Chapter IV.

Influence of Popery on the Morals and Religious Condition of Nations.

We come now to speak of the influence of Romanism on society. This part of our subject we have already illustrated to a large extent. All that we have said regarding the influence of Popery on individual man and on government bears directly on the question of its influence on nations. In the three foregoing chapters we have laid down and demonstrated the principles of the subject: in this, we shall attempt the proof from experience, or show the operation of these principles on society. If it be true that Popery tends to degrade man intellectually and morally, and if it be also true that it exerts a most malign influence on government, rendering it essentially despotic, and adverse in its spirit and actings to the constitution, the necessities, and the progress of society, then there must be a marked and palpable difference between popish nations and Protestant nations. We maintain, and now proceed to prove, that popish nations are vastly inferior to Protestant nations,--first, in general morality; and, second, in general prosperity and happiness.

I. There is a great and obvious difference between protestant states and popish states, in point of morality. Let it be remarked here, once for all, that we are not dealing with individual cases, but with broad and prominently marked national characteristics. There are individuals in Roman Catholic countries sincere, truthful, upright, honourable, just as there are individuals in Protestant countries lamentably devoid of every one of these virtues. We speak, of course, of the prevailing character of the mass. First, as regards truth: its obligations are felt in a much lower degree in popish than in Protestant countries. The importance of truth to society it is unnecessary to point out. It is the basis on which society rests; and its existence is taken for granted in all its proceedings, from the commonest business transaction up to the solemn acts of the judgment seat. The jesuitical morality of the Romish Church has deeply tainted the nations subject to her sway; and the maxim on which the Church has acted, that faith is not to be kept when it is to her advantage to break it, is of easy transference to her individual members. The power arrogated, and so often exercised, by the Pope, of annulling vows, promises, and oaths, has tended, too, to destroy all sense of truth, and all reverence for its claims. The Romish doctors have discovered two powerful instruments for banishing all sin from the world, or rather for transmuting all sin into virtue. These are probabilism and intention. According to the first, any course, however criminal in itself, becomes probably right should any doctor of the Church argue in its favour. It would be difficult to name the sin which some grave doctor has not defended, and which, accordingly, is not probably right. In this way contrary opinions may both be probable; and the inquirer, noways perplexed, chooses the one he likes best.[1] A greater license to all kinds of sin than the doctrine of intention it is impossible to imagine. The famous Escobar teaches, that if men only direct aright their intention, that is, if they think not of the sin, but of the benefit flowing from it, there is nothing which they may not do with impunity. They may deal a mortal stab to their adversary, and yet do no murder, provided, in the moment of striking, they can so far control their mental emotions as to think, not of vengeance, but of the stain which they avert from their reputation. They may purloin the wealth or steal the property of others, and yet stand clear with the eighth commandment, if they can suppress the avaricious wish, and keep steadily before their mind the good they may be able to do with their increased means. They may lie, and yet be guilty of no falsehood, if they can only invent some imaginable good which they may accomplish by prevaricating.[2] Such is the moral code of Rome's casuists. Its utter contrariety to the law given on Sinai, and written on stone, we need not point out. It confounds the essence of things; it annihilates all distinction between right and wrong; it exiles truth from the world. And yet this morality the Romish doctors have taught with applause. Need we wonder that the popish world has become a vast lazar-house, filled with all sorts of moral plagues,--its very stones and timber rotten with the leprosy? The corruption of public faith in papal Europe is notorious and admitted. Peculation and bribery are rife in all departments of government. Tricks, manoeuvers, and frauds are the main machinery by which it is carried on. This is notoriously the case as regards France, Spain, and Austria. The stereotyped and immemorial abuses of the pontifical court we leave altogether out of view. How rare is it to find in the service of any of these states, one who displays an honest adherence to the oath of office, or who forms his public acts on any higher principle than the good of family or of party, or who descends from power without the stain of the epidemic corruption upon him! The gross scandals which disgraced the close of the reign of Louis Philippe in France are yet fresh in the recollection of all. These disclosed a woeful lack of public principle on the part of the very highest servants of the crown. The prostration of truth in France is evident from the fact, that scarce any reliance is placed on the word of any man, from the highest functionary of state, down to the street porter. Take up the work of any traveller in the popish states of Europe, and you will find him complaining in every chapter that his utmost circumspection did not prevent his being imposed upon.[3] Compared with the high principles on which British commerce is carried on, and the honourable character maintained generally by British merchants, how frequent in the papal states of Europe are bankruptcies, frauds in trade, and chicaneries of all kinds! How little feared is an oath in popish countries! How frequent is perjury! What a difference between the value of evidence in the courts of southern Europe, and its value in those of northern Germany, and especially in Britain! What else can be expected, where the great fountain of truth is sealed, and the eye is turned away from the great tribunal in the heavens, and the conscience of the man is made amenable to a judge on earth, who often, when an end is to be gained, absolves him from the obligation of speaking truth? In this respect all Roman Catholic countries are alike. The sanctity of oaths is almost universally disregarded. We may cite a few out of innumerable instances in proof. During the reign of the Republic in Rome, an agent of a Jesuit club waylaid and well-nigh murdered a Frenchman who was obnoxious to him. The case came to trial. The fact that the person who committed the outrage was abroad on that day was deponed to by twenty-six witnesses; nevertheless, those with whom he lived, including a countess, a bishop, an advocate, and a Jesuit, swore that their protégé had never been out of the house on the day in question. They were examined separately; and, though the Jesuit was skilful, they were all convicted of perjury. On the 1st of January 1850, an agent of the Irish Protestant mission was beaten in open day in the Cowgate of Edinburgh, in the presence of a mob of Irish Roman Catholics. The case came to trial; about a score of witnesses were examined, all of whom had been present in the mob, several of whom had shared its proceedings; but not one of them would identify the suspected perpetrators of the outrage. Some of the witnesses swore, in alternate sentences, that the agent of the society was beaten, and that they saw no one beating him. It is the same on a larger scale in Ireland. Assaults, murders, and crimes of all kinds are often perpetrated in that unhappy land, in the presence of numerous spectators; yet, so lightly do they hold a false oath, that it is impossible in the majority of cases to procure a conviction. In the courts on this side the channel also, the vast difference between an Irish oath and a Scotch or English oath is well known. Thus justice is paralyzed in a Roman Catholic country. She sits powerless on her tribunal. The witness desecrates her most sacred forms, and the criminal defies her righteous awards.

It is also an admitted fact, that in Roman Catholic countries life is held much less sacred than in Protestant lands. The popish earth is defiled with blood, and the stain is deep in proportion as the Popery is intense. No one need be informed how dreadfully prevalent are assassinations and murders in Italy, in Spain, and in Ireland. In Paris, the Morgue furnishes awful evidence that suicides and assassinations are of nightly occurrence in the capital of France. The Countries south of the Alps and the Pyrenees, which are those most under the influence of the Church, are precisely those in which travelling is most dangerous. The towns swarm with assassins, and the roads are infested with banditti. Scarce a night passes without an assassination in the streets of Madrid. The slightest insult sends the man's hand to his poignard's hilt; or if he decline himself to shed blood, he knows that for a paltry sum he can hire a villain to undertake the deed. The facilities provided by the Church of Rome for enabling men to escape the future punishment of such crimes, is a main cause of their dreadful prevalence. So sensible was Napoleon of this, that he shut out the shriving priest from the condemned criminal. And we find Lord Brougham stating in his place in Parliament,[4] that the same course was adopted by the Marquis of Wellesley in his colonial government, and that this judicious vigour was followed by a marked diminution in the commission of crimes. On the same occasion do we find the leading members of their Lordships' house tracing the noon-day murders and the midnight outrages, of so unhappy frequency in the sister island, to priestly influences, more especially to the confessional and altar-denunciations; and out of doors we find the Times journal, in less courtly phrase, branding the apostolic clergy of Rome as "surpliced ruffians."[5]

The state of morality as regards the marriage vow is also much more lax in Roman Catholic countries. Infidelities are far from being unfrequent; concubinage is common. In a table recently compiled and widely published, of the "morality of great cities," the two cities that stood lowest on the list, as being the least moral in Europe, were the capitals of its two principal Roman Catholic countries, Vienna and Paris.[6] In Paris, the illegitimate births were marked as being about one-half of the whole; and in Vienna the proportion was nearly the same. We speak not of the conventual establishments, which were the consecrated abodes of the twin vices of indolence and lewdness. Nor do we speak of the seduction and profligacy with which the law of clerical celibacy inundated private families. We speak of the state of general society as regards the great virtue of chastity, which is confessed far below that of Holland, of Britain, or of any Protestant country.

Analogous to this is the respect in which woman is held in Roman Catholic countries. Christianity alone gives woman her proper place. All idolatries agree in degrading her. Hinduism makes woman the slave of man; Mahommedanism makes her the toy of his pleasures. Modern Judaism teaches that they are "very inferior beings;" and several great rabbies have held, that for them there is no immortality. Romanism, true to its genius as a false religion, has degraded woman, by forbidding its priests to marry. "It cries up marriage for a sacrament, and yet at the same time bars its sacred clergy from it, because it will defile them."[7] Thus all false religions, and Romanism among the rest, have struck at the highest interests of society through the sides of woman. Nothing could more powerfully tend to barbarize mankind. It deprives youth of its most persuasive instructor; it robs home of its chief attraction and its most endearing pleasure;[8] and it deprives society of that strong though secret guard which consists in the delicacy, refinement, and purity of woman.

How rankly soever the passions shoot up beneath the shade of Popery, the domestic affections refuse to flourish in its neighbourhood. The confessional works sad havoc in families. We do not allude to the grosser pollutions and crimes to which it often leads, but to the fatal blight it inflicts upon the affections. Happy, guileless, unsuspecting youth becomes prematurely thoughtful; for persons of tender years are dragged into the confessional,--"the slaughterhouse of conscience," as it has with justice been termed,--and are there doomed to listen to what must pollute, revolt, and shock them. Like a biting frost upon the early bud, so are the questionings of the confessor upon the warm sympathies of youth: these sympathies become dwarfed and stunted for life. Dreadful images of crime are mixed up with the earliest associations and amusements of the person, which not unfrequently in after years ripen into deeds of guilt. How the hearth and the confessional can exist together it is impossible to conceive. How can there possibly be a full interchange of free, genuine, trustful sentiment and feeling between the different members of the family, when all feel that there, in the midst of them, sits one, though invisible, seeing and hearing all that is said and done? for all must be told over in the confessional. In the breast of the wife the husband knows that there is a secret place, which even he dare not enter, and to which none but the priest, with his curious and loathly questionings, has access. The same dark shadow comes between brother and sister, and the mutual and trustful confidence of their childhood years is blighted for ever. The father can mark, day by day, the dark stains of the confessional deepening on his daughter's soul, clouding the sunshine of her face, and restraining the free current of her talk. Infernal institution! invented in the pit, and set up on earth to root out all that is lovely and pure, and holy and free, among the human family. The confessional is slavery worse than death. How a people who have once tasted freedom could advocate the introduction of a tyranny so unspeakably odious and so perfectly unbearable, surpasses our comprehension. And yet there are not wanting at this moment some in England who seek to revive the practice of confession.

Another disagreeable feature of papal Europe, in which it contrasts most unfavourably with Protestant states, is the all but universal prevalence of the vice of gambling. Gambling-houses abound in all the great cities of the Continent. Most of the watering-places of southern Germany are nothing else than large gambling establishments. The Protestant part of the Continent, it is true, is not altogether free from this dreadful pollution; but such houses in protestant states are thinly planted, comparatively. In France and in southern Europe this vice has infected the whole of society, and obtrudes itself everywhere,--in private parties, in the common taverns, as well as in those houses specially set apart for it.[9] The papal government, too, has its lottery, and attempts to compound with heaven by devoting the proceeds to the support of paupers. It is believed to yield seven millions of francs to the apostolic exchequer. The shops for selling lottery tickets are all open on Sabbath. Nothing could more fearfully demonstrate the power of avarice, first, over governments, who license these establishments for the sake of revenue; and, second, over the masses, who, impelled by an uncontrollable greed to possess the property of others, and altogether unscrupulous as to the mode of obtaining it, flock to the gambling-table, and there lose health, character, fortune, reason, and often life itself. How weak must be the power of principle where such courses are so generally indulged in! and how far must the heart of man have strayed from its rest, when happiness is sought amidst such maddening pursuits!

One other feature only is awanting to complete the dark picture of the popish world. It has no Sabbath. Who can calculate how much Christian lands owe to the Sabbath? It is equally impossible to tell how much popish lands lose by the want of it. The Sabbath descends upon the earth like a visitant from another sphere, laden with blessings, which grow not in this world. It is as if Eden had returned, with its innocence and its joy; or as if time, with its sorrows and its cares, had rolled past, and God's "unsuffering kingdom" had come. How many, worn out with toil, had withered and sunk into their graves ere their time, but for its rest! How many minds, never unbent, would have lost their spring, and ended in madness or idiotcy, but for the Sabbath! How many weak spirits would have yielded to temptations and been for ever lost, but for its salutary and oft-recurring counsels! How many had sunk, brokenhearted, under the afflictions of time, but for the prospects beyond earth which the Sabbath opened to them! It purifies the social affections, heightens the standard of public morality, elevating to a higher platform the general community. Even the man who never enters the sanctuary,--who habitually desecrates the Sabbath,--is the better for it. To him even it is a hebdomadal sermon about God and religion. The Sabbath is the bulwark of Christianity. Popery has perfectly comprehended its mission, and has been, in all countries, its uncompromising foe. Two hundred years ago, when Popery sought to reestablish itself in Scotland, it found that the Sabbath stood most in its way; and it began its assault upon the religion of Scotland by an attempt to abolish the Sabbaths of Scotland. The "Book of Sports" was intended to pave the way for the mass. On the Continent, Popery has steadily pursued the same end,--the abolition of the Sabbath,--first, by the institution of fête days, which are more numerous than the Sabbaths of Protestant countries; and, second, by teaching the people to pass the day in shows and amusements. Its policy has been crowned with complete success; and now, in popish lands the Sabbath is unknown, or exists only as a day of toil or of unhallowed pleasure.

The writer has had occasion to observe how the Sabbath is spent in several of the great cities of popish Europe, and may here be permitted to tell what fell under his own notice, as the matter bears directly on the moral and religious influence of Popery. In Cologne,--"the Rome of northern Germany," as it has been called,--work seemed generally forborne. There were, of course, far more idlers in the streets than on other days. A stream of foot-passengers and vehicles kept pouring into the town across the bridge of boats. Here and there in the crowd might be seen a female with prayer-book (the Romish of course) in hand, and a white-flowered napkin forming her head-gear, after the manner of the German maidens. Parties of young men paraded the streets. Some were regaling themselves with the long German tobacco-pipe; others were bearing on their heads baskets of fruit, which they carried to market; while others were laden with the produce of the dairy and the poultry-yard. The light blue of the Prussian uniform enlivened the more sober attire of the burghers, among whom, the writer is sorry to have to say, he observed some of his own countrymen, who were cheapening fruit in the market, while their servants followed, bearing bottles of Rhenish wine,--an excursion to the country being plainly meditated. We went to the cathedral, or Great Dom, that we might see what kind of instruction it is that Popery provides for her people on the Sabbath. This temple, the sublimest north of the Alps, and, were it finished, the noblest Gothic structure in the world, would contain within its vast limits the population of a city. At the great western gate we found a great crowd: some were thronging in, others were leaving the edifice; and the low murmur of the multitude mingled hoarsely with the grand music which came in overpowering bursts from the interior of the vast edifice. We passed on through its aisles, its nave, and its arches, and at last reached the choir. For beauty, and elegance, and grandeur, it appeared a splendid vision rather than a reality. It was a mighty temple in itself, railed off by richly-carved screens and tall graceful pillars, from the yet greater temple which enclosed it. Around the choir was gathered a motley assemblage of worshippers and gazers, of all ranks and of all countries. The gates of the choir were guarded by portly officials in scarlet dresses, bearing in their hands the symbols of office,--long staves surmounted by little chaplets of silver. Within the choir, at one end, was the high altar, on which were enormous lighted tapers, a crucifix, and an illuminated mass-book; while the archbishop, in the splendour of cope and scarlet tunic, was saying mass. Numerous priests in gorgeous vestments were assisting. Boys in scarlet dresses, with silver censers, were waving incense. In the other end of the choir, opposite the high altar, was a gallery filled with choristers, consisting of about four hundred of the elite of the youth of Cologne, who sung some of the finest pieces of the great masters. The music rolled on without pause: now it seemed to retreat into the remotest part of the edifice, and now it came forward in a noble burst, and rolled a magnificent volume of rich melody along the aisles and roof of the mighty Dom. it was a grand effort on the part of Popery; and nowhere, not even in Notre Dame at Paris, have we seen the Roman Catholic worship conducted with half the pomp. The organ pealed, the melody of the choir rose and fell in noble bursts, the tapers blazed, and the incense ascended in fragrant clouds. Beautiful little stalls, rich in paintings, ran round the cathedral, each with its altar, crucifix, and tapers, and its priest, in cope and stole, celebrating mass. There were renowned relics, in little marble chapels, before which were kept lamps which burned perpetually; and then, in the ever-beauteous choir, which, like the palace in the fairy tale, seemed to have arisen unaided by the hand of man, were numerous priests, tall of figure, in vestments of purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and gold, who ranged themselves, now in rows, bearing burning tapers, and now mingled in curious maze,--their deep rich voices chanting the while the service of the mass. Before the high altar, in magnificent robes, stood the Archbishop of Cologne, bowing, crossing, kissing the crucifix, and occasionally clasping his hands in the attitude of one in rapt devotion. Not the least important element in this goodly show was the unrivalled grandeur of the temple in which it was enacted. As a mere spectacle, we never saw anything that made a tolerable approach to it. But it rose not beyond a mere artistic effort. There was not a single truth communicated. It was not in the nature of things that such a show (for the mass was chanted in a tongue which the people did not understand) should enlighten the conscience, or purify the heart, or elevate the character. Could any one be the better for such a Sabbath? Could any one be the better for the Sabbaths of a whole life spent in this way? The direct tendency of the service was to subjugate the mind in idolatrous reverence of the mass, and in degrading vassalage to the priesthood. Such was its manifest effect. Of the thousands which crowded the cathedral, two hundred or thereabouts might be engaged in counting their beads, or reciting prayers from their prayer-books. They were ranged in a line of three deep round the choir,--the holiest place in the building. But there was not a countenance on which the prevailing expression was not that of gloom and despondency. In fact, the genius of the Romish worship is towards gloom. All the objects to which the mind of the worshipper is turned are of a gloomy kind. Of this description are the images presented to their senses, which are almost all associated with death: Christ on the cross, pourtrayed often in the agonies of dying; figures of saints undergoing martyrdom, or half-exanimate from the effects of the prolonged fast, the iron collar, the hair shirt, or the lash. Over the gates of their cathedrals are not unfrequently sculpture-pieces representing the torments of the damned. The same scenes occur, with disagreeable though intentional frequency, inside their churches. There is a striking force of conception in these representations, which contrasts with the evident lack of power in their occasional attempts to depict the happiness of heaven. Thus the Church of Rome has made her appeal to the fears of her people. She attempts to awe and terrify, and thus keep them under her dominion. We have been at some pains to ascertain the actual effects produced on the mind by the Romish worship, as represented in the countenance. We do not recollect of having seen in one instance that kindling of delight, that expansive and radiant expression, which bespeaks intelligence and hope, which genuine devotion produces. We have seen earnestness,--earnestness amounting evidently to intense anxiety; but still the cloud was there. The prospect of purgatory, and of enduring there torments for an unknown period, which becomes nearer as life advances, must tell upon the general feeling. We do not think we ever saw an air of more dreary hopelessness upon human faces than on those of the old men and women of Belgium. In southern Europe this is not so perceptible. There, this feeling, or at least the expression of it, is counteracted in a good degree by the influence of climate and the livelier sensibilities of the people.

To return to Cologne and its Sabbath: the mummeries which began in the cathedral were terminated on the streets. The host was carried in solemn procession through the city, with drum and fife, and a goodly show of crucifixes, tapers, and flags. The crowds uncovered as it passed. During the forenoon business had been partially carried on. A third or so of the shops were open; and the vessels moored in the Rhine unladed them of their cargo. But in the afternoon and evening the whole city freely gave itself to pleasure and revelry. The children marshalled themselves in line, and, carrying branches and flambeaux, imitated the grand procession of the morning. All the taverns were open, and every street rang with the shouts of bacchanals, mingled with music, vocal and instrumental. The spacious gardens of the hotel, on the right bank of the river, adjoining the suburb of Deutz, were illuminated with numerous variegated lamps; gay parties danced or promenaded in them; while a band played airs at intervals, which came floating across the Rhine in the stillness of the evening. In this way was the day spent. There may be less superstition and less revelry; but with this exception, we believe the Sabbath of Cologne is a fair sample of the Sabbaths of Rhenish Prussia, and, indeed, of the greater part of Germany. Wherever Protestantism exists, and in the proportion in which it exists, do we find the Sabbath. The two most protestant cities of Switzerland are Basle and Geneva. The writer has passed Sabbaths in these cities, and he found a marked difference between the way in which the day was there kept, and its observance in Cologne; though still the best portions of Switzerland are far inferior to the worst portions of Protestant Britain. If we enter the south of France, we find ourselves again in the midst of the thick darkness, and we lose almost all trace of the Sabbath. We take Lyons as an example,--a city wholly given to the worship of Mary, and where might be set up, in the midst of her shrines and temples, an altar "To the UNKNOWN GOD." The writer would have found it impossible to have discovered from any outward sign that it was the Sabbath. No branch of labour or merchandise was suspended, in the forenoon at least: every shop was open. There was the same bustle on the quay of the Rhone, where steamers were arriving and departing. While the priests inside the cathedrals burned candles and incense, or chanted mass, or sung a requiem over the coffined dead, to mitigate, as their relatives fondly hoped, their purgatorial pains, the people over whom they bore sway were busy outside prosecuting their labours, and intent on making gain. Nay, the churches were approached through stalls of buyers and sellers, which covered the open space in front, and came close up to the gates of the cathedrals, so that the priest's chant blended with the hum of traffic outside. So few entered, and these for so short a time (for such went only to mutter a few prayers and retire), that they were never missed from the toiling and trafficking thousands of Lyons. The amusements of the evening were not unlike those of Cologne. A military band, consisting of at least an hundred performers, was stationed in the grand square, to regale the citizens, who were gathered around them in thousands, or sipped wine or coffee in the adjoining gardens.

The Sabbaths of Paris are, unhappily, too well known. But here we use a misnomer;--Paris has no Sabbath. The man who rises six successive days to toil, rises on the seventh also to toil. This shows us, by the way, what, in an economic point of view, would be the effect of the abolition of the Sabbath--it would be simply the substitution of a day of labour for a day of rest,--the addition of a seventh to the toil of man, not only without any additional remuneration, but with a very greatly diminished remuneration, owing to the over-production which it would create. In Paris all trades and professions are prosecuted on the Sabbath as on other days. The wheel of the mechanic and the tool of the artizan are as busily plied on that day as on any other. The mason builds, and the smith kindles his forge; the porter, the tailor, the shopkeeper, the merchant,--all are occupied as usual. In the forenoon a thin congregation assembles in the venerable aisles of Notre Dame, or in the more gorgeous temple of the Madeline. The worship consists of genufluxions, incensings, chantings, and other pagan mummeries, but has no reference to the verities of an eternal world. That ouvrier and that young woman, as they worship on bended knee an image or a Madonna, seem the very picture of devotion; but follow them in the evening to Franconi's circus, or to the dancing garden, and see how little they have profited by the morning's devotions. At that altar the Bible is never opened. Beneath that roof God's message of love is never proclaimed. In the city around, a million of men, with a few exceptions, are living in the grossness of superstition and vice, but no voice cries "Deliver from going down to the pit." The priests have taken away the key of knowledge; they enter not in themselves; and them that were entering in they hindered. At an early hour in the afternoon business is suspended, and pleasure takes its place. Then, indeed, does Paris rejoice. A gay stream of vehicles, equestrians, and pedestrians, pours along the Boulevards. Others hasten to the Jardin des Plantes, or to the Champs d'Elysée, where mountebank shows, and all kinds of games and amusements, are going on. Others assemble round the tea-tables in the gardens of the Palais Royale, or saunter in those of the Tuileries. All the theatres in the city are open, and are better attended on that evening than on any of the previous six. The saloons are brilliantly illuminated. Omnibuses and vehicles of all kinds thunder along the Rue St. Honoré and the Rue St. Antoine, filled with half-inebriated passengers, who shout or sing in their boisterous efforts to be merry. It is remarkable enough, that what certain parties in this country confidently and urgently recommend as an effectual preservative against drunkenness should in France be a main provocative of that vice. There is more wine and spirits drank in Paris on that day than on any three of the other days of the week.

We must not suppose that it is only in the cities of the Continent that the Sabbath has disappeared: matters are no better in the country. "It so happened," says a traveller, "that we reached Orleans,--a day's journey from Paris,--on a Saturday afternoon. My relatives forgot the fact that it was Saturday; and no external indication making Sunday palpable to the eye, I did not undeceive them, being anxious to return to Paris without delay. We started, then, the following morning, as usual, and travelled seventy or eighty miles through towns, villages, and hamlets, till we reached Paris, without my friends discovering that we had been travelling on Sunday."[10] This speaks volumes, and requires no comment. To the south of the Alps matters are no better, and they could scarce be worse. The fact is too well known to require either illustration or proof. Such is the condition into which the Papacy has reduced western Europe: it has withdrawn men from the great fountain of morality--the Bible; it has thrown down the great bulwark of morality--the Sabbath; it has made the good of the Church the supreme law, and has thus confounded the essential distinction between virtue and vice; it his converted religion into a mere ritual, and government into a system of coercion; it has introduced corruption into public life, and fraud into private society; it has covered the Continent with concubinage, assassination, robbery, and gambling; it has eradicated from the minds of men all sense of obligation and duty. The Church now seeks in vain for faith, and the State for loyalty; and both have been brought to rest their continued existence upon the precarious tenure of military fidelity.

[1] The Provincial Letters of Blaise Pascal, by Dr. M'Crie, p. 68, et seq.; Edin. 1847. [Back]

[2] See Dr. M'Crie's "Pascal," p. 93 et seq. It is there shown how murders, thefts, falsehoods, duels, bankruptcies, &c. may all, in certain circumstances, be not only lawful, but dutiful. The same morality is taught by Liguori. [Back]

[3] "I thought the bankers' commission on London drafts exorbitant, the shopkeepers unscrupulous in asking double the amount they finally took, the innkeepers plunderers, and the gentry I saw in gambling-houses cheats." (Continental Confessions of a Layman, p. 23; Edin. 1848.) [Back]

[4] 20th December 1847. [Back]

[5] The proportion of crime in England to population is only 1 in 758. In Scotland it is but 1 in 800. The Ireland of Drs. Cullen, M'Hale, and their allies, stands at 1 in 300. And let the remarkable fact not be overlooked, that whilst the whole number convicted of offences in the six Protestant counties of the north,--Antrim, Down, Londonderry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, and Armagh,--with a population of 1,700,000 persons, only amounted to 2038, the single Roman Catholic county of Tipperary, with a population not exceeding 436,000, furnished a list of criminals extending to 2124. ("Morning Herald;" April 10, 1851.) [Back]

[6] The return of births during the year 1849 furnishes sad evidence of the immorality of the Viennese. The total number of children born was 19,241. Of these, 10,360 were illegitimate, and only 8881 legitimate. Munich and Paris have hitherto borne the worst character in this respect; but this return throws them into the shade. Concubinage is the law, marriage the exception. Misery keeps equal pace with vice. Between 1827 and 1847, the suicides in Paris had risen from 1542 to 3647. Any one who will take the trouble of watching the Paris journals will find, that at present the suicides in Paris amount to seventeen per week. The increase may be owing in part to the excitement and misery produced by the Revolution. ("Daily News" of April 8, 1850: M. Raudot's Work on the Decline of France.) [Back]

[7] Tract on the Character of Popery; printed about the time of the Revolution, and quoted in the "Free Thoughts," p. 454. [Back]

[8] "Home and its sweets, its pleasing cares and soothing affections, seemed unknown; it became the shelter of exhausted nature, where the cup of pleasure was drained to its dregs." (Continental Confessions of a Layman, p. 31.) [Back]

[9] "Their [the populace] two great temptations are the festivals and the lotteries. . . . . The lottery is a thousand times more fatal; its venom infects every town in Italy. Each government has its lottery. . . . . A drawing takes place rather oftener than once a fortnight. . . . . A day-labourer withholds regularly a portion of his earnings from his family, to spend it on his weekly hazard at an office; and the starving beggar, if he receive an alms which will purchase two meals, often goes without one of them, that he may have a chance of becoming rich." (Italy and the Italian Islands, by W. Spalding, Esq. Professor of Rhetoric, St. Andrew's, vol. iii. p. 249; Edin. 1841.) [Back]

[10] Continental Confessions of a Layman, p. 61. [Back]

Read Book Three, Chapter Five: Influence of Popery on the Social and Political Condition of Nations.

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