Puslapio vaizdai

The tract seemed over-violent and cruel even to many of his friends, and a few weeks later he defended his attitude in an open letter to the Chancellor of Mansfeld, who had addressed him upon the subject. The letter is much longer than the tract itself, and discusses the whole matter in detail, but there is no change of position at any point, and the language is, if any thing, even more severe. "People say," he remarked, "there you see Luther's spirit. He teaches bloodshed without mercy. The devil must speak through him. Well and good. If I were not accustomed to be judged and condemned, I might be troubled by such words." He then goes on: "If any one says I am unkind and unmerciful, I answer, mercy has nothing to do with the matter. We speak now concerning the word of God. He will have honor shown the king and will have rebels destroyed, and yet He is certainly as merciful as we are." "It is better to cut off a member without any mercy than to let the whole body perish."

His indignation at the peasants led him to speak of them in very contemptuous terms, as, for instance: "What is more ill-mannered than a foolish peasant or a common man when he has enough and is full and gets power in his hands?" "The severity and rigor of the sword are as necessary for the people as eating and drinking, yes, as life itself." "The ass needs to be beaten, and the populace needs to be controlled with a strong hand. God knew this well, and therefore He gave the rulers not a fox's tail, but a sword."

Luther's treatment of the peasants has brought upon him severer criticism than any other act of his life, but the criticism is in part at least misplaced. It must be recognized, to be sure, and we may reproach him for it, if we please, that he had very little interest in social reform. He was so absorbed in religion that he failed adequately to realize the social and economic evils of the day, and his calling and associations had been such as to give him sympathy with the middle rather than with the lower classes of society, with the bourgeoisie rather than with the proletariate and peasantry. Had he appreciated the evil conditions under which the latter lived, and set himself earnestly at work to improve them, he might have accomplished much. But it may fairly be doubted

whether the era of social amelioration in which modern reformers are profoundly and justly interested would thereby have been hastened. Freedom from the traditional religious and ecclesiastical bondage was a necessary condition of liberty in other spheres. Had it been subordinated to alien ends, or made only one feature of a larger program, it would perhaps have remained unrealized. Not the peasants alone, but all classes of the population, must become convinced that religion was possible apart from Rome before the old absolutism could be permanently broken, and anything less than exclusive attention to the inculcation of that lesson might well have resulted in failure. But this is neither here nor there. The fact remains, lament it as many may, that Luther was a religious, not a social, reformer. Despite his temporary venture into another field in the summer of 1520, he now recognized, as he had for some years, that he was called to work in the religious field alone. Whether rightly or wrongly, he had become firmly convinced the Christian spirit could be trusted to work out all needed social changes. In the meantime he was interested only to insure free course for that spirit. To this end he subordinated everything else, and his treatment of the peasants, when riot and bloodshed had taken the place of peaceful measures, far from being unworthy of him and revealing inconsistency and selfish policy on his part, exhibited in the strongest light his native independence and strength of character. Order must be restored, he felt, at any hazard. Not religion alone was imperiled, but the necessary sanctions of all human life were threatened with destruction, and every sane and right-thinking man must hurry to the rescue.

Had he sympathized adequately with the wrongs of the peasants, it may be thought he could have prevented affairs from reaching such a pass and could have kept the movement from degenerating into anarchy. However that may be, and his experience with the fanatics at Orlamünde and elsewhere gives little ground for the supposition, at any rate, the situation being what it was in his part of the world in May, 1525, he did the one thing needed, and he did it with his usual vigor and effectiveness. As always, he was unnecessarily violent in his language. But


From a carbon print by Braun & Co. Half-tone plate engraved by H. Davidson


to criticize his choice of words in such a crisis is ridiculous. His attitude in the existing situation was essentially sound and does credit both to his wisdom and his courage. At a time when weakness and hesitancy marked the conduct of most of those who should have acted promptly and firmly, unblinded by sentiment and unmoved by personal considerations, he came out boldly and decisively for the one course possible in the circumstances. Though he knew it would cost him his popularity and


alienate great masses of those hitherto devoted to him, without hesitating for a moment he spoke the word needed to unite the forces of conservation and bring order out of chaos. He was right when he declared that firm and united action on the part of the authorities at the very beginning of the uprising would have spared much bloodshed. He was right, too, in doing what he could to secure that action at the earliest possible moment. When the princes took the matter jointly in


hand, the rebellion was quickly crushed. Here and there trouble continued for months, but the movement as a whole was suppressed before the end of the summer. It was put down in many places with a heavy hand, as Luther had advised, while the mercy he recommended was unfortunately not always shown to those who capitulated.

The de

peasantry and proletariate would certainly have meant its speedy extinction.

Upon Luther himself the effects were permanent. He was hardened and embittered. He had to endure the chagrin of seeing thousands of his supporters turn away from him, many driven into Catholicism by the apparent demonstration of the destructive effects of his work, many into anabaptism by what seemed his

A lamentable tragedy it was. struction of property both at the hands of the marauding peasants and of the avenging soldiery was very great. Large districts of country were devastated, and thousands lost their lives. As is apt to happen when violence and uproar get control, the general movement toward the amelioration of the lower classes was temporarily retarded. It was not wholly checked, to be sure. In some places great and permanent advances were made. And despite the widespread disrepute brought upon the cause by the war, and the strengthening of the ruling


classes by their all too easy victory, the uprising was undoubtedly, after all, only a step in the progress of democracy.

It seems a lasting pity that by the failure of its leaders to show sympathy with the peasants in their struggle the Reformation permanently alienated multitudes of them and became almost exclusively identified with the interests of the middle and upper strata of society. But they were not necessarily to blame. The class division was, perhaps, in the circumstances, unavoidable, and if so, the identification of the new religious movement with the

recreancy to the common cause and his cruel desertion of his own disciples. He ceased to be the popular hero of Germany, and became to multitudes, especially in the south and west, an object of hatred and execration. He never regretted his action. He had done what the crisis demanded, and would have done the same again in like circumstances. But the tragedy sobered him and took from him some of his earlier buoyancy and hopefulness. His confidence in the people was permanently shattered, and thenceforth it always seemed necessary to hold them firmly


in check and control them with a strong hand. The culminating event in a succession of similar experiences covering more than three years, the war led him to realize the dangers of radicalism and to draw more narrowly the bounds within which the Reformation was thenceforth to move. We may be thankful he was able to disentangle his movement from the dangerous alliance with radicalism and uproar and to carry it forward despite friends and foes; but the disentanglement cost both him and Protestantism dear, and we may well deplore the situation which made it necessary.

(To be continued)






IF the science of good road-making is trees. Occasionally the road led us

then the French are the most civilized people in the world. In spreading civilization in North Africa by a network of wonderful highways, the French have followed in the footsteps of the Romans. I have seen in the great barren plains of Algeria and Tunisia, leagues distant from native or foreign habitations, well-defined traces of the old Roman roads, solidly stone-paved, over which the French have constructed their modern roads.1

Our first objective point from Algiers was Fort National, built on a spur of the grand Kabyle mountains. The country had an air of fertility and prosperity. We flew past immense vineyards and large vegetable gardens laid out like chickenruns and inclosed by bamboo fences against which tall flower-clustered asphodels leaned; and past great hedges of prickly pears, and groves of orange- and lemon

1 It may be of interest to the readers of my two papers to know that the gasolene on the trip was procured without difficulty at most of our stopping-places, the general price being two francs per gallon, although in Timgad it was four francs per gallon. The average consumption

through small villages where Arabs. wrapped in long, white burnooses, reclined in graceful attitudes before the doors of Moorish cafés, drinking, smoking or idly dreaming in the sun, or watching those who, more energetic than themselves, were engrossed in games of chess. A negro, with a face like a full-blown black poppy, ceased suddenly his melodious shouting to gape open-mouthed at our red car.

We passed pretty villas with flowerscented gardens. The Arabs have a passion for flowers. It is not unusual to see old men in ragged gowns, young dandies in exquisitely tinted burnooses, and half-naked workmen-the latter leisurely hammering stone on the white highwaywearing clusters of orange-blossoms fastened behind their ears or hanging over their foreheads, inhaling continuously the sweet -too sweet-fragrance of the flowers.

It was late in the afternoon when we was a gallon every 8 1-2 miles. The generalissimo of our small party speaks feelingly on the advisability of not having radiators repaired in Tunis. He adds that a guide is an unnecessary and useless expense in motoring, for excellent road-maps are obtainable.

foot-hill, the red-tiled sloping roofs of the houses glistening in the sinking sunlight. Orchards of olive- and fig-trees and small Kabyle vegetable gardens clung to the sides of mountains. As our car slowly climbed the steep zigzag road, half-clad boys and girls tore down from their rocky villages and clamored loudly for sous.



of steep, continuous climbing, of constant and rather appalling corkscrew turns, each one affording different and superb views over the mountains. The road built by the French army in 1871, in the short period of seventeen days, at the time of the great Kabyle insurrection, is a splendid bit of engineering.

The snowy summits of the Djura-Djura mountains lay to the right of us, and below, the fertile plains of the Sebaou. Large Kabyle villages occupied the crests of every

The men and women stood aloof and eyed us curiously. Some of the women were remarkably fine-looking, possessing a wild kind of beauty enhanced by barbaric jewelry.

Of all the races inhabiting North Africa-the Kabyles, or Berbers, as they are also called, are the most interesting. They were in possession of the soil when the Phenicians came into the country, and they remained more or less in possession through the successive conquests of the Roman, the Mussulman, the Vandal, the Arab, and the Turk. The French alone have succeeded after very great difficulty in subjugating them. They are the old Numidians, descendants of the ill-fated Syphax, and of the masterful Masinissa, who were rival and fickle allies of the Romans and the Carthaginians.

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