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knowledge. It is certain there have been many executions on this account, as in the canton of Berne there were some put to death during my stay at Ge
The people are so universally infatuated with the notion, that, if a cow falls sick, it is ten to one but an old woman is clapped up in prison for it, and if the poor creature chance to think herself a witch, the whole country is for hanging her up without mercy, One finds, indeed, the same humour prevail in most of the rocky, barren parts of Europe. Whether it be that poverty and ignorance, which are generally the products of these countries, may really engage a wretch in such dark practices, or whether or no the same principles may not render the people too credulous, and, perhaps, too easy to get rid of their unprofitable members.
A great affair that employs the Swiss politics at present is the prince of Conti's succession to the duchess of Nemours in the government of Neufchatel. The inhabitants of Neufchatel can by no means think of submitting themselves to a prince who is a Roman Catholic, and a subject of France. They were very attentive to his conduct in the principality of Orange, which they did not question but he would rule with all the mildness and moderation imaginable, as it would be the best means in the world to recommend him to Neufchatel. But, notwithstanding it was so much his interest to manage his Protestant subjects in that country, and the strong assurances he had given them in protecting them in all their privileges, and particularly in the free exercise of their religion, he made over his principality in a very little time for a sum of money to the king of France. It is, indeed, generally believed the prince of Conti would rather still have kept his title to Orange, but the same respect which induced him to quit his go. vernment, might, at another time, tempt him to give up that of Neufchatel on the like conditions. The king of Prussia lays in his claim for Neufchatel, as he did for the principality of Orange, and it is probable would be more acceptable to the inhabitants than the other; but they are generally disposed to declare themselves a free commonwealth, after the death of the Duchess of Nemours, if the Swiss will support them. The Protestant cantons seem much inclined to assist them, which they may very well do, in case the duchess dies while the king of France has his hands so full of business on all sides of him. It certainly very much concerns them not to suffer the French king to establish his authority on this side Mount Jura, and on the very borders of their country; but it is not easy to foresee what a round sum of money, or the fear of a rupture with France, may do among a people who have tamely suffered the Franche Compté to be seised on, and a fort to be built within cannon-shot of one of their cantons.
There is a new sect sprung up in Switzerland, which spreads very much in the Protestant cantons. The professors of it call themselves Pietists; and, as enthusiasm carries men generally to the like extravagances, they differ but little from several sectaries in other countries. They pretend in general to great refinements, as to what regards the practice of Christianity, and to observe the following rules. Το retire much from the conversation of the world. To sink themselves into an entire repose and tranquillity of mind. In this state of silence to attend the secret illapse and flowings in of the Holy Spirit, tha may fill their minds with peace and consolation, joys or raptures. To favour all his secret intimations,
and give themselves up entirely to his conduct and direction, so as neither to speak, move, or act, but as they find his impulse on their souls. To retrench themselves within the conveniences and necessities of life. To make a covenant with all their senses, so far as to shun the smell of a rose or violet, and to
eyes from a beautiful prospect. To avoid, as much as is possible, what the world calls innocent pleasures, lest they should have their affections tainted by any sensuality, and diverted from the love of him who is to be the only comfort, repose, hope, and delight, of their whole beings. This sect prevails very much among the Protestants of Ger. many, as well as those of Switzerland, and has occasioned several edicts against it in the duchy of Saxony. The professors of it are accused of all the ill practices which may seem to be the consequence of their principles, as that they ascribe the worst of actions, which their own vicious tempers throw them upon, to the dictates of the Holy Spirit ; that both sexes, under pretence of devout conversation, visit one another at all hours, and in all places, without any regard to common decency, often making their religion a cover for their immoralities; and that the very best of them are possessed with spiritual pride, and a contempt for all such'as are not of their own sect. The Roman Catholics, who reproach the Protestants for their breaking into such a multitude of religions, have certainly taken the most effectual way in the world for the keeping their flocks together; I do not mean the punishments they inflict on men's persons, which are commonly looked upon as the chief methods by which they deter them from breaking through the pale of the church, though certainly these lay a very great restraint on those of the Ro
man Catholic persuasion. But I take one great cause, why there are so few sects in the church of Rome, to be the multitude of convents, with which they every where abound, that serve as receptacles for all those fiery zealots who would set the church in a flame, were not they got together in these houses of devotion. All men of dark tempers, according to their degree of melancholy or enthusiasm, may find convents fitted to their humours, and meet with companions as gloomy as themselves. So that what the Protestants would call a fanatic, is, in the Roman church, a religious of such or such an order; as I have been told of an English merchant at Lisbon, who, after some great disappointments in the world, was resolved to turn Quaker or Capuchin ; for, in the change of religion, men of ordinary understanding's do not so much consider the principles, as the practice of those to whom they go over.
From St. Gaul I took horse to the lake of Constance, which lies at two leagues distance from it, and is formed by the entry of the Rhine. This is the only lake in Europe that disputes for greatness with that of Geneva; it appears more beautiful to the eye, but wants the fruitful fields and vineyards that border upon the other. It receives its name from Constance, the chief town on its banks. When the cantons of Berne and Zurich proposed, at a general diet, the incorporating Geneva in the number of the cantons, the Roman Catholic party, fearing the Protestant interest might receive by it too great a strengthening, proposed, at the same time, the incantoning of Constance, as a counterpoise : to which the Protestants not consenting, the project fell to the ground. We crossed the lake to Lindaw, and, in several parts of it, observed abundance of little bubbles of air, that came working upward from the very bottom of the lake. The watermen told us, that they are observed always to rise in the same places, from whence they conclude them to be so many springs that break out of the bottom of the lake. Lindaw is an imperial town on a little island that lies at about three hun. dred paces from the firm land, to which it is joined by a huge bridge of wood. The inhabitants were all in arms when we passed through it, being under great apprehensions of the duke of Bavaria, after his having fallen upon Ulme and Memminghen. They flatter themselves that, by cutting their bridge, they could hold out against his army : but, in all probability, a shower of bombs would quickly reduce the bourgeois to surrender. They were formerly bombarded by Gustavus Adolphus. We were advised by our merchants, by no means to venture ourselves in the duke of Bavaria's country, so that we had the mortification to lose the sight of Munich, Augsburg, and Ratisbon, and were forced to take our way to Vienna through Tirol, where we had very little to entertain us besides the natural face of the country.
TIROL, INSPRUCK, HALL, &c.
After having coasted the Alps for some time, we at last entered them by a passage which leads into the long valley of the Tirol, and, following the course of the river Inn, we came to Inspruck, that receives its name from this river, and is the capital city of the Tirol.
Inspruck is a handsome town, though not a great one, and was formerly the residence of the archdukes