Monday, April 27, 2015

A Popular History of France: Nearing the Bitter End

95.5 hours of listening done.  Only 4.5 hours to go.  Francois Guizot's long history of France from the beginnings has been quite a journey.  The part that I had missed in my earlier studies was the immense persecution thrown at the Christians by the Papists.  Multiple wars of extermination were waged over centuries with truces at different times, followed by more treachery from the Romanists.  Something sad was that the attempts to exterminate Christianity were often done side by side with a ban on exiting the country, thus, the Hugenots could be killed for staying and killed for leaving.  This eventually had a critical effect on their colonies, as the determination to maintain Popery as the established religion in Canada precluded a mass emigration of French citizens to this area, which eventually left them too weak to resist the English.

Another more familiar area to me is the era of the "philosophers", meaning Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, and others.  Diderot gets off better, but most of the "philosophers" seem to have been little more than foul mouthed mockers.  It is as if a pack of unruly arsonists should be congratulated as heroes of architecture.  Voltaire comes off a little better when he decides to support some of the persecuted protestants against the papists.  The churlish side of me wants to say that he was probably just using the protestants as a pretext for venting against the catholics, but I should be more generous and not second guess the motives.  The work is now just short of the French revolution, which is where it ends.  I have a few other works on the French Revolution and one on the history of France in the 19th century to finish this ordeal with.


Max Coutinho said...

Hi Looney,

Diderot mocked the Catholic Church like no man's business; just read "La Religieuse" (in English, The Memoirs of a Nun). I almost compelled to feel sorry for the Church; although I also chuckled at some of the things written there.

Of course the Catholic Church committed a lot of sins, but at least it has evolved. How about others who have been committing the same sins since their inception? Of those very few dare to speak of.

The French Revolution was sponsored by the French Aristocracy to bring down a king that was trying to rip them off because of his bad decisions, regarding America. But of course, it is more positive to emphasize the role of the peasantry and the urban poor in the revolution, even though they had no means to plan and sponsor it nor to implement it by themselves.


Looney said...

Max, thanks for the note on Diderot. You are reminding me that what I am doing is just an initial survey.

I have had much less sympathy for the Catholic church after reading about all the wars of extermination waged against Christians here and there over a period of centuries. I agree that the Catholics have largely been defanged, but that leaves some other monsters on the loose.

And now back to the second American revolution! Insanity is finally going to rise up and throw off the tyranny and injustices imposed by sanity!

Max Coutinho said...


You're welcome.
So true (about the other monsters on the loose; but again, it seems like there will always be a monster to fight against).

I hear you...