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say, yes; and to the whole world. But even if I were to deem the simplicity of those ancient writings not sufficiently refined for modern ears, à Moral Physiologist needs not make up a terrible face thereat—or at any thing else.
I thank my opponent for having at last virtually avowed himself an atheist. An infinite God he has all along disavowed, and now he denominates the finite one of Plato a dream; and surely he will not make a dream his God. And as there are atheists, and as there are no atheists in the God of the Hicksite quakers, (which he seems, on account of the earthquake and volcano dilemma, disposed to make his own,) it follows that they have no God-unless indeed it be themselves—and I readily concede, that “such” Gods as they are, are not responsible for volcanoes and earthquakes;" so that my opponent has nothing to do now, but just clear up the difficulties of atheism, and then overthrow the Bible. I will mention him several at this time, which I trust he will not overlook; and when he shall have answered these, I have several more on hand for him. He may for his mere pastime just tell us how earthquakes and vol. canic eruptions cause themselves; and, likewise, whether nothing fashioned him; whether a mind does not appear to have been concerned in the case; and whether it is as reasonable to suppose, that all possible appearances of intelligence, as exhibited in the construction of the human frame, and in every thing we see, are as likely to be produced by non-intelligence, as by intelligence. These questions are not foreign to our present discussion. They are the consequences resulting from the present position occupied by him to assail the Bible. This position he must defend, with all its absurdities, or not attack the Bible therefrom. Let him therefore fail not to do the one or the other-to defend or abandon it.
Touching the subject of the French Revolution, I must confess I am utterly astonished, that a man who pretends to common information, and who would not pass with the public for a trifler, should venture statements so totally at variance with history, and with the knowledge of millions of living witnesses, as did he in his last letter. Were I to make such random and unfounded assertions on any subject, I should expect to be universally reprobated for my reckless disregard of facts so notorious to all. I should expect every one, friend or foe, to advise me to say no more. What, sir ; are we to be told that it was but “a petty municipal faction, a paltry local club, consisting of sume ten or a dozen wild fanatics, that for a few weeks obtained the ascendancy, and compelled the National Convention to order the worship of reason to be substituted for the Catholic worship ?" Are we to be told, that the French nation did not sanction these proceedings, and that in all this there was no religious persecu. tion ? I say again, I am astonished at this utter disregard of all testimony, living and dead. One might as well undertake to deny, that there was any revolution at all. For the statements in my
last, I gave four or five authorities. What I am now about to quote, is from Scott's Life of Napoleon, which I will venture to offset any day against the unauthorized assertions of a sceptic, when labouring thereby to show, that infidelity is not injurious to mankind.
“The Assembly had determined, that, all prejudices apart, the property of the church should come under confiscation for the benefit of the nation. It was in vain that the clergy exclained against these acts of rapine and extortion; in vain that they stated themselves as an existing part of the nation; in vain that they resounded in the hall the declaration solemnly adopted, that property was in violable, save upon full compensation. It was to as little purpose that Mirabeau was reminded of his language, addressed to the Emperor Joseph, on a similar occasion. Despise the monks,' he had said, ' as much as you will, but do not rob them. Robbery is equally a crime, whether perpetrated on the most profligate atheist, or the most bigoted capuchin.' They assumed, for the benefit of the public, the whole right of property belonging to the church of France! But the majority of the National Assembly had yet another and even a more violent experiment to try upon the Gallican church establishment. It was one which touched the consciences of the French clergy in the same degree, as the former affected their fortunes, A civil constitution was framed for the clergy, declaring them totally independent of the See of Rome, and vesting the choice of bishops in the departmental authorities. To this constitution, each priest and prelate was required to adhere by a solemn oath. A subsequent decree of the Assembly declared the forfeiture of his benefice against whomsoever should hesitate. Their depend. ence on the See of Rome was a part of their creed, an article of their faith. Few, indeed, were the priests who accepted the constitutional oath. There were in the number only three bishops, one of whom was Talleyrand. A decree was afterward passed, that the clergy who refused to take the oath should be liable to deportation. Almost all the parish priests were driven from their cures by the absurd and persecuting fanaticism of that decree of the Assembly, which, while its promoters railed against illiberality and intolerance, deprived of their office and their livelihood, soon after of liberty and life, those churchmen who would not renounce the doctrines in which they had been educated, and which they had sworn to maintain.” And in the infernal September four days’ massacre, they were the peculiar objects of insult and cruelty. But more on this anon.
“One sect of the philosophers, sufficiently formidable for a time to gain the ascendancy, declared that it was not enough for a regenerate nation to have dethroned earthly kings, unless she stretched out the arm of defiance toward the powers which superstition had represented as reigning over boundless space. An unhappy man named Gobet, Constitutional Bishop of Paris, was brought forward in full procession, and, with tears and remorse, was made to declare to the Convention, that Christianity was a piece of priestcraft, and to disown, in solem and explicit terms, the existence of the deity; for which he received a fraternal embrace from the president of the Convention! The world for the first time heard an assembly of men, born and educated in civilization, and assuming the right to govern one of the finest of the European nations, uplift their united voice to deny the most solemn truth which man's soul receives, and renounce unani. mously the belief and worship of a deity. A female denominated by them the Goddess of Reason, a mere dancing-girl of the opera, and of a lewd character, was ushered into the hall of the Convention, by the Municipal Body of Paris, and placed on the right hand of the president. To this character, as the fittest representative of that reason whom they worshipped, the National Convention of France rendered public homage !!! This impious and ridiculous mummery had a certain fashion; and the installation of the Goddess of Reason was renewed and imi. tated throughout the nation, in such places where the inhabitants desired to show themselves equal to all the heights of the revolution.
“ The churches were, in most districts of France, closed against priests and worshippers; the bells were broken and cast into cannon; the whole ecclesiastical establishment was destroyed; and the republican inscription over the cemetries, declaring death to be a perpetual sleep, announced to those who lived under that dominion, that they were to hope no redress, even in the next world. Intimately connected with these laws affecting religion, was that which reduced the union of marriage to the state of a mere civil contract of a transitory character, which any two persons might engage in, and cast loose at pleasure, when their taste was changed, or their appetite gratified. Sophie Arnoult, an actress, famous for the witty things she said, described the republican marriage as the sacrament of adultery !
The September massacre, to which allusion has already been made, exceeds in atrocity the power of language to describe. The number of individuals accumulated in the various prisons of Paris, amounted to about eight thousand. A banditti proceeded to the several prisons to execute the infernal scheme. Out of their own number, they formed a revolutionary tribunal, before whom the prisoners, dragged forth from their dungeons, were tried. When a victim received sentence of death, "he was thrust out into the street or yard, and despatched by men and women, who, with sleeves tucked up, arms dyed elbow deep in blood, and hands holding axes, pikes, and sabres, were executioners of the sentence. They often exchanged places, the judges going out to take the executioner's duty, and the executioners, with their reeking hands, sitting as judges in their turn! Those who intercepted the blows of the executioners by holding up their hands, suffered protracted torment; while those who offered no show of struggle were more easily despatched. Many
ladies, especially those belonging to the court, were thus murdered. The Princess de Lamballe, whose only crime seems to have been her friendship for Marie Antoinette, was literally hewn to pieces, and her head, and those of others, paraded on pikes through the metropolis ! It was carried to the Temple on that accursed weapon, the features yet beautiful in death, and the long fair curls of the hair floating around the spear !” This hellish scene continued four days; “ prison after prison was invested, entered, and, under the same form of proceeding, made the scene of the bame inhuman butchery. The Jacobins had reckoned on making the massacre universal over France. But the example was not generally followed. The Community of Paris were not in fault for this. They did all they could to extend the sphere of murder. These infernal crimes were protracted by the actors for the sake of the daily pay of a louis to each, openly distributed amongst them by order of the Commune! When the jails were emptied of state criminals, the assassins attacked the Bicêtre, a prison where ordinary delinquents were confined !” So resolute was the resistance which they here met, that they were obliged to fire on them with cannon! Truchod announced to the Legislative Assembly, that four thousand perished in this massacre. “ The bodies were interred in heaps, in immense trenches, prepared beforehand by order of the Community of Paris ; but their bones have since been transferred to the subterranean catacombs which form the general charnel-house of the city. In those melancholy regions, while other relics of mortality lie exposed all around, the remains of those who perished in the massacre of September, are alone secluded from the eye. The vault in which they repose is closed with a screen of freestone, as if relating to crimes unfit to be thought of even in the proper abode of death, and which France would willingly hide in oblivion.
“In the meanwhile, the reader may be desirous to know what efforts were made by the Assembly to put a stop to a massacre carried on in contempt of all legal interference, and by no more formidable force than that of two or three hundred atrocious felons, often, indeed, diminished to only fifty or sixty. They issued no decree against the slaughter; they demanded no support from the public force. Where, in that hour, were the Girondists,” so celebrated by their admirers for all that is great and noble in principle and character ? Whatever was the motive of their apathy, the Legislative Assembly was nearly silent on the subject of the massacres, not only while they were in progress, but for several days afterward.”
At Nantes, hundreds, men, women, and children, were forced on board of vessels, which were scuttled and sunk in the Loire ; and this was called republican baptism! Men and women were stripped, bound together, and thus thrown into the river; and this was called republican marriage! Crowds of citizens were piled together in dungeons, where the air was pestilential from ordure, from the carcases of the dead, and the infectious diseases
of the dying. Men, women, and children, were to be seen sprawl. ing together, like toads and frogs in the season of spring, in the waters of the Loire, too shallow to afford them instant death, the uppermost of the expiring mass praying to be thrust into deeper water, that they might brave the means of death. Humanity forbears to detail the hundred other abominations there committed, compared with which, the sharp, sudden, and sure blow of the Parisian guillotine, was clemency. At Lyons, a black flag was hoisted by the besieged on the Great Hospital, as a sign that the fire of the assailants should not be directed on that asylum of hopeless misery. The signal seemed only to draw the republican bombs to the spot where they could create the most frightful distress, and outrage, in the most frightful degree, the feelings of humanity. The judges of the revolutionary committee were worn out with fatigue-the arm of the executioner was weary--the very steel of the guillotine was blunted. Collot d'Herbois devised a more summary method. A number of from two to three hundred victims at once, were dragged from prison to the Place de Brotteaux, one of the largest squares in Lyons, and there subjected to a fire of grape shot. The sufferers fell to the ground like singed flies, mutilated but not slain, and imploring their executioners to despatch them speedily. And all this under the direction of the French Jacobin Convention!!! These were the philosophers who, looking up toward heaven, loudly and literally defied the deity to make his existence known, by launching his thunderbolts. The party to which they belonged, during the two or three years they had the ascendancy, imprisoned three hundred thousand of their countrymen in the name of liberty, and put to death more than half the number under the sanction of fraternity.” And 'twas not till the Corsican came into power in 1800, that persecution ceased, by the overthrow of infidelity. Then it was, after ten long years of anarchy and blood, that measures were adopted “ for tranquilizing the religious discord by which the country had been so long agitated. Bonaparte (such was the decree of providence,) became the means of restoring to France the free exercise of the Christian faith. The mummery of Reveilliere Lepaux's heathenism, was by general consent abandoned; the churches were restored to public worship; pensions were allowed to such religious persons as took an oath of fidelity to the government; and more than twenty thousand clergymen, with whom the prisons had been filled in consequence of intolerant laws, were set at liberty on taking the same
Public and domestic rites of worship in every form were tolerated and protected, and the law of the decades, or theophilanthropic festivals, were abolished.”
And was there in all this no religious persecution ? What then is religious persecution ? And was this the noble struggle to put down tyranny and intolerance and injustice ? this a period when the power of truth and justice shone conspicuously? Are we to be told, these acts are to be attri.