Page images



"At two o'clock the procession quitted the parsonagehouse for the church, headed and closed by a detachment of the "Guides" (the king's body-guard,) their music in front. The procession was formed by a deputation of the different brotherhoods of the parish, the council of administration of the church,—the community of the brethren of Christian schools,-the fathers of the Company of Jesus and of the congregation of Redemptorists,-the curé of the parish and a numerous clergy,—the cardinalarchbishop and his vicar-general,—the rector magnifique of the University of Louvain and several canons.

"More than three hundred men of the different regiments in town were drawn up in line to keep order.

"The crown was borne by eight young ladies dressed in white, accompanied by others carrying flowers and laurels. When they reached the church, it was placed on a rich pedestal at the feet of Mary.

"In the morning, the curé of the church was informed that the King had decided on accompanying her Majesty the Queen, and bringing with him his Royal Highness the Duke of Brabant. At three o'clock, the royal suite arrived; their Majesties were accompanied by the Countess Merode, etc., etc. . At the entrance of the church, the cardinal-archbishop, at the head of his clergy, complimented the King on his following the example of his august consort in honouring the grand solemnity with hist presence. The cardinal began the Veni Creator, which was executed by a full orchestra. The Rev. Father Boone addressed the assembly in a short and touching discourse, proving in a few words, that the crown offered to Mary was a crown of glory for her and a crown of joy for the people. The cardinal then blessed the crown; after which the imposing ceremony of the coronation took place.

"Preceded by two priests, who carried the precious treasure, the cardinal ascended the steps which were raised before the throne of Mary; and when the crown-proof of so


much affection and of so many good works and conversions -was placed on the head of the Mother of Mercy, the eyes of all the assembly were fixed on this good Mother, and expressed a feeling of the purest joy and most filial attachment; no pen can describe that moment of enthusiasm. The music of the "Guides," which had played during the ceremony, now ceased, and that of the college executed a hymn. The cardinal then consecrated to Mary the King, the Queen, their august children, the parish, the capital, and the whole of Belgium, and began the Magnificat; which, chanted by a numerous clergy, constrained every heart to the deepest devotion. The affecting ceremony being ended, the cardinal went to the high altar and gave the triple blessing, with the holy Sacrament; and then conducted their Majesties to the church door. It is impossible for us to describe the enthusiasm of the people, when the Royal family entered and quitted the church. "Long live the King! long live the Queen! long live the Duke of Brabant!" were repeated by more than 30,000 tongues. We are happy to see that it is to honour Mary the Duke of Brabant appears for the first time publicly in a church. In the evening there was an illumination in the streets through which the procession had passed, and also in different parts of the parish; the poor places vied with the rich in the number of lights. It was impossible for the people to be happier than they were at seeing the Royal family, the nobility and the high clergy associate with them in a festival which they had begun in such an interesting manner, and which, in establishing their religious principles, has given them a lesson of such high morality.'

"We will make no comments on the ceremony; it will speak to the hearts of all those who have been taught of God, more powerfully than we can do. We will only remark, that the golden-crowned Virgin held on her arm an image of Christ as a child, on whose head was a small



silver crown; we heard of no offering being made to the Child."

It is a happy omen of national improvement when metropolitan journals are employed to give publicity to the details of even superstitious rites. Things only which can endure scrutiny and the ordeal of public discussion, which may be freely canvassed without prejudice to their moral character, and remain subject to reflection and comparison, will continue the popular observances of religion or the public ordinances of a rational and sensitive people. I feel assured that the description of such scenes as identified with Divine worship, must be unpalatable to the priestly performers in the mummeries and mockeries of sacred things, which even the Journal de Bruxelles thus paraded before the people of Belgium.

[ocr errors]

** A legendary authority has given an origin to the name Antwerp" other than that I have mentioned; which, as connected with the Scheldt, is not uninteresting. M. Octave Delepreve, in his work "Old Flanders," gives the legend of Antigon, a gigantic pirate, who perpetrated his atrocities. on the Scheldt prior to the Roman dominion in Gaul. He encountered two lovers, Atuix and Frega, while crossing the river; and, by frightful displays of ferocity and power, attempted the destruction of both. He succeeded with one, cut off the hand of Atuix, and flung it into the river; after which he crushed the youth to death in his brawny arms. Years after the giant, in a fight with the Romans, fell before a warrior of apparent feebleness, who cut off his hand as he lay upon the earth. Just before the giant expired, his conqueror took off a helmet, and revealed to him the features of Frega, who thus avenged the fate of Atuix. From this incident Antwerp derived its name; Ant signifying a hand," and werpen "to throw," in allusion to the bloody hand thrown into the Scheldt.



Modern Belgian Cities-Church Establishments-Papal Persecutions -Reformation suppressed-Manufactures-Missionary efforts.

I HAD not completed the details and descriptions which I thought would be deemed deserving of notice, or acceptable to you in relation to Brussels, the capital of Belgium. find a discrepancy in the general accounts of the number of the population, as supplied in geographies, and the numbers that were mentioned to me in the city; that statement was made by residents who are themselves in constant intercourse with the people for benevolent purposes; gentlemen who conduct the operations of the Bible Society, and of the Belgian Evangelical Society who, from their locality and their engagements, are intimately acquainted with the place. You will find it stated in guide-books to be somewhere about 150,000; but they represented it to me as containing, including its suburbs as well as within its walls, about 200,000.

Brussels, most of you know, was once celebrated for its carpetings and its tapestry; Brussels carpets having long been an article of commerce and of luxury to the wealthiest classes in Britain. But its manufacture is now confined to a lighter fabric than the Brussels carpet. The ladies will remember what I mean when I speak of Brussels lace. That is a product which comes from the gentle hands of women; who, I am sorry to say, there, as in other places,

[blocks in formation]

are not sufficiently remunerated for their labour. The Brussels lace is prepared by a process of very delicate manufacture; the small figures and diminutive flowers, which, though exquisitely fine, are finished with great dexterity, and give the beauty as well as value to the lace, are separately made first, and then incorporated with the body of the texture as it is presented to the ladies who wear it. I understand that this elegant and costly article is considered to be so valuable in some of its products as to be worth more than its weight in gold: sixty francs being paid oftentimes for a yard of this lace. There is a large quantity produced by the tradespeople of Brussels; and I believe it is almost the principal, if not the only occupation of the operative classes, except it be the manufacture of books.

It seems that the letter-press printing has much increased in later years in Brussels; the booksellers finding it for their advantage to republish English and French works, and to sell them as they have opportunity in the market. I have never sympathized with the severe and hostile reprobation with which what is called foreign literary piracy has been denounced, both by authors and bibliopolists. The greater the legitimate facilities for the diffusion of knowledge, the better for itself and for those who labour as its ministers. Its quiet and unresisted, but onward progress, moreover, may be promoted effectually by what might correctly be designated international plagiary: since it is probable that, while full liberty is withheld from the press in the vernacular language of the people, the authorities may be less. vigilant in excluding the same matter in a foreign tongue. If, in Milton's phrase, a good book be "that ethereal and fifth essence, the breath of reason itself;" if such "do contain a potency within them as active as was that soul whose progeny they are; nay," if "they do preserve, as in a vial, the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them;" and if it be "almost as good kill a man as kill a good book:" since "he who destroys a good book

« PreviousContinue »