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the condemned man, and after every faithful and cautious remonstrance and exhortation on my part.
As to “the criminal's multiplied prevarications and falsehoods, "I presume your correspondent refers to the early confessions which appeared in the newspapers, which were either anfounded and unauthorized, or distorted and perverted. The facts known to me are, that he made a verbal confession of his guilt to his legal adviser on the second day of his trial; which, with additional (not contradictory) details, was taken down in writing from his lips by the solicitor on the Monday succeeding his conviction; and, with the exception of the assertion that his master came down stairs, on the fatal night, during the robbery, I am not aware of there being any “prevarication or falsehood” in that confession ; and two days after this, on being seriously addressed on the subject by his uncle (a pious Lutheran, nineteen years a consistent member of that church), Rev. C. Baup, and myself, he acknowledged with deep regret, and literally a flood of tears, that, being overwhelmed with shame, he had been induced to conceal in some measure the atrocity of his crime, by the plausible pretence of his master's anger on coming down stairs (as above men. tioned) and detecting him in the act of plunder. Whatever may have been his former prevarications to others or myself, I am not able to discover any discrepancies in the letters written to me in French, one of which was not completed until just before I entered the cell at 6 o'clock on the morning of the execution. And with regard to his attempt to commit suicide, all I know is, that for a few days after his conviction (ten or twelve days before his execution) he acknowledged that, in his horror and despair, he had purposed thus to evade, if possible, the disgrace of suffering on a public scaffold; but that this wicked intention was abandoned after that period, and never revived, I believe on the evidence of his own voluntary, repeated, and solemn assurances to his uncle, Rev. C. Baup, and myself ; accompanied, as those assurances were, with daily expressions of grief and indignation, on account of having ever contemplated such an act of aggravated guilt. His frank and calm demeanour for many days before he suffered, and particularly on the eve and morning of his execution, according to the testimony of his attendants who watched him night and day, and of all who took a personal interest in his fate, render it impossible to doubt his entire relinquishment of the horrible project he originally contemplated.
I must therefore submit that there was no lack of due caution, or judgment, in acceding (with the counsel too of my brother clergyman acting with me throughout the case in question) to the con. demned criminal's urgent request for the communion : the evidences afforded to us of the sincerity of his confession, and also of his faith in the Redeemer who saves to the uttermost, were neither few nor small.
An excellent tract, entitled “Remarks on the Confessions of Cour. voisier,” has been published by the Rev. B. Peile, of Hatfield, Herts, which I beg to recommend to the notice of your correspondent and your readers. The Rev. author, after alluding to the various conflicting statements which had previously appeared, and might well perplex those who placed confidence in them, and avowing his indisposition to make any comments thereon, adds: “But, my friends, there is a statement which Courvoisier afterwards made, so full of condemnation of himself, bearing such evidence of truth
the very face of it, that I think it may be believed, although it comes from a man of such polluted hands and polluted lips; for it seems impossible to imagine that any man, standing upon the brink of eternity, could make a statement such as this, unless it was true, by which he could gain nothing, and by which he added to the deep and crimson dye of his crime," &c.
To conclude my remarks on the particular case of Courvoisier, I bave no hesitation in justifying the administration of the Lord's Supper to him under the circumstances; and, adopting and applying the language of your correspondent, beg to submit, that as the individual earnestly requested to receive the Holy Communion, and answered with apparent penitence and sincerity the searching questions which were addressed to him, I did not consider myself” (I am still quoting the words of Antiquus)“ authorized to withhold the ad. ministration, as though I were the judge of his real condition in the sight of God. I prayed with and for him; I endeavoured to lay hold of his conscience; I explained the spiritual character of that blessed sacrament, and warned him against vainly and superstitiously trusting to it as a viaticum to heaven; and exhorted him, according to the injunction of the Apostle Paul, to examine himself, and so to eat of that bread and drink of that cup; but after such faithful instructions and admonitions, as the case appeared to me to require, and such cautionary postponement of the administration as circumstances allowed, I left the rest between him and his God, and per. formed my solemn office, though not perhaps satisfied that he was in so settled a condition of mind, that I could confidently speak of him as a truly converted man."— (Antiquus, p. 521.) But I must go beyond your Correspondent in the use of his coucluding language; for, in the case of Courvoisier, I was without fear of his “ placing superstitious reliance upon the opus operatum of the sacrament, to atone for his transgressions, and make his peace with God ;" as, doctrinally at least, he had at an early age been well instructed as to the nature of that holy ordinance.
Upon the general question raised by your correspondent, as to the administration of the Holy Sacrament to condemned criminals, I am in unison with Antiquus; but I must correct his statement that “ in our prisons the administration of the Sacrament is considered almost as much a matter of orderly prescription as the condemned sermon." The Rev. Mr. Cotton, my predecessor, frequently withheld it in cases of condemned convicts; and had Courvoisier omitted to make a full confession of his guilt, continued to prevaricate, or not utterly renounced his intention of committing suicide, I should certainly have refused his carnest request to participate in the Lord's Supper. Antiquus, I presume, has never been present at an execution, or his objections to the use of our present Burial Service would probably have been obviated. A very small portion of that beautiful service is used upon these melancholy occasions. Whilst the procession is going from the cell to the place of execution, the chaplain only reads the three opening sentences before the xxxix th Psalm. Upon reaching the scaffold, that portion of the service is read, commencing with “ Man that is born of a woman," and ending with the words "Suffer us not for any pains of death to fall from thee:"-then immediately follows the Lord's Prayer ; during the repetition of which, the fatal bolt is withdrawn, and the wretched culprit launched into the presence of his Maker and Judge.
If Antiquus will throw off his disguise, and confer with me per. sonally, I feel assured that he will see the propriety of abstaining, for the future, from subjecting, without a perfect knowledge of all cir. cumstances, to public notice and unkind reflections, the conduct of one who, in the discharge of his peculiarly onerous and trying du. ties, earnestly, and prayerfully, and conscientiously desires to fulfil the same.
The Rev. C. Baup, minister of the French Protestant church in Threadneedle Street, who is now in Switzerland, is preparing for publication an account of his pastoral intercourse with the unhappy Courvoisier, in the interval not long before his conviction, until the moment of his execution. Mr. B.'s judgment of the whole ca se entirely corresponds with my own.
I remain your obedient servant, Finsbury Circus, Oct. 19, 1840.
*** We have great pleasure in inserting Mr. Carver's explanation, and we think it quite satisfactory as regards his own zealous, careful, and conscientious discharge of his painful duties; but we see no reason to censure our former correspondent, for there was a primâ facie case which justly caused much public discussion. He assumed no “disguise;" nor was his name unknown to us; but it is not usual, and it would be thought ostentatious, for the writers of letters to periodical publications to affix their names, unless where something in their statement requires a reference for its authenticity.
Antiquus” was considering the question of “the general though not invariable custom,” of administering the Lord's supper to criminals before execution ; and he expressed his opinion from the circumstances detailed respecting the prevarications and falsehoods of Courvoisier, in which he persisted, till the discovery of the plate, while his trial was proceeding, rendered further denial useless ; and especially from the alleged and uncontradicted statement, that the wretched man meditated suicide a few hours before his execution- a statement given upon the authority of the governor of the prison himself.* — Antiquus expressed his opinion, from all these circumstances, that the criminal “
was not in a fit state to discern the Lord's body, and to feed on Christ in his heart by faith with thanksgiving.” But he by no means madenor should we have allowed—any personal attack upon the Reverend Chaplain, whose arduous duties entitle him to the most respectful consideration. He expressly said, that he did not mean "to impeach the chaplain of Newgate's conscientious integrity;" that “he doubtless considered the wretched man to be in a truly penitent state, so that he ought not to withold from him the most comfortable sacrament of the body and blood of Christ;" and he particularly mentioned that he did not know of the alleged second attempt at
• The only foundation for the con- possession, nor had be any means of jecture, was that he had torn a strip procuring or making it ; and keepers of list from his trousers, with which were in bis room (cell it is called, but it was alleged that he intended to it is a good sized apartment) watching bind bis arm, and to bleed himself to his every movement by night and by death with a piece of sharpened wood; day. but no such weapon was found in his
suicide ; but that he might be “deceived” by the professions of the prisoner, and that, in the view of the writer, it had been “a more sound discretion " to have withheld the administration. But this he stated merely as a matter of opinion (“I think ”), and Mr. Carver will perhaps find, that, even after his candid explanation, many persons, without meaning to blame him, will still take the same view of the subject. If, however, he would wish to know what is our own conclusion upon perusing the correspondence, we have no objection to state it. The very, very, late confession of Courvoisier, which was not till the disclosures on his trial caused him to despair of escape, reduces his case to the least hopeful condition of what is called death-bed repentance ; for it is rarely, that, in the instance of a sick person, death appears to him so near, so inevitable, and so appalling, as in that of a convicted murderer ; and there is not often some fearful and aggravated crime known to the spiritual adviser, and which presses on the dying man's conscience, with the weight of having committed, and being known to have committed, murder. All this, therefore, suggests cautious, though not uncharitable, conclusions ; or rather, it suggests the wisdom and duty of not concluding at all, but hoping the best, and leaving the determination with Him who alone can search the heart.
Yet, at the same time, as human scrutiny can decide only according to men's professions and conduct, we think, that under all the circumstances detailed in the above letter, relative to the criminal's apparently heart-felt penitence, and his knowledge of the true character and meaning of the Lord's Supper, the minister of Christ, after suitable warnings, exhortations, and questionings, would not have been justified in withholding the Sacrament if the professed penitent, confessing his faith in Christ, entreated to receive it. The apostle Paul lays great stress upon ". Let a man eramine himself; and so let him ea of that bread and drink of that cup.”
DEFENCE OF THE HIBERNIAN SOCIETY'S EMPLOYMENT OF
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
London Hibernian Society, 15 Ereter Hall, October 23rd, 1840. DEAR SIR, A letter having appeared in your periodical respecting the employment of Roman Catholic Teachers by the London Hibernian Society, which, notwithstanding the observations made by you in your answers to correspondents, (September), has excited considerable prejudice in many minds,* I trust you will give insertion to
[It might seem from the word "notwithstanding in our Correspondent's letter, that our observations were to the effect of approving of, or apologising for, the practice; whereas we merely quoted, as we were requested, the arguments which had been sent us in its defence; but intimated our dissent from the Society's conclusion in the following words: “We have no wish to enter into any controversy upon the subject; but we think it the duty of the Society to require that all its teachers shall be Protestants (that is, to accept none who are not such.) Those Romanists, who, for a morsel of bread, contravene the rules of their own church by becoming scriptural teachers, are not men in whom we should place much confidence, even if we did not object to
a few remarks, which will probably explain the matter, and, I trust, go far in justifying the course which the Committee have pursued.
You have already mentioned that the teachers of the Society's schools are appointed by the local patrons, subject to the sanction of the Parochial clergy. I must add to this, that it is the rule of the Committee not to give assistance to any school where a Roman Catholic teacher has been appointed, unless they are satisfied on two points :- 1st, That the school is situated in a Roman Catholic district, and that no Protestants are likely to attend. 2nd, That no other teacher but a Roman Catholic would be able to procure children to attend the school. Hence it appears that the work the Society is engaged in forwarding, when it gives assistance to such schools, is simply this-viz., the communication of Scriptural knowledge to Roman Catholic children through the instrumentality of Roman Catholic adults, in cases where that knowledge cannot be communicated in any other way. Is it, can it, be wrong to aid the devoted Protestants of Ireland in carrying on such a work, which they justly believe likely, because they have often found it so, to promote the eternal interests of both parties—the teacher and the taught ? For what indeed has been the result? I beg to call particular attention to the surprising and grati. fying fact. I have this moment before me the names of no less than 8.36 persons, who, having become connected with the Society as Roman Catholic teachers or readers, have been converted to Protestantism by being employed under it in giving instruction in the Word of God. Forty more have been reported, whose names can. not be ascertained ; and it we add to this, that in many instances the families of these men have been either converted also, or else educated as Protestants, we surely have before us a result which it is impossible to contemplate without feelings of thankfulness and joy.
Merely observing, in conclusion, that it will afford me great pleasure to shew the list of names referred to, to any one who may wish to call at the Office for the purpose of seeing it.
I remain, dear sir, very obediently yours,
REMARKS ON SOME PASSAGES OF ST. MATTHEW'S GOSPEL,
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. ii. l. "
Behold, there cama, wise men (uayor, magicians) from the East to Jerusalem." Rettig* conjectures that they were Jews; which
the appointment upon principle.” We still wish to refrain from controversy, and we shew our respect for the Society and its Secretary by inserting his letter; but further consideration of the matter in all its bearings only strengthens our conviction.]
I refer to a series of notes in the Theologische Studien und Kritiken for 1830, 1834, and 1838, which bear the signature of this writer.
[We could wish that in citing German biblical critics, -above all, the ultraNeologian Schleiermacher, whose semi-infidel Essay upon St. Luke we lately