in desire to stand by their several flocks in
this conflict ; and if it should become necessary
to throw themselves into the breach, and pay
with life for their devotion to the cause of truth
and justice, your bishop will be the first to do
it.' Shouts of rapture greet this note of coming
war. Marilley pauses ; something seems to strike
176 THE SWITZERS.
him ; something perhaps of comic in this tavern
boast of readiness to die ; and turning to his
reverend brother, Gaspard Mermillod, he adds :
* Now he shall speak- : you know how eloquent
he is ; his tongue is looser than my own il a
la langue mieux pendu que moi/
Bishop Mermillod takes up the martial tone,
* Your bishops give no half support to any
cause in which they are engaged ; you may rely
upon their watchfulness and courage in this
coming shock of foes. Remember who commands
us in the hour of strife. Our General-in-chief is
the Holy Father ; but in battle, every soldier
must be at his post, and no less credit falls upon
the rank and file than on the captains. Fribourg,
which has borne so long her witness for the
truth, now leads the van. Inspu'ed by her,
Luzem will join our ranks, and then the whole
of Catholic Switzerland will rally to the church.'
Abbot Wicky springs upon his feet to give a
toast of 'War a holy war!' His face is flushed
and red, Ms words rush from him fast and fierce.
'Our Lord has told us He brought war into the
world. St. Paul could boast that he had fought
the good fight. Indifierence will not do. If any
one of my flock were to neglect his duty at the
polling-booth, I would refuse to grant him abso-
lution from his sins. No, no ; this day is not a
time to talk of peace. I give my toast, A war-
a holy war.* In place more fitting for a bishop
to be heard in than a tavern, Mermillod still
sounds the clarion. 'When we are gone,' he
cries, in one of his great bursts of eloquence,
that almost sets the coUege close on fire, 'im-
partial history will paint four figures on the
canvas of our time ; four figures, standing out
distinct in form and high in Hght, amidst the
gloomy shadows of the past; a kaiser leaning
on a cannon at Versailles, an emperor yielding up
his sword at Sedan, a soldier-king caressing his
moustache and riding into Rome ; and over these
three figures, blessing them with lifted hands, the
calm, majestic figure of Pius the Ninth, commit-
ting a renewed and happy kingdom of the church
to his successor Pius the Tenth/
At night, the city is aflame with lamps. The
bridge, the Place St. George, the streets and
terraces, are crowded with excited priests not
dining at the Mercers' tavern. On the Schon-
berg stands a cross of coloured lamps. The
chapel of Loretto is a wreath of stars, with Pio
Nono in the centre, writ in fire. At Diessbach
1 78 THE SWITZERS.
there are rockets, Bengal lights, and detonating
balls. Some strangers, lingering on the terrace
of the Zahringer Hof, make witty and annoying
jokes about this pious crusade ; but by ten
o'clock, these revellers have gone to bed ; and we
are left with the autumnal stars and silent city,
to compare opinions on a warm day's work.
* You hope to influence the revision by these
' Yes,' replies the Jesuit, * we may hope to do
so ; but our trust is not in deputies and lawyers ;
else these jesters who have left us would be
wholly in the right. Our trust is in the higher
powers. You recollect the state of things a few
years after our great founder's death. We came
to Canton Fribourg, to revive and to restore our
faith. We had a cruel fight, but we endured and
won. Once more, we shall endure and win ; but
we shaU not address the jurists and the doctors ;
they are useless to us, even when we win them ;
and we never win them to our side till we have
won their masters.'
* Masters ! who are they V
' The people, those who delve and drive,
who weave and spin, who plough and plant;
the porters, shepherds, masons, drovers, boatmen,
JESUITS. 1 79
foresters, and guides. These are tlie men we
seek; for it is only through such men that
changes in the world are made. A few days
hence, a separate meeting of these classes will be
called in Fribourg, in the name of Cantonal sove-
reignty and freedom of instruction, to protest
against revision of the fundamental pact in any
other than a strictly Catholic sense. This meeting
will protest against the Federals sending any man
at any time, and under any pretext to report
upon a Catholic school. They will protest against
a law for closing pubhc schools to priests and
nuns. They will protest against the cry for sepa-
rating church and state. They will demand three
great concessions from the League : the first,
that Catholic parents shall have the free choice of
teachers for their boys and girls ; the second, that
every Commune shall have the right to send her
children to religious schools ; the third, that in-
stead of separating church and state there shall be
a closer bond of school and church, teacher and
priest, grammar and catechism, science and God.
Our people have a right to ask for such things ;
and when people in this country ask in earnest,
they can hardly be denied.'
'But something more than this demand for
180 THE SWITZEES.
freedom of instruction lies behind ? You are ex-
pecting to return?'
' We ask that restoration as our right. We
do not seek a privilege for ourselves ; we ask that
all rehgious bodies, known and authorised by
the Catholic church, be tolerated and received
in Switzerland, like other corporations. We be-
Heve in prayer. The church is passing through
a bitter time ; but as the clouds grow darker,
we shaU brace our sinews up to meet the storm.
We call upon the Virgin day and night. We
go on pilgrimage, and seek for courage at Our
On pilgrimage! Alert but dusty, we attain the
chapel called the Ecce Homo, where the path
from Goldau through the pine-trees strikes the
road from Schwyz to Rothenthurm. A priest
from Bellinzona and myself are wending by those
bridle-ways that pilgrims love, towards Meinrad's
Cell. This chapel gained, the priest kneels down
before the cross to say his prayers.
St. Meinrad is a name in the poetic roll of
saints, and idlers hear of him, and of his cell, in
many a song and play. His shrine was famous
at an early time :
Von alien Wandiem am dem deutschen Land
Die liber Meinrad's zell . . .
Yet we are not going up this dusty road for
Schiller's sake. We have a present purpose in
our joiuney ; one of us to pray for hght and
182 THE SWITZEES,
help, the other to observe the force and passion
of the strife.
All Christian countries have their sacred
places, which to pilgrims not robust enough in
faith for greater doiQgs, have to stand for Beth-
lehem, Nazareth, and the Holy Sepulchre. Italy-
has Loretto ; Greece, Mount Athos ; Russia, Solo-
vetsk ; Germany, Cologne ; Spain, Compo'stella ;
France, St. Denis ; England, Walsingham ; se-
lected places, owned and blessed of God, in
which a sinner, groaning under weight of sin,
may spend some moments of his life with holy
men and in the midst of holy things. At
Meinrad's Cell Einsiedeln, Anchorite's seat a
pious Switzer finds a spot like one of these ;
a spot which God has marked and sanctified ;
a spot of supernatural light and grace, with
sacred forests and miraculous waters ; in the
midst of which the Virgin and her Son have
deigned to build their house and consecrate their
A noisy beck, the Aa, is at our feet, deep down
among the stones and pines. Beyond this ravine
springs the Mostelberg. It is a classic and his-
toric scene, alive with noble names and noble deeds.
Below is Steinen, where the old Landammann,
Werner Stauffacher, lived; a little lower still is
Schwyz, the capital of Canton Schwyz, with her
twin prongs of rock. Above are Sattel, with
the chapel of Morgarten, and the ridges of that
famous alp. To right and left, in front and rear,
each crest and thorpe recalls some memorable
name and day.
' You call this country free,' the priest ob-
serves, on rising from before that wayside cross.
'Although a Switzer born and bred, I am not
free to say my prayers in Switzerland's most
favoured church! The fact is so. Our Radicals
in Ticino have decreed that no one shall go out on
pilgrimage beyond his Canton. I am forced to
break that law in going on my duty to Einsiedeln.
It is only on our flag we bear the Cross.'
This priest is young and fierce; his southern
blood inflamed by what he calls his personal wrong.
By law, as he contends, he is the parish priest
of B , a village near Locarno, blest to his
appointment by his bishop, but expelled alike
from church and commune by a Radical mayor,
supported by a squad of Cantonal troops.
' These Radicals not only check our right of
pilgrimage, but in a month or two will strike the
name of Christian from our public code.'
184 THE SWITZERS.
' But such erasure is no consequence of Radical
opinions. Look at Zurich. There the Radicals
are masters of the Canton ; they have made a new
republic ; but they have not separated church and
state, and have not struck the name of Christian
from their pubhc code/
' In Zurich the majority are Evangelical, and
for the passing moment Radicals and Evangelicals
fancy they have found a common enemy in Rome.
Yet even in Zurich, as in Aargau and in Thurgau,
they have seized our convents and our convent-
* By regular course of law.'
* No course is regular that robs the Church.
These mjuries are done in face of the most solemn
pubhc acts. Our ancient constitutions guaranteed
our convents in the mixed Cantons, such as Zurich,
Bern, and Basel. In the constitutions of 1803
and 1815 our convents were protected by the
League. In 1848 these guarantees were dropped ;
but not with our consent ; and since that dreadful
year, our convents, abbeys, and foundations, have
been made the prey of Radical and Evangehcal
majorities" in every market-town. You call that
regular course of law the passion of a rude and
guilty mob ! To us, majorities are not divine.'
' Are not the men who carry on these conflicts
with the church of Kome, her children, men like
Keller, Landammann of Aargau, Curti, Landam-
mann of St. Gallon, President Anderwert of
Thurgau, and Professor Miinzinger of Bern ? '
' Our children sin through ignorance. They
think the church an enemy to their civic freedom ;
she who is their steadfast friend. They never
dream how much our country owes the church.
Our goods, our laws, our towns, our liberties all
these are of her friendly gift. We had our church
before we had a Commune ; we had our Commune
ere we had a Canton ; we had our Cantons long
before we had a League. AVhat would you call
the glories of our land V
* Zurich, Luzern, Geneva, and St. Gallen.'
*You are right; and all these towns are
offshoots from the church.'
No man can say the priest is wrong, and many
of these pilgrims toiling up the cliffs towards
Meinrad's Cell, preserve traditions in their songs
y and usages of old dependence on the cloister.
I Ziirick lived in her Lady-abbesses. ' Luzern de-
pended on the Abbots of Murbach. Geneva was
indebted to her bishops ; and St. Gallon owed her
name to a famous saint. The pasture-lands were
186 THE SWITZERS.
occupied by nuns, the alpine tops were tenanted by-
monks. From Basel to Sion, nearly every town
of moment was the property of some great abbey,
chapter and cathedral. Sion held of her bishop ;
St. Maurice of her abbot. Solothum depended on
the chapter of St. Ursus Munster ; and Schaff-
hausen on the abbots of All Saints. The nuns of
Zurich planted Uri, and the monks of Murbach
planted Unter-walden. Even Schwyz, though
many of her people were free peasants of the em-
pire, was a sort of appanage of the church. Large
tracts of Schwyz were claimed by the Prince-abbot
of Einsiedeln ; though the men of Schwyz refused
his rents, and when he used the weapons of his
cloth against them rushed upon his convent, stole
his cattle, and profaned his shrine.
' The world is arming more and more against
the Church,' the Father from Ticino adds; 'yet
since the day of Pentecost, the world has never
stood in greater need than now of spiritual grace.
It may not come, though hearts are straining
for an outward sign. You see these children
of the sod; these aged men, who look to find
their graves ere long ; these boys and girls, with
brows unseamed by care ; these young men and
young women, in the pride of health ; the men of
every grade, from priest and banker down to
groom and guide ; the women of all ranks, from
nun and teacker down to kitchen wench and
nurse. All these are going up to Meinrad's
cell. But who is Meinrad, that these folks
should care for him? What brings them from
their distant homes? What lifts them over pass
and lake ? Who bids them slake their thirst
at Meinrad's fountain? You can count them
now by scores ; at Biberbriicke they will swell to
hundreds ; in the convent square they will expand
to thousands. Why are they afoot ? No earthly
purpose draws them up into these wastes. No
church is to be robbed, no Jesuit to be hunted
down. No popular parHament is to be held.
Yet nowhere in these Cantons will you match
the concourse of all classes at Our Lady's shrine.
Why have this rustic and his wife come down
jfrom Andermatt, a hundred miles of mountain
road on foot? To eat and drink, to lodge in
dainty rooms, to spend a joyous and mercurial
day ? They dream of no such pleasiu-es. They
are coming on the soul's affairs. Not meat and
wine, but grace and light, are what they seek.
In asking for a blessing, they are quickened by
an impulse more than human to go out and find
188 THE SWITZERS. ^
it in some holy place. If tender and poetic
fancies haunt their dreams, these longings are
a spiritual, not a mortal growth. They seek
for peace, and they will find it in the house of
The passing season is a Pilgrim's Year. In
every season there are crowds of devotees at
Meinrad's CeU ; but never has the church been
tried as now; and never has Our Lady's shrine
been thronged as now. In every town the Jesuits,
and the ultramontane priests who back them,
have been preaching pilgrimage. All sacred
enterprises open with a visit to some saint. A
pilgrimage prepares the mind to dare and suffer.
All the deputies who troop to Rome, both clerical
and lay, are counselled by the Jesuits to return
from Italy by way of Canton Schw;)''z. All
through the summer and the fall, a stream of
English lords, of Belgian counts, and Austrian
barons, have been dropping cards on Abbot
Heinrich "Schmid, and kneeling at the hour of
vespers in Our Lady's shrine.
'These pilgrimages serve a worldly and poli-
tical end?' . ^
* In one sense yes. We seek a change.
We cannot bear the pressure of events. Take
my own Canton of Ticino. By our fundamental
law the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church is
recognised as teaching the rehgion of the state;
yet see what they are doing in the face of that
undoubted pubHc law. Our radicals have seized
the Catholic colleges at Ascona, Mendrisio, Bellin-
zona, and Lugano. They have interrupted the
education of our priests ; they have driven
away our vicars from their churches ; they have
robbed our bishop of his rights ; they have sup-
pressed the seminary of Polleggio ; they have
set up excommunicated priests. They laugh at
protests from our spiritual chief, and interdict
his visits to the churches on om- soil.'
* He is a foreign prelate, is he not the
Bishop of Milan and a subject of the King of
' A bishop yes ; a subject no. He is a
shepherd of the Universal Church, which sees no
frontier lines in Christian states.'
' But is there not a law a Federal law of
1859 which interdicts, in every part of Switzer-
land, the exercise of episcopal jurisdiction by any
' Yes ; there is a law ; and that bad law is but
another of our wrongs. Those Radicals in Bern are
190 THE SWITZERS.
like our Radicals in Ticino. First, they rob the
Church, and then they pass , biU to make their
plunder lawful spoil. Our Council in Ticino were
before the men of Bern. They made a law, in
1855, by which they took away our bishop's right
to choose his priests and vicars. They bade some
six or seven laymen, ignorant of the service, to
conduct our Church affairs : to do as they might
choose with hospices and convents ; to appoint
ecclesiastical dignitaries ; to install our clergy in
their charges ; to erect new parishes where they
liked, and even to suppress old parishes according
to their mood. Nay, more ; they gave the mayors
and councils shepherds, porters, grooms a right
to send away their village priests, and set up others
in their seats. It is rebellion in the church.
The bishop and the Pope are equally defied. In
future, every act and edict of the spiritual powers
are to be laid before the Canton for approval ; if
approval is refused, such acts and edicts are to
have no force. A priest is bound to read in
church all edicts of the civil powers. If any
priest should act on orders sent to him from
either Home or Milan, he is smitten by a fine,
which may be five fi'ancs, fifty francs, five thou-
sand firancs. What man dare do his duty to his
bishop under such a threat? Some persons try
to keep their conscience clear ; but if they rise
against the excommunicated priests set up in
divers places by the state, a bugle sounds to
arms, the troops are set in motion, and the rifle
stops all argument with a bang.'
* Ticino, though a Catholic Canton, seems to
be in plain revolt against her Church V
* It is in actual schism. Our bishop dares
not come into his diocese. Our celebration of the
month of Mary is prohibited. A woman is con-
demned and fined for singing the Canticles of
the Virgin. Our wish to celebrate the Papal
jubilee is refused. A pilgrimage to any shrine
beyond the Canton is forbidden, so that no man
from Ticino can, according to his local law, be now
upon his way to Meinrad's Cell. Is it not clear
that we require a change of heart and soul ? To
bring about this change of heart and soul, we
preach the Pilgrim's Year.'
CONVENT AND CANTON.
At the small village of Altmatt, which was once
the border town of Canton Schwyz, defended by
some earthworks from attacks by the Prince-abbot
of Einsiedeln, and is now a Httle weaving thorpe,
we quit the road and climb the mountain side.
A pilgrim always keeps the ancient tracks, and
this old pathway up the Katzenstrick was worn
in ages long ago by knights and shepherds in their
frequent raids and frays.
An hour of easy idling brings us up from
Altmatt ^to the top ; a table-land of green and
lonely pastures, where the Convent herds were
wont to feed. Behind us rise the broken and
irregular ridges of Morgarten; name as sacred
to a Switzer as Mount Zion to a Jew.
' You may imagine,' says the priest, on pausing
to look backward, * that the glory of Morgarten
springs directly from the oaths of GriitH and the
deeds of Tell. We priests are not all Austrian
CONVENT AND CANTON. 193
in our passions ; and, in spite of Kopp and Rilliet,
may agree with every shepherd on these mountain'
slopes, that Tell was once a Uving man ; but
Griith oath and Altdorf apple have but scant
connexion with the day of which some Switzers
feel so proud. Morgarten was the fruit of an
indecent raid and an atrocious theft. These men
of Schwyz are always men of Schwyz. They
prate of freedom much, but what they mean by
freedom is a right of making free with other peo-
ple's goods. Their spirit has descended, like their
banner, to the League, which only robs our con-
vents now, as in an earlier day this Canton
robbed St. Memrad's CeU.'
In early times the abbots of Einsiedeln,
princes of the Empire, held their lands in sove-
reignty, protected by the church and by some
noble knight the Graf von Rapperschwyl and
Duke of Austria mainly ; while the men of
Schwyz, affecting to be peasants of the empire,
would not own the sway of a religious house.
All efforts to subdue them only made them worse.
No frontiers could be fixed between the Convent
and the Canton. They were said to run across
these pasture lands along the Katzenstrick, and
when the convent cows and horses strayed into
194 THE SWITZERS.
disputed fields, the shepherds caught and stole
them. Angry words roused angry blood. The
abbot claimed the country, and the rustics an-
swered they were free and always had been free.
Frei war der Schweitzer von TJralters her.
They owned no master save that emperor to
whom the knee of king and serf alike was bent.
The abbots of Einsiedeln, princes of the empire,
with the habits of their class, replied that they
had charters from the emperor which would prove
their claims. The men of Schwyz were not
allowed to see these charters, and when they
raised a cry against being spoiled, the abbot
struck them with a thunder-bolt from Bome.
A year before the battle of Morgarten threw
a lurid light into these Swiss defiles, Johannes,
Baron von Schwanden, Canton Bern, was reigning
abbot ; a deceitful, grasping man, who coveted his
neighbour s field, and built himself a fortress on
the Lake of Zurich, as a refuge from the crowd of
enemies whom his crimes raised up. No Austrian
bailiff, in his wantonness of power, put out his
hand in a more ruthless spirit than this Bene-
dictine prince. He laid the country under inter-
dict ; he closed the churches, stopped the rites of
CONVENT AND CANTON. 195
baptism and confession, and prohibited the sacra-
ments of marriage and viaticum. When the
afflicted people asked by what authority he laid
them under interdict, he told them he was acting
under briefs from Rome.
The men of Schwyz, excited and indignant,
came from mass into their primary assembly at the
feast of the Epiphany (1314), to hear the news,
and see what could be done. Werner Stauffacher,
Landammann of Schwyz, presided at this meeting,
and the question rose in what way they could
see these Roman briefs and charters which were
said to be at Meinrad's Cell. Should they not
march upon the abbey, and obtain a sight of them
by force ? This proposition took the crowd. A
raid upon that stronghold of their enemies might
pay them well. If it were boldly planned, and
quickly done, a raid might yield them more than
briefs and charters, even if such briefs and charters
should be found. The monks were rich ; their
stables full of horses, and their pastures fat with
kine. These monks were sons of dukes and
coimts, who made their Benedictine skirts a
cloak for every vice. Their castle on the Lake
of Zurich stood beyond the reach of simple shep-
herds, but the abbey of Einsiedeln lay at hand,
196 THE SWITZERS.
not three hours' inarch from Schwyz. Much
fiery speech was used, and then a vote was taken
for a march that Sunday night. At once they sent
off scouts to stop the roads, lest news of what was
in the wind should reach the monks. They called
each citizen to his flag, and being armed already
they were quickly on the march by Rothenthurm
and Altmatt towards this Katzenstrick.
E-udolf von Rudegg, Rector of the seminary
of Einsiedeln, wrote a poem on this raid of
rustics, full of quaint and picturesque details.
Rudegg calls his work * Capella Heremit ; ' and
in the latter part of this quaint piece he paints
the night surprise.
* All at once,' he writes, * in the midst of dark-
ness the convent bell rings out a note of danger ;
but we are too late to fly ; the enemy has posted
his men on every side. Each one of us endeavours
to leave his cell and gain the sanctuary in the
church, which he supposes that even these robbers
will respect, but it is only in the upper chamber
of the belfry that one feels assured of finding a
place of safety. Some of us run among our ene-
mies, who make us prisoners ; some resist this cap-
ture and are threatened by the mob with instant
death. The chief, however, calls his company, and
CONVENT AND CANTON. 197
setting them to watch the captive monks, prevents
the rogues from going into any more excess.'
This presence of the Landammann might have
warned the fathers that the business was more
serious than a raid on flocks and herds, had
any of these learned nobles known the name of
Werner Stauffacher, and the existing temper of
the men of Schwyz. But none of these proud