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perfidious, impolitic and weak. If respect to religion and right reason, were to compose a just title for the perpetrator of such a crime, it might call him a most inhuman tyrant : certainly it would not call him a most christian king.
It was an irrational act; for there was no fitness between the punishment and the supposed crime. The crime was a mental error ; but penal laws have no internal operation on the mind. It was irreligious, for religion ends where persecution begins. An action may begin in religion, but when it proceeds to injure a person it ceaseth to be religion; it is only a denomination, and a method of acting. It was inhuman, for it caused the most savage cruelties. It was as ungrateful in the house of Bourbon to murder their old supporters as it was magnanimous in the protestants, under their severest persecutions, to tell their murderer, they thought that blood well employed, which had been spilt in supporting the just claims of the house of Bourbon, to the throne. It was, to the last degree, perfidious ; for the edict of Nantz had been given by Henry IV. for a PERPETUAL and IRREVOCABLE decree; it had been confirmed by the succeeding princes, and Lewis XIV. hintself had assigned in the declaration the loyalty of the protestants as a reason of the confirmation. My subjects of the pretended reformed religion, says he, have given me unquestionable proofs of their affection and loyalty. It had been sworn to by the governors and lieutenants general of the provinces,
by the courts of parliament, and by all the officers of the courts of justice. What national perjury! Is it enough to say as this perjured monarch did, My grandfather Henry IV. loved you, and was obliged to you. My father, Louis XIII. feared you, and wanted your assistance. But I neither love you, nor fear you ; and do not want your services ! The ill policy of it is confessed on all sides. Where is the policy of banishing eight hundred thousand people, who declare that a free exercise of religion ought not to injure any man's civil rights, and, on this principle, support the king's claim to the crown, as long as he executes the duty of his office ? Where is the policy of doing this in order to secure a set of men, who openly avow these propositions, the Pope is superior to all law : It is right to kill that prince, whom the Pope excommunicates : if a prince become an Arian, the people ought to depose him ? Where is the policy of banishing men, whose doctrines have kept in the kingdom, during the space of two hundred and fifty years, the sum of two hundred and fifty millions of livres, which, at a moderate calculation, would otherwise have gone to Rome for indulgences, and annates, and other such trash? Who was the politician, the Count d'Avaux, who, while he was ambassador in Holland, offered to prove that the refugees had carried out of France more than twenty millions of property, and advised the king to recall it by recalling its owners ? or the king, who refused to .avail himself of this advice? Who was the politi
cian, the intolerant Lewis, who drove his protestant soldiers and sailors out of his service; or the benevolent prince of Orange, who, in one year raised three regiments of French refugee soldiers, commanded by their own officers, and manned three vessels, at the same time, with refugee sailors, to serve the Dutch, while France wanted men to equip her fleets ? The protestants, having been for some time, excluded from all offices, and not being suffered to enjoy any civil or military employments, had applied themselves either to manufactures, of to the improving of their money in trade. Was it policy to banish a Mons. Vincent, who employed more than five hundred workmen ? Was policy on the side of that prince, who demolished manufactories, or on the side of those who set them up, by receiving the refugee manufacturers into their kingdoms ? Had England derived no more advantage from its hospitality to the refųgees than the silk manufacture, it would have amply repaid the nation. The memorials of the intendants of the provinces were full of such complaints. The intendant of Rouen, said, that the refugees had carried away the manufacture of hats. The intendant of Poitiers said, they had taken away the manufacture of druggets. In some provinces the commerce was diminished several millions of livres in a year, and in some, half the revenue was sunk. Was it policy in the king to provoke the protestant states, and princes, who had always been his faithful allies against the house of Austria, and, at the same time, to supply them
with eight hundred thousand new subjects ? After all, it was a weak and foolish step, for the protestants were not extirpated. There remained al. most as many in the kingdom as were driven out of it, and even at this day, though now and then a preacher hath been hanged, and now and then a family murdered, * yet the opulent province of Languedoc is full of protestants, the Lutherans have the university of Alsace, neither art nor cruelty can rid the kingdom of them, and some of the greatest ornaments of France now plead for a FREE TOLERATION.
The refugees charge their banishment on the clergy of France, and they give very good proof of their assertion; nor do they mistake, when they affirm that their sufferings are a part of the RELIGION of Rome, for Pope Innocent XI. highly approved of this persecution. He wrote a brief to the king, in which he assured him that what he had done against the heretics of his kingdom would be immortalized by the elogies of the catholic church. He delivered a discourse in the consistory, in which he said, the most christian king's zeal, and PIETY, did wonderfully appear in extirpating heresy, and in clearing his whole kingdom of it in a very few months. He ordered Te Deum to be sung, to give thanks to God for this return of the heretics into the pale of the church, which was accordingly done with great pomp. If this persecution were clerical policy, it was bad, and, if it were the religion of the french clergy, it was worse. In either case the church procured great evil to the state. Lewis XIV. was on the pinnacle of glory at the conclusion of the peace of Nimeguen; his dominion was, as it were, established over all Europe, and was become an inevitable prejudice to neighbouring nations ; but here he began to extirpate heresy, and here he began to fall, nor has the nation ever recovered its grandeur since.'
* Written, 1775,
Protestant powers opened their arms to these venerable exiles. Abbadie, Ancillon, and others, fled to Berlin. Basnage, Claude, Du Bosc, and many more, found refuge in Holland. The famous Dr. Allix, with nunibers of his brethren, came to England. A great many families went to Geneva, among which was that of Saurin.
Mr. Saurin, the father of our author, was an eminent protestant lawyer at Nismes, who, after the repeal of the edict of Nantz, retired to Geneva. He was considered at Geneva as the oracle of the French language, the nature and beauty of which he thoroughly understood. He had four sons, whom he trained up in learning, and who : were all so remarkably eloquent, that eloquence was said to be hereditary in the family. The Reverend Lewis Saurin, one of the sons, was afterwards pastor of a french church in London. Saurin, the father, died at Geneva. James, the author of the following sermons, was born at Nismes, in 1677, and went with his father into exile to Geneva, where he profited much in learning.