A History of the So-Called Jansenist Church of Holland;
with a Sketch of Its Earlier Annals,
And some Account of the Brothers of the Common Life.
By the Rev. J.M. Neale, M.A.
Oxford: John Henry and James Parker, 1858.
THAT SASBOLD VOSMEER AND HIS SUCCESSORS WERE TRUE AND DIOCESAN ARCHBISHOPS OF UTRECHT.
This point is of such vital importance to our history, that I must restate and amplify the arguments of the text. I said that the claim was proved: —
1. By the report which Vosmeer gives of the negotiations at the time, and long before any momentous consequences appeared to be attached to them.
The following extracts are to the point: —
Sasbold to Tilman Vosmeer, Jan 11, 1603: — “Voluit me [sc. Papa] promovere titulo extraneo; sed dedit mihi populum S. Willebrordi, ut vere dici possim Hollandiae, Zelandiae, et Ultrajectensis Archiepiscopus.”
The same to Gravius, June 6, 1609: — “Nominavit me quidem Archidux ad Ultrajectensem Ecclesiam, et salutavit Archivescovo de Utrecht, attamen dedit clausas literas ad Sanctissimum, qui tempore ordinationis dixit mihi, se dare titulum Philippensis Ecclesiae ne exacerbaret haereticos, addens, Quando placebit Archiduci tuo, poteris titulum mutare. Verum hactenus, licet ab haereticis habear et dicar Ultrajectensis, non assumpsi titulum Ultrajectensem.”
The same to the same, April 20, 1613: — “Quod amplius R. T. extra ordinem, ut loquitur, scire desiderat, nimirum si Cle-mens VIII. aliquando N. Archiepisc. Ultrajectens. nominavit, respondeo ab eo dictum, quod sine ulteriore requisitione eo titulo uti possem, ubi Archiduci placuerit, quod idem dixit Cardin. Aldobrandinus … Certe ab initio in his partibus omnibus ita acceptum, ipsumque nomen Philippensem non ad Macedoniae civitatem sed ad Philippi Regis intentionem retulerunt. Ordines quoque Hollandiae non aliter ab initio acce-perunt et cum adhuc in viâ Romam essem, eo nomine proscripserunt. Abstinui ab eo titulo penitus donec Archiducis ad Gubernatorem Transisulaniae literae, quae simpliciter Arch. Ultrajectensem explicabant, subseriptiae ab Archiduce, Richerdoto, et Verreyhen, in manus Hollandorum venirent.
2. By the fact that the States-General proceeded against him for assuming the title and exercising the office of Archbishop of Utrecht.
The placard issued May 30, 1602, runs thus: — “Et mox ad Archiducem in exercitum ad Ostendam se contulit, ubi cum eo et iis qui ei erant a Consiliis de harum statu Provinciam frequens habuit commercium, ab eoque nominationem ad Ar-chiepiscopatum Ultrajectensen et Metropolitanatum super omnes Foederati Belgii provincias petit et obtinuit.”
This is one example of several, couched in almost the same terms.
3. That it was given to him without the least scruple or doubt by his enemies the Jesuits.
Gerard Contonnel, a Jesuit, (Sept. 18, 1613,) directs a letter, — “Illmo. et Revmo. Dno. D. Sasboldo Archiepiscopo Ultrajectino dignissimo.”
John Dulmen, a Jesuit, (March 10, 1613,) — “Illmo. et Revmo. Dno. D. Sasboldo Arch. Philippensi et Ultrajectensi.”
Louis Makeblyd, a Jesuit, (Aug. 6, 1611,) directs his letter, — “Illmo. et Revmo. Dno. Sasboldo, Arch. Ultraj. Coloniam.”
These, again, are examples of many.
4. That Sasbold constantly assumed it himself, sometimes singly, sometimes in conjunction with his other title of Philippi.
His usual title was as follows: — “Sasboldus, Dei et Apostolicae Sedis gratia Archiepiscopus Philippensis et Ultrajectensis, nec non Hollandiae, Zelandiae eisdemque unitarum atque reductarum Transisulaniae Provinciarum Vicarius Apostolicus.”
Broedersen and other national writers give this title as sufficient in itself to prove their point; but Hoynck (p. 19) asserts that a comma ought to be placed after Philippensis, and none after Ultrajectensis; thus making the sense to be, Archbishop of Philippi, and Vicar-Apostolic of Utrecht and the recovered Provinces. This I thought, and had called, (Christian Remembrancer, 1851, p. 163,) a mere quibble: but on consulting the Archives, I found all the letters of Rovenius to Vosmeer (none else) studiously pointed so. D. Pitra says, (I know not on what authority,) that complaint was made at Rome of the title, and that Rovenius then invented the new interpretation. This is not very likely. However, as the inscription in question may bear Hoynck’s interpretation, (though I believe only intended as a blind to prevent offence to the States,) I will not lay any stress on it: there are plenty of examples without.
A monition to Lingen, dated April 20, 1612, begins, — “Sasboldus, door de gratie Godes en des Stoels van Romen Aerdsbisschop van Philippen en van Utrecht, midsgaeders over Hollandt, Zelandt,” &c. Here the Ultrajectensis cannot refer to the Vicarius.
So, again, in a decree against certain matrimonial abuses in Overyssel, (Aug. 4, 1611): “Sasboldus, durch die genaede Gottes und des Stoels van Romen, Ertsbisschoff van Philippen und Utregt, mitsgaeders over Hollandt,” &c.
These are not only decisive in themselves, but speak pretty clearly as to the meaning of the Latin documents. One of the latter, however, is so punctuated as to take away all ambiguity here also. It bears date Feb. 1, 1613, and is thus expressed: — “Insuper NOS SASBOLDUS ARCHIEPISCOPUS PHILIPPENSIS ET ULTRAJECTENSIS nec non Unitarum Belgii Provinciarum Vicarius Apostolicus;” where the capitals are given as I have printed them here; and where, therefore, the Ultrajectensis cannot, by any possibility, belong to the Vicarius.
To these must be added the many documents in which Sasbold speaks of his ordinary jurisdiction; as, for example, in a deed of March, 1613, in which he unites two convents, S. Agnes at Emmerick, and S. Ursula at Neder-Elten. Here he speaks, as again and again, of “our Ordinary and Apostolic jurisdiction.”
5. That the same title was given him by others.
The instances of this are innumerable. Take for examples: —
Feb. 9, 1613. The Dean and Chapter of Cranenburge address him as the Ultrajectinae Sedis Praesul dignissimus.
Wassenburg, in his history of Emmerick: “Anno insuper 12, promovente et urgente Sasboldo Archiepiscopo Ultrajectino, tum temporis Embricae praesente, clausuram … sero admodum, tamen cum applausu omnium admisit.”
It must, however, be remembered that the denial of a true archiepiscopal character to Sasbold Vosmeer and to Rovenius is, comparatively speaking, a late Ultramontane fiction, — Hoynck and D. Pitra being its principal advocates.
The earlier Ultramontanes and the Jesuits readily acknowledged them as true Archbishops of Utrecht, but affirmed — so gross was the ignorance then subsisting with regard to the secular power, — that when the treaty of Minister transferred the de jure sovereignty of the States to a Protestant power, thenceforth Diocesan bishops were at an end; because a Catholic ruler was an essential of diocesan episcopacy. If we compare Hoynck and Pitra with Damen, Desirant, and writers of a similar stamp, it is impossible to avoid exclaiming with Broedersen, “Sed non erat conveniens testimonium illorum.”