« AnteriorContinuar »
tifying embassy was duly remembered in the epitaph of bis Holiness, whilst the real service he did in correcting the calendar was forgotten.
Whilst St. Xavier was so zealously engaged in wandering about in the Indies, the founder, in 1549, dispatched missionaries to Congo, in Africa, to search for proselytes, whilst the Portuguese resorted to the same place to search for slaves and gold. A Jesuit protested to the King against the sale of his women, by which he was accustomed to replenish his exchequer when it was exhausted ;-be even recommended him to reduce his seraglio to one woman.
The docile monarch complied; but still the Jesuit was not satisfied, he wished him to put her away too, for he had discovered that she was a relation of his Majesty in a prohibited degree. This was too much for the new disciple, who became angry, took back his wives, and drove the Jesuits from the country. In the same year the society attempted to introduce Christianity into Brazil, where they at least did something towards softening the ferocity of the inhabitants, who had been driven into the mountains by their European invaders. A mission into Ethiopia was still more unsuccessful ; and one to Malabar still more reprehensible, A Portuguese Franciscan had already preached to the Christians of the very ancient church in Malabar the necessity of obeying the Pope, and believing that their Patriarch Nestorius (considered as a heretic by the Western Church) and all their bishops were damned a doctrine which sounded a little harsh to a church which had subsisted in India for many centuries, unconnected with the rest of the Christian world; and as the Franciscan had nothing but his zeal wherewith to enforce his arguments, he met with no great encouragement.
Next came the Jesuits and built a college, considering they should, at least, secure the rising generation; but this process was not quick enough for them. They, therefore, persuaded the Viceroy of Goa to seize the bishop of Malabar, and send him to Rome. At Rome he was carefully examined as to the extent and particulars of his power and the tenets of his church, and finally compelled to renounce his own church, and swear obedience to the Pope: they conferred ordination upon him in the European fashion, and sent him back a recreated bishop. He soon, how
ever, forgot his duty to the Pope, in spite of the vigilance of the · Jesuits, and commotions and intrigues became rife in Malabar.
At length the good bishop died; and at the close of the sixteenth century a Jesuit placed his mitre on his own head. Nothing, surely, more atrocious than these proceedings was ever acted " by Pope, by Jesuit, or by Devil;" anger rises in the throat at the recital of them; and one cannot help uttering a curse on such meddling churchmen.
VOL. IX. PART II.
So far the conduct of the Jesuits appears to have been less superstitious than the other religious orders, but equally criminal; more enlightened, but also more dangerous to temporal governments : the good they proposed to do seems to have been overbalanced by the evils they actually did ; and the spirit of Christian charity to have been obscured by their bigoted attachment to an intolerant church. But at the same time that they are branded with the marks of a just indignation, it is our duty to hold the scales with a steady and impartial hand; and as the weight of their actual delinquencies has been considered insufficient to crush the viperous brood without the addition of offences of which they never dreamed, and crimes which they never committed, we must, on the other hand, retort the charge of wilful calumny against their accusers.
But there is at least one part of the labours of the Jesuits on which the eye of the philanthropist can rest with pleasure ;from which the missionary may learn patience and charity and wisdom in his calling ;—the statesman draw valuable conclusions in colonization and government;-and in which the imagination of the dreamy platonist may find wherewith to nourish his hopes of an Útopian commonwealth. What the mind of genius in its prodigality hath imagined of visionary peace and happiness and joy, was almost realised in the simplehearted, kind, and unambitious inhabitants of Paraguay. The Jesuits here acted a part suitable to their religion, and honorable to their humanity.—They appeared in the true character of Amphion, and even assumed the type of his humanizing power: they ventured, single and unarmed, amongst the natives, who had fled from the swords of the Spaniards for shelter amid the rocks, and who had been rendered ferocious by the inhumanity of their oppressors ;-they descended the rivers, playing on the violin or the fute, and they excited their wonder; —they shared their dangers, learned their language, and settled their differences, and they obtained their confidence ;-they preached religion, charity, and concord, and they gained their love. The numbers they thus collected they associated, by teaching them the value of living in communities, and imparting a knowledge of the useful arts; and they united them by their impartial and enlightened government. These wise legislators began by furnishing their new subjects, gratuitously, with various domestic finstruments, and instructing them to build houses, and then formed them into parishes, called reductions. From the simplest arts of social union they advanced to those of greater refinement;-they taught them to make bricks and lime, and brought lay-brothers from Europe to teach them the art of architecture, which was carried to considerable perfection in their churches. The founders, however, of the most singular govern
ment that ever existed since the Jewish Theocracy, in this the most innocent, the most honourable, and most successful of all their undertakings, bave been branded with undiscriminating
They have been accused of ambition and avarice; of ambition in establishing a government which would admit no strangers within its territories, and which it was pretended (although their subsequent conduct amply disproves the charge) they wished to render independent of the mother country; of avarice in selecting the richest countries for the scene of their labours, and in seeking to enrich themselves by assuming the commercial character. But in settling in Paraguay the Jesuits could hardly be influenced by this motive,- it was a service of considerable danger, in which they must necessarily be subject to great privations and hardships, and there were neither mines of gold nor mines of silver within their province. It is true that they acted as the factors of one, and only one part of their subjects, established a depot for their merchandize at Lisbon, and made the productions of the province contribute to its own security, and, perhaps, to the power of the order; but the history of this once happy and since ill-fated government deserves a paper to itself; and we shall close the present article with one more observation--namely, that assuming that this charge be correct—that the Jesuits were intent on increasing the wealth of their order, they conferred peace and happiness and security on their subjects in return for it; whilst the other governors of the new world, having the same object, and realizing immense treasures, gave in exchange oppression, misery, and death.
INDEX TO VOL. IX.
Abingdon, Lord, 149.
liament reviewed, 97-122.
on the Statutes reviewed, 250-263.
Calverley, Mr. 240.
viewed, 207. 338.
Plays reviewed, 160. 172.
DAMPIER, CAPTAIN WILLIAM, his
Voyages reviewed, 73-97.
CABALA, Works on the, reviewed, 62. 72.