Page images

LYONS AND ITS CATHEDRAL. Lyons is a very ancient and important city in France. At a very early period the Gospel of Christ was preached in this city. In the second century of the Christian era, Irenæus was bishop in Lyons. Many of the ancient Christians suffered martyrdom in this city.

Peter Waldo,—who has by some writers been represented as the founder of the ancient Christian community,—called the Waldenses,—was a citizen and rich merchant of Lyons. Other writers, however, say that the Waldensian churches existed long before the time of Peter Waldo. He lived in the middle of the 12th century. We are told that while Waldo and several of the chief men of the city were conversing together, one of them was suddenly struck with death. This solemn event so impressed the mind of Waldo with a sense of the frailty and uncertainty of life, and the vanity of all earthly things, that he immediately resolved to quit the pursuit of worldly riches, and to give himself to meditating on the Word of God, and to the promotion of religion.

He first began as a teacher of religion, to instruct his

own family. Other persons then received his teachings. He translated the Scriptures into the French language. By openly exposing some of the corruptions of Popery, he incurred the hatred of the Romish Priests. For four or five years Peter Waldo continued to teach religion in Lyons, and he obtained many hearers, who became attentive to his ministry. But he and his followers were persecuted, driven out of the city, and became scattered into various par of Europe; some of them came to England.

Lyons has long been distinguished on account of many of its citizens being opposed to the errors of the Romish church; and many of the servants of Christ have been cruelly murdered by their persecutors in that city. In the month of August, in 1572, it is said, that eight hundred protestants were most cruelly murdered in the city of Lyons, and their dead bodies were thrown into the river. This was at the time of the awful massacre in France, which commenced on St. Bartholomew's day. Then a great many thousand persons were murdered ; and on account thereof there were public thanksgivings and rejoicings at Rome.

One of the most ancient churches in Lyons is that of St. Irenee, which it is said is built on the tombs of the martyrs, Epipoy and Alexander. The pavement of the church contains the remains of an inscription to the memory of nineteen thousand Christians who were put to death in a persecution under the Roman emperor Severus. There is a vault under the church which is said to contain the bones of the greater part of them.

The cathedral church, dedicated to St. John, is one of the most remarkable public buildings in Lyons. It is said that in the fifth century a church stood on the site of the cathedral. The present building was erected at different times, and was not completed until the fifteenth century. In one of the towers of this church there is a great bell, which is said to weigh thirty-five thousands pounds.

This church is a fine specimen of Gothic architecture In the nave are some very fine windows of coloured glass. In the transept of the church is a very famous clock, which was made in the year 1598. It has been for some years out


of repair. It was constructed, so to show, besides the hour and minute, the day of the week, the month, and the year. On the outside was a mechanical cock, which announced the hour by clapping its wings and crowing.

The city of Lyons is said to have been founded about forty years before the birth of Christ. The city was consumed by fire in the reign of the Roman emperor


it rebuilt by Nero. We are told that Christianity was introduced into Lyons by Saint Pothier, who, with forty-eight of his disciples, were put to death.

During the French Revolution, in 1793, Lyons was attacked by the army of the convention, and was almost reduced to ruins. An immense number of its citizens were destroyed. The city has long been celebrated for its manufactures, especially of silk. Before the great revolution, twenty thousand persons in Lyons were employed in manufacturing silk, but the trade was greatly injured by the revolution; it, however, afterwards improved. There are also at Lyons manufactories for lace, cotton, linen, and woollen goods.

We regret to have to say, that Lyons is a very wicked city. Irreligion and wickedness greatly abound. Indeed, such is awfully the case in most of the large towns in France. The superstitions of the Papists lead men to infidelity, and Protestantism in France is far from being in that healthy state which is desirable.



BEING lately in the city of M- and desirous of knowing what was doing in the criminal world, I turned into what is called the Borough Court, at the time the Quarterly Sessions were being held. As I had often been in such Courts before, I, for some time, saw only such scenes as I had seen on many former occasions. There sat the judge, and on one side of the Court the jury, and before the judge were the counsellers with their robes and wigs, ready to render their professional assistance ; not like the ancient Roman pleaders, without fee and reward, but for such sums as interested persons were able and willing to give. The gallery, devoted to the public, was filled by a large concourse of people, drawn thither by curiosity, sympathy, or relationship. Having remained for some time, I was on the point of withdrawing, when my attention was arrested by a little boy, aged only eleven years, who was placed at the bar charged with robbing a woman in one of the streets of the city of M I could not but look with considerable interest on this case; not because I knew the boy, for he was an entire stranger to me, but on account of his age and juvenile appearance, being a very little boy. He was one of the youngest and smallest prisoners I had ever seen tried. There he stood without any protection, and no one to plead for him. The charge was fully proved against him; the whole case not occupying more than ten minutes. Before the judge proceeded to pass sentence, the clerk informed the court, that the prisoner at the bar had been convicted three times before for stealing. The first time he had been imprisoned two days; the second time for seven days and whipped; the third time for three calendar months. The judge then proceeded to observe, that to give him any longer trial was useless, he should therefore sentence him to be transported beyond the seas for seven years. Never shall I forget the scream of anguish which burst from a female in the gallery (probably his mother) when the above sentence was pronounced. It was, however, all in vain; the boy, who would have said something, was seized and hurried off back to prison ; and the stern voice take her out,” was obeyed, and so far closed this melancholy and distressing scene. And that little boy, by the time he arrives at the age of eighteen years, will have endured seven years ignominious transportation, for breaking the laws of his country, and the eighth commandment, which declares expressly,

“ Thou shalt not steal.” And I think I hear some boys say, “What is this transportation ?” When applied to convicts, in its fullest extent, it means banishment to some distant part of the world; to what is called a penal settlement. The convict is no longer his own master, but must go wherever he is commanded. Great numbers have been sent to New South Wales and Van Dieman's Land. Who has not heard of Botany Bay ? Considerable numbers have also been sent to the Cape of Good Hope, and to Bermuda. Many, however, have been sentenced to transportation, have never gone beyond the shores of our own country, but have been placed on board the hulks, or dismasted floating vessels, at Portsmouth, Gosport, Devonport, Chatham, Woolwich, and Deptford ; naval stations, where they are employed in ship-building, and painting, carrying timber, cleansing the rivers on which they are employed, and in different descriptions of hard labour. They are not allowed to go anywhere without an iron on one or both legs, and may often be seen working in gangs. Recently, some of the worst convicts have been sent to Norfolk Island. This island is placed in the Pacific Ocean, some fourteen thousand miles distant. No other island is near it, it is rich in natural beauty, and its climate almost unrivalled. It has been made into a penal settlement, and, as a convict station, it is abominably hated by the convicts who are sent there. At the commencement of this year, a returned convict was tried at the Central Criminal Court, London, for returning from transportation, and as his petition, which was handed to the Common Sergeant to be read, throws some light on the horrors of transportation, I will here give the


James Punt Borritt, the returned convict, who was tried on Thursday at the Central Criminal Court, under the name of George Parker,--for returning from transportation, having pleaded guilty, caused the following narrative, in the shape of a petition, to be handed to the Common Serjeant:-" I have pleaded guilty because I was unwilling to waste the time of the court in an inquiry which, destitute as I am of the means of defending myself by counsel or attorney, or for paying witnesses' expenses, could have only

« PreviousContinue »