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“the famous hole,” or tunnel, which was made to conduct the voice of a man to an image of the Virgin in the chapel,
to the opinion of Thomas Aquinas on this knotty point of the “Immaculate Conception," that the Dominicans resoi ted to a conspiracy as impious in its proceedings as it was fraudulent in its design; and Berne was fixed upon as the theatre of their drama. By means of a most refined series of artful delusions practised upon a Lay Brother, named Jetzer, the Prior and several Monks of the House, had nearly converted him into an oracle to restore the decayed interests of the Order of St. Dominic. Apparitions of the Virgin, with a glorious retinue of Angels, her gracious and repeated caresses, her imprint of the five stigmata (like those of St. Lucia and St. Catherine) on his body, were successively employed to persuade the poor monk that he was the living image of the Saviour's passion; and he suffered his knavish brethren to exhibit him on the grand altar with these real wounds about him, to the astonishment of the miracle-loving multitude, and to the great mortification of the Cordeliers. But in carrying on the farce, the Jacobins over acted it, and ruined themselves. Whilst Jetzer, under the stupifying influence of their drugs, yet remained in the chapel, a monk caused his voice to be heard through the pipe communicating from a cell to the image of the Virgin, holding the Infant Christ in her arms, so as to produce the effect of a conversation between mother and son. A painter had given to the cheeks of the former tears like nature itself; these served as a pretext for the little Jesus to ask his mother why she wept, that the Virgin might reply, that it grieved her to see herself made parta ker of an honour, which belonged to him alone, by asserting as the Franciscans did that she had been conceived without sin. All this, concerted for the purpose of more completely deceiving Jetzer, produced just the contrary effect: his eyes became opened to the whole trick; and he upbraided the monks for their villainy. They did not scruple to acknowledge the truth; and by dint of cajolery induced the lay brother to join with them in continuing the imposture on the people. Not however having sufficient confidence in their former dupe, now their ally, the Dominicans made several ineffectual efforts to dispatch him by poison, the last of which was administered in the host at the sacrament. But escaping from their murderous hands, Jetzer made a full disclosure of the mystery to the magistrates, who immediately arrested four of the leading conspirators, and forming a proces verbal of the charge, sent it to Rome. The Franciscans also bestirred themselves and procured an Episcopal Commission, which, not coming to any decision, was followed a year after by a Papal delegation. The crime was fully proved; the four monks were de. graded from the order of priesthood; and on the 31st of May, 1509, were during the progress of one of the most infamous impostures that were ever brought to light. “ The discovery of this signal cheat, only twenty years before the Reformation was received at Berne, (he observes) probably contributed not a little to the preparing of the spirits of the people to that change.”
Since the new Temple-du-Saint-Esprit was finished, the Senate, it appears, has probibited, under severe penalties, all allusion to the history of Jetzer and the Dominicans.
We asked the reason, since the notable affair of which this spot was the site and scene bad taken place previous to the Reformation, why a Calvinistic State like that of Berne, should be so anxious about consigning to oblivion any particulars serving to expose the fanaticism, cheats, and atrocities of a set of monkish impostors? The reply given us was, that from policy rather than from forbearance the State bad thought proper to suppress all public reference to this most remarkable and well authenticated instance of religious fraud, and to other things of a similar kind. Considering that in the Helvetic Confederation, the Roman Catholics are much more numerous than the Protestants, the latter deem it imprudent to allow such
burnt at Berne, in a meadow which is on the other side of the river opposite the great church. Burnet (to whose more circumstantial and very curious details the reader is referred) concludes (p. 32) in the following terms :“The place of the monks' execution was shewed me, as well as the hole in the wall through which the voice was conveyed to the image. It was certainly one of the blackest, and yet the best carried on cheat, that has ever been known, and no doubt had the poor friar died before the discovery, it had passed down to posterity as one of the greatest miracles that ever was: and it gives a shrewd suspicion that many of the other miracles of the Church of Rome were of the same nature, but more successfully finished."
subjects to be canvassed, lest it should irritate the Clergy of the former persuasion.
Thus, in the 19th century, Images may weep; Pictures may shew symptoms of life and intellect; Prince Hobenlohe may work miracles à la distance; all to prove the identity of the only true and saving faith with the creed of the Church of Rome. And, with these “signs of the times" before them, the safe politicians of a Protestant canton can coolly forbid their people having access to the means of comparing such modern wonders with the detected ingenuities of former days !*
Every step we took within its confines induced us to contemplate Berne with the most favourable sentiments, not merely as a well-built, neat, interesting, and deligbtfully situated place-but indeed as one of the finest cities, rivalling amidst the rocks of Switzerland some of the most superb that adorn the plains of Italy; and for a residence yielding to none that we have yet seen in our tour. It stands on a steep ridge formed into almost an island by the Aar. The houses are constructed of hewn stone upon arcades, wbich remind one of Turin; and though they have too heavy and uniform an appearance to please the eye in search of picturesque varieties; yet the shelter they all afford and the amusement which many of them offer,
• The stipulation of the Treaty of Arau, in 1712, between the Swiss Protestants and Catholics, it appears, contained an express prohibition to each party, “not to use any terms of raillery or contempt, in speaking of their respective worships," ( Coxe o. 1, p. 67.) But this can hardly be con. strued into an authoritative precedent for preventing the former, at the present day, from freely and openly referring to those historical facts, which shew the necessity that there was for a Religious Reformation, and which form the justification of their ancestors' conduct, in separating themselves from the Papal communion.
render them sufficiently acceptable to the visitor. The Great Street, more than a mile in length, broad enough for four carriages to pass abreast, and extending in a gentle curve-lined right and left with goodly mansionsornamented in the middle with a succession of columns and fountains--refreshed throughout with a lively current of clear spring water confined in beds of free-stone-and enriched with towers and edifices of a simple but stately architecture-of such a street as this we may go far and not see the equal; yet some of the transverse ones yield to it only in extent and width, and no wise in either airiness or cleanliness.
At the western extremity of the great street, we remarked a fountain, which goes by the name of that of David, being embellished with a sculptural image of the sling-armed stripling. It faces the gate, which, from an ugly colossal figure placed in a balcony above the archway, and within the city, derives its name of Goliath. From this gate we proceeded round the fortifications that stretch across the isthmus, or space uniting the peninsular promontory to the main-land. They appear to be well calculated to defend those points, to which Nature herself has not, as in nearly every other, furnished protection.-A walk in the lower town, the descent to which is by long flights of covered stairs, presented to us in a new aspect the imposing features of this very handsome place. It is there that one perceives the extraordinary labour bestowed on the construction of the extensive line of terraces, which, looking down upon the river, support in grand masses of masonry not only the promenade of the noble Cathedral, but also a row of fine buildings with their respective vineyards and gardens; such as would do honour to any city in the world.*
After a day of delicious weather, the landscape was still glowing in summer's richest tints: we therefore took a char-a-banc to the heights of the Altenberg, situated at a short distance to the north-east of the city; and we were gratified with one of the most magnificent views in the world—the different grades of the Bern-Oberlandes, extending in one vast chain of glaciers and high alps, gloriously illumined by the setting sun! This is indeed a scene that bafiles description; so greatly does it in variety, extent, immensity, and splendour, surpass all that imagination can conceive or memory retain. A gently undulating country, in the most rural
* Berne dates its foundation no higher than the year 1191. Before that epocha its site was a forest. German is the language of the people; of the religion; and of the laws: but among the higher classess both French and German are spoken; and there is a Protestant Church where the service is performed in the latter tongue.-The Reformed religion is that of the city and of the whole canton. The Sabbath and sacred festivals are very strictly and solemnly observed. The population does not exceed twelve thousand, which is very little considering the magnitude of the place, the opulence of its resident nobility, the extent of the Bernese territory, and the respectability of its government. But there is a strongly marked line of separation between the families of those who hold the Sovereign power and the rest of the citizens. This throws such impediments in the way of social intercourse, as are said to deter even strangers in general from making any long stay within its walls. Commerce and manufactares meet here, neither with encouragement from enterprise on the one hand, nor with restrictions from jealousy on the other. Such occupations are considered as derogatory. Magisterial offices and military service are the favourite objects of ambition and solicitude with the young Bernese. It is at Berne that the British Legation to the Swiss Cantons, generally resides.- This city is six leagues N. E. of Fribourg, eighteen $. of Bale, twenty W. of Lucerne, and thirtyone distant from Geneva.