Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pro Christo et Pro Grege

Isaac Disraeli, Commentaries on the Life and Reign of Charles the First, King of England, Vol. 1, p. 348:

As late as in 1621, the Huguenots, in their assembly at La Rochelle, had formally declared the erection of federative Republics in France; they had divided France into circles, and had even assigned to each department its respective "commandant." This new Republic, which was avowedly formed on the model of the Republic of Holland, we are assured by a very judicious historian, would have been finally established, had the leaders united in their views. It was chiefly by their divisions that Richelieu succeeded, in course of time, in annihilating this powerful faction. There were among the Protestants a considerable party who were not republicans,—a circumstance which often occasioned the most contrary or ambiguous conduct; the republicans being anxious to manifest to the world what their monarchical companions were as anxious to conceal. This strange discordance appeared when the assembly of La Rochelle resolved on having a new seal engraved to stamp their commissions and ordinances. The Genevan system, politics grafted on religion, discovered itself in an extraordinary manner, by the design on the seal of La Rochelle. An angel leaning on a cross, was holding a book high in the air, bearing the Latin inscription— Pro Christo et Rege (for Christ and the King); but by the ambi-dextrous contrivance of the state-engraver, who had to obey two very different masters, the true reading was—Pro Christo et Grege (for Christ and the flock). This was effected by faintly engraving the G, which the sharper eyes of the Republicans exultingly traced, and appealed to as an evidence that they had thrown off the yoke of monarchy, and were only obeying the Republic, which they sanctified as "the flock of Jesus Christ."

Louis Delmas (George L. Catlin, trans.), The Huguenots of La Rochelle: A Translation of "The Reformed Church of La Rochelle. An Historical Sketch," pp. 122-123:

This Assembly had had a special seal engraved to be stamped upon its decisions. On this proof it has been accused of having wished to establish in France a second Holland, etc. But from the moment it is admitted that the war was just, -- and, right or wrong, it had that appearance in the eyes of the Assembly, -- it cannot be considered strange that this body provided its own organization, rules, and sign of recognition. This seal, moreover, was simply a religious emblem, such as may be seen on the first pages of religious books in use by the Reformers, with an "exergue" showing that arms had been taken up for Christ and the flock, Pro Christo et grege. But the first letter of the last word having been badly stamped on the wax, the meaning was entirely different, and the phrase signified "for Christ and the King," pro Christo et rege, which led some people to believe that there were two seals.

No comments:

Post a Comment