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ty. On the complaint of some of them that several had been led to receive baptism, by force rather than by persuasion, he wrote to Virgil, bishop of Arles, and Theodore, bishop of Marseilles, condemning this mode of proceeding : * “for,” says he, "when any comes to the baptismal font, not by the sweet influence of preaching, but through necessity, falling back to his former superstition, he dies more fatally from the very cause which seemed to give him a new birth.” He ordered them to be allowed to assemble freely in their synagogue, and practise their rites without molestation : "for,” said he, “it is necessary by meekness, benignity, admonition and persuasion, to draw to the unity of faith those who dissent from the Christian religion, lest they be repelled by threats and terrors, who might have been induced to believe, by the sweetness of preaching, and the anticipated terror of the Judge who is to come.”+
When in Sardinia, a neophyte had taken possession of their synagogue, and erected in it the image of the Blessed Virgin and the cross: he ordered these to be reverently removed, and the place restored to its legitimate occupants. He ordered Fautinus, the Defender in the city of Palermo, to oblige the bishop of that city to give full satisfaction to the Jews for the synagogues taken from them, and for their ornaments and books.
Some Spanish bishops consulted Alexander II. in the year 1068, whether war could be waged against the Jews, as well as against the Saracens. The Pope replied negatively, giving as his reason, that the Saracens persecuted the Christians and drove them from their cities and possessions, and thereby gave occasion for a just war, whilst the Jews were every where inoffensive and subject to the ruling powers.|| In the thirteenth century, Innocent III. renewed the prohibition to force them to receive baptism, forbidding them at the same time to be deprived of their property, or to be interfered with in their received usages. He threatened with excommunication all who might make any attempt on their life, or liberty. Innocent IV., when appealed to by the Jews of Germany to protect them against the vexations and wrongs which they suffered, on false or unproved charges of infanticide, wrote, in 1247, to the bishops of Germany and France in their behalf, and urged that compensation should be made to them for the injuries inflicted. Clement VI., in 1348, forbad violence to be offered them, or that they should be forced to receive baptism, and by his efforts they were protected at Avignon, at a time when elsewhere they fell victims to popular fury. This has been the constant principle on which the Popes have acted in their regard.— Cath. Herald.
• L. 1, ep. xlvii. vide et l. viii. ep. xii. ad Paschasium.
S Ep. lv.
1 Ep. cccii.
INSCRIBED TO THE MEMORY OF THE VERY REV. J. M, PAQUIN, c. M.
Ah! what is life, when all that makes life dear
Is found on earth, but momently to last;
When spring is o’er, and all their sweetness past.
Their ripened fruits, for us, too early riven ;
Those virtues lost to earth were gained to Heaven.
Man should not mourn when Angel-choirs rejoice;
By earth imparted to the noble choice,
THE REV. ROMAIN WEINZEPHLIN.
[From the Catholic Advocate.] One or two political editors of Indiana have, we understand, endeavoured to make capital out of the release of this much injured man from the State prison in Jeffersonville, by the reprieve of Governor Whitcomb. They have denounced the act of the Governor as a flagrant abuse of his prerogative, and have based their denunciation on the supposed guilt of M. Weinzephlin.
* Now we have no design whatever to interfere either directly or indirectly with politics, and we are free to admit, that, if M. Weinzephlin was really guilty of the atrocious charge alleged against him, or if there could have been even a reasonable doubt of his entire innocence, he should have been compelled to remain in the Penitentiary during the full time for which he was sentenced. But if, on the contrary, he was wholly innocent and the victim of strong and unjust prejudice, and if the Governor was fully convinced of this fact, we see not why he should be blamed in the premises. He took full time to investigate the whole matter ; and, after mature consideration, he came to the conclusion, that the case was of such a character as to require his executive interposition, and he, accordingly acted up to this his conviction. No one can blame him for so doing, except those who would have required of him to let a man, whom he believed innocent, and whom he had every possible reason to believe much injured, still remain for years in a felon's prison.
Surely there are cases in which an innocent man falls a victim of popular clamor and prejudice ; and our laws seem to have contemplated this contingency
when they bestowed upon the executive the reprieving power. If there ever was a well ascertained case of the kind, such a one is certainly presented to us in M. Weinzephlin. Every body knows the bitter and settled prejudice which prevails amongst a large portion of the community against the religion of which he is a minister. Every one knows what means were employed to inflame this prejudice in the minds of the community in which he was to be tried. Every one knows how inflammatory were the appeals to popular prejudice made by the press of Evansville, and how deadly were the effects of these appeals on the minds of the populace. Every one knows the dreadful excitement that was gotten up in Evansville ; an excitement so great as to interrupt the preliminary trial, and to threaten the life of M. Weinz@phlin himself.
No efforts were spared to keep up this prejudice. Inflammatory articles and pamphlets appeared in rapid succession, and it became apparent to every reflecting and impartial man that it was next to impossible for M. Weinzephlin to obtain an impartial trial at Evansville, or in any of the adjoining counties. Yet, notwithstanding all this, the jury failed to convict him in the first trial at Evansville! The trial was — very unfortunately we think — transferred to an adjoining county, where the same prejudice existed, without the strong reaction which was already beginning to manifest itself in Evansville. After a trial the most remarkable, in many respects, that ever occurred, M. Weinzephlin was convicted and sentenced to the Penitentiary for five years!
The whole story was so improbable and absurd on the very face of it, the testimony was so inconsistent and self-contradictory, the character of the only witness was so open to suspicion, and the character of the defendant had been always so fair and unexceptionable, that men of sense and impartiality were astounded at the verdict, and began already more than to suspect that the priest had been made a victim to the insatiate Moloch of religious prejudice. The reaction came: petitions poured in to the Governor of Indiana from every quarter, with thousands of names both of Catholics and Protestants. The only motive alleged by all of them for a reprieve was the conviction of the priests innocence. And yet, owing to circumstances, nearly a year elapsed before his release from the prison to which he had been unjustly consigned.
Meantime the character of the woman, whose oath had sent an innocent man of irreproachable character to the penitentiary, became so notorious in Evansville, that men began to wonder how her testimony could ever have been credited for a moment, especially when her story was so palpably inconsistent and absurd. We have before us an authentic copy of a document recorded in the Vanderburg Circuit Court, which places the character of this woman in a most unenviable light. The document is posterior to the termination of the trial of M. Weinzephlin ; and, though it is certainly not edifying in its details, we may hereafter publish it, in case we should deem its publication at all necessary. At present we do not think it necessary, for her character is already publicly notorious in the community in which she is best known.
We will barely mention the fact that the latest petition forwarded to the Governor was signed by five hundred respectable ladies living in and about Evansville, most of them Protestants; and that they all prayed for M. Weinzeepblin's release on the ground of his innocence of the charge preferred against him.
We have several interesting documents bearing on this subject; and we publish three of them in the present number of our paper: the first, a letter to Governor Whitcomb, by our independent and talented Lieutenant Governor, Archibald Dixon, one of M. Weinzephlin's counsel; the second, a form of petition, signed by Mr.J. Lockhart, the prosecuting attorney, and other highly respectable individuals, all of them Protestants, and men of great standing and unim peachable character ; and the third a certificate signed by General J. R. Pratt, the excellent superintendent, and Dr. W. F. Collum, the clerk of the Penitentiary at Jeffersonville.
No. I. — Letter of the Hon. Archibald Dixon to Gov. Whitcomb : The undersigned, one of the counsel for the Rev. M. Weinzeephlin, who is now confined in the State prison of Indiana on the charge and conviction of committing a rape on the body of Ann Maria Schmoll, having heard that petitions had been gotten up and signed by many of the citizens of Indiana to your Excellency, praying the release of the said Weinzephlin, would beg leave, in aid and furtherance of the prayer of the petitioners, to say that he aided and assisted as one of the counsel of said Weinzephlin in his defence, that he examined closely and narrowly all the testimony adduced on the trial against him, and that, notwithstanding the verdict of the jury finding the defendant guilty, the undersigned had not then, nor has he now, a shadow of doubt resting on his mind of the injustice of the decision, growing out of the improper influences that were brought to bear upon the trial and the defendant's cause. While the undersigned disclaims all intention of impeaching the motives or honesty of intention of the jury who tried the cause, yet he cannot doubt that, in the midst of so much excitement as existed in the whole community in which the trial took place, against the priest, his religion, church, and the crime with which he stood charged, the feelings which ensued, common to all, pervaded, to some extent, the minds of the jury, entered unconsciously into their deliberations, and controlled, to a greater or less degree, their decisions. Having now no further interests in the priest and his cause than that which every good citizen should feel in aiding, as far as he can, in liberating from an ignominious bondage an unfortunate, and, as the undersigned conscientiously believes, persecuted gentleman, he again reiterates his solemn conviction of his entire innocence of the crime of which he was convicted, and unites his prayer with those who may have petitioned your Excellency for his release.
Very respectfully, &c.,
ARCHIBALD DIXON. VOL. 2.
No. II. — Petition of James Lockhart, Prosecuting Attorney, and of others. To his Excellency the Governor of the State of Indiana :
The undersigned, citizens of Vanderburg county, Indiana, respectfully recommend that Romain Weinzephlin, who is now confined in the State prison upon a charge of rape, is a fit subject for executive clemency.
The character of Mr. Weinzephlin, so far as we have any knowledge of it, previous to the charge of rape preferred against him by Mrs. Schmoll, was without spot or blemish; and his slender constitution, taken in connection with all of the circumstances connected with his trial and conviction, induce us to ask your Excellency to give his case a respectable consideration.
JAS. LOCKHART, (Pros. Attorney,)
No. III. -- Statement of Gen. Pratt and Dr. Collum, the Superintendent and
Clerk of the Penitentiary:
JEFFERSONVILLE, Nov. 7, 1844. Governor Whitcomb :
SIR -- At the solicitation of the friends of the Rev. Mr. Weinzephlin, who is confined in our prison on conviction for rape, and in accordance with our sympathy for him, founded on the belief of his innocence, we are induced to depart from our action in ordinary cases, and respectfully recommend him to executive clemency. . . · His deportment since his confinement, his amiable and gentle manners, and, above all, the evidence produced before us recently of the bad character of the accuser, (evidence which no doubt will be laid before your Excellency), have satisfied us that injustice has been done him, and induce us to ask that his case may be considered by you as one justly calling for pardon.
JAMES R. PRATT, Superintendent,
• We will merely add, that the Catholic clergy both of Indiana and Kentucky have all expressed themselves unanimously convinced of M. Weinzephlin's entire innocence.