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'Des raschen Morgens früh erwachter Hall, Des Storches Klappern auf dem Halmendache,

Des Hahnes Krähen und des Hüfthorns Schall

Sie rufen keinen dieser Schläfer wache.'-p. iii., App.

ART. VI. 1. Histoire de la Saint-Barthelemy, d' apres les Chroniques, Mémoires et Manuscrits du XVI, e Siècle. 8vo. pp. 498. Paris. 1826. 2. A Vindication of certain Passages in the Fourth_and Fifth Volumes of the History of England. By J. Lingard, D. D. 8vo. pp. 112. London. Mawman. 1826.

THE massacre of St. Bartholomew is deservedly numbered among the most atrocious occurrences in modern history. The event itself, when stripped of all the absurdity and falsehood which have usually been mingled in its relation, must still be loaded with the reproach of enormous and execrable guilt. After every fair allowance and deduction for the malignant exaggerations of religious hatred, and for the proneness of the vulgar mind, in all ages, to receive and echo such aggravated tales with eager credulity, enough is still left, in the authenticated facts of the massacre, to fill the imagination with disgust and horror.

Perhaps, in the whole compass of our European annals of the last five hundred years, there is no parallel to be found for the scenes of the St. Bartholomew, until we arrive at the dreadful æra of the French Revolution. But then, in the same country, and among the same people, may a resemblance be observed, as remarkable as it is apalling. At both epochs, excitement was purposely given to the evil passions of a ferocious populace; and in both, the result was so terrific, as to overwhelm the original instigators themselves with consternation and panic. When the diabolical fury of the mob had once been let loose, it revelled uncontrollably in cruelty and murder. The trembling authorities of the state passively submitted to excesses, which they had lost the power or the courage to restrain; and a few hordes of assassins were suffered to riot in a general anarchy, and to glut their brutality in the work of indiscriminate slaughter. So strikingly similar was the conduct of the French populace of 1572 and 1792, both in the capital and in a few of the provincial cities, that, in perusing the detailed account of the St. Bartholomew, it is often difficult to believe that we are not reading another version of the massacres of the Revolution. True it is, that the events of 1572 were the work of, at most, a few days; that the atrocities of our own age endured without mitigation for whole months, and even years; and that the number of victims was yet more disproportionate than this duration of time: but still, in the horrid enjoyment of bloodshed, in the wantonness and caprice with which the assassins murdered almost at random, and above all, in the ingenuity with which they varied the shapes of death, and mingled

infernal pleasantries in their work-in all these things, the mobs of the St. Bartholomew and of the Revolution, were only "alteri et iidem;" different generations, but the same people.

But, as if the real circumstances of the St. Bartholomew had not been sufficiently odious, it has been converted into a disputed problem of history, to deepen the immensity of its crimes. In the obscurity of its origin and causes, a question has been involved of far darker and more revolting guilt than even the enormity of an unpremeditated massacre. It has, until very lately, been suffered to grow current, and in fact, to become universal, in popular belief, that the event was the result of a long preconcerted and deep laid plot to extirpate the Huguenot party: that this execrable design had been formed certainly for many months, perhaps for two, or even for six years, before its accomplishment; and that, during the whole of such period, it had been matured through a long course of profound dissimulation, veiled with consummate art, and executed with the most remorseless and shocking perfidy. By our own historians, this popular belief has in general been carelessly followed, and as easily perpetuated. For example, Hume, to whom the labour of examining original authorities seems always to have been intolerably irksome, was contented, in the passing connection of French affairs with his subject, to copy the vague belief which attributed the massacre of 1572 to the conferences of Philip II. of Spain, and Catherine de' Medici, at Bayonne, in 1566'; and Dr. Ranken, upon whom the duty of investigation was here more imperative, has, in his History of France, circumstantially deduced the plot of the St. Bartholomew from the pacification of 1570. In this relation, the Doctor has probably copied only preceding writers, without much reflection, or careful comparison of conflicting evidence: but it is to be feared that, when he utterly forgets to recount the previous massacre of the Catholics by the Huguenots at Nismes-the horrible Michelade of 1567, the omission has not been wholly uninfluenced by Calvinistic partiality.

But we fortunately live in an age, in which the world are no longer permitted to slumber over the careless reception of historical errors, or implicitly to yield their assent and judgment to historical partialities, merely because such may happen to have been strengthened by the sanction of time. A better spirit, more intellectual and liberal, is abroad; and the industrious research, which is the most honourable characteristic of our present literature, has already overthrown many established prejudices, and disseminated a clearer understanding of many mistaken transactions. Among these, the circumstances of the St. Bartholomew have at length had their full share of investigation. They have been examined with remarkable impartiality, ingenuity, and judgment, by one of the ablest of our living historians; the result of his inquiries has

History of France, vol vi., pp. 144-147.

produced a very animated controversy; and the whole question of the origin and motives of the massacre has been, for the first time, fully and broadly stated, and powerfully argued in our language.

In a note appended to the fifth volume of his history of England, Dr. Lingard gave a brief dissertation upon the St. Bartholomew, in which he modestly stated his conviction, "after a diligent perusal and comparison of the most authentic documents on the subject," that the massacre was not the effect of a preconcerted plot, but the sudden result of an accidental and unforeseen event. But instead of entering into any reasoning on either side of the question, as we certainly think he was bound at once to have done, to support a conclusion so entirely at issue with popular prepossessions, he confined himself to a rapid narrative of the circumstances of the massacre. This note on the St. Bartholomew provoked a long and laboured article in a critical journal, in which it was undertaken wholly to refute his position, to expose his narrative, as full of error and intentional deception, and to prove that he had never even consulted many of the authorities, on which he professed to have founded his judgment and relation. On the lucubrations of any of our critical contemporaries, or the tone and language in which it may please them to embody their strictures, it is certainly no part of our province to comment; and, with as much attention to courtesy and strict etiquette, as could be evinced within the walls of St. Stephen's, we permit ourselves only to refer to what "has passed in another place," in necessary illustration of a subject, which has come under our notice after the ordinary manner, in the two publications before us.

The first of these, the French work, professes to be a narrative of the St. Bartholomew, compiled from the chronicles, the memoirs, and the manuscripts of the sixteenth century; and we accordingly turned to it with no small curiosity, to discover what light the modern learning and industry of our neighbours might throw upon the examination of a disputed question in their history, which had just been discussed with so much earnestness and interest on this side of the channel. But a perusal of the volume has woefully disappointed us: the work is no more than an amusing specimen of that notable taste in modern French literature, which whimsically compounds an historical style out of the incongruous imitation of Tacitus-and the Author of Waverley! The association is supremely ridiculous; but it is nevertheless gravely and profoundly true, that it is the characteristic of a very large school of living French writers. An ambition to copy the pregnant brevity, the caustic terseness, and the epigrammatic periods of the Roman historian, is strangely united with a passion for the careless amplification, the vivid colouring, and the picturesque descriptions of the great Scotch novelist. It became fashionable in the literary coteries of Paris, during the imperial regime, and perhaps after the example of Napoleon, to affect that electrical strength of expression, of which Tacitus was

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so great a master: it has since become fashionable to mistake Sir Walter Scott's romances for history; and in this way only can we account for the confusion of taste which has unquestionably arisen in France.

Among authors of any reputation, M. Ségur, the historian of Napoleon's Russian campaign, offers the most favourable example which we have seen of this style; and we may now assign to the writer before us, on the other hand, the merit of having exhibited it most successfully in caricature. He cannot get through his first six pages without a reference to the annals of Tacitus; and, from the same source, are all his illustrations derived. Charles IX. he can liken only to Tiberius, his mother Catherine to Agrippina; if he has occasion to mention one of her minions, it provokes a comparison to Locusta; every base informer among the French courtiers reminds him of Suilius, every sycophant of Piso or Plancinus. And to crown the absurdity, he cannot even relate the rejected tale of the poisoning of the queen of Navarre, without remembering the fate of Germanicus: the friends of the Queen, says he, round her death-bed, "prononçaient mysterieusement le nom de Britannicus," as if these people were historically recorded to have chosen this familiar allusion to Tacitus, or as if their minds had really, at such a time, been as much haunted as the author's, by the pages of the imperial annalist.

All this is sadly ridiculous: but it is not so mischievous in its effects as the manner in which the author has undertaken to compile history from chronicles, memoirs, and manuscripts. Here his work belongs in good sooth to the "romantic school," as our neighbours have characterized the imitation of Sir Walter; or in other words, it is about as veracious a history, as the "Talisman" or the "Tales of my Landlord." To give picturesque effect to his narrative, the writer repeats all the most extravagant tales of the massacre, which his industrious toil could collect; to impart a mysterious awe to the tragedy, he has carefully recorded all the stories of supernatural omens and signs of its approach, which he could rake up from from preposterous legends and forgotten superstitions. Without weighing or digesting his materials, without caring for contradictions and impossibilities, he has pressed into his volume every exaggeration which could deepen the intense excitement of the imaginary plot, or heighten its meretricious interest. And this professes to be historical composition! This is a piece of authentic history! which cautiously abstains from all marginal reference to authorities, which informs us (p. 3) that Mary Stuart was consigned to the block in Scotland at the age of twenty-two years; and which asserts that Coligny (p. 388) had been the terror of this country, and that too under Elizabeth, who was bound by interest to befriend and cherish all his party; and that England rejoiced at the death of the admiral as if it had been a victory!!

But to analyze this farrago of truth and fiction, would be mere

waste of time: one single observation only there is, in the course of five hundred pages, which is worthy of notice. The author, amidst all his exaggerations of the preconcerted origin and actual extent of the St. Bartholomew, has contrived, by some accident, to form one just estimate of the character of the whole transaction. "On a trop long-temps accusé la religion de cette horrible journée; il faut que le sang retombe sur qui l'a répandu, et la religion n'en versa pas une goutte. Si le signal du meurtre fut donné par la cloche qui avait coutume d'appeler les catholiques à la prière; si les assassins parèrent leurs vêtemens d'une croix, symbole de la foi des chrétiens; si presque tous invoquèrent le nom de Dieu, avant et après le crime, c'est que Catherine fut bien aise de couvrir de voiles sacrés cet attentat politique: elle seule le médita et l'accomplit." Of the justice of this reflection, we have so far not a shadow of doubt,-that the circumstances which produced the massacre were purely political, and totally apart from any preconceived design of extirpating the Huguenots as a religious party; and that the real origin of the whole bloody tragedy, was not in the hatred cherished towards the Calvinists as a sect, but in the jealousy entertained by Catherine of the personal ascendancy which their chief, the veteran statesman Coligny, was daily acqiring over the mind and affections of the youthful king.

From the soundness of this conclusion, we are convinced it will be utterly impossible for any man to dissent, who shall have perused the most able pamphlet, which occupies the second place at the head of this article. This little tract puts forth Dr. Lingard's vindication of himself from the aspersions with which the Edinburgh Review had assailed his historical judgment, his literary accuracy and research, and even his honour and moral integrity, as a gentleman and a man. Strange to say, even under such irritating charges, he has written with the most irreproachable moderation; and we should not know how to commend sufficiently a tone of mildness quite unusual in such personal controversy, if we did not remember that it becomes easy for a disputant to keep his temper, just in proportion as he happens to have the best of the argument. The goodness of Dr. Lingard's cause, must detract from the merit of his forbearance: he had been assailed by the most insulting charges, without the slightest foundation; he knew he could triumphantly repel them, and cover his adversaries with confusion; and he naturally came to the intellectual combat in good humour and calmness of spirit.

In one respect, with reference to his narrative of the St. Bartholomew, Dr. Lingard ought certainly to feel even under some obligation to his assailants, for the public opportunity thus given to him, of doing that which he had previously too much neglected :-of clearly demonstrating the case, which originally he had only asserted without proof. His Vindication,' in short, is satisfactory and complete; and the pamphlet is altogether beyond compa

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