctrine 
laid down in authoritative confessions of faith, the Church 
cannot endure ; secondly, that the old confessional writ- 
ing* cannot be maintained, and arc universally given up ; 
and thirdly, that it is impossible to draw up new ones. 

French Protestantism suffered less from the Revolution 
than the Catholic Church, and was treated with tender- 
ness, and sometimes with favour. The dissolution of 
Continental Protestantism began in France. Before their 
expulsion in 1685, the French divines had cast off the 
yoke of the Dortrccht articles, and in their exile they 
afterwards promoted the decline of Calvinism in the 
Netherlands. The old Calvinistic tradition has never 
been restored, the works of the early writers are forgotten, 



no new theological literature has arisen, and the influence 
of Germany has borne no considerable fruit The 
evangelical party, or Methodists, as they are called, are 
accused by the rest of being the cause of their present 
melancholy state. The rationalism of the indifffrens 
generally prevails among the clergy, either in the shape 
of the naturalism of the eighteenth century (Coquerel), or 
in the more advanced form of modern criticism, as it is 
carried out by the faculty of Strasburg, with the aid of 
German infidelity. Payment by the State and hatred of 
Catholicism are the only common marks of French 
Protestant divines. They have no doctrine, no discipline, 
no symbol, no theology. Nobody can define the principle 
or the limits of their community. 

The Calvinism of Switzerland has been ruined in its 
doctrine by the progress of theology > and in its constitu- 
tion by the progress of democracy. In Geneva the 
Church of Calvin fell in the revolutions of 1841 and 
1 846. The symbolical books are abolished ; the doctrine 
is based on die Bible ; but the right of free inquiry is 
granted to all; the ruling body consists of laymen. 
"The faith of our fathers," says Merle d'Aubigni, cc counts 
but a small group of adherents amongst us/ 1 In the 
canton of Vaud, where the whole ecclesiastical power 
was in the hands of the Government, the yoke of the 
democracy became insupportable, and the excellent writer, 
Vinet, seceded with 180 ministers out of 250. The 
people of Berne are among the most bitter enemies of 
Catholicism in Europe. Their fanaticism crushed the 
Sonderbund ; but the recoil drove them towards infidelity, 
and hastened the decrease of devotion and of the influence 
of the clergy. None of the German Swiss, and few of 
the French, retain in its purity the system of Calvin. 
The unbelief of the clergy lays the Church open to the 
attacks of a Caesaro-papistic democracy. A Swiss 
Protestant divine said recently : " Only a Church with a 
Catholic organisation could have maintained itself without 
a most extraordinary descent of the Holy Spirit against 
the assaults of Rationalism." " What we want/ says 


another, "in order to have a free Church, is pastors and 
flocks ; dogs and wolves there are in plenty." 

In America it is rare to find people who are openly 
irreligious. Except some of the Germans, all Protestants 
generally admit the truth of Christianity and the authority 
of Scripture. But above half of the American population 
belongs to no particular sect, and performs no religious 
functions. This is the result of the voluntary principle^ 
of the dominion of the sects, and of the absence of an 
established Church, to receive each individual from his 
birth, to adopt him by baptism, and to bring him up in 
the atmosphere of a religious life. The majority of men 
will naturally take refuge in indifference and neutrality 
from the conflict of opinions, and will persuade themselves 
that where there are so many competitors, none can be 
the lawful spouse. Yet there is a blessing on everything 
that is Christian, which can never be entirely effaced or 
converted into a cutse. Whatever the imperfections of the 
form in which it exists, the errors mixed up with it, or the 
degrading influence of human passion, Christianity never 
ceases to work immeasurable social good. But the great 
theological characteristic of American Protestantism is the 
absence of the notion of the Church. The prevailing 
belief is, that in times past there was always a war of 
opinions and of parties, that there never was one unbroken 
vessel, and that it is necessary, therefore, to put up with 
fragments, one of which is nearly as good as another. 
Sectarianism, it is vaguely supposed, is the normal 
condition of religion. Now a sect is, by its very nature, 
instinctively adverse to a scientific theology ; it feels that 
it is short-lived, without a history, and unconnected with 
the main stream of ecclesiastical progress, and it is 
inspired .with hatred and with contempt for the past, for 
its teaching and its writings. Practically, sectaries hold 
that a tradition is the more surely to be rejected the older 
it is, and the more valuable in proportion to. the lateness 
of its origin. As a consequence of the want of roots in 
the past, and of the thirst for novelty, the history of those 
sects which are not sunk in lethargy consists in sudden 


transitions to opposite extremes. In the religious world 
ill weeds grow apace ; and those communities which strike 
root, spring up, and extend most rapidly are the least 
durable and the least respectable. The sects of Europe 
were transplanted into America : but there the impatience 
of authority, which is the basis of social and political life, 
has produced in religion a variety and a multiplicity, of 
which Europe has no experience. 

Whilst these are the fruits of religious liberty and 
ecclesiastical independence among a people generally 
educated, the Danish monarchy exhibits unity of faith 
strictly maintained by keeping the people under the 
absolute control of the upper class, on whose behalf the 
Reformation was introduced, and in a state of ignorance 
corresponding to their oppression. Care was taken that 
they should not obtain religious instruction, and in the 
beginning of the eighteenth century the celebrated Bishop 
Pontoppidan says, " an almost heathen blindness pervades 
the land." About the same time the Norwegian prelates 
declared, in a petition to the King of Denmark : * If we 
except a few children of God, there is only this difference 
between us and our heathen ancestors, that we bear the 
name of Christians." The Danish Church has given no 
signs of life, and has shown no desire for independence 
since the Reformation ; and in return for this submissive- 
ness, the Government suppressed every tendency towards 
dissent Things were not altered when the tyranny of the 
nobles gave way to the tyranny of the crown ; but when 
the revolution of 1848 had given the State a democratic 
basis, its confessional character was abrogated, and whilst 
Lutheranism was declared the national religion, conformity 
was no longer exacted The king is still the head of the 
Church, and is the only man in Denmark who must be a 
Lutheran. No form of ecclesiastical government suitable 
to the new order of things has yet been devised, and the 
majority prefer to remain in the present provisional state, 
subject to the will of a Parliament, not one member of 
which need belong to the Church which it governs. 
Among the clergy, those who are not Rationalists follow 


the lead of Grundtvig. During many years this able 
man has conducted an incessant resistance against the 
progress of unbelief and of the German influence, and 
against the Lutheran system, the royal supremacy, and 
the parochial constitution. Not unlike the Tractarians, 
he desires the liberty of establishing a system which shall 
exclude Lutheranism, Rationalism, and Erastianism ; and 
he has united in his school nearly all who profess positive 
Christianity in Denmark. In Copenhagen, out of 1 50,000 
inhabitants, only 6000 go regularly to church. In Altona, 
there is but one church for 45,000 people. In Schleswig 
the churches are few and empty. " The great evil," says 
a Schleswig divine, "is not the oppression which falls 
on the German tongue, but the irreligion and consequent 
demoralisation which Denmark has imported into 
Schleswig. A moral and religious tone is the exception, 
not the rule, among the Danish clergy." 

The theological literature of Sweden consists almost 
entirely of translations from the German. The clergy, by 
renouncing study, have escaped Rationalism, and remain 
faithful to the Lutheran system. The king is supreme in 
spirituals, and the Diet discusses and determines religious 
questions. The clergy, as one of the estates, has great 
political influence, but no ecclesiastical independence. No 
other Protestant clergy possesses equal privileges or less 
freedom. It is usual for the minister after the sermon to 
read out a number of trivial local announcements, some- 
times half an hour long ; and in a late Assembly the 
majority of the bishops pronounced in favour of retaining 
this custom, as none but old women and children would 
come to church for the service alone. 

In no other country in Europe is the strict Lutheran 
system preached but in Sweden. The doctrine is 
preserved, but religion is dead, and the Church is as silent 
and as peaceful as the churchyard. The Church is richly 
endowed; there are great universities, and Swedes are 
among the foremost in almost every branch of science, 
but no Swedish writer has ever done anything for religious 
thought The example of Denmark and its Rationalist 


clergy brought home to them the consequences of 
theological study. In one place the old system has been 
preserved, like a frail and delicate curiosity, by excluding 
the air of scientific inquiry, whilst in the other Lutheranism 
is decomposing under its influence. In Norway, where the 
clergy have no political representation, religious liberty was 
established in 1844. 

Throughout the north of Europe the helpless decline 
of Protestantism is betrayed by the numerical disproportion 
of preachers to the people. Norway, with a population 
of 1,500,000, thinly scattered over a very large territory, 
has 485 parishes, with an average of 3600 souls apiece. 
But the clergy are pluralisms, and as many as five parishes 
are often united under a single incumbent Holstein has 
only 192 preachers for an almost exclusively Lutheran 
population of 544,000. In Schleswig many parishes have 
been deserted because they were too poor to maintain 
a clergyman's family. Sometimes there are only two 
ministers for 13,000 persons. In the Baltic provinces the 
proportion is one to 4394. In this way the people have 
to bear the burden of a clergy with families to support 

The most brilliant and important part of this chapter 
is devoted to the state of Protestantism in the author's 
native country. He speaks with the greatest authority 
and effect when he comes near home, describes the 
opinions of men who have been his rivals in literature, or 
his adversaries in controversy, and touches on discussions 
which his own writings have influenced. There is a 
difference also in the tone. When he speaks of the state 
of other countries, with which he has made himself 
acquainted as a traveller, or through the writings of 
others, he preserves the calmness and objectivity of a 
historian, and adds few reflections to the simple de- 
scription of facts. But in approaching the scenes and the 
thoughts of his own country, the interests and the most 
immediate occupations of his own life, the familiarity of 
long experience gives greater confidence, warmth, and 
vigour to his touch ; the historian gives way to the divine, 
and the narrative sometimes slides into theology. Besides 


the position of the author, the difference of the subject 
justifies a change in the treatment The examination of 
Protestantism in the rest of the world pointed with 
monotonous uniformity to a single conclusion. Everywhere 
there was the same spectacle and the same alternative : 
cither religion sacrificed to the advancement of learning, 
or learning relinquished for the preservation of religion. 
Everywhere the same antagonism between intellectual 
progress and fidelity to the fundamental doctrines of 
Protestantism: either religion has become stark and 
stagnant in States which protect unity by the proscription 
of knowledge, or the progress of thought and inquiry has 
undermined belief in the Protestant system, and driven 
its professors from one untenable position to another, or 
the ascendency of the sectarian spirit has been equally 
fatal to its dogmatic integrity and to its intellectual 
development But in the home of the Reformation a 
league has been concluded in our time between theology 
and religion, and many schools of Protestant divines are 
labouring > with a vast expenditure of ability and learning, 
to devise, or to restore, with the aid of theological science, 
a system of positive Christianity. Into this great scene 
of intellectual exertion and doctrinal confusion the 
leading adversary of Protestantism in Germany conducts 
his readers, not without sympathy for the high aims which 
inspire the movement, but with the almost triumphant 
security which belongs to a Church possessing an acknow- 
ledged authority, a definite organisation, and a system 
brought down by tradition from the apostolic age. 
Passing by the schools of infidelity, which have no bearing 
on the topic of his work, he addresses himself to the 
believing Protestantism of Germany, and considers its 
efforts to obtain a position which may enable it to resist 
unbelief without involving submission to the Church. 

The character of Luther separates the German 
Protestants from those of other countries. His was the 
master-spirit, in whom his contemporaries beheld the 
incarnation of the genius of their nation. In the strong 
lineaments of his character they recognised, in heroic 


proportions, the reflection of their own ; and thus his 
name has survived, not merely as that of a great man, the 
mightiest of his age, but as the type of a whole period in 
the history of the German people, the centre of a new- 
world of ideas, the personification of those religious and 
ethical opinions which the country followed, and whose 
influence even their adversaries could not escape. His 
writings have long ceased to be popular, and are read only 
as monuments of history ; but the memory of his person 
has not yet grown dim. His name is still a power in his 
own country, and from its magic the Protestant doctrine 
derives a portion of its life. In other countries men dislike 
to be described by the name of the founder of their 
religious system, but in Germany and Sweden there are 
thousands who are proud of the name of Lutheran. 

The results of his system prevail in the more influential 
and intelligent classes, and penetrate the mass of the 
modern literature of Germany. The Reformation had 
introduced the notion that Christianity was a failure, and 
had brought far more suffering than blessings on mankind ; 
and the consequences of that movement were not calculated 
to impress educated men with the belief that things were 
changed for the better, or that the reformers had achieved 
the work in which the Apostles were unsuccessful. Thus 
an atmosphere of unbelief and of contempt for every- 
thing Christian gradually arose, and Paganism appeared 
more cheerful, more human, and more poetical than the 
repulsive Galilean doctrine of holiness and privation. 
This spirit still governs the educated class. Christianity 
is abominated both in life and in literature, even under 
the form of believing Protestantism. 

In Germany theological study and the Lutheran system 
subsisted for two centuries together. The controversies 
that arose from time to time developed the theory, but 
brought out by degrees its inward contradictions. The 
danger of biblical studies was well understood, and the 
Scriptures were almost universally excluded from the 
universities in the seventeenth century ; but in the middle 
of the eighteenth Bengel revived the study of the Bible, 


and the dissolution of the Lutheran doctrine began. The 
rise of historical learning hastened the process. Frederic 
the Great says of himself, that the notion that the history 
of the Church is a drama, conducted by rogues and 
hypocrites, at the expense of the deceived masses, was 
the real cause of his contempt for the Christian religion. 
The Lutheran theology taught, that after the Apostolic 
age God withdrew from the Church, and abandoned to 
the devil the office which, according to the Gospel, was 
reserved for the Holy Spirit This diabolical millennium 
lasted till the appearance of Luther. As soon, therefore, 
as the reverence for the symbolical books began to wane, 
the belief in the divine foundation departed with the 
belief in the divine guidance of the Church, and the root 
was judged by the stem, the beginning by the continuation. 
As research went on, unfettered now by the authorities 
of the sixteenth century, the clergy became Rationalists, 
and stone after stone of the temple was carried away by 
its own priests. The infidelity which at the same time 
flourished in France, did not; on the whole, infect the 
priesthood. But in Germany it was the divines who 
destroyed religion, the pastors who impelled their flocks 
to renounce the Christian faith. 

In 1817 the Prussian Union added a new Church to 
the two original forms of Protestantism. But strict 
Calvinism is nearly extinct in Germany, and the old 
Lutheran Church itself has almost disappeared. It sub- 
sists, not in any definite reality, but only in the aspira- 
tions of certain divines and jurists. The purpose of the 
union was to bring together, in religious communion, the 
reigning family of Prussia, which had adopted Calvinism 
in 1613, and the vast Lutheran majority among the 
people. It was to be, in the words of the king, a merely 
ritual union, not an amalgamation of dogmas. In some 
places there was resistance, which was put down by 
military execution. Some thousands emigrated to 
America ; but the public press applauded the measures, 
and there was no general indignation at their severity. 
The Lutherans justly perceived that the union would 


promote religious indifference; but at the accession of 
the late king there came a change; religious faith was 
once more sought after, believing professors were appointed 
in almost all the German universities, after the example 
of Prussia ; Jena and Giessen alone continued to be seats 
of Rationalism. As soon as theology had begun to 
recover a more religious and Christian character, two very 
divergent tendencies manifested themselves. Among the 
disciples of Schleiermacher and of Neander a school of 
unionists arose who attempted a conciliatory intermediate 
theology. At the same time a strictly Lutheran theology 
flourished at the universities of Erlangen, Leipzig, 
Rostock, and Dorpat, which sought to revive the doctrine 
of the sixteenth century, clothed in the language of the 
nineteenth. But for men versed in Scripture theology this 
was an impossible enterprise, and it was abandoned by 
the divines to a number of parochial clergymen, who are 
represented in literature by Rudelbach, and who claim to 
be the only surviving Protestants whom Luther would 
acknowledge as his sons and the heirs of his spirit 

The Lutheran divines and scholars formed the new 
Lutheran party, 1 whose most illustrious lay champion was 
the celebrated StahL They profess the Lutheran doctrine 
of justification, but reject the notion of the invisible 
Church and the universal priesthood. Holding to the 
divine institution of the offices of the Church, in opposi- 
tion to the view which refers them to the congregation, 
they are led to assume a sacrament of orders, and to 
express opinions on ordination, sacraments, and sacrifice, 
which involve them in the imputation of Puseyism, or 
even of Catholicism. As they remain for the most part 
in the State Church, there is an open war between their 
confessional spirit and the syncretism of the union. In 
1857 the Evangelical Alliance met at Berlin in order to 
strengthen the unionist principles, and to testify against 
these Pharisees. Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians 
sects connected by nothing but a common hatred of 

1 The works contained in Clark's library of translations are chiefly of this 


Catholicism were greeted by the union divines as bone 
of their bone, and welcome allies in the contest with an 
exclusive Lutheranism and with Rome. The confusion in 
the minds of the people was increased by this spectacle. 
The union already implied that the dogma of the Lord's 
Supper, on which Lutherans and Calvinists disagree, was 
uncertain, and therefore not essential. The alliance of so 
many denominations added baptism to the list of things 
about which nothing is positively known. The author of 
this measure was Bunsen, who was full of the idea of 
uniting all Protestant sects in a union against the Catholic 
Church and catholicising tendencies. 

For the last fifteen years there has been an active 
agitation for the improvement of the Church among the 
Protestant divines. The first question that occupies and 
divides them is that of Church government and the royal 
Episcopate, which many deem the chief cause of the 
ecclesiastical decay. The late King of Prussia, a zealous 
and enlightened friend of the Protestant Church, declared 
that " the territorial system and the Episcopal authority 
of the sovereign are of such a nature that either of them 
would alone be enough to kill the Church if the Church 
was mortal," and that he longed to be able to abdicate 
his rights into the hands of the bishops. In other 
countries, as in Baden, a new system has been devised, 
which transfers political constitutionalism to the Church, 
and makes it a community, not of those who believe in 
Christ, but, in the words of the Government organ, of 
those who believe in a moral order. Hopes were enter- 
tained that the introduction of Synods would be an im- 
provement, and in 1856 and 1857 a beginning was made 
at Berlin ; but it was found that the existence of great 
evils and disorders in the Church, which had been a 
secret of the initiated, would be published to the world, 
and that government by majorities, the ecclesiastical 
democracy which was Bunsen's ideal, would soon destroy 
every vestige of Christianity. 

In their doctrinal and theological literature resides 
at the present day the strength and the renown of the 


Protestants; for a scientific Protestant theology exists 
only in Germany. The German Protestant Church is 
emphatically a Church of theologians ; they are its only 
authority, and, through the princes, Its supreme rulers. 
Its founder never really divested himself of the character 
of a professor, and the Church has never emancipated 
itself from the lecture-room: it teaches, and then dis- 
appears. Its hymns are not real hymns, but versified 
theological dissertations, or sermons in rhyme. Born of 
the union of princes with professors, it retains the distinct 
likeness of both its parents, not altogether harmoniously 
blended ; and when it is accused of worldliness, of paleness 
of thought, of being a police institution rather than a 
Church, that is no more than to say that the child cannot 
deny its parentage, 

Theology has become believing in Germany, but it is 
very far from being orthodox. No writer is true to the 
literal teaching of the symbolical books, and for a hundred 
years the pure doctrine of the sixteenth century has never 
been heard. No German divine could submit to the 
authority of the early articles and formulas without 
hypocrisy and violence to his conscience, and yet they 
have nothing else to appeal to. That the doctrine of 
justification by faith only is the principal substance of the 
symbolical writings, the centre of the antagonism against 
the Catholic Church, all are agreed. The neo-Lutherans 
proclaim it " the essence and treasure of the Reformation," 
" the doctrine of which every man must have a clear and 
vivid comprehension who would know anything of 
Christianity, "the banner which must be unfurled at 
least once in every sermon," "the permanent death that 
gnaws the bones of Catholics," " the standard by which 
the whole of the Gospel must be interpreted, and every 
obscure passage explained," and yet this article of a 
standing or falling Church, on the strength of which 
Protestants call themselves evangelical, is accepted by 
scarcely one of their more eminent divines, even among 
the Lutherans. The progress of biblical studies is too 
great to admit of a return to the doctrine which has been 


exploded by the advancement of religious learning. Dr. 
Dollinger gives a list (p. 430) of the names of the leading 
theologians, by all of whom it has been abandoned. Yet 
it was for the sake of this fundamental and essential 
doctrine that the epistle of St James was pronounced an 
epistle of straw, that the Augsburg Confession declared it 
to have been the belief of St Augustine, and that when 
the author of the Confession had for very shame omitted 
this falsehood in the .published edition, the passage was 
restored after his death. For its sake Luther deliberately 
altered the sense of several passages in the Bible, 
especially in the writings of St Paul To save this 
doctrine, which was unknown to all Christian antiquity, 
the breach was made with all ecclesiastical tradition, and 
the authority of the dogmatic testimony of the Church in 
every age was rejected. While the contradiction between 
the Lutheran doctrine and that of the first centuries was 
disguised before the laity, it was no secret among the 
Reformers. Melanchthon confessed to Brenz that in the 
Augsburg Confession he had lied. Luther admitted that 
his theory was new, and sought in consequence to destroy 
the authority of the early Fathers and Councils. Calvin 
declared that the system was unknown to tradition. All 
these men and their disciples, and the whole of the 
Lutheran and Calvinistic theology of the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries, professed to find their doctrine of 
imputation laid down distinctly in the Bible. The whole 
modern scientific theology of the Protestants rejects both 
the doctrine and the Lutheran exegesis of the passages in 
question. But it is the supreme evangelical principle, that 
the Scripture is perfectly clear and sufficient on all funda- 
mental points. Yet the point on which this great 
divergence subsists is a doctrine which is decisive for the 
existence of the Church, and most important in its 
practical influence on life. The whole edifice of the 
Protestant Church and theology reposes therefore on two 
principles, one material, the other formal the doctrine 
of imputation, and the sufficiency of the Bible. But the 
material principle is given up by exegesis and by dog- 


matic theology ; and as to the formal principle, for the 
sufficiency of the Bible, or even for the inspiration of the 
writings of the disciples of the Apostles, not the shadow 
of a scriptural argument can be adduced. The signifi- 
cance of this great fact is beginning to make its way. 
"Whilst Rationalism prevailed," says a famous Lutheran 
divine, " we could impute to its action that our churches 
were deserted and empty. But now that Christ crucified 
is everywhere preached, and no serious effect is to be 
observed, it is necessary to abandon this mistake, and not 
to conceal from ourselves that preaching is unable to 
revive religious life." 

The religious indifference of the educated classes is the 
chief security for the existence of the Protestant Church. 
If they were to take an interest in matters of worship and 
doctrine, and to inform themselves as to the present 
relation of theological science to the teaching of the 
pulpit, the day of discovery and exposure would come, 
and confidence in the Church would be at an end. The 
dishonesty of Luther in those very things on which the 
Reformation depended could not be concealed from them. 
In Prussia there was a conscientious clergyman who taught 
his parishioners Greek, and then showed them all the 
passages, especially in the Epistles of St Paul, which 
were intentionally altered in the translation. But one of 
the Protestant leaders impresses on the clergy the danger 
of allowing the people to know that which ought to be 
kept a secret among the learned. At most, he says, it 
may be necessary to admit that the translation is not 
perspicuous. The danger of this discovery does not, 
however, appear to be immediate, for no book is less 
familiar to the laity than the Bible. "There is scarcely 
one Christian family in a hundred," says Tholuck, "in 
which the Holy Scriptures are read." In the midst of 
this general downfall of Christianity, in spite of the great 
efforts of Protestants, some take refuge in the phrase of 
art invisible Church, some in a Church of the future. 
Whilst there exists a real, living, universal Church, with 
a settled system and means of salvation, the invisible 


Church is offered in her stead, wrapped up in the swaddling 
clothes of rhetoric, like the stone which Rhea gave her 
husband instead of the child. In a novel of Jean Paul, 
a Swedish clergyman is advised in the middle of winter 
to walk about with a bit of orange-sugar in his mouth, in 
order to realise with all his senses the sunny climes of 
the South. It requires* as much imagination to realise 
the Church by taking a "spiritual league" into one's 

Another acknowledgment, that the Church has become 
estranged from the people, and subsists only as a ruin of 
a past age, is the widely spread hope of a new Pentecost. 
Eminent theologians speak of it as the only conceivable 
salvation, though there is no such promise in Scripture, 
no example in history of a similar desire. They rest 
their only hope in a miracle, such as has not happened 
since the Apostles, and thereby confess that, in the normal 
process of religious life by which Christ has guided His 
Church till now, their cause is lost A symptom of the 
same despair is the rise of chiliastic aspirations, and the 
belief in the approaching end of the world. To this party 
belongs the present minister of public worship and 
education in Berlin. Shortly before his appointment he 
wrote: "Both Church and State must perish in their 
earthly forms, that the kingdom of Christ may be set up 
over all nations, that the bride of the Lamb, the perfect 
community, the new Jerusalem, may descend from heaven." 
Not long before this was published another Prussian 
statesman, Bunsen, had warned his Protestant readers to 
turn away from false prophets, who announce the end of 
the world because they have come to the end of their 
own wisdom. 

In the midst of this desperate weakness, although 
Catholics and Protestants are so mixed up with each other 
that toleration must soon be universal throughout 
Germany, the thoughts of the Protestants are yet not 
turned towards the Catholic Church; they still show a 
bitter animosity against her, and the reproach of Catholic 
tendencies has for twenty years been the strongest 


argument against every attempt to revive religion and 
worship. The attitude of Protestantism towards Rome, 
says Stahl, is that of the Borghese gladiator. To soften 
this spirit of animosity the only possible resource is to 
make it clear to all Protestants who still hold to 
Christianity, what their own internal condition is, and 
what they have come to by their rejection of the unity 
and the authority which the Catholic Church possesses in 
the Holy See. Having shown the value of the Papacy 
by the results which have ensued on its rejection, Dollinger 
proceeds, with the same truth and impartiality, to trace 
the events which have injured the influence and diminished 
the glory and attractiveness of the Holy See, and have 
converted that which should be the safeguard of its 
spiritual freedom into a calamity and a dishonour in the 
eyes of mankind. It seems as though he wished to point 
out, as the moral to be learnt from the present condition 
of the religious world, that there is a coincidence in time 
and in providential purpose between the exhaustion and 
the despair at which enlightened Protestantism has arrived, 
from the failure of every attempt to organise a form of 
church government, to save the people from infidelity, and 
to reconcile theological knowledge with their religious 
faith, between this and that great drama which, by 
destroying the bonds which linked the Church to an 
untenable system, is preparing the restoration of the Holy 
See to its former independence, and to its just influence 
over the minds of men. 

The Popes, after obtaining a virtual independence 
under the Byzantine sceptre, transferred their allegiance 
to the revived empire of the West The line between 
their authority and that of the emperor in Rome was 
never clearly drawn. It was a security for the freedom 
and regularity of the election, which was made by the lay 
as well as ecclesiastical dignitaries of the city, that it 
should be subject to the imperial ratification; but the 
remoteness of the emperors, and the inconvenience of 
delay, caused this rule to be often broken. This prosper- 
ous period did not long continue. When the dynasty of 


Charlemagne came to an end, the Roman clergy had no 
defence against the nobles, and the Romans did all that 
men could do to rain the Papacy. There was little 
remaining of the state which the Popes had formed in 
conjunction with the emperors. In the middle of the 
tenth century the Exarchate and the Pentapolis were in 
the power of Berengarius, and Rome in the hands of the 
Senator Alberic. Alberic, understanding that a secular 
principality could not last long, obtained the election of 
his son Octavian, who became Pope John XII. Otho the 
Great, who had restored the empire, and claimed to exercise 
its old prerogative, deposed the new Pope ; and when the 
Romans elected another, sent him also into exile beyond 
the Alps. For a whole century after this time there was 
no trace of freedom of election. Without the emperor, 
the Popes were in the hands of the Roman factions, and 
dependence on the emperor was better for the Church 
than dependence on the nobles. The Popes appointed 
under the influence of the prelates, who were the ecclesias- 
tical advisers of the Imperial Government, were preferable 
to the nominees of the Roman chiefs, who had no object 
or consideration but their own ambition, and were inclined 
to speculate on the worthlessness of their candidates. 
During the first half of the eleventh century they recovered 
their predominance, and the deliverance of the Church 
came once more from Germany. A succession of German 
Popes, named by the emperor, opened the way for the 
permanent reform which is associated with the name of 
Gregory VII. Up to this period the security of the 
freedom of the Holy See was the protection of the 
emperor, and Gregory was the last Pope who asked for 
the imperial confirmation. 

Between the middle of the ninth century and the 
middle of the eleventh the greater part of the Roman 
territory had passed into the hapds of laymen. Some por- 
tions were possessed by the emperor, some by the great 
Italian families, and the revenues of the Pope were derived 
from the tribute of his vasaals, Sylvester II. complains 
that this was very small, as the possessions of the Church 

2 A 


had been given away for very little. Besides the tribute, 
the vassals owed feudal service to the Pope; but the 
government was not in his hands, and the imperial suzer- 
ainty remained. The great families had obtained from 
the Popes of their making such extensive grants that there 
was little remaining, and Otho III. tried to make up for 
it by a new donation. The loss of the patrimonies in 
Southern Italy established a claim on the Norman con- 
querors, and they became papal vassals for the kingdom 
of Sicily. But throughout the twelfth century the Popes 
had no firm basis of their power in Italy. They were not 
always masters of Rome, and there was not a single pro- 
vincial town they could reckon on. Seven Popes in a 
hundred years sought a refuge in France ; two remained 
at Verona. The donation of Matilda was disputed by 
the emperors, and brought no material accession of terri- 
tory, until Innocent III., with his usual energy, secured to 
the Roman Church the south of Tuscany. He was the 
first Pope who governed a considerable territory, and 
became the real founder of the States of the Church. 
Before him, the Popes had possessions for which they 
claimed tribute and service, but no State that they admin- 
istered. Innocent obtained the submission of Benevento 
and Romagna. He left the towns to govern themselves 
by their own laws, demanding only military aid in case 
of need, and a small tribute, which was not always exacted ; 
Viterbo, for instance, paid nothing until the fifteenth 

The contest with Frederic II. stripped the Holy See 
of most of these acquisitions. In many cases its civil 
authority was no longer acknowledged ; in many it became 
a mere title of honour, while the real power had passed 
into the hands of the towns or of the nobles, sometimes 
into those of the bishops. Rudolph of Habsburg restored 
all that had been lost, and surrendered the imperial claims. 
But while the German influence was suspended, the influ- 
ence of France prevailed over the Papacy ; and during the 
exite at Avignon the Popes were as helpless as if they 
had possessed not an acre of their own in Italy. It was 


during their absence that the Italian Republics fell under 
the tyrannies, and their dominions were divided among 
a swarm of petty' princes. The famous expedition of 
Cardinal Albornoz put an 'end to these disorders. He 
recovered the territories of the Church, and became, by 
the JEgidian Constitutions, which survived for ages, 
the legislator of Romagna. In 1376 eighty towns 
rose up in the space of three days, declared themselves 
free, or recalled the princes whom Albornoz had expelled. 
Before they could be reduced, the schism broke out, and 
the Church learnt the consequences of the decline of 
the empire, and the disappearance of its advocacy and 
protectorate over the Holy See. Boniface IX. sold 
to the republics and the princes, for a sum of money 
and an annual tribute, the ratification of the rights which 
they had seized* 

The first great epoch in the history of the temporal 
power after the schism is the election of Eugenius IV. He 
swore to observe a statute which had been drawn up in 
conclave, by which all vassals and officers of State were 
to swear allegiance to the College of Cardinals in con- 
junction with the Pope. As he also undertook to 
abandon to the cardinals half the revenue, he shared in 
fact his authority with them. This was a new form of 
government, and a great restriction of the papal power ; 
but it did not long endure 

The centrifugal tendency, which broke up Italy into 
small principalities, had long prevailed, when at last the 
Popes gave way to it The first was Sixtus IV., who 
made one of his nephews lord of Imola, and another of 
Sinigaglia. Alexander VI. subdued all the princes in 
the States of the Church except the Duke of Montefeltro, 
and intended to make the whole an hereditary monarchy 
for his son. But Julius II. recovered all these conquests 
for the Church, added new ones -to them, and thus 
became, after Innocent HI. and Albornoz, the third 
founder of the Roman State. The age which beheld this 
restoration was marked in almost every country by the 
establishment of political unify on the ruins of the 


mediaeval independence, and of monarchical absolutism 
at the expense of mediaeval freedom. Both of these 
tendencies asserted themselves in the States of the Church. 
The liberties of the towns were gradually destroyed. 
This was accomplished by Clement VII. in Ancona, in 
1532; by Paul III. in Perugia, in 1540. Ravenna, 
Faenza, Jesi had, under various pretexts undergone the 
same fate. By the middle of the .sixteenth century all 
resistance was subdued. In opposition, however, to thin 
centralising policy, the nepotism introduced by Sixtus 
IV. led to dismemberment Paul III. gave Parma and 
Piacenza to his son Pier Luigi Farnese, and the duchy 
was lost to the Holy See for good, Paul IV. made* a 
similar attempt in favour of his nephew Caraffa, but he 
was put to death under Pius IV. ; and this species of 
nepotism, which subsisted at the expense of the papal 
territoty, came to an end. Pius V, forbade, under pain 
of excommunication, to invest any one with a poastaisiofi 
of the Holy See, and this law was extended even to 
temporary concessions. 

In the eighteenth century a time came when the 

temporal power was a source of weakness, and a weapon 

by which the courts compelled the Pope to consent to 

measures he would otherwise never have approved* It 

mas thus that the suppression of the Jesuits was obtained 

fate Clement XIV. Under his successors the world had 

an opportunity of comparing the times when Popes like 

Alexander HI. or Innocent IV. governed the Church 

from their exile, and now, when men of the greatest piety 

and conscientiousness virtually postponed thdr duty as 

head of the Church to their rights as temporal sovereign, 

and, like the senators of old, awaited the Gaul* upon 

; their throne. There is a lesson not to be fo^otten in the 

; contrast between the policy and the fate of the mat 

y, pediaeval pontiffs, who preserved their liberty by abandon* 

,. $g, their dominions, and that of Pius VI, and Plus Vll 

, 4ftp preferred captivity to flight -* 


impoverishment of the State, and the odious union of 
spiritual with temporal arms, which became a permanent 
calamity for the Holy See. This attachment to the 
interest of their families threw great discredit on the 
Popes, who were dishonoured by the faults, the crimes, 
and the punishment of their relatives. But since the 
death of Alexander VIII., in 1691, even that later form 
of nepotism which aimed at wealth only, not at political 
power, came to an end, and has never reappeared except 
in the case of the Braschi. The nepotism of the cardinals 
and prelates has survived that of the Popes. If the 
statute of Eugenius IV. had remained in force, the College 
of Cardinals would have formed a wholesome restraint 
in the temporal government, and the favouritism of the 
papal relations would have been prevented. But the 
Popes acted with the absolute power which was in the 
spirit of the monarchies of that age. When Paul IV. 
announced to the Sacred College that he had stripped the 
house of Colonna of its possessions to enrich his nephew, 
and that he was at war with Spain, they listened in 
silence, and have been passive ever since. No European 
sovereignty enjoyed so arbitrary an authority. Under 
Julius II. the towns retained considerable privileges, and 
looked on their annexation to the Papal State as a 
deliverance from their former oppressors, Machiavelli 
and Guicciardini say that the Popes required neither to 
defend nor to administer their dominions, and that the 
people were content in the enjoyment of their autonomy. 
In the course of the sixteenth century the administration 
was gradually centralised in Rome, and placed in the 
hands of ecclesiastics. Before 1550 the governors were 
ordinarily laymen, but the towns themselves preferred to 
be governed by prelates. By the close of the. century 
the independence of the corporations had disappeared; 
but the centralisation, though complete, was not vigorous, 
and practically the towns and the barons, though not 
free, were not oppressed. 

The modern system of government in the Roman 
States originated with Sixtus V. He introduced stability 


and regularity in the administration, and checked the 
growth of nepotism, favouritism, and arbitrary power, 
by the creation of permanent congregations. In con- 
nection with this measure the prelates became the upper 
class of official persons in the State, and were always 
expected to be men of fortune. A great burden for 
the country was the increase of offices, which were 
created only to be sold. No important duties and no 
fixed salary were attached to them, and the incumbent 
had to rely on fees and extortion. In the year 1470 
there were 650 places of this kind. In eighty years they 
had increased to 3500. The theory was, that the money 
raised by the sale of places saved the people from the 
imposition of new taxes. Innocent XIL, in 1693, put an 
end to this traffic ; but it had continued so long that the 
ill-effects survived. 

There was a great contrast between the ecclesiastical 
administration, which exhibited a dignified stability, resting 
on fixed rules and ancient traditions, and the civil 
government, which was exposed to continual fluctuation 
by the change of persons, of measures, and of systems ; 
for few Popes continued the plans of their predecessors. 
The new Pontiff commenced his reign generally with a 
profound sense of the abuses and of the discontent which 
prevailed before his elevation, and naturally sought to 
obtain favour and improvement by opposite measures. 
In the cultivation of the Roman Campagna, for instance, 
it was observed that each Pope followed a different 
system, so that little was accomplished. The persons 
were almost always changed by the new Pope, so that 
great offices rarely remained long in the same hinds. 
The Popes themselves were seldom versed in affairs of 
State, and therefore required the assistance of statesmen 
of long experience. In the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth 
centuries, when the election was free from outward 
influence, men were generally chosen who had 
one or two Popes the highest office of 

VII., Urban II., Gelasius II., Lucius II., Alex^detf lit, 
Gregory VIIL, Gregory IX., Alexander IV. ^ Bift! Ip! 



modern times it has been the rule that the Secretary of 
State should not be elected, and that the new Pope 
.should dismiss the heads of the administration. Clement 
IX. was the first who gave up this practice, and retained 
almost all those who had been employed under his 

The burdens of the State increased far beyond its 
resources from the aid which the Popes gave to the 
Catholic Powers, especially in the Turkish wars. At the 
beginning of the seventeenth century the debt amounted 
to 12,242,620 scutti, and the interest absorbed three- 
fourths of the whole income. In 1655 it had risen to 
48,000,000 scudi. The financial administration was 
secret, free from the control of public accounts, and 
the Tl'-sw/iw, being necessarily a cardinal, was ir- 
rcsixjnsibie. There was no industry in the towns ; they 
remained for the most part small and poor ; almost all 
articles of common use were imported, and the country 
had little to give in exchange. All the interest of the 
public debt went to foreign creditors. As early as 1 595 
the discontent was very great, and so many emigrated, 
in order to escape the heavy burdens, that Cardinal 
Sacchetti said, in 1664, that the population was reduced 
by one-half. In the year 1740 the president De Brasses 
found the Roman Government the most defective but 
the mildest in Europe. Bccattini, in his panegyrical 
biography of Pius VI., declares that it was the worst 
after that of Turkey. There were none of those 
limitations which in other countries restrained the power 
of the monarch, no fundamental laws, no coronation oath, 
no binding decrees of predecessors* no provincial estates, 
no powerful corporations. But, in reality, this unlimited 
absolutism was softened by custom, and by great 
indulgence towards individuals* 

When Consalvi adopted the French institutions, he did 
not understand that an absolute government is intolerable, 
and must sink under the weight of its responsibility, unless 
it recognises the restraint of custom and tradition, and of 
subordinate?, but not dependent forces. The unity and 


uniformity he introduced were destructive. He restored 
none of the liberties of the towns, and confided the 
administration to ecclesiastics superficially acquainted with 
law, and without knowledge of politics or of public 
economy. In the ecclesiastical States of Germany,^ the 
civil and religious departments were separate ; and it is 
as wrong to say that the double position of the head must 
repeat itself throughout the administration, as to say that 
a king, because he is the head of the army as well as 
of the civil government, ought to mix the two spheres 
throughout the State. It would, in reality, be perfectly 
possible to separate the political and ecclesiastical 

Leo XII. attempted to satisfy the Zelanti, the 
adversaries of Consalvi, by restoring the old system. He 
abolished the provincial Councils, revived the Inquisition, 
and subjected official honesty and public morality to a 
strict espionage. Leo saw the error of Consalvi, but 
mistook the remedy ; and his government was the most 
unpopular that had been seen for a century. Where the 
laity are excluded from the higher offices, and the dergy 
enjoy the monopoly of them, that moral power which 
modern bureaucracy derives from the corporate spirit, and 
the feelings of honour which it inspires, cannot subsist 
One class becomes demoralised by its privileged position, 
the other by its limited prospects and insufficient pay. 
Leo tried to control them by the congregasione di 
vigttanse, which received and examined all charges 
against official persons; but it was suppressed by his 

The famous Memorandum of the Powers, 3 1st May 
1831, recommended the admission of the laity to all 
secular offices, the restoration of the provincial Councils, 
and the introduction of elective communal Councils with 
the power of local government ; and finally, a security 
against the changes incident to an elective sovereignty* 
The historian Coppi, who was charged to draw up a plan 
of reform in reply to these demands, relates that the 
Pope and the majority of the cardinals rejected every 


serious change, and were resolved to uphold the old 
principles, and to concede nothing to the lay party, 
"because, if anything was voluntarily conceded, there 
would be no right of recalling it afterwards." Two things 
in particular it was determined not to grant elective 
Councils in the towns and provinces, and a lay Council 
of State beside the Sacred College. In a general way, 
vague reforms were promised ; but the promise was not 
redeemed. Austria would not tolerate any liberal con- 
cessions in Italy which were in contradiction with her 
own system and her own interests; thus all Italian 
aspirations for reforms were concentrated in the wish to 
get rid of the foreign yoke, and Austria never succeeded 
in forming a party amongst the Italians favourable to her 
power. Yet Gregory XVI. knew that great changes were 
needed. In 1843 he said : 

The civil administration requires a great reform. I was too old 
when I was elected ; 1 did not expect to live so long, and had not the 
courage to begin the undertaking. For whoever begins, must ac- 
complish it. I have now only a few more years to live ; perhaps 
only a few days. After me they will choose a young Pope, whose 
mission it will he to perform the act, without which it is impossible to 

The Austrian occupation caused the Roman Govern- 
ment to be identified with the foreign supremacy, and 
transferred to it the hatred of the patriots. The dis- 
affection of the subjects of the Pope had deeper motives. 
Except the clergy, that overshadows all, there are no 
distinct orders in the society of the Roman State ; no 
country nobility, no wealthy class of peasant proprietors ; 
nothing but the population of the towns, and a degenerate 
class of patricians. These were generally hostile to the 
ecclesiastical system. The offices are so distributed, that 
the clergy govern, and the laity are their instruments, 
In the principal departments, no amount of services or 
ability could raise a layman above a certain level, 
beyond which younger and less competent ecclesiastics 
were promoted over his head. This subordination, 
which led to a regular dependence of the lay officials on 


the prelates, drove the best men away from the service 
of the State, and disposed the rest to long for a govern- 
ment which should throw open to them the higher 
prizes of their career. Even the country people, who 
were never tainted with the ideas of the secret societies, 
were not always well affected. 

It is more difficult for a priest than for a layman to 
put aside his private views and feelings in the administra- 
tion of justice. He is the servant and herald of grace, 
of forgiveness, of indulgence, and easily forgets that in 
human concerns the law is inexorable, that favour to one 
is often injury to many or to all, and that he has no 
right to place his own will above the law. He is still 
more disqualified for the direction of the police, which, in 
an absolute State and in troubled times, uses its unlimited 
power without reference to Christian ideas, leaves un- 
punished acts which are grievous sins, and punishes 
others which in a religious point of view are innocent. 
It is hard for the people to distinguish clearly the 
priestly character from the action of its bearer in tins 
administration of police. The same indifference to the 
strict letter of the law, the same confusion between 
breaches of divine and of human ordinances, led to a 
practice of arbitrary imprisonment, which contrasts pain- 
fully with the natural gentleness of a priestly government 
Hundreds of persons were cast into prison without a 
trial or even an examination ; only on suspicion, and 
kept there more than a year for greater security. 

The immunities of the clergy were as unpopular as 
their power. The laws and decrees of the Pope as a 
temporal sovereign were not held to be binding on them 
unless it was expressly said, or was clear from the 
context, that they were given also in his character of 
Head of the Church. Ecclesiastics were tried before 
their own tribunals, and had the right to be more lightly 
punished than laymen for the same delinquency. Those 
events in the life of Achilli, which came out at his trial, 
had not only brought down on him no severe punish- 
ment, but did not stand in the way of his promotion. 


With all these privileges, the bulk of the Roman clergy 
had little to do ; little was expected of them, and their 
instruction was extremely deficient 

At the end of the pontificate of Gregory XVI. the 
demand for reforms was loud and universal, and men 
began to perceive that the defects of the civil govern- 
ment were undermining the religious attachment of the 
people. The conclave which raised Pius IX. to the 
Papal throne was the shortest that had occurred for near 
three hundred years. The necessity of choosing a 
Pontiff disposed to understand and to satisfy the pressing 
requirements of the time, made it important to hasten 
matters in order to escape the interference of Austria. 
It was expected that Cardinal Gizzi or Cardinal Mastai 
would be elected. The latter had been pointed out by 
Gregory XVI. as his fittest successor, and he made Gizzi 
Secretary of State. The first measure of the new reign, 
the amnesty, which, as Metternich said, threw open the 
doors of the house to the professional robbers, was taken 
not so much as an act of policy, as because the Pope was 
resolved to undo an accumulation of injustice. The 
reforms which followed soon made Pius the most popular 
of Italian princes, and all Catholics rejoiced that the 
reconciliation of the Papacy with modern freedom was 
at length accomplished, and that the shadow which had 
fallen on the priesthood throughout the world was 
removed with the abuses in the Roman Government 
The Constitution was, perhaps, an inevitable though a 
fatal necessity. " The Holy Father must fall/' said his 
minister, "but at least he will fall with honour/' The 
preliminary conditions of constitutional life were wanting 
habits of self-government in the towns and provinces, 
security from the vexations of the police, separation of 
spiritual and temporal jurisdiction. It could not be but 
that the existence of an elective chamber must give 
to the lay element a preponderance in the State, whilst 
in the administration the contrary position was main- 
tained. There could be no peaceful solution of this 
contradiction, and it is strange that the cardinals, who 


were unanimously in favour of the statute, should not 
have seen that it would lead to the destruction of the 
privileges of the clergy. But in the allocution of 2Oth 
April 1849, the Pope declared that he had never intended 
to alter the character of his government; so that he 
must have thought the old system of administration by 
ecclesiastics compatible with the working of the new 
Constitution. At his return from exile all his advisers 
were in favour of abrogating all the concessions of the 
first yean of his reign. Balbo and Rosmini visited him 
at Gaeta, to plead for the Constitution, but they obtained 
nothing. Pius IX. was persuaded that every concession 
would be a weapon in the hands of the Radicals. A lay 
consulta gave to the laity a share of the supreme govern- 
ment ; but the chief offices and the last decision remained, 
as before, in the hands of the prelates. Municipal reforms 
were promised. In general the old defects continued, 
and the old discontent was not conciliated. 

It is manifest that Constitutionalism, as it is ordinarily 
understood, is not a system which can be applied to the 
States of the Church. It could not be tolerated that a 
warlike faction, by refusing supplies, should compel the 
Pope to go to war with a Christian nation, as they sought 
to compel him to declare war against Austria in 1848* 
His sovereignty must be real, not merely nominal It 
makes no difference whether he is in the power of a 
foreign State or of a parliamentary majority. But real 
sovereignty is compatible with a participation of the 
people in legislation, the autonomy of corporations, a 
moderate freedom of the press, and the separation of 
religion and police. 

Recent events would induce one to suppose that the 
enormous power of the press and of public opinion, which 
it forms and reflects, is not understood in Rome, ta 
1856 the Inquisitor at Ancona issued an edict, threaten- 
ing with the heaviest censures all who should omit to 
denounce the religious or ecclesiastical faults of their 
neighbours, relatives, or superiors ; and in defiance of the 
general indignation, and of the despondency of those who, 


for the sake of religion, desired reforms in the States 
of the Church, the Civilta Cattolica declared that the 
Inquisitor had done his duty. Such cases as this, and 
those of Achilli and Mortara, weighed more heavily in 
the scale in which the Roman State is weighed than a 
lost battle. Without discussing the cases themselves, it. 
is clear what their influence has been on public opinion, 
with which it is more important at the present day to 
treat than with the governments which depend on it 
This branch of diplomacy has been unfortunately 
neglected, and hence the Roman Government cannot rely 
on lay support 

After describing the evils and disorders of the State, 
which the Pope so deeply felt that he put his own exist- 
ence in peril, and inflamed half of Europe with the spirit 
of radical change in the attempt to Vemove them, Dr. 
Dttllinger contrasts, with the gloomy picture of decay and 
failure, the character of the Pontiff who attempted the 
great work of reform. 

Nevertheless, the administration of Pius IX. is wise, benevolent, 
indulgent, thrifty, attentive to useful institutions and improvements. 
AH that proceeds from Pius XX. personally is worthy of a head of 
the Church elevated, liberal in the best sense of the term. No 
sovereign spends less on his court and his own private wants. If all 
thought and acted as he does, his would be a model State. Both 
the French and the English envoys affirm that the financial adminis- 
tration hud improved, that the value of the land was increasing, 
agriculture flourishing, and that many symptoms of progress might 
be observed. Whatever can be expected of a monarch full of affec- 
tion for his people, and seeking his sole recreation in works of 
beneficence, Pius richly performs. Pcrtransiit benefadendo,w<xte 
used of one far greater, are simply the truth applied to him. In 
him we can clearly perceive how the Papacy, even as a temporal 
suite, might, so far as the character of the prince is concerned, 
through judicious elections, be the most admirable of human 
institutions. A man in the prime of life, after an irreproachable 
youth and a conscientious discharge of Episcopal duties, is elevated 
to the highest dignity and to sovereign power. He knows nothing 
of expensive amusements; he has no other passion but that of 
doing good, no other ambition but to be beloved by his subjects. 
His day is divided between prayer and the labours of government ; 
bin relaxation in a walk in the garden, a visit to a church, a prison, 
or a charitable institution. Free from personal desires and from 


terrestrial bonds, he has no relatives, no favourites to provide for. 
For him the rights and powers of his office exist only for the sake 
of its duties. . . . Grievously outraged, injured, rewarded with 
ingratitude, he has never harboured a thought of revenge, never 
committed an act of severity, but ever forgiven and ever pardoned. 
The cup of sweetness and of bitterness, the cup of human favour 
and of human aversion, he has not only tasted, but emptied to the 
dregs ; he heard them cry " Hosannah ! " and soon after " Crucifige ! " 
The man of his confidence, the first intellectual power of his nation, 
fell beneath the murderer's knife ; the bullet of an insurgent struck 
down the friend by his side. And yet no feeling of hatred, no 
breath of anger could ever obscure, even for a moment, the 
spotless mirror of his soul. Untouched by human folly, unmoved 
by human malice, he proceeds with a firm and regular step on his 
way, like the stars of heaven. 

Such I have seen the action of this Pope in Komo, such it has 
been described to me by all, whether near him or afar ; and if he 
now seems to be appointed to pass through all the ]iainful and 
discouraging experience which can befall a monarch, and to continue 
to the end the course of a prolonged martyrdom, he resembles in 
this, as in so many other things, the sixteenth Louis ; or rather ; 
to go up higher, he knows that the disciple is not above the 
Master, and that the pastor of a church, whose Lord am! Kwmdttr 
died upon the cross, cannot wonder and cannot refuse that the* 
cross .should be laid also u|xm him (pp. 624-647;. 

It is a common opinion, that the Pojw, as a sovereign, 
is bound by the common law to the forms and idea* of 
the Middle Ages ; and that in consequence of the progress 
of society, of the difference between the thirteenth century 
and the nineteenth, there is an irreconcilable discord 
between the Papacy and the necessities of civil govern- 
ment All Catholics are bound to oppose thin opinion. 
Only that which is of Divine institution is unchangeable 
through all time. But the sovereignty of the Popes is 
extremely elastic* and has already gone through many 
forms. No contrast can be stronger than that between the 
use which the Popes made of their power in the thirteenth 
or the fifteenth century, and the system of ConsalvL 
There is no reason, therefore, to doubt, that it will now, 
after a violent interruption, assume the form bert adapted 
to the character of the age and the requirements of the 
Italian people. There is nothing chimerical in the 
vision of a new order of things, in which the election 


shall fall on men in the prime of their years and their 
strength; in which the people shall be reconciled to 
their government by free institutions and a share in the 
conduct of their own concerns, and the upper classes 
satisfied by the opening of a suitable career in public 
affairs. Justice publicly and speedily administered would 
obtain the confidence of the people; the public service 
would be sustained by an honourable esprit de corps; 
the chasm between laity and priesthood would be closed 
by equality in rights and duties; the police would not 
rely on the help of religion, and religion would no longer 
drag itself along on the crutches of the police. The 
integrity of the Papal States would be under the joint 
guardianship of the Powers, who have guaranteed even 
the dominions of the Sultan ; and the Pope would have 
no enemies to fear, and his subjects would be delivered 
from the burden of military service and of a military 

Religious liberty is not, as the enemies of the Holy 
See declare, and some even of its friends believe, an 
insurmountable difficulty. Events often cut the knots 
which appear insoluble to theory. Attempts at prosely- 
tising have not hitherto succeeded among the subjects 
of the Pope ; but if it had been otherwise, would it have 
been possible for the Inquisition to proceed against a 
Protestant? The agitation that must have ensued would 
be a welcome opportunity to put an end to what remains 
of the temporal power. It is true that the advance of 
Protestantism in Italy would raise up a barrier between 
the Pope and his subjects ; but no such danger is to be 
apprehended. At the time when the doctrines of the 
Reformation exercised an almost magical power over 
mankind, they never took root in Italy beyond a few 
men of letters ; and now that their power of attraction 
and expansion has long been exhausted, neither Sardinian 
policy nor English gold will succeed in seducing the 
Italians to them. 

The present position of helpless and humiliating 
dependence will not long endure. The determination 


of the Piedmontese Government to annex Rome is not 
more certain than the determination of the Emperor 
Napoleon to abrogate the temporal power. Pius IX. 
would enjoy greater security in Turkey than in the 
hands of a State which combines the tyranny of the 
Convention, the impudent sophistry of a government of 
advocates, and the ruthless brutality of military despotism. 
Rather than trust to Piedmont, may Pius IX. remember 
the example of his greatest predecessors, who, relying on 
the spiritual might of the Papacy, sought beyond the 
Alps the freedom which Italy denied to them. The 
Papacy has beheld the rise and the destruction of many 
thrones, and will assuredly outlive the kingdom of Italy, 
and other monarchies besides. It can afford to wait; 
pattens quia aternus. The Romans need the Pope more 
than the Pope needs Rome. Above the Catacombs, 
among the Basilicas, beside the Vatican, there is no 
place for a tribune or for a king. We shall sec what 
was seen in the fourteenth century: envoys will come 
from Rome to entreat the Pope to return to his faithful 

Whilst things continue as they arc, the emperor can, 
by threatening to withdraw his troops, compel the Pope to 
consent to anything not actually sinful. Such a situation 
is alarming in the highest degree for other countries. But 
for the absolute confidence that all men have in the fidelity 
and conscientiousness of the present Pope, and for the 
providential circumstance that there is no ecclesiastical 
complication which the French Government could use for 
its own ends, it would not be tolerated by the rest of 
the Catholic world. Sooner or later these conditions 
of .security will disappear, and the interest of the Church 
demands that before that happens, the peril should be 
averted, even by a catastrophe. 

The hostility of the Italians themselves to the Holy 
See is the tragic symptom of the present malady* In 
other ages, when it was assailed, the Italians were on It* 
side, or at least were neutral. Now they require the destruc- 
tion of the temporal power, either as a necessary sacrifice 


for the unity and greatness of their country, or as a just 
consequence of incurable defects. The time will come, 
however, when they will be reconciled with the Papacy, and 
with its presence as a Power among them. It was the 
dependence of the Pope on the Austrian arms, and his 
identification in popular opinion with the cause of the 
detested foreigner, that obscured his lofty position as the 
moral bulwark and protector of the nation. For 1500 
years the Holy See was the pivot of Italian history, and 
the source of file Italian influence in Europe. The nation 
and the See shared the same fortunes, and grew powerful 
or feeble together. It was not until the vices of Alexander 
VI. and his predecessors had destroyed the reverence 
which was the protection of Italy, that she became the 
prey of the invaders. None of the great Italian historians 
has failed to see that they would ruin themselves in raising 
their hands against Rome. The old prophecy of the 
Papa Angelica, of an Angel Pope, who was to rise up to 
put an end to discord and disorder, and to restore piety 
and peace and happiness in Italy, was but the significant 
token of the popular belief that the Papacy and the nation 
were bound up together, and that one was the guardian of 
the other. That belief slumbers, now that the idea of 
unity prevails, whilst the Italians are attempting to put 
the roof on a building without walls and without founda- 
tions, but it will revive again, when centralisation is 
compelled to yield to federalism, and the road to the 
practicable has been found in the search after im- 

The tyrannical character of the Piedmontese Govern- 
ment, its contempt for the sanctity of public law, the 
principles on which It treats the clergy at home, and the 
manner in which it has trampled on the rights of the Pope 
and the interests of religion, the perfidy and despotism it 
exhibits, render it impossible that any securities it may offer 
to the Pope can possess a real value. Moreover, in the 
unsettled state of the kingdom, the uncertain succession of 
parties, and the fluctuation of power, whatever guarantee is 
proposed by the ministry, there is nobody to guarantee 

2 B 


the guarantor. It is a system without liberty and without 
stability ; and the Pope can never be reconciled to it, or 
become a dweller in the new Italian kingdom. 

If he must choose between the position of a subject 
and of an exile, he is at home in the whole Catholic world, 
and wherever he goes he will be surrounded by children 
who will greet him as their father. It may become an 
inevitable, but it must always be a heroic resolution. The 
court and the various congregations for the administration 
of the affairs of the Church are too numerous to be easily 
moved. In former times the machinery was more simple, 
and the whole body of the pontifical government could 
be lodged in a single French monastery. The absence of 
the Pope from Rome will involve great difficulties and 
annoyance; but it is a lesser evil than a surrender of 
principle, which cannot be recalled. 

To remove the Holy See to France would, under 
present circumstances, be an open challenge to a schism, 
and would afford to all who wish to curtail the papal 
rights, or to interrupt the communication between the 
Pope and the several churches, the most welcome pretexts, 
and it would put arms in the hands of governments that 
wish to impede the action of his authority within their 

The conclusion of the book is as follows : 

If the Court of Rome should reside for a time in Germany, the 
Roman prelates will doubtless be agreeably surprised to discover that 
our people is able to remain Catholic and religious without the 
leading-strings of a police, and that its religious sentiments are a 
better protection to the Church than the episcopal carceri, which, 
thank God, do not exist. They will learn that the Church in 
Germany is able to maintain herself without the Holy Office; that 
our bishops, although, or because, they use no physical compulsion, 
are reverenced like princes by the people, that they axe received with 
triumphal arches, that their arrival in a place is a festival for the 
inhabitants. They will see how the Church with us rests on the 
broad, strong, and healthy basis of a well-organised system of pastoral 
.administration and of popular religious instruction. They will 
pferteive that we Catholics have maintained for years the struggle for 
to* deliverance of the Church from the bonds of bureaucracy 
straightforwardly and without reservation ; that we cannot entertain 


the idea of denying to the Italians what we have claimed for our- 
selves ; and that therefore we are far from thinking that it is any- 
where an advantage to fortify the Church with the authority of the 
police and with the power of the secular arm. Throughout Germany 
we have been taught by experience the truth of Flnelon's saying, 
that the spiritual power must be carefully kept separate from the 
civil, because their union is pernicious. They will find, further, that 
the whole of the German clergy is prepared to bless the day when it 
shall learn that the free sovereignty of the Pope is assured, without 
sentence of death being still pronounced by ecclesiastics, without 
priests continuing to discharge the functions of treasury-clerks or 
police directors, or to conduct the business of the lottery. And, 
finally, they will convince themselves that all the Catholics of Germany 
will stand up as one man for the independence of the Holy See, and 
the legitimate rights of the Pope ; but that they are no admirers of 
a form of government of very recent date, which is, in fact, nothing 
else than the product of the mechanical polity of Napoleon combined 
with a clerical administration. And this information will bear good 
fruit when the hour shall strike for the return, and restitution shall 
be made. . . . 

Meanwhile Pius IX. and the men of his Council will "think upon 
the dayfi of old, and have in their minds the eternal years." They 
will read the future in the earlier history of the Papacy, which has 
already seen many an exile and many a restoration. The example 
of the resolute, courageous Popes of the Middle Ages will light the 
way. It is no question now of suffering martyrdom, of clinging to 
the* tombs of the Apostles, or of descending into the catacombs ; but 
of quitting the land of bondage, in order to exclaim on a free soil, 
" Our bonds are broken, and we are free 1 " For the rest God will 
provide, and the unceasing gifts and sympathies of the Catholic 
world And the panics in Italy, when they have torn and exhausted 
the land which has become a battle-field ; when the sobered and 
saddened people, tired of the rule of lawyers and of soldiers, has 
understood the worth of a moral and spiritual authority, then will be 
the time to think of returning to the Kternal City. In the interval, 
the things will have disappeared for whose preservation such pains 
are taken ; and then there will be better reason than Consalvi had, 
in the preface to the Motoi Proprio of 6th July 1 8 1 6, to say : " Divine 
Providence, which so conducts human affairs that out of the greatest 
calamity innumerable benefits proceed, seems to have intended that 
the interruption of the papal government should prepare the way for 
a more perfect form of it." ' 

We have written at a length for which we must apolo- 
gise to our readers ; and yet this is but a meagre sketch 
of the contents of a book which deals with a very large 
proportion of the subjects that occupy the thoughts and 


move the feelings of religious men. We will attempt to 
sum up in a few words the leading ideas of the author. 
Addressing a mixed audience, he undertakes to controvert 
two different interpretations of the events which are being 
fulfilled in Rome. To the Protestants, who triumph in 
the expected downfall of the Papacy, he shows the conse- 
quences of being without it To the Catholics, who see 
in the Roman question a great peril to the Church, he 
explains how the possession of the temporal sovereignly 
had become a greater misfortune than its loss for a time 
would be. From the opposite aspects of the religious 
camps of our age he endeavours to awaken the misgivings 
of one party, and to strengthen the confidence of the 
other. There is an inconsistency between the Protestant 
system and the progress of modern learning ; there is 
none between the authority of the Holy See and the pro- 
gress of modem society. The events which are tending 
to deprive the Pope of his territory- are not to be, therefore, 
deplored, if we consider the preceding causes, because they 
made this catastrophe inevitable ; still less if, looking to 
the future, we consider the state of Protestantism, because 
they remove an obstacle to union which is humanly almost 
insurmountable. In a former work Bellinger exhibited 
the moral and intellectual exhaustion of Paganism as the 
prelude to Christianity. In like manner he now confronts 
the dissolution and spiritual decay of Protestantism with 
the Papacy. But in order to complete the contrast, and 
give force to the vindication, it was requisite that the true 
function and character of the Holy See should not be 
concealed from the unpractised vision of strangers by the 
mask of that system of government which has grown up 
around it in modern times. The importance of this 
violent disruption of the two authorities consists in the 
state of religion throughout the world Its cause lies in 
the deficiences of the temporal power; its end in the 
mission of the spiritual. 

The interruption of the temporal sovereignty is the 
onjy way we can discern in which these deficiences can 
be remedied and these ends obtained. But this inter- 


ruption cannot be prolonged. In an age in which the 
State throughout the Continent is absolute, and tolerates 
no immunities; when corporations have therefore less 
freedom than individuals, and the disposition to restrict 
their action increases in proportion to their power, the 
Pope cannot be independent as a subject He must, there- 
fore, be a sovereign, the free ruler of an actual territory, 
protected by international law and a European guarantee. 
The restoration consequently is necessary, though not as 
an immediate consequence of the revolutioa In this 
revolutionary age the protection of the Catholic Powers is 
required against outward attack. They must also be our 
security that no disaffection is provoked within; that 
there shall be no recurrence of the dilemma between the 
right of insurrection against an arbitrary government and 
the duty of obedience to the Pope ; and that civil society 
shall not again be convulsed, nor the pillars of law and 
order throughout Europe shaken, by a revolution against 
the Church, of which, in the present instance, the conser- 
vative powers share the blame, and have already felt the 

In the earnest and impressive language of the con- 
clusion, in which Dollinger conveys the warnings which 
all Transalpine Catholicism owes to its Head as an Italian 
sovereign, it seems to us that something more definite is 
intended than the expression of the wish, which almost 
every Catholic feels, to receive the Pope in his own 
country. The anxiety for his freedom which would be 
felt if he took refuge in France, would be almost equally 
justified by his presence in Austria. A residence in an 
exclusively Catholic country, such as Spain, would be con- 
trary to the whole spirit of this book, and to the moral 
which it inculcates, that the great significance of the crisis 
is in the state of German Protestantism. If the position 
of the Catholics in Germany would supply useful lessons 
and examples to the Roman court, it is also from the 
vicinity of the Protestant world that the full benefit can 
best be drawn from its trials, and that the crimes of the 
Italians, which have begun as calamities, may be turned 


to the advantage of the Church. But against such 
counsels there is a powerful influence at work. Napoleon 
has declared his determination to sweep away the temporal 
power. The continuance of the occupation of Rome, and 
his express prohibition to the Fiedmontese government to 
proceed with the annexation during the life of the present 
Pope, signify that he calculates on greater advantages in 
a conclave than from the patient resolution of Pius IX. 
This policy is supported by the events in Italy in a 
formidable manner. The more the Fiedmontese appear 
as enemies and persecutors, the more the emperor will 
appear as the only saviour ; and the dread of a prolonged 
exile in any Catholic county, and of dependence for 
subsistence on the contributions of the faithful, must 
exhibit in a fascinating light the enjoyment of the 
splendid hospitality and powerful protection of France. 
On these hopes and fears, and on the difficulties which 
are pressing on the cardinals from the loss of their 
revenues, the emperor speculates, and persuades himself 
that he will be master of the next election. On the 
immovable constancy of her Supreme Pontiff the Catholic 
Church unconditionally relies; and we are justified in 
believing that, in an almost unparalleled emergency, he 
will not tremble before a resolution of which no Pope has 
given an example since the consolidation of the temporal 


WHEN first seen, at Wiirzburg, in the diaries of Platen 
the poet, Dr. Dollinger was an eager student of general 
literature, and especially of Schlegel and the romantic 
philosophy. It was an epoch in which the layman and 
the dilettante prevailed. In other days a divine had 
half a dozen distinct schools of religious thought before 
him, each able to develop and to satisfy a receptive mind ; 
but the best traditions of western scholarship had died 
away when the young Franconian obtained a chair in 
the reorganised university of Munich. His own country, 
Bavaria, his time, the third decade of the century, 
furnished no guide, no master, and no model to the 
new professor. Exempt, by date and position, from the 
discipline of a theological party, he so continued, and 
never turned elsewhere for the dependence he escaped 
at home. No German theologian, of his own or other 
churches, bent his course ; and he derived nothing from 
the powerful writer then dominant in the North. To a 
friend describing Herder as the one unprofitable classic, 
he replied, " Did you ever learn anything from Schleier- 
macher?" And if it is doubtful which way this stroke 
was aimed, it is certain that he saw less than others in the 
Berlin teacher. 

Very young he knew modern languages well, though 
with a defective ear, and having no local or contemporary 
attachments he devoted himself systematically to the 
study of foreign divines. The characteristic universality 
of his later years was not the mere result of untiring 

1 English llittorical R*ui*w, 1890. 


energy and an unlimited command of books. His 
international habit sprang from the inadequacy of the 
national supply, and the search for truth in every century 
naturally became a lecturer whose function it was to 
unfold from first to last the entire life of the Church, 
whose range extended over all Christian ages, and who felt 
the inferiority of his own. Bellinger's conception of the 
science which he was appointed to carry forward, in 
conformity with new requirements and new resources, 
differed from the average chiefly by being more thorough 
and comprehensive. At two points he was touched by 
currents of the day. Savigny, the legal expert of a school 
recruited from both denominations and gravitating to- 
wards Catholicism, had expounded law and society in that 
historic spirit which soon pervaded other sciences, and 
restored the significance of national custom and character. 
By his writings Protestant literature overlapped. The 
example of the conspicuous jurist served as a suggestion 
for divines to realise the patient process of history; and 
Bellinger continued to recognise him as a master and 
originator of true scientific methods when his influence on 
jurisprudence was on the wane. On the same track, 
Drey, in 1819, defended the theory of development as 
the vital prerogative of Rome over the fixity of other 
churches. Mohler was the pupil of Drey, and they made 
Tubingen the seat of a positive theology, broader and 
more progressive than that of Munich. 

The first eminent thinker whom he saw and heard 
was Baader, the poorest of writers, but the most instruc- 
tive and impressive talker in Germany, and the one 
man who appears to have influenced the direction 
of his mind Bishop Martensen has described his 
amazing powers; and Dollinger, who remembered him 
with more scant esteem, bore equal testimony to the 
wealth and worth of his religious philosophy. He 
probably owed to him his persistent disparagement of 
Hegel, and more certainly that familiarity with the 
abstruse literature of mysticism which made him as clear 
and sure of vision in the twilight of Petrucci and St 


Martin as in the congenial company of Duperron. 
Baader is remembered by those who abstain from 
sixteen volumes of discordant thought, as the inventor of 
that system of political insurance which became the Holy 
Alliance. That authority is as sacred and sovereignty as 
absolute in the Church as in the State, was an easy and 
obvious inference, and it had been lately drawn with an 
energy and literary point to which Baader was a stranger, 
by the Count de Maistre, who was moreover a student of 
St Martin. When the ancient mystic welcomed his new 
friend, he was full of the praises of De Maistre. He 
impressed upon his earnest listener the importance of 
the books on the pope and on the Gallican church, 
and assured him that the spirit which animates them 
is the genuine Catholicism. These conversations were 
the origin of Bellinger's specific ultramontanism. It 
governed one half of his life, and his interest in De 
Maistre outlasted the assent which he once gave to some 
of his opinions. Questions arising from the Savoyard's 
indictment against Bacon, which he proposed to Liebig, 
formed the connection between the two laboured attacks 
on the founder of English philosophy. 

Much of that which at any time was unhistoric or 
presumptive in his mind may be ascribed to this 
influence ; and it divided him from MShler, who was far 
before him in the fulness of the enjoyment of his powers 
and his fame, whom he survived half a century, and 
never ceased to venerate as the finest theological intel- 
lect he had known. The publication of the Symbotik 
made it difficult for the author to remain in Wirtemberg ; 
Tubingen, he said, was a place where he could neither 
live nor die happy; and having made D611inger>s 
acquaintance, he conceived an ardent wish to become his 
colleague at Munich. 

Im Verkehre nut Ihaen, imd dem Krcise in dem Sie leben, 
habe ich raich aufs anmuthigste erheitert, sittlich gestarkt, und 
rctigios getrostet und ermuthigt gefimden; tin Verein von 
Kinwirkungen auf xnich wurde mir gewKhrt, deren altar ich in 
fast gleichein Grade bediirftig war. 


Dollinger negotiated his appointment, overcame the 
resisting ministerial medium through the intervention of 
the king, and surrendered his own department of theology, 
which they both regarded as the most powerful agency in 
religious instruction. Mohler had visited Gottingen and 
Berlin, and recognised their superiority. A public address 
to Planck, praising the Protestant treatment of history, 
was omitted by Dollinger from the edition of his 
miscellaneous writings. They differed so widely that one 
of them hesitated to read Bossuef s Defensio, and generally 
kept the stronger Galileans out of sight, whilst the other 
warmly recommended Richer, and Launoy, and Dupin, 
and cautioned his pupils against Baronius, as a forger and 
a cheat, who dishonestly attributed to the primitive Church 
ideas quite foreign to its constitution. He found fault 
with his friend for undue favour to the Jesuits, and undue 
severity towards Jansenism. The other advised him to 
read F&ielon, and succeeded in modifying this opinion. 

Sie werden vielleicht um so geneigter sein, mir zu verzeihen, 
wenn ich Ihnen melde, dass ich inzwischen recht fleissig die 
Jansenistischen Streitigkeiten, durch Ihre freundliche Zuschrift 
angeregt, studirt habe, und Ibrer Daistellung ohne Zweifel jetzt 
weit naher stehe als fruher. Selbst die Bulle Unigenitus 
erscheint mir in einem weit giinstigeren Licbte als fruher, obschon 
ich die Censur mancher Quesnd'scher Satze immer noch nicht 
begreifen kann. Sie schrieben mir, dass die F&ielon'sche 
Correspondenz einen grossen Einfluss auf Ihze Betrachtungsweise 
ausgexibt habe. Audi bei mir 1st dieses der Fall 

But in describing the failure of scholastic theology, the 
exaggeration of De Maistre, the incompetence of the 
Roman censorship, the irreligion of Leo X., and 
the strength of Luther's case against the Papacy, the 
sensitive Suabian made a contrast, then, and long after, 
with Ddllinger's disciplined coolness and reserve. 

Daxm war wirklich die bestehende Form der Kircbe im 
bpchsten Grade tadelbaft, und bedurfte der Reinigung. Die 
Papste waren Despoten, willkuhrliche Herrscber geworden. 
Gebrancbe batten sicb angehauft, die im hocbsten Grade dem 
Glauben und der cbristlicben Frommigkeit entgegen varen. In 


vielen Punkten hatte Luther immer Recht, wenn er von 
Missbrauchen der Romischen Gewalt spricht, dass dort alles fell 
seL Tetzel verfuhr ohnediess auf die emporendste Weise, and 
iibertrieb, mit einer religiosen Rohheit und einem Stumpfsinn 
ohne Gleichen, das Bedenkliche der Sache auf die ausserste 

The disagreement which made itself felt from time to time 
between the famous colleagues was not removed when 
one of them wished the other to change his confessor 
before his last illness. 

Mohler claimed the supreme chair of ecclesiastical 
history as a matter of course, and by right of seniority. 
He apologised for venturing to supersede one who had 
gained distinction in that lecture-room, but he hinted that 
he himself was the least fit of the two for dogmatics. 

Ich babe mich fur die historischen Facher entschieden. Ihr 
Opfer, wenn Sie Dogmatik lesen, anerkenne ich, aber ich bitte 
das meinige nicht zu iibereehen. Welcher Entscbluss, ich 
mochte sagen, welche Unverschamtheit 1st es, nach Ihnen und 
bei Ihren Lebzeiten, Kirohftnggs'chicb tf in Miinchen zu doziren ? 

Dollinger took that branch for the time, but he never 
afterwards taught theology proper. As M5hler, who 
was essentially a theologian, deserted divinity to compose 
inferior treatises on the gnostics and the false decretals, 
Dollinger, by choice and vocation a divine, having 
religion as the purpose of his life, judged that the loftier 
function, the more spiritual service, was historical teaching. 
The problem is to know how it came to pass that a man 
who was eminently intelligent and perspicuous in the 
exposition of doctrines, but who, in narrative, description, 
and knowledge of character, was neither first nor second, 
resolved that his mission was history. 

In early life he had picked up chance copies of 
Baronius and Petavius, the pillars of historic theology ; 
but the motives of his choice lay deeper. Church history 
had long been the weakest point and the cause of 
weakness among the Catholics, and it was the rising 
strength of the German Protestants. Therefore it was the 
post of danger ; and it gave to a theologian the command 


of a public of laymen. The restoration of history 
coincided with the euthanasia of metaphysic ; when the 
foremost philosophic genius of the time led over to the 
historic treatment both of philosophy and religion, and 
Hamilton, Cousin, Comte, severally converted the science 
into its history. Many men better equipped for specu- 
lation than for erudition went the same way; the 
systematic theology was kept up in the universities by 
the influence of Rome, where scholasticism went on 
untouched by the romantic transformation. Writing of 
England, Wiseman said: "There is still a scholastic 
hardness in our controversial theology, an unbendingness 
of outward forms in our explanations of Catholic principles, 
which renders our theologians dry and unattractive to 
the most catholidy inclined portion of our Protestants." 
The choice which these youths made, towards 1830, was, 
though they did not know it, the beginning of a rift that 

Dollinger was more in earnest than others in regard- 
ing Christianity as history, and in pressing the affinity 
between catholic and historical thought. Systems were . 
to him nearly as codes to Savigny, when he exhorted his 
contemporaries not to consolidate their law, lest, with 
their wisdom and knowledge, they should incorporate their 
delusions and their ignorance, and usurp for the state 
what belonged to the nation. He would send an inquir- 
ing student to the Historia Congregationis de Auxiliis and 
the Historia Pdagiana rather than to Molina or Lemos, 
and often gave the advice which, coming from Oriel, dis- 
concerted Morris of Exeter : " I am afraid you will have 
to read the Jesuit Fetavius." He dreaded the predomi- 
nance of great names which stop the way, and everything 
that interposes the notions of an epoch, a region, or a 
school between the Church and the observer. 

To an Innsbruck professor, lamenting that there was 
np philosophy which he could heartily adopt, he replied 
that philosophies do not subsist in order to be adopted. 
A Thomist or a Cartesian seemed to him as a captive, or 
a one-armed combatant Prizing metaphysicians for the 


unstrung pearls which they drop beyond the seclusion of 
system, he loved the disjecta membra of Coleridge, and 
preferred the Pensieri, and Parerga und Paralipomma to 
the constructed work of Gioberti and Schopenhauer. He 
knew Leibniz chiefly in his letters, and was perceptibly 
affected by his law of continuous progression, his general 
optimism, and his eclectic art of extracting from men and 
books only the good that is in them ; but of monadology 
or pre-established harmony there was not a trace. His 
colleague, Schelling, no friend to the friends of Baader, 
stood aloof. The elder Windischmann, whom he partic- 
ularly esteemed, and who acted in Germany as the in- 
terpreter of De Maistre, had hailed Hegel as a pioneer of 
sound philosophy, with whom he agreed both in thought 
and word. D5llinger had no such condescension. 
Hegel remained, in his eyes, the strongest of all the 
enemies of religion, the guide of Tubingen in its aberra- 
tions, the reasoner whose abstract dialectics made a 
generation of clever men incapable of facing facts. He 
went on preferring former historians of dogma, who were 
untainted by the trail of pantheism, Baumgarten-Crusius, 
and even Muenscher, and by no means admitted that 
Baur was deeper than the early Jesuits and Oratorians, or 
gained more than he lost by constriction in the Hegelian 
coil. He took pleasure in pointing out that the best 
recent book on the penitential system, Kliefoth's fourth 
volume, owed its substance to Morinus. The dogmas of 
pantheistic history offended him too much to give them 
deep study, and he was ill prepared with counsel for a 
wanderer lost in the pervading haze. Hegelians said of 
him that he lacked the constructive unity of idea, and 
knew the way from effect to cause, but not from cause 
to law. 

His own lectures on the philosophy of religion, which 
have left no deep furrow, have- been praised by Ketteler, 
who was not an undiscriminating admirer. He sent on 
one of his pupils to Rosmini, and set another to begin 
metaphysics with Suarez; and when Lady Ashburton 
consulted him on the subject, he advised her to read 


Norris and Malebranche. He encouraged the study of 
remoter luminaries, such as Cusa and Raymundus, whose 
Natural Theology he preferred to the Analogy; and would 
not have men overlook some who are off the line, like 
Postel. But although he deemed it the mark of inferiority 
to neglect a grain of the gold of obsolete and eccentric 
writers, he always assigned to original speculation a 
subordinate place, as a good servant but a bad master, 
without the certainty and authority of history. What one 
of his English friends writes of a divine they both admired, 
might fitly be applied to him : 

He was a disciple in the school of Bishop Butler, and had 
learned as a first principle to recognise the limitations of human 
knowledge, and the unphilosophical folly of trying to round ofi 
into finished and pretentious schemes our fragmentary yet certain 
notices of our own condition and of God's dealing with it 

He alarmed Archer Gurney by saying that all hope 
of an understanding is at an end, if logic be applied for the 
rectification of dogma, and to Dr. Plummer, who acknow- 
ledged him as the most capable of modern theologians 
and historians, he spoke of the hopelessness of trying to 
discover the meaning of terms used in definitions. To 
his archbishop he wrote that men may discuss the 
mysteries of faith to the last day without avail; "we 
stand here on tine solid ground of history, evidence, and 
fact" Expressing his innermost thought, that religion 
exists to make men better, and that the ethical quality of 
dogma constitutes its value, he once said : " Tantum valet 
quantum ad corrigendum, purgandum, sanctificandum 
hominem confert" In theology as an intellectual exercise, 
beyond its action on the soul, he felt less interest, and 
those disputes most satisfied him which can be decided 
by appeal to the historian. 

From his early reputation and his position at the 
outpost, confronting Protestant science, he was expected 
to make up his mind over a large area of unsettled thought 
atid disputed fact, and to be provided with an opinion 
a freehold opinion of his own and a reasoned answer to 


every difficulty. People had a right to know what he 
knew about the end of the sixteenth chapter of St. Mark, 
and the beginning of the eighth chapter of St John, the 
lives of St. Patrick and the sources of Erigena, the author 
of the Imitation and of the Twelve Articles, the Nag's 
Head and the Casket Letters. The suspense and poise of 
the mind, which is the pride and privilege of the un- 
professional scholar, was forbidden him. Students could 
not wait for the master to complete his studies; they 
Socked for dry light of knowledge, for something defined 
and final, to their keen, grave, unemotional professor, who 
said sometimes more than he could be sure of, but who 
was not likely to abridge thought by oracular responses, 
or to give aphorism for argument. He accepted the 
necessity of the situation. A time came when everybody 
was invited, once a week, to put any imaginable question 
from the whole of Church history, and he at once replied. 
If this was a stimulus to exertion during the years spent 
in mastering and pondering the immense materials, it 
served less to promote originality and care than premature 
certitude and the craving for quick returns. Apart from 
the constant duty of teaching, his knowledge might not 
have been so extensive, but his views would have been 
less decided and therefore less liable to change. 

As an historian, D5llinger regarded Christianity as 
a force more than as a doctrine, and displayed it as it 
expanded and became the soul of later history. It was 
the mission and occupation of his life to discover and to 
disclose how this was accomplished, and to understand the 
history of civilised Europe, religious and profane, mental 
and political, by the aid of sources which, being original 
and authentic, yielded certainty. In his vigorous prime, 
he thought that it would be within his powers to complete 
the narrative of the conquest of the world by Christ in a 
single massive work. The separated churches, the centri- 
fugal forces, were to have been treated apart, until he 
adopted the ampler title of a history of Christianity. We 
who look back upon all that the combined and divided 
labour of a 'thousand earnest, gifted, and often instructed 


men has done and left undone in sixty years, can estimate 
the scientific level of an age where such a dream could ^be 
dreamed by such a man, misled neither by imagination 
nor ambition, but knowing his own limitations and the 
immeasurable world of books. Experience slowly taught 
him that he who takes all history for his province is not 
the man to write a compendium. 

The four volumes of Church History which gave him a 
name in literature appeared between 1833 and 1838, and 
stopped short of the Reformation. In writing mainly for 
the horizon of seminaries, it was desirable to eschew 
voyages of discovery and the pathless border-land. The 
materials were all in print, and were the daily bread of 
scholars. A celebrated Anglican described D6llinger at 
that time as more intentional than Fleury ; while Catholics 
objected that he was a candid friend; and Lutherans, 
probing deeper, observed that he resolutely held his ground 
wherever he could, and as resolutely abandoned every 
position that he found untenable. He has since said of 
himself that he always spoke sincerely, but that he spoke 
as an advocate a sincere advocate who pleaded only for 
a cause which he had convinced himself was just The 
cause he pleaded was the divine government of the 
Church, the fulfilment of the promise that it would be 
preserved from error, though not from sin, the uninterrupted 
employment of the powers committed by Christ for the 
salvation of man. By the absence of false aits he acquired 
that repute for superior integrity which caused a Tyrolese 
divine to speak of him as the most chivalrous of the 
Catholic celebrities ; and the nuncio who was at Munich 
during the first ten years called him the " professeur le plus 
clair, le plus religieux, en un mot le plus distingu de 

Taking his survey from the elevation of general history, 
he gives less space to all the early heresies together than 
to the rise of Mohammedanism. His way lies between 
Neander, who cares for no institutions, and Baur, who 
cares for no individuals. He was entirely exempt from 
that impersonal idealism which Sybel laid down at the 


foundation of his review, which causes Delbriick to 
complain that Macaulay, who could see facts so well, could 
not see that they are revelations, which Baur defines with- 
out disguise in KisDreieinigkeitslekre: "Alle geschicht- 
lichen Personen sind fiir uns blosse Namen." The two 
posthumous works of Hegel which turned events into 
theories had not then appeared. Dollinger, setting life 
and action above theory, omitted the progress of doctrine. 
He proposed that Mohler should take that share of their 
common topic, and the plan, entertained at first, was 
interrupted, with much besides, by death. He felt too 
deeply the overwhelming unity of force to yield to that 
atomic theory which was provoked by the Hegelian excess : 
* L'histoire n'est pas un simple jeu d'abstractions, et les 
homines y sont plus quo les doctrines. Ce n'est pas une 
certaine thgorie sur la justification et la redemption qui 
a fait la Rtforme : c'est Luther, c'est Calvin." But he 
allows a vast scope to the variable will and character of 
man. The object of religion .upon earth is saintliness, and 
its success is shown in holy individuals. He leaves law 
and doctrine, moving in their appointed orbits, to hold up 
great men and examples of Christian virtue. 

Dollinger, who had in youth acted as secretary to 
Hohenlohe, was always reserved in his use of the super- 
natural In the vision of Constantine and the rebuilding 
of the temple, he gives his reader both the natural 
explanation and the miraculous. He thought that the 
witness of the fathers to the continuance of miraculous 
powers could not be resisted without making history 
a priori, but later on, the more he sifted and compared 
authorities, the more severe he became. He deplored the 
uncritical credulity of the author of the Monks of the West; 
and, in examining the Stigmata, he cited the experience 
of a Spanish convent where they were so common that 
it became a sign of reprobation to be without them. 
Historians, he said, have to look for natural causes: 
enough will remain for the action of Providence, where we 
cannot penetrate. In his unfinished book on Ecclesiastical 
Prophecy he enumerates the illusions of mediaeval saints 


when they spoke of the future, and describes them, as he 
once described Carlyle and Ruskin, as prophets having 
nothing to foretell. At Frankfort, where he spoilt his 
watch by depositing it in unexpected holy water, and it 
was whispered that he had put it there to mend it, every- 
body knew that there was hardly a Catholic in the Parlia- 
ment of whom such a fable could be told with more 
felicitous unfitness. 

For twenty years of his life at Munich, Gorres was 
the impressive central figure of a group reputed far and 
wide, the most intellectual force in the Catholic world. 
Seeing things by the light of other days, Nippold and 
Maurenbrecher describe Bellinger himself as its most 
eminent member. There was present gain and future 
peril in living amongst a clever but restricted set, sheltered, 
supported, and restrained by friends who were united in 
aims and studies, who cherished their sympathies and their 
enmities in common, and who therefore believed that 
they were divided by no deep cleft or ultimate principle, 
Dollinger never outlived the glamour of the eloquence 
and ascendancy of Gorres, and spoke of him long after 
his death as a man of real knowledge, and of greater 
religious than political insight Between the imaginative 
rhetorician and the measured, scrutinising scholar, the 
contrast was wide. One of the many pupils and rare 
disciples of the former complained that his friend supplied 
interminable matter for the sterile and unavailing Mystik, 
in order to amuse him with ropes of sand: and the 
severest censure of Dollinger's art as an historian was 
pronounced by G6rres when he said, "I always see 
analogies, and you always see differences." 

At all times, but in his early studies especially, he 
owed much to the Italians, whose ecclesiastical literature 
was the first that he mastered, and predominates in his- 
Church history. Several of his countrymen, such as 
Savigny and Raumer, had composed history on the 
shoulders of Bolognese and Lombard scholars, and some 
of their most conspicuous successors to the present day 
have lived under heavy obligations to Modena and San 


Marino. During the tranquil century before the Revolu- 
tion, Italians studied the history of their country with 
diligence and success. Even such places as Parma, 
Verona, Brescia, became centres of obscure but faithful 
work. Osimo possessed annals as bulky as Rome. The 
story of the province of Treviso was told in twenty volumes. 
The antiquities of Picenum filled thirty-two folios. The 
best of all this national and municipal patriotism was 
given to the service of religion. Popes and cardinals, 
dioceses and parish churches became the theme of un- 
tiring enthusiasts. There too were the stupendous records 
of the religious orders, their bulls and charters, their 
biography and their bibliography. In this immense 
world of patient, accurate, devoted research, Bellinger 
laid the deep foundations of his historical knowledge. 
Beginning like everybody with Baronius and Muratori, he 
gave a large portion of his life to Noris, and to the solid 
and enlightened scholarship that surrounded Benedict 
XIV., down to the compilers, Borgia, Fantuzzi, Marini, 
with whom, in the evil days of regeneration by the 
French, the grand tradition died away. He has put on 
record his judgment that Orsi and Saccarelli were the 
best writers on the general history of the Church. After- 
wards, when other layers had been superposed, and the 
course he took was his own, he relied much on the 
canonists, Ballerini and Berardi; and he commended 
Bianchi, De Bennettis, and the author of the anonymous 
Confutation*, as the strongest Roman antidote to Blondel, 
Buckeridge, and Barrow. Italy possessed the largest 
extant body of Catholic learning; the whole sphere of 
Church government was within its range, and it enjoyed 
something of the official prerogative. 

Next to the Italians he gave systematic attention to 
the French. The conspicuous Gallicans, the Jansenists, 
from whom at last he derived much support, Richer, Van 
Espen, Launoy, whom he regarded as the original of 
Bossuet, Arnauld, whom he thought his superior, are 
absent from his pages, He never overcame his distrust of 
Pascal, for his methodical scepticism and his endeavour 


to dissociate religion from learning ; and he rated high 
Daniel's reply to the Provineiabs. He esteemed still 
more the French Protestants of the seventeenth century, 
who transformed the system of Geneva and Dort English 
theology did not come much in his way until he had made 
himself at home with the Italians and the primary French. 
Then it abounded. He gathered it in quantities on two 
journeys in 1851 and 1 8 58, and he possessed the English 
divines in perfection, at least down to Whitby, and the 
nonjurors. Early acquaintance with Sir Edward Vavasour 
and Lord Clifford had planted a lasting prejudice in favour 
of the English Catholic families, which sometimes tinged 
his judgments. The neglected literature of the Catholics 
in England held a place in his scheme of thought, which 
it never obtained in the eyes of any other scholar, native 
or foreign. This was the only considerable school of 
divines who wrote under persecution, and were reduced to 
an attitude of defence. In conflict with the most learned, 
intelligent, and conciliatory of controversialists, they 
developed a remarkable spirit of moderation, discriminating 
inferior elements from the original and genuine growth of 
Catholic roots ; and their several declarations and mani- 
festoes, from the Restoration onwards, were an inex- 
haustible supply for irenics. Therefore they powerfully 
attracted one who took the words of St Vincent of L&ins 
not merely for a flash of illumination, but for a scientific 
formula and guiding principle. Few writers interested him 
more deeply than Stapleton, Davenport, who anticipated 
Number XC., Irishmen, such as Caron and Walshe, and 
the Scots, Barclay, the adversary and friend of Bellarminq, 
Ramsay, the convert and recorder of F6nelon. It may be 
that, to an intellect trained in the historic process, stability, 
continuity, and growth were terms of more vivid and exact 
significance than to the doctors of Pont-4-Mousson and 
Lambspring. But when he came forward arrayed in the 
spoils of Italian libraries and German universities, with the 
erudition of centuries and the criticism of to-day, he some- 
times was content to follow where forgotten Benedictines 
or Franciscans had preceded, under the later Stuarts. 


He seldom quotes contemporary Germans, unless to 
dispute with them, prefers old books to new, and speaks 
of the necessary revision and renovation of history. He 
suspected imported views and foregone conclusions even in 
Neander ; and although he could not say, with Macaulay, 
that Gieseler was a rascal, of whom he had never heard, 
he missed no opportunity of showing his dislike for that 
accomplished artificer in mosaic. Looking at the 
literature before him, at England, with Gibbon for its one 
ecclesiastical historian ; at Germany, with the most profound 
of its divines expecting the Church to merge in the State, 
he inferred that its historic and organic unity would only 
be recognised by Catholic science, while the soundest 
Protestant would understand it least In later years, 
Kliefoth, Ritschl, Gass, perhaps also Dorner and Uhlhorn, 
obliged him to modify an opinion which the entire school 
of Schleiermacher, including the illustrious Rothe, served 
only to confirm. Germany, as he found it when he began 
to see the world, little resembled that of his old age, when 
the work he had pursued for seventy years was carried 
forward, with knowledge and power like his own, by the 
best of his countiymen. The proportion of things was 
changed. There was a religious literature to be proud of, 
to rely on : other nations, other epochs, had lost their 
superiority. As his own people advanced, and dominated 
in the branches of learning to which his life was given, in 
everything except literary history and epigraphies, and 
there was no more need to look abroad, Bellinger's 
cosmopolitan characteristic diminished, he was more 
absorbed in the national thought and work, and did not 
object to be called the most German of the Germans. 

The idea that religious science is not so much science 
as religion, that it should be treated differently from other 
matters, so that he who treats it may rightly display his 
soul, flourished in his vicinity, inspiring the lives of Saint 
Elizabeth and Joan of Arc, Mahler's fine lectures on the 
early fathers, and the book which Gratty chose to entitle 
a Commentary on St. Matthew. Ddllinger came early 
to the belief that history ought to be impersonal, that the 


historian does well to keep out of the way, to be humble 
and self-denying, making it a religious duty to prevent 
the intrusion of all that betrays his own position and 
quality, his hopes and wishes. Without aspiring to the 
calm indifference of Ranke, he was conscious that, in early 
life, he had been too positive, and too eager to persuade. 
The Belgian scholar who, conversing with him in 1842, 
was reminded of Fftielon, missed the acuter angles of his 
character. He, who in private intercourse sometimes 
allowed himself to persist, to contradict, and even to 
baffle a bore by frankly falling asleep, would have declined 
the evocation of Versailles. But in reasonableness, 
moderation, and charity, in general culture of mind and 
the sense of the demands of the progress of civilisation, 
in the ideal church for which he lived, he was more in 
harmony with Finelon than with many others who re* 
sembled him in the character of their work. 

He deemed it catholic to take ideas from history, and 
heresy to take them into it When men gave evidence 
for the opposite party, and against their own, he willingly 
took for impartiality what he could not always distinguish 
from indifference or subdivision. He felt that sincere 
history was the royal road to religious union, and he 
specially cultivated those who saw both sides. He would 
cite with complacency what clever Jesuits, Raynaud and 
Faure, said for the Reformation, Mariana and Cordara 
against their society. When a Rhenish Catholic and a 
Genevese Calvinist drew two portraits of Calvin which 
were virtually the same, or when, in Picker's revision of 
Bohmer, the Catholic defended the Emperor Frederic II. 
against the Protestant, he rejoiced as over a sign of the 
advent of science. As the Middle Ages, rescued from 
polemics by the genial and uncritical sympathy of Miiller, 
became an object of popular study, and Royer Collard said 
of Villemain, // a fait, U fait, et il fera toujours son 
Gr/gom VII., there were Catholics who desired, by a 
prolonged sorites, to derive advantage from the new spirit 
Wiseman consulted Dollinger for the purpose. "Will 
you be kind enough to write me a list of what you consider 


the best books for the history of the Reformation; 
Menzel and Buchholz I know; especially any exposing 
the characters of the leading reformers?" In the same 
frame of mind he asked him what pope there was whose 
good name had not been vindicated; and Bellinger's 
reply, that Boniface VIII. wanted a friend, prompted both 
Wiseman's article and Tosti's book. 

In politics, as in religion, he made the past a law for 
the present, and resisted doctrines which are ready-made, 
and are not derived from experience. Consequently, he 
undervalued work which would never have been done 
from disinterested motives ; and there were three of his 
most eminent contemporaries whom he decidedly under- 
estimated. Having known Thiers, and heard him speak, 
he felt profoundly the talent of the extraordinary man, 
before Lanfrey or Taine, Hausser and Bernhardi had so 
ruined his credit among Germans that Dollinger, disgusted 
by his advocacy, whether of the Revolution, of Napoleon, 
or of France, neglected his work. Stahl claims to be 
accounted an historian by his incomparably able book on 
the Church government of the Reformation. As a professor 
at Munich, and afterwards as a parliamentary leader at 
Berlin, he was always an avowed partisan. Dallinger 
depreciated him accordingly, and he had the mortifica- 
tion that certain remarks on the sovereign dialectician of 
European conservatism were on the point of appearing 
when he died. He so far made it good in his preface 
that the thing was forgotten when Gerlach came to see 
the assailant of his friend. But once, when I spoke of 
Stahl as the greatest man born of a Jewish mother since 
Titus, he thought me unjust to Disraeli 

Most of all, he misjudged Macaulay, whose German 
admirers are not always in the higher ranks of literature, 
and of whom Ranke even said that he could hardly be 
called an historian at all, tried by the stricter test He 
had no doubt seen how his unsuggestive fixity and assurance 
could cramp and close a mind ; and he felt more beholden 
to the rivals who produced d'Adda, Barillon, and Bonnet, 
than to the author of so many pictures and so much 


bootless decoration. He tendered a course of Bacon's 
Essays, or of Butler's and Newman's Sermons, as a 
preservative against intemperate dogmatism. He de- 
nounced Macaulay's indifference to the merits of the 
inferior cause, and desired more generous treatment of the 
Jacobites and the French king. He deemed it hard that 
a science happily delivered from the toils of religious 
passion should be involved in political, and made to pass 
from the sacristy to the lobby, by the most brilliant 
example in literature. To the objection that one who 
celebrates the victory of parliaments over monarchs, of 
democracy over aristocracy, of liberty over authority, 
declares, not the tenets of a party, but manifest destiny 
and the irrevocable decree, he would reply that a narrow 
induction is the bane of philosophy, that the ways of 
Providence are not inscribed on the surface of things, that 
religion, socialism, militarism, and revolution possibly 
reserve a store of cogent surprises for the economist, 
utilitarian, and whig. 

In 1865 he was invited to prepare a new edition of 
his Church history. Whilst he was mustering the close 
ranks of folios which had satisfied a century of historians, 
the world had moved, and there was an increase of raw 
material to be measured by thousands of volumes. The 
archives which had been sealed with seven seals had 
become as necessary to the serious student as his library. 
Every part of his studies had suffered transformation, 
except the fathers, who had largely escaped the crucible, 
and the canon law, which had only just been caught by 
the historical current He had begun when Niebuhr was 
lecturing at Bonn and Hegel at Berlin ; before Tischen- 
dorf unfolded his first manuscript ; before Baur discovered 
the Tubingen hypothesis in the congregation of Corinth ; 
before Rothe had plarftied his treatise on the primitive 
church, or Ranke had begun to pluck the plums for his 
modem popes. Guizot had not founded the cole des 
Gh&rtc$> and the school of method was not yet opened at 
Berlin. The application of instruments of precision was 
just beginning, and what Pxynne calls the heroic study of 


records had scarcely molested the ancient reign of lives 
and chronicles. None had worked harder at his science 
and at himself than D6llinger ; and the change around 
him was not greater than the change within. In his early 
career as a teacher of religion he had often shrunk from 
books which bore no stamp of orthodoxy. It was long 
before he read Sarpi or the Lettres Provinciates, or even 
Ranke's Popes, which appeared when he was thirty-five, 
and which astonished him by the serene ease with which 
a man who knew so much touched on such delicate 
ground. The book which he had written in that state of 
mind, and with that conception of science and religion, 
had only a prehistoric interest for its author. He refused 
to reprint it, and declared that there was hardly a sentence 
fit to stand unchanged. He lamented that he had lost 
ten years of life in getting his bearings, and in learning, 
unaided, the most difficult craft in the world. Those 
years of apprenticeship without a master were the time 
spent on his KirchtngeschichU. The want of training 
remained. He could impart knowledge better than the 
art of learning. Thousands of his pupils have acquired 
connected views of religion passing through the ages, and 
gathered, if they were intelligent, some notion of the 
meaning of history ; but nobody ever learnt from him the 
mechanism by which it is written. 

Brougham advised the law-student to begin with 
Dante \ and a distinguished physician informs us that 
Gibbon, Grote, and Mill made him what he is. The men 
to whom Dollinger owed his historic insight and who 
mainly helped to develop and strengthen and direct his 
special faculty, were not all of his own cast, or remarkable 
in the common description of literary talent The assist- 
ants were countless, but the masters were few, and he 
looked up with extraordinary gratitude to men like 
Sigonius, Antorrius Augustinus, Blondel, Petavius, Leibniz, 
Burke, and Niebuhr, who had opened the passes for him 
as he struggled and groped in tie illimitable forest 

He interrupted his work because he found the materials 
too scanty for the later Middle Ages, and too copious for 


the Reformation. The defective account of the Alhi- 
gensian theology, which he had sent to one of his trans- 
lators, never appeared in German. At Paris he searched 
the library for the missing information, and he asked 
RessSguier to make inquiry for the records of the In- 
quisition in Languedoc, thus laying the foundations of 
that StktengtschzckU which he published fifty years later. 
Munich offered such inexhaustible supplies for the Re- 
formation that his collections overran all bounds. He 
completed only that part of his plan which included 
Lutheranism and the sixteenth century. The third 
volume, published in 1848, containing the theology of 
the Reformation, is the most solid of his writings. 
He had miscalculated, not his resources, of which only 
a part had come into action, but the possibilities of con- 
centration and compression. The book was left a 
fragment when he had to abandon his study for the 
Frankfort barricades. 

The peculiarity of his treatment is that he contracts 
the Reformation into a history of the doctrine of 
justification. He found that this and this alone was the 
essential point in Luther's mind, that he made it the basis 
of his argument, the motive of his separation, the root and 
principle of his religion. He believed that Luther was 
right in the cardinal importance he attributed to this 
doctrine in his system, and he in his turn recognised that 
it was the cause of all that followed, the source of the 
reformer's popularity and success, the sole insurmountable 
obstacle to every scheme of restoration. It was also, for 
him, the centre and the basis of his antagonism. That 
was the point that he attacked when he combated 
Protestantism, and he held all other elements of conflict 
cheap in comparison, deeming that they are not invariable, 
or not incurable, or not supremely serious. Apart from 
this, there was much in Protestantism that he admired, 
much in its effects for which he was grateful. With the 
Lutheran view of imputation, Protestant and Catholic were 
separated by an abyss. Without it, there was no lasting 
reason why they should be separate at all. Against the 


communities that hold it he stood in order of battle, and 
believed that he could scarcely hit too hard. But he 
distinguished very broadly the religion of the reformers 
from the religion of Protestants. Theological science had 
moved away from the symbolical books, the root dogma 
had been repudiated and contested by the most eminent 
Protestants, and it was an English bishop who wrote: 
" Fuit haec doctrina jam a multis annis ipsissimum Refor- 
matae Ecclesiae opprobrium ac dedecus. Est error non 
levis, error putidissimus." Since so many of the best 
writers resist or modify that which was the main cause, 
the sole ultimate cause, of disunion, it cannot be logically 
impossible to discover a reasonable basis for discussion. 
Therefore conciliation was always in his thoughts ; even 
his Reformation was a treatise on the conditions of reunion. 
He long purposed to continue it, in narrower limits, as a 
history of that central doctrine by which Luther meant 
his church to stand or fall, of the reaction against it, and 
of its decline. In 1881, when Ritschl, the author of the 
chief work upon the subject, spent some days with 
Bellinger, he found him still full of these ideas, and pos- 
sessing Luther at his fingers' ends. 

This is the reason why Protestants have found him so 
earnest an opponent and so warm a friend. It was this 
that attracted him towards Anglicans, and made very many 
of them admire a Roman dignitary who knew the Anglo- 
CathoHc library better than De Lugo or Ripalda. In the 
same spirit he said to Pusey : " Tales cum sitis jam nostri 
estis," always spoke of Newman's Justification as the 
greatest masterpiece of theology that England has pro- 
duced in a hundred years, and described Baxter and 
Wesley as the most eminent of English Protestants 
meaning Wesley as he was after ist December 1767, and 
Baxter as the life-long opponent of that theory which was 
the source and the soul of the Reformation. Several 
Englishmen who went to consult him Hope Scott and 
Archdeacon Wilberforce became Catholics. I know not 
whether he urged them. Others there were, whom he did 
not urge, though his influence over them might have been 


decisive. In a later letter to Pusey he wrote : " I am 
convinced by reading your Eirenicon that we are united 
inwardly in our religious convictions, although externally 
we belong to two separated churches." He followed 
attentively the parallel movements that went on in his 
own country, and welcomed with serious respect the 
overtures which came to him, after 1856, from eminent 
historians. When they were old men, he and Ranke, 
whom, in hot youth, there was much to part, lived on 
terms of mutual goodwill. Dollinger had pronounced 
the theology of the Deutsche Reformation slack and trivial, 
and Ranke at one moment was offended by what he took 
for an attack on the popes, his patrimony. In x 865, aftei 
a visit to Munich, he allowed that in religion there was no 
dispute between them, that he had no fault to find with 
the Church as Ddllinger understood it He added that 
one of his colleagues, a divine whose learning filled him 
with unwonted awe, held the same opinion. Bellinger's 
growing belief that an approximation of part of Germany 
to sentiments of conciliation was only a question of time, 
had much to do with his attitude in Church questions after 
the year 1860. If history cannot confer faith or virtue, 
it can clear away the misconceptions and misunderstand- 
ings that turn men against one another. With the pro- 
gress of incessant study and meditation his judgment on 
many points underwent revision ; but with regard to the 
Reformation the change was less than he supposed. He 
learnt to think more favourably of the religious influence 
of Protestantism, and of its efficacy in the defence of 
Christianity ; but he thought as before of the spiritual 
consequences of Lutheranism proper. When people said 
of Luther that he does not come well out of his matri- 
monial advice to certain potentates, to Henry and to 
Philip, of his exhortations to exterminate the revolted 
peasantry, of his passage from a confessor of toleration to 
a teacher of intolerance, he would not have the most 
powerful conductor of religion that Christianity has pro- 
duced in eighteen centuries condemned for two pages in 
a hundred volumes. But when he had refused the test of 


the weakest link, judging the man by his totals, he was 
not less severe on his theological ethics. 

Meinerseits babe ich noch eine andre schwere Anklage gegen 
ihn zu erheben, namlich die, dass er durch seine falsche Imputa- 
tionslehre das sittlich-religiose Bewusstseyn der Menschen auf 
zwei Jahrhunderte binaus verwint und corrumpirt hat ($rd July 

The revolution of 1 848, during which he did not hold 
his professorship, brought him forward uncongenially in 
active public life, and gave him the means of telling the 
world his view of the constitution and policy of the Church, 
and the sense and limits of liability in which he gave 
his advocacy. When lecturing on canon law he was 
accustomed to dwell on the strict limit of all ecclesiastical 
authority, admitting none but spiritual powers, and in- 
voking the maxims of pontiffs who professed themselves 
guardians, not masters, of the established legislation 
"Canones ecclesiae solvere non possum us, qui custodes cano- 
num sumus." Acting on these principles, in the Paulskirche, 
and at Ratisbon, he vindicated Rome against the reproach 
of oppression, argued that society can only gain by the 
emancipation of the Church, as it claims no superiority 
over the State, and that both Galileans and Jesuits are out 
of date. Addressing the bishops of Germany in secret 
session at Wiirzburg, he exhorted them to avail themselves 
fully of an order of things which was better than the old, 
and to make no professions of unconditional allegiance. 
He told them that freedom is the breath of the Catholic 
life, that it belongs to the Church of God by right divine, 
and that whatever they claimed must be claimed for others. 

From these discourses, in which the scholar abandoned 
the details by which science advances for the general 
principles of the popular orator, the deductions of liberalism 
proceed as surely as the revolution from the title-page of 
Sieyfcs. It should seem that the key to his career lies 
there. It was natural to associate him with the men 
whom the early promise of a reforming pope inspired to 
identify the cause of free societies with the papacy which 
had Rosmini for an adviser, Ventura for a preacher,, 


Gioberti for a prophet, and to conclude that he thus 
became a trusted representative, until the revolving years 
found him the champion of a vanished cause, and the 
Syllabus exposed the illusion and bore away his ideal 
Harless once said of him that no good could be expected 
from a man surrounded by a ring of liberals. When 
Dollinger made persecution answer both for the decline 
of Spain and the fall of Poland, he appeared to deliver 
the common creed of Whigs; and he did not protest 
against the American who called him the acknowledged 
head of the liberal Catholics. His hopefulness in the 
midst 'of the movement of 1848, his ready acquiescence 
in the fall of ancient powers and institutions, his trust in 
Rome, and in the abstract rights of Germans, suggested 
a reminiscence of the Avenir in 1830. 

Lamennais, returning with Montalembert after his 
appeal to Rome, met Lacordaire at Munich, and during 
a banquet given in their honour he learnt, privately, 
that he was condemned. The three friends spent that 
afternoon in Bellinger's company; and it was after he 
had left them that Lamennais produced the encyclical 
and said : Dieu a parU. Montalembert soon returned, 
attracted as much by Munich art as by religion or 
literature, The fame of the Bavarian school of Catholic 
thought spread in France among those who belonged to 
the wider circles of the Avenir ; and priests and laymen 
followed, as to a scientific shrine. In the Mtmoires (fun 
RoyaKsU Falloux has preserved, with local colour, the 
spirit of that pilgrimage : 

Munich lui ftt indiqug comme le foyer d'une grande . 

tion religieuse et artistique. Quels nobles et ardents entretiens, 
quelle passion pour 1'Eglise et pour sa cause 1 Rien n'a plus 
lessembll aux discours d'un portique chr&ien que les apologies 
eaflammees du vieux Goires, les savantes deductions de 
IXUlinger, la verve originale de Brentano. 

Rio, who was the earliest of the travellers, describes 
as he found him in 1830 : 

fit un privilege dont il serait difficile de citer un autre exemple, 


il avait la passion des Etudes thlologiques comme s*il n'avait 6t6 
que pr^tre, et la passion des ftudes litt&aires appliques aux 
auteurs anciens et modernes comme s'il n'avait && que litterateur ; 
a quoi Q faut ajouter un autre don qu'il y aurait ingratitude it 
oublier, celui d'une exposition lucide, patiente et presque aflfec- 
tueuse, comme s'il n'avait accumulg tant de connaissances que 
pour avoir le plaisir de les communiquer. 

For forty years he remained in correspondence with 
many of these early friends, who, in the educational 
struggle which ended with the ministry of Falloux in 
1850, revived the leading maxims of the rejected master. 
As Lacordaire said, on his deathbed : "La parole de 1'Avenir 
avait germ* de son tombeau comme une cendre ffeonde." 
Dollinger used to visit his former visitors in various parts 
of France, and at Paris he attended the salon of Madame 
Swetchine. One day, at the seminary, he inquired who 
were the most promising students; Dupanloup pointed 
out a youth, who was the hope of the Church, and whose 
name was Ernest Renan. 

Although the men who were drawn to him in this way 
formed the largest and best-defined cluster with which he 
came in contact, there was more private friendship than 
mutual action or consultation between them. The un- 
impassioned German, who had no taste for ideas released 
from controlling fact, took little pleasure in the impetuous 
declamation of the Breton, and afterwards pronounced 
him inferior to Loyson. Neither of the men who were in 
the confidence of both has intimated that he made any 
lasting impression on Lamennais, who took leave of him 
without discussing the action of Rome. Dollinger never 
sought to renew acquaintance with Lacordaire, when he 
had become the most important man in the church of 
France. He would have a prejudice to overcome against 
him whom Circourt called the most ignorant man in the 
Academy, who believed that Erasmus ended his days at 
Rotterdam, unable to choose between Rome and Wittem- 
berg, and that the Irish obtained through O'Connell the 
right to worship in their own way. He saw more of 
Dupanloup, without feeling, as deeply as Renan, the rare 


charm of the combative prelate. To an exacting and 
reflective scholar, to whom even the large volume of heavy 
erudition in which Rosmini defended the Cinque Piaghe 
seemed superficial, there was incongruity in the attention 
paid to one of whom he heard that he promoted the 
council, that he took St. Boniface for St Wilfrid, and 
that he gave the memorable advice : Surtout mffies-wus 
des sources. After a visit from the Bishop of Orleans he 
sat down in dismay to compose the most elementary of 
his books. Seeing the inferiority of Falloux as a historian, 
he never appreciated the strong will and cool brain of the 
statesman who overawed Tocqueville. Eckstein, the 
obscure but thoughtful originator of much liberal feeling 
among his own set, encouraged him in the habit of 
depreciating the attainments of the French clergy, which 
was confirmed by the writings of the most eminent among 
them, Darboy, and lasted until the appearance of Duchesne. 
The politics of Montalembert were so heavily charged 
with conservatism, that in defiance of such advisers as 
Lacordaire, Ravignan, and Dupanloup, he pronounced in 
favour of the author of the coup tFttet, saying: "Je suis 
pour I'autoritl contre la rlvolte " ; and boasted that, in 
entering the Academy he had attacked the Revolution, 
not of '93 but '89, and that Guizot, who received him, 
bad nothing to say in reply. There were many things, 
human and divine, on which they could not feel alike ; 
but as the most urgent, eloquent, and persevering of his 
Catholic friends, gifted with knowledge and experience of 
affairs, and dwelling in the focus, it may be that on one 
critical occasion, when religion and politics intermingled, 
he influenced the working of Bellinger's mind But the 
plausible reading of his life which explains it by his 
connection with such public men as Montalembert, De 
Decker, and Mr. Gladstone is profoundly untrue; and 
those who deem him a liberal in any scientific use of the 
term, miss the keynote of his work. 

The political party question has to be considered here, 
because, in fact, it is decisive. A liberal who thinks his 
thought out to the end without flinching is forced to 


certain conclusions which colour to the root every phase 
and scene of universal history. He believes in upward 
progress, because it is only recent times that have striven 
deliberately, and with a zeal according to knowledge, for 
the increase and security of freedom. He is not only 
tolerant of error in religion, but is specially indulgent to 
the less dogmatic forms of Christianity, to the sects which 
have restrained the churches. He is austere in judging 
the past, imputing not error and ignorance only, but guilt 
and crime, to those who, in the dark succession of ages, 
have resisted and retarded the growth of liberty, which he 
identifies with the cause of morality, and the condition of 
the reign of conscience. Dollinger never subjected his 
mighty vision of the stream of time to correction accord- 
ing to the principles of this unsympathising philosophy, 
never reconstituted the providential economy in agree- 
ment with the Whig Thodice. He could understand the 
Zoroastrian simplicity of history in black and white, for 
he wrote: "obgleich man allerdings sagen kann, das 
tiefste Thema der Weltgeschichte sei der Kampf der 
Knechtschaft oder Gebundenheit, mit der Freiheit, auf 
dem intellectuellen, religifisen, politischen und socialen 
Gebiet" But the scene which lay open before his mind 
was one of greater complexity, deeper design, and infinite 
intellect He imagined a way to truth through error, and 
outside the Church, not through unbelief and the diminished 
reign of Christ Lacordaire in the cathedral pulpit offering 
his thanks to Voltaire for the good gift of religious 
toleration, was a figure alien to his spirit He never sub- 
stituted politics for religion as the test of progress, and 
never admitted that they have anything like the dogmatic 
certainty and sovereignty of religious, or of physical, 
science. He had all the liberality that consists of common 
sense, justice, humanity, enlightenment, the wisdom of 
Canning or Guizot But revolution, as the breach of 
continuity, as the renunciation of history, was odious to 
him, and he not only refused to see method in the madness 
of Marat, or dignity in the end of Robespierre, but believed 
that the best measures of Leopold, the most intelligent 

2 D 


reformer in the era of repentant monarchy, were vitiated 
and frustrated by want of adaptation to custom. Common 
party divisions represented nothing scientific to his mind ; 
and he was willing, like De Quincey, to accept them as 
corresponding halves of a necessary whole. He wished 
that he knew half as much as his neighbour, Mrs. 
Somerville ; but he possessed no natural philosophy, and 
never acquired the emancipating habit which comes from 
a life spent in securing progress by shutting one's eyes to 
the past "Alle Wissenschaft steht und ruht auf ihrer 
historischen Entwicklung, sie lebt von ihrer traditionellen 
Vergangenheit, wie der Baum von seiner Wurzel." 

He was moved, not by the gleam of reform after the 
conclave of Pius IX., but by Pius VII. The impression 
made upon him by the character of that pope, and his 
resistance to Napoleon, had much to do with his 
resolution to become a priest He took orders in the 
Church in the days of revival, as it issued from oppression 
and the eclipse of hierarchy ; and he entered its service in 
the spirit of Sailer, Cheverus, and Doyle. The mark of 
that time never left him. When Newman asked him 
what he would say of the Pope's journey to Paris, for the 
coronation of the emperor, he hardly recognised the point 
of the question. He opposed, in 1853, the renewal of 
that precedent; but to tie end he never felt what people 
mean when they remark on the proximity of Notre-Dame 
to Vincennes. 

Bellinger was too much absorbed in distant events 
to be always a close observer of what went on near him ; 
and he was, therefore, not so much influenced by contact 
with contemporary history as men who, were less entirely 
at home in other centuries. He knew about all that 
could be known of the ninth: in the nineteenth his 
superiority deserted him. Though he informed himself 
assiduously his thoughts were not there. He collected 
from Hormayr, Radowitz, Capponi, much secret matter of 
the last generation ; and where Brewer had told him about 
Oxford, and Plantier about Louis Philippe, there were 
landmarks, as, when Knoblecher, the missionary, set down 


Krophi and Mophi on his map of Africa. He deferred, 
at once, to the competent authority. He consulted his 
able colleague Hermann on all points of political 
economy, and used his advice when he wrote about 
England. Having satisfied himself, he would not reopen 
these questions, when, after Hermann's death, he spent 
some time in the society of Roscher, a not less eminent 
economist, and of all men the one who most resembled 
himself in the historian's faculty of rethinking the 
thoughts and realising the knowledge, the ignorance, the 
experience, the illusions of a given time. 

He had lived in many cities, and had known many 
important men ; he had sat in three parliamentary 
assemblies, had drawn constitutional amendments, had 
been consulted upon the policy and the making of 
ministries, and had declined political office ; but as an 
authority on recent history he was scarcely equal to him- 
self. Once it became his duty to sketch the character of a 
prince whom he had known. There was a report that 
this sovereign had only been dissuaded from changing 
his religion and abolishing the constitution by the advice 
of an archbishop and of a famous parliamentary jurist ; 
and the point of the story was that the Protestant 
doctrinaire had prevented the change of religion, and the 
archbishop had preserved the constitution. It was too early 
to elucidate these court mysteries; instead of which there 
is a remarkable conversation about religion, wherein it is 
not always clear whether the prince is speaking, or the 
professor, or Schelling. 

Although he had been translated into several languages 
and was widely known in his own country, he had not yet 
built himself a European name. At Oxford, in 1851, 
when James Mozley asked whom he would like to see, he 
said, the men who had written in the Christian Remem- 
brancer on Dante and Luther. Mozley was himself one of 
the two, and he introduced , him to the other at Oriel 
After thirty-two years, when the writer on Dante occupied 
a high position in the Church and had narrowly escaped 
the highest, that visit was returned But he had no idea 


that he had once received Dollinger in his college rooms, 
and hardly believed it when told. In Germany, the serried 
learning of the2eferwtfrf<w,theauthor ; s energy and decisive- 
ness in public assemblies, caused him to stand forth as an 
accepted spokesman, and, for a season, threw back the 
reticent explorer, steering between the shallows of anger 
and affection. 

In that stage the Phiksophumena found him, and 
induced him to write a book of controversy in the shape 
of history. Here was an anonymous person who, as 
Newman described it, "calls one pope a weak and venal 
dunce, and another a sacrilegious swindler, an infamous 
convict, and an heresiarch ex cathedrd." In the Munich 
Faculty there was a divine who affirmed that the Church 
would never get over it DSllinger undertook to 
vindicate the insulted See of Rome ; and he was glad of 
the opportunity to strike a blow at three conspicuous men 
of whom he thought ill in point both of science and 
religion. He spoke of Gieseler as the flattest and most 
leathern of historians ; he accused Baur of frivolity and 
want of theological conviction ; and he wished that he 
knew as many circumlocutions for untruth as there are 
Arabian synonyms for a camel, that he might do justice 
to Bunsen without violation of courtesy. The weight of 
the new testimony depended on the discovery of the 
author. Adversaries had assigned it to Hippolytus, the 
foremost European writer of the time, venerated as a saint 
and a father of the Church. Dollinger thought them 
right, and he justified his sincerity by giving further 
reasons for a conclusion which made his task formidable 
even for such dexterity as his own. Having thus made 
a concession which was not absolutely inevitable, he 
resisted the inference with such richness of illustration 
that the fears of the doubting colleague were appeased. 
In France, by Pitra's influence!, the book was reviewed 
without making known that it supported the authorship 
of Hippolytus, which is still disputed by some impartial 
ditics, and was always rejected by Newman. Hippolytus 
und KatBstus, the high-water mark of Ddllinger's official 


assent and concurrence, came out in 1853. His nfcd&book 
showed the ebb. N^-*' 

He came originally from the romantic school, where 
history was honeycombed with imagination and con- 
jecture ; and the first important book he gave to a pupil 
in 1850 was Creuzer's Mythology. In 1845 ^ e denounced 
the rationalism of Lobeck in investigating the Mysteries ; 
but in 1 857 he preferred him as a guide to those who pro- 
ceed by analogy. With increase of knowledge had come 
increase of restraining caution and sagacity. The critical 
acumen was not greater in the Vorhallt that when he wrote 
on the PhUosophumena, but instead of being employed in 
a chosen cause, upon fixed lines, for welcome ends, it is 
applied impartially. Ernst von Lasaulx, a man of rich 
and noble intellect, was lecturing next door on the 
philosophy and religion of Greece, and everybody heard 
about his indistinct mixture of dates and authorities, and 
the spell which his unchastened idealism cast over 
students. Lasaulx, who brilliantly carried on the tra- 
dition of Creuzer, who had tasted of the mythology of 
Schelling, who was son-in-law to Baader and nephew to 
Gorres, wrote a volume on the fall of Hellenism which 
he brought in manuscript and read to Dollinger at a 
sitting. The effect on the dissenting mind of the hearer 
was a warning ; and there is reason to date from those 
two hours in 1853 a more severe use of materials, and a 
stricter notion of the influence which the end of an 
inquiry may lawfully exert on the pursuit of it 

Heidmtkum undjudmtkum, which came out in 1857, 
gave Lasaulx his revenge. It is the most positive and 
self-denying of histories, and owes nothing to the fancy. 
The author refused the aid of Scandinavia to illustrate 
German mythology, and he was rewarded long after, when 
Caspar! of Christiania and Conrad Maurer met at his 
table and confirmed the discoveries of Bugge. But the 
account of Paganism ends with a significant parallel In 
December 69 a torch flung by a soldier burnt the 
temple on the Capitol to the ground. In August 70 
another Roman soldier set fire to the temple on Mount 


Sion. The two sanctuaries perished within a year, 
making way for the faith of men still hidden in the back 
streets of Rome. When the Hellenist read this passage it 
struck him deeply. Then he declared that it was hollow. 
All was over at Jerusalem ; but at Rome the ruin was 
restored, and the smoke of sacrifice went up for centuries 
to come from the altar of Capitoline Jove, 

In this work, designed as an introduction to Christian 
history, the apologist betrays himself when he says that 
no Greek ever objected to slavery, and when, out of 730 
pages on paganism, half a page is allotted to the moral 
system of Aristotle. That his Aristotelian chapter was 
weak, the author knew ; but he said that it was not his 
text to make more of it He did not mean that a 
Christian divine may be better employed than in doing 
honour to a heathen ; but, having to narrate events and 
the action of causes, he regarded Christianity more as an 
organism employing sacramental powers than as a body 
of speculative ideas. To cast up the total of moral and 
religious knowledge attained by Seneca, Epictctus, and 
Plutarch, to measure the line and rate of progress since 
Socrates, to compare the point reached by Hennas and 
Justin, is an inquiry of the highest interest for writers yet 
to come. But the quantitative difference of acquired 
precept between the later pagan and the early Christian 
is not the key to the future. The true problem is to 
expose the ills and errors which Christ, the Healer, came 
to remove. The measure must be taken from the depth 
of evil from which Christianity had to rescue mankind, 
and its history is more than a continued history of 
philosophical theories. Newman, who sometimes agreed 
with Dollinger in the letter, but seldom in the spirit; and 
who distrusted him as a man in whom the divine lived at 
the mercy of the scholar, and whose burden of superfluous 
learning blunted the point and the edge of his mind, so 
much liked what he heard of this book that, being unable 
to read it, he had it translated at the Oratory. 

The work thus heralded never went beyond the first 
volume, completed in the autumn of 1860, which was 


received by the Kirchtnzeitung of Berlin as the most accept- 
able narrative of the founding of Christianity, and as the 
largest concession ever made by a Catholic divine. The 
author, following the ancient ways, and taking, with Reuss, 
the New Testament as it stands, made no attempt to 
establish the position against modern criticism. Up to 
this, prescription and tradition held the first place in his 
writings, and formed his vantage-ground in all controversy. 
His energy in upholding the past as the rule and measure 
of the future distinguished him even among writers of his 
own communion. In Christenthum and Kirche he explained 
his theory of development, under which flag the notion of 
progress penetrates into theology, and which he held as 
firmly as the balancing element of perpetuity : " In dem 
Maass als dogmenhistorische Studien mehr getrieben 
werden, wird die absolute innere Nothwendigkeit und 
Wahrheit der Sache immer allgemeiner einleuchten." He 
conceived no bounds to the unforeseen resources of 
Christian thought and faith. A philosopher in whose 
works he would not have expected to find the scientific 
expression of his own idea, has a passage bearing close 
analogy to what he was putting forward in 1861 : 

It is then in the change to a higher state of form or 
composition that development differs from growth. We must 
carefully distinguish development from mere increase ; it is the 
acquiring, not of greater bulk, but of new forms and structures, 
which are adapted to higher conditions of existence. 

It is the distinction which Uhhorn draws between the 
terms Entfaltung and Entwickilung. Just then, after 
sixteen years spent in the Church of Rome, Newman was 
inclined to guard and narrow his theory. On the one 
hand he taught that the enactments and decisions of 
ecclesiastical law are made on principles and by virtue of 
prerogatives which./*** antea l&titaocr* in the Church of the 
apostles and fathers. But 1 he thought that a divine ot 
the second century on seeing the Roman catechism, would 
have recognised his own belief in it, without surprise, as 
soon as he understood its meaning. He once wrote: "If 


I have said more than this, I think I have not worked out 
my meaning, and was confused whether the minute facts 
of history will bear me out in this view, I leave to others 
to determine." Dollinger would have feared to adopt a 
view for its own sake, without knowing how it would be 
borne out by the minute facts of history. His own theory 
of development had not the same ingenious simplicity, 
and he thought Newman's brilliant book unsound in 
detail. But he took high ground in asserting the 
undeviating fidelity of Catholicism to its principle. In 
this, his last book on the Primitive Church, as in his 
early lectures, he claims the unswerving unity of faith as 
a divine prerogative. In a memorable passage of the 
Symbotik MShler had stated that there is no better 
security than the law which pervades human society, 
which preserves harmony and consistency in national 
character, which makes Lutheranism perpetually true to 
Luther, and Islamism to the Koran. 

Speaking in the name of his own university, the rector 
described him as a receptive genius. Part of his career 
displays a quality of assimilation, acquiescence, and even 
adaptation, not always consistent with superior originality 
or intense force of character. His Reformation^ the 
strongest book, with the Symbolik, which Catholics had 
produced in the century, was laid down on known lines, 
and scarcely effected so much novelty and change as the 
writings of Kampschulte and Kolde. His book on the 
first age of the Church takes the critical points as settled, 
without special discussion. He appeared to receive 
impulse and direction, limit and colour, from his outer 
life. His importance was achieved by the force within. 
Circumstances only conspired to mould a giant of 
commonplace excellence and average ideas, and their 
influence on his view of history might long be traced. No 
man of like spirituality, of equal belief in the supreme 
dignify of conscience, systematically allowed as much as 
he did for the empire of chance surroundings and the 
action of home, and school, and place of worship upon 
conduct He must have known that his own mind and 


character as an historian was not formed by effort and 
design. From early impressions, and a life spent, to his 
fiftieth year, in a rather unvaried professional circle, he 
contracted homely habits in estimating objects of the 
greater world ; and his imagination was not prone to vast 
proportions and wide horizons. He inclined to apply the 
rules and observation of domestic life to public affairs, to 
reduce the level of the heroic and sublime ; and history, 
in his hands, lost something both in terror and in 
grandeur. He acquired his art in the long study of 
earlier times, where materials are scanty. All that can be 
known of Caesar or Charlemagne, or Gregory VIL, would 
hold in a dozen volumes ; a library would not be sufficient 
for Charles V. or Lewis XVI. Extremely few of the 
ancients are really known to us in detail, as we know 
Socrates, or Cicero, or St Augustine. But in modern 
times, since Petrarca, there are at least two thousand 
actors on the public stage whom we see by the 
revelations of private correspondence. Besides letters 
that were meant to be burnt, there are a man's secret 
diaries, his autobiography and table-talk, the recollections 
of his friends, self -betraying notes on the margins of 
books, the report of his trial if he is a culprit, and the 
evidence for beatification if he is a saint Here we are on 
a different footing, and we practise a different art when 
dealing with Phocion or Dunstan, or with Richelieu or 
Swift. In one case we remain perforce on the surface of 
character, which we have not the means of analysing: 
we have to be content with conjecture, with probable 
explanations and obvious motives. We must constantly 
allow the benefit of the doubt, and reserve sentence. The 
science of character comes in with modern history. 
Dollinger had lived too long in the ages during which 
men arc seen mostly in outline, and never applied an 
historical psychology distinct from that of private ex- 
perience. Great men are something different from an 
enlarged repetition of average and familiar types, and the 
working and motive of their minds is in many instances 
the exact contrary of ordinary men, living to avoid con- 


tingencies of danger, and pain, and sacrifice, and the weari- 
ness of constant thinking and far-seeing precaution. 

We are apt to judge extraordinary men by our own standard, 
that is to say, we often suppose them to possess, in an extra- 
ordinary degree, those qualities which we are conscious of in 
ourselves or others. This is the easiest way of conceiving their 
characters, but not the truest They differ in kind rather than 
in degree. 

We cannot understand Cromwell or Shaftesbury, Sunder- 
land or Perm, by studies made in the parish. The 
study of intricate and subtle character was not habitual 
with Dollinger, and the result was an extreme dread of 
unnecessary condemnation. He resented being told that 
Ferdinand I. and II., that Henry III. and Lewis XIIL,were, 
in the coarse terms of common life, assassins; that Elizabeth 
tried to have Mary made away with, and that Mary, in 
matters of that kind, had no greater scruples; that 
William III. ordered the extirpation of a clan, and 
rewarded the murderers as he had rewarded those of De 
Witt ; that Lewis XIV. sent a man to kill him, and James 
II. was privy to the Assassination Plot When he met 
men less mercifully given than himself, he said that they 
were hanging judges with a Malthusian propensity to 
repress the growth of population. This indefinite 
generosity did not disappear when he had long outgrown 
its early cause. It was revived, and his view of history 
was deeply modified, in the course of the great change in 
his attitude in the Church which took place between the 
years 1861 and 1867. 

Dollinger used to commemorate his visit to Rome in 
1857 as an epoch of emancipation. He had occasionally 
been denounced; and a keen eye had detected latent 
pantheism in bis VorJialle, but he had not been formally 
censured If he had once asserted the value of nationality 
in the Church, he was vehement against it in religion ; 
and if he had joined in deprecating the dogmatic decree 
in 1854, he was silent afterwards. By Protestants he was 
still avoided as the head and front of offending 1 ultra- 


montanism ; and when the historical commission was 
instituted at Munich, by disciples of the Berlin school, he 
was passed over at first, and afterwards opposed. When 
public matters took him to Berlin in 1857, he sought 
no intercourse with the divines of the faculty. The 
common idea of his Reformation was expressed by 
Kaulbach in a drawing which represented the four chief 
reformers riding on one horse, pursued by a scavenger 
with the unmistakable features of their historian. He was 
received with civility at Rome, if not with cordiality. The 
pope sent to Cesena for a manuscript which it was 
reported that he wished to consult ; and his days were 
spent profitably between the Minerva and the Vatican, 
where he was initiated in the mysteries of Galileo's tower. 
It was his fortune to have for pilot and instructor a 
prelate classified in the pigeon-holes of the Wilhelmsstrasse 
as the chief agitator against the State, "dessen umfangreiches 
Wissen noch durch dessen Feinheit und geistige Gewandt- 
heit Ubertroffen wird." He was welcomed by Passaglia 
and Schrader at the Collegio Romano, and enjoyed the 
privilege of examining San Callisto with De Rossi for his 
guide. His personal experience was agreeable, though he 
strove unsuccessfully to prevent the condemnation of two 
of his colleagues by the Index. 

There have been men connected with him who knew 
Rome in his time, and whose knowledge moved them to 
indignation and despair. One bishop assured him that 
the Christian religion was extinct there, and only survived 
in its forms ; and an important ecclesiastic on the spot 
wrote: Deltnda est Carthago. The archives of the 
Culturkampf contain a despatch from a Protestant states- 
man sometime his friend, urging his government to deal 
with the Papacy as they would deal with Dahomey. 
Bellinger's impression on his journey was very different 
He did not come away charged with visions of scandal 
in the spiritual order, of suffering in the temporal, or of 
tyranny in either. He was never in contact with the 
sinister side of things, Theiner's Life of Clement the 
Fourteenth failed to convince him, and he listened in- 


credulously to his indictment of the Jesuits. Eight 
years later Theiner wrote to him that he hoped they 
would now agree better on that subject than when they 
discussed it in Rome. " Ich freue mich, dass Sie jetzt 
erkennen, dass mein Urtheil uber die Jesuiten und ihr 
Wirken gerecht wan Im kommenden Jahr, so Gott will, 
werden wir uns hofFentlich besser verstehen als im Jahi 
1857." He thought the governing body unequal to the 
task of ruling both Church and State; but it was the State 
that seemed to him to suffer from the combination. He 
was anxious about the political future, not about the future 
of religion. The persuasion that government by priests 
could not maintain itself in the world as it is, grew in 
force and definiteness as he meditated at home on the 
things he had seen and heard. He was despondent and 
apprehensive ; but he had no suspicion of what was then 
so near. In the summer of 1859, as the sequel of 
Solferino began to unfold itself, he thought of making 
his observations known. In November a friend wrote: 
* Je ne me dissimule aucune des misires de tout ordre qui 
vous ont frappi i Rome:" For more than a year he 
remained silent and uncertain, watching the use France 
would make of the irresistible authority acquired by the 
defeat of Austria and the collapse of government in 
Central Italy. 

The war of 1859, portending danger to the temporal 
power, disclosed divided counsels. The episcopate sup- 
ported the papal sovereignty, and a voluntary tribute, 
which in a few years took shape in tens of millions, poured 
into the treasury of St Peter. A time followed during 
which the Papacy endeavoured, by a series of connected 
measures, to preserve its political authority through the 
aid of its spiritual. Some of the most enlightened 
Catholics, Dupanloup and Montalembert, proclaimed a sort 
of holy war. Some of the most enlightened Protestants, 
Guizot and Leo, defended the Roman government^ as the 
most legitimate, venerably and necessaiy of governments. 
In Italy there were ecclesiastics like Liveiani, Tosti, 
Capecelatro, who believed with Manzoni that there could 


be no deliverance without unity, or calculated that political 
loss might be religious gain. Fassaglia, the most celebrated 
Jesuit living, and a confidential adviser of the pope, both 
in dogma and in the preparation of the Syllabus, until 
Perrone refused to meet him, quitted the Society, and then 
fled from Rome, leaving the Inquisition in possession of 
his papers, in order to combat the use of theology in 
defence of the temporal power. Forty thousand priests, 
he said, publicly or privately agreed with him ; and the 
diplomatists reported the names of nine cardinals who were 
ready to make terms with Italian unity, of which the pope 
himself said : " Ce serait un beau rfive." In this country, 
Newman did not share the animosity of conservatives 
against Napoleon III. and his action in Italy. When the 
flood, rising, reached the papal throne, he preserved an 
embarrassed silence, refusing, in spite of much solicitation, 
to commit himself even in private. An impatient M.P. 
took the train down to Edgbaston, and began, trying to 
draw him: "What times we live in, Father Newman 1 
Look at all that is going on in Italy." "Yes, indeed! 
And look at China too, and New Zealand I " Lacordaire 
favoured the cause of the Italians more openly, in spite 
of his Paris associates. He hoped, by federation, to save 
the interests of the Holy See, but he was reconciled to the 
loss of provinces, and he required religious liberty at 
Rome. Lamorici&re was defeated in September 1860, 
and in February the fortress of Gaeta, which had become 
the last Roman outwork, fell Then Lacordaire, dis- 
turbed in his reasoning by the logic of events, and by 
an earnest appeal to his priestly conscience, as his 
biographer says: "branl un moment par une lettre 
lloquente," broke away from his friends : 

Que Montalembert, notre ami commun, ne voie pas dans ce 
qui se passe en Italic, sauf le mal, un progxfes sensible dans ce 
que nous avons toujouis era le bien de 1'^glise, cela tient & sa 
nature passionne. Ce qui le doming aujourd'hui c'est la haine 
du gouveraement fiangais. Dieu se sert de tout, mftne du 
despotisme, mfone de Pgoisme; et il y a xn&me des choses qu'il 
ne peut accomplir par des mains tout & fait pures. Qu'y 


puis-je ? Me declarer oontre 1'Italie parce que ses chalnes tombent 
mal a propos ? Non assur&nent : je laisse it d'autres une passion 
aussi profonde, et j'aime mieux accepter ce que j'estime un bien 
de quelque part qu'fl vienne. II est vrai que la situation 
temporelle du Pape souffre prlsentement de la liberation de 
1'Italie, et peut-toe en souflBdra-t-elle encore assez longtemps: 
mais c'est un malheur qui a aussi ses fins dans la politique 
myst&ieuse de la Providence. Souffiir n'est pas mourir, c'est 
quelquefois expier et s^clairer. 

This was written on 22nd Februaiy 1861. In April 
Dollinger spoke on the Roman question in the Odeon at 
Munich, and explained himself more fully in the autumn, 
in the most popular of all his books. 

The argument of Kirche und Kirchen was, that the 
churches which are without the pope drift into many 
troubles, and maintain themselves at a manifest dis- 
advantage, whereas the church which energetically 
preserves the principle of unity has a vast superiority 
which would prevail, but for its disabling and discrediting 
failure in civil government That government seemed to 
him as legitimate as any in the world, and so needful to 
those for whose sake it was instituted, that if it should be 
overthrown, it would, by irresistible necessity, be restored. 
Those for whose sake it was instituted were, not the Roman 
people, but the catholic world That interest, while it 
lasted, was so sacred, that no sacrifice was too great to 
preserve it, not even the exclusion of the clerical order 
from secular office. 

The book was an appeal to Catholics to save the papal 
government by the only possible remedy, and to rescue 
the Roman people from falling under what the author 
deemed a tyranny like that of the Convention. He had 
acquired his politics in the atmosphere of 1847, from the 
potential liberality of men like Radowitz, who declared 
that he would postpone every political or national 
interest to that of the Church, Capponi, the last Italian 
federalist, and Tocqueville, the minister who occupied 
Rome. His object was not materially different from that 
of Antonelli and Mterode, but he sought it by exposing 


the faults of the papal government during several 
centuries, and the hopelessness of all efforts to save it 
from the Revolution unless reformed He wrote to an 
English minister that it could not be our policy that the 
head of the Catholic Church should be subject to a 
foreign potentate : 

Das harte Wort, mit welchem Sie ira Parlamente den Stab 
iiber Rom gebrochen haben hopelessly incurable, oder incor- 
rigible, kann ich mir nicht aneignen j ich hoffe vielmehr, wie 
ich es in dem Buche daxgelegt habe, das GegentheiL An die 
Dauerhaftigkeit eines ganz Italian umfassenden Piemontesisch- 
Italianischen Reiches glaube ich nicht. Inzwischen troste ich 
tnich mit dem Gedanken, dass in Rom zuletzt doch vexatio ddbit 
intellectum^ und dann wird noch alles gut werden. 

To these grateful vaticinations his correspondent 
replied : 

You have exhibited the gradual departure of the government 
in the states of the church from all those conditions which made 
it tolerable to the sense and reason of mankind, and have, I 
think, completely justified, in principle if not in all the facts, the 
conduct of those who have determined to do away with it 

The policy of exalting the spiritual authority though at 
the expense of sacrifices in the temporal, the moderation 
even in the catalogue of faults, the side blow at the 
Protestants, filling more than half the volume, disarmed 
for a moment the resentment of outraged Rome. The 
Pope, on a report from Theiner, spoke of the book as one 
that might do good. Others said that it was pointless, 
that its point was not where the author meant it to be, 
that the handle was sharper than the blade. It was made 
much more clear that the Pope had governed badly 
than that Russia or Great Britain would gain by his 
supremacy. The cold analysis, the diagnosis by the 
bedside of the sufferer, was not the work of an observer 
dazzled by admiration or blinded by affection. It was a 
step, a first unconscious, unpremeditated step, in the 
process of detachment The historian here began to 
prevail over the divine, and to judge Church matters by a 


law which was not given from the altar. It was the 
outcome of a spirit which had been in him from the begin* 
ning. His English translator had uttered a mild protest 
against his severe treatment of popes. His censure of the 
Reformation had been not as that of Bossuet, but as that of 
Baxter and Bull. In 1845 Mr. Gladstone remarked that 
he would answer every objection, but never proselytised. 
In 1848 he rested the claims of the Church on the 
common law, and bade the hierarchy remember that 
national character is above free will : " Die Nationalist 
ist etwas der Freiheit des menschlichen Willens entriicktes, 
geheimnissvolles und in ihrem letzen Grunde selbst etwas 
von Gott gewolltes." In his Hippolytus he began by 
surrendering the main point, that a man who so vilified 
the papacy might yet be an undisputed saint In the 
Vorhalle he flung away a favourite argument, by avowing 
that paganism developed by its own lines and laws, 
untouched by Christianity, until the second century ; and 
as with the Gentiles, so with the sects ; he taught, in the 
suppressed chapter of his history, that their doctrines 
followed a normal course. And he believed so far in the 
providential mission of Protestantism, that it was idle to 
talk of reconciliation until it had borne all its fruit He 
exasperated a Munich colleague by refusing to pronounce 
whether Gregory and Innocent had the right to depose 
emperors, or Otho and Henry to depose popes ; for he 
thought that historians should not fit theories to facts, 
but should be content with showing how things worked. 
Much secret and suppressed antagonism found vent in 
1858, when one who had been his assistant in writing the 
Reformation and was still his friend, declared that he 
would be a heretic whenever he found a backing. 

Those with whom he actively coalesced felt at times 
that he was incalculable, that he pursued a separate line, 
and was always learning, whilst others busied themselves 
less with the unknown. This note of distinctness and 
solitude set him apart from those about him, during his 
intimacy with the most catholic of Anglican prelates, 
Forbes* and with the lamented Liddon. And it appeared 


still more when the denominational barrier of his 
sympathy was no longer marked, and he, who had stood 
in the rank almost with De Maistre and Perrone, found 
himself acting for the same ends with their enemies, when 
he delivered a studied eulogy on Mignet, exalted the 
authority of Laurent in religious history and of Ferrari in 
civil, and urged the Bavarian academy to elect Taine, as 
a writer who had but one rival in France, leaving it to 
uncertain conjecture whether the man he meant was 
Renan. In theory it was his maxim that a man should 
guard against his friends. When he first addressed the 
university as Rector, saying that as the opportunity 
might never come again, he would employ it to utter the 
thoughts closest to his heart, he exhorted the students to 
be always true to their convictions and not to yield to 
surroundings ; and he invoked, rightly or wrongly, the 
example of Burke, his favourite among public men, who, 
turning from his associates to obey the light within, 
carried the nation with him. A gap was apparent now 
between the spirit in which he devoted himself to the 
service of his Church and that of the men whom he most 
esteemed. At that time he was nearly the only German 
who knew Newman well and appreciated the grace and 
force of his mind But Newman, even when he was 
angry, assiduously distinguished the pontiff from his 
court : 

There will necessarily always be round the Pope second-rate 
people, who are not subjects of that supernatural wisdom which 
is his prerogative. For myself; certainly I have found myself in 
a different atmosphere, when I have left the Curia for the Pope 

Montalembert protested that there were things in 
Kirche und Kirchen which he would not have liked to say 
in public : 

II est certain que la seconde paxtie de votre livre dplaira 
beauconp, non settlement a, Rome, mais encore a la tres gzande 
majority des Catboliques. Je ne sais done pas si, dans le cas 
oil vous m'eussiez consult^ pr&lablement, j'aurais eu le courage 
d'infliger cette blessure a mon pere et a mes fibres. 

2 E 


Dollinger judged that the prerogative even of natural 
wisdom was often wanting in the government of the 
Church ; and the sense of personal attachment, if he ever 
entertained it, had worn away in the friction and 
familiarity of centuries. 

After the disturbing interlude of the Roman question 
he did not resume the history of Christianity. The 
second century with its fragments of information, its scope 
for piercing and conjecture, he left to Lightfoot With 
increasing years he lost the disposition to travel on 
common ground, impregnably occupied by specialists, 
where he had nothing of his own to tell ; and he 
preferred to work where he could be a pathfinder. 
Problems of Church government had come to the front, 
and he proposed to retraverse his subject, narrowing it 
into a history of the papacy. He began by securing his 
foundations and eliminating legend. He found so much 
that was legendary that his critical preliminaries took the 
shape of a history of fables relating to the papacy. Many 
of these were harmless : others were devised for a purpose, 
and he fixed his attention more and more on those which 
were the work of design. The question, how far the 
persistent production of spurious matter had permanently 
affected the genuine constitution and theology of the 
Church arose before his mind as he composed the 
Papstfabeln des Mittelalters. He indicated the problem 
without discussing it The matter of the volume was 
generally neutral, but its threatening import was per- 
ceived, and twenty-one hostile critics sent reviews of it to 
one theological journal 

Since he first wrote on these matters, thirty years 
earlier, the advance of competitive learning had made it 
a necessity to revise statements by all accessible lights, 
and to subject authorities to a closer scrutiny. The 
increase in the rigour of the obligation might be 
measured by Tischendorf, who, after renewing the text of 
the New Testament in seven editions, had more than three 
thousand changes to make in the eighth. The old 
pacific superficial method yielded no longer what would 


valued passages in Philo, and stood with Gass against 
Weingarten's argument on the life of St Anthony and 
the origin of Monasticism. He resisted Overbeck on the 
epistle to Diognetus, and thought Ebrard all astray as 
to the Culdees. There was no conservative antiquarian 
whom he prized higher than Le Slant : yet he considered 
Ruinart credulous in dealing with acts of early martyrs. 
A pupil on whose friendship he relied, made an effort to 
rescue the legends of the conversion of Germany ; but the 
master preferred the unsparing demolitions of Rettberg. 
Capponi and Carl Hegel were his particular friends ; but 
he abandoned them without hesitation for Scheffer 
Boichorst, the iconoclast of early Italian chronicles, and 
never consented to read the learned reply of Da Lungo. 

The Pope Fables carried the critical inquiry a very 
little way ; but he went on with the subject After the 
Donation of Constantino came the Forged Decretals, 
which were just then printed for the first time in an 
accurate edition. Dollinger began to be absorbed in 
the long train of hierarchical fictions, which had deceived 
men like Gregory VII., St Thomas Aquinas, and Cardinal 
Bellarmine, which he traced up to the false Areopagite, 
and down to the Laminae Granatenses. These studies 
became the chief occupation of his life ; they led to his ex- 
communication in 1871, and carried him away from his 
early system. For this, neither syllabus nor ecumenical 
council was needed ; neither crimes nor scandals were its 
distant cause. The history of Church government was the 
influence which so profoundly altered his position. Some 
trace of his researches, at an early period of their progress, 
appears in what he wrote on the occasion of the Vatican 
Council, especially in the fragment of an ecclesiastical 
pathology which was published under the name of Janus. 
But the history itself, which was the main and character- 
istic work of his life, and was pursued until the end, was 
never published or completed. He died without making 
it known to what extent, within what limit, the ideas 
with which he had been so long identified were changed 
by his later studies, and how wide a trench had opened 


between his earlier and his later life. Twenty years of 
his historical work are lost for history. 

The revolution in method since he began to write was 
partly the better use of old authorities, partly the accession 
of new. Dollinger had devoted himself to the one in 
1863; he passed to the other in 1864. For definite 
objects he had often consulted manuscripts, but the 
harvest was stacked away, and had scarcely influenced his 
works. In the use and knowledge of unpublished matter 
he still belonged to the old school, and was on a level 
with Neander. Although, in later years, he printed six 
or seven volumes of Inedita, like Mai and Theiner he did 
not excel as an editor : and this part of his labours is 
notable chiefly for its effect on himself. He never went 
over altogether to men like Schottmuller, who said of 
him that he made no research er hat nicht geforsclit 
meaning that he had made his mind up about the 
Templars by the easy study of Wilkins, Michelet, 
Schottmuller himself, and perhaps a hundred others, but 
had not gone underground to the mines they delved 
in. Fustel de Coulanges, at the time of his death, 
was promoting the election of the Bishop of Oxford 
to the Institute, on the ground that he surpassed all 
other Englishmen in his acquaintance with manuscripts. 
Dollinger agreed with their French rival in his estimate 
of our English historian, but he ascribed less value to 
that part of his acquirements. He assured the Bavarian 
Academy that Mr. Freeman, who reads print, but 
nevertheless mixes his colours with brains, is the author 
of the most profound work on the Middle Ages ever 
written in this country, and is not only a brilliant writer 
and a sagacious critic, but the most learned of all our 
countrymen. Ranke once drew a line at 1 5 1 4, after which, 
he said, we still want help from imprinted sources. The 
world had moved a good deal since that cautious innova- 
tion, and after 1860, enormous and excessive masses of 
archive were brought into play. The Italian Revolution 
opened tempting horizons. In 1864 Dollinger spent his 
vacation in the libraries of Vienna and Venice. At 


Vienna, by an auspicious omen, Sickel, who was not yet 
known to Greater Germany as the first of its mediaeval 
palaeographers, showed him the sheets of a work con- 
taining 247 Carolingian acts unknown to Bohmer, who 
had just died with the repute of being the best authority 
on Imperial charters. During several years Dollinger 
followed up the discoveries he now began. Theiner sent 
him documents from the Archivio Segreto\ one of his 
friends shut himself up at Trent, and another at Ber- 
gamo. Strangers ministered to his requirements, and 
huge quantities of transcripts came to him from many 
countries. Conventional history faded away ; the studies 
of a lifetime suddenly underwent transformation ; and his 
view of the last six centuries was made up from secret 
information gathered in thirty European libraries and 
archives. As many things remote from current know- 
ledge grew to be certainties, he became more confident, 
more independent, and more isolated. The ecclesiastical 
history of his youth went to pieces against the new 
criticism of 1863, and the revelation of the unknown 
which began on a very large scale in 1864. 

During four years of transition occupied by this new 
stage of study, he abstained from writing books. When- 
ever some local occasion called upon him to speak, he 
spoke of the independence and authority of history. In 
cases of collision with the Church, he said that a man 
should seek the error in himself; but he spoke of the 
doctrine of the universal Church, and it did not appear 
that he thought of any living voice or present instructor. 
He claimed no immunity for philosophy ; but history, he 
affirmed, left to itself and pursued disinterestedly, will 
heal the ills it causes ; and it was said of him that he set 
the university in the place of the hierarchy. Some of his 
countrymen were deeply moved by the measures which 
were being taken to restore and to confirm the authority 
of Rome; and he had impatient colleagues at the 
university who pressed him with sharp issues of uncom- 
propising logic He himself was reluctant to bring down 
serene research into troublesome disputation, and wished 


to keep history and controversy apart His hand was 
forced at last by his friends abroad. Whilst he pursued 
his isolating investigations he remained aloof from a 
question which in other countries and other days was a 
summary and effective test of impassioned controversy. 
Persecution was a problem that had never troubled him. 
It was not a topic with theoretical Germans ; the necessary 
books were hardly available, and a man might read all the 
popular histories and theologies without getting much 
further than the Spanish Inquisition. Ranke, averse from 
what is unpleasant, gave no details. The gravity of the 
question had never been brought home to Dollinger in 
forty years of public teaching. When he approached it, 
as late as 1861, he touched lightly, representing the in- 
tolerance of Protestants to their disadvantage, while that 
of Catholics was a bequest of Imperial Rome, taken up in 
an emergency by secular powers, in no way involving the 
true spirit and practice of the Church. With this light 
footfall the topic which has so powerful a leverage slipped 
into the current of his thought The view found favour 
with Ambrose de Lisle, who, having read the Letters to a 
Prebendary, was indignant with those who commit the 
Church to a principle often resisted or ignored. Newman 
would admit to no such compromise : 

Is not the miraculous infliction of judgments upon blasphemy, 
lying, profaneness, etc., in the apostles' day a sanction of 
infliction upon the same by a human hand in the times of the 
Inquisition ? Ecclesiastical rulers may punish with the sword, if 
they can, and if it is expedient or necessary to do so. The 
church has a right to make laws and to enforce them with 
temporal punishments. 

The question came forward in France in the wake of 
the temporal power. Liberal defenders of a government 
which made a principle of persecution had to decide 
whether they approved or condemned it Where was 
their liberality in one case, or their catholicity in the 
other? It was the simple art of their adversaries to press 
this point, and to make the most of it ; and a French 
priest took upon him to declare that intolerance, far from 


being a hidden shame, was a pride and a glory : " L'Eglise 
regarde 1'Inquisition comme 1'apogfe de la civilisation 
chrftienne, comme le fruit nature! des ipoques de foi et de 
catholicisme national" G/atry took the other side so 
strongly that there would have been a tumult at the 
Sorbonne, if he had said from his chair what he wrote 
in his book ; and certain passages were struck out of the 
printed text by the cautious archbishop's reviser. He was 
one of those French divines who had taken in fuel at 
Munich, and he welcomed Kirche und Kirchen : " Quant au 
livre du docteur Dollinger sur la Papaut, c'est, selon 
moi, le livre dcisi Cest un chef-d'oeuvre admirable 
plusieurs gaids, et qui est destin6 & produire un bien 
incalculable et i fixer 1'opinion sur ce sujet ; c'est ainsi 
que le juge aussi M. de Montalembert Le docteur 
Dollinger nous a rendu & tous un grand service. 11 This 
was not the first impression of Montalembert He de- 
plored the Odeon lectures as usurping functions divinely 
assigned not to professors, but to the episcopate, as a grief 
for friends and a joy for enemies. When the volume 
came he still objected to the policy, to the chapter on 
England, and to the cold treatment of Sixtus V. At last 
he admired without reserve. Nothing better had been 
written since Bossuet; the judgment on the Roman 
government, though severe, was just, and contained no 
more than the truth. There was not a word which he 
would not be able to sign. A change was going on in 
his position and his affections, as he came to regard tolera- 
tion as the supreme affair. At Malines he solemnly de- 
clared that the Inquisitor was as horrible as the Terrorist, 
and made no distinction in favour of death inflicted for 
religion against death for political motives : " Les btichers 
allumds par une main catholique me font autant d'horreur 
que les <chafauds oft les Protestants ont immoll tant de 
martyrs." Wiseman, having heard him once, was not 
present on the second day; but the Belgian cardinal 
assured him that he had spoken like a sound divine. He 
described Dupanloup's defence of the Syllabus as a master- 
piece of eloquent subterfuge, and repudiated his interprtta- 


turns Equivoques. A journey to Spain in 1865 made him 
more vehement than ever ; although, from that time, the 
political opposition inflamed him less. He did not find 
imperialism intolerable. His wrath was fixed on the 
things of which Spain had reminded him : "C'est 14 qu'il 
faut aller pour voir ce que le catholicisme exclusif a su 
faire d'une des plus grandes et des plus hroTques nations 
de la terre. Je rapporte un surcrott d'horreur pour les 
doctrines fanatiques et absolutistes qui ont cours aujour- 
d'hui chez les catholiques du monde entier." In 1866 it 
became difficult, by the aid of others, to overcome Falloux's 
resistance to the admission of an article in the Corres- 
pondent, and by the end of the year his friends were 
unanimous to exclude him. An essay on Spain, his last 
W0 rk " dernier soupir de mon &me indign<Se et attristge " 
was, by Dupanloup's advice, not allowed to appear. Re- 
pelled by those whom he now designated as spurious, 
servile, and prevaricating liberals, he turned to the powerful 
German with whom he thought himself in sympathy. He 
had applauded him for dealing with one thing at a time, 
in his book on Rome: "Vous avez bien fait de ne rien 
dire de 1'absolutisme spiritual, quant a present Satfrata 
biberunt. Le reste viendra en son temps." He avowed 
that spiritual autocracy is worse than political ; that evil 
passions which had triumphed in the State were triumphant 
in the Church ; that to send human beings to the stake, 
with a crucifix before them, was the act of a monster or 
a maniac. He was dying; but whilst he turned bis face 
to the wall, lam