Page images

166 The Difference between Vows and Oaths. April After all, his reserve would have selves, of our own mere motion, been of no great service, fince du the necessity of doing certain things, Tillet had already said, long before, to which, without it, we hould not in brief, what the bull contained. have been obliged, at least precisely But from the open manner in which and determinately. A vow differs hé has published this brief, you from an oath, in as much as this conclude that he gave it fome soft- A principally and directly relates to ned sense. But you will own, Sir, some man to whom it is made, calthat on this supposition he was very - ling God to witness to what we have wrong not to communicate to the

engaged ourselves t." publick, in a little note, that fa- I own however, that a man to vourable explanation, which would make his vow ftill more solemn, and have taken off all the scandal.. to bind himself more, might add

That which he has not done, you B an oath to it. He might declare, and your friends have undertaken. that, in cafe he should not execute

You have, first of all, contrived what he had engaged to do, he was a'turn of phrase, which would di- ready to submit to all the divine venminish a little the blow the bull gives geance. What follows from thence ? to found morals; which is, to refer That this vow ought to be inviolable. what it says of the oaths to the vows And on your supposition this is preof which it had spoken, and not to C cisely that from which the


dila the treaties or the promises the king engages the prince the most easily. had made. According to this, the If the question be a simple vow to vows and the oaths would not be two go on pilgrimage to Rome, the pope different articles. The pope's deci. refuses the king's confessor the power fion would be reduced only to this,' to coinmute it : But for any other that the confessor might commute the vow where an oaih has intervened, vows even made with an path. But D he gives him authority to annul it, the construction of the Latin 'text if the king finds it ever so little incannot bear this palliative. Pray convenient. You will own, Sir, that consult the original *. I send you this is a fine decision, and very prothe bull entire, because you

tell per to falve the honour of the pontiff! thal you have not any longer at your And indeed, du Tillet and d'Acheri disposal M. de la Chapelle's work, have taken care not to confound thus where it is inserted.

E the vows and oaths. Both of them Vows and oaths in the general are make two separate articles of thein. two things, which hould not be con- Here is the title which the Benedic. founded, and which even very rarely tine has put to the bull, “ That the moet together. Everyone knows,

confeffor to the king and queen may that a vow is a religious promise commute their Vows and their. made to the Lord, which is generally oaths I." done on aking some favour, as the F After all, say you, there is r.o cure of a disease, the success of an mention made in this bull either undertaking, &c. And they ac- of conventions, or alliances, or any quit themselves of it afterwards, to thing like it. Why therefore should teftify their gratitude. “A vow, it be charged with having served the says M. Barbeirac, is an engage- kings of France to violate the faith ment into which we enter directly to- of treaties? But, Sir, when it speaks wards God, and a voluntary engage. G of the oaths which they and their ment whereby we impose on our- successors could not conveniently

keep, , seuld have been in tbe bull, Indulgemus ut confesor valeat cummu'are in alia operrpetatis, vota etiam cum juramento ; abereas it is, nec non juramenta, obat is, Hegrane bim ibe power to commute tbe vsws, as also ibe oarbs. Cumberland's trasllation, ob... § 16. 104 1 Rund sonjelje porejó mulare voia & jurameria ec? Lm2,


1751. Prastice of Ecclefiafticks with regard to Oaths. 167 keep, this can be understood only. It has thereby happened, that an of the obligatory caths, whereby oath is one of the things whereby the. we have engaged ourselves to fome- ecclefiafticks have most advanced thing. An oath very often signifies their temporal interest, and incroacha promise made with an oath. It is ed upon the rights of the magiftrates. a short way of fpeaking, common The use of an oath was introduced to all languages. When we speak, A into most of the affairs of life, and as for example, of an oath of fidelity, the ecclesiasticks cunningly seized the it is plain that we mean thereby the right of judging of the validity of promise that any one has made to be caths, they drew on themselves, by faithful.

this means, all civil causes *" You offer ftill another argument This, if I remember right, is all to prove, that the question here is that


have communicated to me, not of treaties or promises. The bull B to discharge this bull of what appears says, that the vows and the oaths odious at the first reading. One canmade by the king may be commuted not plead better for it chan you, coninto other works of piety. You lay a jointly with your friends, have done. great

Itress upon the word other. Had you had a pension from Rome, Treaties upon political affairs are not you would not have employed your. works of piety. - It must be said, self in it with more zeal, But it is therefore, either that the pope has C nobler in you to have done it in a exprefled himself altogether impro. disinterested manner, and in favour perly, or that the dispensation con- of the head of a religion opposite to cerns solely the vows accompanied . yours. Not to be behind-hand with with an oath,

you in generosity, I am going to supIt must be owned, Sir, that this ply what you have omitted, and to last turn is contrived with great sub- furnish you with two or three very tilly. However, I believe it is not D specious turns to serve as a varnish very difficult to answer it. It may

to the bull. be said, that these words, into other I take the first of these palliatives works of piety, relate principally to from the translation which M. de la the vows, but they may likewise be Chapelle has given us of it. Would relative to the promises supported by you have believed, Sir, that the rean oath. Every one knows, that an porter of the bull should be the very oath is an act of religion, a branch E person to furnish wherewithal to of adoration, a manner of invoking inake its apology? In the mean time the name of God. There is there the scandal almost entirely disappears fore no reason to be surprised at the in his version. “We grant by thele bull's ranging it among the works or presents, (he makes the pope fay) the acts of


have that the confessor of the king and even a great interest in putting the the queen may commute into other oaths always in that clais. It is by F works of piety, the vovas already looking on them in this light that made, or to be made, except only they have drawn to themselves the the vows of beyond-lea, of visiting cognizance of those cales.

the churches of the blessed Peter and Here is a remark of M. Barbeirac's Paul, of chastity, and of continence, proper to confirm what I have ad- as well as the oaths by then taken vanced.. “ The christian princes, or to be taken for the future, which says he, often charged the bithop: they cannot conveniently keep.", with the cognizance of the validiiy Pray observe, that in this manner of oaths, and with the difpenfation of translating, the oaths are ranged of those which they should find null. among the cases excep:ed out of its

piety. The

Barbeirac upor Puffendorff, p. 483,

168 The BULL shewn in its true Colours. April dispensation. The translator has ob- dispensation itself, unless you will served in it the fame regimen, and say, that it takes away with one hand has diftinguished those two articles what it has given with the other, by a single comma. See how M. This then is, probably, what the holy de la Chapelle makes the pope say father meant : Perceiving how odiquite the contrary to what he ex- ous the violation of a treaty backed pressed in his brief. If you consult A by an oath would appear, and that the original, you will fee with the upon fo flight a pretence as that of first całt of the eye, that the oaths the bare inconveniency which the are plainly included in the dispensa- king might suffer by it, he acquaints tion, and not in the exceptions or the confessor, that he is to take good the reserved cases.

heed to impose on the king, in those Another more specious argument cases, good works really pleasing to in favour of the bull, and which has B God, for instance, alms large enough also flipped you, is, that this dispen. to make a kind of compensation, fation feems to be conditional, and according to Daniel's exhortation to to have a limitation which falves all. Nebuchadnezzar, Redeem thy fins The king's confeffor is to make use by alms. Now for a fin of the naof it only conformable to the will ture of perjury, there requires givof God,' and only fo far as it all ing abundantly to the poor. have nothing contrary to the falva- C When I had found out this explition of the king and queen. Indul- cation, I Aattered myself with having gemus, vt confefjor valeat commutare hit the mark. In the conversation voiam nec non juramenta in alia which I had with my abbé, which I opera pietatis, prout fecundum Deum, have mentioned' to you already, I & animarum faluti viderit convenire. did not fail to communicate my conThis corrective seems fufficient for jecture to him, and even with a sort us not to be any longer warranted to Dof confidence. But he fell a laughsay, that the bull furnishes the kings ing, and answered me, that if I had of France with a moft easy expedic been better acquainted with the forms tot to violate the faith of treaties.

of the Roman chancery, I should A wise confeffor, who shall be atten. not have put myself to the expence tive to these last words, will not ab. of fixing precise ideas to those ex. folve the king from his oath without pressions. They are merely phrases great precautions.

When he shall E of ftile, said he to me, and which consult the will of God and the in- ought not to be insisted on. terests of the princes falvation, he When I had gotten this key, I cannot abuse the power which is pac no longer puzzled myself about those into his hands.

little forms. I left the out-works to See, Sir, whether I do not fur. come to he body of the place. I nish means of defence, which are aked him how he understood this disat least as good as yours, I mean as F pensation from the oaths which might dazzling ; for as for solidity, they a little incommode the king ! He have no more than the foregoing. frankly owned to me that it was an Weigh well the terms of the buli, inexplicable enigma to him, and that and you will see that this limitation, he did not comprehend it. I might which at first sight seems so specious, have answered him, that the bull did falls only upon the choice of the not fin in obscurity, that, on the works of piety which the confessor G contrary, its fault was having spoken Thall impose upon the prince, to com- too plain. pensate for the vows and the oaths, I believe, Sir, that thus it is that from which he shall absolve him. you judge of it now, and that after This restriction cannot regard the the little discussion in which you have


engaged pope

[ocr errors]

1951. A true Copy of the BULL 169 engaged me, it appears evident to of France had bound themselves by you, that the bull excuses the kings indissoluble knots, did not stand to of France from keeping their oaths untie them by little and little. It when they find them a little incon. does not appear that, to disengage venient, and that by the help of a those princes, he made use of St. little equivalent in works of piety, Peter's keys; but luckily calling to they may infringe them in furety A mind, that the successors of that of conscience. This believed chief of the apostles are also furnishthat he gratified king John by thus ed with two swords, he drew one making perjury smooth to him. of them, and cut at once the Gor.

M. Barbeirac, in his notes upon diaa knot. I am, &c. Puffendorff, has quoted a fine passage from Libanius; which explains how

Here follows an entire copy of men may sometimes come to abandon B this remarkable Bull

, as mentioned themselves to perjury. His thought in the preceding letter. is, that there is but a small number

A Brief from Pope CLEMENT VI. of them who commit this crime out

in Favour of John King of France, of a principle of impiety. The

and Queen JOAN. greatest number reckon upon the in-. finite mercy of God, which they Quod Confeffor poteft mutare Vota, & flatter themselves will be extended C Juramenta eorum. even to perjurers. There are some

LEMENS Epifcopus, feruus fermen, who seeing their affairs desperate, vorum Dei, carillimis in Chrifto and that they have but one single filuis, Joanni Regi & Yoannæ Regia expedient left to bring themselves n° Francie illuftribus, Salulen out of trouble, venture an oath. apoftolicam benedi&lionem. Votis vefThey raise to themselves an illusion tris libenter annuimus, iis præcipuè thereupon, and flatter themselves D per quæ, ficut piè desideratis, pacem, that by facrifices, vows and offerings & jalutem animæ, Deo propitio, cona they may obtain from heaven the sequi valearis. Hinc eft quòi nos vefpardon of this false oath. After all, tris fupplicationibus inclinati, vobis 'the punishment for perjury is a dir- & fucceforibus veftris, regibus & re. tant evil, and the disorder of their ginis Francia, qui pro tempore fuerints affairs is an evil which requires an ac veftrum & eorum cuilibet, autto. immediate remedy *. If this heathen Eritate apoftolica, tenore prafentium, ix grator could have seen the bull of perpetuum indulgemus, ut confejor reClement VI. what would he have ligiofus, vel fecularis, quem veftrum fạid of this easy manner of com- & eorum quilibet duxerit eligendum, muting oaths, when they are never vola per vos forfitan jam emisa, ac so little inconvenient ?

per vos & fucceffores vestros in pola Among the antient Romans, the terum emittenda, ultramarino, ac pontiffs had fometimes a right to F beatorum Patri & Pauli apoftolorum, absolve vows, and to take cognizance ac caftitatis & continentiæ votis dunof oaths. In certain cases they be- taxat exceptis ; nec non juramenta per lieved that they might commute vos præfita, & per vos & eos pras them, and settle the value of them. fanda in pofterum, quæ vos & illi sera But they were generally timorous vare commodè non possetis, vobis & persons, whom the least scruple stop. cis commutare valeat in alia opera ped. Their successors have known G pictaris, prout fecundum Deum, & how to decide these sort of que!tions animarum vefirarum, & vorum saluti more boldly, witness our Clement, viilerit expedire. Nulli ergo omnino This cunning man, in case the kings hominum liceat hanc paginam nofira April, 1751.

Bar beirae ugen Puffonderf, p. 482,


[ocr errors]

PETITION of the SPIRIT S. April conceffionis infringere, vel ei aufu te- of this land deal fairly and safely merario contraire. Si quis autem hoc with them; but at the same time attentare præsumpserit, indignationem they make bold to remonstrate, that omnipotentis Dei, to beatorum Pari they ought not to have harder mea& Pauli apoftolorum ejus, se noverit fure than some of their relations of incurfurum.

less fiery qualities, who have nothing Datum Avinioni XII. calend. A else to urge in their behalf, but that Maji, anno nono.

they dispatch those who abuse them

only in about half the time that your From the London Gazetteer.

petitioners do it. To the Right Worshipful FOOL of exceeding detrimental to civil society,

That drunkenness being a crime Great Britain. The humble Remonftrance and Pe- B spect of persons, or regard to the

it ought to be punished, without retition of the SPIRITS ;

liquor wherewith a man intoxicates Shiweth,

himself. THAT tho' sundry demerits That the state suffers more pre

may be pleaded to justify an judice from the intemperance of indictment or presentment against m-g-s, 1-n-s, p-yass, your petitioners, the blame of all ad—s, g—Is, and others in publick the mischiefs said to be occasioned C stations, than from the drunkenness by them, ought to be laid at the of coblers, porters, car-men, &c. door of the weak or evil minded and if so, then it is good logick to wretches that abuse them ; for not. conclude, that wine ought to be prowithstanding they are of a very hibited rather than geneva, &c. sharp, petulant constitution, yet they That the abuse of any thing is no never injure any but such as try their argument for its being prohibited or temper too often, or provoke them D loaded with high duties, otherwise beyond measure.

it would be requifite to lay a heavy That tho' multitudes of the lower tax on beef, plumb pudding, custard, class of people, besides too many of and ragoo's, because many great and a better rank, have been guilty of middling folks shorten their days by great misdemeanors, both with re- cramming themselves too much theregard to themselves and their neigh- with, as all honeft eminent physicians bours, for want of being sufficiently E can attest and demonstrate. upon their guard against your pe- That gold and silver ought not to titioners ; yet such evils ought no be banished the commonwealth, bemore to be charged to their account, cause one may find abundance of who are but passive inftruments or men of all ranks and degrees, who ingredients, than the sword of a man would not scruple to sell their coun. who kills his fellow creature for a

try, and barter all that is good and point of honour, ought to be in. f praiseworthy in the fight of God and dicted for murder, or the rope which man for it. puts an end to the troubles of him That all reformations should be. that hangs himself in a fit of melan- gin at the head, otherwise the tail choly or despair.

never can be kept in order. That your petitioners humbly ap- That most of the unhappy females prehend there is a plot hatching that ply about the streets of this meagainst them, the true nature and G tropolis, owe their ruin to winefull extent of which they are not yet bibbers, and seldom or never let informed of. They acknowledge themselves out to gin-drinkers, till it very necessary that some methods the former have cast them off. fhould be taken to make the people 5


« PreviousContinue »