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of reasoning, it will be perceived that those nations, qui vitam excoluere per artes, have been wealthier and happier than others, who have permitted their energies to lie dormant. Nations advance in civilization as they advance in knowledge; therefore it is the duty of every government to remove all obstruction to. the diffusion of knowledge. Now, knowledge can only be effectually disseminated by printing; consequently, a Christian government, believing that the faculties of man were bestowed for the purpose of increasing the sum of human happiness, are bound to do every thing in their power to extend the thoughts and opinions of those, whose attention is directed to the purpose of enlightening their more ignorant brethren; in other words, they are under a moral and religious obligation, to protect the liberty of the press.
We will now proceed to substantiate these opinions, by an inquiry into the causes which have hastened or retarded the happiness and civilization of the different states in Europe, since the Reformation. Throughout this examination the reader is requested to bear in mind, that all the advantages of climate and soil, are in favour of the Catholic countries. We begin with Spain.
"Notwithstanding Charles was disappointed in his scheme of transmitting the empire to his son, Philip was still the most powerful monarch of his age. In Europe, besides the united kingdoms of Castile, Arragon, and Navarre, he possessed the kingdoms of Naples, and Sicily, the Dutchy of Milan, Franche Compte, and the Netherlands; in Africa, Tunis, Oran, the Cape Verd and the Canary Islands ;• in Asia, the Phillippine and Sunda Islands, and a part of the Moluccas; and in America, the Empires of Peru and Mexico, New Spain and- Chili, besides Hispaniola, Cuba, and many other of the American Islands. The mines of Mexico, Chili, and Potosi, were, at the time of Philip's accession, a source of greater wealth than almost all the other princes of Europe were possessed of. His fleet was much more numerous than that of any other European power; his troops were better disciplined, and more accustomed to war and victory; and they were commanded by the ablest and most experienced generals of the age."*
When Philip took into his hands the reins of government, it appeared highly probable that
* Watson's Life of Philip II. vol. 1, p. 25.
he would succeed in that scheme of universal monarchy, to which his illustrious father had vainly aspired. The House of Bourbon was the only power capable of resisting the ambition of the Spanish Monarch; but the pride of France had been humbled by the memorable defeat at Paria. That gallant and highly spirited nation, after having broken the peace of Vaucelles, determined, once more, to try the fortune of arms; but they were destined to sustain a further disgrace; and the mortification which Henry experienced by the loss of the battle of St. Quentin, was rendered doubly galling by the capture of the Constable, Montmorency, and of most of the first nobility in his kingdom. Had Philip possessed an enlightened mind, the resources which he possessed, would have ensured the complete ascendancy of his country in the European Commonwealth; but he was a slave to superstition, and so miserably sunk in bigotry, that he exhausted the treasures which would have crushed the House of Bourbon, in a vain attempt at imposing his own religious opinions on the bravest and most industrious of his subjects. Charles was born at Ghent, and during his reign, he showed a strong partiality to the people of the Netherlands; he was so sensible of their value, that he continually took occa
sion to impress on the mind of his son, the policy of preserving their rights and privileges. But the education of Philip destroyed the wise counsel of his prudent father; his ecclesiastical preceptors had taught him that the first duty of a king was to maintain the authority of the Holy See; and along with these notions of submission to the Church, they had inflamed his imagination with the most preposterous ideas of the extent of the royal prerogative. Philip did not suffer the grass to grow under his feet; and as he panted for an opportunity to testify the sincerity of his faith, and his devotion to the Court of Rome, he resolved, throughout the whole of his extensive dominions, to suppress the reformed opinions, which were rapidly diffusing themselves. For this purpose, he published his edicts against heresy, and conferred on his name an immortal degradation by founding the Inquisition. "Persons were committed to prison on bare suspicion, and put to the torture on the slightest evidence. The accused were not confronted with their accusers, or made acquainted with the crimes for which they suffered. The civil judges were not allowed to take any further concern in prosecutions for heresy, than to execute the sentences, which the inquisitors had pronounced* The possessions of the sufferers were confiscated, and informers were encouraged by an assurance of impunity, in case they themselves were guilty, and by the promise of rewards."*
The cruelties perpetrated by this execrable tribunal, became at length intolerable, and as the inquisitors were independent of the civil jurisdiction, an appeal was made to Philip by the leading men in the Netherlands. But the monarch who had witnessed an auto da fi, had long since expelled from his dark and unfeeling mind, every sentiment of humanity, and without even investigating the complaints of the petitioners, he pronounced in favour of the Inquisition, assuming that heretics were unworthy of belief, and undeserving of compassion, f The refusal of the King to redress the grievances of the complainants, emboldened the ecclesiastics to further acts of barbarity;
* Watson's Life of Philip II. vol. 2, p. 114.
t Among the Protestants condemned, there was a nobleman, named Don Carlos di Steasa, who, when the executioners were conducting him to the stake, called out to the King for mercy, saying, "And canst thou, O King! witness the torments of thy subjects? save us from this cruel death, we do not deserve it." "No," Philip sternly replied, "I would myself carry wood to burn my own son, were he luch a wretch as thou." After which he beheld the horrid spectacle that followed, with a composure and tranquillity that betokened the most unfeeling heart.