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guardians of the faith, as set forth in the doctrine and discipline of the Established Church?
We have not, it is true, as yet been guilty of the insane drivelling of Lamartine, who had the audacity to put the wild democracy, of which he was, for a season, at the summit, upon the level with Christianity.* “We in England,” Mr. Morier observes
been supplied, than by the 'insane ala crity with which the entire population poured in their “adhesions' to the first acts of the provisional government created by the clamours of a Parisian mob. The unanimous and instantaneous acceptance of the republic at such hands by the whole French nation, can only be accounted for by that mobility of character, resulting from the absence of all fixed principles, which, while it leaves them open to the sway of every momentary impulse, renders them now, as it ever" has done, favourable to the exercise of arbitrary power, and must, on that account, unfit them for rational liberty.
“It required, therefore, no gift of prophecy to predict, that the labours of the statesmen and legislators now deliberating in the names of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, under the protection of bayonets and cannon, could not produce any other result but that which is before the eyes of the world."
May we be warned in time! May our Chartists and our Repealers, before it is too late, awake from their delusions! But are we not also called upon earnestly to adjure our rulers to take from the bold, bad men, by whom the peace of the country is disturbed, the pretexts by which they have played upon the credulity of their dupes, by removing, as far as human legislation can remove them, every real grievance of which they have reason to complain? While we look with gladness at the congregations which now throng our places of public worship, where they hear the word of God read, and prayers offered up in a tongue which they understand, shall we not point out to them the increasing numbers of those " who are ignorant and out of the way," and supplicate for an extension of those religious ministrations, by which they, too, may be brought within the fold of faith? And shall we not deprecate that laxity of principle, and that latitudinarianism, so visible in but too many of our rulers, which regards all creeds and all sects as entitled to equal legislative favour, and deals the same, if not a greater, measure of encouragement to the teachers of the most pernicious errors, which is extended to the appointed
" That in exact proportion to the amount and intensity of the Christian elements which enter into the composition of the national character, and into the public measures of the state, but no further, will the great objects of stability and order, real liberty, and social progress, be attained."
"Nor will any of our Christian read. ers dissent from him when he adds
“God grant that we in England may so order our own affairs, both public and private, at home and abroad, that we may bear to be put to that test, and thus, measuring our social progress by our nearer and nearer approach to the immutable standard of His truth, may confidently trust to stand secure and uninjured amid the great convulsion, of which the first throes are now quickening and inflaming the pulses of the whole civilized world."
*"Le grand principe démocratique ; ce Lamartine's Speech to the Irish Deputation.
THE REPEAL OF THE UNION IN BRITTANY.
Of all the provinces over which the kings of France claimed feudal sove. reignty in the early days of the House of Valois, Brittany was the most uncertain in its submission, and the most stubborn in the assertion of its independence. It retained, as to some ex. tent it still retains, the strongest elements of distinct nationality ; it had its own language, its own literature, its own ancient traditions, its own politi. cal institutions, its own special usages, habits, and customs. It was more thoroughly Cymric than Wales itself; a detestation of foreigners was one of the first principles of Breton existence; during the wars waged by the Planta genets, the dukes of Brittany often changed sides; but the Breton people never swerved from their common feel ing, equal hatred of French and English, or, as their bards denominated them, of Frank and Saxon.
Francis II., last Duke of Brittany, had an only child, a daughter; in her were centred all the hopes of his race, for the long wars of the fifteenth cen. tury had swept away all the collateral branches, and in case of her death, the determination of the next heir would have perplexed all the genealogists that ever attempted to trace a pedigree. Francis was anxious to secure the independence of Brittany, and the inheritance of his race; he resolved, therefore, that the husband of his daughter should be a prince sufficiently powerful to protect her states from the menacing covetousness of the French monarchs; and when she had attained her fifth year, he signed a contract of marriage between her and Edward Prince of Wales, son of our Edward IV. Two years afterwards, her husband, after having for a few days enjoyed the title of Edward V., was murdered by his uncle, the crook-backed Richard. The hand of the heiress again was free, but the duke was in no hurry to form a new contract; it was not until she had attained her thirteenth year, that suitors for her hand began to be named. Three competitors appeared, Alan sire d'Albret, who had pretensions to be King of Navarre ;
Louis Duke of Orleans, afterwards Louis XII.; and Maximilian of Austria, King of the Romans. Before their rival pretensions could be deter. mined, Duke Francis died; bands of marauders from Les Landes pillaged the country; the tortuous policy of Louis XI. menaced the independence of Brittany, and such was the poverty of the state, that it became necessary to substitute for money, pieces of leather, having in the centre a small silver nail, on which the nominal value was inscribed. Such was the state of Brittany, when a new candidate for the hand of the young dachess appeared in the person of Charles VIII., who had just ascended the throne of France. Although the States of Brittany had actually concluded a contract of marriage with Maximilian, the necessity of peace with France was too pressing to be resisted, and Anne was married to Charles at Langeois in Touraine, December 16th, 1491.
The contract of marriage contained some singular stipulations. It was agreed that all the laws and institutions of Brittany should be preserved in. tact, and that no change in them should be valid, without the general consent of the states of the duchy. Anne, in default of heirs, ceded all her ducal rights to the king-a stipulation clearly illegal and the king ceded back these rights on the same terms to the duchess. But the most singular article remains; in case of the death of Charles without heirs, Anne bound herself to marry his successor. No one objected that this successor might be already married, as in fact he was; or that the parties might not have suited each other; all such difficulties were settled by the presence of Jean de Resli, Professor of Theology, and confessor to the king, who declared that all the articles of the contract were “in perfect accordance with the laws of God and of his holy church."
Six years elapsed, Charles died without heirs; the Duke of Orleans, already married to Jane of France, as. cended the throne, and the duchessqueen returned to Brittany, where she acted as a sovereign princess, coining money in her own name, issuing edicts regulating the most important affairs of state, and granting titles of nobility. Louis XII., as we have seen, had been one of Anne's original suitors; his love for her continued unabated, and policy showed the expediency of preserving the unity between Brittany and France. A previous marriage was only an apparent difficulty, for Alexander Borgia was at this time pope, and he was a pontiff who never allow ed scruples of conscience to interfere with the course of his ambition. A bribe to the pope's natural son, Cæsar Borgia, soon brought the bulls for the divorce and the new marriage ; Louis XII. separated from the wife to whom he had been married for twenty-four years, and on the 8th of January, 1499, received the hand of the object of his first affections.
The duchy was thus united to the kingdom, without being incorporated in it; Brittany was as distinct from France as Hungary from Austria, or Poland from Russia, and its strong feeling of nationality was sustained not merely by moral but by physical causes. Brittany is the true fairy land; the chronicles of the middle ages and the romances of chivalry declared it to be the favourite sojourn of Arthur, and the enchanter Merlin, the beautiful Fairy Morgana, was supposed to have her palace of diamonds and gardens of crystal in the district of Comonailles ; the castle of the original Bluebeard is still shown near Angers ; and at every opening in the forests or bocages the peasants pointed out the wondrous circles in the grass which marked the spots where fairies held their midnight dances. Even now, the traveller who crosses the Sarthe at le Mans or Angers, feels that he is entering a new and marvellous country. He meets primæval forests, druidical remains, granite-rocks poised upon precipitous peaks, lakes said by tradi. tion to mark the site of submerged cities, traces of calaclysms and natu
ral convulsions; feudal castles and towns that seem not to have varied any of their features since the days of Charlemagne.
French is the language of the towns, but Cymric is still preferred by the peasant; it is preserved by the national ballads, in which no part of the world is so rich as Brittany. The Breton institutions combined the Celtic system of clanship with baronial feudalism, and in spite of revolutions, the ties between suzerain and vassal, between castellan and peasant, remain in many places still unbroken.
The Breton noble, however, was a very different being from the Norman baron : he was as rustic and unrefined as any peasant; he dug the ground, he guided the plongh, he joined in every kind of agricultural labour, and only ceased to be a farmer when summoned to a convocation of the states, or called to serve in war. No fewer than thirty thousand Breton nobles had a right to vote in the assembly of the states, which had thus a striking likeness to the ancient Polish Diet. When the states were convoked at Dinan, the Breton nobles travelled thither in rude carts with wooden wheels, not unlike those which may still be seen in remote parts of Ireland. These primitive vehicles, in which the nobleman and his family sat on a mass of straw, or heath, or sometimes a bed, were drawn by the stout Breton ponies, and driven by the peasant who walked beside the cart, armed with an iron-tipped cudgel instead of a whip. The tedious. ness of the journey was relieved by the recital of historic legends, in which were told the heroic efforts made by the Bretons of old to maintain their independence, and the sad fate that befell those whom ambition led to seek their fortunes at the court of the Franks, and to tempt the dangers of the wicked city of Paris. As the Breton ballads are little known, we shall give a literal translation of one of those histories, entitled
THE PAGE OF LOUIS XI. The king's little page is in prison for a blow that he struck, For a courageous blow, he is in a cruel dungeon in Paris. There he sees neither the day nor the night, His bed is nothing but a handful of straw, His food is black rye-bread, His drink the water from the prison well.
There no one comes to pay him a visit.
II. Now one day through the keyhole of his lock He spoke to his friend Penfentonio“ Iannik, you are my best friend, Listen attentively to what I say. “Go thou to the manor, to my dear sister And tell her that I am in danger, “ In great danger of losing my life, By the command of our lord, the king. If my sister came to see me, She would console my heart.” Penfentonio having heard him, Immediately for Quimper departed. There are very nearly one hundred and thirty leagues Between Paris and Bodinio. Nevertheless, he, the son of Cornonaille, traversed them In two nights and a-half and one day. When he entered the castle of Bodinio, It was illuminated with brilliant lights. The lady of the castle gave a supper To the nobles of the land. She held in her hand a wooden goblet Full of red wine of the best vintage. “ Gentle page of Cornonaille, What is the news you bring, “ That renders you pale as thistle-down, And panting as a fawn before the hounds ?" “ The news that I bring you, my lady Will bring deep trouble into your heart. “ Your breast will heave with sobs, Your eyes will overflow with tears. " Your dear little brother is in danger, In as great danger as can be in the world ; “ In great danger of losing his life, By command of our lord, the king “ If you would come to see him, my lady, You would console his little heart." When she heard him utter these words, The poor lady was sorely troubled ; So sorely troubled, indeed, was the lady That the goblet of wine fell from her hands ; The blood-red wine stained the napkinGracious God! what a fatal omen. “Quick there, quick there, my servants and grooms! Quick, saddle twelve horses, let us start at once ;
“ Though I should kill a good steed at every stage, I will be in Paris this night, this very night.”
The dear little page of the king said, As he ascended the first step of the scaffold, “Little trouble would it give me to die, Were it not far from my country, far from sympathy. “ Were it not far from my country, far from sympathy, And far from my dear little sister in Lower Brittany. “ She will ask every night for her little brother, She will ask for her little brother every hour.” The dear little page of the king said, As he ascended the second step of the scaffold, * I would wish before the death-stroke falls,
To have news of my dear country; "To have news of my sisterOf my sweet little sister. Knows she of it?" The dear little page of the king said, As he ascended the platform of the scaffold, “ I hear the clatter of horse on the pavement of the street; It is my sister and her suite who are coming; “ It is my sweet sister who is coming to see me. In the name of Heaven! wait a little.” The Provost answered the dear little page, When he heard his solicitation, “ Before that she shall have arrived here, Your head will have fallen on the scaffold.” It was at this very moment that the lady of Bodinio Asked eagerly the citizens of Paris“ Why is this great multitude of men And of women collected together ?” “ Louis the eleventh, Louis the Traitor, Is going to behead a poor little page.” Scarcely were these words spoken, When she saw her beloved brother,
She saw her little brother on his knees,
And she spurred her steed to a gallop, shouting aloud, “My brother ! my brother, spare him to me.
“ Spare my brother Zearchers,
“ And I will add, as a further gift,
When she rode up to the scaffold,
And the blood gushed out upon her veil,