To Friedrich Wilhelm the scarcity of progeny is a thrice-interesting fact. For if this actual Neuburg should leave no male heir, as is now humanly probable,--the Line of Neuburg too is out; and then great things ought to follow for our Prussian House. Then, by the last Bargain, made in 1666, with all solemnity, between the Great Elector, our Grandfather of famous memory, and your serene Father the then Pfalz-Neuburg, subsequently Kur-Pfalz, likewise of famous memory, son of the Beslapped,--the whole Heritage falls to Prussia, no other Pfalz Branch having thenceforth the least claim to it. Bargain was express; signed, sealed, sanctioned, drawn out on the due extent of sheepskin, which can still be read. Bargain clear enough: but will this Karl Philip incline to keep it?
That may one day be the interesting question. But that is not the question of controversy at present: not that, but another; for Karl Philip, it would seem, is to be a frequent stone-of-stumbling to the Prussian House. The present question is of a Protestant-Papist matter; into which Friedrich Wilhelm has been drawn by his public spirit alone.
KARL PHILIP AND HIS HEIDELBERG PROTESTANTS.
The Pfalz population was, from of old, Protestant-Calvinist; the Electors-Palatine used to be distinguished for their forwardness in that matter. So it still is with the Pfalz population; but with the Electors, now that the House of Simmern is out, and that of Neuburg in, it is not so. The Neuburgs, ever since that slap, on the face, have continued Popish; a sore fact for this Protestant population, when it got them for Sovereigns. Karl Philip's Father, an old soldier at Vienna, and the elder Brother, a collector of Pictures at Dusseldorf, did not outwardly much molest the creed of their subjects. Protestants, and the remnant of Catholics (remnant naturally rather expanding now that the Court shone on it), were allowed to live in peace, according to the Treaty of Westphalia, or nearly so; dividing the churches and church-revenues equitably between them, as directed there. But now that Karl Philip is come in, there is no mistaking his procedures. He has come home to Heidelberg with a retinue of Jesuits about him; to whom the poor old gentleman, looking before and after on this troublous world, finds it salutary to give ear.
His nibblings at Protestant rights, his contrivances to slide Catholics into churches which were not theirs, and the like foul-play in that matter, had been sorrowful to see, for some time past. The Elector of Mainz, Chief-Priest of Germany, is busy in the same bad direction; he and others. Indeed, ever since the Peace of Ryswick, where Louis XIV. surreptitiously introduced a certain "Clause," which could never be got rid of again, ["CLAUSE OF THE FOURTH ARTICLE" is the technical name of it. FOURTH ARTICLE stipulates that King Louis XIV. shall punctually restore all manner of towns and places, in the Palatinate &c. (much BURNT, somewhat BE-JESUITED too, in late Wars, by the said Kihg, during his occupancy): CLAUSE OF FOURTH ARTICLE (added to it, by a quirk, "at midnight," say the Books) contains merely these words,
Karl Philip, after some nibblings, took up the Heidelberg Catechism (which candidly calls the Mass "idolatrous"), and ordered said Catechism, an Authorized Book, to cease in his dominions. Hessen-Cassel, a Protestant neighbor, pleaded, remonstrated, Friedrich Wilhelm glooming in the rear; but to no purpose. Our old gentleman, his Priests being very diligent upon him, decided next to get possession of the HEILIGE-GEIST KIRCHE (Church of the Holy Ghost, principal Place of Worship at Heidelberg), and make it his principal Cathedral Church there. By Treaty of Westphalia, or peaceably otherwise, the Catholics are already in possession of the Choir: but the whole Church would be so much better. "Was it not Catholic once?" thought Karl Philip to himself: "built by our noble Ancestor Kaiser Rupert of the Pfalz, Rupert KLEMM ["Pincers," so named for his firmness of mind]:-- why should these Heretics have it? I will build them another!" These thoughts, in 1719, the third year of Karl Philip's rule, had broken out into open action (29th August, 4th September the consummation of it) [Mauvillon, i. 340-345.] and precisely in the ime when Friedrich Wilhelm was penning that first Didactic Morsel which we read, grave clouds from the Palatinate were beginning to overshadow the royal mind more or less.
For the poor Heidelberg Consistorium, as they could not undertake to give up their Church on request of his Serenity,--"How dare we, or can we?" answered they,--had been driven out by compulsion and stratagem. Partly strategic was the plan adopted, to avoid violence; smith's picklocks being employed, and also mason's crowbars: but the end was, On the 31st of August, 1719, Consistorium and Congregation found themselves fairly in the street, and the HEILIGE-GEIST KIRCHE clean gone from them. Screen of the Choir is torn down; one big Catholic edifice now; getting decorated into a Court Church, where Serene Highness may feel his mind comfortable.
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!--