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number, and long continued to be the principal CHAP. scene of their labours. At the commencement of the thirteenth century, they were sufficiently numerous to provoke a formidable persecution from the emperor, Frederic the second ; and the report of their sufferings which reached this country, is recorded by the monk of St. Albans. To the violence of the sword that of the inquisition succeeded. Conrad, who received his authority as chief inquisitor from the pontiff, exercised his office with the utmost cruelty, nor was there any thing either in civil rank or ecclesiastical distinction, to protect from his intolerance. He is said to have resorted to the ordeal of fire, affirming that the accused who suffered from holding the heated iron, were thus shewn to be worthy of passing through the fires of this world, to those of the next. The diocese of Treves, appears to have been particularly distinguished as the residence of the suffering Waldenses. In that district, schools were established for the instruction of their youth.
These sectaries are described, as publishing aloud their dissent from the hierarchy, and their censures of the pope as antichrist; as declaring the prelates to be simonists and deceivers of the people; and as asserting, that they were themselves the only preachers of truth, and that rather than the truth should fail of advocates by an extinction of their race, God would not fail to raise up children to himself of the stones of the street. This fearless conduct, may have arisen from the weakness or the forbearance of the local authorities; or from the more zealous temper of the Vaudois pastors in the neighbour
CHAP. hood of Treves; it is certain that their contest V.
with the established superstitions was of the most uncompromising character. Other teachers might bury the truth, and raise falsehood to its place; it was theirs to proclaim the christian doctrine free from the traditions of men, and instead of a feigned remission of sin, invented by the pope, to offer one that is certain and transcendant as being wholly of God. It is fully ascertained that the people avowing these sentiments existed in 1330, which was six years subsequent to the birth of Wycliffe, and in 1391, which was seven years after his decease. It was near the former period that an event took place, which served greatly to exasperate the clergy, but which suggests the most favorable conclusions as to the character of the persecuted. Echard, a monk, and a person who had acted with much severity as an inquisitor, had often felt himself unable to confute the reasonings with which such as were accused of heresy, defended their separation from the church of Rome; and after an interval, the impressions thus made on a mind apparently the most unpromising, issued in conversion. The monk not only professed to renounce his former opinions, but became the friend and companion of the men whom he had laboured to destroy as the worst enemies of piety. It will be supposed that with his former associates, Echard was an object of peculiar enmity. After a diligent search, they succeeded in securing his person, and at Heidelberg, he was sentenced to the flames; but his last moments were employed, in denouncing the injustice which doomed so many good men to perish, for main
taining the truth of God as opposed to the devices CHAP. of antichrist.
In the beginning of the thirteenth century, the fires of persecution were kindled in Paris, where a number of Waldenses was either imprisoned or condemned to the stake. Somewhat later, the zeal of orthodoxy was extended after the same manner, from the capital to the provinces: and twenty years previous to the birth of Wycliffe, a hundred and fourteen persons were apprehended by the Parisians as of Waldensian origin, and they are described as perishing in the flames with the constancy of martyrs. In the year 1378,—which will be remembered as that in which the english reformer was engaged in his contest with the papal delegates,—the clergy of Paris again appealed to that destructive element, on which, in common with their brethren, they were so much disposed to rely as their best argument against heresy. How far their flocks were edified by such spectacles, we are not informed; but under Philip the fair, the fugitive sectaries were followed into Flanders, where the atrocities of one Robert Bougre, who, from being a professed Vaudois, became an inquisitor, were such as at length to excite the alarm of his colleagues. Measures were secretly adopted to deprive him of his power, and, convicted of many crimes, he was called to end his career of treachery and wanton depredation in a prison.
It should be remarked, also, that it was in Flanders, where commerce was diffusing its equalities and its various benefits,
i Perrin. Hist. ii. c. ix. Matthew Paris, ann. 1220. 2 Perrin. Hist. ii. c. xv.
CHAP. that the adherents of the protestant doctrine were
so few, and so hunted down by their oppressors, as to obtain the name of Turlupins, or the companions of the wolf.:
“ About the year of our Lord 1370,” observes the Vaudois historian, “the Waldenses of the val
ley of Pragela and Dauphine grew to so great a “ number in so small a country, that they were “ obliged to send away a certain portion of their
younger people to seek some other place to in“ habit. In their travel they found in Calabria “ certain waste lands but ill peopled, and yet very “ fertile, as they might well judge by those parts
near adjoining. Finding the country fit to bring “ forth corn, wine, oil of olives, and chesnuts, and “ that there were hills fit for the breeding and
nourishing of cattle, and also to furnish them “ with fuel, and with timber fit for building; they “came unto the lords of the neighbourhood, to
treat with them touching their abode in those “ districts. The said lords received them kindly, “ and agreed to their laws and requests, as to “ their rents, tenths, tolls, and penalties in case “ there fell out any differences between them. “ And so, having certain quarters or parts of the
country thus assigned to them, many of them s returned to advertise their parents of the good “ adventure that had happened unto them, in a “ rich country likely to abound in all temporal be“ nedictions. Returning, they brought back with “ them from their parents and friends, whatever “ it pleased them to bestow upon them, and many “ of them married, and brought their wives into
3 Ibid. Hist. ii. c. xiji. Matthew Paris, ann. 1220.
“ Calabria, where they built certain small towns “ and cities, to which their own houses were as “walls, as namely, St. Xist, la Garde, la Vicari
cis, less Rousses, Argentine, St. Vincents, and “ Montolieu. The lords of the said countries,
thought themselves happy in that they had met “with so good subjects, who had peopled their "lands, and made them to abound with all man
ner of fruits; but principally because they found “ them to be honest men and of a good conscience,
yielding unto them all those duties that they “ could expect from the best of subjects. Only “their pastors and priests complained, that these
people lived not in the matter of religion as “others did. They made none of their children “priests or nuns, they were not fond of chanting, " of tapers, of lamps, of bells, no, nor of masses “ for their dead. They had built certain temples, “ but had not adorned them with images; and
they went not on pilgrimage; they caused their “ children also to be instructed by certain strange “and unknown schoolmasters, to whom they
yield a great deal more honor than to them“selves; paying nothing to them, except their
tythes, according to the agreement with their “ lords. They doubted, therefore, that the said
people had imbibed some particular belief, which “hindered them from mingling themselves and
joining in alliance with the home-born people of “ the land, and that they had no good opinion of “the church of Rome. The lords of those places
beginning to fear that, if the pope should take notice, that so near his seat, there was a kind of people who contemned the laws of the Romish