Page images


grow rich, and what he would have tion. It is impossible, while we couple men to do with their wealth. The with it the thought, that there is far Bible writes as with a sunbeam the more left undone than is at present curse and the provocation of selfish- in hand; and the thought, too, that

To be selfish, therefore, is to there is wealth enough in England fly directly in the face of God, and to do all that the world needs for its set him at defiance, and provide for evangelization, without intrenching punishment.

on the real well-doing of any disUnder these convictions we feel penser of God's bounty. Our old inthat so long as we have the oppor- stitutions, therefore, which, with all tunity of speaking to our fellow- their feebleness and inadequacy, are Christians, we must urge them by the best bulwarks of our nation, must every argument we adduce, to do be kept up, and enlarged, and rentheir utmost, each in his respective dered more available. How easily sphere, to diminish the sum total of would this be effected, if our wealthy our national delinquency, aud the merchants and prosperous manufacconsequent danger of our national turers rightly understood the proporjudgments. We are solemnly im- tions of charity, and the luxuries of pressed with the conviction, that it charity, and the riches of charity! If, will not be out of place, and that all instead of setting alongside the sovewill be little enough if we occupy

reign subscription of a poor burdened every department of our labours for

pastor, another sovereign, they would the press with an urgent call to our consider whether it would not be in fellow-Christians to get more and better proportion, and better every way, more out of the limits of their petty to give a hundred or a thousand soveselfishness, and, in the comprehensive reigns; if, instead of making haste to meaning of the term, to “consider the grow rich for their own aggrandizepoor and needy.” We best consult ment and selfishness, they would beour own happiness in so doing, and gin to make baste to be rich for God, most assuredly our safety. The times and his poor, and a perishing world; loudly call upon us to “make friends as good stewards; as men who have of the mammon of unrighteousness.” done with seeking their own things, How soon may our opportunities for and are now seeking the things which so doing be snatched from us. Blessed are Jesus Christ's. There would is that servant whom his Lord when be nothing unreasonable in all this ; he cometh, shall find occupying his none will think so by and bye. And, talent faithfully and efficiently. most assuredly, there would be a

Now, to do this properly, we have present luxury in it, unknown to to consider our means, and the claims those who are only rich to themselves, which most directly attach to us. With and laying up treasure for this world. respect to the latter, we are well aware This, then, is manifestly the first duty of the duty of guarding against the to uphold and enlarge existing inaccumulation of new enterprises of stitutions. benevolence to the detriment of old Yet there are other cases specially established institutions. It is a fact demanding our sympathy and aid; never to be lost sight of, that we can and some, because they present a scarcely turn an eye to a single reli- peculiar obligation, and we would gious institution which could not be add, a call to remove our arrears of largely extending its usefulness if it neglected succour. Of such a chahad the means.

If the Church Mis- racter is the case before us. sionary Society, for instance, has its

a debt we can never repay, to those £100,000 a-year, who that reads the who were valiant for the truth in the Reports attentively does not see that days of the Reformation, and who, if it had its £200,000 a-year, or even not counting their lives dear to them, more, it has openings, and calls, and formed its depository in the fastnesses fields of usefulness which would take of the Alpine vallies, when it had it all. We cannot contemplate the well-nigh perished out of the earth. realization of so vast a sum as the Here, then, is a debt to discharge, present with any degree of satisfac- and we think our readers will not

We owe

He was

consider that we have gone too far in first Reformer of the valley. He had promising them an abundant treat been prior of a Dominican convent from this little source of historical in- at Cremona, and on renouncing Poformation, or failed to set before them pery preached the Gospel in the Vala legitimate call to practical sympathy teline. Having been accused to the and co-operation.

Diet which met at Ilanz in 1529, and We must first give our readers the sentenced to banishment, he found a exact position of the valley to which friend in the deputy of Bregaglia, the work before us refers :

under whose protection he preached “Bregaglia (in Latin, Prægallia, the the Gospel in Bregaglia. foremost part of Gallia Cisalpina,) is

pastor of Vicosoprano and Stampa, one of the three valleys of the Grisons, two of the present communes of the which border on Italy, and whose in

valley, and continued here till 1547. habitants speak Italian. This valley Among the most distinguished of is about five leagues long, very narrow,

the Italian exiles was Piếtro Paolo enclosed by very high mountains, Vergerio, formerly Bishop of Capo and contains six parishes, the most

d'Istria, and legate of Popes Clement northerly of which is Casaccia. Then VII. and Paul III. in Germany. He come Vicosoprano, Stampa, Bondo,

had an interview in 1533 with Luther, Soglio, and Castasegna, which last at Wittemberg, who said to him, in is only two leagues distant from reference to the Council of Trent, Chiavenna, the first large town in

You Papists toil and labour in vain Italy after crossing the Splügen.

with your plots and schemes; for in Bregaglia has about 1800 inhabitants; your councils you do not deliberate the northern part of the valley con

about wholesome doctrines, neither sists of Alps (pasture land), but the

of sacraments nor of faith, which southern part presents quite different

alone saves and justifies; nor of decent scenery. Owing to the mild Italian behaviour and conduct, but only of climate that reigns there, a majestic

foolish and childish matters; how wood of chesnut trees, which has long the garments of the clergy should scarce its like, adorns the south- be, how broad the girdle, and how western slope of the mountain, about

much of the crown of the head should a league long, and in the gardens

be shaven; how monks and nuns are figs are cultivated. The inhabitants

to be reformed and subjected to seof Bregaglia have the same language

verer discipline; and about the disand natural vivacity as the Italians,

tinction of meats and drinks, and but not the same character and man

such like children's things.' As ners, which is no doubt to be as

Luther spoke in this way, Vergerio cribed to their being Protestants, and

turned aside, and, supporting his living under a free government. It

head with hưs hand, said to one of his must be confessed that the language suite,, ' He has hit the nail on the spoken is a very corrupt dialect, which

head. The chief events in the life the Romanese inhabitants of Engadin of this extraordinary man are, howunderstand with more facility than

ever, so well known, that I will only the natives of Tuscany. The people,

remark that he came into Bregaglia however, understand good Italian,

in 1549, and was, during five years, which is spoken by the ministers in minister of Vicosoprano, from which their sermons, and in which their Bible, he made frequentexcursions into other Prayer - Book, Catechism, Hymn

Catechism, Hymn- parts of the valley, the Valteline, book, and other religious works are

Chiavenna, &c., in order to pave the printed.”

way for the Reformation. Lower

Bregaglia first embraced the evangeThe past history of Bregaglia is lical doctrines, and, in 1552, the mass very interesting :

was abolished and Popery renounced " The light of the Reformation in Upper Bregaglia.” penetrated into this valley from Italy, from whence in earlier times the “ It appears that at the Council of knowledge of the Gospel came. Bar- Trent, it was determined to root out tolommeo Maturo was perhaps the the evangelical party in the Italian


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



valleys of the Grisons, and in the by two monks. Many similar inthree provinces subjected to it, in stances of the tender mercies of Rome order to prevent the contagion of their might be here cited, but these are doctrines; but if this was not the case, enough. I will, however, remark, many circumstances prove that the that the practice of man-stealing by attention of Rome was particularly the Popish party was, during a course directed to this part. In 1561, Pope of years, a subject of continued comPius IV. sent a nuncio to the Grisons, plaint from the Diet of the Grisons, who demanded that those of the evan- and not only exiles from Italy, but gelical party who had fled from Italy citizens of the Republic, were carried should not be suffered to remain in off.” the Valteline, &c., and that none should be allowed in future to seek a “I will here observe, that the numrefuge there. The Diet, however, re- ber of Protestant churches to the jected the demand, because the exiles, south of the Alps, up to the end of as much as was known of them, had the sixteenth century, appears to have committed no crime.”

exceeded twenty, which were for the “ It may be here remarked, that it most part served by exiles from Italy. is calculated that, in the year 1550,

“ The Protestants in these parts the exiles amounted to two hundred, were not a little alarmed when the of whom a fourth or a fifth part were news reached their valleys of the men of letters, and those of not the massacre of St. Bartholomew. The meanest name. Before the year 1559, Chevalier Hercules de Salis, of Soglio, the number increased to eight hun- in Bregaglia, showed his sympathy dred, and from that time to the year with the fate of his persecuted breth1568, we have reason to believe that ren in France, in a way that deserves the increase was fully as great in pro- to be recorded. After serving France portion; and down to the close of the

many years as an eminent and faithful century, individuals were to be seen warrior, he returned to his parental after short intervals flying to the north valley, receiving a pension from the to escape the fires of the Inquisition. French government for his distin“ Rome could find no better instru- guished services.

He resided at ment for rooting out Protestantism Soglio, when the news was brought in these parts than Cardinal Borro- him of the massacre, and hastening meo, Archbishop of Milan, who did immediately over the mountains to all he could to place Italian priests Coire, a distance of twenty leagues, in in the Valteline, Chiavenna, Bormio, one day, declared to the French amMisocco, &c., where, according to a bassador residing there, that he would resolution of the Diet of the Grisons, no longer accept a pension from the only priests, citizens of the Republic faithless King Charles, who was the and of the Swiss Confederacy, were murderer of his brethren; and then to be tolerated. The property of the returned to Soglio. All the endeaevangelical party was often seized in vours of France to induce him to the territory of Milan. An evangeli. change his resolution proved fruitless. cal merchant of Chiavenna was seized An old ballad preserves the rememat Cremona (whither he went on busi- brance of this event among the people. ness), sent to the galleys, and there The inhabitants of Bregaglia, as well suffered death by drowning. In 1568, as those of other parts of the Grisons, Francis Cellerio, the Reformed minis- gave a friendly reception to those of ter of Morbegno, in the Valteline, was their brethren who, having escaped seized on the Lake of Como, on his the massacre, came into these parts. return from the synod, dragged to The parish books of Castasegna conMilan, and notwithstanding the in- tain many notices of the arrival of tercession of the government of the Huguenots ; the family of Curtini, in Grisons, who sent ambassadors there, Bondo, are descended from these, and was delivered to the Inquisition at only a few years since a female died Rome, and burnt there. În 1572 the in Castasegna, of the name of Conte, Reformed pastor of Millio was shot who was descended from the famous at in the pulpit, as he was preaching, family of that name. These poor exiles, no doubt, soon felt at home in and delivered to the Inquisition in Lower Bregaglia, as it has great re- Rome. In 1624 the commander of semblance to their former home; and the Papal troops, who had his quarchesnuts, as there, are the chief food ters in the Valteline and Chiavenna, of the inhabitants.

compelled the inhabitants of Bregag• The memorable Valteline mas- lia to dismiss their ministers, and gave sacre, which was a kind of Bartholo- the churches to Capuchin monks, who mew's night, happened July 20, 1620. were, however, not able, with all their As this event is well known, I will threatenings and flatteries, to bring only remark, that the massacre com- back the people under the yoke of menced at Teglio, when the Protes- Rome. The word of God was indeed tants were assembled in the church, taken out of their houses and hands, and the minister was shot dead in the but not out of their hearts, where it midst of prayer, and the congregation had taken deep root. History does murdered. As some escaped into the not inform us how long the Capuchins steeple, the church stools were broken exercised their sway in Bregaglia ; up, a fire kindled, and they perished but it is probable that this valley obby suffocation, or being burnt alive. tained again much of its liberty in About six hundred were massacred 1630, when Duke Rohan came to the on this occasion in different parts of Grisons as extraordinary ambassador the Valteline, and a great many be- of France, and who was afterwards sides lost their lives through being commander of the French troops in exposed to the severity of the wea- the Valteline and Chiavenna. One ther, and from huager in wandering thing is certain, that the inhabitants about the mountains. Those who of Lower Engadin used the presence escaped found a friendly reception in of the duke, who was himself a Prothe Grisons, St. Gall, Berne, Geneva, testant, to recall their exiled evangeliand particularly Zurich, where Para- cal pastors. The inhabitants of Brevicini preached to them every Sunday gaglia have, since this time, at least in Italian. The loss by the Grisons as far as it is known, been undisof the Valteline was the consequence turbed in the possession of their reliof this massacre. Austrian, Spanish, gious liberty, and have always shown French, and Papal troops kept this themselves steadfast friends of the part in possession for nearly twenty

Protestant cause." years. The government of the Grisons, in their long and various nego- “ The first printing presses erected ciations respecting the return of these in the Grisons was at Poschiavo, and parts under their authority, stipulated which contributed greatly to the profor the religious liberty of the Re- gress of the Reformation, and was the formed party. The people of Bre- cause of many complaints from the gaglia had, from 1620 to 1630, much Papal court. The first work printed to suffer for their faith. Their valley, was in 1552, and the Italian translaas well as other parts of the Grisons, tion of the New Testament, by Bevewhere Austria had still some posses- roni, appeared in 1560. On the night sions, were devastated by Austrian of April the 25th, 1623 (scarcely three and Spanish troops in 1621 and years after the Valteline massacre), a 1622, under Baldiron, who proclaimed blood-thirsty multitude, headed by a himself openly the executor of the Popish priest, came from the Valtedecrees of the Council of Trent, seek- line to Poschiavo, in order to masing in all possible ways the extermina- sacre the Protestants in this valley, tion of Protestantism, but he found, They had, however, fortunately, notice happily, great firmness from this part of the plan, so that the most were of the inhabitants. The people of able to escape into Engadin, and only the valley were plundered, and only twenty-six perished. Poschiavo conallowed to make peace on condition tains at present a population of 1,300 that they should abstain from all Protestants, and 1,900 Roman Cathopublic worship. Pastor Paravicini, lics; and Brusio 300 Protestants, and who preached, notwithstanding, one 700 Roman Catholics.

These two Sunday in Vicosoprano, was seized communes are particularly exposed


to the attacks of Popery, and the ex- too proud to submit to it. The

young asperation of the Romanists in the people, as well as their mothers, respring of last year (1845) was so main after the catechising, from halfgreat that the Protestants were obliged an-hour to an hour, in order to sing to go armed to church, and to place a psalms and spiritual songs.

The guard before the doors. I regret that psalms form the chief part of the my time did not allow us to visit this singing, and were put into rhyme by part, but I hope to do this before an Italian exile, during his residence long. From my conversation with in Bregaglia. At the commencepersons acquainted with this valley, ment of divine service, the school particularly with a minister formerly children of both sexes repair to the settled in this part, we are able to state choir on the minister giving out that most of the remarks we shall have the hymn, and stand round the bapto make regarding Bregaglia, can tismal font, singing first a hymn of apply also to these two communes.” Trizzoni, or Planta, and then a few Who can read the foregoing par

verses of a psalm, the singing of which ticulars without feeling his faith en

is usually led by the schoolmaster. couraged in the reality of Christ's

There are no organs in the churches. power and love, which enable his fol

The congregation take but little part lowers to continue stedfast in the

in the singing, which must, however,

be ascribed in some measure to the faith amidst the greatest difficulties and temptations to swerve from it?

great want of hymn-books. There But we must hasten to the present

is great need of improvement in the condition of this interesting people.

singing in most if not all the parishes Dr. Marriott says :

of Bregaglia, and which will no doubt

be effected, as the children in the “In perhaps no part of the Conti- schools receive at present better innent is the Sunday better observed struction in this branch than formerly, than in Bregaglia, and a traveller and the ministers give themselves passing through it finds most of the trouble in improving it. Even now houses closed. At the sound of the the Roman Catholic inhabitants of bells, old and young hasten to church, Lombardy, residing in the neighbourand those who through residence in ing villages of Castasegna, listen to other parts have learned to love the it at the church-doors with the world, must, on their return to their greatest interest, notwithstanding the native valley, attend regularly divine strictest commands of their priests to service; for the reason of any one the contrary; and are able on this being absent is always a matter of en- comparatively indifferent point to conquiry, and the whole valley would vince themselves that Protestantism speak its anathema,' as one of the possesses something that supplies all ministers wrote me,'on a person who the jingle of the Roman Catholic seldom or never went to church, and worship. Divine service is held in absented himself from the Lord's nearly all the churches of the valley table. The inhabitants of the valley throughout the year on Saturday frequent not merely the morning ser- evenings, and from New Year's Day vice on a Sunday, but also the cate- to Easter during the week, both of chising, and the sermons, and prayer- which are well attended, not merely meetings during the week. In some by the women, but also by the men, of the churches there is a sermon on except in Stampa, which arises from Sunday evening. All married females the inhabitants being much scattered, and grown-up young women and the great distance the people have generally present at the catechising, to go to attend church. Good Friday and these latter frequently, as well as is strictly kept, which is not the case the children, repeat portions of the in most parts of Switzerland, where catechism, which is explained by the the day preceding is celebrated ; and minister. The grown-up young men

in the afternoon of that day the yearly do not do this, as the greater part of confirmation of the youth takes place them go into foreign parts after their in the church, whereas in many other confirmation, and on their return are parts of Switzerland this rite is of a


« PreviousContinue »