« ÖncekiDevam »
quities, comprises the valleys of Luzerna, Perosa, and San Martino, in the province of Pinerolo, subject to his Majesty the King of Sardinia. These valleys, which of course occupy but a very limited space on the map of Italy, are inhabited by a peaceable, industrious, and inoffensive race of men, whose adherence to the pure truths of the christian religion, and allegiance to their sovereign, have been, and still continue, very conspicuous and exemplary. The inhabitants, called Waldenses or Valdenses, (in Italian Valdesi, in French Vaudois,) from the valleys they inhabit, are the descendants of christians whose heroic achievements have awakened the astonishment of those acquainted with their history, whilst their piety and constancy justly entitled many of the sufferers to a place in the “ noble army of martyrs.” The present population—occupying fifteen villages, or parishes, under the care of thirteen pastors, whose religious duties extend to one hundred and three hamlets, annexed to the villages,amounts to near twenty thousand souls ;-besides one thousand seven hundred Roman catholics. The villages are for the most part situate in the valleys; the hamlets on the declivities of the mountains; and whilst the former are in some instances surrounded by vineyards and meadows; the latter are exposed to a
scorching sun in the summer, and are encompassed in the winter for some months by deep snow, which, whilst it envelopes the hamlets in its white mantle, demands the greatest caution on the part of the inhabitants, as it fills up the ravines, and conceals the precipices from view.
In this introduction to a volume containing some of the works of the late learned moderator, or chief pastor of the Waldensian church, a comprehensive, though compendious view of the former and present condition of the Waldenses appears to be desirable. It is here attempted, therefore, under the following heads :
1. A SKETCH OF THE VALLEYS OF PIEDMONT, AND OF THE CHARACTER AND EMPLOYMENTS OF THE INHABITANTS.
2. AN EPITOME OF THE HISTORY OF THE WALDENSES.
3. AN ACCOUNT OF THE RECENT ATTEMPTS FOR THEIR BENEFIT.
1. The VALLEYS OF PIEDMONT now under consideration,-LUZERNA, PEROSA, and SAN MARTINO,-have been, from time immemorial, the residence of an ancient body of christians, wbo have never acknowledged the supremacy, never embraced the errors of the church of Rome; but preserving the pure doctrines of
christianity from the earliest ages, constitute a link between the reformed churches of modern Europe, and the primitive catholic church. The Waldenses formerly occupied a far more considerable extent of territory than at present, having had possessions in the marquisate of Saluzzo, the valley of Susa, and several towns and villages of Piedmont; but of these they have
: been long deprived at different times, and under various pretexts, and are now confined to the narrow valleys about to be described.
(1.) Luzerna, the principal, presents a very pleasing appearance towards the plain of Piedmont; where a rich assemblage of well cultivated vineyards, irrigated meadows, and villages and scattered houses embosomed in chestnut and walnut trees, confer peculiar beauty on the landscape; whilst all that is agreeable in the foreground is seen in contrast with an amphitheatre of mountains, which form the boundary of the vale towards Dauphiné.
Luzerna comprises the following parishes, -Angrogna, Rorata, San Giovanni, La Torre,
, Villaro, and Bobio; places usually pronounced with the French termination, which shall be therefore now adopted.
ANGROGNE, situate on the right of the valley of Luzerne when approached from Pinerolo,
is a mountainous district, where the chestnut trees are of very luxuriant growth; but it is not adapted to the cultivation of the vine. The torrent of Angrogne,-a very impetuous stream,
-runs along a narrow channel, on each side of which hills of considerable height arise ; in some places barren, in others covered with those productions which the soil will yield, and with small herds of cattle. The parish of Angrogne contains two churches,-St. Laurent and Le Serre-both under the pastoral care of M. Goante. To these churches the Waldenses resort from the following hamlets,-Pré du Tour, Coissons, Le Serre, Bertot and Oddins, St. Laurent, Cachet and Rivoire, Bonnenuit, Sonaillettes, Chamougne, Frache (or Gonins,) and Serre Malan. At the extremity of the district of Angrogne-at Prè du Tour-once stood the college in which those Waldensian pastors were educated, who propagated their religious tenets during the dark ages, through the several kingdoms of Europe. Not a vestige, however,-if we except a black stone of very large dimensions,—now exists of this once ce lebrated seat of learning.
On the left of the valley of Luzerne, situate also in the mountains, abounding in the same productions with Angrogne, and in the same
manner distinguished by a rapid torrent, is the parish of Rora. At its church, in which M. Peirot officiates as pastor, the Waldenses assemble both from the village of Rora and from the following hamlets,-Fuzines, Rumer, Brusey, Verney,--and from a hamlet that bears the same name as that in Angrogne-Prè du Tour.
St. Jean,—San Giovanni-forms, strictly speaking, the fertile foreground, at the entrance of the valley of Luzerne; and is composed of alluvial soil, rich in many of the productions of Italy;--flourishing vines, meadows that yield the diligent agriculturist three crops of hay, Indian corn, and mulberry trees planted for the rearing of silk-worms. The hamlets connected with the church of St. Jean--under the pastor M. Mondon-are Molchios, Au Fond, Peyrots, Gonins, and Blonat. The modern church, a handsome brick building, was erected during the time that Napoleon reigned over Piedmont; --and the old church, which stands at Chabas in the way to Angrogne, is now deserted.
LA TOUR,--so denominated from an old fortress once erected to keep the inhabitants in awe, but long since dismantled, and of which scarcely a vestige remains,—is the principal place in the occupation of the Vaudois. It lies