THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
who insisted that the conduct of the authorities had been very reprehensible; even assuming the alleged miracles to be illusory or fraudulent, the sincere belief of the multitude ought to have been respected. Dr. Friedenthal, acting Minister of the Interior, replied:
"He was prepared to defend the action of the police, there being plenty of prima-facie evidence to show that the Marpingen miracle was a fraud. The alleged miracle happened in a district strongly infected by the Ultramontane movement, and previously productive of similar apparitions that had attracted the notice of the law. Early in 1875 a woman began to work miracles at Eppelborn, close to Marpingen, under the patronage of the local priest. She was convicted of fraud and sentenced to imprisonment. The same woman and the local priest who assisted her were subsequently again convicted of fraud, false pretenses, and gross immorality. The Marpingen miracle was no sooner bruited about than a school-girl at Groning, also near Marpingen, stated that she had had an audience of the Virgin. The girl was severely reprimanded by her father, when the visions ceased. At Berschweiler, likewise near Marpingen, no less than five persons between eleven and nineteen years of age, in 1876, professed to be in daily intercourse with the Virgin. A profitable trade in exorcisms, salvations from purgatory, and the like, having been opened by them, the authorities interfered. The police court eventually sent the whole gang to prison. At Gappenach a married couple were convicted of fraud for stating that they had seen the Virgin conversing with the three little girls in a bottle of Marpingen water. At Münchwies, district of Ottweiler, a couple of school-girls pretended to have interviews with the Virgin, until the parish priest objected to the story, when the apparitions ceased. Considering this excited condition of the province in which Marpingen is situate, and taking into account the peculiar character the Ultramontane movement had recently assumed in Germany, the authorities were perfectly justified in putting a stop to the Marpingen revival. There were 8,000 persons in the hallowed wood when the military were called in. Though there was some show of resistance, nobody was wounded. Subsequently the police appointed to watch the wood were fired at in the dark. With reference to the legal proceedings instituted by the crown, he, the minister, was in a position to say that a formal accusation would be preferred against certain persons supposed to be implicated in the Marpingen affair, when the character of the miracle would be fully investigated in open court."
To this statement Herr Lipke added that the three little girls, when first examined by the magistrate, professed to have seen not only the Virgin but the devil also, whom they described as "black and white"—the German national colors. He said that many Catholic priests with whom he had conversed on "the Marpingen swindle" agreed with him in disapproving it, and he thought the Ultramontanes had not benefited their cause by bringing the subject pefore Parliament. Another speaker on the same side, Judge Sello, admitted that some excesses had been committed by the troops, but the burgomaster who ordered them to clear the wood had been tried and fined in consequence. The debate was closed by Dr. Windthorst, the leader of the Ultramontane party, who declined to commit himself to the reality of the miracles, but complained that, as long as the Government kept