Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung January 1849

Priests’ Rebellion

Source: MECW Volume 8, p. 244;
Written: by Engels on January 9, 1849;
First published: in Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 195, January 14, 1849.

Neuchâtel, January 9. We now have a priests’ rebellion here. The vénérable compagnie des pasteurs, who had led a splendid life among the pious regiment of God’s grace — every pastor was the Eichhorn of his parish — have suffered a hard blow through the Republic. That is, the reverend gentlemen must be elected in future by the parishes themselves, and only for a limited period. Imagine the alarm! God’s word no longer granted by one of God’s ordained authorities, but hired out by the hour for ready cash just like a donkey or a day-labourer! The decision is taken, not by God-given will of the Royal Government, but by profane free competition, the pastor sinks to the position of an ordinary hired worker, the flock becomes a profane “employer” and can dismiss its worker if he does not carry out his task to its satisfaction. The indignation of the venerable company exceeds all bounds. They immediately issued a proclamation in which, in the most pitiful and lamentable way, they bleated against the desecration of the most holy. Naturally this only aroused universal derision. But in secret, these gentlemen, the old friends of the Jesuits and the Sonderbund, are intriguing against the Republic and conspiring to restore Frederick William, by the grace of God. The Government is magnanimous enough to allow these impotent machinations to go on for the time being. The patriotic associations will be adequate to counterbalance the ambitions of the priests. These patriotic associations are now forming everywhere. Starting from the mountains, from La Chaux-de-Fonds, Locle and the Traverstal, the home of our revolution,[233] they are spreading all over the canton. Even the royalist village of Les Ponts has got its own association. This organisation of democracy through the people itself will be the best means of thwarting the plots of all the bédouins [local nickname of royalist candidates for election to the Swiss National Council] and priests.