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BELGIUM


395


BELGmM


and thus give notice of the approach of the enemy, or a tower used in besieging a fortified place; it was of wood and movable. In England the bell-tower usually forms a part of the church, but it is some- times detached from it, as at Evesham, Worcester- shire, and Berkeley, Gloucestershire; Chichester cathedral, Sussex, etc. At Pembridge, in Hereford- shire, there is a detached belfry built entirely of wood, the frame in which the bells are hung arising from the ground, with merely a casing of boards.

In Belgium, one of the earliest architectural expressions of the newly acquired independence (12th centurj') was the erection of a belfry. The right of possessing a bell was one of the first privileges in all old charters, not only as a symbol of power, but as a means of caUing the community together. The tower, too, in which the bell was hung was a symbol of power in the Middle Ages: the first care of everj' enfranchised community was to erect a " tower of pride" proportionate to its importance. The tower was generally the record-office of the city. All these uses have passed away, and most of the belfries have either fallen into neglect or been appro- priated to other purposes. Of those remaining the oldest seems to be that of Toumay, a fine tower, though it is a good deal altered and its effect de- stroyed by modem additions. The belfry at Ghent was commenced in 1183, but the stone-work was only completed in 1337. In 1376 a wooden spire was placed upon it, making the height 237 feet. This spire was recently taken down in order to complete the tower according to the original design, which, like that of most of the unfinished buildings of Bel- gium, has been carefully preserved. When finished it will be about 300 feet in height, and one of the finest belfries in the countrj'.

FERonssoN, History of Architecture. I. 600, 601; II. 101; P.KRKER, Glossary of Architecture. I. 53: Nicholson", Glossary of Architecture. I, 35: BRrrroN. Dictionary of Architecture and Archceology. 82; Dictionary of Architecture. Architectural Publi- cation Society^ I, 57; Stdrgis, Dictionary of Architecture. I, 268, 272.

Thom.\s H. Poole.

Belgium. — I. The N.^poleoxic Er.\. — The vic- tory of Fleurus, gained by the French army over the Austrian forces, 26 June, 1794, gave to revolutionary France all the territories which constitute Belgium of to-day: the Austrian Netherlands, the ecclesiastical principahty of Liege, the little monastic principality of Stavelot-Malmedy, and the Duchy of Bouillon. The French, who professed to have entered the coun- try to deliver the Belgians from the yoke of tyranny and to liberate them, in reality gave them.selves up to such pillaging and extortion that, as a Brussels mag- istrate said, they left the inhabitants nothing but their eyes to weep with. After this, in alleged com- pliance with the express wish of the Belgians, who as a matter of fact had not been consulted, a decree of the Convention, dated 1 October, 1795, proclaimed the annexation of the Belgian provinces to France.

At the beginning of the French rule, which was to last twenty years (1794-1S14), religious conditions were not identical in the annexed countries. Re- ligion was deeply rooted in what had formerly been the Austrian Netherlands. They had revolted in 1789 against the reforms of Joseph II, which were inspired by the spirit of sophistry. Jansenism, Febronianism, and Josephinism had gained but few partisans there; the I'ni versify of Louvain was a bulwark of Catholic orthodoxy; even the Vonck- ist party, which in 1789 had been clamouring for political reforms, showed great respect for religion and had taken as its motto Pro oris et joci.f. On the other hand, in the ancient principality of Liege, which, since the fourteenth centurj' had shown the deepest sympathy with France, public sentiment was gallo- phile, revolutionary, and even somewhat Voltairean; the predominant desire was to throw off the yoke of


the priests, and the principality had Uterally cast it- self into the arms of France through hatred of the theocracy. But the French Ciovernment soon caused these local differences to be lost sight of in the com- mon hatred of the foreign oppressor.

The Directory began by enforcing, one after an- other, the French revolutionarj' laws concerning mo- nastic orders and public worship in Belgiimi. Re- ligious houses, except those devoted to teaching or to the care of the sick, were suppressed; it was forbid- den to wear an ecclesiastical garb; the clerg)' were forced to publish a declaration recognizing the people of France as the sovereign authority, and promising submission and obedience to the laws of the Republic; the communes were forbidden to contribute to the expenses of public worship and everj^ external sym- bol of religion was prohibited. The Belgians stood firm, and the elections of the fifth year having shown an undeniable reaction of public opinion against the revolutionary spirit, the clergj- appealed to the Five Hundred (Cinq Cents) to demand a suspension of the declaration until a papal decision should be received settling the question of its licitness. In the mean- while, the priests who had not made the declaration continued to exercise their priestly functions in the Belgian provinces, and the tribunal of La Dyle ac- quitted those who were brought before it. At this juncture, CamiUe Jordan made a favourable report to the Cinq Cents on the clergj^'s request, and thus the Belgians had the honour of changing the current of French legislation for the better.

The covp d'etat of the fifth Fructidor, however, carried out by the revolutionary members of the Directory, destroyed all hope. The \"ictorious con- spirators dismissed many Belgians who had been elected, and the elections of the sixth year, con- ducted under the violent pressure of republican dep- uties, gave the Government the wished-for results. Then persecution began again. The observance of the decadi, or the last day of the republican decade (week of ten days), was made obhgatorj' and tlie Sun- day rest was forbidden; for the second time, the wearing of any ecclesiastical garb was prohibited; in the suppression of religious orders no exception was made for nursing and teaching orders; seminaries and secular chapters were likewise abolished. The L^ni- versity of Louvain was closed on the ground of not ha\-ing "the kind of public instruction conformable to Republican principles". As if the "declaration" had not sufficiently overtaxed consciences, priests were compelled to take an oath of hatred for royalty. On the refusal of the great majority, they were ban- ished en masse and a decree issued, closing all churches served by recalcitrant priests. The officials of many communes ignored this order, and in more than one respect, it became a source of trouble. The inter- dicted priests continued to exercise their functions in the woods, or in private houses which afforded them places of retreat; in many places the faithful, de- prived of the clergj', assembled in churches or in barns, to celebrate "blind Masses", as they were called, viz. Masses without consecration, or any ser- vices at the altar. The French deputies daily de- vised new methods of persecution in revenge for the opposition of public opinion, all the more uncon- querable by reason of its silence and its tranquillity.

Things did not rest here. The spark that started the conflagration was the enforcing (1798) in the Belgian provinces of the French conscription laws re- qviiring the enlistment of young men in the armies of the Republic. Rather than shed their blood for mas- ters whom they hated, they rose in revolt, first in Wacsland and in Campine, then in Flanders and in German Luxemburg. The Walloon provinces took part in the movement, but with much less energy. This was "the peasants' war" called in Luxemburg, "the war of the cudgels" {Kliippelkrieg). There was