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of constant and restless turmoil, of a vehement struggle for life and death between opposite and conflicting principles; and as it glides away in the far distance, we may still discern the fading form of the old romantic ages. It was the meeting of ino worlds, and we can still point out the inhabitants which belong to each. There was Charles himself, the representative of ancient dynasties, around whom had sprung up new modes of thought and feeling, heedlessness of old obedience, and pride in new-gained liberty. Luther, the embodiment of Protestantism, was indeed no more seen on the stage, whereon his form had been so prominent; Zuingli had fallen on the field of battle, and Loyola no longer survived to animate the body which he had trained for ceaseless, untiring, unswerving labour. But the daily words and deeds of the apostolic Xavier, of Carlo Borromeo, and Francisco Borgia, were still in the mouths of men. There still remained Caraffa and Ghislieri, Calvin, and Melancthon. And, like the mysterious shapes of old romance, we still see afar off Louis of Hungary battling with the Turk on the fields of Mohatz, and the ill-fated Sebastian smitten on the fatal shores of Africa. And yet one other some would add to this spectral company, the ill-starred son of Philip II. But human knowledge will never lift the veil which shrouds in mysterious darkness this miserable victim of paternal cruelty. Whether reason in him was deposed from her rightful throne, or evil appetites held over him a sway resistless and illimitable, whether the suspicion of unlawful opinions in matters of religion drew down on him a vengeance, sure, speedy, unrelenting, or the springs of life were snapped from tension unrelaxed and undiminished, are conjectures which can never be converted into certainty. From Philip's crimes the worst may be augured; in the glimpses which we obtain of the unhappy Carlos, we discern little more than the disordered workings of an utterly undisciplined and rebellious mind, wrought up at last to a reckless frenzy, by a long course of ill-treatment, mismanagement, and oppression.
The spring of 1558 was now clothing the lovely Vera with fresher and more tender beauty; for winter in that genial land puts on an aspect, in which we, of a harsher clime, should fail to recognise its cheerless features. The Emperor, unable to ramble with his gun, as before, amongst the woods of Yuste, sauntered amidst the flowery paths of his garden, superintending the arrangement of his summer-house and fountain, and finding amusement in his pet birds and some Indian cats, which his sister Eleanor had sent to him.
But, while he planted and tended his flowers, the judges of the Inquisition were arming themselves for battle with a foe, before which it would be as dangerous to hesitate as to fail.
Its footsteps, they deemed, had been already traced to Spanish soil, and there, at least, they were utterly resolved that it should never gain a resting-place: and the chivalrous knight and delicate lady, the aged priest and the unsuspecting youth, the proud noble and the friendless peasant, suffered in the presence of knights as chivalrous and ladies as tender and delicate, and priests and nobles and peasants as hardy and magnificent and venerable. The iron-hearted father came forward joyfully to light the pile whereon his young daughters were to die; and brothers and kinsfolk looked on without a shudder, while the flames curled round the well-known forms of those who had lived with them in harmony and affection.
The full development of these terrors was not indeed just yet: but the old warrior in his quiet retreat, from whose mind, as Robertson imagines, the ambitious thoughts and projects, ' which had so long engrossed and disquieted him, were quite effaced,' was roused to more than wonted indignation at the tidings which were brought to him. The old forbearance and steady faith, which would not recede from the safe conduct granted to Luther, was no more discernible: he repented that he had not smitten down the root of the deadly evil, when he had it in his power. •Far from taking any part in the political
transactions of the princes of Europe, he restrained his curiosity even from any inquiry concerning them: and he seemed to view the busy scene, which he had abandoned, with all the con'tempt and indifference arising from his thorough experience of ' its vanity, as well as from the pleasing reflection of having disentangled himself from its cares.' It had been better, if in this respect the ideal picture were the true one. Father,' said Charles, to the Prior of Yuste, a short while before his death, “if anything could drag me from this retreat, it would • be to aid in chastising these heretics. For such creatures as those now in prison, however, this is not necessary; but I have written to the Inquisition to burn them all, for none of them will ever become true Catholics, or are worthy to live.' That the same counsel was given to Philip, the following postscript, which he added with his own hands to a long letter by his secretary, will sufficiently prove: "Son, the black business which • has risen here has shocked me as much as you can think or
suppose. You will see what I have written about it to your • sister. It is essential that you write to her yourself, and that
take all the means in your power to cut out the root of the • evil with rigour and rude handling; but since you are better. disposed, and will assist more warmly than I can say or wish, I will not enlarge further thereon. Your good father, . Charles.'
| Robertson, Charles V. book xii. p. 413.
And so began the warfare in which friends were not always distinguished from foes. The accused were of every rank, from the beggar in the highway, to the Archbishop of Toledo on his throne. Carranza and Constantino, the former having been Charles's preacher in the Netherlands, and both especially active in refuting the positions of the Lutherans, were seized, the one to suffer in the flame, the other to die in a dungeon above which rolled the waters of the Guadalquivir.
Still the Emperor was not satisfied. His body was failing, his strength decaying rapidly; but he only regretted that he could do no more towards crushing this hydra-headed monster. But
• He had some consolation in recollecting how steadily he had refused to hear the points at issue between the Church and the schismatics argued in his presence. .. He knew the danger, especially for the unlearned, of parleying with heretics, who had their quivers full of reasons so apt and so well-ordered. Suppose one of their specious arguments had been planted in his soul, how did he know that he could ever have got it rooted out? Thus did a great man misread the spirit of his time; thus did he cling to the last to the sophisms of blind guides, who taught that gross ignorance was saving faith, and that the heights of spiritual perfection were to be attained only by those who walked with stopped ears and hood-winked eyes.'—P. 176.
Are we to defend the counsels of Charles, or these acts of the Inquisition? God forbid: but Mr. Stirling appears espécially to aim at candour and liberality, and independence of thought and speech; and therefore we must remind him, that all this is just the popular talk of these days : perhaps it is the talk of a certain class of minds, under particular circumstances, in all ages. Possibly, in his eyes, free argument and curious questioning can have no dangers, even for the most eimple and ignorant. We think otherwise, because the Church has declared otherwise. All the world need not turn controversialists, that truth may be attained, or errors refuted. And, again, levity, irreverence, and Alippancy, may be far more serious blemishes than the refusal to examine both sides of a question.
It is a digression, for which, as such, we must ask indulgence; but the task is forced on us of protesting against the reckless profaning of Holy Writ, with which the present volume teems. Surely irreverence is not manliness, and to border on blasphemy is no true evidence of courage. We might indeed have imagined, that calm reflection and after thought would have prompted the cancelling of such offensive passages, while the writer was preparing for a second publication these chapters, which were first inserted in a periodical miscellany. It would be idle to waste words on a point, on which the author is, perhaps, scarcely open
to conviction, and on which minds of a different stamp would require no caution whatever. But, it is difficult to see either wit or pleasantry in the mention of the lay brother Alonso
Mudarra, who, after having filled offices of trust in the state, ' was now working out his own salvation as cook to the con* vent' (p. 155), or of the greedy Archbishop of Seville, for whom, on his application for the vacant see of Toledo 'promotion came neither from the North or from the West' (p. 176), or that on his death-bed Charles, on receiving the Host, had great difficulty in swallowing the sacred morsel' (p. 206), and that he lay afterwards in a stupor, now and then mumbling a prayer and turning his eyes to heaven” (p. 207). Some, deeming the matter too sad to smile at, might hesitate to speak of Philip's arrival at Valladolid being 'celebrated by an auto-da-fé, • at which the galleries and the scaffold were brilliantly filled
with orthodox grandees and heretic victims' (p. 236). Many more, we trust, would think twice before they gave judgment on the triflers in England, who brawl about bowings, and • kneelings, and flowers, the mechanism, and the millinery of
worship :' but this expression may have been culled from the choice phraseology of a prelate, who, not long since, upbraided a clergyman in his diocese for his indulgence in spiritual haberdashery. These are very scanty gleanings from a most abundant harvest: we forbear to add to a garland so uninviting. We would not discuss the taste which prompted the assertion
that Carranza, though a priest, seems to have been an honest and unambitious man. These, and such like ebullitions, are but the natural expressions of an habitual distrust and suspicion of everything ecclesiastical in every age and every country.
But we return to the Inquisition,—that word of melancholy import, summing up in a few syllables an interminable catalogue of deeds of blood, bringing back a terrible picture of judges stern, merciless, and unrelenting,-captives held in an iron bondage which crushed all the noblest faculties of the mind of man. It is on this point that most of the Protestant writers join issue. The question of cruelty and severity is manifestly a secondary consideration. The sum of the matter lies in the charge, that freedom of thought was overwhelmed and destroyed by an unsparing implacable despotism. Undoubtedly this terrible tribunal proposed to itself a work to be done: a certain mode of thought was to be proscribed, a particular channel of inquiry and investigation to be choked up. Its machinery was put into action, and the work was accomplished. “The Protestant must 'confess that the new religion has never succeeded in eradicating
the old even amongst the freest and boldest of the Teutonic 'people. The Catholic, on the other hand, may fairly boast that
in the Iberian peninsula the seeds of reform were crushed by * Rome at once and for ever.' (p. 162). So was the work achieved; the practical issue being that there was no longer any room for mental exercise and intellectual energy. There were ages in which the Church, as the sanctuary of art and knowledge and letters, deserved the gratitude of the world; .but for the last three centuries she has striven to cancel the * debt in the noble offspring of genius which she has strangled in the birth, and in the vast fields of intellect which her dark shadow has blighted.' (p. 171.) This then is the broad accusation, the real ground of complaint,—that the Inquisition infringed the rightful liberty of the mind.
Once more, are we to defend the Inquisition? God forbid: but we may show that an accusation is worth very little, when it can be directly retorted. We have to remember that the Roman Church acts on the maxim, true or false, that none have any right to think differently from what she has decreed. She at once denies all liberty of judgment as exercised in the comparison of her system with any other. She stands, therefore, on an entirely different ground from that occupied by all who assert that every man has a full and inalienable right to judge and choose for himself. We repeat again that we are not justifying or palliating persecution of any kind: but it is manifest that the latter cut away from themselves all right of constraining others in the exercise of thought. If either side be justified in assuming a control over men's minds, it is the Church of Rome: the Protestant, aiming at the same object, stands selfcondemned before the whole world. It may at once be allowed, that more blood has been shed by Catholic princes and Inquisitors than by Protestant kings and peoples: but the former act on a principle which, in their eyes, furnishes a full justification,-the latter profess one which proclaims their own entire condemnation. But without adverting to the excess of persecution, it is plain that the infliction of any punishment for intellectual delinquencies at once breaks through the principle. The question thereafter remains one not of kind, but of degree. For ourselves the subject involves very little perplexity. We do not believe that any system can allow liberty of thought in a direction alien to its own.
The idea of such liberty is a delusive phantom, which we may pursue, but which we can never grasp. We do not find fault with a system because it limits intellectual inquiry : but we do see an endless absurdity in the mere barren assertion, (for it never can be anything more,) of the existence of this baseless vision. If the thing be indeed attainable, the result lies buried in the abyss of futurity. There would be little difficulty in showing that, ethically and religiously, the practical