The poor Heidelbergers, thus thrown into the street, made applications, lamentations; but with small prospect of help: to whom apply with any sure prospect? Remonstrances from Hessen-Cassel have proved unavailing with his bigoted Serene Highness. CORPS EVANGELICORUM, so presided over as at present, what can be had of such a Corpus? Long-winded lucubrations at the utmost; real action, in such a matter; none. Or will the Kaiser, his Jesuits advising him, interfere to do us justice? Kur-Mainz and the rest;--it is everywhere one story. Everywhere unhappy Protestantism getting bad usage, and ever worse; and no Corpus Evangelicorum, or appointed Watchdog, doing other than hang its ears, and look sorry for itself and us!--
The Heidelbergers, however, had applied to Friedrich Wilhelm among others. Friedrich Wilhelm, who had long looked on these Anti-Protestant phenomena with increasing anger, found now that this of the Heidelberg Catechism and HEILIGE-GEIST KIRCHE was enough to make one's patience run over. Your unruly Catholic bull, plunging about, and goring men in that mad absurd manner, it will behoove that somebody take him by the horns, or by the tail, and teach him manners. Teach him, not by vocal precepts, it is likely, which would avail nothing on such a brute, but by practical cudgelling and scourging to the due pitch. Pacific Friedrich Wilhelm perceived that he himself would have to do that disagreeable feat:--the growl of him, on coming to such resolution, must have been consolatory to these poor Heidelbergers, when they applied!--His plan is very simple, as the plans of genius are; but a plan leading direct to the end desired, and probably the only one that would have done so, in the circumstances. Cudgel in hand, he takes the Catholic bull,--shall we say, by the horns?--more properly perhaps by the tail; and teaches him manners.
FRIEDRICH WILHELM'S METHOD;--PROVES REMEDIAL IN HEIDELBERG.
Friedrich Wilhelm's first step, of course, was to remonstrate pacifically with his Serene Highness on the Heidelberg-Church affair: from this he probably expected nothing; nor did he get anything. Getting nothing from this, and the countenance of external Protestant Powers, especially of George I. and the Dutch, being promised him in ulterior measures, he directed his Administrative Officials in Magdeburg, in Minden, in Hamersleben, where are Catholic Foundations of importance, to assemble the Catholic Canons, Abbots, chief Priests and all whom it might concern in these three Places, and to signify to them as follows:--
"From us, your Protestant Sovereign, you yourselves and all men will witness, you have hitherto had the best of usage, fair-play, according to the Laws of the REICH, and even-more. With the Protestants at Heidelberg, on the part of the Catholic Powers, it is different. It must cease to be different; it must become the same. And to make it do so, you are the implement I have. Sorry for it, but there is no other handy. From this day your Churches also are closed, your Public Worship ceases, and furthermore your Revenues cease; and all makes dead halt, and falls torpid in respect of you. From this day; and so continues, till the day (may it be soon!) when the Heidelberg Church of the Holy Ghost is opened again, and right done in that question. Be it yours to speed such day: it is you that can and will, you who know those high Catholic regions, inaccessible to your Protestant Sovereign. Till then you are as dead men; temporarily fallen dead for a purpose. And herewith God have you in his keeping!" [Mauvillon, i. 347, 349.]
That was Friedrich Wilhelm's plan; the simplest, but probably the one effectual plan. Infallible this plan, if you dare stand upon it; which Friedrich Wilhelm does. He has a formidable Army, ready for fight; a Treasury or Army-chest in good order. George I. seconds, according to bargain; shuts the Catholic Church at Zelle in his Luneburg Country, in like fashion; Dutch, too, and Swiss will endorse the matter, should it grow too serious. All which, involving some diplomacy and correspondence, is managed with the due promptitude, moreover. [Church of Zelle shut up, 4th November; Minden, 28th November; Monastery of Hamersleben, 3d December, &c. (Putter,
The Magdeburg-Hamersleben people shrieked piteously; not to Friedrich Wilhelm, whom they knew to be deaf on that side of his head, but to the Kaiser, to the Pope, to the Serenity of Heidelberg. Serene Highness of Heidelberg was much huffed; Kaiser dreadfully so, and wrote heavy menacing rebukes. To which Friedrich Wilhelm listened with a minimum of reply; keeping firm hold of the tail, in such bellowing of the animal. The end was, Serene Highness had to comply; within three months, Kaiser, Serene Highness and the other parties interested, found that there would be nothing for it but to compose themselves, and do what was just. April 16th, 1720, the Protestants are reinstated in their HEILIGE-GEIST KIRCHE; Heidelberg Catechism goes its free course again, May 16th; and one Baron Reck [Michaelis, ii. 95; Putter, ii. 384, 390; Buchholz, pp. 61-63.] is appointed Commissioner, from the CORPUS EVANGELICORUM, to Heidelberg; who continues rigorously inspecting Church matters there for a considerable time, much to the grief of Highness and Jesuits, till he can report that all is as it should be on that head. Karl Philip felt so disgusted with these results, he removed his Court, that same year, to Mannheim; quitted Heidelberg; to the discouragement and visible decay of the place; and, in spite of humble petitions and remonstrances, never would return; neither he nor those that followed him would shift from Mannheim again, to this day.
PRUSSIAN MAJESTY HAS DISPLEASED THE KAISER AND THE KING OF POLAND.