A Canvas and a Figure
The Wedding Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.
BORN as the son of a gardener, John Paul appeared like an obscure speck in the middle of the broad canvas of the eighteenth century -- a canvas streaked with blood, murder, rebellion, greed, and many winds of doctrine. It was a century of transition during which nations were racked by internal as well as external wars. It saw the birth-struggle, rise, and eventual domination of a human stratum new to history -- known in English history as the great middle class and in French as the bourgeoisie. This class was composed of traders, living chiefly in the port towns.
It was the discovery of the New World with its unoccupied lands and resources, combined with the opening of an all-water route to India, which first awakened this class to the possibilities of great profits. Its opportunity came with the improvement in transportation, particularly by sea. Trading vessels, laden both ways, soon dotted with white the green waters to those fabulous lands -- America and India. Urged by commercial foresight, the trading classes of each of the soi-disant Christian countries then assiduously set about getting astride the great ocean routes of the world. Becoming powerful as gains mounted, they put pressure on their respective governments, and England, France, Holland and Spain, the chief sea-trading nations, were soon tearing at each other's throats. They fought