Joseph McCabe (1867-1955) was one of the most prolific authors of all time. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic, worked on Latin documents, and made himself very well-informed about Christianity, but turned against it. But he was extremely naive about Jews; bear this in mind.

Click for Detailed notes on McCabe - scroll down for selections from A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (1948).

Here's the full A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (about 1.3 MBytes; Word format; includes notes on some of its limits)

Huguenots

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

Huguenots, The. The derivation of the word is obscure, but it was applied to the Protestants of France from the sixteenth century until they were suppressed. The ideas of the Reformers spread in France more extensively than in England, and were checked and ultimately extinguished only by violence. Literary speculation about how the "Latin temperament" kept France loyal to Rome is unhistorical rubbish. Calvin, who was a Frenchman - Cauvin was his real name - had hundreds of thousands of followers and was on good terms with the royal family before he was expelled. But the Protestants, or Huguenots, were still so numerous and distinguished that they formed a powerful military party under the heads of the Bourbon family, King Henry of Navarre and the famous Prince de Cond‚, and held their own so well in a series of civil wars that they won toleration in the Edict of Nantes [see]. The corrupt Catherine de Medici, who had at first favoured them for political reasons, had fallen under the influence of the Jesuits, and the savage St. Bartholomew Massacre [see] had followed. They were, however, still very powerful in the provinces, and when their champion, Henry of Navarre, had diplomatically accepted absolution as the price of the throne, he had promulgated the Edict. They again became so numerous and powerful that Richelieu, though no bigot, destroyed their fortified cities, holding that they formed a State within the State; but he did not further interfere with their liberties. Louis XIV [see], the most openly dissolute prince in Europe, was content, under his Jesuit confessors (who condoned his three decades of adultery), to nibble at the provisions of the Edict. His officials and priests harassed the Huguenots so cruelly that large numbers emigrated to England, Holland, and the American Colonies. When at length the gross scandals of his Court, and his failing health, persuaded Louis to enter upon the paths of virtue, he, by "one of the most flagrant political and religious blunders in the history of France" (Ency. Brit.), revoked the Edict (1685). It is estimated that in addition to those who had already gone, at least 300,000 left France, with their industries, thus inflicting upon it an economic blow from which it did not recover until the Revolution restored religious liberty. Professor Grant says, in the Cambridge Modern History (vol. V), that the expulsion "contributed materially to the rise of the anti-clerical movement of the next century which made the repetition of such an incident for ever impossible in Europe." It was rather the hypocrisy of the persecutors and the gross corruption of the Church that led to the growth of Rationalism, but it is more material to note how Prof. Grant overlooks the fact that there was in France (and other Catholic countries), in the last century, an even more savage fight against critics of the Church. [See Democracy and White Terror.] See also J. W. Thompson, The Wars of Religion in France (1909).

Return to Joseph McCabe Selection

Home Page

Scanning, HTML Rae West. First upload 2012-04-13