« VorigeDoorgaan »
AND BE BAPTIZED.
gained Rothman, who had first preached the Protestant doctrines in that city, and Nipperdoling, a wealthy and respectable citizen. Stimulated by, or not contented with these encouragements, they were desirous of establishing their tenets by public authority; caballing with the city guards, they forced the arsenal and senate house at midnight, whilst their associates, rushing through the streets with drawn swords, proclaimed to the terrified inhabitants, “ DEPART YE UNGODLY, OR REPENT
The senators, canons and nobility, with the more sober citizens, fled from the city, which was abandoned to the dominion of a frantic multitude, and a superstructure of intolerancy, usurpation, and licentiousness was impiously erected on the foundations of the gospel. Nipperdoling and another proselyte were immediately elected consuls, though all proceedings were directed by Matthias, who in the style and with the authority of a prophet, uttered, as by inspiration, commands which it was death to disobey: he encouraged the multitude to pillage the churches and deface their ornaments, to destroy all books except the Bible, and directed the estates of those who fled to be confiscated. Every individual, in the mean time, either voluntarily or by command, brought forth his gold, silver, and other precious effects, and deposited them in a treasury or common stock, which was dispensed for the common use of all; to complete the plan of equality, the whole society ate promiscuously, without regard to age, sex, or rank, at tables publicly prepared for them.
The defence of their newly acquired city was not neglected ; large magazines of every kind were formed, the fortifications repaired, those persons capable of bearing arms were disciplined, and Matthias, by a rare union of prudence and fanaticism, by precept as well as example, animated his followers to act as well as suffer; while the impetuosity of enthusiasm was occasionally roused by exhortation, revelation, and prophecy. The German princes, offended and alarmed at the presumption of these usurpers, voted a supply of men and money to the Bishop of Munster, who advanced with a considerable body to besiege the town, which the Anabaptists dignified with the scriptural name of Mount Sion. When the enemy appeared, Matthias sallied forth to attack them; gaining some advantage, he returned with spoils and glory, and was so much intoxicated with this partial success, that he appeared the next day brandishing a spear, and declared he would go with a handful of men and smite the ungodly; thirty of his deluded disciples followed him without hesitation, and, rushing forth, were all of them immediately cut to pieces. The death of their prophet caused great consternation, but Boccold revived the spirit of his followers by strong assurances of more fortunate events, and mildly censuring the rashness of Matthias ; he gradually wrought on the affections of the people, in a short time succeeded to the direction of their affairs, and it was declared by sound of trumpet, to be the will of God “ that Boccold should be King of Sion, and sit on the throne of David.” He satisfied himself with carrying on a defensive war, waited with patience for succours from the Low Countries, which had been long promised, and often foretold by their prophets; but he was a wilder enthusiast than his predecessor, and of more unbounded ambition ; he marched naked through the streets, declaring with a loud voice, “ that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, that the highest should be brought low, and that the lowest should be exalted.” To exemplify by practice this equalising theory, he caused every church in the city to be levelled with the ground, degraded the senators, and placed them in menial offices, and depriving Nipperdoling of his consulship, the highest post in the commonwealth, he appointed him to the lowest, that of common hangman.
Boccold wore a crown of gold on his head, and put on splendid apparel; a body of guards acompanied him when he appeared in public; a drawn sword, and an open Bible, on a cushion of velvet richly embroidered, were also carried before him; he coined money, assumed the state and pomp of royalty, and soon after married three wives, one of whom was the widow of Matthias, a woman of extraordinary beauty, who was dignified with the title of queen. Enthusiasm being generally accompanied with a proneness to sensuality, the new king of the Anabaptists, allured by female charms, or the love of variety, increased the number of his wives to eight, to twelve, and at last to fourteen ; an example which the multitude was not backward in following, and under the specious deception of polygamy and divorce, they gave themselves up to an uncon. trolled gratification of licentious passion ; thus by a monstrous and almost incredible union, voluptuousness was grafted on religion, and dissolute pleasures accompanied the austerities of fanatical devotion.
In this form, and by such supports, their government had subsisted more than fifteen months, but their promised assistance from the Low Countries had been intercepted, the bishop's army gradually enclosed the town, cut off all communication with the adjacent country, and the besieged, notwithstanding the prudent management of their provisions, had the evils of famine added to the fatigues of military duty and working on the fortifications. But under the impulse of fanaticism, which imparts such wonderful strength to the human mind, they were not to be subdued, and submitted to the most shocking hardships and the vilest food, rather than listen to terms of capitulation, which were repeatedly offered; the least symptom of want of faith in the divinity of Boccold or the prophets, was punished with instant death; one of the king's wives, from the distresses of the inhabitants, having presumed to doubt the heavenly nature of his mission, was immediately beheaded by her husband. At length a deserter, in whom excessive hunger had cooled enthusiasm, made his escape; with an emaciated body and in a faint voice he petitioned for food, and having obtained a promise of pardon, pointed out to the besiegers a decayed and neglected part of the walls, by which a detachment passed in, one of the city gates was taken possession of, and the wliole army soon after entered. The Anabaptists, though surprised, formed in the marketplace, and valiantly defended themselves; till surrounded, overpowered by numbers, and without a possibility of escape, the whole of them were cut to pieces, except Boccold, Nipperdoling, and a few others, who were loaded with chains, and exposed to the curiosity and derision of the principal cities of the empire. This extraordinary man, who
had acquired such dominion over the minds of his followers, and excited such dangerous commotions, was only twenty-six years of age, but did not appear humbled or dejected by this reverse of fortune; he adhered with unshaken firmness to his tenets, though he suffered the severest tortures that could be inflicted, and died without receding from them.
The kingdom of the Anabaptists was extinguished, but their principles had taken deep root in the Low Countries, where the sect still subsists under the name of Mennonites, which, notwithstanding its seditious and bloody origin, is altogether innocent and pacific: they hold it unlawful to wage war or to accept of civil offices, and devoting themselves to industry and charity, endeavour to compensate to man. kind for the sanguinary violence of their founders.
ANDRE, JOHN, a major in the British army, of amiable manners and enterprising spirit, who, in the zeal of public duty, or from gratitude to his patron, the commander-in-chief, became the instrument of illicit intrigue with Arnold, a general officer in the American army, during the campaign of 1780. Being detected in this intercourse, which had for its object the possession of important posts, and the betraying a large colonial army, Arnold escaped on board the Vulture sloop of war, but the unhappy Englishman was imprisoned, and after the most powerful intercessions, suffered death.
This melancholy business powerfully interested the public mind, and deeply distressed a very worthy family; but how much soever we may lament the untimely catastrophe of a good young man, a dutiful son, and an affectionate brother, we are bound by the severe decrees of impartial justice to consider the punishment he suffered as strictly conformable to the laws of war. With clandestine views, and in a secret manner, he had introduced himself within the lines of an enemy: disguised in his dress, and assuming a feigned name, he was taken in the very act of conveying intelligence ; he himself declared that it was impossible to suppose that he came on shore under the sanction of a flag; he was of course in every sense of the word a spy, and, with all his valuable qualities, certainly merited death. Had another agent in this unfortunate affair been sacrificed, few persons would have deplored his fate; could the rigid maxims of the military code have been somewhat relaxed, or the harsh mode of putting the young man to death have been altered or softened in its odious form, which mortified him more than the loss of life, the cause of America would not have been injured ; and such humane conduct would have done credit to the finer feelings of the American generals, in which, by the voice of party malevolence or of truth, they are accused of having been grossly deficient.
Major André indulged, when a boy, a strong passion for a military life; this turn was not encouraged by his family, who placed him with a merchant in the city: the following is part of a letter he wrote in this situation : “Instead of a merchant in snuff-coloured clothes, counting money, turning over bales, and accepting bills, I sometimes in a reverie fancy myself a Marlborough, mounted on my charger, and brandishing a truncheon ; national thanks, sumptuous palaces, titles, and honours, are showered down upon me, while painters and poets celebrate my name; the porter suddenly opens the door, I start from my trance, and discover myself plain John Andrè, by the small coal fire of a gloomy counting-house in the heart of the city."
Though intimate with the subject of this article, in early life, different pursuits afterwards widely separated us, and I am not able to trace him from the trammels of a desk to the brilliant and ostensible appointment of Deputy Adjutant General to Sir Henry Clinton; it may, however, furnish a useful lesson, and help to curb the vanity of human wishes, to compare the state of his mind, when sitting by his small coal fire in an obscure counting-house, with what he felt when conducted by a stern provost-marshal to the fatal tree. This short memorial is sketched by one who well remembers the vivacity, worth, and warm sensibility of Andrè's heart, which sparkled with fervour from his expressive and prominent eyes in the dawn of manhood: had America or Europe been searched, a victim could not have been found who would have felt more acutely the disgrace of his mission and the ignominy of his death; for he united the nicest sense of honour and gallant intrepidity with the tender affections and mild manners of polished life. The distress of his patron, Sir Henry, must also have been poignant, as well from the loss of a friend to whom he was warmly attached, as from reflecting on the nature and probable consequences of the mission on which he had sent him; the commander-in-chief could not, or ought not to have forgotten, that disgrace and death would inevitably follow detection; this appears to have been one of those undertakings, in which the prodigious advantages of success made the parties lose sight of the difficulties and dangers by which they were surrounded.
After narrowly escaping the immediate reward of treachery, and taking an active part against the Americans, whom he had first effectually assisted, Mr. Arnold, stimulated by narrow finances or constitutional restlessness, embarked, during the late war, on a commercial expedition to the West Indies, but was taken on his voyage by a French cruiser, who steered with her prize to one of the ports of the transatlantic republic, where the prisoner would have been inevitably sus. pended by the neck. But having secured the confidence, purchased the connivance, or evaded the guards of his enemies, he lashed himself with a few necessaries to a raft, and choosing to trust his person to the winds and waves rather than to the resentments of his former associates, he committed himself to the deep; taking advantage of a favourable wind and tide, he escaped in safety, and after a life strongly marked, died peaceably in his bed at London.
ANIELLO, TOMASO, commonly, and by contraction, called Massaniello, a fisherman of Naples, and the leader of an insurrection against the house of Austria, in the year 1647. The Neapolitans had submitted to the heavy imposts of Philip the Fourth without repining, till, by an additional tax laid on fruit, the chief support of the poor Italians, their
resentments burst into outrage. Massaniello was a sprightly, active, humorous fellow, with short cropped hair, a mariner's cap generally on his head, and about twenty-four years of age ; living in the marketplace, he was every day a witness to the disputes between the fruit-sellers and the revenue officers, and by repeated acts of oppression, gradually became an enemy to the Spanish government. Throwing up his cap, as was his general custom when any thing provoked him, he
“ that if only two or three hearty fellows would join him, he would soon put an end to the tyranny of such rascals.” A cira: cumstance occurred, which violently inflamed discontent. Stimuiated by poverty, and with a design to evade the impost, his wife had been detected in secreting provisions ; for this offence she was committed to prison, and a larger sum than he could afford being demanded, before the officers would set her at liberty, Massaniello was obliged to sell his goods to raise the money; he rushed directly to a quarter of the town where a toll-house had been lately erected, and where a mixed multitude was already assembled, crying out, as he passed along, “We will no longer be beasts of burthen ; God gives us plenty, but our governors give us famine.” The loudness of his voice, and the violence of his rage, attracted general notice, but when he related what had happened, universal and bitter execrations burst forth against the regent of the city; an officer, called an elect of the people, arriving with his attendants to disperse them, was attacked with a shower of stones, and narrowly escaped being torn to pieces. Seeing that the mob was ripe for mischief, and possessing that species of rude eloquence which repeated injury and strong feeling frequently inspire, Massaniello suddenly leaped on a fruit-stall, and thus addressed the exasperated crowd.
“ Rejoice, my dear companions and countrymen! give thanks to: God, and the most gracious virgin of Carmine, that the hour of your deliverance draweth near; a poor bare-footed fisherman shall, like another Moses, release the Israelites from the cruel yoke of Pharoah; St. Peter, who rescued the city of Rome from the slavery of the devil, was himself a poor fisherman. If we are courageous, and hold together, this cruel yoke of tolls and gabelles will in a moment be put an end to; I have no fears for myself, I do not dread being pulled to pieces, being dragged through the streets, and spilling every drop of blood in my body in such a cause; on the contrary, I should think it both desirable and glorious, provided that my being put to death would redress your numerous grievances.
The tumultuous shouting of a thousand voices, and a lighted torch applied to the toll-house, were the signals of universal approbation ; armed with sticks, clubs, and such weapons as accident or occupation threw in their way, they emptied the houses of every person concerned in collecting the revenue, strictly observing to take nothing for their own use, but piling up the furniture, linen, plate, and china, in a heap, set the whole on fire. Their numbers rapidly increasing, they boldly advanced to the Viceroy's palace, carrying loaves on the tops of their pikes, and soon forced the gate, but he had escaped to a neighbour