Isaac Disraeli.

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monsters of political power. To their eyes toleration was an
hydra, and the dethroned bishops had never so vehemently
declaimed against what, in ludicrous rage, one of the high-
flying presbyterians called " a cursed intolerable toleration ! "
They advocated the rights of persecution ; and " shallow Ed-
wards," as Milton calls the author of "The Gangraena,"
published a treatise against toleration. They who had so
long complained of " the licensers," now sent all the books
they condemned to penal fires. Prynne now vindicated the
very doctrines under which he himself had so severely suf-
fered ; assuming the highest possible power of civil govern-
ment, even to the infliction of death on its opponents.
Prynne lost all feeling for the ears of others !

The idea 6f toleration was not intelligible for too long a
period in the annals of Europe ; no parties probably could con-
ceive the idea of toleration, in the sti'uggle for predominance.
Treaties are not proffered when conquest is the concealed
object. Men were immolated ! a massacre was a sacrifice !
medals were struck to commemorate these holy persecu-
tions ! t The destroying angel, holding in one hand a cross,

♦ This was a Baron Wallop. From Dr. H. Sampson's Manuscript

t It is curious to observe that the catholics were afterwards ashamed
of these indiscretions ; they were unwilling to own that there were any
medals which commemorate massacres. Thuanus, in his 53d book, has
minutely described them. The medals, however, have become excessively
scarce; but copies inferior to the originals have been sold. They had
also pictures on similar subjects, accompanied by insulting inscriptions,
which latter they have effaced, sometimes very imperfectly. See HoUis's
Memoirs, p. 312-14. This enthusiast advertised in the papers to request
travellers to procure them.

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and in the other a sword, with these words — VgonoUorum
Strages, 1572 — "The massacre of the Huguenots" — proves
that toleration will not agree with that date. Castelnau, a
statesman and a humane man, was at a loss how to decide
on a point of the utmost importance to France. In 1532
they first began to bum the Lutherans or Calvinists, and to
cut out the tongues of all protestants, " that they might no
longer protest." According to Father Paul, fifty thousand
persons had perished in the Netherlands, by different tor-
tures, for religion. But a change in the religion of the state,
Castelnau considered, would occasion one in the government :
he wondered how it happened, that the more they punished
with death, it only increased the number of the victims:
martyrs produced proselytes. As a statesman, he looked
round the great field of human actions in the history of the
past ; there he discovered that the Romans were more en-
lightened in their actions than ourselves ; that Trajan com-
manded Pliny the younger not to molest the Christians for
their religion, but should their conduct endanger the state, to
put down illegal assemblies ; that Julian the Apostate ex-
pressly forbad the execution o^ the Christians, who then
imagined that they were securing their salvation by martyr-
dom ; but he ordered all their goods to be confiscated — a
severe punishment — by which Julian prevented more than
he could have done by persecutions. "All this," he adds,
we read in ecclesiastical history." * Such were the senti-
ments of Castelnau, in 1560. Amidst perplexities of state
necessity, and of our common humanity, the notion of tolera-
tion had not entered into the views of the statesman. It was
also at this time that De Sainctes, a great controversial
writer, declared, that had the fires lighted for the destruction
of Calvinism not been extinguished, the sect had not spread !
About half a century subsequent to this period, Thuanus
was, perhaps, the first great mind who appears to have in-
sinuated to the French monarch and his nation, that they
* M^moires de Michel de Castelnau, liv. L o. 4.

VOL. IV. 10

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might live at peace with heretics ; by which avowal he called
down on himself the haughty indignation of Rome, and a
declaration, that the man who spoke in favour of heretics
must necessarily be one of the first class. Hear the afflicted
historian : " Have men no compassion, after forty years
passed full of continual miseries ? Have they no fear after
the loss of the Netherlands, occasioned by that frantic ob-
stinacy which marked the times ? I grieve that such senti-
ments should have occasioned my book to have been
examined with a rigour that amounts to calumny." Such
was the language of Thuanus, in a letter written in 1606 ;*
which indicates an approximation to toleration^ but which
term was not probably yet found in any dictionary. We
may consider, as so many attempts at toleration, the great
national synod of Dort, whose history is amply written by
Brandt ; and the mitigating protestantism of Laud, to ap-
proximate to the ceremonies of the Roman church ; but the
synod, after holding about two hundred sessions, closed,
dividing men into universalists and semi-universalists, supra-
lapsarians and sublapsarians ! The reformed themselves
produced the remonstrants ; and Laud's ceremonies ended in
placing the altar eastward, and in raising the scaffold for the
monarchy and the hierarchy. Error is circuitous when it
will do what it has not yet learnt. They were pressing for
conformity to do that which, a century afterwards, they found
could only be done by toleration.

The secret history of toleration among certain parties has
been disclosed to us by a curious document, from that relig-
ious Machiavel, the fierce ascetic republican John Knox, a
calvinistical Pope. " While the posterity of Abraham,'*
says that mighty and artful reformer, " were few in numbery
and while they sojourned in different countries, they were
merely required to avoid all participation in the idolatrous
rites of the heathen ; but as soon as they prospered into a
kingdom^ and had obtained possession of Canaan, they were
* Life of Thuanus, by the Bev. J. Collinson, p. 116.

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Strictly charged to suppress idolatry, and to destroy all the
monuments and incentives. The same duty was now incum-
bent on the professors of the true religion in Scotland.
Formerly, when not more than ten persons in a county were
enlightened, it would have h^e^n foolishness to have demanded
of the nobility the suppression of idolatry. But now, when
knowledge had been increased," «fec.* Such are the men
who cry out for toleration during their state of political
weakness, but who cancel the bond by which they hold their
tenure whenever they " obtain possession of Canaan." The
only commentary on this piece of the secret history of tolera-
tion is the acute remark of Swift : " We are fully convinced
that we shall always tolerate them, but not that they will
tolerate us."

The truth is, that toleration was allowed by none of
the parties ! and I will now show the dilemmas into which
each party thrust itself.

When the kings of England would forcibly have estab-
lished episcopacy in Scotland, the presbyters passed an act
against the toleration of dissenters from preshyterian doc-
trines and discipline ; and thus, as Guthrie observes, they
were committing the same violence on the consciences of
their brethren, which they opposed in the king. The pres-
byterians contrived their famous covenant to dispossess the
royalists of their livings ; and the independents, who assumed
the principle of toleration in their very name, shortly after
enforced what they called the engagement^ to eject the pres-
byterians ! In England, where the dissenters were ejected,
their great advocate Calamy complains that the dissenters
were only making use of the same arguments which the most
eminent reformers had done in their noble defence of the ref-
ormation against the papists; while the arguments of the
established church against the dissenters were the same
which were urged by the papists against the protestant ref-

* Dr. M'Crie*s Life of John Knox, ii. 122.

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ormation ! * When the presbyterians were our masters, and
preached up the doctrine of passive obedience in spiritual
matters to the civil power, it was unquestionably passing a
self-condemnation on their own recent opposition and detrac-
tion of the former episcopacy. Whenever men act from a
secret motive entirely contrary to their ostensible one, such
monstrous results will happen ; and as extremes will join,
however opposite they appear in their beginnings, John
Knox and Father Petre, in office, would have equally served
James the Second as confessor and prime minister I

A fact relating to the famous Justus Lipsius proves the

* I quote from an tinpnblished letter, written so late as in 1749, addressed
to the author of" The Free and Candid Disquisition," by the Rev. Thomas
Allen, rector of Kettering, Northamptonshire. However extravagant his
doctrine appears to us, I suspect that it exhibits the concealed sentiments
of even some protestant churchmen ! This rector of Kettering attributes
the growth of schism to the negUgence of the clergy, and seems to have
persecuted both the archbishops, " to his detriment," as he teUs us, with
singular plans of reform borrowed from monastic institutions. He wished
to revive the practice inculcated by a canon of the Council of Laodicea,
of having prayers ad horam nonam et ad ve^ptram — prayers twice a day in
the churches. But his grand project take in his own words : —

" I let the archbishop know that I had composed an irenicoUj wherein I
prove the necessity of an ecclesiastical power over consciences in matters
of religion, which utterly silences their arguments who plead to hard for
toleration. I took my scheme from * A Discourse of Ecclesiastical Polity,*
wherein the authority of the civil magistrate over the consciences of sub-
jects in matters of external religion is asserted ; the mischiefs and incon-
veniences of toleration are represented, and all pretences pleaded in behalf
of Uberty of conscience are fully answered. If this book were reprinted
and considered, the king would know his power and the people their

The rector of Kettering seems not to have known that the author of this
" Discourse on Ecclesiastical Polity " was the notorious Parker, immor-
talized by the satire of Marvell. This political apostate, from a republican
and presbyterian, became a furious advocate for arbitrary government in
church and state ! He easily won the favour of James the Second, who
made him bishop of Oxford! His principles were so violent that Father
Petre, the confessor of James, made sure of him! This letter of the
rector of Kettering, in adopting the system of such a catholic bishop, con-
firms my suspicion, that toleration is condenmed as an evil among some
protestants !

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difficulty of forming a clear notion of toleration. This
learned man, after having been ruined by the religious wars
of the Netherlands, found an honourable retreat in a pro-
fessor's chair at Leyden, and without difficulty abjured
papacy. He published some political works : and adopted as
his great principle, that only one religion should be allowed
to a people, and that no clemency should be granted to non-
conformists, who, he declares, should be pursued by sword
and fire ; in this manner a single member would be cut off
to preserve the body sound. Ure, seca — ^are his words.
Strange notions these in a protestant republic ; and, in fact,
in Holland it was approving of all the horrors of their op-
pressors, the Duke d*Alva and Philip the Second, from
which they had hardly recovered. It was a principle by
which we must inevitably infer, says Bayle, that in Holland
no other mode of religious belief but one sect should be
permitted ; and that those Pagans who had hanged the mis-
sionaries of the gospel had done what they ought Lipsius
found himself sadly embarrassed when refuted by Theodore
Comhert,* the firm advocate of political and religious free-
dom, and at length Lipsius, that protestant with a catholic
heart, was forced to eat his words, like Pistol his onion,
declaring that the two objectionable words, ure, seca, were
borrowed from medicine, meaning not literally ^re and sword,
but a strong efficacious remedy, one of those powerful medi-
cines to expel poison. Jean de Serres, a warm Huguenot,
carried the principle of toleration so far in his " Inven-
taire gen^rale de THistoire de France," as to blame Chai-les
Martel for compelling the Frisans, whom he had conquered,
to adopt Christianity ! " A pardonable zeal," he observes,
" in a warrior ; but in fact the minds of men cannot be gained
over by arms, nor that religion forced upon them, which must

* Comhert was one of the fathers of Dutch literature, and even of their
arts. He was the composer of the great national air of William of Orange;
he was too a famous engraver, the master of Goltzius. On his death-bed,
he was still writing against ihe persectUum ofheredcs.

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be introduced into the hearts of men by reason." It is
curious to see a protestant, in his zeal for toleration, blaming
a king for forcing idolaters to become Christians; and to
have found an opportunity to express his opinions in the
dark history of the eighth century, is an instance how his-
torians incorporate their passions in their works, and view
ancient facts with modern eyes.

The protestant cannot grant toleration to the catholic, un-
less the catholic ceases to be a papist ; and the Arminian
church, which opened its wide bosom to receive every de-
nomination of Christians, nevertheless were forced to exclude
the papists, for their passive obedience to the supremacy of
the Roman pontiff. The catholic has curiously told us, on
this word toleration, that Ce mot devient fort en usage a
mesure que le nombre des tolerans augmente.* It was a word
which seemed of recent introduction, though the book is mod-
em ! The protestants have disputed much how far they
might tolerate, or whether they should tolerate at all; "a
difficulty," triumphantly exclaims the catholic, " which they
are not likely ever to settle, while they maintain their prin-
ciples of pretended reformation ; the consequences which
naturally follow excite horror to the Christian. It is the
weak who raise such outcries for toleration ; the strong find
authority legitimate."

A religion which admits not of toleration cannot be safely
tolerated, if there is any chance of its obtaining a political

When Priscillian and six of his followers were condemned
to torture and execution for asserting that the three persons
of the Trinity were to be considered as three different accep'
tions of the same being, Saint Ambrose and Saint Martin
asserted the cause of offended humanity, and refused^ to com-
municate with the bishops who had called out for the blood
of the Priscillianists ; but Cardinal Baronius, the annalist
of the church, was greatly embarrassed to explain how men
* Dictionnaire de Trevoux ad vocem Tolerance. Printed in 1771.

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of real plirity could abstain from applauding the ardent zeal
of the persecution : he preferred to give up the saints rather
than to allow of toleration — ^for he acknowledges that the
toleration which these saints would have allowed was not
exempt from sin.*

In the preceding article, " Political Religionism," we have
shown how to provide against the possible evil of the tol-
erated becoming the tolerators / Toleration has been sus-
pected of indifference to religion itself; but with sound minds,
it is only an indifference to the logomachies of theology —
things "not of God, but of man," that have perished, and that
are perishing around us !


An original document now lying before me, the autograph
letter of Charles the Ninth, will prove, that the unparalleled
massacre, called by the world religious, was, in the French
cabinet, considered merely as political; one of those revolt-
ing state expedients which a pretended instant necessity has
too often inflicted on that part of a nation which, like the
under-current, subterraneously works its way, and runs coun-
ter to the great stream, till the critical moment arrives when
one or the other must cease.

The massacre began on St. Bartholomew day, in August,
1572, lasted in France during seven days : that awful event
interrupted the correspondence of our court with that of
France ; a long silence ensued ; the one did not dare to tell
the tale which the other could not listen to. But sovereigns
know how to convert a mere domestic event into a political

* Sismondi, Hist, des Fran^ais, i. 41. The charactei of the Jirst perton
who introduced civU persecution into the Christian church has been de-
scribed by Sulpicius Severus. See Dr. Maclaine's note in his translation
of Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, vol. i. 428.

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expedient. Charles the Ninth, on the birth of a daughter,
sent over an ambassador extraordinary to request Elizabeth
to stand as sponsor : by this the French monarch obtained a
double purpose ; it served to renew his interrupted inter-
course with the silent queen, and alarmed the French protes-
tants by abating their hopes, which long rested on the aid
of the English queen.

The following letter, dated 8th February, 1573, is ad-
dressed by the king to La Motte F^n^lon, his resident
ambassador at London. The king in this letter minutely
details a confidential intercourse with his mother, Catharine
of Medicis, who, perhaps, may have dictated this letter to the
secretary, although signed by the king with his own hand.*
Such minute particulars could only have been known to her-
self. The Earl of Wolch ester (Worcester) was now taking
his departure, having come to Paris on the baptism of the
princess ; and accompanied by Walsingham, our resident
ambassador, after taking leave of Charles, had the following
interview with Catharine de Medicis. An interview with
the young monarch was usually concluded by a separate audi-
ence with his mother, who probably was still the directress
of his councils.

The French court now renewed their favourite project of
marrying the Duke d'Alen9on with Elizabeth. They had
long wished to settle this turbulent spirit, and the negotiation
with Elizabeth had been broken off in consequence of the
massacre at Paris. They were somewhat uneasy lest he
should share the fate of his brother, the Duke of Anjou, who

* All the nnmerons letters which I hare seen of Charles the Ninth, now
in the possession of Mr. Murray^ are carefuUy signed by himself, and I
have also observed /watempte written with his own hand: they are always
countersigned by his secretary. I mention this circnmstance, because, in
the Dictionnaire ^storiquey it is said that Charles, who died young, was so
given up to the amusements of his age, that he would not even sign his
dispatches, and introduced the custom of secretaries subscribing for the
king. This voluminous correspondence shows the falsity of this statement.
History is too often composed of popular tales of this stamp.

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had not long before been expedited on the same fruitless
errand ; and Elizabeth had already objected to the disparity
of their ages, the Duke of Alen9on being only seventeen, and
the maiden queen six-and-thirty ; but Catharine observed,
that D'Alenjon was only one year younger than his brother,
against whom this objection had not occurred to Elizabeth,
for he had been sent back upon another pretext — some diffi-
culty which the queen had contrived about his performing
mass in his own house.

After Catharine de Medicis had assured the Earl of Wor-
cester of her great affection for the Queen of England, and
her and the king's strict intention to preserve it, and that
they were therefore desirous of this proposed marriage
taking place, she took this opportunity of inquiring of the
Earl of Worcester the cause of the queen his mistress's
marked coolness toward them. The narrative becomes now

" On this Walsingham, who kept always close by the side
of the count, here took on himself to answer, acknowledging
that the said count had indeed been charged to speak on this
head ; and he then addressed some words in English to
Worcester. And afterwards the count gave to my lady and
mother to understand, that the queen his mistress had been
waiting for an answer on two articles ; the one concerning
religion, and the other for an interview. My lady and
mother instantly replied, that she had never heard any arti-
cles mentioned, on which she would not have immediately
satisfied the Sieur Walsingham, who then took up the word ;
first observing that the count was not accustomed to business
of this nature, but that he himself knew for certain that the
cause of this negotiation for marriage not being more ad-
vanced, was really these two unsettled points : that his mis-
tress still wished that the point of religion should be cleared
up ; for that they concluded in England that this business
was designed only to amuse and never to be completed (as
happened in * that of my brother the Duke of Anjou) ; and

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the other point concerned the interview between my brother
the Duke of Alenfon ; because some letters which may have
been written between the parties * in such sort of matters,
could not have the same force which the sight and presence
of both the persons would undoubtedly have. But, he added,
another thing^ which had also greatly retarded this business,
was what had happened lately in this kingdom ; and during
such troubles, proceeding from religion, it could not have
been well timed to have spoken^ with them concerning the
said marriage ; and that himself and those of his nation had
been in great fear in this kingdom, thinking that we intended
to extirpate all those of the said religion. On this, my lady
and mother answered him instantly and in order : That she
was certain that the queen his mistress could never like nor
value a prince who had not his religion at heart ; and who-
ever would desire to have this otherwise, would be depriving
him of what we hold dearest in this world ; That he might
recollect that my brother had always insisted on the freedom
of religion, and that it was from the difficulty of its public
exercise, which he always insisted on, which had broken off '
this negotiation ; the Duke d'Alen9on will be satisfied when
this point is agreed on, and will hasten over to the queen,
persuaded that she will not occasion him the pain and the
shame of passing over the seas without happily terminating
this affair. In regard to what has occurred these latter days,
that he must have seen how it happened by the fault of the
chiefs of those who remained here ; for when the late admiral
was treacherously wounded at Notre Dame, he knew the
affliction it threw us into (fearful that it might have occa-
sioned great troubles in this kingdom), and the diligence we
used to verify judicially whence it proceeded ; and the veri-

* These love-kUers of Alen^on to our Elizabeth are noticed by Camden,
who observes, that the queen became wearied by receiving so many; and
to put an end to this trouble, she consented that the young duke should
come over, conditionally, that he should not be offended if her suitor shoilld
return home suitless.

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fication was nearly finished, when they were so forgetful, as
to raise a conspiracy, to attempt the lives of myself, my lady
and mother, and my brothers, and endanger the whole state ;
which was the cause, that to avoid this, I was compelled, to
my very great regret, to permit what had happened in this
city ; but as he had witnessed, I gave orders to stop, as soon
as possible, this fury of the people, and place every one in
repose. On this, the Sieur Walsingham replied to my lady
and mother, that the exercise of the said religion had been
interdicted in this kingdom. To which she also answered,
that this had not been done but for a good and holy purpose ;
namely, that the fury of the catholic people might the sooner
be allayed, who else had been reminded of the past calami-

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