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Title: The Catholic World, Volume 23, April, 1876-September, 1876. - A Monthly Magazine of General Literature and Science
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Catholic World, Volume 23, April, 1876-September, 1876. - A Monthly Magazine of General Literature and Science" ***

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  APRIL, 1876, TO SEPTEMBER, 1876.

  9 Warren Street.



  Abroad, How we are Misrepresented,                           1
  Allies’ Formation of Christendom,                          689
  American Revolution, Catholics in,                         488
  Are You My Wife?                                  22, 186, 316
  Assisi,                                                    742
  Aude, The Valley of,                                       640

  Brownson, Dr.,                                             366

  Catholicity in the United States, Next Phase of,           577
  Catholic Church in the United States, The, 1776-1876,      434
  Catholics in the American Revolution,                      488
  Catholic Sunday and Puritan Sabbath, The,                  550
  Charitas Pirkheimer,                                       170
  Charles Carroll of Carrollton,                             537
  Chillon, The Prisoner of,                                  857
  Church and Liberty, The,                                   243

  Daughter of the Puritans, A,                                92
  De Vere’s “Thomas à Becket,”                               848
  Devout Chapel of Notre Dame de Bétharram, The,             335
  Dr. Brownson,                                              366

  Easter in St. Peter’s, Rome, 1875,                         255
  Epigraphy, Sacred,                                         270
  Eternal Years, The,                         128, 258, 402, 565

  Formation of Christendom, Allies’,                         689
  French Novel, A,                                           158
  Frenchman’s View of It, A,                                 453

  German Journalism,                                         289
  Gladstone Controversy, Sequel of,                           30

  Hammond on the Nervous System,                             388
  Hobbies and their Riders,                                  413
  Home-Rule Movement, Irish,                            500, 623
  How we are Misrepresented Abroad,                            1
  Hundred Years Ago, One,                                    802

  Irish Home-Rule Movement, The,                        500, 623
  Italian Commerce in the Middle Ages,                        79

  Journey to the Land of Milliards, A,                       773

  Kiowas and Comanches, A Day among,                         837

  Labor in Europe and America,                                59
  Land of Milliards, A Journey to the,                       773
  Letters of a Young Irishwoman to her Sister,     464, 654, 687
  Life and Works of Madame Barat, The,                       592

  Madame Barat, Life and Works of,                           592
  Miles Standish, Was He a Catholic?                         668
  Modern English Poetry,                                     213
  More, Sir Thomas,                  70, 224, 350, 517, 698, 817

  Napoleon I. and Pius VII.,                                 200
  Next Phase of Catholicity in the United States, The,       577
  Notre Dame de Bétharram, The Devout Chapel of,             335
  Notre Dame de Pitié,                                       116
  Novel, A French,                                           158

  Philosophy, Thomistic,                                     327
  Pirkheimer, Charitas,                                      170
  Pius VII. and Napoleon I.,                                 200
  Plea for our Grandmothers, A,                              421
  Poet among the Poets, A,                                    14
  Poetry, Modern English,                                    213
  Poets, Some Forgotten Catholic,                            302
  Primeval Germans,                                           47
  Prisoner of Chillon, The,                                  857
  Protestant Bishop on Confession, A,                        831
  Prussia and the Church,                                    104

  Religious Liberty in the United States, The Rise of,       721
  Rise of Religious Liberty in the United States,            721
  Root of Our Present Evils, The,                            145

  Sacred Epigraphy,                                          270
  Scanderbeg,                                                234
  Sequel of the Gladstone Controversy, A,                     30
  Sir Thomas More,                   70, 224, 350, 517, 698, 817
  Six Sunny Months,                                     606, 758
  Some Forgotten Catholic Poets,                             302
  Some Odd Ideas,                                            710
  Studio in Rome, A Quaint Old,                              781

  “Thomas à Becket,” De Vere’s,                              848
  Thomistic Philosophy,                                      327
  Transcendental Movement in New England, The,               528
  Typical Men of America, The,                               479

  Valley of the Aude, The,                                   640
  Vittoria Colonna,                                          679

  Was Miles Standish a Catholic?                             668
  Wild Rose of St. Regis, The,                               379

  Years, Eternal, The,                        128, 258, 402, 565


  Ascension, The,                                            377

  Centenary of American Liberty, The,                        433
  Chorus from the “Hecuba,”                                  653
  Consuelo,                                                  816

  Forty Hours’ Devotion,                                     223

  Da Vinci’s “Virgin of the Rocks,” Lines on,                 13

  Lamartine, From,                                           424
  Lines on Da Vinci’s “Virgin of the Rocks,”                  13

  Mysteries,                                                 185

  Sacerdos Alter Christus,                                    58
  Sennuccio Mio,                                             233
  Sunshine,                                                  278

  Vago Angelletto che Cantanas Vai?                            7


  Achsah,                                                    718
  Acolyte, The,                                              286
  All Around the Moon,                                       430
  Alzog’s Universal Church History,                          279
  Are You My Wife?                                           426
  Asperges Me, etc.,                                         430
  Authority and Anarchy,                                     288

  Breviarium Romanum,                                        288
  Brief Biographies,                                         142
  British and American Literature, Student’s Hand-book of,   138
  Board of Education, Report of,                             431
  Boston to Washington,                                      432
  Burning Questions,                                         280

  Cantata Catholica,                                         429
  Catechism for Confession and First Communion,              280
  Catholic Church and Christian State,                       425

  Daniel O’Connell, Popular Life of,                         143

  Eden of Labor, The,                                        139
  Elmwood; or, the Withered Arm,                             143
  Episcopal Succession in England, Scotland, and Ireland,    432
  Episodes of the Paris Commune in 1871,                     431
  Explanatio Psalmorum,                                      287

  Faber’s Hymns,                                             282
  Father Segneri’s Sentimenti,                               142
  Faith and Modern Thought,                                  718
  Five Lectures on the City of Ancient Rome,                 142
  Flaminia, and other Stories,                               431

  Geographical Text-Books, Mitchell’s,                       860
  German Political Leaders,                                  716
  Gertrude Mannering,                                        285
  Glories of the Sacred Heart, The,                          576

  Haydon, Benjamin Robert, The Life, Letters, and
    Table-Talk of,                                           860
  Histoire de Madame Barat,                                  425
  How to Write Letters,                                      287

  Labor, the Eden of,                                        139
  Labor and Capital in England and America,                  139
  Lectures on the City of Ancient Rome,                      142
  Life, Letters, and Table-Talk of Benjamin Robert
    Haydon, The,                                             860
  Life of Rev. Mother St. Joseph, The,                       427
  Life of Daniel O’Connell,                                  143
  Little Book of the Holy Child Jesus,                       288
  Literature for Little Folks,                               287

  Meditations and Considerations,                            719
  Men and Manners in America One Hundred Years Ago,          860
  Mitchell’s Geographical Text-Books,                        860

  Newman, Characteristics from the Writings of,              288
  New Month of the Sacred Heart,                             720
  Note to Article on Thomistic Philosophy,                   432
  Notiones Theologicæ,                                       720

  Outlines of the Religion and Philosophy of Swedenborg,     281
  Ordo Divini Officii Recitandi,                             141

  Pius IX. and his Times,                                    288
  Principia or Basis of Social Science,                      428
  Principes de la Sagesse, Les,                              287
  Publications Received,                                     288

  Revolutionary Times,                                       720

  Sancta Sophia,                                             859
  Science and Religion,                                      720
  Scholastic Almanac for 1876, The,                          144
  Segneri’s Sentimenti,                                      142
  Sermons by Fathers of the Society of Jesus,                141
  Story of a Vocation, The,                                  432
  Spectator, The,                                            144
  Spiritualism and Allied Causes,                            713
  Student’s Hand-book of British and American
    Literature, The,                                         138

  Universal Church History, Alzog’s,                         279

  Voyages dans l’Amérique Septentrionale,                    432

  Wyndham Family, The,                                       430


VOL. XXIII., No. 133.—APRIL, 1876.

Copyright: Rev. I. T. HECKER. 1876.


Following the example of older nations, the United States has been
accustomed to keep at foreign courts and capitals certain diplomatic
agents whose presence there seems to be considered necessary for the
protection of our national interests, as well as a pledge of mutual
friendship and comity. Under the more modest title of envoys or
ministers these gentlemen exercise the powers and enjoy the immunities
of ambassadors, and to their supposed wisdom, tact, and judgment are
entrusted all difficult negotiations and the settlement of doubtful
questions of international law.

In view of the increased facilities for communication between
independent governments afforded by railroads and telegraphs, the
general diffusion of accurate geographical and commercial knowledge,
and the almost total disuse of the secret diplomacy of former times,
it has been seriously considered whether this class of rather
expensive officials might not be dispensed with altogether. Many
persons, also, are inclined to believe that the public welfare would
suffer little, if at all, by such a measure, on the principle that bad
or incompetent representatives are worse than none. But if the custom,
as appears probable, is still to be adhered to, it is becoming more
and more apparent that the _personnel_ of our diplomatic corps must
speedily undergo a radical change for the better, if we would not
bring our country into lasting disrepute and contempt in the eyes of
all just and discerning men.

In Europe diplomacy is practically as much a profession as law or
medicine. Its students begin their allotted course at an early age in
the capacity of _attachés_ or secretaries of legation. As they gain in
experience they are moved from one court to another, in regular order
of promotion, until finally, after years of practical observation and
laborious study, they develop into accomplished diplomatists and ripe
statesmen, whose services are invaluable to their country, at home and
abroad. Not so in America; with us the post of minister resident or
envoy extraordinary, is usually the reward of some obscure partisan,
the solace of a disappointed Congressional aspirant, or the asylum in
which superannuated cabinet officers can find dignified obscurity.
Occasionally accomplished international lawyers like the late Mr.
Wheaton or Reverdy Johnson are selected, but these rare cases are in
sad contrast with the generality of persons chosen, every few years,
to represent in foreign countries the power, dignity, and intelligence
of the republic. They are almost invariably men of mediocre ability,
contracted views, and defective education; unaccustomed to any high
degree of social refinement, and sometimes ignorant of the very
language of the country to which they are accredited, while not
necessarily masters of their own. From a perusal of some volumes of
state documents[1] we are led to conclude that the principal duty of
our diplomats is to write long, prosy letters to the Secretary of
State, and to encumber the archives of his office with copious
extracts from foreign newspapers of no value or public interest
whatever. In this mass of correspondence we look in vain for the keen,
accurate criticism of men and manners, or the profound views of
statesmanship which characterized the despatches of the Venetian
ambassadors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the French
and English emissaries of a later period.

On the contrary, we find these letters exhibiting a remarkable
feebleness and crudity of mind, and, where matters relating to
religion or morals are discussed, a purblind prejudice unworthy of any
rational American, but especially reprehensible in an exalted official
of our government. This latter blemish is so prominent, and withal so
repeatedly displayed, as to be painfully suggestive of a desire on the
part of the writers to win, by unworthy means, the favor of the
appointing power at the federal capital. We also observe with regret
that they are accustomed to use, with the greatest deliberation and
upon the slightest occasion, the terms reactionist, Romanist,
ultramontane, and other nicknames—all of which are inaccurate and most
of them offensive—when describing the supporters of the Catholic
Church, who, in various parts of the Christian world, are battling for
the rights of conscience and the freedom of their religion; while
eulogistic adjectives are lavished on all parties and measures, no
matter how tyrannical or arbitrary, provided they are directed against
the church and her priesthood. Just here we may as well ask at the
start, Is there not occupation enough for our diplomatic service in
attending to the great commercial and other secular interests of the
republic, but that they must turn aside to devote their chief
attention to the cultivation and spread of anti-Catholic bigotry?

One of the most glaring examples of this indecent partisanship is to
be found in the records of our diplomatic relations with Mexico—our
nearest neighbor and the most populous of the Spanish-American
republics. Formerly the greatest care was exercised in filling this
important mission, only gentlemen of sound discretion and liberal
views being selected; but since the advent of Mr. Fish as Secretary of
State, this wise precaution has been neglected, and, as a consequence,
we have had at the Mexican capital, for several years, a deputy named
John W. Foster, whose total misapprehension of the duties of his
office is painfully apparent, even from his own reports. It will be
remembered that in 1859 the partisans of Juarez, assembled at Vera
Cruz, proclaimed war on the Catholic Church, abolished all religious
communities, confiscated their property, and expelled their members of
both sexes. They also declared marriage a civil contract, to be
entered into only before a magistrate, abolished religious oaths, and
attempted other “reforms” equally impertinent and detrimental to the
public good. During the short reign of Maximilian these attempts on
the liberty of the church were of course discontinued; but when Juarez
assumed absolute control of the government they were renewed, and on
the 25th of September, 1873, were declared by his successor, Lerdo de
Tejada, a part of the constitution. This effort to make religious
proscription the fundamental law of the republic seemed so judicious
and praiseworthy to Mr. Foster that he immediately transmitted to
Washington a full copy of Lerdo’s proclamation, with the remark:
“Their incorporation into the federal constitution may be regarded as
the crowning act of triumph of the liberal government in its long
contest with the conservative or church party.”

Knowing something of the antecedents of Mr. Foster, we are not
surprised at his sympathy with what may be called the illiberal or
anti-church party; but the reply of our Secretary of State is simply
inexplicable. On October 22 he writes:

     “The Mexican government deserves congratulation upon the
     adoption of the amendments of its constitution to which the
     despatch relates. It may be regarded as a great step in
     advance, especially for a republic in name. We have had
     ample experience of the advantage of similar measures—an
     experience, too, which has fully shown that, while they have
     materially contributed to enlarge and secure general freedom
     and prosperity, they have by no means tended to weaken the
     just interests of religion or the due influence of clergymen
     in the body politic.”

How a gentleman of Mr. Fish’s acknowledged intelligence could permit
himself to write such a document is incomprehensible. He knows well
that “we”—meaning the United States—have not had “ample experience,”
or any experience whatever, “of the advantage of similar measures.”
“We” have had our moments of fanaticism, our church-burnings and
convent-sackings, it is true; but neither the municipal law nor the
Constitution has presumed to control the spiritual affairs of the
church in this republic. Our seminaries, colleges, convents, and
schools are yet untouched by the civil magistrate; our priests can
administer the sacraments without the risk of police interference; and
our Sisters of Mercy and Charity can pursue their holy avocations and
not incur the risk of perpetual banishment. What has contributed to
enlarge and to secure to us general freedom and prosperity is not such
anti-Catholic legislation as that upon which Mr. Fish congratulates
the “republic in name,” but the very contrary.

It would seem, however, that some of those entrusted with the highest
offices of state regret this happy condition of things. Evidence crops
out everywhere to strengthen the suspicion that our government, not
finding interests at home of sufficient magnitude to occupy its
attention, is drifting more and more into sympathy with the conspiracy
now prevalent in Europe against the rights of the Catholic Church and
that birthright of every American citizen—freedom of conscience.

But, however unsustained by fact, the moral sympathy thus tendered by
the mouth-piece of our government to the Mexican president was highly
valuable to his party at that juncture. The laws against the clergy
and nuns were exceedingly unpopular with the great mass of the
Mexicans, and it was necessary that the endorsement of the powerful
and prosperous republic of the north should be secured in their favor.
If such measures had “materially contributed to enlarge and secure
general freedom and prosperity” in one country, as Mr. Fish solemnly
asserted, why should they not have the same salutary effect in
another? There is no reason for surprise, therefore, to find that when
the elated Mr. Foster transmitted Mr. Fish’s letter, with his own
felicitations, to Mr. Lafragua, the Mexican Minister of Foreign
Affairs, he was answered in the following complimentary phrase:

     “The president of the republic has received with special
     gratification the expression of the kind sentiments which
     animate the people and government of the United States
     respecting the people and government of Mexico, which
     sentiments could not have been interpreted by a more
     estimable person than your excellency. The president is
     sincerely thankful, as well for the cordial congratulation
     which his excellency the Secretary of State has had the
     kindness to address to you on account of the proclamation of
     the amendments to the federal constitution, as for the
     ardent wishes which your excellency manifests for the
     consolidation of the republican institutions and of peace,
     and for the prosperity and material development of the
     United Mexican States.”

It will thus be seen that by the wilfulness—or indiscretion, let us
call it—of Mr. Fish “the people and government of the United States”
are credited with a sympathy for, and approval of, what their
conscience, their spirit, and their whole history up to this time
repudiate—a legislation of tyranny and religious proscription. Mr.
Fish—and no man better—knows that such sympathy has no foundation in
the hearts of the American people or in the real policy of its
government. He knows that the people abhor the sentiment expressed in
the “amendments to the federal constitution” of Mexico. What are we to
think, then, of a statesman who, actuated by whatever motive, shows
himself so ready to play fast and loose with the solemn trusts
confided to him? Is the vast power that he must exercise safe in the
hands of one who is ready to veer with every wind that blows,
especially when it blows against Rome? Is this the true expression of
the policy of which we have lately heard so much—“Let the church and
the state be for ever separate”? Our American feelings rise with
indignation against so grave a misrepresentation of the principles and
policy of our government, especially by one so familiar with them as
Mr. Fish. There is no excuse for this.

Mr. Fish’s _faux pas_ was too precious to the anti-Catholic faction
not to receive the widest publicity. “This correspondence,” writes Mr.
Foster to his principal, “was yesterday read in the national Congress
by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, by direction of the president of
the republic, and after its reading the president of Congress, in the
name of that body, expressed the gratification with which the assembly
had received the intelligence, and by a vote of Congress the
correspondence was entered upon its journal. The Minister of Foreign
Affairs has also caused its publication in the official newspaper, and
it has appeared in all the periodicals of this capital.”

A year had scarcely passed away, during which every effort had been
made thus to mislead and pervert public opinion, when De Tejada’s
government found itself strong enough to pass additional “laws of
reform” infringing still farther on the rights of conscience. On the
15th of December, 1874, the Sisters of Charity, the last remnant of
the Catholic orders in Mexico, were also rudely expelled from their
institutions and ordered to quit for ever the scenes of their pious
and untiring labors. And in this connection, a curious comment on Mr.
Fish’s congratulatory despatch was offered by the people of the city
of San Francisco. The Sisters expelled by virtue of the constitution
which met with such marked approval from Mr. Fish, were received with
open arms and welcomed by our fellow-citizens in California. Surely,
this was giving the lie direct to Mr. Fish by his own countrymen,
whose conscience naturally revolted from a system of government which,
as its chief claim to the sympathy and fellowship of foreign peoples,
set up its power and willingness to banish from its jurisdiction all
that was purest and holiest. Yet Mexico is as far from “general
freedom and prosperity” as ever, and Messrs. Fish and Foster, the
instigators of this last outrage on humanity, continue to be high and
trusted officials of our freedom-loving republic.

Still, the faction that controls Mexican politics was not content with
constitutional and statutory “reforms.” As long as the heart of the
country remained Catholic its hold on power was feeble and uncertain.
It therefore aimed at nothing less than a general conversion of the
people, at a new Reformation, and selected what it considered the most
fitting instruments for that purpose. These were itinerant Protestant
missionaries of all sects, kindly furnished to order by the Boston
American Board of Missions and the Pacific Theological Seminary of
California, who soon overspread the promised land and began their
labors of conversion. The states of Mexico, Vera Cruz, Guerrero,
Puebla, Jalisco, Hidalgo, Zacatecas, and San Luis Potosi were
especially favored by their presence, where, from their method of
proceeding, their foul abuse of the religion of the populace, and the
rank blasphemy that characterized their preaching, it was plain that
they considered they had fallen among barbarians and idolaters. Going
from place to place, and surrounded by armed guards, they not only
fulminated the heresy of Protestantism, but scattered broadcast
printed travesties of the Commandments and of the prayers and ritual
of the church, some copies of which they had the hardihood to nail to
the cathedrals and other places of Catholic worship. To make matters
still more offensive, they frequently interspersed their harangues
with laudations of the “liberal” party who patronized them, and direct
attacks on all who opposed its iniquitous policy.

One of those zealots, a Rev. Mr. Stephens, after a nine months’
journey through several towns, found his way to Ahualulco, where,
relying on the countenance of the government officials, he commenced a
series of bitter assaults on Catholicity. A popular tumult was the
result, during which the unfortunate man was killed, March 2, 1874.
When news of this cruel, though not unprovoked, murder reached Mr.
Foster, he waited on the Mexican minister, who informed him that “the
principal assassins and two priests had been arrested, and that a
judge had been despatched to the district with an extra corps of
clerks to ensure a speedy investigation and trial.” This promise was
faithfully and promptly kept, as we find by a despatch dated April 15,
in which the minister says:

     “Up to the present date seven of the guilty parties have
     been tried and condemned to death, from which sentence they
     have appealed to the supreme court. Twelve or fifteen more
     persons charged with complicity in the crime are under
     arrest awaiting trial, including the _cura_ of the parish of

Yet this summary vengeance, nor even the indignity offered to the
venerable _cura_, who had had no participation whatever in the
disturbance, did not satisfy the insatiable soul of Mr. Foster. From
his subsequent letter to Lafragua, and several despatches to our
government, we infer that the condign punishment of the priest,
innocent or guilty, was to him the most desirable of objects. To
inaugurate the new Reformation by the execution of a Catholic
clergyman appears to have been considered by him as a master-stroke of
policy. But even the Lerdistas were not prepared for so desperate a
step, and Foster was doomed to find his hopes blighted. Alluding to a
conversation with Minister Lafragua in September, he writes to Mr.
Fish, bemoaning his hard fate:

     “I thanked him for communicating the intelligence in
     relation to the trials of the assassins of Rev. Mr.
     Stephens, the receipt of which I had anxiously awaited, but
     expressed my disappointment in finding no mention of the
     proceedings had in the trial of the _cura_ of Ahualulco, to
     whom the published accounts attributed the responsibility of
     the assassination.…”

This information, and the fact that the appeal of the seven condemned
persons had not been determined, drew forth one of Mr. Fish’s
unaccountable diplomatic missives. “You may farther inform him
orally,” says our Secretary, alluding to Lafragua, “but
confidentially, if need be, that this must necessarily become an
international affair, unless it shall be satisfactorily disposed of
and without unreasonable delay.” Now, why should the information be
given _orally_ and _confidentially_ if there was not some desire, some
trick, to avoid responsibility for a doubtful act tending to
intimidate a friendly power? and wherefore should the killing of the
man Stephens be made an international affair—_i.e._, a just cause of
war—when so many American citizens had been already murdered in Mexico
with impunity? Foster had repeatedly complained that during the short
time he had been in charge of the legation thirteen “murders of the
most horrid character and revolting to our common civilization” had
been committed on his countrymen, for which there had not been a
single punishment; yet we hear of no intimation of making them
international affairs. Were the lives of these persons, presumably
following legitimate callings, collectively of less value than that of
a mendacious preacher of a gospel of violence?

Emboldened by the words of Mr. Fish, Foster again returned to the
attack in a note to Lafragua, in which he directly, and on his own
responsibility, charges the _cura_ with having been the instigator of
the crime. The first intimation that the _cura_ had had any
participation in exciting the mob against Stephens was contained in a
letter from a brother preacher named Watkins, who was stationed at
Guadalajara, more than sixty miles from the scene of the disturbance.
On this suspicious and slender foundation Foster had been in the habit
of building up a mass of insinuations and charges against the priest,
referring to “general” and “printed” reports as his authority. When
after a searching investigation the _cura_ was honorably discharged,
and the minister again complained to Lafragua, that official replied
rather tartly in the following unequivocal terms:

“In relation to the acquittal of those who were charged with being
instigators of the crime, it is the result of a judicial act, which
has taken place after the due process had been completed for the
investigation of the truth, which is not always in accord with the
prejudices of the public.”

If the minister had added: “and of Mr. Foster and the Board of
Missions,” the sentence would have been more complete. Having failed
to accomplish his grand design—the chastisement of the _cura_—the
ultimate fate of the convicted laymen became a matter of little
importance to our assiduous representative.

Another opportunity soon presented itself for Mr. Foster’s official
interference. On the night of January 26, 1875, a riot occurred in
Acapulco, in which five persons were killed and eleven wounded on both
sides. Of the former, one was claimed to be an American. It appears
that a Rev. M. N. Hutchinson, supported by the United States consul,
J. A. Sutter, and a few native officials, had commenced his
evangelical labors in that city by personally insulting the parish
priest, Father J. P. Nava, and by openly abusing everything considered
holy and venerable by Catholics. This method of preaching Christ’s
Gospel so exasperated the populace that an attack was made on the
building used as a Protestant church, and a street fight, with fatal
results, followed. Hutchinson, the cause of the fray, escaped and
found refuge on board a ship; while Sutter, who seems to have been as
cowardly as he was vicious, threatened to abandon the consulate and
follow his example. As in the case at Ahualulco, the “liberal”
authorities at once arrested the _cura_, but so indignant were the
citizens, and even some of the federal employees, at the act that he
was at once set at liberty.

Here was a rare chance for Mr. Foster to display his reformatory
energy, and on this occasion he had a most efficient associate in the
gallant consul. That truthful gentleman writes to his chief, January
27, three days after the riot:

     “All the Indians are under arms, and threaten to attack the
     town if the parish priest—who, in my opinion, is the prime
     mover of these heinous crimes—should be arrested. So he is
     still at large, and laughing, probably, at the impotence of
     the authorities.… Everybody in town is afraid of the
     Indians, who, incited by a fanatical priest, would
     perpetrate the most atrocious crimes.”

All this Mr. Foster believed, or appeared to believe; for we find him
embodying it in his official communications to Lafragua, with some
additional remarks of his own to give the calumny greater point and
force. Supported by the American minister, Sutter now looms up as the
defender of Protestant rights in general. Addressing personages of no
less distinction than the governor of the state and the district
judge, he requests them to “promptly take the necessary measures
within your power to procure the speedy punishment, according to the
law, of the instigators and perpetrators of the atrocious massacre of
Protestants,” etc. There is no limitation here, it will be observed,
to American citizens; the peremptory consul, “in obedience to
instructions received yesterday from the Hon. John W. Foster, envoy
extraordinary, etc.,” had assumed a protectorate over the entire
evangelical body of Acapulco, and felt himself at liberty to insult
the executive and judiciary of the state of Guerrero.

The people of Acapulco, however, differed materially in opinion from
the consul. Not only did they not fear the Indians or regard their
priest as an abettor of riot and murder, but, on the contrary, five or
six hundred of them waited on Governor Alvarez, and, in the name of
the rest, assured him that the disturbance was wholly caused by
Hutchinson and his handful of Protestants, requesting him at the same
time to remove the disturbers from their city, as he had the power to
do under the laws of the state. Even the Minister of Foreign
Affairs—though, like so many of his party, deadly opposed to the
church—could not help but ascribe the riot to something like its
proper cause. Annoyed, doubtless, by the impertinence of Sutter and
the importunities of Foster, he writes to the latter in a vein of
delicate irony:

     “The consul in Acapulco cannot be ignorant of the fact that
     Protestant worship was a new propaganda among a people who,
     unfortunately, have not been able to attain to that degree
     of civilization to enable them to accept without aversion
     religious tenets which they disown, and it is well known
     that the religious sentiment is one of the most sensitive,
     and that, when attacked, it is all the more irritable.”

The logical position of the Mexican minister is unassailable. But what
a humiliating predicament for our government to be placed in by her
diplomatists abroad! Such is the natural result of selecting the kind
of men for important posts, or indeed for any posts at all, complained
of at the beginning of the article. It is clear that this Mr. Foster
has missed his vocation. He would be more at home in a Protestant
board of missions, or as a “worker” in “revivals,” than standing
before a people as the representative of the truth, worth, and genius
of a great nation.

Mr. Foster was not satisfied with the explanation. He had lost one
priest, and he was not going to let another slip through his
fingers without a struggle. He reminds Lafragua of Mr. Fish’s
“congratulations,” and appeals to his gratitude. “While it is very
natural that I,” he writes, “as the representative of a government
which has officially congratulated that of Mexico on the
constitutional triumph and recognition of the principles of religious
liberty, should watch with deep interest the practical enforcement of
these principles, I have made the outbreaks of fanatical mobs the
subject of diplomatic intervention only when American citizens have
been assassinated.” But the plea was in vain; even the government of
Lerdo de Tejada dared not molest the _cura_ of Acapulco, who, strong
in his innocence and in the affection of his flock, continued to
exercise the duties of his sacred office, regardless alike of native
“reformers” and officious diplomats. Up to the latest dates Mr. Foster
had not yet caught a _cura_, and the people of Mexico seem as far as
ever from the enjoyment of the blessings of a new Reformation, so
happily and characteristically begun.

The Central American States include Guatemala, San Salvador, Honduras,
Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, each of which holds an undivided fifth
interest in the official attention of Mr. George Williamson, our
worthy minister peripatetic. When not involved in domestic
brawls—which seldom happens—these miniature commonwealths have a habit
of varying the monotony of peaceful life by a descent on one of their
neighbors, and even a civil and a foreign war have been known to rage
at the same time and place. Having such a vivacious people to look
after, the attention of our representative might reasonably be
considered fully occupied; yet we learn that he has ample leisure to
devote himself to theological and educational speculations, and
particularly to the subject of marriage. On this important social
relation he not only becomes eloquent, though occasionally obscure, in
his despatches, but is evidently looked upon as an authority by the
“liberal” party on the Isthmus. Having been asked his opinion by
President Barrios of Guatemala, who contemplated extending civil
marriage to his people, “I replied,” he says, “it would in all
probability soon come; … that in our country we considered the civil
law supreme, and would neither furnish a hierarchy of Romanists nor
Protestants, to assert its sanction was necessary to give validity to
a contract which the law pronounced good.” It may be objected that
this passage is not well constructed; so, in justice not only to the
liberal views, but to the erudition of Mr. Williamson, we quote the
following descriptive extract from a despatch on the condition of the
Central American population:

     “Intelligence is more generally diffused; people are slowly
     learning republican habits and adopting republican ideas; a
     monarchical hierarchy that fostered superstitions, that only
     allowed education in a certain direction, and which
     ‘gathered gear’ unto itself ‘by every wile,’ has been
     dethroned; agriculture now has the aid of the numerous
     laborers who were employed in the erection of large edifices
     for monks and nuns and religious exercises.”

A subsequent communication on the state of public education furnishes
a rather strange commentary on the above:

     “The present attempt at organizing a public-school system
     is, in my judgment, one of the most laudable acts of the
     present government, for which it should be entitled to
     credit, whether there be success or failure. My opinion is
     that there are too many obstacles to be overcome for the
     plan to be successful, and that the government is
     undertaking a grave experiment which is likely to create
     great dissatisfaction, and may result in revolution. But
     having driven out most of the priests and nuns, who were
     heretofore the instructors of the people, it seemed
     necessary the government should try to supply their place.”

The same latitude of opinion and ill-concealed hostility to the
Catholic Church, the same desire to take advantage of every trifling
circumstance to misrepresent and malign the motives of her supporters,
pervade the correspondence of our other representatives in South
America, almost without exception. Thus Mr. Thomas Russell has no
scruple in lauding the usurping government of Venezuela, which, in
1870, first imprisoned and then banished perpetually the Archbishop of
Caracas and Venezuela, suppressed the seminaries, confiscated the
property of the monasteries, and expelled the nuns. Still less has Mr.
Rumsey Wing in assuring the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador, in
writing about an alleged desecration of a grave in Quito, that the
news “of those outrages on the bodies of Protestants” “would create an
intense feeling not only in my own country but throughout Europe”;
while, having nothing else to send, we suppose, the same officious
gentleman forwards to Washington copies of two decrees of Congress,
one granting a tithe of the church revenues to his Holiness the Pope,
and the other placing Ecuador under the protection of the Sacred
Heart, “to show the intense Catholicism prevailing in this country.”

Then Mr. C. A. Logan, some time of Chili, appears to have interested
himself very much in local politics, and it is not difficult to
discover upon which side his sympathy rests. In a despatch to
Secretary Fish, November 2, 1874, he has the hardihood to charge the
Archbishop of Santiago with bribing congressmen, pending the passage
of a bill for the partial repeal of a penal law against the clergy. He

     “The day arrived for the vote, and a large crowd gathered
     about the building, awaiting the result with the most
     breathless anxiety; among these was the archbishop himself,
     in full clerical robes. Much to the chagrin of the liberals,
     a two-third vote was gained by the church party under the
     spur and lash of the clericals, and, as it is freely
     asserted, by the liberal use of money. The senate is
     composed of only twenty members, which is not a large body
     to handle, if they take kindly to handling.”

Mr. Francis Thomas, of Lima, goes even farther than his _confrère_,
and deliberately asserts the complicity of the Catholics, as a body,
in the recent attempt to assassinate President Pardo.

     “The conspirators,” he says, “had calculated upon the
     co-operation of all that class of the population of this
     country who have become hostile to the president of Peru on
     account of his proceedings, in which high dignitaries of the
     Catholic Church were concerned. The congress of Peru at its
     last session passed a law forbidding members of the order of
     Jesuits to reside within the jurisdiction of Peru. In
     violation of this law, members of that order who had been
     expelled from other Spanish republics took possession of a
     convent in the interior of Peru, and took measures to
     organize their society. President Pardo, in conformity to
     the law, issued a proclamation requiring them to leave the
     country, which has caused some degree of excitement.”

This fact, and the attempts of the government to introduce irreligious
books and periodicals into the schools, were sufficient, in the
opinion of our impartial minister, to provoke the Catholics of Peru to
the foulest crimes.

The Emperor of Brazil, in his open war on the church, also finds an
advocate and eulogist in Mr. Richard Cutts Shannon, the American
_chargé_ at his court, who employs his vicarious pen in justifying the
arrest, trial, and condemnation of the Bishop of Olinda to four years’
imprisonment with hard labor. But he is surpassed by minister James R.
Partridge, who, in alluding to the determined intention of the
government to prosecute to the bitter end the various vicars who were
named to take the place of those successively cast into prison,
emphatically declares: “From present appearances, the ministerial
party are going on and are determined to carry it through. It is to be
hoped that their courage may not fail, neither by reason of the long
list of those who are thus declared ready to become martyrs, nor by
any political move of the ecclesiastical party.”

Such, in brief, are the views of the men sent to represent this
country on American soil. If we turn to Europe—though we may
acknowledge a higher order of ability in our diplomatic agents
there—we discover prejudice as strong and partisanship equally
conspicuous. Referring to the German Empire, we are pained to find so
profound a student of the past as Mr. Bancroft our late minister at
Berlin, so easily deceived in contemporary history. Nothing,
certainly, can be more untrue than the following statement of the
position of affairs in Prussia in 1873:

     “The effect of the correspondence [between the Pope and
     Emperor William] has been only to increase the popularity
     and European reputation of the emperor, and to depress the
     influence of the clerical party, thus confirming the
     accounts, which I have always given you, that the
     ultramontane political influence can never become vitally
     dangerous to this empire. The Catholic clergy are obviously
     beginning to regret having commenced with the state a
     contest in which it is not possible for them to gain the
     advantage. The intelligent Catholics themselves for the most
     part support the government, and so have received from the
     ultramontanes the nickname of state Catholics.”

There is not a single sentence in the above which is not a
misapprehension of facts. How far Mr. Bancroft’s easy assertions and
confident predictions, made scarcely two years ago, have been
justified by the event is a matter that happily needs no inquiry,
while comment on our part would be almost cruel. Mr. Bancroft,
however, was not content with supplying information to the State
Department on matters exclusively pertaining to his mission. His wide
range of vision took in all Europe, past and present. Of the old
Helvetian republic he writes:

     “Switzerland shows no sign of receding from its
     comprehensive measures against the ultramontane usurpations;
     and the spirit and courage of these republicans have
     something of the same effect on the population of Germany
     that was exercised by their forefathers in the time of the

And again:

     “How widely the movement is extending in Europe is seen by
     what is passing in England, where choice has been made of a
     ministry disinclined to further concessions to the demands
     of the Catholic hierarchy, and where the archbishops of the
     Anglican Church are proposing measures to drive all
     Romanizing tendencies out of the forms of public worship in
     the Establishment. Here in Germany, where the question takes
     the form of a conflict between the authority of the state at
     home within its own precincts, and the influence of an alien
     ecclesiastical power, it is certain that the party of the
     state is consolidating its strength; and I see nothing,
     either in the history of the country, or in the present
     state of public opinion, or the development of public
     legislation, that can raise a doubt as to the persistency of
     the German government in the course upon which it has

What the “comprehensive measures” in Switzerland “against the
ultramontane usurpations” mean readers of THE CATHOLIC WORLD already
know. They are simply a rather aggravated form of the Falck laws—a
form so aggravated that it is only within the past year M. Loyson
himself warned the world that the “comprehensive measures against
ultramontane usurpations,” which Mr. Bancroft finds such reasons to
commend, were aimed, through Catholicity, at all Christianity. And yet
a high official of our free government, a man of universal reputation
and great authority in the world of letters, finds in this elaborate
system of proscription and intolerance food for congratulation. One
would suppose from the spirit so plainly animating Mr. Bancroft that
he is a member of the O. A. U., and that he was chosen rather to
represent that delectable society in Berlin than the American
Government. It is to be presumed, from his own despatches, that he
would have our government follow the tyrannical attempt of Prussia and
Switzerland to “stamp out” freedom of conscience. Mr. Bancroft’s
diplomatic experience, under the influence of the court of Prussia,
seems destined to reverse his principles and maxims as an American
historian. He has, we fear, remained too long abroad for the good of
his native truth, character, and sense of right. It is to be hoped
that this baneful influence of foreign courts does not pursue him on
his return to his own country and people.

Mr. John Jay, who formerly acted as our envoy at Vienna, though not so
pronounced or diffusive in his despatches, is not far behind Mr.
Bancroft in expressing his entire concurrence with the restrictive
policy recently adopted by the government of Austria towards the
church; while Mr. George P. Marsh, our representative in Italy, is so
great an admirer of Garibaldi that he is never tired of chanting his
praises in grandiloquent prose. Those familiar with the life of that
notorious bandit will be surprised to learn from so high an authority
as the American minister that “he has never through life encouraged
any appeal to popular passion or any resistance to governments, except
by legal measures or in the way of organized and orderly attempts at
revolution; and, from the moment of his arrival at Rome, he exerted
himself to the utmost to restrain every manifestation of excitement.”

In marked contrast to the unfair and ungenerous spirit displayed in
the despatches of those ministers are the letters from France, Spain,
and England. The stirring political events which occupy the entire
attention of the two former countries leave no room, perhaps, for the
discussion of penal laws and judicial decrees against Catholicity;
while the latter, having carried out Protestantism to its logical
conclusion, and found it a sham, is more inclined to profit by the
blunders and crimes of its neighbors, so as to push its commercial
interests, than to imitate them and begin anew the _rôle_ of
persecutor for conscience’ sake.

In explanation of the erroneous views so frequently put forth by so
many of our diplomatic officials, we are assured that most of those
sent to Mexico and Central and South America have been members of
secret societies, and, having been accustomed to affiliate with the
lodges of those Freemason-ridden countries, have had whatever little
sense of equity they originally possessed perverted by the sophisms of
their new associates. Possibly; but let us consider how much harm may
be done by following such a short-sighted course. All the independent
countries south of us on this continent are largely Catholic, and,
with the exception of Brazil, claim to be republican. They are bound
to us by strong ties, political as well as commercial, and are
naturally inclined to look upon the United States as their exemplar
and guide, and, if need be, their protector. When they shall have
shaken off the incubus of military dictation that now weighs upon
them, and, restoring to the church its rights—as will eventually be
done—have entered on a new career of freedom and material prosperity,
how will they be disposed to feel towards a power which they have
known only through its agents, and those the advocates and supporters
of everything that is illiberal in politics and degrading in polemics?

In Europe the influence of incapable and unworthy representatives is
likely to be even more deleterious to our national character. The
affections of the people of the Old World are strongly inclined toward
the free institutions of the New. But if we continue to permit our
delegated authority to be used only in favor and encouragement of such
enemies of human liberty as the usurper at the Eternal City, the
tyrant at Berlin, and the communists of Geneva, the popular sympathy
born of our protestations of liberality will soon fade away, to give
place to feelings of mistrust, if not of positive aversion.

In calling public attention to the incapacity and perversity of the
majority of our diplomatists—men who do not hesitate to put into their
correspondence with foreign governments, and their private home
despatches, sentiments they dare not utter publicly in the forum or
through the press—we by no means desire to restrict proper expressions
of opinion or limit the just criticisms of the agents of the
Department of State. We only insist that these shall not be indulged
in at the expense of a very large and respectable portion of this
community. Neither do we require that they shall take sides with
Catholics, as such, anywhere, no matter how harsh or unjust may be
their grievances. This country is not Catholic, it is true, neither is
it Protestant; and, indeed, it is questionable if, in any strict
sense, it can be called Christian. But it is a country civilly and
religiously free, by custom, statute, and Constitution, and we have a
right to demand that whoever undertakes to act for it, as part and
parcel of the machinery of our government, among foreigners, shall
represent it as it is, in spirit as well as in fact—the opponent of
all proscription for conscience’ sake, the enemy of tyranny whether
exercised by the mob or the state. Is it not the true policy of our
government to send abroad as representatives of our interests men who,
while they are not hostile to the prevailing religious beliefs of the
country to which they are accredited, are, at the same time, true and
stanch Americans? If such men cannot be found, let us, in the name of
common sense, have none at all. Some minor interests may perhaps
suffer by the omission, but the honor and reputation of the republic
will remain unsullied and unimpaired.

     [1] _Papers relating to the Foreign Relations of the United
     States_, etc., for 1874-5.


  Maternal lady with the virgin grace,
  Heaven-born thy Jesus seemeth sure,
  And thou a virgin pure.
  Lady most perfect, when thy sinless face
  Men look upon, they wish to be
  A Catholic, Madonna fair, to worship thee.
                                      CHARLES LAMB.


It is of the last importance that English criticism should clearly
discern what rule for its course, in order to avail itself of the
field now opening to it, and to produce fruit for the future, it ought
to take. The rule may be summed up in one word—disinterestedness.

Mr. James Russell Lowell[2] has applied Mr. Matthew Arnold’s rule with
rare fidelity in his essays, just published, on Dante, Spenser,
Wordsworth, Milton, and Keats. His estimate of the two greatest of
modern poets, especially the paper on Dante, is calculated to attract
general attention, and to arouse, we apprehend, some acrid sentiment
in a certain class of literary butterflies who are accustomed to sip
or decline according to the theological character of the garden. It
requires considerable courage to place Dante above all his rivals and
salute him as

  “The loftiest of poets!”

in an hour when poetry has lost the qualities that made Dante lofty
and Milton grand, and when the epithet “Catholic,” which Dante loved
and Milton hated, has become again a reproach. Lowell’s consideration
of both is characterized by disinterestedness as to time, religion,
politics, and literature; and the sincere student who casts aside his
prejudices, like his hat, when he approaches the temples that enshrine
so much of divinity as God deposited in the souls of the Florentine
and the Puritan, will find it difficult to dissent from the judgment
of Lowell upon their individuality, their inspiration, or their art.
Lowell is peculiarly adapted to the form of literature, semi-critical,
semi-creative, in which he has recently distinguished himself. We
believe his essay on Dante to be the most successfully-accomplished
task which he has yet undertaken; and the cultivated American public
should thank one who has amused and diverted it as well as he has done
for the solid instruction which this volume conveys in a style at once
scholarly, fresh, and refined. Lowell’s mental temperament is
admirably adapted for the mirroring of poets’ minds. Himself a genuine
poet, without ambition above his capacity, his agile fancy discerns
the quicker and appreciates more intensely the imagination of epic
souls; while his critical faculty, naturally acute, has the additional
advantage of a keen sense of humor, which enables him to discover more
readily the incongruous, and is, therefore, an invaluable assistant in
literary discrimination.

It is the trade of criticism to expose blemishes; it is genius in
criticism to appreciate the subject. The journeyman critic of the last
two centuries has been so busy making authors miserable without
felicitating mankind that when we read through an essay like Lowell’s
on Dante, on Wordsworth, or on Spenser, we cheerfully recognize a man
where experience has taught us to look only for an ingenious carper or
spiteful ferret. However, critics are no worse than they used to be.
Swift, who had excellent opportunity of forming an opinion, both in
his own practice and in the observation of that of others, has left
this dramatic picture, the truthfulness of which there is no reason
yet to question: “The malignant deity Criticism dwelt on the top of a
snowy mountain in Nova Zembla; Momus found her extended in her den
upon the spoils of numberless volumes half devoured. At her right hand
sat Ignorance, her father and husband, blind with age; at her left,
Pride, her mother, dressing her up in the scraps of paper herself had
torn. There was Opinion, her sister, light of foot, hoodwinked, and
headstrong, yet giddy and perpetually turning. About her played her
children, Noise and Impudence, Dulness and Vanity, Positiveness,
Pedantry, and Ill-Manners.” Such is reckless and conscienceless
criticism even to this day; and we turn from it, in grateful delight,
to the reverential commentary which Lowell has produced upon one of
the saddest of all human creatures—the great Catholic poet of the
middle ages.

Dante, little understood by those who have the largest title to his
legacies, is, after all, the universal poet—the poet of the soul.
Homer chants the blood-red glories of war, and is the poet of a
period; Virgil charms by the grace of his lines, and is the poet of an
episode; Milton awes with the mighty sweeps of his rhetoric, and is
the poet of the grandiose; Shakspeare astounds with his knowledge of
human nature and enchains with his wit, and is the poet of the
passions; Dante, when read aright, is found to be the poet of the
Soul. The line that divides him from Shakspeare lies between the
subjective and the objective—Shakspeare’s themes are men and women;
Dante’s sole subject is Man—man within himself, as he is related to
God, to religion, to eternity. As Lowell felicitously writes it,
“_Arma virumque cano_; that is the motto of classic song. Dante says,
_Subjectum est homo_, not _vir_—my theme is man, not a man.”

Why, then, do we not read him more and value him as he deserves? For
two reasons: first, the difficulty of adequate translation; next, the
mysterious richness of his thought, whose pearls are not strung across
the door of the lines to warn us, as later poetry so candidly does,
that within there is nothing but barrenness. The proper understanding
of Dante has been a growth, beginning in Italy as soon as he was dead,
extending gradually over Europe, into England, and now westward,
gaining in clearness and glory as time recedes and space enlarges.

Within a century after the poet’s death lectures on his works were
delivered in the churches, and, as soon as the invention of printing
enabled, numerous editions were edited and circulated. The first
translation was into Spanish; then into French; next into German; and
a copy of a Latin translation of the _Divine Comedy_ by a bishop was
made at the request of two English bishops in the early part of the
fifteenth century, and was sent to England. Spenser and Milton were
familiar with the poet’s works, but the first complete English
translation did not appear until 1802. Of the English translations
since then, the most familiar are Cary’s and Longfellow’s; and to this
catalogue Mr. Lowell adds: “A translation of the _Inferno_ into
quatrains by T. W. Parsons ranks with the best for spirit,
truthfulness, and elegance”—praise which will be cordially endorsed by
those who have profited by Mr. Parsons’ labor.

We propose to discuss Dante the man and Mr. Lowell’s estimate of him,
as exhibited in his writings, and shall touch upon the latter only as
they may be necessary to the clearer revelation of their author’s
character. For Dante, like Milton, was not of common mould; in
whatever aspect we view him he proves extraordinary to a degree which
frequently becomes incomprehensible. It is natural to wish to throw
the two under the same light, although the result of the experiment is
only to magnify their points of difference and diminish those of
comparison. The sum of the results appears to be that only in the
accidents of life are they comparable; in the essentials of character,
with a single exception—that of intense faith—they were radically
unlike. Widely apart as their names appear—Dante dying in 1321 and
Milton entering life in 1608—men were engaged during the lives of
both in civil revolution, and each had his own theory of government
and exercised the functions of political power. Both were men of
sorrow, both were unappreciated in their day and generation, and the
light and joy which each experienced emanated from within and supplied
the fire of their genius. The noblest work of each was written in the
gloomiest period of his life. Here the possibility of parallel ends.

There is a close relation—a much closer one than may at first be
suspected—between Dante and the instant condition of American society
and politics. Nearly six hundred years have passed away, and we have
to go back to Dante to learn personal virtue in political life, as
well as religion in social affairs. Lowell has escaped the poison of
the time. He perceives the essence as well as the necessity of virtue,
and fully realizes its absence in our own state.

     “Very hateful to his fervid heart and sincere mind would
     have been the modern theory which deals with sin as
     involuntary error, and by shifting off the fault to the
     shoulders of Atavism or those of Society—personified for
     purposes of excuse, but escaping into impersonality again
     from the grasp of retribution—weakens that sense of personal
     responsibility which is the root of self-respect and the
     safeguard of character. Dante, indeed, saw clearly enough
     that the divine justice did at length overtake society in
     the ruin of states caused by the corruption of private, and
     thence of civic, morals; but a personality so intense as his
     could not be satisfied with such a tardy and generalized
     penalty as this. ‘It is Thou,’ he says sternly, ‘who hast
     done this thing, and Thou, not Society, shalt be damned for
     it; nay, damned all the worse for this paltry subterfuge.
     This is not my judgment, but that of the universal Nature,
     from before the beginning of the world.’… He believed in the
     righteous use of anger, and that baseness was its legitimate
     quarry. He did not think the Tweeds and Fisks, the political
     wire-pullers and convention-packers, of his day merely
     amusing, and he certainly did think it the duty of an
     upright and thoroughly-trained citizen to speak out severely
     and unmistakably. He believed firmly, almost fiercely, in a
     divine order of the universe, a conception whereof had been
     vouchsafed him, and that whatever or whoever hindered or
     jostled it, whether wilfully or blindly it mattered not, was
     to be got out of the way at all hazards; because obedience
     to God’s law, and not making things generally comfortable,
     was the highest duty of man, as it was also his only way to
     true felicity.… It would be of little consequence to show in
     which of two equally selfish and short-sighted parties a man
     enrolled himself six hundred years ago; but it is worth
     something to know that a man of ambitious temper and violent
     passions, aspiring to office in a city of factions, could
     rise to a level of principle so far above them all. Dante’s
     opinions have life in them still, because they were drawn
     from living sources of reflection and experience, because
     they were reasoned out from the astronomic laws of history
     and ethics, and were not weather-guesses snatched in a
     glance at the doubtful political sky of the hour.”

In this Dante strikingly differed from Milton, who was a revengeful
and intensely-bigoted fanatic of his own faction, and he admitted to
his companionship no man, high or low, who presumed to differ from
him. Dante was a politician by principle, placing his country first,
and setting a high value on himself as her servant. Milton was a
politician by bigotry, placing himself first, and setting a high value
on his country because he was her servant. But the manliness of Dante
in demanding that the severe precepts of religion should be inflexibly
applied to political administration in an age whose corruption was
only less shocking than that of our own, is the particular lesson
which this vigorous extract from Lowell conveys. If society in this
era should esteem political wire-pullers, convention-packers, and
politicians who deem patriotism the science of personal exigencies, as
Dante esteemed and treated them, should we be any the worse off? Dante
looked upon a thief as a thief, and the knave who conspired to defraud
the government as fit only to “begone among the other dogs.” Would
there not be a healthier tone in our political affairs if these
classes of criminals were not met, as is usually the case, by justice
daintily gloved and the bandage removed from her eyes, lest she should
make a mistake as to persons?

The inspiration of Dante was strictly religious. So was Milton’s; but
with this distinction: that Dante’s religiousness was real and
beneficent, while Milton’s was unreal and malignant—as Lowell says,
Milton’s “God was a Calvinistic Zeus.”

A brief and succinct analysis of the _Divine Comedy_ will be found
serviceable by those who have not analyzed it for themselves, and at
the same time will make manifest the dependence of Dante’s inspiration
upon Catholic doctrine:

     “The poem consists of three parts—Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise.
     Each part is divided into thirty-three cantos, in allusion to the
     years of the Saviour’s life; for although the Hell contains
     thirty-four, the first canto is merely introductory. In the form
     of the verse (triple rhyme) we may find an emblem of the Trinity,
     and in the three divisions of the threefold state of man, sin,
     grace, and beatitude.… Lapse through sin, mediation, and
     redemption—these are the subjects of the three parts of the poem;
     or, otherwise stated, intellectual conviction of the result of
     sin, typified in Virgil; … moral conversion after repentance, by
     divine grace, typified in Beatrice; reconciliation with God, and
     actual, blinding vision of him—‘The pure in heart shall see
     God.’… The poem is also, in a very intimate sense, an apotheosis
     of woman.… Nothing is more wonderful than the power of absorption
     and assimilation in this man, who could take up into himself the
     world that then was, and reproduce it with such cosmopolitan
     truth, to human nature and to his own individuality as to reduce
     all contemporary history to a mere comment on his vision. We
     protest, therefore, against the parochial criticism which would
     degrade Dante to a mere partisan; which sees in him a Luther
     before his time, and would clap the _bonnet rouge_ upon his
     heavenly muse.”

Dante proved himself a reformer of the most aggressive kind. The
difference between him and Luther was that Dante endeavored to reform
men by means of the church; Luther endeavored to destroy the church
rather than reform himself. Evils existed within the church, as a part
of society, during the periods of both. Dante helped to correct them
as a conservative; Luther chose, as a radical, to tear the edifice
down. Unlike the temple of Philistia, the church stood, and the Samson
of the sixteenth century fell beneath the ruins of a single column.

No fact in the history of poetry is more striking than the necessity
of religion as a source of inspiration. The _Iliad_ and _Odyssey_
acquire their epic quality from the religion of Greece; gods stalk
about, and Minerva’s shield resounds in the clangor with that of
Achilles. The _Æneid_ would be beautiful without the association of
mythology; but it is mythology which enhances its grace into grandeur.
The Vedas are an expression of the religious aspirations of the
Hindoos. The verse of Boccaccio is pleasing only in proportion as
religion cleansed his pen. Petrarch’s sonnets would never have been
written had not Laura taught him the distinction between pure love, as
the church knows it, and the passions which carried Byron into
hysterics. The Italian epic of the sixteenth century, _Jerusalem
Delivered_, which is held by Hallam to be equal in grace to the
_Æneid_, had the First Crusade for its theme. Would it have been
possible for Milton to have written any poem equal to _Paradise Lost_
out of other than Scriptural materials? Aside from the literary
characteristics and dramatic strength of the plays of Shakspeare, does
not their chief value lie in their correct morality—the morality which
is found nowhere outside Catholic teaching? This is not the place to
discuss the modern decline of poetry. Matthew Arnold’s theory—it is a
general favorite—is that history and boldly-outlined epochs make
poetry; and Lowell says, in his essay on Milton, “It is a high
inspiration to be the neighbor of great events.” But the last two
centuries have been crowded with history; boldly-outlined epochs have
lifted their awful summits in England, in France, in Italy, in the
United States, in Spain. Where are the great poets among the
verse-makers who have been neighbors of these great events, and might
have caught high inspiration from them? Since the Reformation the
moral world has been growing iconoclastic, and there is no poetry in

Next to religion, woman has been the great inspiration of poets; but
the modern idea of marriage has shattered the sanctuary walls which
Christianity erected around it; the sacredness of home is invaded, the
oneness of love destroyed—there is no poetry in divorce.

Is not the decline of poetry a very curious, if not a fatal, reply to
the hypothesis of evolution, carried logically into the moral and
intellectual world?

Mr. Lowell completes his essay by a minute examination of Dante’s
thought and style, as exhibited in the _Divine Comedy_; and we can
find space only for the closing period:

     “At the Round Table of King Arthur there was left always one
     seat empty for him who should accomplish the adventure of
     the Holy Grail. It was called the perilous seat, because of
     the dangers he would encounter who would win it. In the
     company of the epic poets there was a place left for whoever
     should embody the Christian idea of a triumphant life,
     outwardly all defeat, inwardly victorious; who should make
     us partakers in that cup of sorrow in which all are
     communicants with Christ. He who should do this would
     achieve indeed the perilous seat; for he must combine poesy
     with doctrine in such cunning wise that the one lose not its
     beauty nor the other its severity—and Dante has done it. As
     he takes possession of it we seem to hear the cry he himself
     heard when Virgil rejoined the company of great singers:

  ‘All honor to the loftiest of poets!’”

Mr. Lowell’s Dante is a man divinely inspired and overshadowed by
divinity to the grave itself—a character austere, devoid of humor,
unflinchingly faithful to his conceptions of right whether moral or
political, self-respecting, and believing in his own commission from
God; a mind logical, systematic, and illuminated by Heaven,
consciously developing its marvellous genius in the midst of
contumely; a heart consumed first by human love for Beatrice, and by
it purged and refined out of personality into the love of God and the
proper relative appreciation of all creatures; a sublime human soul,
in brief, transformed from the individual into the universal, and
teaching all men, as it was taught in sorrow and in love, to seek
eternity as the sole object worthy of human effort; and teaching in a
lofty splendor of phrase and successions of exquisite imagery which
continue to astonish posterity and will for ever adorn general

The essay on Milton is devoted rather to Mr. David Masson than to the
poet. There is nothing to indicate that the critic is in love with
either the poems or the personality of the sublime Puritan who
officiated in the capacity of Latin secretary to Oliver Cromwell, and
who devoted himself to epic verse after his services ceased to be
available for the oppression of his fellow-men. Still less is he
enamored of Mr. David Masson as a biographer of Milton, and the jovial
though thoroughly effective manner in which he demonstrates the Scotch
professor’s unfitness for this office adds to his volume a flavor of
pungency which brings back happy recollections of the “Table for
Critics.” Masson is very voluminous and exasperatingly given to remote
and often irrelevant detail; and Macaulay, in extinguishing some of
the literary pretenders of his time, was never more dextrous than
Lowell in this grotesque joust at the Edinburgh professor’s faults,
nor half so witty. Referring to the length of the biography—there are
eight volumes octavo of the _Life_ and _Works_—Lowell says with
perfect gravity: “We envy the secular leisures of Methuselah, and are
thankful that _his_ biography, at least (if written in the same
longeval proportion), is irrecoverably lost to us. What a subject that
would have been for a person of Mr. Masson’s spacious predilections!”
And he goes on to say: “It is plain, from the preface to the second
volume, that Mr. Masson himself has an uneasy consciousness that
something is wrong, and that Milton ought to be more than a mere
incident of his own biography.” Masson, on the other hand, is of
opinion “that, whatever may be thought by a hasty person looking in on
the subject from the outside,” no one can study Milton without being
obliged to study also the history of England, Scotland, and Ireland;
whereupon Lowell retorts that, even for a hasty person, eleven years
is “rather long to have his button held by a biographer ere he begins
his next sentence.”

Masson’s rambling history of the seventeenth century “is interrupted
now and then,” says Lowell, “by an unexpected apparition of Milton,
who, like Paul Pry, just pops in and hopes he does not intrude, to
tell us what _he_ has been doing in the meanwhile.” Blinded by the
dust of old papers which Masson ransacks, to discover that they have
no relation to his hero, the critic compares the ponderous biography
to Allston’s picture of Elijah in the wilderness, “where a good deal
of research at last enables us to guess at the prophet absconded like
a conundrum in the landscape, where the very ravens could scarce have
found him out.” This characterization of Edinburgh by Harvard will
certainly inspire suggestion, if it does not awaken hope; but Lowell’s
right to criticise the sedate and prolix gentleman who occupies in the
Scottish metropolis the chair which he himself fills at Cambridge does
not rest, as we have already seen in the essay on Dante, on Susarion’s
faculty of turning the serious and dull into actual comedy.

Like all who have recently written of Milton—with the exception of
Masson—Lowell looks upon him as a being “set apart.” To idealize the
author of _Paradise Lost_ is quite as natural as to idealize Dante,
notwithstanding their relative distances from us; but in the former
case, with Lowell, it is the idealization of admiring awe; in the
latter, of tender and exquisitely appreciative love. He does not
appear to hold Milton in any degree of the personal affection which he
feels for the inspired Florentine, but is constrained to insist that
Masson is disrespectful toward his subject, and that “Milton is the
last man in the world to be slapped on the back with impunity.”

When Lowell writes of Milton’s literary style, although he does it
sparingly, every stroke is a master’s. His estimate of Milton as a man
is calm, judicial, and courageous. “He stands out,” he says, “in
marked and solitary individuality, apart from the great movement of
the civil war, apart from the supine acquiescence of the Restoration,
a self-opinionated, unforgiving, and unforgetting man.” It is the
habit of hurried teachers of our day, who have to teach so many more
things than they know, to exalt Milton

  “High on a throne of royal state,”

and swing before him the incense of a senseless and absurd homage. In
our school-days most of us were led to look upon the sightless poet as
a being more than man, if a little less than God. Virtues, as he
understood them, he certainly possessed; but many more virtuous than
he suffered ignominy and death for presuming to exercise the very
liberty which he grandly claimed for himself, but which, we find on
examining his prose, he was dilatory in awarding to others, even in
the abstract. These prose writings are at once curious and monstrous,
and exhibit the real Milton in a true and natural light, even as
_Samson Agonistes_, _Lycidas_, and _Paradise Lost_ manifest his superb
and supreme characteristics as a poet. In prose he wrote as he
thought; in verse he wrote as he could. He was always the rhetorician,
making an art of what men of less genius can display only as the
artificial; but while his poetry is the complete manifestation of his
art, his prose, always written with an obvious and acknowledged
personal purpose, manifests himself. His prose works are already
scarce; the day is not distant when nothing will remain of them but
their ashes, for the types will plead release from perpetuating the
hard, angular, stony reality of a man whom taste, if not instinct,
yearns to withdraw from our painful knowledge of what he was, and veil
him in a radiant mistiness of what we wish he might have been. Nothing
better illustrates the idealism with which the pencil of youth paints
Milton than Macaulay’s essay, written while he was still a boy, but
included with the mature expressions of his manhood. Nothing could
more completely pulverize this roseate estimate than Milton’s own
works in the days when he wrote for time and not for immortality. No
matter what the theme, his prose is always ponderous and polysyllabic,
abounding in magnificent metaphor, violent epithets, arrogant
dogmatism, and personal abuse of those who differed from him, of which
no trace, happily, remains in our day. The higher the man, the coarser
the missile which he hurled at him with a giant’s force. In his reply
to Salmasius he addresses that eminent scholar as “a vain, flashy
man,” and, in the progress of his argument, reminds him that he is
also a knave, a pragmatical coxcomb, a bribed beggar, a whipped dog,
an impotent slave, a renegade, a sacrilegious wretch, a mongrel cur,
an obscure scoundrel, a fearful liar, and a mass of corruption.

He seems to have lacked both consistency and clearness of conviction.
He was apparently incapable of loving woman; he scarcely respected
her; and, in his social theory, awarded the sex a place somewhat below
that which it occupied under the patriarchs, and considerably lower
than that described by Homer as peculiar to the heroic age of Greece.
He obtained coy and pretty Mary Powell from her father in
consideration of so many pounds of the coin of the realm, at a time
when a mortgage had become embarrassing and a daughter was the only
available means of extinguishing it. When that volatile young woman,
shivering in the shadows of a Puritan despot, found courage enough to
leave his roof, Milton was undoubtedly more impressed by her audacity
than grieved by her absence. It was his pride that was hurt; and
notwithstanding that he had previously advocated social views of the
straitest and most conservative kind, he then published his essay on
divorce, which, in amazing egotism, in wealth of classical and
Scriptural allusion, in looseness of morals, and in equality of social
privileges as between man and woman, is as veritable a curiosity as
antiquarians have yet rescued from the monumental mysteries of old
Assyria. In politics and religion he was as unsound and wavering as in
his laws for society. An aristocrat of the most despotic type, he
enthroned learning, and yet permitted his daughters to acquire only
the alphabets, that he might use their senses as his slaves. He
despised them as human beings, and they, in turn, hated and deceived
him, and almost his last words on earth were terrible denunciations of
those whom God intended to illumine his home, soothe his life, and
deliver his whitened head, already aureoled, to

  “Dear, beauteous Death.”

For many years—the very best of his life—he lent himself to the
political schemes of Oliver Cromwell, and the violence and coarseness
of his pamphlets made him one of the most conspicuous figures of a
long series of civil storms; yet Lowell is constrained to admit that
“neither in politics, theology, nor social ethics did Milton leave any
distinguishable trace on the thought of his time or in the history of
opinion.” He considered his ideas and inclinations correct and above
appeal, simply because they were John Milton’s. The harshest word
which Lowell says of his prose style is his comparison of a man of
Milton’s personal character, which was without taint, to Martin
Luther, whose writings were a true reflection of their author. Lowell
is very gentle in saying of so noted a plagiarist as Milton: “A true
Attic bee, he made boot on every lip where there was a trace of truly
classic honey.” He did indeed, not in prose only, but in his verse.
But we easily forgive him. There are thieves whom stolen garments more
become than their owners.

     [2] _Among my Books._ Second Series.


VI.,” ETC.



The night closed in—night, that is so cruel, yet so merciful;
intensifying every pain in the long dark watch, or lulling it in
blessed sleep.

There was very little sleep for Raymond that night, and none at all
for his two nurses. They sat by his bed while the slow hours dragged
on, watching his feverish restlessness, that was occasionally soothed
by broken snatches of rest, thanks to a potion that was administered
at intervals. Franceline’s anxiety gradually returned as she sat there
observing every sound and symptom. She could not but see that there
was something far more serious in this sudden attack than an ordinary
fainting fit. Raymond was so troubled and excited in his sleep that
she almost wished him to awake; and then again she longed for
unconsciousness to soothe his feverish terrors. He clutched her hand;
he could not bear her to move from him. At last the dawn came, and
like a bright-winged angel scattered the darkness and scared away the
ghostly phantoms of the night, and Raymond fell into a slumber long
and deep enough to be refreshing.

Some days passed without bringing any change; but he was no worse,
which, the doctor said, meant that he was better. His condition,
however, continued extremely critical.

It was wonderful both to Angélique and to herself how Franceline bore
up under the strain; for both her mental and physical powers were
severely taxed. She had hardly closed her eyes since her father had
fallen ill; and she took scarcely any food. But anxiety, so long as it
does not utterly break us down, buoys us up.

The few neighbors who were intimate were kind and sympathizing. Lady
Anwyll had driven over and made anxious inquiries, and would gladly be
of use in any way, if she could. Miss Bulpit also came to offer her
services in any way they could be available. Miss Merrywig called
every day. So far Franceline had seen none of them; she was always
with her father when they called, and Angélique would not disturb her
for visitors.

Father Henwick came constantly to inquire, but did not always ask to
see the young girl. Franceline wondered why her father had not before
this expressed a wish to see him; it seemed so natural that such a
wish should have manifested itself the moment Raymond was able to
receive any one. She dared not take the initiative and suggest it, but
she could not help feeling that it would be an immense relief to the
sufferer if he could disburden his mind of the weight that was upon
it, and speak to Father Henwick as to a tried and affectionate friend,
if even he did not as yet seek spiritual help and guidance from him.
It had long since been borne in on Franceline that the horrible
suspicion which had so mysteriously fallen on Raymond was in some way
or other connected with his sudden illness; she brooded over the
thought until it became a fixed idea and haunted her day and night.
How was it that he did not instinctively turn for comfort to the
Source where he was sure to find it? Father Henwick himself must feel
pained and surprised at not having been summoned to the sick-room
before this. Franceline was thinking over it all one morning, sitting
near Raymond’s bedside, when Angélique put in her head and announced
in a loud whisper that M. le Curé, as she dubbed Father Henwick, was
down-stairs, and would be glad if she could speak to him a moment.
Franceline rose softly, and was leaving the room, when her father, who
was not dozing, as she fancied, said:

“Why does he not come up and see me? I should be glad to see him; it
would do me good.”

Father Henwick came up without delay, and Franceline soon made a
pretext for leaving him alone with the invalid. It was with a beating
heart that she closed the door on them and went down-stairs to wait
till she was recalled. She could hear only the full, clear tones of
Father Henwick’s voice at first; after a while these grew lower, and
then she heard the murmur of Raymond’s voice; then there seemed to
follow a silence. She was too agitated to pray in words, but her heart
prayed silently with intense fervor. The conference lasted a full
half-hour, and then Father Henwick’s cheerful voice sounded on the

“How do you think he looks, father?” she said, meeting him at the
study door with another question in her eyes that Father Henwick
thought he understood.

“Much better than I expected!” he answered promptly and with a
heartiness of conviction that was music to her ears; “and you will
find that from this out he will improve steadily, and rapidly, I hope,

A stifled “Thank God!” was Franceline’s answer.

“And now how about you?” said the priest, with something of the old
blunt grumble that was so much more reassuring than the tenderness
called forth by pity. “I heard a very bad account of you this
morning—no sleep, and no food, and no air; you mean to fret yourself
into an illness before your father is up and able to attend on you, do
you? That would be one way of showing your dutiful affection for him.
Humph! Are those the eyes for a young lady to have in her head on a
fine sunny morning like this? Did you go to bed at all last night?”

“Yes, but I could not sleep; I was too anxious, too unhappy.”

“Too unbelieving, too mistrustful. Go up-stairs this minute, you child
of little faith, and lie down and lay your head upon the pillow of
divine Providence, and be asleep in five minutes!”

He left her with this peremptory injunction, and Franceline, with a
lightened heart, went up-stairs determined to obey it. It was as yet,
of course, a matter of pure conjecture what had passed between the
priest and her father; but when, an hour later, after obediently
taking that refreshing sleep on the pillow of divine Providence which
had been commanded her, she came into Raymond’s room, there was a
marked change in his whole demeanor. He had not passed the interval in
the listless apathy that had now become habitual to him. He had made
Angélique bring over a little celestial globe and set it on the bed
for him, and had amused himself with it awhile; and then he had taken
up the book Franceline had left on the chair beside him when she stole
out of the room. It was _The Imitation of Christ_. He was reading it
when she entered, and there was an expression on his features that
made her happier than she had been for a long time. He looked more
peaceful, more life-like than she had seen him for weeks even before
he had fallen ill.

“You are feeling better, petit père?” she said, kissing him, and
taking the dear face between her hands to look into it more closely.

“Yes, my clair de lune, much better,” he replied, with a smile that
had all its wonted sweetness and something of the old brightness. “I
think I shall be able to get down-stairs in a day or two.”

“I see you have been at your old tricks again,” she said, shaking her
finger at him and pointing to the globe; “you know you are forbidden
to do anything that gives you the least fatigue.”

“It was not a fatigue, my little one—it amused me; but I will not do
it again, if you don’t wish it.”

Franceline hugged his head to her cheek, and said she would let him do
anything so long as it amused him.

“I was thinking of you last night, petit père,” she said, making the
globe revolve slowly on its axis; “the sky was so beautiful at twelve
o’clock when I happened to look out of my window that I longed for you
to see it.”

“Ha! Then probably it will be the same to-night,” said Raymond. “I
will keep my curtain drawn, so that I may see it, if it is.”

“Yes; and let the moon keep you awake whether you will or not! I
should like to hear what Angélique would say to that proposal! No; but
I will tell you what we’ll do: I will be on the watch to-night, and if
the stars are like last night I will steal in and see if you are
awake, and if you are I will draw the curtain so that you may see them
from your bed. We shall be like two _savants_ making our
‘observations’ in the night-time, shall we not? And—who knows?—we may
discover a new star!”

Raymond pinched her cheek and laughed gently. His hopes in this
respect were limited by facts—or rather negatives—that Franceline did
not stop to inquire into; she had not gone deeply into the science of

“There is no saying what I might not discover with those bright eyes
of thine for a telescope,” said M. de la Bourbonais.

Angélique rejoiced in her own fashion at the decided turn for the
better that her master had suddenly taken. She saw that he spoke a
good deal during the evening, and ate with a nearer approach to
appetite than he had yet shown; so she settled him for the night, and
went to bed with a lighter heart than for many past nights, and soon
slept soundly.

Franceline did not follow her example. It was not anxiety that kept
her awake, but happiness; she could not bring herself to part with it
so quickly, and lose it for a time in unconsciousness. There was a
presence, too, in the ecstatic silence of the night, that answered to
this sense of joy and appealed to her for responsive watch. Joys are
more intense when we dwell on them in the night-time, because they are
more separate, farther lifted from the jarring discord of our daily
lives, where pain cries around us in so many multiform tongues. It is
as if the world grew wider in spiritual space, and that senses and
fibres, too delicate to vibrate in the glare of daylight, woke up in
the solemn hush when the world of man is out of sight and God comes
nearer to us.

Franceline stood at the window and gazed at the beautiful scene that
spread itself before her. The moon was at her full; the landscape,
diluted in the moonlight, floated in mystic, illimitable space, still
and hushed as if the world were holding its breath to hear the stars
tingling in the sapphire dome; every tree and blade of grass were
listening to the silence; the river sped stealthily along like a
silver snake between its banks where the gray poplars stood looking
down, frighted by the vibration of their own shadows, dyeing
themselves black in the water.

“If he were awake, how he would enjoy this!” murmured Franceline to
herself; and then, unable to resist the temptation, she stole softly
through Angélique’s room and across the landing into Raymond’s. The
doors were all open, partly to admit more air, partly that they might
hear the least tinkle of his little hand-bell, if he sounded it.

“Is that my Franceline?” asked a voice from the bed. The night light
threw her shadow on the floor, and Raymond, who was not asleep, saw

“Yes, petit père,” she answered in a whisper; “the sky is so lovely I
thought I must come and see if you were awake. Shall I draw the


She did so, and then crept back and knelt down beside him. Raymond
laid his cheek against her head, and clasped her hand in his, and they
remained for some moments gazing at the beauty of the heavens in
silence. Then he said, making long pauses, as if he were thinking
aloud rather than speaking to her:

“How wonderful is the splendor of God as he reveals it to us in his
works!… Who can measure his power, his glory?… Think what it means,
the creation of one of those stars! And there are myriads and myriads
of them spangling millions of miles of blue sky! There are no steppes,
no barren spots, there where the stars cannot grow. They are not like
flowers, those stars of our world; they never perish or fade—they only
draw behind the light for a while; always harmonious, moving in their
appointed places like the notes of a divine symphony; they make no
discord. The great stars are not scornful of the little ones; the
little stars are not jealous of the great; each is content to be as it
is and where it is, and to stay where the great Star-Maker has fixed
it.… My clair de lune, let us try and be content like the stars.”

Franceline raised his hand to her lips, and murmured the strophe of
her favorite hymn of S. Francis: “Praised be my Lord for our sister
the moon, and for the stars, which he has set clear and lovely in the

The next morning Father Henwick came and was once more closeted with
Raymond. Nothing had been said about it, but, when the door-bell
sounded, M. de la Bourbonais glanced quickly at the clock, and
exclaimed in a tone of surprise: “Already half-past twelve! I did not
think it was so late. Thou wilt show him up at once, my child, and
then leave us alone for a little.”

No further explanation was necessary. Franceline kissed him in
silence, placed a chair close by his pillow, and then, in a happy
flutter, went down to meet Father Henwick.

Two days after this there was great joy at The Lilies. The little
cottage was decked out as for a bridal. Franceline had stayed up late
to have it all finished for the early morning; she would do everything
with her own hands. The stairs were wreathed with garlands of green
leaves and ferns; every vase and cup she could find was filled with
the sweet spring flowers—cowslips, primroses, anemones, and wild
violets—and placed in the tiny entrance and on the landing opposite
Raymond’s room. The room itself was transformed into a chapel. At the
foot of the bed stood a small table covered with Franceline’s snowiest
muslin, joyously sacrificed for the occasion. Lights were burning on
either side of a large crucifix; there were lights and flowers on the
mantelpiece, where she had placed her statue of the Madonna and other
precious ornaments; the thin curtains were drawn and filled the little
room with a soft golden twilight. Franceline was kneeling beside the
bed, reciting some litany aloud, which Raymond answered from a book in
timid, reverential under-tones.

But now a sudden hush falls upon the faintly-broken silence. There is
a sound of footsteps without; a dear and awful Presence is
approaching. No need to ring; the door stands open to its widest, and
Angélique, kneeling on the threshold, adores and welcomes the divine
Guest; a little bell goes tinkling up amidst the flowers, and ceases
as it enters the illuminated room.…

      *     *     *     *     *

The sudden improvement in Raymond’s state was not followed by a
proportionately rapid progress. He still continued extremely weak, and
was not able to come down-stairs until several days later. Dr. Blink
was puzzled; he had been very sanguine when the rally took place, and
now he hardly knew what to think. He was convinced from the first that
the attack had been in a great measure caused by some mental shock;
but that seemed at one moment to have righted itself, and he thought
his patient was safe. This was apparently a mistake. The pressure may
have been unexpectedly lightened, but it was clearly not removed; and
until this was done medicine could do very little.

“There is something on his mind,” said the doctor to Mr. Langrove one
morning, on coming out from his daily visit; “there is some trouble
weighing on him, and he will not recover until something is done
toward removing it.”

The vicar understood perfectly the drift of this remark. It was an
appeal from the medical man to the friend of the patient for help or
light. Mr. Langrove could give neither. He observed that the count had
been seriously anxious about Franceline’s health; but Dr. Blink shook
his head. He knew how to discriminate between the effect of heartache
and a pressure on the mind. In this case the mind was oppressed by
some secret burden, or he was very much mistaken; it might be some
painful apprehension in the future, or something distressing in the
past; but whatever the cause was, past or future, the present effect
was unmistakable, and, unless some friend who had the full confidence
of the patient could afford some relief, the worst might still be
apprehended. Mr. Langrove answered by some irrelevant expression of
sympathy and regret, but volunteered no opinion of his own. He went
home and sat down and wrote to Sir Simon Harness. This was all he
could think of. If Sir Simon could not help, he believed no one else

It so happened that the baronet was just now absent in the South of
Italy, in dutiful attendance on Lady Rebecca; and as he had been
called off suddenly, and left no orders about his letters being sent
after him, those directed to his bankers lay there unopened. There was
another besides Mr. Langrove’s lying there, which, if it had reached
him, would have rejoiced the baronet’s heart and provoked a quick

The fears which Raymond’s tardy progress raised in the mind of his
medical man were not shared by Franceline. Hope still triumphed over
alarm, and she felt confident that, since the great weight on her
father’s mind had been removed, his complete recovery must ultimately
follow. This certainty made the delay easy to bear. It was wonderful
how her own strength bore up. She had quite lost her cough—a fact
which confirmed the doctor’s previous opinion that the nerves had more
to do with this symptom than the lungs—she kept well, and was
altogether in better health than for some months previously. Her
spirits raised to elation after that happy morning’s episode,
continued excellent—at times as joyous as a child’s.

The moment M. de la Bourbonais was able to get down-stairs Angélique
insisted on Franceline going every day for a walk while the sun was
shining. One morning, when he had come down and was comfortably
established on the sofa in his study, propped up so that he could see
out of the window, Franceline said she was going to gather him a
bouquet. She smoothed and changed the cushions, put another shawl over
his feet, moved the sofa a little bit nearer the window, and then back
again a little bit nearer the fire, until, finding there was
absolutely nothing more to fuss over, except to kiss him for the tenth
time with “Au revoir, petit père!” as if they were separating for a
journey, she sallied forth for her constitutional.

The weather was mild and beautiful; spring was intoning the first bars
of its idyl, striking bright emerald notes from the tips of the trees,
and drawing low, pink whispers from the blackthorn in the hedges; the
birds were beginning to tune their lutes and make ready for the great
concert that was at hand. Franceline’s heart bounded in unison with
the pulse of joy and universal awakening; she began to warble a duet
with the skylark as she went along, stopping every now and then to
make a nosegay of the pink and white anemones and violets and
torch-like king-cups that grew in wild luxuriance in the woods and
fields. Dullerton was famous for its wild flowers. Half an hour passed
quickly while thus engaged, and then she turned homewards. The doves
were on the watch for her, “sunning their milk-white bosoms on the
thatch,” as she came in sight, and swelling the sweet harmony of earth
and sky with a tender, well-contented coo. But hark! Could that be the
cuckoo that was already calling from the woods? She paused with her
hand on the latch to listen. No: it was only the voice of the sunshine
echoing through her own happy heart. She pushed open the gate and
walked quickly on; but again her step was arrested. Some one was
coming round by the park entrance. It was no doubt Mr. Langrove; no
one else came that way—no one but Sir Simon Harness, and there he
stood. Franceline had nearly uttered a cry, when a quick sign from the
baronet checked it and made her walk leisurely on without doing
anything to attract attention. She cast a furtive glance towards the
casement, to see if by chance her father had changed his place and
come to sit by the window; but he was still on the sofa where she had
left him.

Sir Simon opened his arms and clasped her with a warmth of emotion
that did not surprise Franceline.

“You heard that he was ill! You are come to see him!” she exclaimed.

“I have only heard it this minute from my people at the house. Why did
you not write to me, child? Ah! he would not let you, I suppose? My
poor Raymond! And now how is he? Can I see him? _Will_ he see me?”

“Why should he not see you, dear Sir Simon?” said Franceline, raising
her large, soft glance to him, full of wondering reproach.

“Of course, of course,” said the baronet; “but is he strong enough to
see me? They tell me he has been terribly shaken by this illness. It
might cause him a shock if he saw me too suddenly.” “Shall I tell him
that you are expected down to-day? That would break it to him,”
suggested Franceline. “Or you might write a line and send it in first
to say you were here; would that do?”

Before Sir Simon could decide for either alternative, fate, in the
shape of Angélique, decided for him. She had seen Franceline enter the
garden, and wondered why she loitered outside instead of coming in; so
she came out to see, and, on beholding Sir Simon, threw up her arms
with a shout of astonishment.

Franceline cried out “Hush!” and shook her hand at the old woman, but
it was too late; Raymond had seen and heard her from his sofa.

“Go in at once,” said Sir Simon, much excited—“go and tell him I am
come to kiss his feet; to ask his forgiveness on my knees. Tell him _I
know everything_.” And he pushed her gently from him. Franceline did
not stop to ask what the strange message could mean, but ran in,
thinking only how best she could deliver it so as to avoid too sudden
a shock to her father.

Raymond was sitting up on the sofa, his face slightly flushed.

“What is the matter? Who is there?” he cried.

“Dear father, nothing is the matter; only something you will be glad
to hear,…” she began.

“Ha! it is Simon! What has he come for? What does he want?”

“He wants to embrace you; and, father, he bade me say that he knows
everything, and has come to ask you to forgive him and let him kiss
your feet. He is waiting; may he come in?”

But Raymond did not answer; he was murmuring some words to himself,
with hands lifted reverently as in prayer, while a smile of unearthly
joy diffused itself on his whole countenance. The emotion was too much
for him; he fell back exhausted on his pillow.

Franceline thought he had fainted and screamed out for help. Sir Simon
was beside her in an instant.

“Raymond! my friend, my brother, can you ever forgive me?” he cried,
kneeling beside M. de la Bourbonais and taking his hand in both his.

“You know the truth, then? You got his letter?”

“Whose letter? I got no letter; but I found the ring. Look at it!”

He drew an enamelled snuff-box from his pocket, opened it, and held up
the diamond, that flashed in the sun like a little star.

“Thank Heaven! I shall now be justified before all men!” exclaimed M.
de la Bourbonais with trembling emotion. “This is more than I dared to
hope. My God! I give thee thanks for this great mercy.”

No one spoke for a moment. Franceline had signed to Angélique to leave
the room, but remained herself, a silent spectator of the strange

“Who had it? How was it found?” said M. de la Bourbonais, taking the
ring and examining it with an expression of mistrust, as if it were
some uncanny thing that he half expected to see melt in his fingers.

“It has been in my possession, locked up at the Court, all this time!”
replied Sir Simon. “You may remember I used this snuff-box that night,
and sent it round the table. Someone dropped the ring into it
unawares; it was not opened afterwards, and it never entered into my
stupid brain to think of looking into it. I went away in a great hurry
next morning, and threw the snuff-box into a safe in my room where I
keep papers and the loose jewelry I have in use. I came down this
afternoon to get a deed out of the safe, saw the snuff-box, and by the
merest chance opened it and found the ring.”

“Mon Dieu!” murmured Raymond, after hearing this simple explanation of
the mistake that had very nearly cost him his life.

“Bourbonais, can you ever forgive me?” said Sir Simon.

Raymond opened his arms without speaking. Sir Simon flung himself with
a sob upon his breast, and the two clung together and wept.

Franceline felt as if even she had no right to be present; that she
was intruding in a sacred place where some mystery, not intended for
her eyes, was being unfolded. She was moving softly toward the door
when her father called her back.

“Come hither, my child; come and embrace me. I can have no happiness
that thou dost not share.”

“Franceline,” said Sir Simon, rising from his knees and taking her
hand with an expression of humility that was very touching in the
grand, white-haired gentleman, “I have been guilty of a great act of
disloyalty towards your father. I cannot tell you what it was; perhaps
he will. Meantime, he has forgiven me for the sake of our long
friendship, and because his soul is too noble, too generous, to bear
malice, even against an unfaithful friend. Will you do as he has done,
and say you forgive me too?”

His voice was full of trembling, his eyes were still moist. Franceline
did as he had done to her father: she flung her arms round his neck
and wept.




The keen relish which we all have for other people’s sins is
proverbial. As those who think with us are right, so are they virtuous
who have only our own vices. Prodigality, which, to the miser’s
thinking, is the worst of sins, is, in the eyes of the spendthrift,
merely an evidence of a generous nature. Men who wish to be thought
gentlemen have a weakness for what are called gentlemanly vices; but
from the coarser though less depraved wickedness of the vulgar they
turn with loathing. This bias of our common nature is not confined in
its action to individuals; it affects classes, nations, races. The
rich are shocked by the vices of the poor, and the poor, in turn, no
less by those of the rich; masters hate the sins of servants, and are
repaid in their own coin.

When the free-born Briton sings, “England, with all thy faults, I love
thee still,” he means that faults, if only they be English, are after
all not so bad. Wrapt up in the precious bundle of our self-love are
all our pet sins and weaknesses. The universal hatred which existed
between the nations of antiquity must be attributed in great part to
the fact that their vices were unlike, and therefore repellant. The
national contempt for foreigners is, in Christian times, strong in
proportion to the barbarism of the people by whom it is felt; but in
Greece and Rome such civilization as was then possible seemed to have
no power over this prejudice. Not to be a Greek was to have been
created for vile uses, and not to be a Roman was to be nobody. The
French, as seen by the English, are giddy and lack dignity; the
English appear to French eyes, sulky and wanting in good nature; the
Turk thinks both struck with madness, because they walk about and
stretch their legs when they might sit still; and though he is at
their mercy, yet he cannot persuade himself that they are anything but
Christian dogs. The negro is quite sure the first man must have been
black, and in this he is in accord with Mr. Darwin. The North American
Indian will vanish from the earth through the golden portals of the
western world still believing that he is the superior of the “pale
face.” The power of national prejudice is almost incredible. “Our
country, right or wrong” is, we believe, an American phrase; but it
expresses a sentiment which is almost universally held to be right and
proper. In international disputes men nearly always take sides with
their own country, without stopping to inquire into the merits of the
quarrel, which, indeed, the strong feeling that at once masters them
would prevent them from being able to do. They act instinctively like
children who always think that in difficulties with neighbors their
own parents are in the right. We Americans are certainly not paragons
of virtue, and in this centennial year it is probably wise to discuss
almost anything rather than our morals; yet we cannot but think that
M. Louis Veuillot was somewhat under the influence of national
prejudice when he wrote that, if we were sunk in the bottom of the
ocean, civilization would have lost nothing. Our form of government,
it is true, does not lead us to look for salvation, either in church
or state, from a king by divine right; still, he might just as well
have let us alone, especially as he is at no loss for quarrels at
home. Nor can we think that the Germans who have raised such a storm
of indignation over the crime in Bremerhaven, committed, as it is
supposed, by an American, would have held the whole German people and
their civilization responsible for the offence had they known its
author to be native there and to the manner born.

As no passion takes hold of the human heart with such sovereign power
as that of religion, it follows that no bias of judgment is more fatal
to truth than religious prejudice; and now let us gently descend again
to M. Emile de Laveleye and his pamphlet:

     “It is agreed on all sides,” he says (p. 25), “that the
     power of nations depends on their morality. Everywhere is
     found the maxim, which is almost become an axiom of
     political science, that where morals are corrupted the state
     is lost. Now, it appears to be an established fact that the
     moral level is higher among Protestant than among Catholic
     populations. Religious writers confess this themselves, and
     explain it by the fact that the former remain more faithful
     to their religion than the latter, which explanation I
     believe to be the true one.”

Here is fairness surely. The soft impeachment could not have been made
in a more moderate or subdued tone. Catholics are notoriously more
immoral than Protestants; but the subject is a painful one, and M. de
Laveleye does not wish to emphasize the unpleasant truth by giving
proof—which, indeed, would be superfluous, since Catholics themselves,
we are assured, admit the fact and are concerned only about its
explanation; and, strange to say, they have found the key to the
mystery in the greater fidelity of Protestants to their religion: so
M. de Laveleye and the Catholics shake hands and the dispute is at an

The position of Protestants with regard to this question is peculiar.
The very life of their religion is intimately associated with a fixed
belief in the preternatural wickedness of popes, priests, nuns, and
Catholics generally. The sole justification of Protestantism was found
in the abominable corruptions of Rome, and its only defence is that it
is a purer worship, capable of creating a higher morality. The history
of the Reformation, as written by Protestants, traces its origin to an
awful and heaven-inspired indignation at the sight of papal iniquity,
which resulted in a divine Protest against sin. It is this feeling,
indeed, which is the living human magnetism in the words of Luther,
Calvin, Zwingli, and Knox. They all felt that in so far as they
protested against open and patent evil they were right, and therefore
strong. Leo X., with God’s eternal truth, but encircled by all the
Graces and Muses, was at a disadvantage with those strong and
plain-spoken men. In fact, the eternal ally of human error is human
truth. It is because men who are right do wrong that men who are wrong
seem right; and if men in general were fit to be priests of God, there
would be on earth no power to oppose the Catholic Church. St. Paul had
protested, St. John Chrysostom had protested, St. Peter Damian had
protested, St. Bernard had protested, St. Catherine of Sienna had
protested, and yet there was no Protestantism. To protest was well and
is well, but to seek to found a religion upon a protest is madness;
and this is Protestantism. With Protestants purity of dogma is out of
the question; and nothing, therefore, remains to them but purity of
morals. To this they must cling like drowning men to straws.
Protestantism, if considered from a doctrinal point of view, is
nihilism. Gather up the hundred sects which, taken collectively, are
called Protestantism, and we will find every positive religious dogma
excluded; not even the personal existence of God remains. Mr. Matthew
Arnold is a true Bible-Protestant, who has a little sect of his own,
and all that he holds is that there is “a Power in us, not ourselves,
which makes for righteousness”; and this he has discovered to be the
sum and substance of all Scripture teaching. Doctrinal Protestantism
is like the wrong side of a piece of tapestry with its fag-ends
hanging in patches, twisted and jumbled; and yet they are the very
substance out of which has been wrought a work of divine beauty. The
dogmatic weakness of Protestantism throws its whole energy upon the
moral side of religion. Its utter falseness, when we accept the fact
that Christ has established a divine system of faith, is so manifest
that no impartial thinker would hesitate to give his full assent to
the sentiment of Rousseau: “Show me that in religious matters I must
accept authority, and I shall become a Catholic at once.” Supposing
the Christian religion to be what it is commonly held to be by both
Catholics and Protestants, it necessarily follows that the Catholic
Church is the only logical as it is the only historical Christianity.
This, we believe, is the almost universally-received opinion of
non-Christian writers in our own day, in which, for the first time
since the Reformation, a considerable number of learned men who are
neither Catholic nor Protestant have been able to view this subject
dispassionately. We do not mean to say that these writers prefer the
church to the sects; on the contrary, they are partial to these
because in their workings they perceive, as they think, the
breaking-up and dissolution of the whole Christian system.
Protestantism is valuable in their eyes as a stage in what Herbert
Spencer calls “the universal religious thaw” which is going on around
us. If there has been no divine revelation, then whatever tends to
weaken the claim of the church to be the depository of such revelation
is good, especially as her claim is the only one which rests upon a
valid historical basis. And it is because a very large number of men
more than half suspect there never has been a revelation that
Protestantism meets with so much favor from the unbelieving and pagan
world, as serving the purpose of an easy stepping-stone from the
strong and pronounced supernaturalism of the church to the
nature-worship of Darwin and Spencer or the German _Culturists_.

Macaulay was struck and puzzled by what his keen eye could not fail to
perceive to be so universal a phenomenon as to have the force of a law
of history.

     “It is surely remarkable,” says this brilliant writer, “that
     neither the moral revolution of the eighteenth century nor
     the moral counter-revolution of the nineteenth should have
     in any perceptible degree added to the domain of
     Protestantism. During the former period whatever was lost to
     Catholicism was lost also to Christianity; during the latter
     whatever was regained by Christianity in Catholic countries
     was regained also by Catholicism. We should naturally have
     expected that many minds, on the way from superstition to
     infidelity, or on the way back from infidelity to
     superstition, would have stopped at an intermediate point.
     Between the doctrines taught in the schools of the Jesuits,
     and those which were maintained at the little supper-parties
     of the Baron Holbach, there is a vast interval in which the
     human mind, it should seem, might find for itself some
     resting-place more satisfactory than either of the two
     extremes; and at the time of the Reformation millions found
     such a resting-place. Whole nations then renounced popery
     without ceasing to believe in a First Cause, in a future
     life, or in the divine authority of Christianity. In the
     last century, on the contrary, when a Catholic renounced his
     belief in the Real Presence, it was a thousand to one that
     he renounced his belief in the Gospel too; and when the
     reaction took place, with belief in the Gospel came back
     belief in the Real Presence. We by no means venture to
     deduce from these phenomena any general law; but we think it
     a most remarkable fact that no Christian nation which did
     not adopt the principles of the Reformation before the end
     of the sixteenth century should ever have adopted them.
     Catholic communities have since that time become infidel and
     become Catholic again, but none has become Protestant.”

There could not be a more satisfactory proof of the transitional
and accidental nature of Protestantism. Like all human revolutions,
it grew out of antecedent circumstances; and these were primarily
political and social and only incidentally religious. The faith in the
divine authority of the Christian religion was at that time absolute,
and not at all affected by the tendency to scepticism observable among
a few of the Humanists. The political power of the pope, however,
together with his peculiar temporal relations to the German Empire,
had gradually created throughout Germany a very strong national
prejudice against his authority, which, upon the slightest
provocation, was ready to break out into downright hatred of the
Papacy. The worldly lives and ways of some of the popes had been as
fuel for the conflagration which was to burst forth. Men,
unconsciously it may be, grew accustomed to look upon the Christian
religion and the Papacy as distinct and separable; and the temper of
the public mind, while remaining reverential toward Christ and his
religion, was embittered against his vicar. When, from amidst the
social abuses and political antagonisms of Germany, Luther, in the
name of Christ, denounced the pope, his voice struck precisely the
note for which the public ear was listening, and, as Macaulay says,
whole nations renounced allegiance to the pope without giving up
faith in God and his Christ. This was done in the excitement of
revolutionary enthusiasm, when passion and madness made deliberation
impossible, and when a thoughtful and analytical study of the
constitution of the church was out of the question. The Reformers
imagined that they could abolish the pope and yet save Christianity,
just as in France, two centuries and a half later, it was thought
possible to abolish God and yet save the principle of authority,
without which society cannot exist. And, indeed, it is as reasonable
to suppose that this world, with its universal evidence of design and
adaption of means to ends, could have come into existence without the
action of a supreme and intelligent Being, as to think that the
system of religious truths taught by Christ can have either unity
or authority amongst men without a living centre and visible
representative of both. Protestants, by rejecting the primacy of the
pope, were forced to accept as fundamental to their faith a principle
of so purgative and drastic a nature that, in the general process of
sloughing of religious thought which it brings on, it is itself
finally carried away into the vacuum of nihilism.

This became evident as soon as the attempt was made to agree upon
articles of belief. New heresies sprang up day after day, and
complete chaos would have ensued from the beginning had not the
different states taken hold of one or other of the sects and
“established” it, thus, by the aid of the temporal power, giving
to it a kind of consistency, but at the same time depriving it of
vitality. Thus what Macaulay regarded as so remarkable—that no
Christian nation which did not adopt the principles of the
Reformation before the end of the sixteenth century should ever
have adopted them—and he might as well have made the proposition
universal, since there was no reason why he should limit it to
Christian nations, since it is well known that in nothing has
Protestantism given more striking proof of its impotence than in
its utter failure to convert the heathen,—this, we say, far from
surprising us, seems so natural that we cannot understand how an
observant mind should think it strange.

Protestantism was, in the main, the product of the peculiar
political and social condition of Europe during the last period
of the middle ages, and to expect Catholic nations, or indeed
individual Catholics of any intellectual or moral character, to
become Protestant in our day argues a total want of power to
grasp this subject. As well might one hope to see the pterodactyls
and ichthyosauri of a past geologic era swimming in our rivers.
Catholics there are, indeed, now, as in the eighteenth century, who
become sceptics, who abandon all belief in Christianity, but none who
become Protestants; for we cannot consider such persons as Achilli or
Edith O’Gorman as instances of conversion of any kind. A very limited
acquaintance with Catholics and Catholic thought will suffice to
convince any reflecting mind that for us there is no alternative but
to accept the doctrine of the church or to renounce faith in Christ.
Was there ever fairer field for heresy to flourish in than that which
opened up before Old Catholicism at its birth? But it was still-born.
To this day its sponsors have not dared define its relation to the
pope; and until this is done it remains without character. At any
rate, it does not claim to be Protestant.

Turning to view the present condition of Protestantism, we are
struck by the contrast. The very word “Protestant” is without
meaning when applied to two-thirds of the non-Catholics of
Germany, England, and the United States. Their mental state is
one of disbelief in, or indifference to, all forms of positive
religion; and if occasionally they are roused to some feeling
against the church, it is through an association of ideas,
traditional with them, which places her in antagonism with their
political theories and national prejudices. Among earnest and
reflecting Protestants who are united with one or other of the
sects, there are two opposite currents of religious thought of a
strongly-marked and well-defined character. Those who are borne
on the one are being carried farther and farther away from the
historic teachings of Christ, and are busied in trying to dress
out in Biblical phraseology some of the various cosmic or
pantheistic philosophies of the day. They very generally assume
that religion has nothing to do with theology, nor, consequently,
with doctrines and dogmas. As its home is the heart, its realm is
the world of sentiment; and so it matters not what we believe,
provided only we feel good. Opposed to this current, which is
bearing with it all the distinctive landmarks of the Christian
religion, is another which is carrying men back to the church. In
fact, all great minds among Protestants who have been strongly
impressed by the objective character of Christian truth have been
drawn towards the Catholic Church. Who can have failed to
perceive, for instance—to mention only the three greatest who
have occupied themselves with religious questions—how Leibnitz,
Bacon, and Bishop Butler, in their intellectual apprehension of
the Christian system, were, in spite of themselves, attracted to
the church? Or who that is acquainted with the English Catholic
literature of our own day is ignorant of the divine illumination
which many of the most intellectual and reverent natures from the
sects of Protestantism have found in the teachings of the one
Catholic Church? In this way, by a process of supernatural or
natural selection, the fragments of Protestantism are being
assimilated to the church or are disappearing in the sea of
unbelief in which even now they are seen only as barren islands
in the wild waste of waters.

These considerations must be borne in mind by whoever would take
a comprehensive view of the question which we propose now to
discuss. In the first place, by reflecting upon them we shall
find no difficulty in accounting for the marked difference in
tone and character between Catholic and Protestant controversy,
by which no attentive observer can have failed to be struck.
Taking for granted the existence of God and the divinity of
Christ, as admitted by the earlier Protestant sects, the logical
position of the church is unassailable, which, as we have already
stated, is generally conceded by impartial non-Christian

As a consequence, Catholic controversialists, assured of the
absolute coherence of their whole system with the fundamental
dogma of the divine mission of Christ, have been chiefly
concerned with showing the logical viciousness of the essential
principles of Protestantism. They have, indeed, not omitted to
remark upon the moral unfitness of such men as Henry VIII.,
Luther, Knox, and Zwingli to be the divinely-chosen agents of a
reformation in the religion of Christ; but such observations have
been incidental to the main course of the argument, and this is
alike true of our more learned discussions and of our popular

Catholic writers—allowing for individual exceptions—have not felt
that, to show the falsity of Protestantism, it was necessary to
denounce Protestants or to stamp upon them any mark of infamy.
They have treated them as men who were wrong, not as men who were
wicked. Protestant controversy, on the other hand, presents for
our consideration characteristics of a very different nature. In
the consciousness of their inability to settle upon a fixed
creed, which has been shown by history, and from the necessarily
feeble manner in which articles of faith could be held by them,
on account of the disagreement and conflict of opinion among
themselves, Protestant writers were forced to treat their
religion, not as a doctrine, but as a tendency; and for this
reason, together with the natural hatred which men entertain for
a church or government against which they have rebelled, they
were led to draw contrasts between the results of Protestantism
and Catholicity; so that it became customary to attribute all the
enlightenment, morality, progress, and liberty of the world to
Protestantism, and to represent Catholics as cruel, ignorant,
corrupt, and in every way depraved. Luther, as we should
naturally expect, led the way in this style of controversy.

“The Papists,” he said, “are for the most part mere gross
blockheads.… The pope and his crew are mere worshippers of idols
and servants of the devil.… Pope, cardinals, bishops, not a soul
of them has read the Bible; ‘tis a book unknown to them. They are
a pack of guzzling, stuffing wretches, rich, wallowing in wealth
and laziness.… Seeing the pope is Antichrist, I believe him to be
a devil incarnate.… The pope is the last blaze in the lamp which
will go out and ere long be extinguished—the last instrument of
the devil, that thunders and lightens with sword and bull;… but
the Spirit of God’s mouth has seized upon that shameless
strumpet.… Antichrist is the Pope and the Turk together.… The
pope is not God’s image, but his ape.… Popedom is founded on mere
lies and fables.… A friar is evil every way; the preaching friars
are proud buzzards; all who serve the pope are damned; the
Papists are devoid of shame and Christianity.”[3]

This is the style of Protestant controversy which, except in
form, still lingers in this nineteenth century. Protestant
devotion, it may be said without sarcasm or exaggeration,
consists essentially in a holy horror of popery. Were it possible
to eliminate the Catholic Church from human society, Protestantism
would at once fatally assume an attitude towards the world wholly
different from that in which it now stands. At present, when attacked
by evolutionistic pantheism—which means all the sophistries of the
day—it takes refuge behind the historic fortress of Christianity, the
Catholic Church, and, when encountered by the church, it makes an
alliance with cosmism or anything else. Were the Catholic Church not
in existence, it would be forced at once to build a fortress of its
own; for the Bible is only a breastwork, which must be in charge of a
commander-in-chief if we hope to hold it for the sovereign Lord. From
the beginning, then, Protestants branded Catholics with a mark of
infamy; they were idolaters, worse than pagans, for the most part
gross blockheads, who fall an easy prey to the designing arts of
priests and monks, who are only knaves and rogues, whose chief aim is
to carry out the fiendish purposes of the pope, the arch-enemy,
Antichrist, the devil in the flesh; and thus the church becomes the
Woman of Babylon, flaming in scarlet, and alluring the nations to

No evidence, therefore, is needed to show that Catholics are
immoral, depraved, thoroughly corrupt. To doubt it would be to
question the truth of Protestantism and to believe that something
good might come out of Nazareth. In good sooth, do not the
Catholics, as M. de Laveleye says, admit the fact themselves?

We often hear persons express surprise that intelligent and
honest Protestants should still, after such sad experience, be so
eager to believe the “awful disclosures” of “escaped nuns,”
and to patronize that kind of lecture—of which, thank God!
Protestants have the monopoly—delivered to men or women only, in
which the abominations of the confessional are revealed and the
general preternatural wickedness of priests, monks, and nuns is
made fully manifest. This, to us, we must say, has never seemed
strange. The doctrine of total depravity is an article of
Protestant faith, and, when applied to Catholics, to none other
have Protestants ever clung with such unwavering firmness and
perfect unanimity. When disagreeing about everything else, they
have never failed to find a point of union in this. Even after
having lived and dealt with Catholics who are kind-hearted, pure,
and fair-minded, in the true Protestant there still lurks a vague
kind of suspicion that there must be some mysterious and secret
diabolism in them which eludes his observation; that after all
they may be only “as mild-mannered men as ever scuttled ship or
cut a throat”; and after his reason has been fully convinced that
the Catholic Church is the only historical Christianity, he is
still able to remain a strong Protestant by falling back upon the
undoubted total depravity of Papists. Dr. Newman, in his
_Apologia_, the most careful and instructive self-analysis which
has been written in this century, or probably in any other,
declares that after he had become thoroughly persuaded of the
truth of the Catholic Church his former belief that the pope was
Antichrist still remained like a stain upon his imagination; and
yet he had never been an ultra-Protestant. Many a Protestant has
ceased to believe in Christ, without giving up his faith in the
pope as Antichrist. It is not surprising, in view of all this,
that Protestants should have habitually held the church
responsible for the evil deeds of Catholics.

When quite recently the excited Germans charged the dynamite plot
of Thomassen upon our American civilization, we replied, with
perfect justice, that such crimes are anomalies, the guilt of
which ought not to be laid upon any nation, and all reasonable
men admitted the evident good sense of our answer; but Protestants
the world over have been unanimous in seeking to hold up the church to
the execration of mankind as responsible for the St. Bartholomew
massacre. Is Protestantism answerable for Cromwell’s massacres at
Drogheda and Wexford? Religious fanaticism, no doubt, had much to do
in urging him to butcher idolaters and slaves of Satan; but we should
blush for shame were we capable of thinking for a moment that such
inhumanities are either produced or approved by the real spirit of the
Protestant religion.

We know of nothing in the Catholic Church which in any way
corresponds with Protestant anti-popery literature; indeed, we
doubt whether in the whole history of literature anything so
disgraceful and disreputable as this can be found, unless,
possibly, it be that which is professedly obscene, but which has
nowhere ever had a recognized existence; and we question whether
even this is as discreditable to human nature as the “awful
disclosures” and “lectures to men or women only” of Protestants.

In discussing the comparative morality of Catholic and Protestant
nations it would be more satisfactory, even though it should not
be more conclusive, to consider their respective virtues rather
than their vices. There would seem to be neither good sense nor
logic in taking the individuals and classes that are least
brought under religious influences of any kind, in order to use
their depravity as an argument for or against the church or
Protestantism. In the apostolic body one out of twelve was a
thief and traitor, yet neither Catholics nor Protestants are in
the habit of concluding from this that they must all have been
rogues and hypocrites. The amount of crime, one would think, is
but a poor test of the amount of virtue. As the greatest sinners
have made the greatest saints, so in the church depravity may
co-exist with the most heroic virtue, though, of course, not in
the same individual. Our divine Saviour plainly declares that in
his church the good shall be mingled with the bad; that the
cockle shall grow with the wheat till the harvest time; that some
shall call him Lord and Master, and yet do not the will of his
Father; that even, with regard to those who sit in the chair of
Moses—and, let us add, of Peter—though their authority must ever
be acknowledged, yet are not their lives always to be imitated,
nor approved of even. It is manifestly contrary to the teaching
of Christ to make the note of sanctity in his church consist in
the individual holiness of each and every member. He is no
Puritan, though he is the all-holy God. A puristic religion is
essentially narrow, self-conscious, and unsympathetic; it draws a
line here on earth between the elect and the reprobate; its
disciples eat not with sinners, nor enter into their abodes, nor
hold out to them the pleading hands of large-hearted charity.
Such a faith does not grow upon men; it does not win and convert
them to God.

If, instead of comparing the crimes, we should consider the
respective virtues of Catholic and Protestant nations, we should
at once be struck by the difference in their standards of
morality. The most practical way of determining the real standard
of morality of any religion is to study the character of its
saints. There we find religious ideals made tangible and fully
discernible. Here at once we perceive that there is an essential
difference between the Catholic and the Protestant standard of
morality. The lives of our saints, even when understood by
Protestants, generally repel them. They are, in their eyes,
useless lives, idle lives, superstitious lives, unnatural and
inhuman. We take the words of Christ, “If thou wouldst be
perfect, go sell what thou hast, give it to the poor, and come
and follow me,” in their full and complete literal meaning. The
highest life is to leave father and mother, to have nor wife nor
children, nor temporal goods except what barely suffices, and to
cleave to Christ only with all one’s soul in poverty, chastity,
and obedience. Now, this life of prayer in poverty, chastity, and
obedience is an offence to Protestants. They do not believe in
perfect chastity, they hold religious obedience to be a slavery,
and poverty, in their eyes, is ridiculous. Inasmuch as the monks
tilled the earth, transcribed books, and taught school, they
receive a partial recognition from the Protestant world; but
inasmuch as they were bound by religious vows they excite
disgust. We should say, then, that the distinctive trait of
Catholic morality is ascetic, while the Protestant is utilitarian.
The one primarily regards the world that is to be, the other that
which already is. The one inclines us to look upon this as a worthless
world to lose or win; the other is shrewd and calculating—this is the
best we have any practical experience of; it is the part of wisdom to
make the most of it. The one seems to be more certain of the future
life, the other of the present. It is needless to prolong the
contrast, and we shall simply confess that we have always been
inclined to the opinion of those who hold that Protestantism, in its
aims and direct tendencies, is more favorable to what is called
material progress than Catholicism. In fact, one cannot realize the
personal survival of the soul through eternity, and at the same time
be supremely interested in stocks or the price of cotton.

Not that the church discourages efforts which have as their
object the material interests of mankind; but, in her view, our
duties to God are of the first importance, and to these all
others are subordinate. What doth it profit? she is always
asking, whereas Protestantism is busy trying to show us how very
profitable and pleasant the Reformation has made this world—and
virtuous, too, since honesty is the best policy and enlightened
self-interest the standard of morals. It is the old story—God and
the world, the supernatural and the natural, progress from above
and progress from below.

But we feel that it is time we should give our readers proof that
we have no desire to avoid direct issue with M. de Laveleye. We
flatly deny, then, his assertion that the Catholic nations are
more immoral than the Protestant; and when he further affirms
that Catholic writers themselves—for his words can have no other
meaning—admit this, he lies under a mistake for which there can
be no possible excuse. In the statement of facts, however, which
we propose now to give, we make no use whatever of the testimony
of Catholics, but rely exclusively upon the authority of
Protestants and of statistics; and that our readers may have the
benefit of observations extending over considerable time as well
as space, we will not confine ourselves to the most recent
writers or statistics on the subject under discussion. Laing, a
Scotch Presbyterian and a most conscientious and observant
traveller, who wrote some thirty-five years ago, says of the
French: “They are, I believe, a more honest people than the
British.… It is a fine distinction of the French national
character and social economy that practical morality is more
generally taught through manners among and by the people
themselves than in any country in Europe.”[4] Alison, the
historian, writing about the same time, but referring to the
early part of this century, says that the proportion of crime to
the inhabitants was _twelve times_ greater in Prussia than in
France.[5] To this may be added the testimony of John Stuart
Mill, in his _Autobiography_, published since his death, who
passed a considerable portion of his life in France. Referring to
his sojourn there when quite a young man, he says:

     “Having so little experience of English life, and the few
     people I knew being mostly such as had public objects of a
     large and personally disinterested kind at heart, I was
     ignorant of the low moral tone of what in England is called
     society: the habit of, not indeed professing, but taking for
     granted in every mode of implication that conduct is of
     course always directed towards low and petty objects; the
     absence of high feelings, which manifests itself by sneering
     depreciation of all demonstrations of them, and by general
     abstinence (except among a few of the stricter religionists)
     from professing any high principles of action at all, except
     in those preordained cases in which such profession is put
     on as part of the costume and formalities of the occasion. I
     could not then know or estimate the difference between this
     manner of existence and that of a people like the French,
     whose faults, if equally real, are at all events different;
     among whom sentiments which, by comparison at least, may be
     called elevated are the current coin of human intercourse,
     both in books and in private life, and, though often
     evaporating in profession, are yet kept alive in the nation
     at large by constant exercise and stimulated by sympathy, so
     as to form a living and active part of the existence of a
     great number of persons, and to be recognized and understood
     by all. Neither could I then appreciate the general culture
     of the understanding, which results from the habitual
     exercise of the feelings, and is thus carried down into the
     most uneducated classes of several countries on the
     Continent, in a degree not equalled in England among the
     so-called educated, except where an unusual tenderness of
     conscience leads to a habitual exercise of the intellect on
     questions of right and wrong.”[6]

This is strong testimony when we consider that it comes from an
Englishman. In speaking of the elder Austin the same writer says: “He
had a strong distaste for the general meanness of English life, the
absence of enlarged thoughts and unselfish desires, the low objects on
which the faculties of all classes of the English are intent.”[7]
Mill’s opinion of the French is confirmed by Lecky, who writes: “No
other nation has so habitual and vivid a sympathy for great struggles
for freedom beyond its border. No other literature exhibits so
expansive and œcumenical a genius, or expounds so skilfully or
appreciates so generously foreign ideas. In no other land would a
disinterested war for the support of a suffering nationality find so
large an amount of support.”[8]

Much has been said and written of the licentiousness of the French,
which may, in part at least, be due to the fact that they, more than
any other people, have known how to make vice attractive by taking
from it something of the repulsive coarseness which naturally belongs
to it, but must also be ascribed to the feeling that they are
Catholic, and therefore sensual. But let us examine the facts on this
subject. We again bring Laing forward as a witness.

     “Of all the virtues,” he says, “that which the domestic
     family education of both the sexes most obviously
     influences—that which marks more clearly than any other the
     moral condition of a society, the home state of moral and
     religious principles, the efficiency of those principles in
     it, and the amount of that moral restraint upon passions and
     impulses which it is the object of education and knowledge
     to attain—is undoubtedly female chastity. Will any
     traveller, will any Prussian, say that this index-virtue of
     the moral condition of a people is not lower in Prussia than
     in almost any part of Europe?”[9]

Acts which in other countries would affect the respectability and
happiness of a whole family for generations are in Prussia looked upon
as mere youthful indiscretions. But let us take the statistics of
illegitimacy, which is a method of discussing the question made
popular among Protestants by the Rev. Hobart Seymour in his _Evenings
with the Romanists_.

The number of illegitimate births in France for every hundred was, in
1858, 7.8; in the same year in Protestant Saxony it was 16; in
Protestant Prussia, 9.3; in Würtemberg (Prot.), 16.1; in Iceland
(Prot.) (1838-47), 14; in Denmark (1855), 11.5; Scotland (1871), 10.1;
Hanover (1855), 9.9; Sweden (1855), 9.5; Norway (1855), 9.3.

Catholic France, then, judged by this test, stands higher than any
Protestant country of which we have statistical reports, except
England and Wales, where the percentage was, in 1859, 6.5; but England
and Wales are below other Catholic countries, and notably far below
Ireland. The rate of illegitimacy in the kingdom of Sardinia (1828-37)
was 2.1; in Ireland (1865-66), 3.8; in Spain (1859), 5.6; in Tuscany,
6; in Catholic Prussia, 6.1.

In Scotland there are, in proportion to population, more than three
times as many illegitimate births as in Ireland; and in England and
Wales there are more than twice as many, and in Protestant Prussia the
percentage is a third greater than in Catholic Prussia.[10]

If chastity, to use Laing’s expression, is the index-virtue, the
question as to the comparative morality of Protestant and Catholic
nations may be considered at an end. Lecky’s words on the Irish people
have often been quoted, to his own regret we believe.

     “Had the Irish peasants been less chaste,” he says, “they
     would have been more prosperous. Had that fearful famine
     which in the present century desolated the land fallen upon
     a people who thought more of accumulating subsistence than
     of avoiding sin, multitudes might now be living who perished
     by literal starvation on the dreary hills of Limerick or

There is not in all Europe a more thoroughly Protestant country than
Sweden. For three hundred years its people have been wholly withdrawn
from Catholic influences. During all this time Protestantism, upheld
by the state, undisturbed by dissent, with the education of the people
in the hands of the clergy, and a population almost entirely rural,
has had the fairest possible opportunity to show what it is capable of
doing to elevate the moral character of a nation. What is the result?
In 1838 Laing visited Sweden and made a careful study of the moral and
social condition of the people; and he declares that they are at the
very bottom of the scale of European morality. In 1836 one person out
of every 112—women, infants, sick, all included—had been accused of
crime, and one out of every 134 convicted and punished. In 1838 there
were born in Stockholm 2,714 children, of whom 1,577 were legitimate
and 1,137 illegitimate, leaving a balance of only 440 chaste mothers
out of 2,714.

Drunkenness, too, was more common there than in any other country of
Europe or of the world. Nearly 40,000,000 gallons of liquor were
consumed in 1850 by a population of only 3,000,000, which gives
thirteen gallons of intoxicating drink to every man, woman, and child
in the kingdom.

If these things could be said of any Catholic nation, the whole
Protestant world would stand aghast, nor need other proof of the
absolutely diabolical nature of popery. Compare this agricultural and
pastoral population with the Catholic Swiss mountaineers—who to this
day claim to have descended from a Swedish stock, and whose climate is
not greatly different from that of Sweden—and we find that the
Catholic Swiss are as moral and sober as the Protestant Swedes are
corrupt and besotted. Or compare them with the Tyrolese, than whom
there is no more Catholic and liberty-loving people on earth.

     “Honesty may be regarded as a leading feature in the
     character of the Tyrolese,” says Alison.… “In no part of the
     world are the domestic or conjugal duties more strictly or
     faithfully observed, and in none do the parish priests
     exercise a stricter or more conscientious control over their
     flocks.… Perhaps the most remarkable feature in the
     character of the Tyrolese is their uniform piety—a feeling
     which is nowhere so universally diffused as among their
     sequestered valleys.… On Sunday the _whole people_ flock to
     church in their neatest and gayest attire; and so great is
     the number who thus frequent these places of worship that it
     is not unfrequent to see the peasants kneeling on the turf
     in the church-yard where Mass is performed, from being
     unable to find a place within its walls. Regularly in the
     evening prayers are read in every family; and the traveller
     who passes through the villages at the hour of twilight
     often sees through their latticed windows the young and the
     old kneeling together round their humble fire, or is warned
     of his approach to human habitation by hearing their evening
     hymns stealing through the silence and solitude of the
     forest.… In one great virtue the peasants in this country
     (in common, it must be owned, with most Catholic states) are
     particularly worthy of imitation. The virtue of _charity_,
     which is too much overlooked in many Protestant kingdoms, is
     there practised to the greatest degree and by all classes of

With true Protestant condescension Alison adds: “Debased as their
religion is by the absurdities and errors of the Catholic form of
worship, and mixed up as it is with innumerable legends and visionary
tales, it yet preserves enough of the pure spirit of its divine origin
to influence in a great measure the conduct of their private lives.”
Among rural populations more than elsewhere the divine power of the
Christian religion is made manifest. To the poor, the frugal, and the
single-hearted those heavenly truths which have changed the world, but
which were first listened to and received by fishermen and shepherds,
appeal with a force and directness which the mere worldling and
comfort-lover cannot even realize. In the presence of nature so silent
and awful, yet so vocal, everything inclines the heart of man to
hearken to the voice of God. Mountains and rivers; the long,
withdrawing vales and deep-sounding cataracts; winter’s snows, and
spring, over whose heaving bosom the unseen hand weaves the tapestry
that mortal fingers never made; summer’s warm breath, and autumn, when
the strong year first feels the chill of death, and “tears from the
depth of some divine despair rise in the heart and gather to the
eyes”—all speak of the higher world which they foreshadow and
symbolize. But in the hurry and noise of the city, with its extremes
of wealth and poverty, of indulgence and want, of pride and
degradation, the pleading voice of religion is not heard at all, or is
heard only as a call from the shore is heard by men who are madly
hurrying down some rapid stream. It is evident, therefore, that the
easiest and surest way of getting at the relative moral influence of
the Catholic and Protestant religions is to study their action upon
rural populations. We have already established on the best authority
the incalculable moral elevation of the Catholic rural populations of
Switzerland and the Tyrol over the Protestants of the same class in
Sweden. Let us now turn to Great Britain.

Kay, after having given a table of criminal statistics for England and
Wales for the years 1841 and 1847, makes the following remarks upon
the facts there presented:

     “This table well deserves study. It shows that the
     proportional amount of crime to population calculated in two
     years, 1841 and 1847, was greater in both years in almost
     all the _agricultural_ counties of England than it was in
     the _manufacturing_ and mining districts.… With what
     terrible significance do these statistics plead the cause of
     the poor of our rural districts! Notwithstanding that a town
     life necessarily presents so many more opportunities for,
     and temptations to, vice than a rural life; notwithstanding
     that the associations of the latter are naturally so much
     purer and so much more moral than those of the former;
     notwithstanding the wonderfully crowded state of the great
     manufacturing cities of Lancashire; notwithstanding the
     constant influx of Irish, sailors, vagrants, beggars, and
     starving natives of agricultural districts of England and
     Wales; and notwithstanding the miserable state of most of
     the primary schools of those districts and the great
     ignorance of the majority of the inhabitants, still, in the
     face of all these and other equally significant facts, the
     criminality of the _manufacturing_ districts of Lancashire
     is LESS in proportion to the population than that of most of
     the rural districts of England and Wales!”[13]

In Scotland illegitimacy is more common in the country than in the
towns and cities. In 1870 the rate of illegitimacy for the whole
country was 9.4 per cent., or 1 in every 10.6; whereas in the rural
districts alone it was 10.5, or 1 in every 9.5. In 1871 it was for the
whole country 10.1, or 1 in every 9.8, and in the rural districts
11.2, or 1 in every 8.9.[14] In England also the rate of illegitimacy
is much larger in the rural districts than in the cities, whereas in
Catholic France it is just the reverse. In the country districts of
England we have the following rate:

  Nottingham,               8.9
  York, North Riding,       8.9
  Salop,                    9.8
  Westmoreland,             9.7
  Norfolk,                 10.7
  Cumberland,              11.4

  In France:

  Rural districts,          4.2
  La Vendée,                2.2
  Brittany—Côte d’Or,       1.2

Thus in the most Catholic rural districts of France there are only one
or two illegitimate births in every hundred.

This is also true of Prussia, whose most strongly Catholic provinces
are Westphalia and the Rhineland. In Westphalia there are only three
and a half illegitimate births in every hundred, and in the Rhineland
only three and a third; but in thoroughly Protestant Pomerania and
Brandenburg there are ten and twelve illegitimate births in the
hundred.[15] In Ireland, again, we find the same state of things. The
rate of illegitimate births for all Ireland is 3.8 per cent.; but the
lowest proportion is in Connaught, nineteen-twentieths of whose people
are Catholics, and the greatest is in Ulster, half of whose population
is Protestant. “The sum of the whole matter,” says the _Scotsman_
(June, 1869), a leading organ of Presbyterian Scotland, “is that
semi-Presbyterian and semi-Scotch Ulster is fully three times more
immoral than wholly popish and wholly Irish Connaught—which
corresponds with wonderful accuracy to the more general fact that
Scotland as a whole is three times more immoral than Ireland as a
whole.” There is no reason why further proof should be given of what
is a manifest truth: that rural populations—let us say, rather, the
people—in proportion as they are Catholic, are also chaste; and
consequently that the Catholic Church, as every man who is competent
to judge must know, is the mother of purity, which is the soul of
Christian life, and without which we cannot draw near to the heart of
the Saviour and supreme Lover of men. Protestants, however, will be at
no loss for arguments. Should the worst come to the worst,
illegitimacy, like the gallows, may be declared an evidence of
civilization, and then it needs must follow, as the night the day,
that it is more common in Protestant than in Catholic countries.

Let us now turn to the vice of intemperance. “I am sure,” says Hill,
“that I am within the truth when I state, as the result of minute and
extensive inquiry, that, in four cases out of five, when an offence is
committed intoxicating drink has been one of the causes.”[16]

In an attempt, then, to form an estimate of the relative morality of
nations, we should not omit to consider the vice of drunkenness, which
is the cause of half the crime and misery in the world. Were it in our
power to obtain accurate statistics on this subject, as on that of
illegitimacy, the superior sobriety of the Catholic nations would be
shown even more strikingly than their superior chastity. The
Spaniards, it is universally acknowledged, are the soberest people in
Europe, as the Swedes are the most intemperate. Their respective
geographical positions suggest at once what is often assigned as a
sufficient explanation of this fact—the great difference of climate.
It was long supposed that the southern nations were more sensual than
the northern, because it was thought a warm climate must necessarily
develop a greater violence of passion. We know now, however, that this
is not the case. Though climate has an undoubted influence on
morality, its action is yet so modified or controlled among Christian
and civilized nations that generalizations founded upon its supposed
effects are unreliable. The Swedes and the Scotch are intemperate, the
Spaniards and the Italians are sober. The former are Protestant, the
latter Catholic; it is therefore at once evident that religion has
nothing to do with this matter, which can only be accounted for by the
difference of climate. These are the tactics of our opponents: those
virtues in which the Catholic nations excel must be attributed to
natural causes; but when some of them are found to lack the enterprise
and industrial spirit of the English or the Americans, it would be
altogether unreasonable to ascribe this to anything else than their

Scotch statistics show a greater amount of intemperance in summer than
in winter, which would seem to indicate that a high temperature does
not tend to destroy the passion for intoxicating drink. But we do not
propose to enter into a discussion of causes, which, however, we are
perfectly willing to take up at the proper time. Our controversy with
M. de Laveleye turns upon facts.

We have already cited the testimony of Laing to show that the Swedes,
after they had been under the exclusive influence of Protestantism for
three hundred years, were the most drunken people in Europe. Laing was
in Venice on the occasion of a festival, when the whole population had
turned out for pleasure, and he did not see a single case of
intoxication; not a single instance, even among the boys, of rudeness;
and yet all were singing, talking, and enjoying themselves. He gives
the following account of a popular merry-making which he saw at

     “It happened that the 9th of May was kept here as a great
     holiday by the lower class, as May-day with us, and they
     assembled in a kind of park about a mile from the city,
     where booths, tents, and carts, with wine and eatables for
     sale, were in crowds and clusters, as at our village wakes
     and race-courses. The multitude from town and country round
     could not be less than twenty thousand people, grouped in
     small parties, dancing, singing, talking, dining on the
     grass, and enjoying themselves. _I did not see a single
     instance of inebriety, ill-temper, or unruly, boisterous
     conduct_; yet the people were gay and joyous.”[17]

Robert Dale Owen, writing from Naples, said: “I have not seen a man
even partially intoxicated since I have been in the city, of 420,000
inhabitants, and they say one may live here for four years without
seeing one.”

Let us now turn to Protestant lands. St. Cuthbert’s parish, Edinburgh,
had in 1861 a population somewhat exceeding 90,000 souls. Of these,
1,953 were “drunk and incapable,” 3,935 were “drunk and discharged”;
making in all 5,888, or nearly 1 in 15.

In Salford jail (England), in 1870, the proportion of commitments for
drunkenness was, as compared with commitments for all offences, 37 per

We have it upon the authority of the English government that in 1874
no fewer than 285,730 Britons were proceeded against for being drunk
and disorderly, or drunk and not disorderly; and, of course, to this
must be added the probably greater number who escaped arrest. Mr.
Granville, one of the secretaries of the Church of England Society in
the Diocese of Durham, estimates that there is an aggregate of 700,000
habitual drunkards in England. “It is a melancholy but undeniable
fact,” says the _Alliance News_,” that, notwithstanding vast agencies
of improvement, intemperance, crime, pauperism, insanity, and
brutality are more rampant than ever; and, if we except pauperism,
these evils have more than doubled in the last forty years.” We have
not been able to get the statistics of drunkenness for Ireland, and
can therefore institute no comparison between England and that country
with regard to intemperance;[19] but we have before us the criminal
statistics of both countries for 1854, the population of England and
Wales in that year being about three times as great as that of
Ireland. The following table of convictions will enable us to form an
estimate of the comparative honesty of the two nations:

  Robbery by persons armed, England and Wales,          210
  Robbery by persons armed, Ireland,                      2
  Larceny from the person, England and Wales,         1,570
  Larceny from the person, Ireland,                     389
  Larceny by servants,[20] England and Wales,         2,140
  Larceny by servants, Ireland,                          44
  Larceny, simple, England and Wales,                12,562
  Larceny, simple, Ireland,                           3,329
  Frauds and attempts to defraud, England and Wales,    676
  Frauds and attempts to defraud, Ireland,               62
  Forgery, England and Wales,                           149
  Forgery, Ireland,                                       4
  Uttering and having in possession counterfeit coin,
    England and Wales,                                  674
  Uttering and having in possession  counterfeit coin,
    Ireland,                                              4

On the other hand, the following crimes are proportionately more
numerous in Ireland:

  Convictions for manslaughter in 1854:

  England and Wales,                 96
  Ireland,                           50
  Burglary, England and Wales,      384
     “      Ireland,                240

We cannot think, however, that these returns are reliable, for the
_Statistical Journal_ of 1867 gives the following criminal tables for
England in 1865:

  Wilful murder cases tried,         60
  Manslaughter,                     316
  Concealment of birth,             143
  Total,                            519

And in Ireland from 1865 to 1871, a period of six years, only 21
persons were sentenced to death, of whom 13 were executed.

It is greatly to be regretted that criminal statistics give us no
information upon the religious character of the persons accused or
convicted of offences against the law. Many persons have been baptized
in infancy, and are called Catholics, though they have never been
brought under the influence of the church. In the absence of official
statistics, Dr. Descuret, who, in his capacity of legal physician in
Paris, had abundant opportunity to obtain data relative to this
subject, made, about thirty years ago, a careful study of the
religious views and sentiments of French criminals. The conclusion
which he reached was that, in every hundred persons accused of crime,
fifty are indifferentists in religion, forty are infidels, and the
remaining ten sincere believers. In a hundred suicides he found only
four persons of known piety, three of whom were women subject to
melancholia, and the other had been for some time mentally

      [3] _The Table-Talk of Martin Luther_, pp. 200, 206, 213,
          _et passim_.

      [4] _Notes of a Traveller_, pp. 79, 80.

      [5] _History of Europe_, vol. iii. chap. xxvii. 10, 11.

      [6] _Autobiography_, pp. 58, 59.

      [7] _Ibid._ p. 177.

      [8] _History of European Morals_, p. 160.

      [9] _Notes of a Traveller_, p. 172.

     [10] For the full discussion of the statistics of this
          subject see THE CATHOLIC WORLD, vol. ix. pp. 52 and 845.

     [11] _European Morals_, p. 153.

     [12] Alison’s _Miscellaneous Essays_, p. 119.

     [13] Kay’s _Social Condition of the People_, vol. ii. p.

     [14] See _London Statistical Journal_, 1870, 1871.

     [15] _Historische Politische Blätter_, 1867.

     [16] _Crime: its Amount, Causes, and Remedies._ By Frederick
           Hill, Barrister-at-law, late Inspector of Prisons.
           London, p. 65.

     [17] _Notes of a Traveller_ pp. 418-19.

     [18] See _London Statistical Journal_, 1871.

     [19] In 1871, 14,501,983 gallons of spirits were distilled
          in Scotland. What proportion of this was consumed at
          home we do not know. For the same year the number of
          gallons entered for home consumption in Ireland was
          5,212,746. The population of Scotland is nearly three
          millions and a half, and that of Ireland about five
          millions and a half.

     [20] England and Wales, with not quite three times the
          population of Ireland, had fifty times as many cases of
          dishonesty among servants, which clearly accounts for
          those newspaper advertisements in which English
          housekeepers are careful to state that “no Irish need

     [21] _La Médecine des Passions_, p. 116.


_Urdeutsch_ (which we have translated _Primeval Germans_) is a
historical novel, the scene of which is laid in the Black Forest
towards the second half of the fourth century. The author, Conrad von
Bolanden,[22] says in his preface that he intends it to be the first
of a series of three illustrating the action of Christianity on the
German people: the state in which it found them, that to which it
brought them, and that to which he says they are likely to be reduced
by modern infidelity. The story—which is mainly put together from
facts of the biography of St. Martin, Bishop of Tours, and from
descriptions of ancient German life drawn from Roman and German
historians—is interesting as the record of a time utterly gone by, and
of a state of barbarism incident to the childhood of nations. Very
nearly the same characteristics appear in the earliest chapters of the
history of all uncivilized tribes, and a special likeness can be
traced between the Teutons of the ninth century and the American
Indians of the sixteenth and seventeenth. Sprung from widely different
races, and experiencing the effects of Christianity in a very
different manner, there is yet a striking likeness in some of the
manners and customs, the industries, the opinions, and the few moral
axioms of both peoples with which Christian missionaries have made us
familiar. The plot of the story is slight, and has the advantage of
not being confused and complicated, as is the case in many modern
novels. St. Martin, yet a deacon, is travelling to Strassburg with his
servant Eustace (one of the best characters in the book), and stumbles
upon a sleeping barbarian, whom he awakens from a bad nightmare by the
strains of his harp or lyre. He then asks of the gigantic German what
is his errand, and the Buffalo (such names were common among the
Teutons) tells him that he is on his return from the famous grove of
Helygenforst, where he had been sent by Bissula, the only daughter of
the last king of the Suevi, to consult an oracle on the issue of a
blood-feud between the two noble families of the Walen and the
Billing. She and her youngest brother Hermanric are the only
representatives left of the former family, her father and her eleven
brothers having all fallen victims to the enmity of the Billing. St.
Martin remonstrates with the German (a freedman of the Suevi), and
tells him that the true God abhors blood-feuds, and, availing himself
of the German belief in one Supreme God, the All-Father, whose reign
is to be made manifest after the end of the world and the destruction
of the gods Odin, Thor, Freya, Loki, etc., tells Buffalo that he is
the messenger of the All-Father, and will save the last of the Walen
from their danger and dilemma. The German, by his word and his hand
(as was also the custom later in the vowing of feudal _homage_),
constitutes himself the Muntwaldo, or protector, of the deacon, and
they set off to the land of the Suevi. Eustace, formerly a soldier
under Martin when the latter was a centurion, strongly objects to this
arrangement, and grimly reiterates his certainty that nothing will
ever transform the hopelessly barbaric Germans. On their way the party
are attacked by four Chatti, a tribe opposed to the Suevi, and Martin
forbids Buffalo to fight in his behalf, saying that he will willingly
go with the strangers, but in six days will not fail to visit the
Suevi. Buffalo goes on his way, and the two Romans are taken to the
village of Duke Fraomar, the leader of the Chatti.

Here follows an interesting description of the dress and domestic
arrangements of the early German tribes. The duke is not an hereditary
chieftain, but a leader chosen by the tribe for his valor and
strength, who has collected round himself a personal following or
guard, a sort of freebooter’s company—the original, perhaps, of the
roving bands of “Free Companions” who played such a conspicuous part
in the wars of the middle ages. The dress of the freemen of the tribe
consisted mostly of skins and furs, with the head of the animal,
whether buffalo, stag, wolf, or bear, drawn like a hood over the head,
and the front paws tied under the chin or crossed on the breast. The
women wore long, rather tight-fitting garments of coarse linen, with
short sleeves and bands of gaudy colors sewed round the hem; the feet
were bare. Both men and women wore long hair; it was a sign of free or
noble birth, and was plentifully greased with butter, as were also, on
some occasions, the bodies of the warriors. The children and the
slaves were for the most part naked or only provided with leathern
aprons. The house had but one apartment, which served all purposes:
the fire was in the middle, while to one side were bundles of straw
and skins, the primitive beds, and to the other a slightly-raised
platform, the primitive table and chairs. The men sat or lay on this
and ate off their shields, or sometimes off wooden platters. The women
served them at meals and filled the drinking-horns with beer and mead.
Besides these horns, human skulls—those of enemies slain in
battle—were used as goblets, and these, together with the skulls of
sacred horses and the horns of stags, adorned the walls of the
dwelling. There was also generally a wooden chest, clumsily fashioned,
containing the clothes of the family. The women, children, and slaves
ate round the hearth after their lords, and while these were gambling
with dice. The passion of gambling seems to have been an inveterate
one, and a man would often stake his all, including wife, children,
and slaves—sometimes even himself. If he lost, he was reduced to the
condition of a slave. The walls of the house were black and glistening
with the smoke of the mighty and continuous fires, and there is no
mention of even a hole in the roof as an outlet. St. Martin and his
servant are introduced into this wild interior just after the Duke
Fraomar has been winning house, lands, slaves, cattle, and even his
wife, from a freeman of the “hundred.” The strangers are made welcome
and become the guests of the duke, which implies that henceforth their
persons are sacred, as nothing was more shameful in the eyes of the
Germans than to break their word or infringe the rights of
hospitality. Eustace, however, looks ruefully on the evidences of
good-will tendered him in the shape of a kind of oat-broth, seasoned
with the primitive German preparation of salt, which (Pliny is
responsible for the statement) consisted of charcoal made of oak or
hazel, impregnated when hot with the water of salt springs; the black
morsels giving the same odor to the broth with which they were mixed.

Duke Fraomar, who has a promise from Odin’s oracle to help him in a
foray against the neighboring Suevi, provided he does not attack them
before the “ninth full moon,” is rather uneasy at having these
strangers, who are under the protection of his enemies, brought to
him, in case anything untoward should happen to them, and the Suevi
fall upon him to avenge them, before the charmed time. The next day
one of the freemen takes the saint and his servant round the
settlement; and the author here introduces an account of the old
German division of property in a “hundred,” or community of one
hundred freemen, each possessing the same quantity of ground, and each
obliged to render military service to the head of the tribe. The
agricultural economy was by no means contemptible. Ploughed land and
land overgrown with bushes alternated in lots, and each was cultivated
during six years, then allowed to lie fallow six more. Manuring was
unknown, chiefly because the animal manure was used as a safe and warm
covering to the earth caves where the grain was stored in winter, and
where not seldom the owner and his family also took refuge from the
cold. Each freeman had his stables, his slave-huts, and his brewery,
the latter being generally a cave in a rock furnished with one or two
mighty caldrons. At the end of this inspection of the “hundred” (such
a division exists still in England, though far enough in spirit from
the ideal of the free Teutons) the strangers come upon a terrible
scene of cruelty and superstition.

The “journey to Walhalla” was the poetical title given to the
immolation of aged and wealthy persons of both sexes, who, instead of
being allowed to die a natural death, were, according to the ancient
custom, first killed and then burned with their possessions, with an
accompaniment of religious ceremonies. A pile of wood was raised, and
the victims, stupefied with beer, laid thereon, with one or two slaves
who were to wait upon them in the halls of Odin; for the Germans
believed that no one who died a natural death went to Walhalla, but
endured torments and shame in hell. Men and women, therefore,
willingly allowed themselves to be killed, and often committed suicide
as another means of reaching Walhalla. On this occasion two old men
and a woman were to be immolated. A ludicrous dispute occurs here
between one of the men and his son, who grudges him _two_ slaves as
his servants in Odin’s hall, whereupon the father announces his
determination to live rather than go to the other world with so paltry
a following. This settles the question, and the son gives up the
second slave. A great deal of drinking and a sacred chant by the
priest of Odin precede the butchery, and the victims are each killed
by one blow of “Thor’s hammer,” wielded by a freeman deputed to this
office by the heathen priest. The worst part follows. Just as the pile
has been set on fire an infant is thrown on, the child of the woman
whom the duke won the night before at dice. The indifference of the
mother at the order for this barbarous execution seems to us rather
overdrawn. Human nature is human nature the world over; and if there
is one feeling more obstinately ineradicable than any other, it is the
feeling of a mother for her child—or, say, in the very lowest possible
scale of civilization, of a female for her young. Even though
infanticide is common among most heathen nations, and was certainly
not unknown among the early Germans, it is rather an exaggeration on
the part of the author to represent the mother herself in this case as
utterly and absolutely indifferent to the child’s fate. While their
guide is busy drinking among the spectators of this scene, Martin and
Eustace penetrate the sacred grove, round which is drawn a cord, which
no German would have passed with unbound hands. Unknowing of this
custom, the strangers enter the wood and gaze on the human skulls and
skeletons, the bloody skins and the sacred horse-skulls, hung on the
branches of the trees. The priest soon discovers their presence in the
holy grove, and threatens to kill them on the spot, but is restrained
by the duke’s messenger, their guide. He afterwards goes to the duke
and demands that the law shall be carried out, which, for such a
sacrilege, decrees that the profaner of the holy grove should lose his
right hand and his left foot. Fraomar, thinking of his plan for
attacking the Suevi at the ninth moon, and not before, hesitates to
consent to the priest’s demand and seeks to protect his guests.

Meanwhile, the story goes on to follow Buffalo to the house of the
Walen princess Bissula, who, though a heathen, has been in Gaul and
had some intercourse with the Romans and a German Christian sovereign
family called the Tribboki. Her dress and dwelling are described as
much embellished by Roman arts and many degrees removed from the
ancient German simplicity. But, though outwardly less a German, she is
at heart an uncompromising adherent of the old customs of her fathers,
particularly of the blood-feud. She lives for the sole purpose of
avenging the death of her father and brothers; and, indeed, her stern
determination is the only circumstance of the book which can be called
a “plot.” Withimer, the son of the king of the Tribboki, is her lover
and her suitor, and comes to her house to offer himself as her
husband. He is a Christian and hopes to convert her also, but the
terrible blood-feud stands between them. She loves him as passionately
as he loves her, but refuses to marry him unless he will swear to take
upon himself the duty of revenge against her enemies, the Billing.
This, as a Christian, he cannot do, and hence ensues a hard struggle
between his love and his conscience, in which the “baptized heathen,”
as the author calls him, very nearly breaks down and forswears the
faith. Bissula, on her side, is still more determined, and once even
attempts suicide by throwing herself in the way of a wild beast while
out hunting, saying, as she does so, that she can more easily give up
her life than her love, but that her honor is yet dearer to her than
her love. Various devices are resorted to by Katuwald, the young chief
of the Billing, the hostile family, to end the blood-feud by marrying
Bissula, with whom he is in love; and the author now introduces the
“Thing,” or assembly of the people, the primeval parliament. This took
place in a circle surrounded by trees, on which the freemen hung their
shields and helmets. A rock, sacred as a kind of tribunal, stood in
the centre, and round this stone benches were ranged, on which sat the
representatives of the several hundreds. The oracle which Buffalo had
been sent to consult had returned the answer, “Let the Thing judge the
cause,” the priest who represented the deity having been bribed by the
Billing prince to send this answer. Bissula, with her lover, appears
at the assembly; but before their coming a lesser court of justice is
held for the adjustment of local claims, which gives us an opportunity
of reviewing some curious customs of the ancient Germans.

For instance, the value of human life in the case of a slave is shown
in two “cases” which come up for arbitration. A slave—but the son of a
free father, and a freeman himself by birth—secretly marries a
freewoman, and, on her father’s discovering the connection, the choice
is given her of killing her husband with her own hand or of being
herself degraded to slavery. A sword and a distaff were offered her;
if she chose the former, she was free, but was forced to plunge it in
the man’s breast; if the latter, she became a slave. There were two
other possible means of settling the question: the father had the
right to kill her, and the owner of the slave might give him his
freedom. In the case in point this last was the happy solution of the
problem. Another difficulty arose in the case of damages claimed by a
freeman whose neighbor’s tame stag, trained for hunting purposes, had
broken into his fields, killed a dozen head of cattle and two slaves,
in return for which he himself had shot the stag. The latter was
declared by law to be of a greater value than the two slaves, and a
fixed rate of compensation was adjudged, which completely satisfied
both parties. From a heathen point of view, considering that both men
and stags were “chattels,” it cannot be wondered at that the latter
were thought most valuable; for the market was over-stocked with
slaves, who might be had any day during a foray, while “domestic”
stags were very hard to train, and required to be taught some years
before they could be of any use to their owners.

When Bissula makes her appearance, the gathering of the people
resolves itself into a “Thing,” and she and her enemies, the five sons
of the noble Billing Brenno, take their place by the rock. Hermanric’s
absence causes some wonder and annoyance, but Marcomir, the umpire,
nevertheless begins the session. Katuwald boldly proposes to end the
feud by marrying Bissula, who openly and contemptuously refuses his
suit, whereupon a great tumult arises and Hermanric rides into the
circle, a bloody head dangling at his saddle-bow. He recounts his
exploit—how he, though not yet invested with a man’s weapons (as the
rule was to entrust neither sword nor spear to a youth under
nineteen), forced the aged Brenno, who had stayed at home, to fight
him in single combat, the Billing armed with sword and shield, and
himself only with a club. The trembling slave who follows him
corroborates his story, and Katuwald, already sore from Bissula’s
proud refusal of his love, looks upon the youth with a significant and
angry eye, and at last leaves the council, having publicly asked to be
told the law of compensation for carrying off another man’s wife or
betrothed. Affairs stand thus with the Suevi, while the story returns
to Martin in the hands of the Chatti.

An assembly of the freemen of this tribe is held to discuss the
question raised by the priest, as to Martin’s punishment for invading
the sacred grove. This takes place the same day that Buffalo goes in
quest of his friend, and he arrives in time to be present at the
gathering. Duke Fraomar is anxious to save the strangers—not for their
own sakes, but for fear of precipitating the attack on the Suevi
before the propitious time appointed by the oracle. At last Martin
proposes an ordeal such as, since the days of Elijah, has often been
resorted to to decide rival claims to truth. A few chosen
representatives are to accompany him and the priest to the shrine of
the heathen gods in the forest, and the Christian and the priest are
both to call upon their gods to show themselves. Here follows a
description of the shrine—a building of wood beneath a gigantic
oak-tree. Within are kept “Thor’s hammer” and “Tyr’s sword,” and the
car of the goddess Hertha, the Cybele of Teutonic mythology, or simply
the Earth-mother. Into this car she was at times supposed to descend,
when a yoke of cows was harnessed to it, and it was covered with a
white cloth, and thus drawn solemnly through the “hundred.” After
these processions, the car and cloth were washed by slaves in a pond,
into which the latter were afterwards thrown and drowned. The statue
or figure of the goddess was erected in a huge crack of the sacred
tree, and her grim, enormous head, with staring eyes and yawning
mouth, black with clotted blood, crowned a clumsily-carved block,
without either arms or legs.[23] Horse-skulls and white horse-skins
(the priest was also clad in such skins), human skulls and skeletons,
dogs’ heads and skins of wild beasts, hung from the branches of the
sacred tree, which might have sheltered a regiment. Near the sacred
car stood a stone altar encrusted with blood. The priest carefully
placed the Christian stranger within easy reach of his arm, and
distributed the others, the duke, the Sueve Buffalo, and the wise men
of the hundred, where they could not see his movements. After his
prayer, he was preparing to swing the hammer so as to reach the
saint’s head, when Buffalo, suspecting foul play, stole quietly
forward and called to Martin to shift his position. Martin simply bade
his companions, who, like himself, had their hands securely bound,
rise up and lift their hands free from the cords. The fastenings fell
off and the heathens stood in awe, waiting for his words. This, says
the author, is word for word from St. Martin’s biographer, Sulpicius
Severus. Then came a crashing noise, and the lightning fell on the
priest, killing him instantly, while the mighty tree was rent in
pieces and fell to the earth, carrying in its fall the idol, temple,
altar, and car, which disappeared under its burning branches. With awe
and terror Fraomar and the Chatti besought the stranger, as a terrible
magician, to leave them and not work them any more mischief. The saint
sorrowfully complies, grieving that the true God had not yet conquered
their hearts, though his might had been shown in such a way, and goes
his way with Buffalo to the Suevian settlement. Here he takes up his
abode in a cave, in front of which is a spring called Odin’s Spring,
and in which the Germans bathe their new-born children and give them
names. Meanwhile, Withimer, the Christian, struggles with his love,
and Bissula, the proud, beautiful heathen princess, still refuses to
marry him unless he will undertake the duty of avenging her murdered
father and brothers. St. Martin reasons with both, and at last
prevails with the former to give up his love for the sake of his
conscience; but having painted the evils of ingratitude to God and of
eternal damnation in vain, he at last conquers the youth by reminding
him that, as a German, it would be an indelible disgrace to him to
forswear himself by breaking his baptismal vows. Bissula mourns his
sudden departure, which she attributes to a messenger having recalled
him during her absence, and turns her attention to preserving her last
remaining brother from the hatred of the Billing. This she does by
resorting to the charms of the Abruna woman Velleda, a priestess said
to be hundreds of years old, and to possess marvellous powers, as
Circe of old, to change men into stones, trees, and animals. She is,
however, not a witch, but the enemy of witches; and here follows a
terrible account of the cruelties and absurdities to which the belief
in witches led in those times, and, indeed, in all times.
Châteaubriand’s[24] beautiful Gallic Velleda is a very different
character from this hideous old hag of the Black Forest. Though not a
witch, she has, in Bolanden’s book, all the conventional “properties”
of one in the shape of a talking raven and two snakes entwined round
her neck and arms. She promises Katuwald to give Bissula a love-drink,
to turn her heart from Withimer to himself; and by a charm, consisting
of a piece of skin inscribed with mystic characters, she promises to
Hermanric invulnerability against “sword and spear.”

St. Martin, in the meanwhile, has managed to gather an audience of
children, whom he instructs in the truths of Christianity and teaches
to behave according to Christian morality, not forgetting also to
induce them to clothe and wash themselves regularly every day. Some of
the parents also join his catechumens, but the greater part still look
upon him as an impious contemner of the gods and a powerful magician
The priest of this “hundred” once tries to entrap him at the head of a
crowd of infuriated Germans, but the saint mildly and logically drives
him into contradictions which are evident even to his unlearned
hearers. On this occasion the two accounts of the creation, the
Biblical and the Teutonic, are set side by side. The defeated priest
retires, but only to plot further mischief; and the scene changes to a
German wedding, which forms a very interesting chapter. Girls of an
age and willing to be married usually wore several little bells in
their girdle, and it was allowed to any freeman to carry them off,
provided he afterwards loyally paid the stipulated price—two fat oxen,
a caparisoned horse, two slaves, a sword, a spear, and a shield—to the
bride’s father. The bridegroom’s dress was that usually worn by
freemen on state occasions, and of course the full complement of
weapons was indispensable. Falk, the bridegroom, is represented as
wearing a magnificent bear-skin, with the head drawn over his own as a
hood. The bride, besides her linen tunic or undergarment; wore also a
cloak of Roman manufacture and of gaudy colors. The whole kindred of
the bridegroom accompanied him with horns, pipes, and a kind of
cymbals to his father-in-law’s house, and the oxen, etc., were led by
the slaves. The father performed the ceremony, and Falk swore by
“sword and spear” to hold his wife in all honor and truth. The father
put a ring on the bride’s finger and bade her remember that, although
her husband would be allowed by ancient custom to take other wives if
he pleased, she herself would nevertheless be bound to the most
unswerving fidelity; and, giving her two yoked oxen as a wedding
present, told her that as these two drew one car, so husband and wife
were bound to share and carry together the burdens of life.[25] The
shrill music of the horns and clashing together of weapons accompanied
the approving hurrahs of the two families, and Falk now led his wife
home. From the door of his house hung a naked sword—the “marriage
sword”—a warning of the doom that follows the least infidelity; and on
going in the bridegroom led the bride three times round the hearth,
saying: “Here shalt thou stay and watch as housemistress in chastity,
prudence, and industry.” A free-woman of the husband’s kindred then
brought a bowl of water and washed the bride’s feet, after which the
bride’s father dipped a linden-branch in the same water and sprinkled
the bed, the domestic utensils, and the relations of the bridegroom. A
wooden platter full of honey was then handed to him, and, as he
anointed the bride’s mouth with honey, he said these words: “Let thy
mouth always speak sweet words to thy husband, but no bitter ones.”
After this ceremony the bride’s head was wrapped in a cloth, and she
was led to the closed door of the dwelling, and in succession to those
of the stables, the grain-store, and the slave-huts, each of which she
struck with her right foot, while the women showered handfuls of
wheat, oats, barley, and beans on her head, during which rite the
father said to her: “As long as thou governest thy house with
industry, so long shalt thou not lack the fruits of the earth.” Falk
now took the cloth off his wife’s head and kissed her, and all the
family followed with their congratulations.

The expected presence of Bissula at the banquet had led to a departure
from the ordinary German usage, and a table had been prepared for such
as would sit at it during the bridal feast. The king’s daughter, when
she came, brought a much-valued present, one which German housewives
of the present day rate as highly as their gigantic ancestresses of
the days of old—a store of home-spun linen. After the banquet, a wild
dance was performed in honor of the young couple. Tacitus gives an
account of it: The young men assembled in a crooked double line, half
of them holding naked swords and the other half spears, held forward,
crossing each other. Four or five youths, entirely naked, now began a
skilful dance, threading their way with incredible quickness between
the shining weapons. The Scotch sword-dance is thought sufficiently
clever nowadays, but what is it compared to the real danger, and the
opportunity of showing dexterity as well as courage, which this
ancient German custom offered? This game was accompanied by the shrill
blast of horns and pipes and the hoarse shouting of the excited
spectators. Another drinking bout followed this exploit, when, as the
day began to fade, the priestess Velleda made her appearance. And now
a natural phenomenon was added to the strange scene—a partial eclipse
of the moon, which the Germans explained as the struggle between the
moon and the giant wolf Managarm, a half-divine creature, who feeds on
the bodies of the dead and now and then hunts and pursues the heavenly
bodies. As the shadow grew less and the moon’s light broke forth
again, the guests clamored and clashed their arms together, crying
out, “The moon wins! the moon wins!” as if encouraging human
combatants. During this confusion Katuwald, the Billing chief,
emboldened by the love-potion which Velleda has given Bissula to
drink, attempts to carry her off; but the maiden, strong as the women
of giant growth of old Germany ever were, wrestles with him and
overcomes him, bearing him in her arms into the midst of the assembled
guests. Most of the authorities quoted by Bolanden go to confirm the
facts of the extraordinary strength of the women of that time, their
stature of six and often seven feet, and of the custom prevalent among
the Germans of teaching young girls to wrestle and throw the spear
like the men.

The next scene of primitive life in the Black Forest is the doom of
the adulteress, a wretched, guilty woman being driven naked through
the “hundred,” pursued by all the free-women, each armed with long
whips and small knives. This was the common punishment decreed for
such offences. A human sacrifice to the gods of Walhalla is also
portrayed in vivid colors: the Chatti immolate a slave and two oxen as
a propitiatory offering before their foray against the Suevi; and one
more example of German manners and customs is afforded by the funeral
of Hermanric, Bissula’s brother, whom the Billing Katuwald has slain
with an arrow. This is gorgeously described: the car, drawn by six
horses, contained the corpse and was adorned with endless plate,
jewels, rare stuffs, and articles of Roman workmanship of great value;
the horses’ heads were wreathed in oak and ash garlands; three fully
caparisoned horses and eight gorgeously-arrayed slaves, the special
servants and companions of the deceased, followed the car and were
destined to be struck dead and burned with their master. Marcomir, the
umpire, pronounced a funeral oration, and the priest’s deputy had
lifted the sacred hammer to kill the first slave, when a strange
whirlwind began to shake the forest around the funeral pile. Trees
were uprooted, the wind tore and howled through the branches, thunder
and lightning added their terrors, and the Suevi stood rooted to the
ground in awe and amazement. St. Martin is seen in the distance
advancing towards them at a miraculously quick pace, and as he comes
nearer the storm-cloud is just seen passing away, while the sun breaks
forth again. The cry of “The sorcerer!” is raised, but Buffalo cries
out, “He is no sorcerer, but a holy man,” and, breathless, they all
watch the saint.

Here the author again draws on Sulpicius Severus for a signal
miracle—nothing short of a raising from the dead. St. Martin commands
the dead Hermanric to arise and live; the youth starts up and clings
to the saint’s mantle, while the bystanders are dumb with fear and
awe. He comes forth, and, mounting one of his horses, seats his
deliverer on another and rides away with him, bidding his sister
believe in the almighty and only God of the Christians, and telling
his slaves that as they were to have followed him into Walhalla, so he
expects them the next day at the saint’s abode, to follow him in the
new way of life he has at last discovered. The end is easy to see:
Bissula becomes a Christian, renounces her hatred against the Billing,
and receives baptism with hundreds of her relations and slaves, to all
the latter of whom she and her brother give their freedom and certain
necessary possessions—in fact, almost portioning out their estate
between them. Bissula then marries Withimer, and they spend their
lives in trying to spread the light of the Gospel among their
fellow-countrymen, while Hermanric follows St. Martin and becomes a
monk in one of the first Frankish monasteries.

Among the most natural characters in the book are Eustace and Buffalo,
who delight the reader with their various shrewd sayings and their
dog-like fidelity to St. Martin. One or two curious facts have an
incidental place in the story; for instance, the derivation of the
modern German word for grandson—_Enkel_—vouched for by Simrock, and
which is a survival of the old custom of reckoning the two nearest
degrees of relationship by the two joints of the leg; the knee
signifying the _son_, and the ankle the _grandson_.

A very good point is also made in Withimer’s spiritual probation, his
penance in the cave with St. Martin, and his meekly submitting, after
a terrible struggle with his own pride and passions, to receive a
scourging from the saint, and to cut off his golden, flowing hair, the
outward badge of his sovereignty. His victory over himself and his
true humility are very beautiful. In the baptism scene it is
interesting to be reminded of the old formula of the questions
addressed to the catechumens, of which the following are specimens:

“_Forsachis [renouncest] tu diabolæ? … End ec [and I] for sacho allum
diaboles workum [works] en wordum [words] Thunaer ende woten ende
[and] allein them unholdum [unclean] the ira genotes [companions]
sint.… Gelobis tu [believest thou] in got alamehtigan [Almighty]
Fadaer [Father]?_”

We meant to have spoken more at length of the mythology of the
Teutonic races, but have no space for the subject. The authorities
Bolanden has followed are Tacitus, Grimm, and Arnkiel. Concerning
history, manners, and customs he quotes Julius Cæsar, Tacitus,
Procopius, Strabo, Pliny, Schmidt, Simrock, Wirth, Heber, Cantù,
Ozanam, and Arnkiel. For the traditions of St. Martin’s life Sulpicius
Severus, his deacon, friend, and biographer, is the authority. We
should like to give an example of the poetry of the ancient Germans;
but as the _Nibelungenlied_ is accessible to every scholar and widely
known even to the ordinary reading public, no specimen of inferior
war-hymns would be worth drawing attention to. We will conclude by a
beautiful description of the simplicity and humble appearance of a
holy bishop of the fourth century, Justinus of Strassburg, and who, as
well as St. Martin, had a high opinion of the grand “raw material,”
ready to the hand of Christian workers, in the brave, truthful, loyal,
hospitable, even if cruel and uncivilized, Germans of the “forest
primeval.” Bolanden says: “The simplicity of the bishop reminded one
of the apostolic age. He bore no outward sign of his high rank, and
his only garments were two tunics of white wool, one long with long
sleeves, and another, sleeveless and short, over it, while over all
hung a cloak of Roman make. His feet were shod with sandals. His black
beard hung low over his breast, while a ring of whitening hair
encircled his bald head. His features were thin, as if with fasting
and mortification, his glance calm, and his demeanor humble; while his
hands, used to toil, were extraordinarily strong, for he followed the
example of St. Paul, who refused to be a burden upon any one.… For
precisely the most pious and holy of the bishops of the Frankish
country gave themselves to manual labor, to give a good example to the
Franks, who shrank from work as from a shameful occupation,… and this,
too, by no means to the prejudice of the vineyard of the Lord. On the
contrary, those self-denying men, indifferent to life, seeking no
earthly honors or distinctions, thinking only of the service of God,
were the pillars of the church and the most fruitful signs of her
progress. Neither did they acknowledge the golden fetters of kings,
which hinder the working of Christ’s messengers. They were free in
their sacred ministry, and God’s protection accompanied them in their
hallowed work.”

Bolanden’s book has, of course, an _arrière-pensée_, which is so
evident through the story that it rather spoils the mere literary
value of the book, as “a purpose” more or less cramps any literary
production. But, as a clever contemporary says, “In the hot
theological controversies of the present day it is hard to treat any
subject, even remotely connected with ecclesiastical history, without
betraying a ‘tendency.’” Bolanden is outspoken enough as to his, which
has for object the present Prussian laws against religious freedom.
But we think we may safely say that the first book of the series will
be the most original and interesting, illustrating as it does a period
so little known and not yet become, like the middle ages, the
hackneyed theme of every novelist, from first to fifth rate, of every
civilized and literary European nationality.

     [22] Conrad von Bolanden, a brief sketch of whose life has
          already appeared in these pages, requires no
          introduction to the readers of THE CATHOLIC WORLD, who
          will know him best as the author of _The
          Progressionists_, _Angela_, _The Trowel or the Cross_,

     [23] This reminds one of the Aztec war-god Quatzacoatl.

     [24] _Les Martyrs_, Châteaubriand.

     [25] Tacitus, _Germania_.


   The priest, “another Christ” is he,
     And plights the church his marriage-vows;
   Thenceforth in every soul to see
       A daughter, sister, spouse.

   Then let him wear the triple cord
     Of father’s, brother’s, husband’s care;
   In this partaking with his Lord
       What angels cannot share.

   O sweet new love! O strong new wine!
     O taste of Pentecostal fire!
   Inebriate me, draught divine,
       With Calvary’s desire!

  “I thirst!” He cried. The dregs were drained:
     But still “I thirst!” his dying cry.
   While one ungarnered soul remained,
       The cup too soon was dry.

   And shall not _I_ be crucified?
     What though the fiends, when all is done,
   Make darkness round me, and deride
       That not a soul is won?

   God reaps from very loss a gain,
     And darkness here is light above.
   Nor ever did and died in vain
       Who did and died for love.


     [26] St. Bernard.


There was a time, not far distant, when men thought they had found in
the United States of America the sovereignty of labor. It was the
boast of its people that there were no American paupers. The working
classes looked with something like contempt upon the condition of
their fellow-laborers in Europe. Here was the land where every man’s
independence rested in his own hands and his willingness to labor. No
day should come when an honest day’s work would not earn, not bread
alone, but a home—an American home. This was the time when the
followers of Boone were disclosing to wondering eyes the virgin
richness of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys; when, later, adventurous
spirits led the way over the Rocky Mountains to a new western empire;
when, close succeeding, California opened its Aladdin’s caves, not to
the lash of kings or tyrants over toiling slaves, but to the picks and
pans of free labor. Yes, here at last was found what the poets and
philosophers of Greece and Rome had only dreamed of—the ideal
commonwealth, a golden age. Thus had a free republic, established in
the richest and grandest territory the sun shone on, conquered at last
the problem of ages, and labor stood the peer of capital—nay, aspired
to be its master. It was claimed not only that a particular form of
government had achieved those economic results, but that it was
capable of maintaining them indefinitely. Politics bade defiance to
political economy.

Is this state of things true of to-day? In part, yes, it may be
answered. Looking at the comparative independence and comfort of the
great masses of the working classes of this country, noting that
intelligent zeal for personal liberty which pervades them, much reason
for congratulation still remains. But the pressure of those social
conditions affecting labor in other countries is beginning to be
seriously felt. The reserve forces of capital are coming up. The
“salad days” of the nation are over. It has grown to manhood, and,
growing thus, has met the harsh experiences inseparable from national
as from individual life. It begins to feel the burdens of maturity,
and to be harassed by its anxieties. Labor has met war, its wild
fever, its deadly collapse; labor has met debt, the second and
costlier price of war, sucking out the life-blood after the wounds of
battle have been stanched; and, lastly, labor has met capital, which,
like one of those genii described in the Arabian tales, rises
portentous to its full strength and stature out of the smoke of war
and the shadow of debt. These two forces, labor and capital—which, to
borrow an image from the ancient myths, Ἀνάγκη or _Necessitas_ seems
to have linked together in iron bonds—mutually hostile yet inseparable
co-laborers in the work of human progress, are preparing to try their
strength in the New World as they have done in the Old. The first
murmurs of that contest which it was deemed republican institutions
could for ever avert are plainly heard. Daily observation shows that
the laws governing the accumulation of wealth elsewhere—increase
stimulating increase in a geometrical ratio—are not suspended here.
“The rich are growing richer, the poor poorer.” Any of the great daily
newspapers need only to be looked at from week to week and month to
month to find the growing record of strikes, the agitation of labor,
the increase of pauperism. The glory of the country, its greatest
source of prosperity, has had in it an element of weakness. That rich
and wide domain, which invited immigration, postponed, but has not
been able eventually to stay, the aggregation of surplus
labor—especially on the two seaboards—which everywhere becomes the
bond-slave of capital, and fights its battles against free labor. In a
word, politics, the barriers of merely political _pronunciamientos_,
have yielded in the United States, as elsewhere, to those primal laws
of supply and demand which govern the wages of labor. We are
assimilating to the economic conditions of Europe. A revolution has
taken place during the course of the last quarter of a century in the
industrial features of this country. The flux and reflux both of labor
and capital between America and Europe are instant and inevitable.
Henceforward the contest between them will be fought out on the old
conditions, little or not at all affected by political or—what is the
same thing—sentimental considerations. Here, then, is a problem for
the statesmen of this age widely differing from that which engaged the
attention of the fathers of the Constitution, yet like it in this:
that the successful solution of each aims at the amelioration of the
condition of mankind. One was political; the other is, and will be,
social, and may be regarded as a sequel to, and complement of, the

Must we sink into the old ruts along which labor has slowly and
painfully dragged its burdens for ages in Europe? Is there no help for
this Sisyphus? Must the stone roll down the hill again, after having
mounted so near the top? Or is it possible that the light which the
founders of this republic set up as a beacon for the political
regeneration of mankind one hundred years ago may be rekindled in the
same land in a succeeding age to lead the way to the regeneration of
labor? It is a task for the highest, the most Christian, the most
Catholic statesmanship. The church, faithful to its great _rôle_ of
emancipator or manumitter, which it took up, in advance of the age, in
the darkest eclipse of the declension of the Roman Empire, and has
never since abandoned, will be found again in the van of this
movement. Labor and capital, which, left to themselves, would rend
each other, may find in its arbitrament a truce—peace—harmonious

Is the hope that this republic shall be the first to utter to Europe
and the world some grand maxims in social economy, as one hundred
years ago it did in politics, chimerical? By its realization we shall
be able to avert from this country the atheistic commune which is
threatening to ravage Europe, or to meet it and defeat it should it

Wise action must be the result of good information. Such a work,
therefore, as this of Dr. Young’s on _Labor in Europe and America_ is
a valuable auxiliary to those who like to know what they have to deal
with before moving in any matter. It is a bulky volume of over eight
hundred pages octavo of closely-printed matter; but it is not so
appalling as it looks, the number of countries surveyed and the
diversity of the conditions of labor presented making it interesting
even to the general reader. Dr. Young’s position as chief of the
United States Bureau of Statistics has given him exceptional
advantages and facilities for obtaining information in the preparation
of such a work, and it is fair to say that he appears to have availed
himself of them with great industry and ability. It is, in fact, the
work of a specialist who is devoted to his subject, and is therefore
_primâ facie_ worthy of attentive consideration. Nor does it fail in
great part to make good its pretensions. Yet it has all the faults of
the current works of the infant science of statistics. It jams
everything into columns of tabular statements, and seeks to draw
infallible averages and wide-sweeping deductions from them which
cannot be always sustained on closer scrutiny. Observation is
everywhere too limited, the conditions of society and of individual
existence and labor too minutely diversified and shifting, to be toted
up like a sum in addition by a calculating machine. Were we to listen
to the statisticians, however, we would displace the Pope and put them
in his chair. They would feel quite at ease there, and the
infallibility they shake their heads at in Pio Nono would fit them to
a charm. Like the jailer in _Monte Christo_, they would blot out all
individuality and number every one and everything 1, 2, 3. But man is
too stubbornly self-willed ever to be made the term of an equation.

How different, how inferior, such a work as this, for instance, of Dr.
Young’s—comprehensive and well digested as it truly is—to any one of
his great namesake’s in the last century, Arthur Young, who, more
justly than M. Adolphe Quetelet, deserves the title of the “father of
modern statistics.” One is like the Turkey carpet that Macaulay speaks
of in his criticism on Montgomery, which contains indeed all the
colors that are to be found in a masterpiece of painting, but is fit
only for its own uses; the other is a picture instinct with life. The
old method of personal, detailed, and necessarily limited observation,
while it excelled in picturesqueness, gave at the same time solid,
accurate, special information which the hasty generalizations of the
present day too often miss. The latter confuse the mind by their
immense array of figures.

Again, Dr. Young has given, we think, a disproportionate share of
attention to Europe, Asia, and even Africa—occupying in all over seven
hundred pages with his account of labor in those countries, while he
handles the subject in the United States and Canada in just one
hundred pages. His explanation is that his work is intended chiefly
for circulation in the United States, but this explanation is
unsatisfactory. His long introductory history of labor from the
remotest times, compiled, as it plainly is, from the works of European
scholars within everybody’s reach, and his view, chiefly at second
hand, from the reports of American consuls, of the state of labor in
Europe, are manifestly inferior, both in interest and authority, to
the copious original works of the statisticians of particular foreign
countries; while his history of American labor and presentation of its
existing conditions, which ought to have given its real value to his
work, are extremely meagre and superficial. His own tour through the
manufacturing centres of England and the Continent appears from his
statements to have been of too flying a nature to yield any very
authoritative results. But we wish it to be distinctly understood that
while the plan of Dr. Young’s work, and, in some respects, its
execution, appear to us defective, we are by no means disposed to
undervalue the great utility of what he has accomplished in thus
presenting to the American reader in compact form a survey of the
history of labor down to our own times. It is only from a study of the
subject in its widest aspects that an intelligent comprehension of the
factors of the problems before us in America can be arrived at.

Dr. Young begins by a review of the origin of slavery and gradual
development of wage labor, following its thread through the rise and
decline of the ancient empires of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The
conquest and carrying off of alien races for the uses of manual labor,
while their conquerors followed the profession of arms, was the most
fruitful source of slavery in ancient times. This species of slavery
is still found in Africa. It was long ago extinguished in Europe. It
was crippled in America by the suppression of the slave trade, and has
finally disappeared in the United States by the emancipation of the
negro race. On the other hand, we have never had in this country the
predial slavery which is bound to the soil and digs the ground it
originally sprang from, of which the last great example is vanishing
from Russia under the benignant edicts of Alexander II. But there is
no doubt that that form would have developed itself in the United
States from negro slavery if the distinction of color could have been
annihilated. It was already tending in that direction when the war

We must pass over Dr. Young’s account of labor under the feudal
system, but we cannot help noting the prejudice he seems to share with
the vulgar against the monks. To read his pages, one would necessarily
be led to infer that the clergy were among the worst oppressors of the
poor; that they ground their unhappy serfs, and were the allies of the
nobles and military commanders in keeping down the working classes.
That all this _farrago_ of calumny is directly the reverse of the
truth is now so universally admitted by students of those ages that it
is needless to enter into the question, nor would our space permit us
to do so. It will suffice to quote Hallam, who, while opposed to the
principles upon which monasteries are founded, calls those of the
middle ages “green spots in the wilderness where the feeble and the
persecuted could find refuge.”[28] And again, speaking of the
devastation of immense tracts by war, he says: “We owe the
agricultural restoration of the great part of Europe to the
monks.”[29] It is singular that such testimony is omitted by Dr.
Young. It would be still more singular if it had escaped his
observation. His admissions are as ridiculous as his omissions. In a
foot-note of a single line, which is lost in the midst of two chapters
on the subject, he says: “It is admitted that the abbots were most
indulgent landlords.” This is as if a writer on the woollen
manufacture of the present day should devote a hundred pages to the
knitting-needles of the old women in our country towns, and inform his
readers in a one-line footnote: “Steam machinery was also used in this
age in the manufacture of woollens.” The monastery was as
distinctively the economic feature of the civilization of the middle
ages as the steam-engine is of our times. Each played the same part in
its development. It is just as easy to be blind to one as to the

Passing over the period included between Elizabeth and George III.,
and the early days of what Dr. Young aptly terms the “era of
machinery,” we come down to the consideration of the organization and
prices of labor, the rates of wages and cost of subsistence, and the
habits of the working classes in England at the present day. These are
fruitful themes, and are treated of in detail. We will endeavor to
present a few items of comparison, from the statistics given in
connection with them, with those afforded later in the case of the
United States.

What we have said about the change that has taken place in the
conditions of labor in the United States is shown by Dr. Young’s
account of the trades-unions of the United Kingdom. Instead of, as
formerly, maintaining their position on a totally different and higher
plane than European workmen, American mechanics now take the law, in
many cases, from English organizations. For instance, the “Amalgamated
Society of Engineers,” a union including machinists, millwrights,
smiths, and pattern-makers, and numbering at the close of 1874 about
45,000 members, had 30 branches in the United States at the end of
1873, with an aggregate membership of 1,405. These branches were
spread over every manufacturing city of the first or second class in
the Union. Five branches were established in Canada. Some idea of the
power of such a society, apart from its mere roll of membership, may
be gathered from its annual statements of the account of its
accumulated fund. Its balance on hand at the close of 1873 amounted to
£200,923 1s. 6¾d. Its expenditure during the same year amounted to
£67,199 17s., 5½d., including such items as telegrams, banking
expenses, delegations, grants to other trades, parliamentary
committees, gas-stokers defence fund—disclosing, in fact, all the
incidents of a powerful and active organization.

The “Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners” has 265 branches,
14 of which are in the United States. The membership, however, appears
to be small in this country, numbering only 445 men. The governmental
organization of societies of this class is very elaborate and
centralizing in character. Monthly reports are received from all the
branches, including those in the United States. For instance, the
monthly reports of the Amalgamated Carpenters’ Society for January,
1875, from the United States, represent the state of trade as “bad,”
“dull,” or “slack,” with the exception of San Francisco, where it is
reported “good,” and Newark as “improving.” Although no data are here
given, it is not to be doubted that this system of reports will be, or
has already been, extended to such organizations as the “Miners’
National Association,” numbering 140,000, and the National
Agricultural Laborers’ Union, numbering 60,000, thus seriously
affecting the immigration not only of skilled but of agricultural
labor. In fact, we are already aware that personal reports have been
made by Joseph Arch and others, some of them not favorable. The
formidable character of the trades-unions of Great Britain is seen by
the mere statement of their aggregate membership, which Dr. Young
estimates, with all deductions, at 800,000 in January, 1875.

The question of strikes in England is too large a one to be entered
into here. Dr. Young gives a brief history of the great Preston strike
of 1836, of the Nottingham, the Staffordshire Colliery, the Pottery,
and the Yorkshire strikes, all of which proved unsuccessful after
terrible suffering on the part of the workmen and great loss on both
sides had been endured. A short account is also given of the
unsuccessful “Amalgamated Engineers’” strike of 1851-52, and the
protracted engineers’ strike on the Tyne, 1871-72, for the nine hours’
system, which resulted in a compromise. Experience has demonstrated of
strikes, 1st, that they are usually unsuccessful; 2d, that they lessen
the employer’s ability to maintain even the wages paid before the
strike, by giving an advantage to his competitor in other countries
which he cannot always recover; 3d, that where they are fought out to
the end they cause suffering and develop disease in the weak, and in
women and children, which no wages can pay for or cure; 4th, that they
deteriorate the character of the men engaged in them by promoting a
feeling of lawlessness and desire for stimulation even among the best
disposed; 5th, that, even if successful, there is a greater dead loss
in money spent than is recouped by the advance gained in wages. These
conclusions are now beginning to be so well understood in
England—where, from more perfect organization, strikes are larger and
cost more to both parties than in the United States—that the chairman
of the Trades-Union Congress of the United Kingdom, held at Liverpool
in January, 1875, in his opening address referred to strikes as a mode
of settling differences with employers which ought to be avoided by
all practicable means, and resorted to only in the most extreme
cases—an opinion afterwards embodied in a resolution which was adopted
by the Congress. The principle of arbitration has already been tried
successfully in several important instances.

Dr. Young illustrates the rates of wages in the United Kingdom by
tables. He accompanies the tables with the explanation that “in a very
large number of occupations the hands are paid by the piece or by
weight, and the actual rate of wages would not indicate the sum an
operative would take home with him at the end of the week as the price
of his labor. The sums stated in all these tables are therefore the
average sums earned per week, whether the labor be paid by the day or
the piece.” The same explanation holds good for the United States. Of
these tabular statements our space will only permit us to give two or
three, to which we shall subjoin the rates of wages in the United
States in the same occupations by way of comparison. The British pound
sterling is computed at $4 84, and the shilling at 24 cents.


The reduction in the hours of labor and the increase in the rates of
wages in English cotton-mills are shown in the following table:

_Statement showing the average weekly earnings of operatives in
cotton-mills during the years 1839, 1849, 1859, and 1873._

                         |                    |   WORK OF   |    WORK OF
                         |                    |  69 HOURS.  |  60 HOURS.
         OCCUPATION.     |        SEX.        +------+------+------+------
                         |                    | 1839.| 1849.| 1859.| 1873.
  Steam-engine tenders,  |                    |$5 76 |$5 72 |$7 20 |$7 68
  Warehousemen,          |                    | 4 32 | 4 80 | 5 28 | 6 24
  Carding:               |                    |      |      |      |
    Stretchers,          |Women and girls,    | 1 68 | 1 80 | 1 92 | 2 88
    Strippers,           |Young men,          | 2 64 | 2 88 | 3 36 | 4 56
    Overlookers,         |                    | 6 00 | 6 72 | 6 72 | 7 68
  Spinning:              |                    |      |      |      |
    Winders on           |                    | 3 84 | 4 32 | 4 80 | 6 00
      self-acting mules, |                    |      |      |      |
    Piecers,             |Women and young men,| 1 94 | 2 16 | 2 40 | 3 84
    Overlookers,         |                    | 4 80 | 5 28 | 6 24 | 7 20
  Reeling:               |                    |      |      |      |
    Throttle-rulers,     |Women,              | 2 16 | 2 28 | 2 28 | 3 00
    Warpers,             |                    | 5 28 | 5 28 | 5 52 | 6 24
    Sizers,              |                    | 5 52 | 5 52 | 6 00 | 7 20
  Doubling:              |                    |      |      |      |
    Doublers,            |Women,              | 1 68 | 1 80 | 2 16 | 3 00
    Overlookers,         |                    | 5 76 | 6 00 | 6 72 | 7 68

“Other branches show the same ratio of advance.” The following
statement was furnished to Dr. Young by the proprietors of the
cotton-mills of Messrs. Shaw, Jardin & Co., of Manchester, operating
250,000 spindles, and producing yarns from No. 60 to 220, sewing
cottons, lace yarn, crape yarn, and two-fold warp yarns:

_Average wages (per week of 59 hours) of persons employed in 1872._

          OCCUPATION.                          WAGES.

    Overseer,                                  $10 89
    Second hand,                                 7 26
    Drawing-frame tenders,                       2 66
    Speeder-tenders,                             3 14
    Grinders,                                    5 32
    Strippers,                                   5 32
    Overseer,                                   14 52
    Mule-spinners,                   $13 31 to  15 73
    Mule-backside piecers,             2 42 to   3 87
  Repair-shop, engine-room, etc.:
    Foreman or overseer,                        14 52
    Wood and iron workers,                       7 74
    Engineer,                                    9 68
    Laborers,                                    5 32

These tables will be found on pp. 330-31. Now let us compare the wages
there given with those paid to the same class of operatives in the
United States. On pages 750-51, Dr. Young gives a table showing the
average weekly wages paid in American cotton-mills in various States
in 1869 and 1874. We select Rhode Island, for the reason that the rate
of wages there appears to be a good average, being lower than is paid
in Massachusetts and higher than in New York.

_Wages in cotton-mills (weekly average)._

                                   |  RHODE ISLAND.
          OCCUPATION.              +--------+--------
                                   | 1869.  | 1874.
  Carding:                         |        |
    Overseer,                      | $17 00 | $17 00
    Picker-tenders,                |   7 80 |   7 72
    Railway-tenders,               |   3 50 |[B]4 47
    Drawing-frame tenders,         |   5 00 |[C]5 40
    Speeder-tenders,               |   6 12 |[C]7 48
    Picker-boy,                    |   6 25 |[A]4 03
    Grinders,                      |   9 08 |   9 10
    Strippers,                     |   7 26 |   7 50
  Spinning:                        |        |
    Overseer,                      |  15 60 |  17 69
    Mule-spinners,                 |   9 50 |  10 16
    Mule-backside piecers,         |   2 85 |[A]2 52
    Frame-spinners,                |   5 00 |[B]3 70
  Dressing:                        |        |
    Overseer,                      |  13 75 |  14 80
    Second hand,                   |   9 00 |  11 83
    Spoolers,                      |   5 00 |[C]4 32
    Warpers,                       |   5 75 |[C]6 98
    Drawers and twisters,          |   5 00 |
    Dressers,                      |  11 25 |  13 11
  Weaving:                         |        |
    Overseer,                      |  18 33 |  18 00
    Weavers,                       |   8 00 |[C]7 91
    Drawing-in hands,              |   7 50 |[C]7 25
  Repair-shop, engine-room, etc.:  |        |
    Foreman,                       |  18 00 |  15 79
    Wood-workers,                  |  15 00 |  13 58
    Iron-workers,                  |  13 16 |  13 68
    Engineer,                      |  18 00 |  13 71
    Laborers,                      |   9 33 |   8 59
    Overseer in cloth-room,        |  15 00 |  12 42

     [A] Boys.
     [B] Females.
     [C] Part females.

It will appear, therefore, from an examination of the tables that the
average weekly wages in Rhode Island cotton-mills (which fairly
represent those of the rest of the country) are in most cases from a
third to nearly double those paid in Manchester. But it will also be
observed that, whereas English wages appear to have increased steadily
in every grade, the American rates show a decided tendency downwards.
The highest skilled American labor holds its own with difficulty, but
in the lower grades cheaper labor has been extensively employed since
1869. Dr. Young’s explanation must also be borne in mind in reading
these tables—viz., that the labor is frequently piece-work. In some
instances the English operatives also employ their own helpers.

But do these figures really represent the present rate of wages?
Doubtless the average given is a fair one. But any one whose attention
was directed to the strike at the Lonsdale Mills, R. I., January,
1875, must have noticed that wages are in reality much lower than here
given. Into the merits of that controversy we do not enter—we wish
merely to arrive at the figures. The company would appear to have done
everything they could for the comfort and improvement of the condition
of their hands, and the reduction complained of probably could not be
avoided in the then depressed state of the market. The special
correspondent of the New York _Herald_ of that date gives the
statement of the superintendent, who said that the weavers before the
reduction were receiving fifty cents per cut (wide goods), and with
the reduction of 10 per cent. the price paid would be forty-five cents
per cut; or, in other words, they would earn about $1 a day. Taking
the statements of the operatives, it was claimed that many of the men
were making only ninety-six cents a day before the strike, and the
women sixty-five cents. Those figures, therefore, in the case of one
of the largest companies, represent labor as already reduced below
English rates. This strike also afforded an illustration of the
statement, made in the beginning of this article, of the instant ebb
and flow of labor, as well as capital, which now characterizes
industry in the United States. The operatives were about half English
and half Irish (the overseers alone being American), and the first
movement of those who had enough money to do so was to return to
England or Ireland.

Notwithstanding the readiness of operatives to strike the moment the
opportunity offers—a readiness perfectly well known and appreciated by
their employers—and notwithstanding also, it may be said, the
determination of employers to regulate wages by the laws of trade, it
is nevertheless one of the most noble and encouraging features of the
industrial pursuits of this age that the employers in many
instances—and those generally the chief—show that they intend that
their minds shall not be diverted from the purpose of improving the
condition of their workmen, both mentally and materially. It is well
that the mild voice of Christian charity should still be able to make
itself heard in the midst of this whir of iron machinery.

In the condition of no kind of labor does the United States compare
more favorably with England and the Continent of Europe than in
agriculture. Here the respective wages paid hardly admit of
comparison. But it is not to be lost sight of that, wretched as the
condition of the English agricultural laborer may appear to us, his
way of viewing things is not ours. The rough, arduous, irregular,
exposed labor of the Western backwoodsman, or even farmer, appears to
him more terrible than the dull, stated servitude, with its beer in
the present and its work-house in the future, that shock our free
thought. The report of the delegates of the Agricultural Union was
decidedly unfavorable in the case of Canada, where the conditions of
labor do not essentially vary from those of the Northwestern States.
This question of agricultural labor is, however, too vast a one to be
treated of here. Dr. Young’s reports are very valuable, but take,
perhaps, the American view of the question too much for granted.[30]


This branch of his subject is copiously treated by Dr. Young in
connection with his tour through the chief manufacturing cities of the
United Kingdom in 1872. From the numerous tables presented we select
one under the head of “Skilled trades in London, weekly wages in 1871”
(page 242) as being the most comprehensive.

The average _daily_ wages of persons employed in the same trades in
the United States in 1874 was from $2 25 for shoemakers to $3 33 for
bricklayers or masons (pp. 745-747); or, in other words, from 50 per
cent. to 100 per cent. more than in England.

_Statement showing the established rates of wages obtained by members
of the various trades societies of the metropolis, in summer and
winter, compiled under the supervision of Alsager Hay Hill, LL.B._

                        | NUMBER   |   RATE OF WAGES.
         TRADES.        |   OF     |----------+---------
                        | MEMBERS. | _Sum’r_    | _Winter_
  Bakers,               |     --   | $3 87    | $5 08
  Basket-makers,        |     --   |  3 63    |  4 84
  Boat-builders,        |     --   |  8 47    |  7 26
  Bookbinders,          |    702   |  7 26    |  7 26
  Brass-cock finishers, |     --   |  8 47    |  8 47
  Brass-finishers,      |     --   |  8 47    |  8 47
  Bricklayers,          |  2,386   |    16[D] |    16[D]
  Brush-makers,         |    400   |   [E]    |   [E]
  Cabinet-makers,       |    500   |  7 26    |  7 26
  Cabinet-makers, deal, |    450   |  7 99    |  7 99
  Carpenters,           |  4,740   |  9 14    |  9 14
  Carvers and gilders,  |     50   |  4 84    |  4 84
  Coach-builders,       |     25   |  9 68    |  9 68
  Coach-makers,         |    320   |  9 68    |  9 68
  Coach-smiths,         |    200   |  4 84    | 12 58
  Coach-trimmers and    |          |          |
     makers,            |     --   |  6 05    |  6 05
  Compositors,          |  3,550   |  4 84    |  8 47
  Cork-cutters,         |    100   |  7 26    |  7 26
  Cordwainers,          |  3,678   |   [F]    |   [F]
  Curriers,             |  1,900   |  8 47    |  8 47
  Engineers,            | 33,539   |   {16[D] |    16[D]
                        |          |   {18[D] |    16[D]
  Farriers,             |    220   |  9 68    | 12 10
  French polishers,     |     30   |  7 26    |  7 26
  Hammermen,            |     80   |  5 81    |  5 81
  Iron-founders and     |          |          |
     moulders,          |  7,372   |  9 20    |  9 20
  Letterpress printers, |     --   |  7 26    |  7 26
  Painters, house,      |     --   |    14[D] |    14[D]
  Pianoforte makers,    |    400   |    16[D] |    16[D]
  Plasterers,           |     --   |    14[D] |    14[D]
  Plumbers,             |     --   |    18[D] |    18[D]
  Pressmen, printers,   |     60   |  7 26    |  7 26
  Skinners,             |    225   |  7 26    |  7 26
  Steam-engine makers,  |    100   |   {16[D] |    16[D]
                        |          |   {18[D] |    18[D]
  Stone-masons,         | 17,193   |  9 14    |  7 82

[D] Per hour.
[E] Piece-work.
[F] Uncertain.


But we cannot stop at the mere figures in dollars and cents. In this
connection we must consider what those wages will buy in each
country—what is their purchasing power:

     “If a workman in Birmingham” says Dr. Young, “receive for
     fifty-four hours’ labor 30s., or about $8 33 in United
     States currency, and another, of the same occupation, in
     Philadelphia earn $12 50, it would be inaccurate to say that
     the earnings of the latter were 50 per cent. more than those
     of the former. The question is not what is the United States
     equivalent of the thirty British shillings, but what is the
     purchasing power of the wages of the one workman in England
     and of the other in the United States? In other words, how
     much food, clothing, and shelter will the earnings of the
     one purchase as compared with the other?”

For the solution of this question Dr. Young enters into an
elaborate analysis of the price of provisions, clothing,
house-rent, etc., in each country. In this we are unable to
follow him. But taking the amount paid for board by single men
and women employed in mechanical labor in the great cities of
both countries, the average price paid by men in Great Britain
ranges from $2 50 to $3 50 per week; in the United States, from
$4 50 to $5 50. For women, in manufacturing cities in England,
from $1 50 to $2 50 per week; in the United States, from $2 50 to
$3 50. In the great American manufacturing centre, Philadelphia,
the average price of mechanics’ board is, for men, $5 per week;
for women, $3. But this does not mean a single room for each; in
most cases two, in some three, four, and even five, sleep in the
same chamber. British workmen probably eat as much meat as
American workmen, but they have not the same variety of dishes.
House-rent is cheaper in most English cities even than in
Philadelphia, where great and commendable efforts have always
been made to provide good and cheap houses for working-men.
Clothing Dr. Young estimates at less than half the price in
England for the laboring classes compared with the United States;
partly from cheaper rates, and partly from the inferior kind
British workmen consent to wear—fustian or corduroy being the
most common material.

We would wish to follow Dr. Young, if it were possible, into a
comparison of the rates of wages and cost of living in the great iron
and steel works on the Tyne, at Essen, Prussia, and in Philadelphia,
but our space is already exceeded. The highest wages earned at the
works of Fried. Krupp, Essen, which Dr. Young personally visited in
1872, were $1 80 for 11 hours’ piece-work. At the same establishment
dinner (meat and vegetables and coffee) and lodging are supplied to
unmarried men at $1 18 per week. Bread is an extra charge. Large
bakeries are attached to the works.

In the comparison of the general rates of wages and cost of living in
Great Britain and the United States, so many and so great diversities
exist in both countries that it is a hazardous matter to draw general
conclusions. Stated broadly, it would appear that the rate of wages in
Great Britain since 1865 has shown a steady tendency to advance, with
some fluctuations, while the cost of living is nearly stationary; in
the United States, within the same period of ten years, wages have
remained stationary or shown a tendency to decline, allowing for the
fluctuations caused by a depreciated currency, while the cost of
living has increased. The commercial depression existing since 1873
has affected labor in both countries, but more sensibly in the United
States. The great falling off in immigration since 1873 is a
remarkable and sensitive test of the depreciation of the labor market
in the United States and the simultaneous rise of wages in Europe.
From the recent report of the New York Emigration Commissioners it
appears that there were landed at Castle Garden during 1875 84,560
immigrants, against 140,041 for 1874 and 294,581 for 1873. The falling
off has been equally divided among all nationalities. Nor does this
tell the whole story; for the steamship companies show a very large
return of laborers to Europe during the past year. It is not intended
to convey the impression by these figures that European emigration has
finally stayed its course towards these shores, but it is evident that
it has received a serious temporary check. It is not the purpose of
this paper to investigate what the remedy for this state of things may
be. But it may be stated as the conviction of the writer that a mere
return to specie payments, though beneficial, will not do all for the
country that its advocates claim. Something more will be required—that
is, economy, curtailment of expenses, national and individual—before
we can reach bottom. Like youth sometimes, we have temporarily
outgrown our strength. We have no vast deposits of wealth, the
hoardings of centuries, to fall back upon like some European
countries. We have always lived right up to our income, and have not
yet adjusted ourselves to our sudden plunge into national debt. Hope
has all along buoyed us up to over-production and consequent
over-expenditure. The supply of labor must equalize itself to the
necessary, not speculative, work to be done before it can be
established on a sound basis. Fresh enterprises, promoting renewed
inflation and over-production, will lead to another collapse. In the
effort to recuperate, and before a new start can be made on a safe
road of prosperity (which it is not doubted will be opened again),
those who are already poor will suffer the most, as always has been
and will be the case. The American working classes will have
eventually to abandon most of those habits of personal expense which
now seem to them a matter of course, but which European working-men
would regard as extravagant, and to approach nearer to the old-country
standard of living.

We are not able to follow Dr. Young in his researches into the rate of
wages and cost of subsistence in the various countries of continental
Europe which he visited. None of them approach so near the American
standard as Great Britain. In most of them labor is poorly paid and
the working classes live meanly according to our notions, yet
contrive, withal, to enjoy a degree of comfort, and even happiness,
which to us seems hard to understand under the circumstances.

     [27] _Labor in Europe and America: A Special Report on the Rates
          of Wages, the Cost of Subsistence, and the Condition of the
          Working Classes in Great Britain, France, Belgium, Germany,
          the other Countries of Europe, and in the United States and
          British America._ By Edward Young, Ph.D., Chief of the
          United States Bureau of Statistics. 1875.

     [28] Hallam’s _Middle Ages_, ch. ix. part i.

     [29] _Id._ ch. ix. part ii.

     [30] $1 a day for laborers was offered by public advertisement in
          February of this year, by the superintendent of the
          Centennial grounds, and men were glad to take it. How
          strange the spectacle in free America—how fruitless and
          disheartening the struggle it portends—when legislation is
          invoked at Albany, in the great State of New York, to keep
          up a fictitious price of labor!




There was a castle in Yorkshire whose tall, majestic towers commanded
a view of the country for miles around, rising far above the sombre
depths of the ancient forest-trees that covered the hills on which the
castle was seated.

A silence like the grave reigned within and around this princely
habitation. Merry young pages no longer bounded over balustrades and
the walks winding from the drawbridge. The Gothic arches no more
re-echoed with the noisy clamor of the hounds nor the loud cheering of
the young hunters. Rank weeds covered the lofty ramparts and clusters
of wild flowers swung between their solitary battlements, as though
nature had struggled to conceal the eternal mourning which they seemed
for ever condemned to wear.

A traveller approached the castle and examined with great attention
the arches bearing the arms of the earls of Northumberland. He held by
the bridle a beautiful horse, covered with sweat and dust, whose
drooping head and trembling limbs attested his extreme fatigue.

“This is certainly the place!” he exclaimed, still looking around him.
“I recognize the crouching lion of Northumberland!” He knocked loudly
and waited a long time.

At length the door opened and an old man appeared before him. “What do
you want?” he demanded brusquely of the traveller. “If you ask
hospitality, you will not be refused; but if you ask to see my master,
the Earl of Northumberland, you cannot see him.”

“It is he whom I wish to see,” replied the stranger.

The old domestic contracted his white eyebrows. “That cannot be. Since
the death of his father he sees nobody.”

“The old Count of Northumberland dead!” replied Sir Walsh (for it was

“Alas! yes, for an entire year. We buried him at Alnwick,” answered
the old servant, wiping away a tear.

“Go to your master,” replied Sir Walsh,” and tell him that some one
asks to see him on the part of the king. I will wait for you here.”

“On the part of the king!” replied the old servant. “On the part of
the king! That will make a difference, I think, and I do not want you
to stay here. Follow me.”

After fastening the horse to one of the iron rings which were fixed in
the wall of the inner court, he led Sir Walsh into the castle. They
crossed long courts, then entered magnificent galleries, where they
saw arranged, between the Gothic arches which separated the vast and
deeply-embrasured windows, the richest armorial trophies of all ages.
Lances, longbows, and javelins filled up the interstices. Shields and
bucklers, borne in battle by the ancestors of the noble earl, were
eating away with rust, and the festoons of spider-webs which hung from
the huge antlers of stag and deer bore witness to the neglect and
indifference of the master of the castle.

Sir Walsh, as he passed along, regarded all these things with an
admiration mingled with astonishment. He could not understand the
state of abandonment in which he found a habitation that he had always
heard described as being one of the most magnificent in all England.
The delicately-sculptured wainscoting, the costly paintings, the rich
gilding of the rafters and ceilings, were renowned among artists and
considered as models which they labored to imitate.

“How singular all this is!” he said to himself. “How can Lord Percy,
whom I have known at court, so brilliant and accomplished, content
himself in a place like this, magnificent without doubt, but
abandoned, desolate, especially since the death of his father? And why
has he not returned to court, where his tastes and habits naturally
call him?”

While absorbed in these reflections Sir Walsh, preceded by his aged
conductor, entered a large octagonal saloon, gilded all over and
pierced with crosslets on every side, through which poured floods of
brilliantly-colored light, reflected from the stained glass with which
they were ornamented.

The view extended very far, and a large river, like a broad belt of
silver, wound through the beautiful fields, interspersed with clumps
of trees that increased still more the beauty of the landscape.

Walsh paused, enraptured with the prospect that met his gaze, and his
conductor made a sign to him to remain there until he had informed his
master of his arrival.

The old domestic noiselessly entered Lord Percy’s chamber, and paused
near the door in order to observe him; then an expression of profound
sadness stole over his features and he advanced still more slowly.

Seated in the embrasure of a large window, and always dressed in the
deepest mourning, Lord Percy scarcely ever left his room. Surrounded
by a great number of books and papers, he appeared to be absorbed in
reading, and the messenger was quite near before he was aware of his

“My lord!” he said in a very low and gentle voice, “there is a
stranger here who wishes to speak to you.”

“You know very well that I receive nobody, Henry,” said the Earl of
Northumberland without turning his head. “Have you asked him his

“Most assuredly,” replied Henry with a lofty and important air. “I
know it, too. He comes here on the part of the king—of the king
himself,” he repeated.

“On the part of the king!” cried Northumberland, turning pale. “Of the
king! What does _he_ want with me? Have I not done enough for him? Is
he not satisfied with having destroyed all my hopes, all my happiness,
all my future? Of what consequence to him now is my existence?”

And, overwhelmed with the weight of his afflictions, he folded his
arms on his breast and forgot to give his servant an answer.

“My dear son,” murmured the old man softly, after a moment of silent
attention, “are you going now to torment yourself again, and may be,
after all, without any cause?” For he dreaded beyond expression
anything that might arouse or excite what he termed his master’s

“No, my old foster-father, do not be alarmed!” replied Northumberland,
who knew very well what was passing in his mind. “Go, and bring in
this stranger.”

He then arose, in a state of agitation he was unable to control.

Henry soon returned, bringing Sir Walsh.

On entering, the latter was prepared to give Northumberland a joyful
surprise and fold him in his arms; but on being suddenly ushered into
his presence he recoiled in astonishment. Could this be the gay and
brilliant young man he had known, always cheerful, always affable,
whose handsome face and charming manner attracted all around him?
Dressed in the deepest mourning, which by contrast increased the
pallor of his face, his expression anxious and haggard, a painful
constraint was observable in all his movements.

“You do not recognize me, Lord Percy,” said Sir Walsh at last. “There
was a time when you called me your friend, and I was proud to bear the

“Oh! no, my dear Walsh,” replied Northumberland, “I could not have
forgotten you. Rather say you no longer recognize me; for time has
passed like a dream. Since you saw me last I have been transformed
into another person. But tell me, why does the name of him who sends
you come to invade my solitude? What have I done to him to bring him
here again to disturb my ashes? For am I not already dead? Does this
castle not strike you as being strangely like a tomb, to which no one
any more finds entrance?”

“But I think,” said Sir Walsh, astonished at this outburst and forcing
a smile, “that some young girl, descended from her palace of clouds to
the midst of your abode, draws around her crowds of your astonished
vassals. They admire her snowy robes and crown of stars.”

“No,” replied Northumberland gloomily; “no, never! No female inhabits
this place. She who ought to have ruled here will never come, and she
who did rule would not remain!”

“What do you mean by that riddle?” inquired Walsh. “What! is the
Countess of Northumberland no longer here?”

“No, she is no longer here,” replied Lord Percy. And he passed his
hand over his eyes, unable to conceal the emotion all these questions
excited; for, in spite of himself, the sight of an old friend had
agitated him to the depths of his soul. Man was not made for solitude;
he is a social being; he has need of his fellow-men to love them, or
even to complain of and to them; and for many long, weary months no
human being had knocked at his door or come to offer a word of

Walsh regarded him with increasing solicitude; at length, unable to
restrain his feelings, he threw his arms around his neck.

“My dear Percy,” he exclaimed, “what has happened to you? You seem
overwhelmed with sorrow. I felt so happy in anticipation of surprising
you by this visit, and again seeing you at the head of all the young
nobles of the north, loved as you were among us, the life of the chase
and of all those sports in which you excelled! Alas! my friend, what
misfortune has befallen you? Tell me; for I swear I will never more
leave you.”

“What misfortune has befallen me, do you ask, my dear old friend?”
replied Northumberland, deeply moved. “Yes, you are ignorant of all.
And what does it matter? It was irreparable. But tell me the cause
that brought you to me. Why has the king sent you hither?”

“For nothing that need give you the least uneasiness,” replied
Walsh—“a commission readily executed, and in which you must assist me.
We will return to this later. Tell me first of yourself—of yourself
alone, my friend—and of your father.”

“My father? He died in my arms more than a year ago without suffering.
I have done what he wished,” continued Northumberland, his eyes
filling with tears. “I have nothing with which to reproach myself on
that account. I have obeyed him. Yes,” he added, fixing his eyes on
the floor, “that is the only thought that ever comes to console me.”

“I do not understand you!” replied Walsh. “Speak more explicitly;
explain what you mean.”

“Well, know, then,” replied Northumberland in an altered voice, and
making a violent effort to control himself—“know that for a long time
I loved Anne Boleyn—yes, Anne Boleyn! We were betrothed. The day, the
hour, for our marriage were fixed, when the king tore her from me for
ever! In his jealous hatred he commanded Cardinal Wolsey, to whose
household I belonged, to summon me before him, and forbid me in his
name dreaming, for an instant, of marrying her; but on my refusing to
obey he appealed to my father, who ordered me to marry immediately a
daughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury, under penalty of visiting upon me
all the weight of his indignation if I hesitated for one moment. In
vain I tried to resist; my father was furious and threatened me with
his curse. I at length submitted, and you have all assisted at the
festivities of my marriage, and, seeing my new bride, have pierced my
heart with your congratulations and assurances of my future happiness.
I then left the court. I brought her here; and that young wife, justly
wounded by my melancholy, absurd and ridiculous in her eyes, wearied
of the retired life I compelled her to lead, left me very soon after
my father’s death and returned to her family. And—shall I acknowledge
it?—sensible of the wrong I have done her, I am quite reconciled to
being forgotten and finding myself abandoned and alone. I have
dismissed successively all my pages and valets, retaining only the
oldest servants belonging to my house. Henry, my old foster-father,
takes entire charge and control of everything. Misfortune and sorrow
have made me prematurely old; I need the companionship of the aged,
and not of youth. I love to hear around me the slow and faltering step
of a man ready to sink into the grave; he seems to hasten the hour for
me. His soul, cold and subdued, soothes and refreshes mine. He never
laughs; never comes to tell me of a thousand chimerical projects, a
thousand vain hopes, recalling those in which I have indulged in days
past. His presence alone would be sufficient to expel them! And yet,
notwithstanding all this, the sorrow that slumbers in my soul is often
suddenly aroused, more wild and insupportable than ever. Wearied by
long vigils and sleepless nights, I sometimes imagine I see Queen
Catherine enter my chamber; the reflection of her gold-embroidered
robes sheds a dazzling light around her. Her ladies follow. I hear the
rustling of their heavy trains; I hear them laugh and converse
together about the tournament of the day before. Then all becomes
dark! Anne Boleyn turns her eyes away from me; she is envious of the
queen; pride, ambition, stifle in her heart every sentiment of
affection. Then my agony is renewed. I weep, I sigh, and the shadows
vanish into nothingness.

“What happiness can any one expect to find in the honors of a usurped
rank? Ah! my friend, I have seen, and felt, and suffered everything.
Our faults are the sole cause of all our afflictions. Therefore, far
from feeling incensed at the injustice of men, I no more recognize an
enemy among them. My heart goes out with deepest pity toward the
suffering ones of earth, and I would gladly be able to console them

Saying this, Northumberland paused, overcome by emotion.

“Ah!” at length replied Walsh, who had listened with rapt attention,
“how limited are our judgments! Had I been asked the name of the
happiest mortal living, I should have given yours without a moment’s

“I know it, and have been told it a hundred times,” replied
Northumberland earnestly. “Many men have had their marriage relations
dissolved, their fortunes changed, and have still borne up
courageously under their misfortunes; but with me it cannot be thus.
If Anne Boleyn had married another lord of the court—well, I might
have been reconciled. I should at least have been spared the outrage
of her dishonor; for her dishonor is mine! I had so taken her heart
into my own, united my life so entirely with hers, in order not to
suffer the slightest stain to touch it, that there is no torture equal
to that which I now endure. Every moment I feel, I suffer; I hear the
whisperings of this infamous and widespread report which her foolish
vanity alone prevents her from discovering around her.”

“Dear Percy,” replied Walsh, “you cannot imagine how much you
exaggerate all this! The solitude in which you live has excited you to
such a degree that you almost imagine she bears the name of Countess
of Northumberland.”

“Yes!” he exclaimed excitedly, “she bears it in my heart; and there,
at least, no one can dispute her right!”

“And poor Lady Shrewsbury?” replied Walsh.

“Lady Shrewsbury,” cried Northumberland, “is the victim, like myself,
of compulsion! Never have I regarded her as my wife. If the king had
demanded my head, I should not have been bound to obey; but a father’s
curse is a weight that cannot be supported! My obstinacy would have
brought upon his tottering old age the bitterness of poverty and want.
No, no; that is my only excuse, and Lady Shrewsbury herself would have
forgiven me had she known my sorrow.”

“My dear Percy,” interrupted Walsh anxiously, “I am deeply grieved to
find you in this condition; your heart misleads you, and I perceive
the commission with which I am charged will be anything but agreeable.
However, what can I do? Here,” he added, unfolding a letter and a roll
of written parchment, from which hung the king’s seals, “take and
read.” He preferred giving him the order to read rather than have the
unpleasant task of verbally announcing what he now foresaw would cause
him such extreme grief. Northumberland had no sooner glanced over it
than the parchment fell from his hands.

“Who? I?” he cried. “I go to arrest the archbishop at the very moment
when all the nobility of these parts are assembled to assist at the
ceremony of his installation! I, formerly of his household, who have
spent all the happiest years of my youth with him—charge _me_ with
such a commission? The king wishes, then, to have me regarded with
horror and detestation by all the inhabitants of this country! Know,
my friend,” continued Percy, fixing his flashing eyes upon Walsh,
“that since Wolsey came here he has made himself universally loved and
cherished. He is no longer the vain, imperious man whom you knew;
adversity has entirely changed him. He occupies himself only in doing
good, reconciling family differences, and relieving the distressed.
And this gorgeous entry, which causes the king so much uneasiness, he
was to have made on foot with the utmost possible simplicity.

“For a long time Wolsey hesitated, entirely for fear of seeing his
enemies array themselves against him; but his clergy seemed so wounded
at conduct contrary to the usage of all his predecessors that he at
length consented. But see how they deceive the king, and endeavor to
excite him against those who least of all merit his displeasure!”

“What shall I say to you, my dear Northumberland?” replied Walsh.
“When the king issues an order, how can its execution be avoided? All
that you say is true beyond doubt, but neither you nor I can do
anything; it only remains for us to try and accomplish this
disagreeable commission with as little noise as possible.”

“Ah!” replied Northumberland, “why has he imposed such a commission on
me? See if even the slightest pleasure of my life is not instantly
extinguished. I was rejoicing at seeing you, and immediately I am made
to pay for it.”

He continued for a long time talking in this manner, when, Walsh
having expressed a desire to go through the castle, Northumberland
consented. They found everything in a state of extreme disorder. In
many places no care was taken even to open the house to admit the
light of day. As old Henry successively opened to them each new hall
of the immense castle, the dust, collected in heaps like piles of
down, arose and flew away to collect again further on in the apartment
upon some more valuable piece of furniture.

Walsh could not avoid expressing to the earl his surprise at seeing
him so neglect the magnificent abode of his ancestors. “It is wrong,”
replied Percy, “but I prize nothing any more. Of what consequence is
it to me whether the roof that shelters me is handsome or plain? When
our hearts are crushed by sorrow, we become oblivious to all outward

      *     *     *     *     *

When night came on, his host retired and left him to that repose of
which, after the fatigue of his journey, he stood so much in need.
Northumberland ordered old Henry to retire and leave him alone as
usual; but Henry had decided otherwise, and continued for a long time
to come and go and pass the chamber slowly under various pretexts, as
his solicitude on account of his master was more and more increased on
remarking that his habitual sadness had been redoubled since the
advent of his visitor.

“Accursed stranger!” he said to himself, “bird of ill-omen, what has
brought him here? That famished maw of his would have been very well
able to carry him far from the moats of our castle! It is the king who
sends him here; but is not our son king of these parts?” And thus
muttering to himself, old Henry walked on. Not being able to determine
on leaving his master, he stopped and peered through the door in order
to observe Lord Percy. The latter sat leaning on the table before him,
his eyes closed, his head resting on his hands, and seemingly
oblivious to everything around him.

“There he sits still, to take a cold with this trouble!” continued
Henry. “However, I must go and leave him.” And the old domestic, still
turning his palsied head to look back, passed slowly under the heavy
tapestry screen, that fell rustling behind him.

“He is gone,” said Northumberland to himself—“gone, perhaps, for ever;
for who knows how long Henry has yet to live? What happiness to think
we must die! When weary with suffering, the soul reposes with a bitter
joy upon the brink of that tomb which alone can deliver her from her
woes! How the certainty of seeing them end sweetens the sorrows we
endure! Here where I stand” (he arose to his feet), “beside this
hearth, each one of my sires has taken his place, and each has
successively passed away. Their armor hangs here empty; their names
alone remain inscribed upon them. Why have not I the courage, then, to
endure this time of trial they call ‘life,’ which I have wished to
consider the end, but which is only a road leading to the end—a road
perilous, rough, and wearing? The shortest is the one I consider the
best; and he who travels over it most rapidly, has he not found true

“Have you not sometimes seen, in the midst of a violent storm, a poor
bird wildly struggling with winds and waves? You behold it for a
moment in the whirlpool, and suddenly it disappears. Just so I have
passed through the midst of the world; I had hoped to shine there,
because I was dazzled with it. To-day it becomes necessary to forget
it. O my soul! I wish thee, I command thee, to forget.”

At this moment a slight noise was heard. Northumberland started.

“What do you want, Henry?” he asked, seeing the old man standing like
a shadow at the end of the apartment.

“Nothing!” he replied impatiently.

“But truly,” said Lord Percy, “why have you returned?”

“To see if you were asleep,” brusquely answered the old servant,
approaching him. “It was scarcely worth the trouble,” he continued,
elevating his voice, “of harboring so carefully this new-comer, if he
must pay his reckoning in this way.”

“Ah!” replied Northumberland, regarding his old foster-father with a
suppliant expression.” Tell me, Henry, have you never known what it
was to grieve for one whom you loved?”

“Ay, in sooth,” replied Henry, “unfortunately I have known it; but we
are not able to live, like you, in idleness, and have hardly time to
be unhappy. When I lost my poor Alice, your foster-mother, what
anguish did I not feel in the depths of my soul! Well, if I had
stopped to think of her, I should have heard immediately my name
resounding through all the turrets of the castle: ‘Henry! my lord—my
lord goes hunting; hurry! make haste! my lord gives a ball this
evening to all the ladies of the country.’ And away I had to go, to
come, to run; otherwise my lord your father would fly into a passion.
How would you find time to weep if somebody was always calling after
you? Besides, I—poor Henry—if they had seen me sitting, like you, all
the day in silence, with tears in my eyes and my arms folded, they
would have laughed at me, and the pages would have called me a fool.”

“That is true; you are right,” replied Northumberland in an abstracted
manner. “You say, then they gave balls here?”

“And superb ones, too!” replied Henry, who liked, above all things, to
talk about the old times. “In those days you were not here; they
educated you with Monseigneur the Cardinal, our good archbishop at

On hearing these words Northumberland became violently agitated, and
his old servant, perceiving his countenance change and his features
contract, stopped suddenly in great alarm.

“You are ill, my lord?” he exclaimed.

“No, no,” replied Northumberland; “be calm. Leave me, Henry; I want to
be alone. Go to your bed—I command you.”

Henry, forced to leave his master, as he went reproached himself for
having spoken of the _fêtes_ the Countess of Northumberland had given
in the castle; he imagined it was the recollection of his mother that
had so affected Lord Percy.

“The archbishop! the archbishop!” repeated Northumberland. “Oh! let me
banish the name, in mercy—for a few hours, at least! He said, I
believe, that they gave balls here! What did he say? Yes, that must be
it: my mother loved them. Yes,” he continued, looking round at the
large and magnificent panels of his chamber, “here they hung garlands
and baskets of flowers; a thousand lamps reflected their brilliant
colors; delicious music floated on the perfumed air; crowds of people
of every age, sex, and rank eagerly gathered here. Time has very soon
reduced them to an equality; the sound of their footsteps is heard no
more; their voices are mute; they have all passed away. I alone still

The entire night was spent in these reflections, and when day began to
dawn the heavy tramp of horses was heard in the courtyard, and soon,
in the cold fog of morning, there issued from the castle gate a troop
of armed men wearing long cloth cloaks and caps. It was the earl’s
retainers, whom he had assembled during the night from all the
surrounding country. He rode in the midst of them in profound silence;
even Sir Walsh, reading in his countenance the melancholy dejection
under which he labored, had simply pressed his hand without daring to
address him a word.

As to the followers of Northumberland, they were astonished at this
sudden departure; they were completely ignorant of whither their
master was carrying them, having learned nothing from old Henry
himself, to whom Lord Percy had deemed it inexpedient to reveal the
destination, and still less the object, of this expedition. The old
man felt singularly anxious on the subject, as he was every day
becoming more and more accustomed to regard himself as the guardian
and adviser of him whom he called his son. Therefore, after having
closed the gate of the castle upon the travellers, he went sadly and
took his station on the highest tower, to see in what direction his
master was going.

A few moments only he followed them with his eyes; for, the valley
once crossed, their route conducted them into the depths of the
forest, and the cavalcade was soon lost to view.




  Sweet bird, that, singing under altered skies,
    Art mourning for thy season of delight—
    For lo! the cheerful months forsake thee quite,
  And all thy sunshine into shadow dies—
  O thou who art acquainted with unrest!
    Could thy poor wit my kindred mood divine,
  How wouldst thou fold thy wings upon my breast,
    And blend thy melancholy plaint with mine!
    I know not if with thine my songs would rhyme,
  For haply she thou mournest is not dead:
  Less kind are death and heaven unto me;
    But the chill twilight, and the sullen time,
  And thinking of the sweet years and the sad,
  Move me, wild warbler, to discourse with thee.


  “Your mind is tossing on the ocean;
  There, where your argosies with portly sail,
  Like signiors and rich burghers of the flood,
  Or, as it were, the pageants of the sea,
  Do overpeer the petty traffickers,
  That curt’sy to them, do them reverence,
  As they fly by them with their woven wings.”
            —_Merchant of Venice_, act i. sc. i.

Thucydides, in the introduction to his history, remarks that one of
the principal causes that raised some of the Greek cities to such a
high degree of prosperity and power was their engagement in mercantile
pursuits. All the great peoples of antiquity by whom the shores of the
Mediterranean were occupied—Phœnicians, Carthaginians, Etruscans,
Ionians of Asia Minor—rose to wealth and importance by the same means.
The Romans alone despised it.

After the subversion of the Western Empire and the last inroads of the
barbarians, the natives of Italy were the first to emerge from the
ruins of the ancient world. Except religion, they found no worthier or
more potent element of civilization than commerce, which procures, to
use the words of a celebrated writer, what is of far greater value
than mere money—“the reciprocation of the peculiar advantages of
different countries”; and throughout the middle ages, until the
passage to India by the Cape of Good Hope and the discovery of
America, Italy was the most forward nation in Christendom for wealth,
refinement of manners, and intellectual culture.

Italian commerce reached its greatest development between the
thirteenth and fifteenth centuries—that is, between the ages when
Marco Polo travelled to Tartary, China, and the Indies and Christopher
Columbus discovered America. In these two men, representatives of
Venice and Genoa, are embodied the geniuses of trade and navigation;
and as though Florence, seated between the rival cities and engaged
rather in reaping the fruits than in sowing the seeds of enterprise,
were destined to unite in herself the glory of both Italian shores,
one of her citizens—Americus Vespucius—gives his name to the New
World. This commerce began slowly but progressed rapidly, and attained
its noblest proportions during the fourteenth century, when for a
hundred years it spread over every sea and land then known in the
eager search after riches, bringing back to its votaries whatever
luxury Europe, Asia, and Africa produced or man’s invention had
evolved out of the necessities of his nature. Next, it gradually fell
away and almost disappeared in the sixteenth century, leaving behind
it only the cold consolation that there was no reason why it alone
should be excepted from the common doom of human affairs, which, when
they have enjoyed a certain measure of success, must surely decline
and fall.

When the Goths, Longobards, and Carlovingians had conquered Italy,
although most of the arts and sciences were lost or hidden in
cloisters, neither trade nor commerce was quite neglected; but,
despite the dangers from pirates, the ignorance of the sea, and the
exactions of the lawless on land, the Adriatic and Mediterranean were
timidly attempted by the inhabitants of the coast, while in the
interior of the country an interchange of commodities was carried on
between neighboring districts at places set apart for the purpose.
These places were generally the large square or principal street of a
town, or under the walls of a monastery, and the interchange took
place on certain days appointed by public authority.

The assemblies of the people were usually held on the Saturday, and
were at first called markets; but afterwards the rarer and more
important ones, which were held annually and for several consecutive
days, were termed fairs, from the Latin word _feria_, because they
always took place on the feast of some saint. Many rights and
privileges were granted at an early period to the merchants who
exhibited wares at these yearly gatherings; for without such
inducements few cared to undertake a journey with a part, or perhaps
the whole, of their earthly substance about them, along roads and
across ferries beset by robber-nobles, who levied toll from passers-by
and sometimes seized goods and persons for their own use.

The Venetians began earlier to sail on distant seas, and maintained
themselves longer on the water, than did the natives of any other
parts of Italy. Cassiodorus represents them in the sixth century as
occupied solely in salt-works, from which they derived their only
profit; but in course of time they issued from their lagoons to become
the most industrious and venturesome traffickers in the world. At the
beginning of the ninth century they had already introduced into Italy
some of the delicacies of the East, but drew odium on themselves for
conniving with pirates and men-stealers to capture people and sell
them into slavery in distant quarters of Europe and Asia. On the
opposite shore of Italy the inhabitants of Amalfi showed themselves
the most successful navigators during the early middle ages, trading
with Sicily and Tarentum, and even with Egypt, Syria, and
Constantinople. Their city is described by the poet-historian William
of Apulia, in the eleventh century, as the great mart for Eastern
goods, and the enterprise of its sailors as extending to all the ports
of the Mediterranean. Flavio Gioja, a citizen of Amalfi, if he did not
invent the mariner’s compass, as is somewhere asserted, certainly
improved it about the year 1302, either by its mode of suspension or
by the attachment of the card to the needle itself. This discovery
gave such an impulse to navigation that what had been for ages hardly
more than a skilful art became at once a science, and vessels no
longer crept along the shore or slipped from island to island, but
attempted “the vasty deep” and crossed over the ocean to the New

Another rich emporium at an early period, on the same side of Italy,
was Pisa. The city was four or five miles from the sea, but had a port
formed by a natural bay to the southward of the old mouth of the Arno
at a place called Calambrone. The Pisans at first traded principally
with Sicily and Africa. They fitted out expeditions against the
Saracens,[31] seized several islands in the Mediterranean, and with
both land-troops and seamen took an important part in the first
Crusade, being careful, before returning from the East, to establish
factories at Antioch and Constantinople. They also sent fleets to
humble the Mohammedan cities of Northern Africa. Through commercial
jealousy and political reasons they became involved in bitter wars
with the Genoese for the possession of Corsica, and with the
Amalfitans, who had sided against the emperor. The Pisans, as
auxiliaries of the Emperor Lothaire, sent a strong squadron to Amalfi,
which was held by the Normans, and, after a rigorous blockade, took it
by storm in 1137. It was on this occasion that a copy of the long-lost
Pandects of Justinian was found, which is said to be the original from
which all subsequent copies in Italy were made, thus reviving the
study of Roman law. It was taken from its captors by the Florentines
in 1411, and is now preserved in the Laurentian Library at Florence.
The monk Donizo, in his metrical life of the Countess Matilda, being
annoyed that the mother of the countess should have been buried in
Pisa, describes the city somewhat contemptuously as a flourishing
emporium whose port was filled with large ships and frequented by many
different races of people, even by swarthy Moors.

To the north of Pisa rose her haughty rival, Genoa, surnamed the
Superb from her pride and magnificent natural position. After four
sanguinary wars with the Pisans, the Genoese swept their fleets from
the sea, destroyed their port, and ruined their foreign commerce. The
city never recovered from that blow, and the population, which once
exceeded 100,000, has fallen to a fifth of that number.

The Genoese had at first been the allies of the Pisans, and united
with them to drive the Saracens out of several important islands. They
also ravaged the coast of Northern Africa in the eleventh century,
and, taking part in the first Crusade, obtained settlements on the
shore of Palestine, particularly at Acre. Owing to their secure
position at home and their foothold in the East and the islands of the
West, their city became one of the two great maritime powers of Italy
and the only noteworthy rival of Venice. The power of the Genoese and
Venetians was immensely increased by the Crusades, and at one time so
feared were they in the Levant that they were able to draw pensions
and exact tribute from the pusillanimous emperor at Constantinople.
The Venetians were especially favored by Alexius Comnenus, through
whom they acquired convenient establishments along the Bosphorus and
at Durazzo in Albania. Their doge was honored with the pompous title
of _Protosebaste_. In the meanwhile intestine disturbances and wars
with neighboring republics had reduced several of those cities which
had lately been most flourishing, and none could compete successfully
in the fourteenth century with Venice and Genoa, to which the foreign
trade of Italy was left, and to whose marts the produce of the Levant
and the countries bordering on the lower Mediterranean was brought,
and either there or at the great cities of the interior exchanged for
domestic manufactures and the industries of Central and Northern
Europe. The carrying trade was almost exclusively their own, but the
home or inland business was shared by many other cities—principally by
Bologna, Ferrara, Florence, Lucca, and Milan. At that period the
Atlantic ocean and northern coasts of Europe were but rarely navigated
by Italian merchants. The Venetians alone despatched annually a large
fleet, which—taking its name, the Flanders fleet, from its
destination—carried on an enterprising and lucrative traffic with the
Low Countries, and, in connection with the Hanseatic League or
directly, spread over England, Scotland, and the nations lying on the
North Sea and the Baltic, the spices, gums, silks, pearls, diamonds,
and numerous other articles of oriental origin which they had procured
from the Levant and further Indies. The Genoese furnished the same
things to the French, Spaniards, and Moors of Andalusia; but Portugal
was served by their rivals.

A maritime power had risen before this time which disputed with the
Genoese and Venetians the ascendency on the Mediterranean. This was
Barcelona, whose sailors were among the best on the sea, and whose
merchants were largely engaged in commerce. Many bold encounters took
place between the Catalans and Italians, through jealousies of trade,
but the former finally succumbed.

The products of the more distant East reached Italy in Genoese and
Venetian ships, through Armenian merchants at Trebizond, and through
Arabs by way of Alexandria and Damascus. Those of the north, so
necessary for a seafaring people, were brought from the mouth of the
Don, the merchandise being floated down that great river in boats from
the interior. The Mongols were the masters of all the region
thereabouts; but the insinuating Italians, aware of the interest of
this branch of commerce, played upon their barbarous pride with so
much dexterity that they succeeded in making treaties with them by
which they were allowed to occupy certain trading posts where the
goods ordered might accumulate and their own wares be exchanged for
the productions of Russia, Tartary, and Persia. The wily Genoese had
bought from a Tartar prince, at the beginning of the fourteenth
century, a small piece of land on the south-eastern shore of the
Crimea on which to build a factory. Only a few rude cabins were raised
at first, for stores and the dwellings of their agents; but the
traffic soon brought together a large population, sumptuous palaces
were erected, a strong and lofty wall was built around, and Kaffa[32]
became one of the most opulent colonies of the republic, with a
population at one time of 80,000.

The rival Venetians had _their_ great deposit at the city of Azov, on
the banks of the Don, twenty miles from its mouth. They were not the
proprietors, and, although they received numerous favors from the
Tartar governor, they were obliged to share them with the Genoese,
Florentines, and others, who also did a flourishing business. The
amount of goods collected there was so immense and the value so
considerable, that when, as sometimes happened, a destructive fire
broke out or the place was plundered, the loss was felt as a shock to
commerce throughout the whole of Europe.

All along the coast of the Black Sea the Italians plied a profitable
trade, and many merchants were settled at Trebizond, from which
vantage-ground they had an important communication open with Armenia,
whose people, being united by religion to the Latins, granted them
very valuable commercial privileges. The Venetians were favored above
the rest. They had churches, magazines, and inns, coined money, and in
all matters in dispute were tried by judges chosen among their
countrymen, or rather their own fellow-citizens. They could introduce
their goods without paying duty, freely traverse the kingdom, and
monopolize the exportation of camel’s hair, which was an important
article of traffic. The Genoese were no less enterprising than their
rivals, and restored in the port of Trebizond a mole that had been
built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Large quantities of India goods,
and especially spiceries, were stored by Italian merchants in the
warehouses of Trebizond, Damascus, and Alexandria. There were several
overland routes by which this merchandise was transported, but none of
them was safe, on account of the frequent revolutions in the countries
through which they ran. Some of the caravans that brought the
commodities of India and China passed through Balkh, the _Baetria_ of
the ancients and at one time the commercial centre of eastern Asia,
then up to Bokhara, whence they descended the Oxus for a distance,
touched at Khiva, and, traversing the Caspian Sea, ascended the river
Kour (the _Cyrus_ of Strabo, xi. p. 509) for seventy miles to its
junction with the Aras (the _Araxes_ of Herodotus, iv. 40), from which
they crossed by a journey of four or five days into the historical
Phasis at Sharapan and down to the Euxine. Another beaten track
entered Syria by the Tigris and the Euphrates, and diverged towards
the several ports of Palestine and Asia Minor. It passed through
Bagdad, which was a great commercial emporium during the middle ages
and an entrepôt for the commodities of eastern and western Asia. A
memorial of those days when Frank merchants, mingling with Persians,
Arabs, Turks, Hindoos, Koords, and Armenians, ransacked her splendid
bazaars, remains in our language in the word _Baldachin_, because
canopies made of costly stuff interwoven with gold thread were
manufactured in this city, which was known to the Italians as
Baldacca, and in the adjective form Baldacchino. Much trade was also
done by way of the Red Sea, Cairo, and Alexandria.

In all the ports of the Euxine and Mediterranean the Italians had
shops and warehouses, and every rich company kept a number of factors,
who despatched goods as they got orders and maintained the interests
of their principals. An officer called a consul, who was appointed by
the government at home, resided in each of these foreign sea-ports, to
defend the rights of his countrymen, and decide differences among
themselves, or between them and strangers. Consuls were recognized as
official personages by the sovereign in whose territory they resided,
and were honored as public magistrates by their own people, from whom
they received certain fees for their support, according to the quality
and amount of business they were called upon to perform.

The maritime republics of Italy were very fortunate in having
transported the Crusaders to the Holy Land in their ships, for by this
they acquired many rich establishments in the Levant, and it was not
long before the dissolute and degraded Greeks, who would neither take
counsel in peace nor could defend themselves in war, became subject to
the imperious will of the Italians.

The Venetians obtained in 1204 the fertile island of Candia, which
became the centre of their extensive Egyptian and Asiatic trade. They
also had a quarter in Constantinople, which they surrounded by a wall,
the gates of which were guarded by their own soldiers, and a distinct
anchorage for their own vessels in the Golden Horn. A senate and
bailiff representing the doge held authority in this settlement, and
exercised jurisdiction over the minor establishments of the republic
in Roumelia.

The Genoese were still more powerful at the capital, and the Emperor
Michael Palæologus, who was indebted to them for his return to the
throne, had given them the beautiful suburbs of Pera and Galata, on an
elevated plateau, which they made still more secure, under the elder
Andronicus, by a moat and triple row of walls. To these places they
transferred their stores and stock; nor was it long before the
churches, palaces, warehouses, and public buildings of Pera vied in
magnificence with those of the metropolis itself. The island of Chios,
where gum-mastic was collected and the finest wine produced, was
another of their colonies. These were all ruled by a _podestà_
annually sent from Genoa. The Genoese and Venetians had also factories
in Barbary, through which they drove a brisk trade with the interior
of Africa. To them more than to any others was it due that for three
hundred years the commerce of Italy was famous from the Straits of
Gibraltar to the remotest gulf in the Euxine.

The maritime strength of the Italian republics, especially of Genoa
and Venice, corresponded to their vast commercial interests and the
number of colonies they were expected to enlarge and defend. Thus, the
Pisans in 1114 sent an armament, consisting of 300 vessels of various
sizes, carrying 35,000 men and 900 horses, to the conquest of the
Balearic Islands, which had become a nest of Moorish pirates. A great
part of these troops were mercenaries procured from all parts of the
world, and contingents drawn from their possessions in Sardinia. In
1293 the Genoese fitted out in a single month, against the Venetians,
200 galleys, each of which bore from 220 to 300 combatants recruited
within the continental limits of the republic; and in the vast arsenal
of Venice during the fourteenth century 800 men were continually at
work, and 200 galleys, not to count the smaller craft, were kept ready
in port for any emergency that might arise. Such formidable fleets
were manned either by voluntary enlistments or impressment; the hope
of heavy plunder, according to the barbarous war-system of those days,
which the church strove against but could not wholly change, appealing
to young men to serve as sailors or soldiers. The furious rivalry
between Genoa and Venice began to show itself soon after the taking of
Constantinople by the Franks in 1244, each desiring to reap alone the
profits of the Levant trade. After many bloody encounters a peace was
patched up in 1298, by which the latter was excluded for thirteen
years from the Black Sea, along whose shores the former had colonies,
forts, and factories, and was forbidden to send armed vessels to
Syria. Terms so propitious raised the pride and influence of Genoa to
the utmost; and feared by all, and claiming to be mistress of the
seas, she upheld the honor of her flag with extravagant solicitude. In
1332 she wasted the coast of Catalonia with a force of 200 galleys,
and inflicted great injury on the commerce of Barcelona; and two years
later, having captured twelve ships of the enemy, heavily freighted
with merchandise, in the waters of Sicily, Cyprus, and Sardinia, with
an example of ferocious cruelty which only the “accursed greed of
gold” and a determination to exclude the Catalans from any share in
Eastern commerce could prompt, six hundred prisoners were hanged at a
single execution. She was resolved to command the seas, and
consequently the trade of the world; but her rival, although crippled,
was not prostrate, and the fourth war broke out between them in 1372
for possession of the classical island of Tenedos, so valuable as a
naval station and renowned for its wheat and excellent red wine. The
Genoese actually got into the lagoons of Venice, vowing to reduce her
to the stagnant level of the waters, and approached so near to the
city that their admiral could shout to the affrighted people on the
quays, _Delenda est Carthago_! but by a singular freak of fortune they
were themselves totally defeated, and glad to accept the mediation of
Amadeus VI., Duke of Savoy. It was agreed that neither party should
have the island in dispute, but that the duke should hold it at their
common expense for two years and then dismantle the fortress.

During this war, called the War of Chioggia, which lasted until 1381,
an unusually large number of corsairs roved the seas; but the Italians
had long practised piracy, and whole communities were corsairs by
profession, just as on land _condottieri_ could be hired to sack
cities and castles and desolate whole provinces. The little town of
Monaco was notorious during the middle ages for its pirates, as it
still is for its ravenous land-sharks. There were two sorts of
corsairs. Some were private individuals who went to sea through lust
of gain, or because driven from their homes during the fights of
faction, and seized whatever they could. These robberies and
depredations marked piracy in its original form. Nevertheless during
the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries many otherwise
honorable characters, who were often unjustly despoiled of their
patrimony and driven as outcasts from their native cities, took to
this occupation not entirely from inclination, but impelled by the
brutality of their countrymen. We may recall as an extenuating
circumstance what that grave judge, Lord Stowell, observed (2 Dods.
374) of the buccaneers, whose spirit at one time approached to that of
chivalry in point of adventure, and whose manner of life was thought
to reflect no disgrace upon distinguished Englishmen who engaged in

Other corsairs were patriotic citizens who armed their ships to injure
the enemy during lawful hostilities; and although there was abuse in
the system, they were not pirates, but privateersmen. Foreign nations
used to buy ships from the Italians to increase their own armaments,
or engage them to harass their opponents. It is curious, considering
how completely maritime supremacy has deserted the Mediterranean for
northern seas, to know that the poet Chaucer was sent by King Edward
III. in November, 1372, as envoy to the republic of Genoa to hire
vessels for his navy; and Tytler says (_Hist. of Scotland_, vol. ii.
p. 261) that in the same century many of the privateers employed by
the Scots against England appear to have been vessels of larger
dimensions and more formidable equipment than those of England,
probably from their being foreign built, and furnished by the Genoese
or the Venetians, for the purposes both of trade and piracy.

It was now that the word _Jane_ came into the language—Chaucer and
Spenser use it—for a small coin so-called from Janua (Genoa). It is
termed in the old English statutes a _galley half-pence_.

The Florentines had originally no seaboard, and were obliged to
charter ships wherever they could. In 1362, having taken into the
service of the republic Pierin Grimaldi of Genoa, with two galleys,
and hired two more vessels, their little fleet took the island of
Giglio from the Pisans, and the following year, having broken into the
port of Pisa itself, they took away the chains that protected it and
hung them as trophies on the porphyry columns of their Baptistery.

The foreign commerce for which the maritime cities of Italy, and
particularly Genoa and Venice, so savagely disputed, to the scandal of
the Christian name among the infidels, as the old English traveller
Sir John de Mandeville shows, was certainly very considerable, and a
source of almost fabulous profit to those engaged in it who were
fortunate in their ventures. Commerce was the foundation of Italy’s
prosperity, which was greater than that of any other European country
from the twelfth to the fourteenth century. The Italian merchants got
cottons, silken goods, brocades, Cashmere shawls, spices, rhubarb and
other medicines, amber, indigo, pearls, and diamonds from India and
Central Asia. From Persia there came silks, carpets, skins, and
manufactured articles used by the great for clothing or for the
comfort of their homes. Tartary and Russia furnished hemp, canvas,
ship-timber, tar, wax, caviare, raw-hides, and peltries. From the
ports of Syria and Asia Minor, and particularly from Smyrna, were
shipped to Italy hare-skins, leather, camel’s hair, valonia, cotton
stuffs, damasks, dried fruits, beeswax, drugs and electuaries, arms,
armor, and cutlery; and many articles of Asiatic luxury and
magnificence found their way thence through Italian merchants to the
courts and castles of England, Scotland, France, Germany, and other
northern nations. Greece sent fine wines, raisins, currants,
filbert-nuts, silk, and alum. A large quantity of grain was brought
into Italy from Egypt and the Barbary States; but the supply to the
colonies in the Levant came mostly from the Black Sea. Wool, wax,
sheep-skins, and morocco came from the Moorish provinces of Africa.
These were the principal imports, and were exchanged for the products
and manufactures of Italy and the countries to the north, for which
the Italians acted as agents. The Genoese exported immense quantities
of woven fabrics from the looms of Lombardy and Florence, fine linens
from Bologna, and cloths of a coarser make from France, for which a
ready market was found in the East and among the Italians settled in
the Archipelago and Levant. The oils of Provence and the Riviera of
Genoa, soaps, saffron, and coral, were also largely exported.
Quicksilver was a valuable article in the hands of the Venetians, who
got it from Istria and sold it in Spain and the Levant; they also
extracted a great amount of salt from Istria and Dalmatia, which was
sold at a good profit in Lombardy and other parts of Italy. Sardinia,
Sicily, and Naples also did a large foreign business; the last city
importing cargoes of delicate Greek and Oriental wines, such as the
famous Cyprian, Malmsey, and Muscatel, much of which was sent to
different parts of Italy, and into England and the Netherlands. Spain,
Portugal, and Flanders were supplied with the products of the Indies
and Levant principally by Genoese and Venetian merchants. The latter
especially had many privileges and fiscal exemptions in Flanders, and
in returning from the North loaded their ships in Portugal with tin,
silver bars, wines, and raisins; while the former had the greater part
of the trade with the Moors of Africa and southern Spain, from whom,
in return for spiceries and other Eastern products, they got gold,
cordovans, and merino wool, which were sold to advantage in France and

The Italians were the best cloth-weavers in Europe in the fourteenth
century, although the Flemings were not contemptible rivals. The
manufacture of cloth was industriously carried on in many of their
cities; in those of Tuscany particularly, the finest kind of work
being done in Lucca. When this city was taken by Uguccione della
Faggiuola, in 1314, the factories and goods were destroyed, and many
citizens emigrated to other parts of Italy, and even into France,
Germany, and England. Yet long before this Italian operatives had
introduced, or at least improved, the art in the northern countries.
Crapes, taffetas, velvets, silks, camelots, and serges were
extensively made in Italy, the richest quality being sold at Florence,
where the home industries seemed to centre, and only the most skilled
artisans were employed. The art of weaving wool was practised by
thousands of citizens, and, nominally at least, by some of the noblest
families of the city and _contado_ (commune), since there was a law
that no one could aspire to public office unless he were a member of
one of the trades-corporations of the republic. The citizens of
Florence were classed from 1266 into twelve companies of trades or
professions, seven of which were called _arti maggiori_, viz., 1.
lawyers and attorneys; 2. dealers in foreign stuffs; 3. bankers and
money-changers; 4. woollen manufacturers and drapers; 5. physicians
and apothecaries; 6. silk manufacturers and mercers; 7. furriers. The
lower trades were called _arti minori_. The records of these
corporations are now preserved in a part of the Uffizi palace devoted
to the public archives of Florence. They range from A.D. 1300 to the
end of the eighteenth century. Around the hall, which was fitted up a
few years ago to receive them, are the portraits of some of the
distinguished men who belonged to these guilds: Dante, Cosimo de’
Medici, Francesco Guicciardini, and others. Balmes gives an
interesting account, after Capmany, in his _European Civilization_, p.
476, of “the trades-unions and other associations which, established
under the influence of the Catholic religion, commonly placed
themselves under the patronage of some saint, and had pious
foundations for the celebration of their feasts, and for assisting
each other in their necessities.” Although his long note refers
principally to the industrial organization of the city of Barcelona,
it is acknowledged that Catalonia borrowed many of its customs and
usages in this matter from the towns of Italy.

Before the middle of the fourteenth century there were over two
hundred drapers’ shops in Florence, in which from seventy to eighty
thousand pieces of cloth were made every year, to the value of
1,200,000 gold florins, and employing more than thirty thousand
people. The historian John Villani says that the trade had been still
more flourishing, when there were three hundred shops open and one
hundred thousand pieces were made yearly, but that they were of a
coarser quality and consequently did not bring as much money into the
city, although more people got work. The art of dyeing cloths and
other stuffs was cultivated by the Italians during the middle ages
with considerable success. Alum, which is much used for this purpose,
was eagerly sought after, and the Genoese obtained from Michael
Palæologus, on payment of an annual sum, the exclusive right of
extracting it from a certain mine in the Morea that had previously
been worked by Arabs, Catalans, and others. The lessees began
operations with a force of fifty men, and soon built a castle to
protect themselves, and finally a town, which was destroyed by the
Turks in 1455. The Florentines were so expert in dyeing wool that the
material was sent to them for the purpose from other parts of Italy,
and even from Germany and the Netherlands. It was only in 1858 that an
immense wooden building for stretching and drying cloth in the sun,
called _Il tiratoio della lana_, which had been used for over five
hundred years, was torn down as too liable to catch fire.

The cloths of France and other northern countries found a sale in
Florence, not so much for home use as for exportation through the
Genoese and Venetians. An exception, however, must be made for a rich
article called _say_, manufactured in Ireland, and esteemed so
beautiful as to be worn by the ladies of that refined city.[33] John
Villani, already mentioned, says that there was a quarter of Florence
called Calimala, containing twenty stores of the coarser cloths of the
North, of which thirty thousand pieces, of the value of three hundred
thousand gold florins, were yearly imported.

Florence in the middle ages had a territory extending only a few miles
round its walls; but the industry and speculative spirit of its
citizens wonderfully enriched them, and, since “all things obey money”
(Ecclesiastes x. 19), they soon became the predominant power, and
finally the masters in Tuscany. They were money-changers,
moneylenders, jewellers, and goldsmiths for the whole of Europe and no
little part of the East. The elements of a business education were
given to its youth in numerous schools, attended by some twelve
hundred boys, who were taught arithmetic and book-keeping. A great
deal of money circulated within the city itself, and a large amount
was necessary, particularly before the introduction of bills of
exchange, to accommodate merchants in their visits to other countries.
The public mint coined annually during the fourteenth century from
three hundred and fifty thousand to four hundred thousand gold
florins, and about twenty thousand pounds weight of coppers, called
_danari da quattro_, or half-farthings; and eighty private banks
assisted the circulation. The beautiful golden florins were first
coined in the year 1252, bearing on one side the impression of St.
John Baptist, the patron, and on the other that of a lily, the device
of the city. This was considered the finest coin in the world, and so
much admired that many princes and governments began to imitate it
while preserving its original name, and consequently perpetuating the
monetary renown of Florence. It was current in Europe, Asia, and
Africa. The workmanship of the Florentines was so superior that they
were often called upon to conduct or superintend the coinage in
foreign countries. During the reign of King David II., in the first
half of the thirteenth century, he appointed a Florentine one of the
two keepers of the exchange for all Scotland, and masters of the mint;
and under King Robert III. (1390-1424) gold was minted for that
kingdom by Bonaccio of Florence.[34] In 1278 the Exchange at London
was under the direction of some Lucca merchants; and it seems to be
directly from the Italian that we get our English word cash, derived
from _cassa_, the chest in which Italian merchants kept their money.
We may have some idea of what a money-centre Florence was in that age
from the fact that the notorious French adventurer, the Duke of
Athens, who was elected Lord of Florence in 1342, contrived in the
course of only ten months to draw four hundred thousand golden florins
out of the city. The Florentines, who had the reputation of being the
smartest people in Italy, were extremely fond of banking in all its
branches. While the middle and lower orders of society were mostly
engaged in mechanical occupations, the higher classes handled the
money, and would appear to have taken lessons of the Jews. The great
feudal nobles of the north, with more land than gold, would often
ask their chaplains to reprove them with some holy text of
Scripture—Ecclesiasticus X. 10 being a favorite one—when interest was
demanded or mortgages were forfeited. They were not by any means the
only Italians who publicly courted the queen _Regina Pecunia_; the
ancient name in England for a banker, which was _Lombard_, and the
street in London called Lombard Street, preserving the memory of the
Milanese and others out of Lombardy who took up their first residence
there before the year 1274, and were great moneychangers and usurers.
The stupendous fortunes of the Chigi, who gave Pope Alexander VII. to
the church and are now Roman princes, and before them of the Medici
family, which became royal, were amassed chiefly in the banking
business; but it is a popular error that the well-known sign of the
pawnbrokers’ three gilt balls is derived from the armorial bearings of
the latter, which their agents in England and other countries placed
over the doors of their loan-shops. The arms of the Medici were _or_,
six torteaux _gules_ except the one in chief, which was _azure_
charged with three fleurs-de-lis _or_. Whether these roundlets had any
allusion, as has been suggested, to doctors’ pills and the
professional origin whence the family name is supposed to be derived,
we cannot determine; but the gold pieces called bezants because coined
at Constantinople—Byzantium—and so common at an early period in Italy
that the saying _Aver buoni Bisanzi_ was a proverbial expression
of one who had plenty of money, seem to have been early the
distinguishing sign of money-lenders and changers, and are the true
origin of the pawnbrokers’ balls.

The shrewdness of the Italians in money matters did not always save
them from disastrous failures and bankruptcies caused by wars, breach
of faith in persons too high to be reached, loss of goods and bullion
by fire, piracy, shipwreck, and other accidents. The first great
failure of this kind was that of a mercantile company in 1296, which
had existed for one hundred and twenty years, and became insolvent for
400,000 gold florins, due to citizens and strangers. It was felt
throughout the republic of Florence like the loss of a battle. Even
worse was the failure of the Bardi and Peruzzi in 1347. They were both
merchants and bankers, and stood at the head of their class in Italy.
Loans to the kings of England and Sicily brought them down. The first
owed them 900,000 and the second 450,000 gold florins. These were
unavailable assets when the 550,000 florins they owed their
fellow-citizens and others began to be called for, and therefore they
broke. This downfall carried with it a large number of smaller houses,
and among them that of Corsini, of the since princely family of that
name, which gave St. Andrew and Pope Clement XII. to the church. The
celebrated historian John Villani was a great loser by this failure,
and was even imprisoned in the _Stinche_ in consequence of it as an
insolvent. The law punished fraudulent failures very severely; but if
it could be proved that the failures resulted from unavoidable
accidents, the debtors were allowed to go free, after surrendering all
they possessed to their creditors. For the convenience of customers,
the bank-offices used to be on the ground-floor of the houses—sometimes
palaces—the masters living above. The rate of discount on exchange was
from one and one-half to two per cent., and four per cent. on sums
advanced. Jacques Savary, in his _Parfait Négociant_, says that the
invention of bills of exchange is due to French Jews who were driven
out of France by Philip the Fair in 1316, and took refuge in Lombardy.
By means of such bills they were able to get the value of the property
they had left in the hands of friends. They were imitated by certain
Ghibellines who, being exiled, went to Amsterdam and saved some of
their goods left in Italy. In negotiating these bills and effecting
the sale of goods, persons called _sensali_ (brokers) were employed.

No duties were levied on exports, but imported goods had to be stored
in government buildings called _dogane_—_i.e._, custom-houses, or,
perhaps more accurately, bonded warehouses—from which, although they
might be hypothecated, they could be withdrawn only after payment of a
certain sum. There was a chamber of commerce called _Mercanzia_ at
Florence, and all the other commercial cities had their merchants’
exchange for the transaction of business, the sordid use to which they
were put being often disguised by the beauties of architecture,
painting, and sculpture. Thus, the _Sala del Cambio_ at Perugia was
decorated with frescoes by the celebrated Pietro Perugino, assisted by
his immortal pupil Raphael of Urbino.

In all seaports there were certain judges, elected by and from among
the merchants, who composed a tribunal called _Consolato di Mare_.
They settled disputes between traders and ship-owners, gave assistance
in distress, and watched over the interests of commerce. The origin of
such boards of trade was very ancient among the Italians, for as early
as the year 1129 one was established at Messina. It is said that the
Pisans were the first to make laws regulating navigation, and that
their code was approved in 1075 by Pope Gregory VII.[35] There was no
appeal from the decisions of these admiralty courts, and in cases of
fraud or other misdemeanor the guilty party was punished by public

Sericulture began in Italy in the fourteenth century, and was
practised with success, especially in Lombardy. The statutes of Modena
obliged the peasants to plant a large number of mulberry-trees, in
order to promote it.

The wide extent of Italian commerce and the industrial prosperity of
Italy, which was a consequence of it, greatly enriched her higher
classes and led to the most extravagant luxury during the latter part
of the middle ages. Nations now reckoned highly civilized, and where
the comforts of life are within the reach of all, were then badly
clothed and poorly fed. The effeminacy of the wealthier Italians
during the fourteenth century, when commerce was most extended, caused
them to despise, amidst the delicacies of the East and the fruits of
their own intelligence, the rude simplicity of their more northern
neighbors. Even the lower classes among them felt a desire for greater
convenience and refinement. Dante, Boccaccio, the chroniclers, and
other writers of this period portray or lament the ever-increasing
luxury of the age, and we can gather from them an accurate idea of the
style of living and magnificence of the patricians in their
provisions, furniture, and dress during the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries. Nuptial entertainments and civic festivals were the
occasions of most display; and Chaucer, who had partaken of such,
writes probably as much from recollection as after Petrarch, whom he
has imitated, when he describes the preparations for Griselda’s
wedding to the young Marquis of Saluce.

The women were particularly dainty, and many sumptuary laws were
enacted to restrain the excess of refinement in houses, furniture, and
apparel. A very fine sort of thin, transparent linen, made in Cyprus,
was much worn by the female sex. It resembled, but was not quite so
indecent as the _Coa vestis_ of the ancients. They also carried much
jewelry, and were clothed in garments worked in silver and gold stuff.
Their minds naturally ran on money:

  “_Julia._ What thinkest thou of the rich Mercutio?
  _Lucetta._ Well of his wealth; but of himself, so, so.”
                          —_Two Gentlemen of Verona_, act i. sc. 2.

The habits and head-dress of the men were often bespangled with
precious stones, and their whole attire answered to their haughty
bearing, which bespoke successful foreign ventures and a splendid
style maintained at home. In innumerable ways they exemplified Dr.
Johnson’s observation: “With what munificence a great merchant will
spend his money, both from his having it at command and from his
enlarged views by calculation of a good effect upon the whole.” Few of
them would have dared to say with _Bassanio_:

                        “Gentle lady,
  When I did first impart my love to you,
  I freely told you all the wealth I had
  Ran in my veins; I was a gentleman.”
           —_Merchant of Venice_, act iii. sc. 2.

When Shakspere uses the expression “royal merchant” in the play from
which we have just quoted, it is, as Warburton remarks, no ranting
epithet; for several Italian merchant families obtained principalities
in the Archipelago and elsewhere, which their descendants enjoyed for
many generations, and others of their class made sovereign alliances.
For instance, James, King of Cyprus, married Catherine Cornaro,
daughter of a Venetian merchant, who gave her a dowry of 100,000
golden ducats.[36]

     [31] The Cathedral of Pisa, one of the most remarkable
          monuments of the middle ages, owes its origin to such
          an expedition; for it was built with part of the rich
          booty taken from the Saracens at Palermo in the year

     [32] This city was taken from the Genoese by the Turks in
          1474, but the Christians were not all driven out. The
          late Father Theiner has published an interesting letter
          from the Papal Nuncio in Poland in 1579, in which he
          mentions having met some Kaffa people at Wilna and
          tells of their strange manner of obtaining a priest,
          reminding one a little of Michas and the Levite in
          Judges xvii.

     [33] McPherson’s _Annals of Commerce_, vol. i. p. 562.

     [34] Innes, _Scotland in the Middle Ages_, p. 309.

     [35] Muratori, _Ant. Ital._, tom. ii. p. 54.

     [36] The ducat was the great money of Venice, as the florin
          was of Florence, and bears in its name a proof of the
          more aristocratic government of the former city. The
          first gold ducats were coined by the Doge John Dandolo
          in 1280, and are inscribed I0. DANDVL. DVX.


Rose Standish Howson—that was her name, and very proud she was of it.
Back of the _Mayflower_, she knew little about her ancestors; but
certain it was that in that well-filled vessel one of her forefathers
had come to America, and, marrying a distant connection of the
veritable Standish family, had handed this name down to all succeeding
generations. Rose boasted, so far as it is proper for a well-bred New
England girl to boast, that, however it might have been outside of her
own country, here at least her lineage was most democratically noble;
she belonged—and could prove it, too, out of a little book compiled by
her grandfather—thoroughly to the old Puritan race. In all her books
the name was written in full—Rose Standish Howson; and it was her
unfailing source of regret that her only brother had not been called
Miles. John Howson laughed good-naturedly at his sister’s foible, but
was really quite as proud as she, though in a more passive way.

Their home was not in Boston. Let this important fact receive our
prompt attention. But, since it could not be there, it was in the next
best place—an old academic town; in which New England State matters
little to our story. There for thirty years Rose Howson’s father had
been the academy’s honored principal. His wife had died young, leaving
only this son and daughter. John fitted for Harvard at the academy;
Rose went steadily through grammar-school and high-school in her
native place, then went to Boston with hopes of at least a two years’
added course of study there. It resolved itself into one brilliant
winter and spring of hard work and exhausting pleasure, symphony
concerts, Shakspere clubs, Parker Fraternity lectures, abstruse
reading, and keenly exciting conversation; one merry June, one gay
class-day, one delightful commencement, when Dr. Howson came to
Cambridge to meet old pupils and friends, and see his son bear off the
highest honors; then they went home for vacation, and before it was
over Dr. Howson sickened and died.

The whole town was in a fervor of excitement; there was a funeral, to
which people came from far and near; resolutions were passed, and in
the flush of enthusiasm John Howson, young as he was and just out of
college, was elected on trial to fill his father’s place. So the
brother and sister still lived on in their old home, but into it they
infused a new manner of living. Fresh from the intellectual arena,
they sought to shape society about them into some likeness to that
they loved so well, and they found their old friends and playmates
more than ready to meet them half-way. A book club was started, into
which the current literature of the day was crowded, and from which,
it was placidly affirmed, all “trash” was excluded; but Mill was
there, and Darwin, and a strange mixture of German philosophy, which
the young men, but more especially the young women, read, or fancied
they read, and about which they talked much, after a fashion revealing
more ideas than thought. There were “musicals” too, and a Shakspere
club, and German and French conversations and readings, and the second
winter after Dr. Howson’s death there were dramatic entertainments and
concerts; and it came to pass that almost every afternoon and evening
of Rose’s life was filled with some sort of intellectual work or
pleasure. She was a capital housekeeper, and so her early mornings
were occupied with household cares; but, later, she was always ready
for a walk or talk, and her reading was done in snatches by day and by
long hours of steady work late at night.

About religion “experimentally” she knew little. The old
meeting-house, which the Puritan settlers had built, was still
standing, but it had been enlarged and made over, though not
beautified. There Rose had been accustomed to go Sunday after Sunday
as a matter of course, and sometimes to the Friday evening
prayer-meeting; but she was not “a Christian.” Once there had been a
revival, when she tried to be converted, but she had failed. Then in
Boston she had been taken to hear preachers who were not “orthodox” at
all; she had almost feared them at first, because of strange names she
had heard applied to them—they had German tendencies, rationalistic
tendencies, were free-thinkers. But when she came under the spell of
their presence and their eloquence she was fascinated. They appealed
to what she thought the highest faculties of her nature—her intellect,
her love for the beautiful, her reason. She missed it when she came
home and she did more than miss it: she began to doubt. Was old Mr.
Gray wiser than the cultured men she had been hearing? He claimed that
they were wrong; how did he know that? How could she tell that he was
not mistaken? In this one small town, originally occupied by orthodox
Congregationalists only, there were now Orthodox Unitarians,
Methodists, Episcopalians, Baptists, and Universalists. A Roman
Catholic priest was serving there too, in a dingy hall in a back
street, but “society” rarely noticed him or his work; he and his alike
were out of its pale, anomalies, hardly worth mentioning except with
pitying wonder or idle jest and scorn. What made Mr. Gray superior to
any or all of these in his power of discerning truth?

And while Rose queried thus on Sunday mornings, sitting wearily in her
accustomed place at the right of the pulpit, sometimes trying to find
out how to be good, but oftener losing herself in memories of the
feasts of reason she had known for so brief and bright a while, some
one came to town who was to influence her life greatly. Looking up
suddenly from one of these reveries, she found herself still in the
meeting-house, but opposite her was a new face, a lady’s, thin and
pale, with searching eyes fixed upon hers, and after service the lady
came straight to her pew and held out her hand.

“I am sure you are Miss Howson,” she said. “Your friend Grace Roland
has told me much of you. I am Ellen Lawton.”

Rose’s heart leaped up. In those happy Boston days she had often heard
Ellen Lawton spoken of as one of the most elegant and cultured women
of her time, and she had read her writings with delight, but she had
hardly hoped to meet her. It took her breath away with joy when she
learned that Miss Lawton had come to live for a while in this quiet
country place.

It was a season of keen delight. Rose had thought she knew what it was
to revel in intellectual pleasure, but it was something new to meet
one so superior to herself, yet so loving; always ready to listen to
her ideas, to help her unfold them, and yet so calm and tranquil. Miss
Lawton was an invalid, and, after that first Sunday, Rose never saw
her at church again. Once, when Rose stopped on her way thither to
leave her some flowers, Miss Lawton said that she was going to sit in
the sunshine; would not Rose stay with her? And when Rose demurred,
Miss Lawton said gently, “Shall we not please God as well in the
beauty of his sunshine as in that bare and cheerless house where you
know you do not like to go?”

This was the beginning of Rose’s first knowledge of Ellen Lawton’s
so-called religious life; they sat and talked all that morning about
it. With a sweet smile upon her calm face, the invalid said quietly
that she believed there might be a God; she was not sure, of course;
but if there was one, he was kind and good, and loved to see her
happy. She made life as bright and beautiful as she possibly could
always; it was given her to enjoy. Books and music and art and flowers
were parts of her religion; beyond this world she did not look; what
came after death she knew not and cared not; if there was a God, he
was good and would be good to her; if there was not, the thought of
annihilation did not distress her. Rose watched her closely after
this; she never heard an impatient word or saw a hasty movement; the
life was an exposition of what a great many people would call “the
beautiful,” and Rose found in it more and more satisfaction for her
extreme intellectual cravings.

One morning a servant ran in with blanched face to tell her that Miss
Lawton was dead. Rose had known that heart-disease was the fatal
malady which was surely sapping at her friend’s life, yet this blow
fell upon her with an awful suddenness. She went to the house, where
they left her to do as she would, for she was the nearest friend Miss
Lawton had there; she went up to the silent room, and shut herself in
alone with the silent dead. Ellen Lawton lay as they had found her;
she must have risen in the morning and dressed with her usual dainty
care; then, perhaps feeling some acute pang of the pain to which she
was subject, she had sunk upon the couch by the window. Her face was,
as in life, calm and noble; about her lay her books that she had
loved, her rare pictures looked down upon her, her flowers scented the
room; outside the sun shone brightly on the grand hills she had been
used to watch, finding in them food for heart and soul both, she said.
None of these moved her now at all.

Rose went close to her and looked at her, and looked, and looked, as
if she would waken her by the very fixedness of her gaze. What was
this _thing_ lying there, this beautiful clay, this voiceless,
motionless, tenantless body? Yesterday it spoke to her, kissed her,
loved her; what had changed it, gone out of it? The spirit? The soul?
Where was that soul then?

She knelt down trembling, and put her hand where the heart had beat
not five short hours ago. There was no movement now; and the silence
in the room grew terrible. Where was that which yesterday she spoke
with? Nowhere? Then to-morrow she herself might be nowhere and

Suddenly there came to her a memory which she had striven for years to
banish. A stranger had preached at the time of that unforgotten
revival; he had painted vividly and unsparingly the torments of the
lost. Often in the night Rose had wakened from a dream of it, and
found herself cold with horror, and cried out, “I never will believe
it.” Now like a painting she seemed to see it all again, and through
her mind rang the words with which the sermon had ended, “Doubt on as
you will, O unbeliever, O careless soul, O faithless Christian! Laugh
on as you will, forget as you will. But suppose that you wake up after
death and find this true! _What then?_”

John Howson, hearing the news at school, hurried home at noon to
comfort Rose, but she was gone. He found her in that room of death,
rocking to and fro upon her knees, her hands held out over the dead,
while she was whispering in hoarse tones: “Ellen, is it true? Tell me
it is not true.” And no one answered.

John lifted her tenderly, and she clung to him like a little child.
“Take me home!” she cried, quivering all over. She could not walk; he
had to carry her, and all the way she clung to him as if the very
touch of something that lived and loved was comfort. “O John! I am so
glad you are alive,” she sobbed. “Dear John, do not die, do not die!”

He could hardly bear to leave her for afternoon school, and when he
came home she was crouching by his arm-chair, while Abby, their old
servant, sat looking at her with pitying horror. “You’d best do what
you can for her, Master John,” she said, “or she’ll kill herself going
on in this way.”

“No, no! not kill myself,” Rose answered hysterically. “It is awful to
live, but it is worse to die.”

John sat down near her, and she took his hand and held it tightly. “I
want to _feel_ that you are here, and warm and well,” she said. “O
John! tell me what is true.”

“What is true?” he repeated. “Why, I am, I hope; and you, dear child.”

“Oh! no,” she exclaimed, as if his tender lightness were unbearable.
“Is God true? Is there a God? What comes after death?”

He answered her honestly; he had even less faith than she, but his
doubts did not trouble him. He lived a life as upright and fair as his
neighbors; whether there was a God or not, what difference did it
make, so long as he behaved himself? This was John Howson’s creed, if
such a title could be applied to it.

How strong and kind he looked, how honorable he always was! Why should
Rose worry, if he did not? Either there was no God, and what they did
made no difference—they could live as they liked and get all the
pleasure possible—or, if there was a God, he was too good to be ever
angry with them. It was a consoling belief; she would take the comfort
of it. But alone at night the horror returned. Suppose there was a God
who demanded something—she knew not what—from his creatures; she could
only express it by the vague term, “to be Christians.” She held her
head between her hands and tried to think what that meant. Yes, she
must be converted, and be sorry for all her sins, and join the church.
How were people converted, and what church should she join? Perhaps
she had better say a prayer. “O God!” she began, then paused. Her
brain was reeling with the doubt whether there was any God at all; and
even if there were, what was the use of prayer?

The next morning she went to Mr. Gray. With nerves unstrung by intense
feeling, she had little thought left for ordinary greetings or for
ceremony. The old man was jarred and hurt by what he thought her
rudeness, never dreaming that he was dealing with a soul which was
fast losing all care for earthly joys or pains, or for any earthly
thing at all, in the one absorbing fear of eternal things. For forty
years he had labored in this place in a calm routine, hearing
something but comprehending little of the doubts through which the
world without was passing. It filled him with horror to hear Rose
talk; he had never imagined what thoughts had been working in the mind
of his old friend’s child.

“What must one do to be a Christian?” she had asked abruptly.

He had not expected such a question, and looked surprised, but he
answered simply enough: “You must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, my
child, and come to him in repentance.”

“And where is he?” Rose cried, “and who is he, and what does he want
of me?”

Mr. Gray stared at her in amazement and sorrow. “My dear,” he said,
“who is he? He is God, and he is everywhere, and he wants your heart.”

“How do you know that?” Rose exclaimed. “Tell me how you know it.

The old man laid his hand upon his Bible. “Where should I know it but
here?” he asked.

“But other people think differently,” Rose said. “I have read it
myself, and I don’t find what you preach. The Baptists read the Bible,
and so do the Methodists, and so do the Episcopalians, and you cannot
agree to be one. How do you know the Bible is true?”

It was of no avail to tell her of internal evidence, or of spiritual
conviction, or of visible effects. Quickly enough it became clear that
Rose Howson had no faith left in the Lord Jesus Christ as God. She did
believe as an historical fact that he had lived once upon earth, and
was man, and possibly something more than man; that was all. To
everything Mr. Gray said she returned the answer, “_How do you know
it?_ Is not the Baptist minister a Christian?—and yet you differ. Is
not the Unitarian minister a scholar, and does not he pray to
God?—and yet you say he is mistaken.” And when Mr. Gray reminded her
of her father, and asked how he would have felt to hear her speak
thus, she cried out that she was a woman grown, and it was her own
soul she was talking of, and her father could not save that; fathers
made very little difference when it was heaven and hell you were
thinking about.

“All Christians agree on the vital points,” Mr. Gray said; “at least,
all evangelical Protestants.”

“And what about the unevangelical Protestants and the poor Catholics?
and who decides what are the vital points? and why cannot you and the
Baptists commune together, then?” The eager questions were poured
forth, overwhelming the listener.

Mr. Gray shook his head sadly. “I do not think you are in a fit state
to speak of such matters, Rose,” he said. “The Lord Jesus Christ died
for you. Pray to him that he will himself teach you.”

Rose stood up. “Good-by, Mr. Gray,” she said gently. “I am afraid I
have troubled you. Perhaps you will say a prayer for me sometimes.”

“I will indeed, my child,” he answered her, with a very troubled look
upon his face; “but you must pray too.”

“Pray?” she repeated to herself mechanically as she went out of the
room. “I wonder how they do it, and what they mean by it, and what
good it ever does? Pray? Oh! if I only could.”

After this Rose was never seen inside the old meeting-house again.
Everybody learned that she was in some religious difficulty; most
persons never mentioned the subject to her; some told her not to
worry, but to trust; others that it made no manner of difference what
she believed, so long as she was sincere. To the one she answered that
the only belief she was sincere in was that she did not know what to
believe; to the other she made no reply. But to John once she answered
wearily: “If you sat here studying, and I told you the house was on
fire, and you could smell it burning, would you keep still at your
books, and trust and not worry, because other people said it was not
your house?”

On one occasion she took up a Protestant Episcopal _Book of Common
Prayer_ which she found in her father’s library, and, turning its
pages, came to the Apostles’ Creed. It comforted her to read it; she
thought it must be a blessed thing to be brought up always with that
impressed upon one, and never to know anything else. She had some
Protestant Episcopal friends; they seemed very content. But, still
idly turning the leaves, she came to the Thirty-Nine Articles, and her
eye lighted on the words, “As the Church of _Jerusalem_, _Alexandria_,
and _Antioch_, have erred; so also the Church of _Rome_ hath erred,
not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters
of Faith.” So then even they could not be sure and settled in their
belief, she said to herself; for if Rome and Jerusalem and Antioch had
erred, why not the Protestant Episcopal Church of America? It was the
closing drop of bitterness. John found her that noon in as terrible a
state as on the day of Ellen Lawton’s death.

“Rose,” he said gravely, “for some time, as you know, I have doubted
the existence of a God; but I will tell you now that my doubts on that
point are settled. Wherever and whatever he may be, there surely is
one; for I am convinced that no one could suffer as you do without
some reality to cause it.”

The unexpected words brought a ray of comfort; she lifted her poor
pale face to his with a look of pitiful longing. “Then, John,” she
said, “don’t you think he must know how dreadful the suffering is, and
that he will tell me some day where to find him?”

The tears—a man’s rare tears—sprang to John Howson’s eyes. “I surely
think he will, Rose,” he answered; and he stooped and kissed her with
great compassion. His love was the only comfort Rose had now, and at
times she found no comfort even in that.

Fanny Mason came to see her in the afternoon. People did not come to
the house as freely as they used to come; Rose showed too plainly that
she did not care to see them. But Fanny had been an intimate family
friend always; the affection between the two girls was more like that
of relatives than of friends. Fanny was not at all intellectual, had
never known a shadow of doubt; she ran in to chat and gossip, not
waiting for replies, and brought a sense of refreshment, or at least
of change, to Rose’s burdened mind.

“To-morrow is Ascension Day,” she said. “The Episcopalians are going
to have service and trim their church beautifully—white lilacs and
wistaria and lilies of the valley and bunches of forget-me-not. It
will be lovely; wouldn’t you like to see it?”

“I am tired and sick of prettiness and pettiness,” Rose said.

“Rose Howson! What next? You used to say that the beautiful satisfied
you entirely.”

“I thought it did,” Rose answered sadly. “But where is it? All at once
it failed me. Now I see a death’s-head behind all.”

“Rose! Not really?”

Rose almost smiled at Fanny’s scared face. “No, Fanny; not literally,
at least. Once, though, I did really see it in the very centre of
loveliness, and I cannot forget.”

“I wish you could forget,” Fanny said pityingly. “I wish we could be
little girls once more, Rose.”

“No, no!” Rose answered, shuddering. “Not to live all these years over
again. But, O Fanny! if I only could forget for ever so short a

The strained, wild passion of her look and manner frightened Fanny;
she tried to return to her former chatty lightness. “I’ll tell you
what you had better do,” she said, “since you are tired of the
beautiful. The Catholics are going to keep Ascension Day too. What a
queer set they are! Do you know that they call this the month of Mary,
and in their hall her image is dressed in lace and flowers, with
candles burning around it all day long? It is not so pretty there, I
assure you. Suppose you try that.” Then laughing as if she had
suggested the most absurd of absurdities, Fanny went away.

The dark cloud of depression which had come upon Rose that morning,
and had lifted slightly at John’s words, shadowed her now more densely
than ever. She looked about the room which John’s taste and hers had
made so fair. How everything palled upon her! What good was it to try
to make life as beautiful as possible, if even in life she ceased to
care for the beautiful? The strong, the true, the lasting, was what
she needed now.

It seemed to her that there was no hope anywhere. She fled out into
the open air, and walked fast to escape her haunting thoughts; but
there was no escape from self. Passing the hall where the Catholics
had services, she saw an old woman climbing the steps, remembered
Fanny’s words, and followed her. “Since the beautiful fails me,” she
thought with a bitter smile, “I will look at what is not beautiful.”

It was a very dingy hall, and uninviting. On the side walls were poor
wood-cuts representing the scenes of the Passion. On a plain white
wood altar a lamp was burning. Near by hung a colored print of the
Saviour, but as Rose had never seen him portrayed before—with his
Heart exposed upon his breast, and great blood-drops falling from it.
Rose shrank from the sight; it displeased her. Close by the altar-rail
was a highly-colored and gaudily-decorated statue of the Blessed
Virgin, with flowers distastefully arranged about it. The old woman
had fallen on her knees before it, and was praying. Rose wondered at

But she was strangely conscious of a peculiar quiet in the place; it
soothed her. She sat down on one of the benches, and took up a book
lying there. _The Key of Heaven_ it was called; a very soiled and worn
book it was; she hardly liked to touch it. It opened at the Apostles’
Creed. “He ascended into heaven,” she read.

Who was “he”? Jesus Christ—God! So Catholics believed as well as Mr.
Gray; in this they were agreed. But, oh! what difference did it make?
God and heaven were so very far away—if indeed there were a heaven
anywhere—that who on earth could tell anything about them? She looked
up wearily from the book; again her eyes met the poor print of the
Sacred Heart, the poor statue of the holy Mother. Like a flash the
thought came into her mind, “Jesus Christ—God—ascended into heaven,
and he had a heart like ours, and he had a mother.”

It was not as if she were uttering a belief—whether Jesus Christ was
God she did not know; she was not even thinking about it then. But it
was as if she had grasped a link in a mighty chain, which, if one
other link could be supplied, would solve and settle all doubt for
ever. Over and over she said the words, fearing to lose or forget
them: “Jesus Christ—God—ascended into heaven, and he had a heart like
ours, and he had a mother.” If this was true, how God in heaven must
pity her, how he must love her!

And suddenly the tears were falling on Rose’s cheeks. When she had
wept last she could not tell; certainly not since Ellen Lawton’s
death, though she had often craved the relief of tears. Now they fell
softly and plenteously, while she kept repeating the strange formula
with a keen sense that it soothed her and she was resting; and oh! she
had been so tired. A mother, a mother—how very sweet it must be to
have a mother! And a God with a heart like ours, a heart that could be
wounded and bleed and suffer sorely; oh! how one must love a God like

“John,” she said abruptly, when they were sitting by the study-lamp
after tea, “what are Catholics? I mean, what do you know about them?”

“Not much of anything,” he answered in some surprise, “except as one
is always coming upon them in history and the papers. Why?”

“What makes them different from Protestants? Aren’t you always coming
upon them too?”

“Not in the same way, child. You know that Protestants are not so—so

“But why, John? I want to know about them.”

There was an animation in her manner which reminded him of old times;
he saw that she was really in earnest, and set himself to answer her
in his straightforward, kindly way, glad to notice any change for the
better in her tone of mind.

“I have never thought very much about them, Rose,” he said; “but every
general reader must come in contact with them somehow, even if, like
me, he has not had personal acquaintance with them in society. Of
course you know the distinguishing features of confession and
transubstantiation, the papacy, the worship of saints and relics,
prayer for the dead.”

“Are you sure they are all wrong?”

“Not at all. We were brought up to think them wrong, but I have never
looked so deeply into the matter as to make such an assertion on my
own judgment; it never has seemed worth while. However, if you care
for my opinion, I will tell you what, from all I have read and heard,
presents itself to my mind as the peculiar and fatal mark of
Catholicism. It is its claim of absolute authority over the bodies and
minds and souls of men—a claim which reached its height of tyranny in
the declaration of the infallibility of the pope.”

“What does that mean, John?”

“Why, that whatever the pope may say—no matter who he is, remember, if
he is only a pope—that thing you and I and every one must believe to
be right. However, I mean to be just to all sects. If I have the idea
rightly, their exact claim is this: that the pope, as pope, speaking
to the whole church as the Head of the Church, cannot be mistaken,
simply because God will not permit him to be. Do you understand?”

She was sitting in the full light of the lamp. He noticed the quiet,
thoughtful look upon her face; it made him very happy to see it there.

“John,” she said after a minute’s pause, “why should it not be?”

“What, Rose?”

“I mean, if there is a God Almighty, why could he not keep a man from
error in teaching, just as easily as he could make a man in the first

“Really,” said John with an amused smile at what he thought her
brightness, “I don’t see but that he could; that is, if you give up
the idea that we are free agents.”

“But do they say he is not generally a free agent?” Rose asked, like
one thinking out a problem. “Only, when God wants to use him to teach
the church, he will not let him teach a lie. _Why_ should not an
Almighty God do that? O John! look here.”

She hurried to the bookcase, brought back and opened the _Book of
Common Prayer_. “I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic
Church,” she read. “Then there are those who do really believe it; who
really think that now—to-day—there is a church where God speaks
plainly and unmistakably, and always will speak so, and there can be
no error?”

“Yes, Rose.”

Was it only the glow of the lamplight shining upon her face? Did his
eyes deceive him, or was that creature, radiant with happiness and a
bloom of beauty never witnessed there before—was this his poor and
fading Rose of that very noon? Once in his life he had heard a child
laugh who had been suddenly and entirely released from excruciating
pain—a low, sweet laugh most exquisite to hear in the sense it gave of
indescribable relief. Such a laugh he heard now from Rose’s lips,
which he had almost feared would never so much as smile again.

“John,” she said exultingly, “I have it! There is a Heavenly
Father—God—and he made us all. And there is Jesus Christ—God—who
ascended into heaven, and he had a heart like ours, and he had a
mother. And there is a Holy Ghost—God—who is with the church, and so
she _cannot_ lie. And how those three are one, and how the blood of
Christ saves us, we may never be able to explain; but, if there is a
God, he will never let his church tell lies or err or make mistakes,
and whatever his church says that we ought to believe, whether we
understand it or not. And only Catholics claim an infallible voice.
John, I am going to try it. I shall speak to the priest to-morrow.”

“You are your own mistress, Rose,” he said gravely. “You can do as you
please. I only warn you that after that one act of your own choice,
you must give up your reason and will to another.”

The color flashed more brightly in her cheeks. He was amazed as he
looked at her; once again the fire was in her eyes, and the brilliant
intellect shone in the face that had been dulled so long.

“I shall give up my reason and my will to God,” she said. “It is he
who will speak to me, without erring and without lying. I do not
expect to be as wise as my Creator, and I am sure I shall be none the
worse for it when he who is wisdom itself teaches me. It is God that I
am talking about, John, and not a mere man that can make mistakes. I
am quite content to yield my intellect and my will to him.”

And then, as suddenly as it had come, the glow faded from her face;
she was kneeling down beside him with that look of anguish in her eyes
which for so many long weeks had wrung his heart with pity. “You know
I have suffered,” she said, “but, John, it is only the outside you
have seen; you can’t tell what it has been within. And now a great
light is coming—I am sure of it. It is not the love of beauty or
anything I used to crave. It is the thing I need and we all need;
something stronger than we are: something that cannot by any
possibility teach us a lie; something that cannot by any possibility
err; something plain to hear and plain to see—infallible! I have not
got it yet; I am only on my way to it. If it was in your power to stop
me, would you do it?”

“I do not understand you, Rose,” he answered thoughtfully, “nor do I
entirely follow your train of reasoning. Still, I grant that for a
temperament such as yours has of late disclosed itself to be there is
comfort in what you think you see. No, I would not say a word to stop
you, my poor child! It goes against the grain to think of one of us
becoming a Catholic; but if anything will help you, I shall bless the
hand that brings relief.”

She looked full in his face with a look of grave surprise. “I did not
think that of you,” she said; “you always have seemed so honest. Don’t
you know that nothing in heaven or earth can satisfy me, unless it is
the _truth_? No shams, no half-way things, but something like rock
that will never fail. I did not think that of you, John!”

John sat alone and puzzled over her words that night. “I always have
to puzzle things out,” he said. “They never come to me like a flash,
as they do to Rose. Stop, though! I am wrong there. She has been
months in getting at it, and they were months that almost killed her.
Why was it?”

Plainly enough he saw at last why it was. God, the soul,
eternity—those things which are invisible—were more real to Rose than
the visible things. And should they not be? He knew very well that he
would be stung to the quick to be told that his body—his material,
tangible, lower nature—had the upper hand in his life. No, his reason,
his intellect—something intangible and invisible anyhow, by whatever
name you named it—was the governing power. And if so, then why should
not One invisible and intangible be the ruler of that, and claim from
him more than a merely blameless life and an honest fame; demand
submission of his will and reason and thought? John shook his head
ruefully; the idea struck home; he did not like it, but there it was.

The next day Rose quietly laid before him her little Catechism, open
at the very first section, and John read this:

     “_Question._ _Who made you?_

     “_Answer._ GOD.

     “_Q._ Why did he make you?

     “_A._ That I might know him, love him, and serve him in this
     world, and be happy with him for ever in the next.

     “_Q._ To whose likeness did he make you?

     “_A._ To his own image and likeness.

     “_Q._ Is this likeness in your body or in your soul?

     “_A._ In my soul.

     “_Q._ In what is your soul like to God?

     “_A._ Because my soul is a spirit endowed with understanding
     and free will, and is immortal—that is to say, can never

     “_Q._ In what else is your soul like to God?

     “_A._ Because as in God there are three persons and one God,
     so in man there is one soul and three powers.

     “_Q._ Which are the three powers?

     “_A._ Will, memory, and understanding.

     “_Q._ Which must we take most care of, our body or our soul?

     “_A._ Of our soul.

     “_Q._ Why so?

     “_A._ Because, ‘What doth it profit a man if he gain the
     whole world and lose his own soul?’

     “_Q._ What must we do to save our soul?

     “_A._ We must worship God by faith, hope, and charity; that
     is, we must believe in him, hope in him, and love him with
     all our heart.

     “_Q._ How shall we know the things which we are to believe?

     “_A._ From the Catholic Church of God, which he has
     established by innumerable miracles, and illustrated by the
     lives and deaths of innumerable saints.”

“John,” said Rose steadily, “be honest with God.”

      *     *     *     *     *

Professor Howson is a name which no one hears now, though it was once
supposed that it would rank among those of New England’s noblest
scholars. But John Howson teaches still. People had often said of him
that he would never marry; that his books and his sister were enough
for him. He never did marry; but it was God and the church of God that
satisfied him. Once, in a great city, an old friend of his collegiate
days, who had not heard of him for years, met him face to face in his
dress of a religious, and stopped him in utter amazement.

“John Howson! You are unmistakable, but how is this? I was told of
your change, but did not know it had gone so far. Are not your Puritan
ancestors groaning in their shrouds, man, because of such doings?”

The priest returned a courteous answer, and would have turned to other
themes, but his friend persisted. Then, not with the old outspoken
frankness as of one who feared none, but instead, thoughtfully and
humbly as in the very fear of God, there came this reply:

“Once I matched my mind with the mind of God, and judged him, and
thought his will to be of no account. It was a great sin, and he saved
me from it. After that I could only say, as another in like case once
said, ‘I cannot give God less than all.’”

“A great sin?” his friend repeated. “I do not understand that.”

He saw a shade of peculiar awe creep over the countenance before him.
“And is it no sin,” John Howson asked in a deep voice, “to hear said
in the face of God that there is no God? to have counted your own
judgment superior to his? to have given God the lie? One who is now of
the mightiest saints thought that he did God service while he fought
against him, and afterward he named himself the chief of sinners. But
I did not so much as think of the service of God at all in matters of

“I can’t see the fault in that,” his friend said wonderingly. “If it
was murder you had on your conscience, I might sympathize with you;
but this!”

“You are fresh from Massachusetts,” said Father Howson, “and it is
years since I was there. Do they still count the mind as nobler than
the body, and the intellect as among their highest gifts?”

“Yes,” was the proud reply.

“Some time,” returned Father Howson with deep meaning in his tone, “we
all shall have to learn that God judges sin of the mind by as terrible
a judgment as sin of the body, and that he demands his gifts with
usury. Believe me, it is better to forestall that judgment, and to
meet that demand here than hereafter.”

And Rose? Long since she learned to say, “I have loved, O Lord, the
beauty of thy house; and the place where thy glory dwelleth.” Long
since she learned that there is One invisible who is fairer than any
child of man, and to him she gave the heart which a wealth of
intellectual and earthly loveliness had failed to satisfy. She has
learned that there is a nobler Blood than any that the world can
boast; His place is with the nobility of an eternal kingdom, whose
peculiar marks of honor are poverty, and self-renunciation, and an
utter lowliness of obedience, whereby every faculty of one’s nature is
brought with a glad free-will into the obedience of Christ. One day
the daughter of the Puritans heard another voice than theirs call her
by that tender name: “Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thy
ear: and forget thy people and thy father’s house. And the King shall
greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord God.” Once before, but
after sore struggle and heartrending suffering, she had heard that
voice. Hearing it again, she rose up joyfully and followed it, as
then, without delay.



We have already alluded to that feature in the recent ecclesiastical
legislation of Prussia which gives to the people the right to choose
their pastors, and we have also seen how nobly the Catholics of
Germany have thwarted this unholy attempt to create dissension and
discord in the church. When it could no longer be doubted that the
German bishops were immovable in their allegiance to the pope, Prussia
sought, by holding out every possible inducement to apostasy, to
create disunion between the priests and the bishops; but in this, too,
she met with signal defeat. Nothing, therefore, remained to be done,
but to devise measures whereby the administration of ecclesiastical
affairs would be placed exclusively in the hands of the laity; since
the breaking of the bonds which unite church and state would not have
as a result that weakening of ecclesiastical power which is so
ardently desired. This Professor Friedberg, in his _German Empire and
the Catholic Church_, expressly states in the following words:

     “If the government were to adhere to the plan of a total
     separation of church and state, what would be the
     consequence? Would the bishops lose their authority because
     the state no longer recognized it? Would the parochial
     system be broken up if unsupported by the state? In a word,
     would the church lose any of her power? It would argue an
     absolute want of perception and a total ignorance of
     Catholic history to affirm that she would. The stream which
     for centuries has flowed in its own channel does not run dry
     because its course is obstructed. It only overflows and
     floods the country. To continue the metaphor, we must first
     seek with all care to draw off the waters, and to lead them
     into pools and reservoirs, where what remains will readily

The Protestants of Prussia are opposed to the separation of church and
state, because they are well aware that in the present condition of
religious opinion in Germany the rationalists and socialists would at
once get control of most of the parishes of the Evangelical church, if
it were deprived of the support of the government; and, on the other
hand, both they and the infidels are persuaded that the Catholic
Church is quite able to maintain herself, and even to wax strong,
without any help from the temporal power.

     “One thing,” says the _Edinburgh Review_, “the state is
     quite at liberty to do. The state is not bound to pay or
     maintain churches or sects which it does not approve.
     Indeed, if these conditions are annexed to the acceptance of
     state payment, the church herself would do well to reject
     the terms. But will Prince Bismarck withdraw the stipend and
     set the church free? Nothing of the kind. There is no
     freedom of religious orders or communities in Prussia. The
     whole spirit of these laws is to make every form of
     religious belief and organization as subservient to the
     state as a Prussian recruit is to the rattan of a corporal.
     That we abhor and denounce as an intolerable oppression; and
     it is only by the strangest perversion of judgment that any
     Englishman can have imagined that the cause of true
     religious liberty was identical with the policy of Prince

To consent to a separation of church and state would be a recognition
of the independent existence of the church, which Prussia holds to be
contrary to the true theory of the constitution of human society in
relation to government and religion. This theory is that man exists
for the state, to which he owes his supreme and undivided allegiance;
whose duty it is to train and govern him for its own service alike in
peace and war. All the interests of society, therefore, material,
political, educational, and religious, must be subjected to the state,
independently of which no organization of any kind ought to be
permitted to exist. And in fact the whole spirit of the recent
ecclesiastical legislation of Prussia is in perfect consonance with
this theory. The Falck Laws deny to the church the right to educate
her priests, to decide as to their fitness for the care of souls, to
appoint them to or remove them from office; in a word, the right to
administer her own affairs, and consequently to exist at all as an
organization separate from the state.

It can hardly surprise us that the attempt should have been made to
prove that this is in accordance with the teachings of the New

     “The New Testament,” says the _British Quarterly_, “requires
     that the Christian shall be a loyal subject of the
     government under which he lives. ‘Let every soul be subject
     unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God;
     the powers that be are ordained of God: whosoever therefore
     resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.’”[38]

After quoting several texts from the Epistles of St. Paul, of the same
general import, the writer in the _British Quarterly_ continues:

     “Now, it is impossible to find in the New Testament any
     injunctions of obedience to organized ecclesiastical power,
     like those here given of obedience to the civil government.
     It is not ecclesiastical authority, nor a corporate
     ecclesiastical institution, but the personal God, and the
     individual conscience in its direct personal relations with
     God, which is set over against an unrighteous demand of the
     civil authority in the crucial motto of Peter, ‘We ought to
     obey God rather than men,’ and in the teaching of Christ,
     ‘Render unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s, and unto
     God the things which are God’s.’ Of conscience as an
     ecclesiastical corporation, or of conscience as an imputed
     or vicarious faculty, determined and exercised by one for
     another, the ethics of the New Testament have no

It is hard to realize the ignorance or the bad faith of a man who is
capable of making such statements as these. Let us take the last words
of the gospel of St. Matthew: “And Jesus coming, spoke to them,
saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going,
therefore, teach ye all nations, … teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you; and, behold, I am with you all days,
even to the consummation of the world.” Here surely is an organized
body of men, receiving from Christ himself the divine command to teach
all the nations of the earth their religious faith and duties, which
necessarily carries with it the right to exact obedience. But, lest
there be any room for doubt, let us hear Christ himself: “He that
heareth you, heareth me: and he that despiseth you despiseth me. And
he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me.”[40]

Again: “And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the
heathen and the publican. Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind
upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever you shall
loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.”[41]

When Peter and John were brought into court and “charged not to speak
at all, nor teach in the name of Jesus,” they should have submitted at
once, upon the theory that the state has the right to exact supreme
and undivided allegiance; but they appealed to their divine
commission, just as the bishops of Germany do to-day, and answered,
“We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”[42]

And in the council at Jerusalem, “an ecclesiastical corporation”
surely, the apostles say: “For it hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost,
and to us, to lay no further burden upon you than these necessary
things”;[43] plainly indicating and using their right to impose
commands and exact obedience. But enough of this. The persecutors of
the church to-day are not at all concerned about the teachings of the
New Testament. The attempt, however, to make it appear that only
Catholics protest against the doctrine of absolute and undivided
allegiance to the state is wholly unjustifiable. There is no
Protestant sect in England or the United States which would submit to
the intervention of the government in its spiritual life and internal
discipline. Would the Methodists, or the Baptists, or the
Presbyterians permit the state to decide what kind of education their
ministers are to receive, or to determine whether they are capable of
properly discharging their spiritual duties, or to keep in office by
force those whom the church had cast off? They would go out to pray on
the hillside and by the river banks rather than submit to such

Is not the right of revolution, which in our day, especially outside
of the Catholic Church, is held to be divine, based upon the principle
of divided allegiance? Practically it is impossible to distinguish
between loyalty to the government and loyalty to the state; and no man
in this age thinks of questioning the right of rebellion against a
tyrannical government. This divided allegiance marks the radical
difference between Christian and pagan civilization. Before Christ
there was no divided allegiance, because the individual was absorbed
by the state, and nothing could have wrested mankind from this bondage
but a great spiritual organization such as the Catholic Church; and
this, we believe, is generally admitted by our adversaries. They fail
to perceive, however, that there is no other institution than the
Catholic Church which has the power to prevent the state from again
absorbing the individual and destroying all civil and political
liberty. If the church could be broken up into national
establishments, and the entire control of education handed over to the
state, the bringing all men to the servile temper which characterizes
the Russians and Protestant Prussians would be only a question of
time. Many will be inclined to hold that the general freedom, and even
license, of thought of our time would be a sufficient protection
against any such danger.

A little reflection, however, will suffice to dispel this illusion. No
number of individuals, unless they are organized, can successfully
oppose tyranny; and mere speculations or opinions as to the abstract
right of resistance can not stop the march of the state toward
absolutism. The most despotic states have often encouraged the most
unbounded freedom of thought, and we need not go beyond Prussia for an
example. In no country in the world has there been more of what is
called free-thinking, nor has any government been more tolerant of
wild theories and extravagant speculations; and yet the free-thinkers
and _illuminati_ have done nothing to promote the growth of free
institutions or to encourage civil or religious liberty. They are
without unity or organization or programme. Many of them to-day are
the strongest supporters of Bismarckian despotism. Even in 1848 they
succeeded only in getting up a mob and evaporating in wild talk.

The divine right of resistance to tyranny would have no sanction or
efficacy if it were not kept living in the hearts of men by
supernatural religion.

This is thoroughly understood by the advocates of absolutism, who do
not trouble themselves about doctrines of any kind, except when they
are upheld by organizations, and for this reason all their efforts are
directed to the destruction of the organic unity of the church. Had
Prince Bismarck succeeded in his attempt to get the Catholic
congregations which have been deprived of their priests to elect
pastors for themselves, there would have been but another step to open
schism, which would have inevitably resulted in favor of Old
Catholicism. But, as we have seen, out of more than a hundred
parishes, not one has lent itself to the iniquitous designs of the
enemies of the church.

Another striking example of the perfect unanimity of thought and
action which in Prussia exists between priests and people was given
last year when the so-called State-Catholics tried to get up a protest
against the encyclical letter of the Pope, in which he declared that
the May Laws were not binding upon the consciences of Catholics. All
the liberal papers of Germany were loud in praise of this project,
which presented the fairest opportunity to Catholic government
officials to curry favor by showing their acceptance of the Falck
laws; and yet, in spite of every effort that was made, only about a
thousand signatures were obtained, most of which were found outside of
the eight millions of Prussian Catholics.

Mr. Gladstone, in his article on the “Speeches of Pope Pius IX.,”[44]
says of the Catholic clergy that they “are more and more an army, a
police, a caste; further and further from the Christian Commons, but
nearer to one another and in closer subservience to the pope.” However
near the Catholic clergy may be to one another, it certainly shows a
great lack of power to see things as they are to maintain that they
are losing the hold which more than any other class of men they have
always had on the hearts of the people. The persecution in Germany has
shown there that inseparable union of priest and people which is
to-day as universal as the life of the church. Had there existed any
seed of discord, it certainly would have sprung up and flourished in
Prussia during the last four or five years.

What circumstances could have been more favorable to such development
than those created by the Old Catholics in league with Bismarck? The
unprecedented victories over Austria and France had set all Germany
wild with enthusiasm. “Deutschland über alles, über alles in der
Welt,” was the refrain of every song. On the other hand, many
Catholics, especially in Germany, had been prejudiced and somewhat
soured by the false interpretations which were everywhere put on the
dogma of papal infallibility. Just at this moment Dr. Döllinger, whose
reputation was greater than that of any other German theologian,
announced his separation from the church, and at once there gathered
around him a party of dissatisfied or suspended priests and
rationalistic laymen. Reinkens was made bishop, and the Emperor of
Germany publicly prayed that the “certainly correct conviction of the
_Hochwürdiger Herr Bischof_ might win ground more and more.” Fortune
smiled upon the new religion and everything seemed to promise it the
brightest future. What has been the result? In a population of eight
millions of Catholics this sect, with the aid of the state, German
enthusiasm, and the whole liberal press, has been able to gather only
about six thousand adherents; and they are without zeal, without
doctrinal or moral unity, having as yet not even dared to define their
position towards the Pope. Dr. Döllinger himself has lost interest in
the movement, and its most sanguine friends have yielded to
despondency. Old Catholicism was, in fact, impossible from the
beginning. But two roads open before those who to-day go forth from
the fold of the church: the one leads to the Babel and decomposition
of Protestant sectarianism, the other to the unbelief of scientific

To declare that Christianity is lying disjointed, in shattered
fragments, and yet to pretend that human hands, with paste and glue,
out of these broken pieces can remake the heavenly vase once filled
with God’s spirit of faith, hope, and love, is an idle fancy. Into
this patchwork no divine life will come; men will not believe in it,
nor will it inspire enthusiasm or the heroic courage of martyrdom.
Therefore they who leave the church, their native soil, have indeed
all the world before them, and yet no place where they can find rest
for their souls.

What the religious policy of the Prussian Liberals is, Herr von
Kirchmann, to whom in a previous article we introduced our readers,
informs us in the following words:

     “The majority of the Liberal representatives are
     highly-educated men who have fallen out with the Christian
     churches, because they no longer accept their creed, and
     therefore hold as a principle that freedom of conscience for
     the individual is abundantly sufficient to satisfy the
     religious wants of the people. At best, they would consent
     to the existence of congregations; any organization beyond
     this they consider not only unnecessary but hurtful.”

This, then, is the Liberal programme: the individual shall have
perfect freedom to believe, as he pleases, in God or the devil; but
there shall be no ecclesiastical organization, unless a kind of
congregationalism, which, having neither unity nor strength, can be
easily rendered harmless by being placed under police supervision.
These men of culture, as Herr von Kirchmann says, have fallen out with
all the churches; and they are liberal enough to be willing to do
everything in their power to make it impossible that any of them
should exist at all, since without organic unity of some kind there
can be no church, as there can be no state.

But let us hear what Herr von Kirchmann has to remark upon this

     “This view,” he says, “may satisfy those who have reached
     the high degree of culture of the Liberals; but those who
     take it utterly ignore the religious wants of the middle and
     lower classes, and fail to perceive the yearning,
     inseparable from all religious feeling, for association with
     persons of like sentiments, in order, through public
     worship, to obtain the strength and contentment after which
     this fundamental craving of the human heart longs.”

To the existence of this feeling, and its yearning for the largest
possible association, the history of all Christian peoples, down even
to the present day, bears witness; for this reason nowhere have men
been satisfied with the freedom of the individual, but have ever
demanded a church with acknowledged rights and the privilege of free

     “To the dangers which would threaten society if religious
     associations should be broken up, and faith left to the whim
     of individuals, these highly cultivated men give no heed,
     because they do not themselves feel the need of such
     support; but they forget that their security, the very
     possibility, indeed, of reaching the point at which they
     stand, rests upon the power of the church over the masses;
     and should they destroy this by allowing the congregations
     to break up into atoms, leaving the Christian creed to be
     fashioned by passion and ever-varying interests, according
     to the fancy of each and every one, nothing would remain but
     the brute force of the state, which, without the aid of the
     internal dispositions of the people, cannot save society
     from complete dissolution.”[45]

Herr von Kirchmann, then, adds his testimony to that of many other
observers who, though they do not believe in the divine origin and
truth of the Christian religion, yet hold that its acceptance by the
masses as a system of belief, received on the authority of a church,
is essential to the preservation and permanence of our civilization.
This is a subject to which we Americans might with great profit give
our thoughts.

As Emerson, who is probably our most characteristic thinker, has
declared that he would write over the portal of the Temple of
Philosophy WHIM, American Protestantism seems more and more inclined
to accept this as the only satisfactory, or indeed possible,
shibboleth in religion. The multiplication of sects holding
conflicting creeds, while it has weakened faith in all religious
doctrines, has helped on the natural tendency of Protestantism to
throw men back upon their own feelings or fancies for their faith.
This, of course, results in the breaking up even of congregations into
atoms of individualism, and will, if not counteracted, necessarily
destroy our character as a Christian people; and for us it is needless
to say Christianity is the only possible religion.

Our statesmen—politicians may be the more proper word—though not
irreligious, lack grasp of mind and depth of view, else they could not
fail to perceive, however little they may sympathize with the
doctrines or what they conceive to be the social tendencies of the
Catholic Church, that just such a strong and conservative Christian
organism as she is, is for us an indispensable political requirement.
That none of the leading minds of the country should have taken this
view is a sad evidence of want of intellectual power or of moral
courage. The most that any of them feel authorized in saying in our
favor is that a country which tolerates free-love, Mormonism, and the
joss-house of the Chinaman ought not, if consistency be a virtue, to
persecute Catholics. In spite of appearances which mislead superficial
observers, we are the most secular people in the world. No other
people is so ready to sacrifice religious to material interests; no
other people has ever to an equal extent banished all religious
instruction from its national education; no other people has ever
taken such a worldly view of its religion. The supernatural in
religion is lost sight of by us, and we value it chiefly for its
social and æsthetic power. The popular creed is that religion is
something which favors republicanism, promotes the exploitation of the
material resources of the globe, softens manners, and makes life

The proposition to tax church property shows that a large portion
of the American people have ceased to believe in religion as a
moral and social power. A church is like a bank or theatre or
coal-mine—something which concerns only those who have stock in it,
and has nothing whatever to do with the public welfare. The
school-house occupies quite other ground. The country is interested in
having all its citizens intelligent; this is for the general good; but
whether they believe in God or the soul is a matter of profound
indifference, unless, possibly, to themselves, since this can in no
way affect the progress or civilization of the American people. This
is evidently the only possible philosophy for those who would tax
church property. The popular contempt for theology encouraged by
nearly all Protestant ministers is another evidence of the tendency to
religious disintegration. There is but little danger that any church
will ever get a controlling influence in the national life of this
country; our peril lies in the opposite direction; and that so few of
those who think should see this is to us the saddest sign of the
times; but those who do recognize it cannot help knowing that the
Catholic Church is the strongest bulwark against this flood-tide.

The social dangers of an open persecution of the Catholic Church are
most clearly seen in Prussia to-day. Since the German chancellor
entered upon his present course of violence five bishops and fifteen
thousand priests have been imprisoned or fined, and about the same
number of laymen have suffered for daring to speak unfavorably of
these proceedings. Never before, probably, have the police been so
generally or constantly employed in arresting men who are loved and
venerated by the people, and whose only crime is fidelity to
conscience. The inevitable consequence of this is that the officers of
the government come to be looked upon, not as the ministers of
justice, but as the agents of tyranny and oppression, which must, of
course, weaken respect for authority. These coercive measures, from
the nature of things, tend only to confirm the Catholics in their
conscientious convictions, and the government is thereby instigated to
harsher methods of dealing with this passive resistance. The number of
confessors of the faith increases, the enthusiasm and devotion of the
people are heightened, and it becomes an honor and a glory to be made
a victim of tyranny. The feeling of disgrace which is attached to the
penalties for violation of law is more efficacious in repressing crime
than the suffering which is inflicted; but this feeling is destroyed,
or rather changed, into one of an opposite character in the minds of
the people when they behold their venerated bishops and much-loved
priests dragged to prison for saying Mass or administering the
sacraments. No amount of reasoning, no refinement of logic, can ever
convince them that there can be anything criminal in the performance
of these sacred functions. In this way the ignominy which in the
public mind follows conviction for crime is wiped away, and the
sacredness of the law itself endangered.

This alone is sufficient to show how blind and thoughtless Prince
Bismarck has been in making war upon the Catholic Church just at the
moment when wise counsels would have led him to seek to add the
strength of reverence and respect to the enthusiasm with which the
creation of the new empire had been hailed. The spoilt child of
success, wounded pride made him mad. How serviceable he might have
found the moral support of the Catholic clergy Herr von Kirchmann has
informed him.

     “I myself,” he says, “from 1849 to 1866, with the exception
     of some intervals, lived in Upper Silesia, a wholly Catholic
     province, and, as the president of the Criminal Senate of a
     Court of Appeals, had the fullest opportunity to study the
     moral and religious state of the people, which in nothing is
     so truly seen as in those circumstances out of which spring
     offences against the law. Now, although this province of
     more than a million of men was thoroughly Catholic and
     entirely in the hands of the clergy; although the school
     system was still very imperfect, and the population, with
     the exception of the landowners and the inhabitants of the
     large cities, not speaking the German language, was thereby
     deprived of culture and of intercourse with the German
     provinces, yet can I unhesitatingly affirm that the moral
     condition of the people was in no way worse than in Saxony
     or the Margravate where formerly I held similar official
     positions. The number of crimes was rather less, the
     security of person and of property greater, and the
     relations between the different classes of society far more
     peaceable and friendly than in the provinces to which I have
     just made allusion. The socage and heavy taxes pressed hard
     upon the peasantry; nevertheless in 1848 insurrections
     against the landlords were not more frequent here than
     elsewhere. It was unquestionably the powerful influence of
     the clergy which, in spite of so many obstacles, gave to the
     people their moral character, and produced the general
     contentment and obedience which reflected the greatest honor
     upon the whole population. The vice of drunkenness, through
     the agency of temperance societies established solely by the
     priests, had been in an almost marvellous manner rooted out
     from among the people, and the general welfare made manifest
     progress. By means of my official and political position I
     had the opportunity to make the acquaintance of a large
     number of the pastors and curates, and still to-day I recall
     with pleasure my intercourse with these men, for the most
     part cultivated, but above all distinguished by their
     thorough gentleness of character. They were firm in
     maintaining the rights of their church, they were filled
     with the excellence of their mission, but they never thought
     of thwarting the civil authorities; on the contrary, they
     found in the clergy a great and efficacious support, so that
     this province needed fewer protective and executive
     officials than others.”[46]

No enlightened and fair government has anything to fear from the
influence of men who are as firm in upholding the authority of the
state as they are in asserting their own liberty of conscience; who
will neither do wrong nor tamely submit to it. If, in the social,
religious, and political crisis through which the nations of
Christendom are passing, sound reason is ultimately to prevail and
civilization is to be preserved, the necessity of an institution like
the Catholic Church will come to be recognized by all who are capable
of serious thought. The divided allegiance, the maintenance of the
supremacy of conscience, is essential to the preservation of the
principle of authority in society. If it were possible to nationalize
religion by placing all churches under state control, the authority of
the state would necessarily become that of brute force, and would in
consequence be deprived of its sacredness. The respect of Christian
nations for the civil power is a religious sentiment; and if the
church could cease to be, there would be a radical revolution in the
attitude of the people toward the state. In Europe even now, in
consequence of the progress of unbelief, respect for authority and the
duty of obedience have been so far destroyed in the minds and hearts
of the masses that government is possible only with the support of
immense standing armies, which help on the social dissolution; and
with us things would be in a still worse condition, were it not that
the vast undeveloped resources of the country draw off the energies
which else would be fatal to public order. Our strength and security
are rather in our physical surroundings than in our moral resources.
Our greatest moral force, during the century of our existence, has
been the universal veneration of the people for the Constitution,
which was regarded with a kind of religious reverence; but this
element of strength is fast wasting away and will not pass over as a
vital power into the second century of our life. The criticisms, the
amendments, the patchings, which the Constitution has been made to
suffer, have, more than civil strife, debased it to the common level
of profane parchments and robbed it of the consecration which it had
received in the hearts of the people The change which has taken place,
though it have something of the nature of growth and development, is
yet, unquestionably, more a breaking down and dissevering. The
Catholic Church, by the reverence which she inspires for institutions,
is, and in the future will be yet more, the powerful ally of those who
will stand by the Constitution as our fathers made it.

Our statesmen, we know, are in the habit of looking elsewhere for the
means which are to give permanence to our free institutions. The
theory now most in favor is that universal education is the surest
safeguard of liberty, and it is upon this more than upon anything else
that we, as a people, rely for the perpetuity of our form of
government. This hope, we cannot but think, is based upon an erroneous
opinion of the necessary tendency of intellectual culture; which is to
increase the spirit of criticism, and consequently, by dissatisfying
the mind with what is, to direct it continually to new experiments,
with the hope of finding something better. Now, though this may be
well enough in the realms of speculation, and may be a great help to
the progress of science, it most assuredly does not tend either to
beget or to foster reverence for existing institutions of any kind;
and this same mental habit which has already made American
Protestantism so fragmentary and contradictory will beyond doubt
weaken and, unless counteracted, destroy the unity of our political
life. This is a question which does not concern us alone; with it is
bound up the future of the human race. If the American experiment of
government by the people fails, all hope of such government perishes.
If we allow our personal prejudices to warp our judgment in a matter
so catholic and all-important, no further evidence of our unfitness
for the great mission which God seems to have assigned us is needed.
Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of politicians for whom all other
questions than the present success of party have no interest, and who
therefore flatter the passions of the people instead of seeking to
enlighten them; and the insane hatred and fear of the church which the
Protestant masses have inherited from the Old World prevents them from
seeing what a source of strength and bond of union is her strong and
firmly-knit organism in a social state like ours, in which there are
so many elements of dissolution and disintegration.

Herr von Kirchmann, though, as we have seen, not a Catholic nor a
Christian, is yet too profound a statesman not to recognize the
supreme social importance of the church to the modern world.

     “Human society,” he says, “cannot do without the principle
     of authority, of obedience, of respect for law, any more
     than it can do without the principle of individual freedom;
     and now that the family has been shoved into the background,
     there remains to uphold this principle of authority only one
     great institution, and that is the Christian churches, and,
     above all, the Catholic Church.

     “The Reformation has so filled the Evangelical Church with
     the principle of self-examination and self-determination
     that she cannot at all take upon herself the mission of
     protectress of authority, of respect for law, as law; which
     is essential to modern society. She is also too far removed
     from the laity, and lacks those special institutions which
     would enable her energetically to uphold this principle.

     “The same is true of all reform parties within the church,
     and must be applied to the Old Catholics, should they
     succeed in acquiring any importance. The Roman Catholic
     Church alone must be considered the true mother of respect
     for authority. She does not permit the individual to decide
     in matters of faith and discipline; and she most perfectly
     realizes the essence of religion, which cannot proceed from
     the individual, but must have its source in the commandments
     of God. In the bishops, in the councils, in the pope, the
     individual finds authorities who announce to him religious
     truth, and by the administration of the sacraments bring him
     nearer to God. Changes in faith and worship which, with the
     progress of science and of general culture, become
     necessary, are here withdrawn from the disputes of the
     learned and the criticism of individuals; in the councils
     and in their head, the pope, an institution is found by
     which modifications may be permitted without shaking faith
     in the teachings of the church.

     “In the position of the priest toward the laity this
     relation of the individual to the church becomes most
     intimate, and numerous special ordinances cultivate the
     spirit of obedience and respect for the commands of
     ecclesiastical superiors, while they also serve the ends of
     Christian charity and benevolence. It ought not, indeed, to
     be denied that this repression of individual
     self-determination and this fostering of obedience may be
     carried too far, and to some extent has, in the Catholic
     Church, been exaggerated, as in civil society the
     cultivation of individual freedom and the repression of
     authority have produced an opposite excess; but precisely
     through the interaction of these extremes will the true mean
     be obtained; and therefore ought the state to seek in the
     Catholic Church that powerful institution which alone, by
     virtue of her whole organization, is able to ward off the
     dangers which threaten society from the exaggeration of the
     principle of individual freedom. But to do this the church
     must be left in the possession of her constitution as it has
     hitherto existed, and the state, consequently, should not
     interfere with her external power any further than its own
     existence demands. In this respect the principle of
     individual freedom which pervades all modern life is so
     powerful an auxiliary of the state that no fear of the
     influence of the church need be felt, of which a little too
     much is far less dangerous to society than too little.

     “These are considerations, indeed, which are not in harmony
     with the programme of modern liberalism, and will therefore
     have but little weight with those who swim with the current
     of the time; nevertheless, if we look around us, we perceive
     many evidences of the instinctive feeling of human society
     that in the Catholic Church may be found a protection for
     the harmony of social life which now no longer exists
     elsewhere. Only in this way can we explain the rapid growth
     of the Catholic Church in her strictly hierarchical
     constitution in America, and the increasing Catholic
     movement in England, together with the efforts of the
     Established Church to draw nearer to the Catholic; and this
     tendency would be far more pronounced had it not to contend
     against historical reminiscences which in England are more
     vivid than elsewhere. Similar reasons influence the
     government of France to seek rather to strengthen than to
     weaken the power of the church; and in this matter the
     unbelieving Thiers has not acted otherwise than the
     religious MacMahon.

     “After the principle of authority had been shaken by
     revolutions and an unhappy war in France more than in any
     other country, the people knew not where to seek help,
     except in the fostering of religion and the support of the
     Catholic Church. Like grounds prevent Italy and Austria from
     coming to an open rupture with the church; they prefer to
     yield somewhat in the execution of the laws rather than
     suffer themselves to be deprived of her indispensable aid.
     Similar tendencies exist in the other German governments,
     and also among the rich and powerful families of Germany and
     Prussia. Everywhere, even where these families are not
     adherents of the Catholic faith, they feel that this church
     is a fortress against the anarchy of individual freedom
     which should be defended and not destroyed. The members of
     these families are not blind to the defects of the church;
     but they know that in the present age these are the least to
     be feared, while her power against the self-exaltation of
     the individual is indispensable to modern society. It is
     altogether a mistake to attribute this bearing of the
     wealthy classes of all civilized nations towards the church
     to selfish motives or to the cunning of priests; these
     motives may, as in all great things, slip in in isolated
     cases; but this whole movement in Europe and America springs
     from deeper causes—from causes which lie at the very bottom
     of our common nature, which can neither suffer the loss of
     freedom nor yet do without order and authority.

     “About every ten years we are assured that, if only this or
     that is reached, the Catholic Church will of herself fall to
     pieces. Never has the attempt to bring about this
     consummation been made with more spirit and energy than in
     the literature and political constitutions of the last
     century; and yet this church lives still in our day, and
     what she has lost in temporal sovereignty is doubly and
     trebly made up to her in the growing number of her children
     and the gradually-increasing insight into the significance
     of her mission for human society.

     “For this reason the present conflict with the church in
     Prussia ought not to be pushed so far as to bring her power
     as low as the state has brought that of the Evangelical
     Church. If the Catholic Church is to fulfil the great social
     mission which we have just described, and which consists
     essentially in her maintaining an equilibrium between
     freedom and obedience, which is indispensable to society and
     the state, her external power and internal organization must
     not be interfered with in a way to render the accomplishment
     of this exalted mission impossible.”[47]

Herr Joerg, the editor of one of the first reviews of Germany, has
said that Prince Bismarck has done more to strengthen and make popular
the Catholic cause in the empire than the two hundred Jesuits whom he
has exiled could have done in half a century. This, we believe, is
coming to be generally recognized. The war on the church was begun
with loud boastings. Men of high position declared that in two years
not a Catholic would be left in Germany. The prince chancellor
disdained to treat with the Pope or the bishops, and defiantly entered
upon his course of draconic legislation to compel to his stubborn will
the consciences of eight millions of Prussian subjects. He is not able
to conceal his disappointment. With glory enough to satisfy the most
ambitious he could not rest content, but must court defeat. All his
hopes have fallen to the ground. The Old Catholics who were to have
been his most powerful allies have sunk into the oblivion of contempt;
the priests whom he expected to throw off the authority of their
bishops have not been found; the uprising of the laity against their
pastors has not taken place; the bishop who was to have put himself at
the head of a German Catholic Church has not appeared; the Falck laws
have not served the purpose for which they were enacted, nor have the
numerous supplementary bills met with better success. He has indeed
made his victims personally most uncomfortable; bishops and priests he
has cast into dungeons, monks and nuns he has driven forth from their
homes and their country to beg the bread of exile; laymen he has sent
to jail for speaking and writing the truth; but with all this he has
not advanced one step towards the end he aims at. He has not made a
breach in the serried Catholic phalanx. His legislation has nearly
doubled the number of Catholic representatives in the parliament; it
has given new life and wider influence to the Catholic press; it has
welded the union of bishops, priests, and people, and bound all closer
to the Pope. From their dungeons the bishops and priests come forth
and are received in triumph like conquering heroes; imprisonments and
fines of Catholic editors serve only to increase the circulation of
their journals. In the meantime the radicals and revolutionists are
gaining strength, crime is becoming more common, and the laws aimed at
the church are beginning to tell upon the feebler organizations of
Protestantism. Since the law on civil marriage has been passed
comparatively few contract matrimony in the presence of the Protestant
ministers; great numbers refuse to have their children baptized or to
have the preachers assist at the burial of the dead. The government
has become alarmed, and quite recently circulars have been sent to the
officials charged with carrying out the law on civil marriage, in
which they are instructed to inform the contracting parties that the
law does not abrogate the hitherto existing regulation concerning
ecclesiastical marriage, and that they are still bound to present
themselves before the clergyman and to have their children baptized as
formerly. The service of the police, we need scarcely say, is not
required to induce the Catholics to seek the blessing of the church
upon their marriage contracts or to have their children baptized.

The result of all this is that many wise and large-minded men, like
Von Hoffmann, Von Gerlach, and Von Kirchmann, have lost all sympathy
with the policy of Bismarck towards the Catholic Church, as well as
confidence in its success. They now thoroughly understand that, were
it possible to destroy the church, this would be an irreparable
misfortune for the fatherland. The state needs the church more than
the church the state. She can live with Hottentots and Esquimaux, but
without her neither liberty nor culture can be permanent. It must also
be humiliating to Prince Bismarck to see with what little success
those who have sought to ape him have met. Mr. Gladstone, from faith
in the chancellor, thought to bolster up a falling party by
“expostulating” with the Pope, and he has succeeded only in finding
himself in the company of Newdegate and Whalley. President Grant has
been made to believe that the Pope is such a monstrous man that by
means of him even a third term might become possible; and he will
retire to the obscurity of private life with the stigma of having
sought to stir up religious strife for the furtherance of his own
private interest.

     [37] April, 1874, p. 195.

     [38] Romans xiii. 1, 2.

     [39] The _British Quarterly_, January, 1875, p. 17.

     [40] Luke x. 16.

     [41] Matthew xviii. 17, 18.

     [42] Acts iv. 20.

     [43] Acts xv. 28.

     [44] The _London Quarterly Review_, January, 1875, p. 160.

     [45] _Der Culturkampf_, § 28, 29.

     [46] _Culturkampf_, pp. 33, 34.

     [47] _Culturkampf_ pp. 44-47.


“Was ever sorrow like, unto my sorrow?”

There is in the Imperial Library at Paris an old copy of the gospels
written on parchment, evidently of the fourteenth or fifteenth
century, with the arms of Colbert on the cover. It once belonged to
the church of Albi. At the end of the gospels is the _Planctus_, or
_Complainte de Notre Dame_ in the _langue d’Oc_—the old language of
Southern France—full of naïve piety and charming simplicity. No one
could hear unmoved the touching tone of reproach and grief it breathes
throughout. It is in thirty-two stanzas, the lines of which,
monotonous and melancholy, are like the repeated tollings of a funeral
bell. The last words of each verse are an expression of exhausted
grief—the dying away of a voice drowned in tears.…

It is entitled: “Here begins the Plaint in honor of the Passion of our
Lord Jesus Christ and the sorrow of his most holy Mother.”

  “Planh sobre planh! dolor sobre dolor!
   Cel e terra an perdut lor senhor,
   E yeu mon filh, el solelh sa clardor;
   Jusieus lan mort an grande desonor.
     Ay filh, tan mortal dolor!”[48]

The cry of _Ay filh!_—“Alas! my Son”—at the end of every verse is like
a sob that breaks the plaint. This long wail of maternal grief, which
no translation fully renders, was doubtless sung round many an effigy
of the dead Christ in the dim old churches of Languedoc centuries ago,
just as the people of the Pyrenees at this day gather around their
dead to weep and improvise a dirge of sorrow. We were particularly
touched at coming across this ancient document; for it seemed to echo
the devotion to the Mother of Sorrows which we had found written all
over southwestern France. Everywhere in this _Terra Mariæ_ are
churches and oratories in honor of _Notre Dame de Pitié_, most of
which are monuments of an age as sorrowful as the holy mystery they

It is remarkable how popular devotion turned to the _Mater Dolorosa_
in the sixteenth century, when Christ seemed bleeding anew in this
land of altars ruined and priests slaughtered by the Huguenots.
Numberless are the legends of the apparitions of Our Lady of Sorrows
in those sad days, which led to the erection of a great number of
churches wherein she is represented holding her divine Son taken down
from the cross—one of the most affecting appeals that can be made to
the human heart. For the long, sad procession of mourners who go
weeping and groaning through this valley of tears—_gementes et
flentes in hac lacrymarum valle_—constitutes the greater part of the
human race. The widow, the orphan, the friendless, the infirm, the
needy, and the laborer with little or no joy in life, when they turn
towards Mary, love to find her at the foot of the cross in mute sorrow
over the inanimate form of her Son, or with the wheel of swords in her
bleeding heart, or some other attribute of human infirmity. Hence the
names given to these mountain chapels by the sorrowful as a mark
of their trust in this sweet type of grief: _Notre Dame des
Larmes_, _Notre Dame des Souffrances_, _de la Consolation_, _de
l’Espérance_—names which have balm in their very sound. Above all is
the title which seems to include all other sorrows—_Notre Dame de
Pitié_—the most common among the perils of the mountain streams and on
the broad moors of the Landes. There are innumerable _Pietàs_, or
_Pitiés_, all through this region—on the sands of the seashore below
Bayonne, where the sailors go to pray before embarking on the
perfidious waves of the Bay of Biscay; in dangerous mountain passes,
as in the oratory of Pène-Taillade beyond Arreau; among country
groves, as in the lone sanctuary near Lannemezan to which the
husbandman resorts to be spared the ravages of hail among his vines
and wheat-fields; in the valleys of Bigorre; on the Calvary of
Betharam; on the heights near Pau; and at Goudosse, where the poor
_goîtreux_ of the mountains go to pray. Yes, the shadow of this great
type of sorrow extends over all the land. There are several chapels of
_Notre Dame de Pitié_ in the ecclesiastical province of Auch that are
particularly renowned. One of these is the beautiful chapel of _Notre
Dame de Garaison_, in the Diocese of Tarbes, dear to every Catholic
heart in the land, embosomed among the hills of the Hautes Pyrénées
like a lily in the green valley, whose Madonna was solemnly crowned in
1865, by the authorization of Pope Pius IX., in the presence of forty
thousand people. At the very entrance is a _Pietà_, melting the heart
with the sight of the pale, inanimate Christ and Mary’s incomparable

   “_Ay filh, tan mortal dolor!_”

Within are dim Gothic arches, large gilt statues of the twelve
apostles, and the holy image of the _Mère des Douleurs_, before which
we went to pray amid devout pilgrims. At one side is the fountain of
healing waters; behind is a garden of roses; and on the other side are
cloisters shaded with acacias, in the centre of which is the white
Madonna standing serene and holy in the peaceful solitude with
outstretched arms, as if calling on all:

      “Dites, dites une oraison
       A la Vierge de Garaison
  Vous qui en ces lieux amène la souffrance,
            Bon pèlerins,
          Accablés de chagrins,
  Pour que vos cœurs s’ouvrent à l’espérance.
            Dans ce séjour,
          Dites avec amour,
      Dites, dites une oraison,
      A la Vierge de Garaison!”[49]

Near Gimont, in the department of Gers, is _Notre Dame de Cahuzac_, in
a pleasant valley on the left bank of a stream that bathes the walls
of the church. Like all places of pilgrimage in this land of favored
sanctuaries, it has its old legend, which is associated with a
venerable elm, the relic of past ages. It was in the sixteenth century
when a young shepherd, leading his flock at an early hour to a distant
pasture, saw an elm in a garden by the wayside surrounded by an
extraordinary light. The amazed youth fell on his knees—a spontaneous
act in those days when the heart turned naturally to God at the moment
of terror—stammered a prayer, and, unable to turn his eyes away, saw
through the branches aflame, but not consumed, the wondrous form of
Our Lady of Pity. As soon as he recovered his self-possession he ran
to the Cistercian abbey at Gimont, and the monks, going to the tree,
found the sacred, image of Mary, which they bore in procession to
their church with songs of praise. The next day it was gone, and they
found it again in the favored elm. Three times they bore it to their
church: three times it returned to the tree. It was no use to contend
with divine Providence. The garden was then purchased and an oratory
built on the spot—a graceful monument of rural piety, to which one
generation after another has resorted for spiritual favors and
physical aid. It has its silver lamps and vessels; its walls are hung
with golden hearts, valuable medals, and other offerings from the
grateful votary. There is great devotion among Catholics to the one
leper who returned to give thanks.

Cahuzac became renowned throughout the kingdom and attracted pilgrims
of the highest distinction—lords, bishops, and cardinals. The
archbishops of Auch, who bore the high title of Primate of the two
Navarres, when they took possession of their see, came to place
themselves under the protection of Our Lady of Cahuzac. Popes granted
indulgences to the chapel, which thousands of pilgrims came annually
to win—not only peasants from the neighboring fields, but the nobles
of the land in penitential garb, with bare feet bleeding from the
roughness of the way.

This holy sanctuary was saved, as it were, by a miracle from the
Huguenots who came to lay it waste three centuries ago, the leader
being struck down, as by an invisible hand, at the very door, to the
consternation of his followers. It was closed at the Revolution, but
again spared; and when better days arrived, it was reopened to popular
devotion. The Abbé de Cahuzac, a young nobleman who had renounced the
honors of the world and received holy orders at Rome, became chaplain
of the church that bore his name. He served it with zeal and affection
for more than thirty years, and at his death bequeathed a part of his
fortune for its support, leaving behind him a holy memory still dear
to the people.

A confraternity of _Notre Dame de Pitié_ was founded in this chapel by
Dom Bidos, abbot of Gimont, under the patronage of Cardinal de
Polignac, which became celebrated in the province and included all
ranks of society. Men of illustrious birth, beside the man of humblest
condition, bore the lighted torch before the revered image of Cahuzac
in the public processions.

The arches and walls of the church were, under Henry IV., covered with
rich paintings, which in time became half effaced. The church has been
recently restored, and attracts great numbers of pilgrims from the
neighboring departments. It consists of a nave and five chapels. Over
the main altar is the revered statue, full of sweet, sad grace, at the
feet of which so many have sought consolation. On one of the capitals
in the nave is sculptured an episode from the old _Roman du Renard_,
in which the fox takes the guise of a preacher to a barnyard auditory,
who do not perceive the store of provisions already accumulated in the
hood thrown back on his shoulders. This species of satire was one of
the liberties of former times of which artists largely availed

Another chapel of _Notre Dame de Pitié_ is at Sainte-Gemme, built
against the walls of an old feudal castle—a cave-like oratory of the
thirteenth century, beneath a square tower, simple, antique, severe.
Its gilt statue of the Mother of Sorrows and a few old frescos of the
Passion are the sole ornaments, unless we except the arms of the old
lords of Sainte-Gemme, carved among the arches. When the castle was
besieged by the Protestants in the sixteenth century, the _châtelaine_
and her attendants betook themselves to the foot of the altar, where
they prayed with fervor while the lord of the place defended it
against the attacks of the enemy. A superhuman power seemed to aid
him. After a few days the siege was raised, and he came, with his
handful of brave followers, to ascribe the deliverance to Our Lady of
Pity. The chapel became celebrated, and so great at times was the
affluence of the pilgrims that services were held in the court of the
castle before an altar set up beneath a venerable elm. Every Friday,
in the good old times, the chaplain piously read the Passion according
to St. John in this chapel, and then sang on his knees the _Stabat
Mater_ with the verse,

  “Quando corpus morietur,
    Fac ut animæ donetur
     Paradisi gloria,”

to obtain a happy end for the dying.

In the middle of the sixteenth century Dominique de Cuilhens was
appointed chaplain of Sainte-Gemme. He was born in the vicinity—in the
old manor-house of Cuilhens, which falling into his possession in the
year 1569, he at once drew up a will in which he founded the little
hospital of St. Blaise for the poor, and bequeathed to the needy of
the parish the annual sum of forty-five livres, which the magistrates
of the place, who were the executors, continued to pay till 1789.

In 1648 the lord of Sainte-Gemme, about to join the royal army in
Catalonia, made a will, in which, in order to encourage morality in
the town, greatly weakened by the troubles of the times, he gave the
interest of a thousand livres, to be distributed annually by the
rector and consuls of the place to girls of irreproachable morals
about to marry—a legacy regularly paid till 1792.

The widow of his brother, Marie d’Antras, in her will ordered her body
to be buried in the sanctuary where the lords of Sainte-Gemme had been
buried since the ninth century, and left extensive domains for the
foundation and support of a chapel adjoining, to be served by three
chaplains, who were to say two requiem Masses a week for her soul, a
_De Profundis_ at the end of every Mass, and perform a funeral service
on the anniversary of her death. Moreover, the parishioners were to be
summoned by the ringing of the bell every Saturday at a late hour to
join in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin, which the three chaplains
were to say aloud, adding a _De Profundis_ in her memory. Out of these
domains were to be paid various legacies to relatives and domestics.
They were seized by the revolutionary government and never restored to
the church. The parish made an effort to save the legacy of the old
lord to poor girls of good morals, but in vain. The chapel of Our Lady
of Pity was also closed, and the government has never allowed it to be
reopened for public worship, except during Passion Week, when Mass is
still offered at the ancient altar and many come here to pray and
receive the Holy Eucharist.

There is another chapel of _Pitié_ near Puycasquier, the ancient
_Podium Asterii_—the height of Astier—an old town of the middle ages.
This is a votive chapel called _Notre Dame de Gaillan_, built to
commemorate the cessation of a pestilence that once raged in the
neighborhood, where on Whitmonday a dozen parishes around still come
in procession to hear Mass, deposit their offering, and place under
the protection of Mary their hopes for the coming harvests. It stands
a short distance from the town, hidden in a deep, narrow valley
between two streams, in the centre of a churchyard where lie whole
generations of the dead. It is a long, narrow chapel with arches of
the fourteenth century, not beautiful in style or ornament, but dear
to a grateful people, who come here in procession on the
twenty-seventh of April to fulfil the vow of their fathers when
delivered from the plague. One would think the benefit only of
yesterday, from the enthusiasm manifested when this day comes. The
bells ring out joyfully from the very dawn. All the men, women, and
children in the vicinity gather together, and, under the guidance of
their _curé_, proceed to _Notre Dame de Gaillan_, the glory of
Puycasquier, chanting the litany as they go. As soon as they reach the
edge of the hill, where they can look down on their beloved sanctuary,
they all fall on their knees and chant three times the invocation:
_Sancta Maria, Mater Pietatis, ora pro nobis!_ The _Libera_ is sung as
they pass through the graves in the churchyard, and the priest intones
the _Oremus_ when he comes to the door, and gives the absolution. Then
they enter the church with the joyful _Regina cœli, lætare_, as if
calling on the Virgin of Sorrows to rejoice over the resurrection of
her Son at a season when all nature rises to newness of life. There is
now a solemn pause of silent prayer. At eight o’clock precisely the
priest reverently takes down the miraculous Virgin from its niche, and
places it on a kind of trestle amid a profusion of flowers beneath a
rich canopy. The litany is begun, and four notables of the town carry
the statue to the churchyard gate, where it is received by four
ploughmen whose privilege alone it is to carry the Virgin on these
important occasions. Followed by the people in procession, accompanied
by the local authorities in official array, and frequently escorted by
the national guard under arms, they climb the heights of Puycasquier,
winding around the hill till they arrive at the opposite side of the
town, which they enter and proceed to the church, singing the martyrs’
hymn in honor of SS. Abdon and Sennen, the patrons of the parish—two
noble Persians, martyred in the early ages, who are honored in four
country churches at about equal distances from Auch, devotion to whom
became popular in France after their bodies were brought to Soissons
in the time of Louis le Débonnaire. The Virgin of Gaillan is thus
borne all around the parish, and then reinstated in her niche with

Among other usages peculiar to Puycasquier which have come down from
ancient times are two that are somewhat curious. On Easter Eve, at one
o’clock in the afternoon, the mayor and sub-mayor, in all the majesty
of their village consequence set off by their official regalia,
proceed in solemn state to the presbytery, accompanied by all the town
officers, the bells ringing, as is due, at a _haute volée_. The
_curé_, thus notified, stands ready to receive them in the wide-open
door. He invites them to enter, and hastens to present wine as a proof
of his hospitality, which is drunk to the peace and happiness of the
people under their rule. The two magistrates now pray the _curé_ to
accompany them to the church to sing the _Regina cœli_, and, placing
themselves at his side, they escort him through the crowd, which by
this time has assembled, to the holy place, where, in surplice and
stole and pluvial, he intones the Easter hymn, which is caught up by
the whole congregation. The _curé_ then places himself once more
between the powers that be and proceeds to the chapel of Gaillan,
followed by a crowd of all ages and conditions in holiday attire, full
of animation and joy, but not immoderate in their gayety. The _Libera_
and _Regina cœli_ are here chanted as on the twenty-seventh of April,
after which they return to the parish church to sing the latter a
third time at the Virgin’s altar. The day of the Resurrection thus
duly announced, the _curé_ is conducted by the mayor to the residence
of the latter, where the table is loaded with cakes of all kinds,
especially the _tourteau_[50] and _paëte_,[51] by no means
unacceptable to appetites sharpened by so long a walk in the fresh
mountain air. There is then an exchange of Gascon wit still more
savory, with which the festival ends.

Another custom no less ancient and peculiar is connected with the Mass
at Gaillan on St. Agatha’s day, which at least one member out of every
family in the parish attends, to implore a blessing on the fruits of
the earth. Before beginning the Holy Sacrifice, the _curé_ solemnly
blesses the loaves brought by his parishioners, and after the Mass is
over they cut them in pieces, and, going to their fields, bury them
here and there in the ground, setting up a little cross, often a mere
thornbush twisted into proper shape.

_Picasqué_, _petito bilo_, _gran clouqué_—Puycasquier, small town,
great belfry—is a proverbial expression associated with the town on
account of the fine old tower, visible all over the neighboring
country. It was fortunately spared when the place was ruined by the
Huguenots three centuries ago. Around its base are held great fairs
several times a year, the resort of all the people in the vicinity.

The baptistery of the parish church has a curious font of lead which
is very ancient—probably more than a thousand years old, from the
style. It is cylindrical in form and covered with bas-reliefs like the
lead font at Strassburg. There is a swan—emblem of the purity of the
soul after baptism. An archer stands ready to attack it as soon as it
issues from the regenerating waters, but the arrow he lets fly so
vigorously is received by a lion _passant_ in his shoulder, which
marches resolutely on, undisturbed by the evil adversary. It is the
Lion of the tribe of Judah, who saves the soul by his power and
bleeding wounds.

The votive chapel of _Notre Dame de la Croix_, at Marciac, is another
pious monument of Mary’s protection during a great pestilence. Over
the doorway is the following inscription:

  Marciacam cum dira lues subverteret urbem,
  Ipsamet hanc jussit mater sibi Virgo dicari
  Sub crucis auspiciis gnatique insignibus ædem.[52]

It is a pretty church, with an altar of jasper and tabernacle of white
marble, over which is the Mother of Sorrows holding the body of the
crucified Saviour. It was built at the repeated instances of a poor
woman, who was at first treated as visionary or mad, because she
asserted a divine mission for the cessation of the pestilence, which
had carried off eight hundred and four persons in a short time. Her
persevering piety was at length rewarded by the foundation of the
chapel and the deliverance of her townsmen from the plague, which is
to this day commemorated. Pope Innocent XI. encouraged the devotion to
_Notre Dame de la Croix_ by granting many privileges to those who went
there to pray and perform some good work.

There is a chapel of _Notre Dame de Pitié_ at Condom called the
_Piétat_, now belonging to the _Filles de Marie_, but formerly to the
Brothers of St. John of God, who served the sick. Near it is a
miraculous spring called the _Houn dou Teou_, where pilgrims go to ask
deliverance from their infirmities.

Near the historic _Château de Lavardens_ is the chapel of _Notre Dame
de Consolation_ in the woods, quiet and solitary, surrounded by
graves. The pensive and the sorrowful love to come here to pray
undisturbed before the simple altar of Mary, Consoler of the
Afflicted. It is one of the stations for the processions in Rogation
Week. It is the very place to implore peace for the soul—and to find

There is another _Notre Dame de Pitié_ at Aubiet, an obscure village
on the right bank of the Arrats, about twelve miles from Auch. The
houses are poorly built, the streets narrow and irregular, with
nothing remarkable but the fine tower of the ancient church. It never
was a place of much importance, except in a religious point of view,
and has never recovered from its almost entire destruction by the
Huguenots in the sixteenth century. In fact, it is only noteworthy for
its religious associations and picturesque situation on a hill
overlooking the fertile valley of the Arrats, which comes from
Mauvezin on the one side, and goes winding through a delicious
country, girt with vine-clad hills, towards Castelnau-Barbarens on the
other. Though small, the town is ancient, and figures under the name
of _Albinetum_ in the old legend of St. Taurin, who was martyred some
time in the fourth century in the Bois de la Verdale at the west of
the town—a spot now marked by a cross and an old mutilated bust of the
saint. A graveyard is near, where the villagers come to repose around
the place watered by the blood of the holy bishop who converted their
forefathers ages ago. How venerable the religious traditions of a
country which extend back to the first ages of Christianity, and how
good to pray at the tombs of those who lived so near the apostolic

Small as Aubiet has always been, it formerly had five churches—a proof
of the religious spirit that animated the people; but most of them
were destroyed by the Huguenots in the sixteenth century. Among these
was the parish church, in which was a chapel of the Five Wounds, built
and endowed by the father of Père de Mongaillard, the Jesuit annalist
of Gascony; and the church of St. Nicolas, where was established a
confraternity of Blue Penitents under the patronage of _Monsieur St.
Jerome_. Nor was the hospital connected with this church spared,
though the holy asylum of human miseries, where there were numerous
beds for the poor.

SS. Abdon and Sennen are venerated as the special patrons of the
place. Père de Mongaillard, who lived in the seventeenth century,
tells us that, in his day, the people called upon all the musicians of
the country around to contribute to the pomp of the festival of these
saints, on which solemn Mass and Vespers were sung and a procession
made through the town. The day always ended with a great repast and
public rejoicings. These customs have been perpetuated, more or less,
to this day.

The most remarkable church at Aubiet is that of _Notre Dame de Pitié_,
which dates from the year 1499. It was providentially spared by the
Huguenots and became the parish church. The people, mourning over so
many ruined sanctuaries, gathered with fresh devotion around the altar
of Our Lady of Pity, with whom they were brought into closer
companionship. This altar is still in great repute. The church has
recently been repaired, and in one of its windows is depicted St.
Taurin in pontifical robes with the martyr’s palm in his hand.

Father Mongaillard relates some curious customs connected with this
church. One of the altars was dedicated to St. Eutrope, where a
portion of his relics was enshrined and regarded with great
veneration. The people brought wine for the priest to plunge a relic
of the saint therein, and then carried it to the sick, especially to
those suffering from dropsy or violent colic, who often found relief—a
custom also common at Marciac, where there is a chapel to _Sent
Estropi_, crowded with people on the last of April. This devotion is
now discontinued. St. Eutrope of Saintes was one of the early apostles
of the country. Notker, a monk of St. Gall, says he was consecrated
bishop and sent into Gaul by St. Clement, the successor of the

Another singular custom at Aubiet was that of the boys of the place,
who always assembled around the high altar to hear Mass, and the
instant the priest elevated the Host cried repeatedly, in a loud
voice: “_Segnour Diou, misericordie!_”—Mercy, O Lord God!—so that
their exclamations, as discordant as they were singular, could be
heard by the passers-by, and produced a profound impression on their

The same father relates another practice in this church. When a child
was brought for baptism, the priest poured the regenerating waters on
its head three times, and the largest bell was rung to announce the
event to the whole parish and admonish the people to pray for the new
lamb of Christ’s flock. If a boy, the bell was struck nine times, very
nearly as for the Angelus; if a girl, six times were thought
sufficient. And when it sounded, every one within hearing cried
heartily: “God bless thee!”

Aubiet formerly had many clergy, and religious services were conducted
with a splendor scarcely to be found now in the largest cathedrals.
This was principally owing to a celebrated confraternity of the
Blessed Sacrament, which was organized in 1526 by Cardinal
Clermont-Lodève, archbishop of Auch, at the request of eighteen
priests of the town, who, with uncovered heads and robed in their
surplices, presented themselves for the purpose before that prelate
when he came to make his pastoral visit. The act of foundation still
exists. Every Thursday a solemn Mass was to be sung with deacon and
sub-deacon in honor of _Corpus Domini_, and on the first Thursday of
every month the Blessed Sacrament was to be carried in procession
around the church of _Notre Dame de Pitié_.

This institution became very popular, for it was an outburst of faith,
love, and reparation; and numerous legacies and foundations were made
all through that century for its support by people of every condition.
One of the priests, foremost in founding the confraternity, was the
first to show his pious liberality. This was Jehan Jourdan, the elder,
a venerable old man, who, in 1626, appeared before the assembled
clergy of the place and begged them to accept, out of his devotion to
the Holy Eucharist, the sum of two hundred and twenty crowns, that
Mass might be offered in perpetuity at the altar of Our Lady of Pity
for the welfare of the donor and his relatives during their lives and
the repose of their souls after death.

This same Jehan, the elder, in his last will and testament, likewise
founded seven votive Masses on every Friday in the year—one in honor
of God the Father; another of the Holy Ghost; the third, of the Holy
Trinity; the fourth, of _Notre Dame de Pitié_; the fifth, of St.
Joseph; the sixth, for the dead; the seventh, in honor of the Holy
Name of Jesus. The latter was to be sung with deacon and sub-deacon.
All the chaplains were to assist devoutly at its celebration, and if
any one failed to attend he was obliged to pay a fine of olive-oil for
the lamps. No one was to be appointed chaplain unless a native of the
place and _doctus in musicâ, et non aliter_.

Another remarkable foundation is still to be seen in an old Latin will
of a notary at Aubiet. He requests to be buried before St. Peter’s
altar in the church of Our Lady of Charity (as it was sometimes
called). Among his curious legacies are nine _sous_ for nine requiem
Masses for his soul, showing what was the customary fee in those days.
He also founds a solemn Mass of requiem at St. Peter’s altar every
Wednesday, for himself and all his relatives who have died in a state
of grace, for which purpose he bequeaths various lands.

Pierre Lacroix, in a will of the sixteenth century also, leaves a
certain sum for his funeral expenses. Six torches are to burn around
his bier, and eighty priests were invited to aid in the service. They
are to have bodily refreshments: _habeant refectionem corporalem_. On
the ninth day after his death all the priests of Aubiet are to
assemble to pray for his soul. They are to receive _duas duplas_—two
doubles—but no refreshments. At the end of the month the eighty
priests are again to be invited, who are to sing Mass for his soul;
six torches, of half a pound each, to burn meanwhile. They are to be
provided with bodily refreshments. At the end of the year the eighty
are again to be summoned, and this time they are to have eight liards
each _pro labore et pœna_, but nothing to refresh the body.

The lord of Beaupuy, who during his life always had three Masses a
week celebrated, leaves at his death a legacy of seven and a half
sacks of wheat a year from his lands at St. Mézard, with one-third of
the produce of the vineyards, to be delivered to two priests, each of
whom is to say one Mass a week for his soul.

Jehan Cavaré, a man of considerable distinction at Aubiet, makes
several rich bequests and foundations to the different chapels of the
place. At his funeral two wax torches of half a pound each are to
burn. To the attendant priests _qui cantabunt_ he gives three
_doubles_ and no bodily refection. If they do not sing, nothing is to
be given them.

One hundred poor are to be fed on Good Friday with a loaf, wine, and
_one sardine_ each. The same obligation is imposed at All Saints, but
this time there is no mention of the sardine.

Thirty crowns are to be given to two girls of irreproachable morals at
Aubiet on the day of their marriage; and a woollen gown, all made, is
to be given to twelve widows or poor single women of Mauvezin.

“Moved,” as he says, “by the grace of God and love for the church of
_Notre Dame de la Charité_,” he also founds seven Masses a week in
perpetuity in the chapel of the Blessed Sebastian, martyr. He also
founds seven other daily Masses—one of them on Saturday, _de lacrymâ
Christi_, in honor of the Holy Tears of Christ. For all these services
he leaves numerous lands and revenues.

These and many other foundations, extraordinary for a small country
village, express the reaction against the innovations of the age, and
are remarkable proofs of the deep faith and piety of the people. And
they are only examples of similar cases throughout the country, the
records of which it does the heart good to ponder over. How pious are
the formulas with which such bequests are made: _In remissionem
peccatorum suorum—Pro remedio animæ suæ et animarum parentum suorum,
et aliorum pro quibus deprecare tenetur_, etc. Everywhere they express
devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and to some saint in particular, as
well as to all the inhabitants of the heavenly country in general.
This was in accordance with the traditions of the country, where the
heart naturally turns to Jesus in the arms of Our Lady of Pity at the
awful moment of death. St. Bertrand of Comminges, when his end drew
near, had himself transported to the chapel of the Virgin and breathed
out his soul at the foot of her altar. Bernard de Sariac, a
distinguished bishop of Aire, founded on his death-bed a chapel in
honor of _Notre Dame de Pitié_. The old lords of the country show, by
the solemnity of their last bequests, their faith in Mary’s powerful
assistance at the supreme hour of death. William, Count of Astarac, in
his legacy to _Notre Dame de Simorre_ in 940, says: “Inspired by God
and the hope of Paradise, and in order to increase my reward in the
day of judgment, I give the most holy Virgin the following lands in
Astarac.” Raymond de Lavedan, in 1253, left this clause in his will:
“I give my land to St. Mary with all it bears towards heaven and
contains in its depths.” There are a thousand similar examples of
illustrious barons of the olden times whose tombstones in the Virgin’s
chapel in many instances remain an enduring testimony of their
devotion to Mary, though the building itself is demolished.

The confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament at Aubiet only admitted
thirteen of the most notable persons of the town. Among other
obligations, they had to accompany the Holy Eucharist when carried to
any of the members who were ill, bare-headed, wearing surplices, and
bearing lighted torches in their hands; to assemble in like robes on
the first Thursday of every month; to follow the divine Host in
procession; and every Thursday to attend a Mass of the _Corpus Domini_
under the penalty of a fine. One peculiarity of this Mass was the
_Kyrie Eleison_, which they sang with a thousand modulations:

     KYRIE, _Pater æterne, fontana Deitas, ex quo manant flumina
     rerum_, ELEISON![53]

     KYRIE, _fons co-æternæ lucis et claritas, lucem formans
     primo dierum_, ELEISON![54]

     KYRIE, _fons superne, redundant bonitas, panem mittens de
     cœlo verum_, ELEISON![55]

     CHRISTE, _lucis fons, lux de luce prodiens; Dei pinguis
     mons, quo pascente vivit esuriens et impletur pane vivente_,

     CHRISTE, _cordium via, vita, veritas; cibus mentium, in quo
     sistit summa suavitas et satietas consistit_, ELEISON!

     CHRISTE, _sumptio tui sacri corporis est refectio vires
     præbens immensi roboris, et molesta salutis demens_,

     KYRIE, _decus amborum, Patris Natique, et duorum non duplex
     Spiritus; quo spirante lux datur morum_, ELEISON![57]

     KYRIE, _qui veritatis lumen es diffusum gratis, dictus
     Paraclitus, dans solamen his desolaris_, ELEISON!

     KYRIE, _sana palatum, quo gustamus panem gratum et missum
     cœlitus, in Marid per te formatum_, ELEISON![58]

This is an example of the _tropus_ or _farcius_, so common in the
middle ages, which is a paraphrase or extension of the liturgy by
inserting additional words between the important parts—as at the
_Gloria in Excelsis_, the _Sanctus_, the _Agnus Dei_, etc.—the word
_farsus_, _farcius_, or _farcitus_, as it was differently written by
the monks of the middle ages, being derived from the Latin _farcire_,
used by Pliny the naturalist, Apicius, and Cato the agriculturist, in
the sense of filling, distending, enriching. Pope Adrian II. is said
to have instituted these _farci_ to be sung in monasteries on solemn
festivals. They were the _festivæ laudes_ of the Romans. Others
attribute them to the Greek church. These _farci_ were of three kinds
in France: the usual liturgy being expanded by inserting additional
words in Latin; or the text was Greek and the paraphrase in old
French; or, again, the latter was in the vulgar tongue of Oil and Oc.
These paraphrases in the vulgar tongue became popular, not only in
France, but in England and Germany. From them was derived the
proverbial expression, _Se farcir de Grec et de Latin_—that is, to
have the head full. These _tropes_ or _farcies_ of mixed French and
Latin are still very common in southwestern France, especially in the
popular Noëls, which are often rude lines in _patois_ alternate with
Latin, after the following style:

  Born in a manger
    _Ex Mariâ Virgine_,
  On the chilly straw
    _Absque tegumine_.

It is not surprising that, with daily High Masses and a perpetual
round of imposing services, the people of Aubiet should feel the
change when the place became impoverished, the number of priests
diminished, and most of the churches destroyed at the invasion of the
Huguenots. We are told that when the vicar was unable to sing High
Mass on the festival of St. John the Baptist in 1623, there was
universal murmuring, and the magistrates drew up a solemn protest
against so unheard-of a scandal, which document is still extant.[59]

But the church of _Notre Dame de Pitié_, although profaned, was left
standing. The admirable confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament soon
revived, and with it many of the former solemnities. Père de
Mongaillard tells us the _Kyrie eleison farci_ was still chanted in
his time.

We find a similar confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament at Touget,
another village of Gascony, which suffered horribly from the religious
wars. It was for a long time in possession of the Huguenots, who
abolished the Catholic religion and ruined the churches. To repair
these profanations the association was established, the statutes of
which are still extant in the Gascon tongue. By these we learn that
there were nine chaplains in honor of the nine choirs of angels;
twelve laymen in honor of the twelve apostles; seventy-two other lay
members in memory of the seventy-two disciples (husband and wife being
counted as one); and seven pious widows in honor of the seven Dolors
of the Blessed Virgin. They were all to be natives of the place, but
“no ruffian, renegade, public usurer, or vicious person admitted among
them.” Every Thursday all the members were to attend High Mass in the
parish church, robed in their surplices. They were to accompany the
Host in solemn procession through the village, at stated times, tapers
in hand; sing the Office of the Dead before the door of any deceased
member, and attend the requiem Mass for his soul. These and various
other pious obligations were encouraged by the bishop of Lombez, who
granted certain indulgences of _vray perdon_, especially on the
festivals of St. Germain, St. George, St. Vincent, and St. Fritz,
whose relics were honored in the church.

Such is the spirit of love, sorrow, and reparation which perfumes a
few of the countless chapels of Our Lady of Pity in southwestern
France, where so many hearts have forgotten their own grief before
that of Mary! In all these sanctuaries, wan and desolate, she seems to
plead for the nation. So pleads she all over the earth. Every mystery
of religion is perpetuated in the church. Christ is always crucified
somewhere on the earth. Mary is always sorrowing over his bleeding

We have seen her weeping over the door of many a tabernacle in Italy,
as if over the Saviour wounded anew in the sacrament of his love. Who
can turn away from the affecting appeal in this day of profanations in
that unhappy land, where the very angels of the church veil their
faces before the agony of the divine Sufferer—before Mary’s woes?…
Around the altar sacred to her grief let us echo the ancient _Planh_
referred to at the beginning of this article:

     “I conceived thee without corruption; to-day my heart is
     broken with grief: thy Nativity was exempt from all
     suffering; now is the day of my travail—

     “Alas! my Son, on account of thy torments!

     “When thou wert born the shepherds came singing with joy,
     dancing to the sound of their pipes; now traitorous and
     cruel Jews come to seize thee with horns and cries, staves
     and swords.

     “Alas! my Son, loving and beautiful.”

     _Ay filh! amaros e bel!_

     [48] “Woe on woe! grief on grief! Heaven and earth have lost
          their lord, and I my son; the sun its clearness; Jews
          have slain him, to their great dishonor. Alas! my son,
          what mortal grief!”

         Say, say an orison
         To the Virgin of the Garaison,
     Ye who in this spot solace seek from pain,
               Pilgrims so good,
               ’Neath sorrows bowed,
     That your hearts may open up to hope again.
               Here while you stay,
               Say with love, say,
         Oh! say an orison
         To the Virgin of the Garaison.

     [50] The _tourteau_ is a round cake with a hole in the
          centre, made particularly for Palm Sunday.

     [51]  The _paëte_ is a kind of biscuit for the Pascal

     [52] When a dire pestilence came nigh destroying the city of
          Marciac, the Virgin Mother herself commanded this
          temple to be dedicated to her under the powerful
          protection of the cross and of her Son.

     [53] O Lord, Father eternal, Fountain of the Deity, whence
          flow all things, have mercy!

     [54] O Lord, Fount and clearness of co-eternal light, who
          didst make light on the first of days, have mercy!

     [55] O Lord, Fount supernal, goodness overflowing, sending
          down true bread from heaven, have mercy!

     [56] O Christ, Fountain of light, light from light
          proceeding; fruitful mount of God, on which feeding the
          hungry liveth and is filled with living bread, have

     [57] O Christ, the way, the life, the truth of hearts; the
          food of minds, wherein abides the sweetest sweetness
          and fulness is contained, have mercy!

          O Christ, the taking of thy sacred Body is a
          refreshment, giving mighty strength, and removing every
          obstacle to salvation—have mercy!

          O Lord, the beauty of both, of the Father and the Son,
          and the spirit of each, yet not twofold, by whose
          breath the light of all right things is given, have

     [58] O Lord, who art the light of truth, freely spread
          abroad, thou who art called the Paraclete, giving
          consolation to those who are desolate, have mercy!

          O Lord, purify our taste, that so we may enjoy the
          gracious bread sent down from heaven, formed by thee in
          Mary’s womb—have mercy!

     [59] “In the year 1623, and the 24th of June, in the town of
          Aubiet in Armagnac, in front of the parish church of
          said place, before noon, in the reign of the most
          Christian prince, Louis, by the grace of God King of
          France and Navarre, appeared before me the undersigned
          royal notary, and in presence of the witnesses whose
          names are hereunto affixed, Messrs. Jehan Gaillan,
          Jehan LaMothe, Jehan Gelotte, and Caillard Mailhos,
          consuls of said Aubiet, and Jehan Belloc, syndic, who,
          speaking and addressing his words to M. Jehan Castanet,
          priest and vicar of said church of Aubiet, represented
          to him, for want of a rector in said Aubiet, that from
          all time and all antiquity it had been the custom to
          celebrate in the parish church High Mass with deacon
          and sub-deacon on solemn days like the present; and
          whereas, because there was no one to aid him in
          performing the office, the divine service was omitted,
          the said consuls and syndic protest against the said
          Castanet, vicar aforesaid, etc.

          “The said Castanet affirmed that he did everything in
          his power, but had no one to aid him.”





We have adverted to the indirect government of the creation by God—to
the government which he condescends to administer first through the
primary laws which he has stamped upon the universe; and, secondly,
through the moral and physical activity with which he has endowed

We are making vast and rapid strides in this day towards discovering
and unravelling these primary laws. At the present moment we seem to
have got ourselves somewhat into a tangle of knowledge, which
threatens to asphyxiate us with the overpowering perfume of its lavish
blossoms, like that of the exuberant growth of the tropical flora.

We are caught as in the meshes of a net, and are hardly allowed time
to solve one problem and satisfy ourselves with a conclusion before
some new tendril of the ever-growing parasite has flung another
flowering coil of verdure around us and arrested our steps once more.
We have come upon the time long ago predicted by the Archangel Michael
to the prophet Daniel: “_Plurimi transibunt, et multiplex erit
scientia_.”[60] We are dazzled and bewildered; and some timid souls
are like ostriches, which hide their heads in the sand, preferring not
to see and know, and hoping that their ignorance and the ignorance of
the multitude generally will serve as a dam to the coming flood, and
leave us freed from a torrent of questions which, if once they are
there, must be answered. It is to be regretted that these persons
cannot learn to possess their souls in patience, and to watch calmly
and intelligently the progress of this gigantic growth of science,
assured that it will all arrange and classify itself in time, in
perfect harmony with what they know to be true and enduring, and which
they so dishonor by their apprehensions.

However, since this is too much to expect of many, there is nothing
for it but to allow such people to keep themselves in peace in the way
that suits them best; only not permitting them to discourage others
from investigation and reverent inquiry. St. Thomas tells us that the
end of all science is contained within the end of all theology and is
subservient to it. Theology, therefore, ought to command all other
sciences and turn to its use those things of which they treat. But we
shall not arrive at this virile steadfastness until the real study of
theology has become more general. There is very little in our modern
education or habits of thought to teach that calm gaze into the depths
of the divine mysteries which imparts such strength of mental vision
that the soul ceases to be dazzled by the false light of falling
stars. The robust vigor of the studious habits of old has ceased from
among us, and the modern mind is attenuated and enfeebled by a vast
variety of subjects indifferently explored, many of them received on
trust and without inquiry, and all smoothed down to one dead-level of
superficial thought and inadequate expression. Not that for a moment
we would imply that mere habits of study are all that is needed. These
habits may exist, and do exist to a great extent; but the silence and
the solitude do not exist, and the studies themselves have long ago
ceased to be of a nature to clear the mind for the gradual, patient,
interiorly-evolved contemplation of the eternal truths which lie at
the bottom of all things. The old scholastic philosophy and theology
laid the only real foundation of all speculative knowledge, and built
for us, for all future time, that solid fabric of theological truth in
the received and authorized teaching of the great doctors of the
church which, like a mighty magnet attracting to itself strong bars of
iron, will draw within its own embrace all other truth and all other
science, because “the end of science is _within the end of theology_.”
Meanwhile, if we would not find ourselves swamped in the torrent of
surmises, partial discoveries, inverted reasonings, and unreverential
decisions, we must go back to the spirit and method of the ages which
produced the deeply metaphysical thinkers and theological writers of
old. The flood of events pours on, and the concussion of each tears
through our daily life and ploughs up the hours and the days in
hurried disorder, leaving no time for seed to develop in the fallow
soil, for the green blade to strengthen and the harvest to ripen.
Modern inventions speed the latest intelligence into the innermost
recesses of our homes, and we live like people in a house without
doors or windows, open to every blast; while the age, whose needs seem
most to call for contemplative recluses, on the contrary stamps
contemplation out of the heart of man, and substitutes the paramount
necessity for outward activity. There is no solace, there is no rest,
but in prayer. There is no consolation but in cultivating thought in
the hidden recesses of our minds, and, amid the racket of life, to go
deep down into the silent caverns of our souls and dwell in an inner
solitude with thoughts of eternal truth. The tendencies of the age
have added a new difficulty to the treatment of many of the questions
more or less inextricably mixed up with any largely philosophical
views of the union of science with divine truth.

We have perverted our language because thought, of which language is
the clothing, is perverted. We dare not handle questions that in
themselves are pure, because we have allowed necessary words to
represent unnecessary indelicacy. No word that expresses a necessary
fact is in itself evil; but woe to the imagination which makes it so!
Purity is always dignified. But if you take the white roses of
innocence to crown a wanton, white roses will fall into disrepute; and
this is what we have done with language. Words no longer only mean the
thing they represent. They have been made to insinuate the foul
underflow of evil fancy that corruption has poured forth. How shall we
cleanse the source, that we may once more use language of strength and
purity? How shall we again become manly and brave, and yet avoid the
charge of being coarse and too outspoken? Only by going back to the
noble candor of the great thinkers of old, and by trying to see things
as they are in the mind of God, and not as they are in fallen man; by
looking at the laws of creation as they came from the hands of the
Creator, before man had written his running commentary of evil and
sin, and thus defiled the glorious page. There are two forms of
purity. The one is the purity of ignorance. The intellect that knows
nothing of the species cannot predicate the accidents; and no doubt
blank ignorance is better than an evil imagination. But there is
another and a higher purity; it is the purity of an informed mind
which, from the sublime heights of science, or, better far, from the
depths of union with God in the all-pervading sense of his presence,
has acquired that faculty of viewing subject-matter in the abstract
which leaves no association of imagination or fancy to drag it down
into the lower nature and so defile it. The more truly scientific a
mind becomes, the more will it inhabit those cool, serene heights of
passionless intellect. But the first, the truest, the absolutely sure
science of theology is the one royal road to the habit of mind which
can, as it were, stand outside its lower nature and contemplate facts
and truths in their essential nature, divested of human contact or
defilement; or, where both must be recognized, can eliminate the law
from its abuse, and trace back the former to the bosom of the Creator;
for “to the pure all things are pure.” This seems to be the faculty
which is more and more dying out amongst us.

It is probable that some of the hurry and absence of precision and of
tenacious research which characterize the modern form of mind may be
the natural result of the sudden rush of new discoveries which have
taken us, as it were, by surprise and carried us off our feet. By
degrees it is probable we shall, as a race, accept the changes in our
condition, and shall become gradually adapted to the varied forms of
life imposed upon us by the vast and multiplied combinations which
every day are extending our power over the external world and opening
new paths for activity and enterprise. Doubtless this power will
increase rather than diminish, and at the same time take less hold
upon us in a revolutionary way, and we shall lose some of that flurry
and excitement which now characterize us—much in the way that the
young colt of a week old starts no more than does the old mare when
the engine rushes down the railway that skirts the field; and yet when
railways first began both were alike alarmed.

But for the present we have lost much of our original moral and
intellectual dignity. Upon such questions as interest us we are
excited and flurried. Those which we do not affect to understand we
cannot seriously listen to; and between the bustling activity of the
first and the listless frivolity of the last it is not an easy task to
bring forward old truths with new faces, old facts with a fresh moral,
lest those who listen should persist in viewing the question from the
wrong side, and in taking scandal where no scandal was meant.

We have set ourselves the task of investigating the chief attributes
of God’s government of creation and its uniformity of design in
complexity of action. To do this we must condescend to the primary and
natural law which he imposed on our world when he called it out of
chaos; and we must endeavor to explain what were the special
characteristics of that law, and what light it throws upon the
attributes of Him who gave it.

The three chief characteristics which we discover in the government of
creation are abundance, patience or longanimity, and progression. The
first command which the Creator uttered over the first recorded living
and moving creatures of his hand was, “Increase and multiply.” This
was the initial law of all that we see and know in the external world;
and as no temporal law or material condition exists in God’s creation
without its spiritual intention and inner meaning, this law is typical
of what is beyond sight and belongs to the domain of faith. In
attempting to define that command we find it conveys an impression,
wider than the heavens and more diffused than the ambient air, of
generosity, benevolence, and paternity. It is the law of “our Father
who is heaven.” It beams upon us like the genial warmth of the
noontide sun. It shadows us like the stretching boughs of a large
forest perfumed with the dews of earth. It was spoken first to the
products of the water and the denizens of the air; and again it was
spoken over the two first beings created “after His own image and

Wherever there is life, even life in its lowest form—and so low that
science hesitates to pronounce upon it as being life, and stands
uncertain how to designate evident growth without equally evident
life, like the unintelligent but absolutely accurate formation of
crystals—there too the law reigns of “increase and multiply.”

Attraction and affinity declare the law, and carry it on, while
repulsion is but the inverse of the same; and though, for aught we
know, and judging by induction, there is not one molecule added on our
earth to the original chaotic matter, and all reproductions are
composed of the same elements passing through varied forms and phases,
nevertheless the same impulse governs all living things and everywhere
represents the large, lavish benevolence of the God of life.

The animal creation is the unreasoning and innocent embodiment of the
natural law, and carries out its mandates unconscious of the why and
the wherefore; whereas in fallen man the natural law has overlapped
the moral law, and the latter has become warped by the pressure of the
former, making all things discordant. As abundance is one of the
characteristics of the natural law, so the modes and forms of its
execution lie at the very root of all creation. The Spirit of God, the
brooding Dove, moved over the face of the waters. The same image of
incubation and consequently of imparted heat (motion and heat being
allied as reciprocal cause and effect), was in the mind of the old
Egyptians when they carved a winged world amongst their mystic signs.
So sacred, so holy, so full of deep-hidden meaning was the idea as it
lay from all eternity in the divine Mind, that it was through the four
thousand historic years which preceded the birth of the God-Man the
mode through which God taught the chosen people to expect the
Redeemer. It became the hope of every maiden to form one link in the
long chain which was to lead up to the Messiah. It sanctified all the
ties of domestic life and made them less a necessity than a high moral

So universal was the sentiment that many, in the tenacity of their
desire to carry on the holy tradition, and too earthly to perceive the
sin of doing wrong that good might come, thrust aside the law of
conscience rather than fail in what weighed upon them as an
overwhelming necessity—to continue the natural line—that perhaps they,
too, might form one of those from whose loins should spring the
Saviour of the world. It was thus that a dignity was imparted to
natural ties which surpassed among the Israelites the same sentiment
among the Gentiles, but which was but a foreshadowing of their sacred
and sacramental state in the church of God.

“Wisdom is justified by her children”; and all that God has ordained
must reach its ultimate perfection in his church before it can pass
into another phase. “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle
shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled.”[61]

As all things in creation are by and for him, as all culminate in him,
so when the prophecies were accomplished, and Mary, the immaculate and
virgin daughter of the House of David, had, through the operations of
the Holy Ghost, become the Mother of God—the law “increase and
multiply” having thus ascended to its mystical fulfilment and ultimate
development—so from henceforth did it confer a new and more holy
character on natural ties by consecrating them as the type and image,
of what is spiritual.

The one end in view had survived through all, despite man’s ignorance,
infirmity, and sin; and that end once attained, the sinless Mother
clasping to her bosom the Infant God who was from all eternity in the
bosom of the Father, from that moment all that was human had a new and
divine element in it. All creation, all life, all we have and are,
became in a special way “holy to the Lord.” “Know ye not that ye are
the temple of God? If any man violate the temple of God, him will God
destroy. All things are yours, the world, or life, or death, or things
present, or things to come: all are yours: and ye are Christ’s, and
Christ is God’s.”[62]

Through long centuries man had failed to comprehend even while he felt
the underlying mystery of creation. He looked on the fair fields of
nature with undiscerning eyes. He hardly guessed at the enigma of the
outer world as leading upwards to something nobler; and therefore he
dragged the image of God down into the mire of his own existence. He
even sought the Deity in what was below himself, worshipping, not men
and heroes, but beasts and creeping things; because, being dominated
by the idea of the great and all-pervading force of the laws of life
and nature, the lower creation presented a more simple and abstract
image of their potency. The idea of the principle of life haunted him
like a dark and perplexing riddle. Its magnitude weighed upon him. Its
universality perplexed him. He had not the light of truth in its
plenitude to illumine the dark places of the earth. He could only make
guesses at the typical meaning of creation; and as the whirr of life
rushed ceaselessly around him without bringing any answer to his
questionings, it became a relief to embody the idea which obseded him
in the obscurity of inarticulate being, as affording, if not some
solution, at least an absolutely simple and vulgar manifestation of
the great fact, until the very scarabei became sacred; and with
inverted moral sense, in lieu of seeking for transcendent and pellucid
truth in what was above him, he dug down into the very miseries of his
own degradation in his attempt to describe the incomprehensible, and
that to a degree which we cannot pollute these pages by expressing.

Thus had man covered over with the veil of his iniquities and the
thick darkness of his ignorance all the sanctities of life, until the
church of God revealed to him that Christ is the head of the church,
as the husband is the head of the wife, and placed matrimony among the
sacraments; because as a sacrament only is it holy to the Lord, and
because, as a sacrament, it is typical of that highest and most divine
union of Christ with his church—that union which is her strength, her
inviolability, her guarantee, and her ever-enduring and indisputable

How little did poor fallen humanity dream of the sanctity and dignity
of common life until the church turned the full light of revelation on
the laws of our being and taught us what those laws prefigured in the
Eternal Mind! It is not until St. Paul wrote by inspiration that
astonishing chapter to the Ephesians that the laws of being were
really less awful in their hidden sanctity. They were never in
themselves mean, miserable, and degraded. It is true the state of
matrimony only foreshadowed a sacrament; for under the old law there
were no sacraments in the specific sense in which we now use the term
in the Catholic Church. It was holy under the old law, and it may be
said to have had a sacramental character; and that character was the
anticipation of what it was to become when it should be raised into
one of the seven sacraments of the church, and the type of Christ as
head of the church. But at that time mankind was still in darkness.
Humanity could not earlier review the expression of the mystery. Only
the Gospel could open their eyes to the full understanding of the
sacramental principle which alone makes life holy, and, O sorrowing,
suffering hearts! which alone to you can make it endurable.[64]

See how the beneficent thought of God has touched all our common lot!
See what flowers blossom amid the thorns, what gems of light sparkle
in the dark ways of life, ennobling all, beautifying because
sanctifying all, and enabling us, while the heavy burden of sorrow,
disappointment, regrets, and even ruined hope, may seem to take all
the color out of life, and to send us back to a treadmill existence
and a gray, despairing twilight, to realize that nothing can alter the
fact that we are holy to the Lord, and that in our daily, hourly lot,
as husbands, wives, sons, daughters, masters, and servants, we are
carrying on the ceaseless weaving of that web of sacred typical life
which has from all eternity been in the mind of God as the law of our
natural being, and in one form or another envelops, like the husks of
the sweet nut, the gradually-ripening sanctity of those who, even in
this life, are to touch on perfect union with their Creator.

Can any one seriously doubt that, if a greater and more hallowed
veneration for the laws of our natural existence became more general
and more intense, they would, in their typical and sacramental
character, develop further heights of holiness—not as the exceptional
ways of a few miraculous saints, but as the table-land of all
humanity? As it was the hardness of heart in the Israelites which
compelled Moses to give a law of divorce, so may it not be our
hardness of heart, lessened indeed, but not yet melted, which leaves
us so often such mere commonplace appreciation of natural ties, and
thus fails to realize in them all that they possess and can yield?

Jesus is our father, our brother, our friend, our master, and our
spouse. These titles are taken from our common life. But the abstract
idea which these titles express by subdivision and restriction dwelt
for ever in the mind of God as the form and fashion he would give to
human life in his foreknowledge of the divine Incarnation, for which
end _solely_ do all things exist. What further thoughts can we need to
make us tender over our own duties and our own condition? What a noble
origin there is to all that we are apt to look upon as an encumbrance,
a failure, a mere unfortunate accident! Our ties enchain us; then let
us hug our chains, and find in wearing them “the freedom wherewith
Christ has made us free.” All our life is a God-directed education of
our souls; and the fashion of our human life is the mould which God
has prepared for us each as individuals, save always where there is
sin or its proximate occasion, or where a higher vocation—that sublime
infringement of the common law—comes to impel the soul to forsake all
and follow the divine Spouse. Then all else melts before the furnace
of divine love; the intermediate, ordinary steps which lead others to
God through the sanctities of common life are cleared at one bound,
and God puts in his claim to do what he will with his own.

To resume all in a few words: all we see around us, from the soil
beneath our feet, through the vegetable and animal worlds, even to
ourselves, is the working out of the first law of increase and
multiply. Consequently, this being, as we have already said, the
representative idea of the creation, its sacredness lies in that very
fact, and dates not merely from the new dispensation nor from the old,
but from the Eternal Mind before creation was. We have arrived at the
facts which prove this representative idea by the aid of natural
science, of which the old spiritual writers knew next to nothing, and
who consequently, looking at nature through the black mists of man’s
defilement, sometimes took distorted views of laws and facts the
exquisite harmony of which come out in the deductions of modern
research, and so establish the claim we are now making to the absolute
beauty and sanctity of all the fashion of human existence as leading
up by typical forms to spiritual truths. The witness of this like a
golden thread in the dim web of patriarchal times may be found in the
fact that it was the eldest son who officiated as the priest of the
family, thus blending the natural and spiritual by making the former
the basis of the latter. This was the reason of the envy and malice of
Joseph’s brethren. He was not the first-born; and yet it was for him
that his father made the sacerdotal coat of many colors. Therefore did
they dip the coat in the blood of a kid, as in mockery of his
sacerdotal character, given him by his father, but not acknowledged by
his brethren.

Little did they dream that while, in the full exercise of their own
free-will, they gave license to their thoughts of hatred, they were
enacting as in a type the one great fact of the universe, the world’s
one important history, the tragedy of all creation, when he who,
though in his human nature he is the younger born of God’s children,
holds, and for ever shall hold, sacerdotal rank over the elder and
fallen Adam.

They who said, “See whether it be thy son’s coat or not,”[65] were the
forefathers of those who exclaimed, “Let Christ the king of Israel
come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.”[66] They
mocked at the father who claimed to have made his younger son the
priest of his house, and their descendants declared of the great
Priest of our race that “he ought to die because he made himself the
Son of God.” In both cases their pretensions were turned into ridicule
and treated as a crime. They dipped the sacerdotal coat of Joseph in
the blood of a kid; but the great High-Priest they covered with his
own blood, in derision of his claim to be their King and their God.
And through it all, through the good and the evil, the adaptive
government of God worked out his ultimate designs, turning the
wickedness of men to his own glory and hiding the secrets of his
providence beneath the course of events, the incidents of common life,
the history of a people, of a tribe, of a family. We look back on the
long-drawn-out story and understand somewhat of the underlying
mystery. But while it was going on it was but little even guessed at.
God is unchangeable, the same for ever and ever. What he did then does
he not do now?—for his church, his bride, above all, but also for all
humanity, all the wide universe according to its measure, as it can
bear it, when it can receive it; leading on by degrees so slow that to
us they seem almost imperceptible, but which widen and spread like the
rings on the surface of the water when a stone has been flung into its

Our range of vision is so narrow, and our knowledge of even the past
so limited and so full of inaccuracies, that we can do little more
than guess at the manifold unrolling of the divine intentions. We know
enough to fill us with hope as to the ultimate destination of all
creation, and of ourselves as the children of God. We know not the
future, save faintly as faith reveals it. Even of the past we know but
dimly and in broken lines. To one only of the children of men, so far
as the Holy Scripture informs us, was the past fully and entirely made
known, so far as that was possible to a mortal man supernaturally
sustained to bear it. How many in the hallowed, bold, and rash moments
of inarticulate prayer have ventured in their lesser degree to say
with Moses, “Show me thy glory”! As the thought grows upon us of God’s
wonderful ways and of his unutterable love and beneficence, we too
long to know with certain knowledge something of that Glory which the
great lawgiver intuitively felt would be at once the knowledge of all
and the consummation of every desire. “Show me thy glory.” Hear the
answer: “Thou canst not see my face: for man shall not see me, and
live. Thou shalt stand upon the rock. And when my glory shall pass, I
will set thee in a hole in the rock, and thou shalt see my back parts:
but my face thou canst not see.”[67] And thus Moses saw the back parts
of Him who is from all eternity, through the aperture of time. He had
revealed to him the far-off intention of creation. He looked back, in
God, to the time before time “when he had not yet made the earth, nor
the rivers, nor the poles of the world; when Wisdom was with him
forming all things, playing before him at all times, playing in the
world, and whose delights were to be with the children of men.”[68]
The back parts were beheld by him, and even this he could not have
endured in his feeble flesh had not the Eternal “right hand protected
him.” All that the past could teach him in the flash of one moment was
then made known to him. What floods of light, knowledge, and divine
hope and expectation must that wonderful backward view have imparted
to Moses, the man singled out of all mankind to read the past! But
even with the strength which knowledge such as that must have
conferred upon him, still he could not see the face of God and live.
We are using weak human words, because they alone are given us. It was
the forward look of God which Moses could not see and live. It was the
unutterable Glory that is prepared for us in the future, with and
through Jesus, that not even the man who had conversed with God as man
speaks with his fellow-man, face to face, could see and live. Its
stupendous and exceeding brightness, would have shattered his being as
the flash of lightning shatters the oak; even as our Lord revealed to
one of his chosen saints that, could she perfectly realize his immense
love for the souls of men, that moment of intense joy would snap the
frail thread of her life with its excessive ecstasy. What Moses saw he
tells us not. No word escapes him of that transcendent vision. He
neither tells us of its nature nor of its effects upon himself. But
who could marvel if, having had it, he was henceforth the meekest of
men? What could ever again disturb the serene patience of him who
could divine so much of the future from having seen all the past? And
how impossible it must have been for any torments of pride to ruffle
the calm serenity of one who was humbled to the very dust by the
unutterably lavish and surpassing developments of love and grace and
glory which his vision of the past bade him anticipate in that future
which even he who had borne to see the past could not gaze upon and

As “the end of all science is contained within the end of all
theology,” so the seeing the glory of God would be the knowledge of
all history taken in its widest and fullest meaning; for if history
could be truly written, whether as the life of an individual, the
history of a nation or of the whole world, it would be the unravelling
of the hidden providence of God working through all events to his own
greater glory. The perfect sight is the perfect knowledge; and that
cannot be obtained save through the “light of Glory,” which is the
beatific vision. The perfect knowledge of God would be the knowledge
of all things, not only of all science, but of all facts; for all are
contained in him. The use of our faculties in the acquirement of
knowledge or in its exercise is like the gathering up of fragments
caught from the skirts of his garments as we follow slowly in his
mighty footsteps; and the closer we get to him in our patient toil,
the brighter is the lustre and the sweeter the perfume still left upon
these shreds of the divine passage through the mazes of creation and
the heaped-up centuries of time.

     [60] Daniel xii. 4.

     [61] Matthew v. 18.

     [62] 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17, 22, 23.

     [63] Ephesians v. 23, 32.

     [64] This statement, if its terms are taken in a strict,
          theological sense, is not correct. In the sense that
          matrimony under the old law was holy, and foreshadowed
          a sacrament, it may be called sacramental. There were
          no sacraments, in the specific sense in which we now
          use the term in the Catholic Church, before Christ
          instituted them.—ED. C. W.

     [65] Gen. xxxvii. 32.

     [66] Mark xv. 32.

     [67] Exodus xxxiii. 18-23.

     [68] Prov. viii. 22-36.


     Containing sketches, biographical and critical, of the most
     distinguished English authors, from the earliest times to
     the present day, with selections from their writings, and
     questions adapted to the use of schools. By Rev. O. L.
     Jenkins, A.M., late president of St. Charles’s College,
     Ellicott City, Md., and formerly president of St. Mary’s
     College, Baltimore. 1 vol. 16mo, pp. 564. Baltimore: John
     Murphy & Co. (New York: The Catholic Publication Society.)

This book has many excellencies. The author shows himself thoroughly
versed in his subject. He writes with elegance, occasionally with
force, as in the remarks on the influence of the Protestant
Reformation on literature. His taste is true and his judgment sound.
In fact, judging by the work itself, he would seem possessed of the
qualities fitted to make him an admirable compiler of a literary

The first sentence of the author’s preface explains the object of the
book: “The compiler of this work has long felt the necessity of some
text book of British and American literature which, in its general
bearing, would be free from sectarian views and influences, and, in
the extracts, be entirely unexceptionable in point of morality.” This
sentence is open to misinterpretation. It is plain, however, from the
general plan of Father Jenkins’ work, as well as from numerous
passages in it, that he has had in view from the beginning to restore
to the Catholic Church, the inspirer of the highest literature, the
mother of Christian art, and the fosterer of the sciences, her
rightful place in English letters. In most of the text-books used in
schools her influence on thought and literature is altogether ignored
and herself in too many instances derided. It is clear, then, what the
learned author meant by freeing his book from “sectarian views.” While
giving their lawful place to all writers, of whatever manner of belief
or no belief, he had for his direct object the pruning out of all
anti-Catholic and immoral passages, and the insertion of established
Catholic authors who are systematically excluded from ordinary

No object could be better calculated to confer more lasting benefit on
the minds of the young generation growing up around us, for whom
chiefly the present work is intended. We open the book with eagerness,
therefore, and turn over page after page with interest, often with
admiration, until we come up to the present century, when, especially
within the later half of it, Catholic literature in England and the
United States has, from a variety of causes, received a new and
remarkable impulse. It is hardly too much to say that Catholic
questions are among the chief questions of the day here as well as in
England; they have been such for the last fifty years; they promise to
be such for at least fifty years to come; and Catholic writers to-day
hold their own in every branch of literature. After three centuries of
silence, of death almost, the church has risen again among these
peoples who went astray, the voice of truth is heard, and its
utterances are manifold. Surely there is reason to expect that due
notice of such awakening, of such signs of life and hope, be taken in
a literary text-book, which, after all, can only hope to make its way
in Catholic schools. Yet here, in this crucial point, Father Jenkins’
work is singularly and lamentably defective. Whether or not he
intended to supply the deficiency is not known to us; but those who
took up the work after his death ought to have supplied it.

We turn to the book, and what do we find? The only Catholic writers of
the century who are found worthy a place in this Catholic manual are,
to take them as they occur: Dr. Lingard, Thomas Moore, Cardinal
Wiseman, Dr. Newman, Aubrey de Vere, in England and Ireland; Bishop
England, Robert Walsh, and Archbishop Spalding, in America. And these
are all!

Where is Dr. Brownson? His name occurs in a casual note of the
author’s, in the same way as the names of Griswold, Cleveland, or Reid
occur. Where is Dr. Pise, Dr. Huntington, George H. Miles, Dr. White,
Colonel Meline, John G. Shea, Dr. R. H. Clarke, Archbishop Hughes—they
simply run off the pen—together with dozens of others, many of whose
names will not need recalling to the readers of this magazine? We
shrink from extending the catalogue of the absent to England and

Writers conspicuous by their absence are by no means restricted to the
Catholic faith. Among strange omissions are the following: Southwell
is in, but not Crashaw; Shakspere, but not Massinger, or Beaumont and
Fletcher; Addison, but not Steele; all the earlier novelists are
absent. The dramatists of the reign of Charles II. are ignored.
Goldsmith is remembered, but Sheridan is forgotten. Scott is in, but
Burns is out. Moore and Byron, and even Rogers, find their place; but
Shelley and Keats are nowhere to be found. Dickens and Thackeray are
here, but Bulwer Lytton is absent; and so the list goes on.

The book is supposed to reach up to the present day. The writers on
political philosophy, the scientists, the theologians, many of the
writers on history known to us as living among us still and destined
to live long after us, are altogether omitted. Not a hint even of
their existence is given. The “compiler,” as he styled himself, says
in the preface that “whatever has relation to our common humanity, and
interests all men alike, whether it be fictitious or real, in poetry
or in prose, comes within the appropriate province of literature. Even
popularized science is not excluded.” And he adds, strangely enough in
the light of the chief defect we have noticed: “If, in the early
periods, the name of an eminent divine or scholar is introduced whose
writings might seem to belong rather to the department of science than
belles-lettres, it is because he ranks among the few men of his epoch
who were remarkable for intellectual vigor and general knowledge.”
This being so, where are the English, Irish, and American Catholic
theological, philosophical, and polemical writers of the last

Of course a work of this kind, which aimed at doing justice to our
Catholic writers of the present century, would quite overrun the
limits of an ordinary text-book of English literature. Still, the
addition of two or three hundred pages devoted just to this subject is
necessary to complete what in its present form is, for the purposes
for which it was intended, quite incomplete.

     Collens, author of _Humanics_, etc. Philadelphia: H. C.
     Baird, Industrial Publisher, 810 Walnut Street.

     VIEW. By C. S. Devas, B.A., Lecturer on Political Economy at
     the Catholic University College, Kensington. London: Burns &
     Oates, Portman Street.

These two publications may be combined in one notice. They treat of
the same subject, essentially in the same spirit, though looking at it
in different lights. Both deal with that momentous struggle between
labor and capital which has shaken the world in all ages; both profess
to find the solution of the economic problems of the day in the
teachings of Christianity as interpreted by the Catholic Church; but
one invokes the aid of the imagination in portraying what labor might
be if all men were just and charitable; the other confronts the actual
position of labor in England. Each is equally valuable in its own way,
and both are champions of the rights of labor.

Mr. Collens’ work, _The Eden of Labor_, is the fruit of much thought
upon the subject, a powerful imagination, and a feeling heart for
those who labor. The author pictures Adam as founding a patriarchal
empire after the fall, in which, under wise and equitable laws, labor
was universally rewarded by competency and happiness. In the
description of this antediluvian Utopia—of its system of government
and society, of its condition and rewards of labor, of its land
tenure, its trade, foreign and domestic, and its currency—the author
gives himself the opportunity of promulgating his conception of the
true doctrines of political economy. In this he takes issue with the
liberal school of political economists which recognizes Adam Smith as
its founder. He denounces its teachings as framed solely in the
interest of the selfish and tyrannical employer of labor, and as
leading irresistibly to the robbery and enslavement of the
over-matched laborer. While admitting the truth of Adam Smith’s law
that “labor is the true measure of exchangeable values,” the author
strenuously argues that he (Smith) and his disciples nullify the just
results of that axiom by defending the specious but unchristian
doctrine of “supply and demand,” which results in the supremacy of
might over starvation, and by losing sight of their original
affirmation of the common right of all to the use of “natural values,”
which the liberal economists in the end surrender absolutely to the

As a foil to his picture of the “Eden of Labor,” Mr. Collens gives, in
his description of Nodland, or the empire of Cain, a history of the
enslavement and misery of labor, and the corruption and tyranny of the
“money lords,” consequent upon the surrender of society to purely
selfish instincts, and its abandonment of laws which Adam had derived
from his original intercourse with God. This second part may be
regarded as a satire upon our modern civilization. An ingenious
monogram representing Labor, half-starved, drawing a miserable
subsistence from the reservoir of “Natural Values,” which at the same
time feeds the plethora of Capital, is prefixed to the work and fully
explained by the author in the appendix.

Philosophers from Plato to Sir Thomas More have sought, in their
descriptions of Utopia under different names, to portray a
commonwealth in which justice should reign and labor receive its
rightful reward. In following the steps of those illustrious thinkers
Mr. Collens has the opportunity of presenting to his readers, with
freshness of treatment and originality of plan, his solution of the
labor questions specially affecting this age. The danger besetting
works of this kind, where the author is dissatisfied with the existing
order of things, and feels a strong sympathy with oppressed labor, is
that they insensibly verge towards the vindication of the theories of
communism and the revolutionary rights of man. We are convinced that
no conclusions could be more opposed, or even abhorrent, to Mr.
Collens’ mind than these. His preface, written on “the Feast of the
Holy Name of Jesus,” and the whole spirit of his work, bespeak him a
fervent Catholic; but, if followed to a logical and forcible
conclusion, it would be difficult to distinguish the goal to which the
doctrines embodied in the author’s denunciation of the “appropriators
of natural values” would lead from that seen at the end of
Proudhon’s—“_La propriété, c’est le vol._” This, however, is a defect
inherent in all Utopias—not of their own nature, but from the fallen
condition of man. With this caution we can safely recommend Mr.
Collens’ work as both interesting and instructive.

Professor Devas’ pamphlet is on a more ordinary plane of authorship.
It is historical and practical in the sense, as to the latter word, of
treating of the existing facts of labor in England and their remedies.
But we are not of those who would confine the meaning of the word
“practical” solely to results immediately before us. A work like that
of Mr. Collens, depending largely upon the imagination and
investigating first principles, may be practical in the highest and
most extensive sense, so far as it influences the original sources of
human action. In his special treatment of the subject, however,
Professor Devas has written a very able treatise. It is a reprint of
three articles originally published in the _Month_, two of them
containing the substance of a paper read before the Academia at
Westminster. The first treats of labor and capital in general; the
second, of the economic powers in manufacturing industries; the third,
of their relative positions in agriculture. In his first article
Professor Devas discusses the question whether contracts should be
left to competition or a fair rate of wages—_justum pretium_—fixed,
and, if so, how and by whom. He holds a middle view between the
liberal economists who will listen to nothing but the rule of “supply
and demand,” and the socialist school which denounces all competition
and would have the state fix a compulsory rate. He cites the
Nottingham hosiery trade as a case in point where wages are not fixed
by competition, but by tariff determined upon at a periodical meeting
of masters and workmen, in which the state of the market and all
attending circumstances are mutually considered, and suggests this
example as a mode of arriving at the _justum pretium_ in all trades.
In his chapter on manufacturing industries Professor Devas takes the
bold ground of defending trades-unionism, not in its details but in
its general principles. He is of opinion that the trades unions have
been one of the chief agents in alleviating the condition of the
working classes and raising the rate of wages in England during the
last forty years. In this latter conclusion he is supported by Dr.
Young in his recently published work on _Labor in Europe and America_.
In spite of the fact that the large strikes in England and upon the
European Continent have been in the majority of special cases
unsuccessful, the general result, according to Dr. Young, has been an
advance of wages during the last twenty years. The effects of
trades-unionism in Europe may be likened to the flow of the tide,
which, repulsed as to each successive wave, yet gains slowly upon the
beach. This advance, however, is not always aided by strikes; on the
contrary, they have frequently postponed it, by the exhaustion of the
struggle, for many years. Their potential combination, or what
O’Connell, in a different agitation, called “moral force,” has been a
more successful factor in obtaining justice for them.

     ORDO DIVINI OFFICII RECTANDI, ETC., 1876. Baltimoræ: Apud
     Fratres Lucas, Bibliopolas.

Whether by the word “_rectandi_” the compiler of this guide for the
clergy would imply that the principal duty devolving on them with
regard to the Office is its correction rather than its recitation, we
are unable to say. We do not, it is true, find the verb “_recto_” in
the dictionary, but feeling confident, from the Ciceronian style
displayed in other parts of the _Ordo_, that it must be good Latin,
especially as it has appeared two years in succession, presume that it
must be the dictionary which is at fault, and cannot suggest any other
meaning for the word.

Whether that is its meaning or not, however, it certainly well might

We do not profess to have made a thorough examination of the book. It
is full of misprints, as usual, of which the one just mentioned and
the familiar “_Resurect_.” are good examples. Whether the putting of
St. Anicetus for St. Anacletus, which was also noticed last year, can
be considered as such seems rather doubtful.

There are some trifling omissions which really ought to be supplied.
The anniversaries of the consecration of about forty of the bishops of
the United States are passed by in silence. For what special reason
the remainder are given it is hard to imagine, unless it be to remind
those who use the _Ordo_ that they ought to take notice of such an
anniversary and find out when it occurs; but, unfortunately, it has
just a contrary effect, for every one who sees the anniversary of
another diocese noticed expects to be similarly reminded of his own,
and only remembers that he has not been when the time has gone by.

The law according to which the feast of St. Leo varies between the 3d
and the 7th of July is a matter of curious speculation. From its
occurrence for two successive years on the 3d we are inclined to
cherish the hope that it has finally settled down upon that day.

Why cannot we have an _Ordo_ that would be creditable to the compiler
and the publishers, and in which confidence could be placed? More care
is all that is needed.

This notice has been delayed till this month on account of more
important matter. It will probably do as much good now as if it had
been published at an earlier date.

     London: Burns & Oates. 1875. (For sale by The Catholic
     Publication Society.)

It is somewhat rare to meet with sermons that will bear publication.
The circumstances attending their delivery, the authoritative
character of the priest, the sacredness of the time and place, tend to
disarm the critical faculty and dispose the hearers to a favorable
impression. Not so, however, when they are given to the world in
book-form, to be subjected to the cool criticism of the closet.
Sermons that can stand this test are certainly worthy of praise; and
this merit, we are happy to say, belongs to the volume before us. The
selected sermons are by Fathers Kingdon, Purbrick, Coleridge, Weld,
and Anderdon—names already familiar to many of our readers. Their
subjects are such inexhaustible themes as the Passion of Our Lord, the
Holy Eucharist, Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception, etc., treated mainly
in their devotional and practical bearings. They thus form a
collection of spiritual reading rendered particularly attractive by
many excellencies of style and expression. Regarded merely as sermons,
they are models in their conformity to the accepted canons of this
branch of composition. The subjects are clearly divided, with an easy
transition from point to point. The style throughout is graceful and
flowing, and there are many passages full of eloquence—a kind of
eloquence not merely ornamental but practical in its effects. The
secret of it lies in that warmth and earnestness which can proceed
only from those who are animated by a fervid zeal for the good of

     Translated from the Italian by K. G. London: Burns & Oates.
     1876. (For sale by The Catholic Publication Society.)

Father Segneri is one of the greatest of the distinguished preachers
of the seventeenth century. His name is frequently met in the Italian
dictionaries, as an authority of the language. His sermons are based
upon the classic models of eloquence. Though not as exhaustive as
those of the great French masters of sacred oratory, they are more
forcible in rhetoric and more luxuriant in style. We have a great
desire to see the complete works of Father Segneri rendered into
English, and those who have read the volume of his sermons, lately put
forth by the Catholic Publication Society, will doubtless welcome
anything bearing his name.

The little book before us is made up of pious reflections found among
the papers left by Father Segneri, and evidently intended for his own
private perusal. They give us a glimpse of the tender religious,
seeking obscurity, craving the higher gifts, while the world applauds
his brilliant and conspicuous talents. This contrast is always
pleasing. The _Sentimenti_ reveal how far this holy man had advanced
in virtue, and how well founded is the reverence which has ever been
felt for his sanctity.

     BRIEF BIOGRAPHIES: French Political Leaders. By Edward King.
     New York: G. P. Putnam’s Son’s. 1876.

These are bright and readable sketches of various prominent Frenchmen
of the day. Whether all of those whose biographies are given may be
fitly designated “political leaders” is for the reader to satisfy
himself and the future to determine. Mr. King does not aim at profound
reflection. He cuts skin-deep and passes on. The title of the book
seems to us suggestive of something more serious than this. The
political leaders of France will influence more than France, and it
would be worth considering who and what are the French political
leaders of the day. Of what stuff are they made? Whither are they
tending? In what do they lead? Is it a lead backwards or forwards? Mr.
King passes such questions by, and contents himself with more or less
interesting biographies of those whom he takes to be political
leaders. Among them we find Henri Rochefort, but fail to find Louis
Veuillot. Mr. King is like all non-Catholic writers—least at home when
he comes across a Catholic. Among his leaders Mgr. Dupanloup, the
Bishop of Orléans, very properly holds a place. We scarcely recognize
the bishop, however, as painted by Mr. King. One sentence will suffice
to show our meaning: “The haughty mind which sneered at the Encyclical
Letter [which Encyclical Letter?] and the Syllabus became one of the
most ardent defenders of illiberal measures.” By “illiberal measures”
Mr. King seems to mean freedom of education in France, of which Mgr.
Dupanloup has been a lifelong, and recently a successful, advocate.
“The haughty mind which sneered at the Encyclical Letter and the
Syllabus” is something new to us, particularly as Mgr. Dupanloup, long
previous to the Council of the Vatican, wrote a pamphlet in defence of
the Syllabus for which he received the special thanks of the Holy
Father. It is to be hoped that all Mr. King’s biographies are not
equally as accurate as that of Mgr. Dupanloup.

     THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. A supplement to the student’s usual
     course of study in Roman history. By Rev. Henry Formby,
     London: Burns, Oates & Co.

In these lectures Father Formby essays the proof of what many a
well-read student would at first hearing pronounce as a thesis
exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, of demonstration—viz., that
the Roman Empire, the arch-persecutor of the church of God, drunk with
the blood of ten millions of martyrs, and nursing-mother of every
heathen idolatry, had, in spite of these seeming contradictory
characteristics, a divine mission, fulfilled especially by her
universal empire and the singular part she played in the formation of
the political and social life of the nations of the world.

The learned author signalizes among other marks of the divine
providence shown in the history of the mistress of nations, which
point her out as a pioneer of the kingdom of Christ, the following
remarkable classes of services rendered by her to the accomplishment
of that work:

1. “The formation of the nations of the world into a political unity
of government, in which there existed a great deal to foreshadow and
prepare the minds of men for the future church; while every eye was
taught to look up to the city of Rome, not only as the centre of all
political action, but as supreme in religion, as well as the fountain
of all civil honor and dignity.

2. “The preliminary mission of the Roman Empire to civilize the
nations, and to promote among them education and the cultivation of
literature and the arts of life, the care of which was to become, in a
far higher and more effective manner, part of the mission of the
future church.

3. “The mission of the Roman Empire to inculcate and preserve among
the nations the knowledge of a certain number of the doctrines and
virtues forming part of the original revelation which Noah brought
with him out of the ark.

4. “The advantage, for the formation of the Christian society, of the
firm establishment of the outward framework of good public order, of
municipal liberties, and of the general peace of the world, including
the necessary security for life and prosperity.”

These are weighty considerations, and worthy of a much more extended
development than the author gives in the lectures before us. His
thesis affirmed as probable (and we deem it no less), Roman history
would need to be re-written, and by one who should be not only an
historian, but a philosopher and a Christian. The perusal of these
lectures cannot fail to interest the student, and particularly those
who pretend to study the philosophy of history.

     POPULAR LIFE OF DANIEL O’CONNELL. 1 vol. 16mo, pp. 294.
     Boston: Patrick Donahoe.

Public attention in these days is being more and more turned to
O’Connell and the work he wrought. No later than last year the Holy
Father held him up as a guide to Catholics in their conflict with
powers leagued together against the church, against Catholic rights,
and, as a matter of consequence, against all right. The more the great
Irish leader’s life is studied, the more evident becomes the fact that
freedom, liberty, right, were not to him merely national but universal
claims. What he demanded for his own he would have granted to all, and
in claiming his own he asked no favor; he called for none of what are
known as heroic remedies; he appealed simply to the spirit of all
sound laws and the sense of right that is in the conscience of all
men. It would be well if, in future lives of him, this great, this
greatest perhaps, feature of O’Connell’s character were brought out in
stronger relief. For it is just this that makes him more than a leader
of his people; it makes him a leader of all peoples who have wrongs to
right and abuses to abolish. The small volume before us tells the
story of O’Connell’s life in the conventional manner. “Popular” is on
the title-page, and there is no reason why the “life” should not be
popular. It “has been compiled from the most authentic sources,” says
the preface modestly enough, and in this the value of the book is
rated in a line. It is a compilation, and no more. As a compilation
there is no especial fault to be found with it. On the contrary, the
various parts are stitched cleverly together, so as to make a
sufficiently interesting narrative. Compilations, however, are
becoming too numerous nowadays, and the literature in which shears and
paste-pot play the chief part is growing into a school, and a school
that cannot be commended. It is not encouraging to open what the
reader takes to be a new book, and find in it page after page of
matter that has been writ or told a thousand times already.

     ELMWOOD; OR, THE WITHERED ARM. By Katie L. 1 vol. 16mo, pp.
     233. Baltimore: Kelly, Piet & Co. 1876.

The title of this story, though sufficiently thrilling, gives but a
faint indication of the chamber of horrors that lies concealed between
the pleasant-looking covers. The title of the first chapter is
“Midnight,” and it begins as follows: “W-H-I-R-R! groaned the old
clock. The sound rang throughout the immense corridor, reverberating
like the moan of a lost soul.” Three lines lower down, “A wild,
unearthly yell” breaks “with fearful distinctness on the midnight
silence.” Chapter III. begins: “Silence! Gloom! Remorse! Anguish!
Alone! all alone!” and so on. We spare the reader the prolonged agony.

The story might be called a series of paroxysms, and, were it only
intended as a caricature of the dime novel, would be one of the most
successful that was ever written. Murder glares from every page, and
agony reverberates along every line. There is an abundance of “tall,
slight figures robed in white,” “ethereal oil-lamps,” “howling
tempests,” “deathly faintnesses,” thrilling “ha! ha’s!” “blue
chambers,” “north-end chambers,” “awful arms,” “blood-stained hands,”
poison, murder, despair, agony, death. There are the usual heroes with
the conventional marble brow and clustering curls around it, and the
heroines, tall and stately, sylph-like and sweet, blonde or brunette,
according to order. Everybody is Maud, or Elaine, or Edwin, or
Herbert. One quite misses Enid, Gawain, Launcelot, and Guinevere. Of
course there is no special quarrel with nonsense of this kind, beyond
the regret that there should be found persons not only to think and
write it, but sane persons to publish and propagate it. When, however,
we find religion dragged in to give it a kind of moral flavor—dragged
in, too, in the most absurd and reprehensible fashion—what might be
passed over as a foolish offence against good sense and good taste
becomes a matter of graver moment, to be utterly condemned as
irreverent and harmful, however unintentional the irreverence and harm
may be. It is necessary to be severe about this kind of literature.
Uninstructed Catholics who, by whatever misfortune, have access to
paper and types, do a world of harm, though they themselves may be
actuated by the best motives possible. This book would do no more harm
to sensible persons than cause a laugh, possibly a shudder, at its
tissue of absurdities. But falling into the hands of non-Catholics, it
would by many be taken as the natural outcome of Catholic teaching,
and disgust them with everything connected with the Catholic name. The
preface to the book speaks of “the moral conveyed in the following
pages,” which, it says, “is too obvious to need particular
specification.” Possibly; nevertheless, we thought it our duty to
specify it above. The preface adds that the book was written “during
some of the sweetest hours” of the writer’s life, “in the midst of the
most charming surroundings, and solely for the eyes of a few friends.”
It is to be deeply regretted, for the writer’s own sake, that one, at
least, of her few friends had not the courage and kindliness to deter
her from “sending forth upon its new and unexpected mission” a book
that can only bring pain to the author and pain to those who feel
bound to condemn it.

     THE SCHOLASTIC ALMANAC FOR 1876. Edited by Professor J. A.
     Lyons, Notre Dame, Ind. Chicago: Jansen, McClurg & Co. 1876.

This is modelled on the _Illustrated Catholic Family Almanac_, the
first of the kind published in this country, only it is not
illustrated. Its literary matter is very good, and in its paper,
press-work, etc., it is a creditable publication.

     THE SPECTATOR (SELECTED PAPERS). By Addison and Steele. With
     introductory essay and biographical sketches by John
     Habberton. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons. 1876.

This is the first of a series to be made up of selections from the
standard British essayists. The present volume contains careful
selections from the _Spectator_. Those who care to see what journalism
was in the days when Addison and Steele were journalists will welcome
this series, so well begun in the elegant volume before us. It is to
be feared that Addison or Steele would stand a poor chance of
employment in the present “advanced” stage of journalism.
Nevertheless, our editorial writers would do neither themselves nor
their readers much harm in trying to discover what is the special
charm that lingers about the pages of these dead-and-gone magazines.
When they have made the discovery, they will be in a fair way to make
it worth the while of an enterprising publisher, say a century hence,
to wade through the pages of their journals for the purpose of
unearthing the author of such and such articles, with a view to giving
them again to the world.


VOL. XXIII., No. 134.—MAY, 1876.

Copyright: Rev. I. T. HECKER. 1876.


When Mr. Dickens repaid the hospitality which he had received by his
extremely humorous satires of this country, he called the attention of
all Americans to the extent to which our national vanity was likely to
blind us. Mr. Chollop’s opinion to the effect that “we are the
intellect and virtue of the airth, the cream of human natur, and the
flower of moral force,” has been secretly cherished by many better

The conviction of ordinary Americans is that our system of government
is so evidently perfect, and the course of our development so
manifestly healthy, that nothing but sheer blindness can account for
any suspicion as to their future stability. To those who question the
success of our future we are wont to reply by a smile of genuine pity,
or by pointing to the results already achieved and the difficulties
which have been surmounted. We have fused the most incongruous
race-mixture into one homogeneous nation. We have occupied a
continent, and laid the foundations of a great empire upon a
comprehensive and stable adjustment of all the functions of
government. We have eliminated the vast system of human slavery from
which our ruin had been predicted. We have overcome the most powerful
assault upon the integrity of our national existence; and any violent
attempt upon our government seems at present to be both impossible of
occurrence and hopeless of success.

It cannot be denied, however, that recent events have awakened in the
minds of earnest and patriotic Americans a sense of uneasiness and
anxiety very different from any similar feeling in the past. The
professional politician sees in the corruption lately developed in
Washington simply the evidence of decay manifested by a powerful
organization which has enjoyed unlimited power and survived the issues
which brought it into existence. He would persuade the people that a
“rotation” is all that is necessary in order to restore things to an
honest and sober condition. Less thoughtful men demand a return on the
part of officials “to the simplicity of our forefathers,” and applaud
blindly every effort at retrenchment. All observant writers and
thinkers deprecate any such impossibility and are quite clear as to
the folly of attempting it. The _Nation_, March 16, says: “We confess
that there is to us something almost as depressing in this kind of
talk as in the practice, in which many of our newspapers indulge, of
drawing consolation for the present corruption of this republic from
the reflection that the corruption of the English monarchy one hundred
and fifty years ago was just as great; because both one and the other
have a tendency to turn people’s minds away from real remedies and
throw them back on quackery.”

The feeling exhibited by this writer is not confined to himself; and
the protest which he makes against disguise and quackery is extended
much further than he himself has carried it. For the most part careful
observers are willing to postpone the question of treatment until the
public is settled as to what the malady really is. We are shaken out
of our customary habit of mind by witnessing the disgrace and infamy
which cover our present administration. Everybody feels that something
ought to be done. But to pay particular attention to this portion of
the body politic, without examining how far the disease extends and
what is its source, is simply to run the risk of suppressing a symptom
instead of curing a disorder.

The slightest attempt at candid observation reveals clearly that
corruption is not confined to Washington. A few years ago it was
supposed to be limited to a certain class of local politics; then it
was restricted to the city of New York. Now it is proved to extend
from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and to exist in every circle of
society. The suspicion which once attached to the “ward politician”
now hangs about our representatives and senators. Dishonesty in
commercial transactions perpetrates renewed outrages. We shall soon
have to establish fresh associations to insure our insurance companies
and to guarantee our banks. The medical profession feels called upon
to issue tracts in order to guard against the physical degeneracy of
the entire race.

To deny that there is a pronounced, marked, and universal decadence in
morality is simply to stultify all faculties of observation and to
contradict the testimony of every sense. It is not necessary to repeat
the list of scandals which are daily appearing, or to appeal to the
conviction, which prevails everywhere, that we have seen but a small
portion of those which really exist. It is the common sentiment that
the next century will witness either a complete and radical reform of
the present state of things, or else a condition far worse than the
enemies of this country have ever yet predicted.

Startling as this conviction may appear, the only thing which ought to
surprise us is that the present disorder has not been foreseen and is
not now more fully understood. It would have been easy to predict the
increase of wealth and the consequent increase of luxury in our midst.
No sane person can doubt that these sources of temptation will be
greater in the future. The presence of wealth, the possibility of
attaining it, will call forth all the activity of the rising
generation, and the keenness of the struggle, in which all are free
within the limits of the law, will tend constantly to lower the
standard of honesty. The strictness of party discipline, the disgust
which the mass of citizens have for attending to the details of
politics, offer the widest scope for unprincipled adventurers. There
are few careers in which quackery, fraud, and imposture cannot secure
those fruits for the possession of which honesty and labor are forced
to suffer and to strive.

It does not involve a cynical view of mankind to decide that where the
occasion of sin abounds wickedness will increase and prove
destructive, unless adequate means are taken to preserve the purity of
a nation.

This restraining influence in the history of nations hitherto has been
religion, which is supposed to furnish motives and to supply the
strength and means of combating these evil tendencies, and of defining
and consolidating public morality.

The religion under profession of which the older portions of the
republic developed was professedly Christian and retained much of the
traditional morality of the middle ages. There was no particular form
of Protestantism which succeeded in impressing itself permanently upon
the growing republic, although some connection of church and state was
universally recognized in the early State constitutions. The rigid
forms of Puritanism and Quakerism were well calculated to preserve
frugality and simplicity of life as long as they could be maintained
in rigidity. But no system of mere forms or external restraint could
suffice for the direction of a civilization which, still in its
infancy, presents so much richness and luxuriance of growth. Neither
the austerity of the Roundhead nor the dignity of the Cavalier could
hope to remain as the type upon which the American character was to be
moulded. The external habiliments of the early generations were bound
to disappear, as they have disappeared. But their principles—_i.e._,
the beliefs of Protestantism—were to remain and to form the intellect
and conscience of the American people. However great the influence of
Southern statesmen upon our external constitution, the New England
mind has wrought most powerfully upon the popular sentiment of the
country. This action has been manifold.

The stock in trade, to use a homely comparison, with which
Protestantism assumed its duty of providing for the moral and
intellectual necessities of the American people was contained in the
principles of the so-called Reformation.

In addition to the theory of private judgment, which was retained,
with the utmost inconsistency, the early religion of this country
reposed upon two fundamental and mischievous errors which were
inherited from the authors of the Reformation. These were the heresies
of justification by faith alone and the total depravity of human
nature. If any proof were wanting of the strength and permanence of
the religious instinct in man, it would appear in the fact that such
monstrous delusions could so long receive the assent of those who
professed at the same time perfect freedom of belief. These disgusting
caricatures of Christian dogma have almost lost their control over
human reason, and will remain only to demonstrate the needs of man and
his weakness when acting in abnormal ways and under false traditions.
But the fruit which they have borne will not speedily perish. After
crystallizing into a system and founding institutions for perpetuating
its growth, the Calvinism of New England assumed all the proportions
and manners of an established sect. The preachers were intellectually
well worthy of the position which they enjoyed. Great eloquence, rich
thought, and all the scholarship of which they were possessed were
wasted in elaborate sermons proving, or attempting to prove, their
dark and malignant creed. A large mass of the people, however, not
attracted by the airs of Calvinism, were repelled by the heavy and
metaphysical style of the Calvinistic pulpit.

Before the separation of the colonies from the mother country New
England Calvinism had become sufficiently dry and devoid of sentiment
to prepare the way for a more emotional religion. Thousands of eager
souls drank in the enthusiasm of Asbury, Coke, and the other apostles
of Wesleyanism. The founders of Methodism in America, though obliged
to adopt some articles of faith as distinctive of their organization,
owed their success to the fact that, discarding all reasoning, they
appealed to religious emotion, and were mainly instrumental in
founding that school of theology whose doctrine is that it matters
little what one does or believes, provided one _feels_ right.

Emotionalism has run its course and dies out in the Hippodrome,
whither the official teachers of evangelicalism have led their
congregations to receive from the ministrations of two illiterate
laymen that spiritual stimulant which can no longer be obtained from
educated preachers in the fashionable meeting-house.

While the ancient organizations of Puritanism continued, with more or
less dilution of its original doctrines, another movement had arisen
in the very heart of Calvinism. The Unitarian movement has proved a
complete reaction against what are called the doctrines of the
Reformation. It has resulted in the extinction of the religious
sentiment. Its popular summary is to the effect, that it makes little
difference what one feels or believes, provided he _does_ right. From
the society of the Free Religionists back to the original shades of
Calvinism is a gloomy road for even the imagination to travel, but no
one can pass over it in fancy without perceiving the utter
impossibility of persuading one who has once emerged from, ever to
return to, the earlier darkness.

To continue in a creed which involved blasphemy against the goodness
of God and the denial of all the natural sources of morality, or to
surrender one’s self to religious emotion without any solid
intellectual principle, or else to place individuals in entire
dependence upon their private perceptions of religious and moral
truth, and finally pass from one degree of scepticism to another—one
of these three alternatives was proposed as the occupation of the
American intellect during the most active period of national growth.

The Egyptian darkness which Calvinism brings upon any thoughtful soul
was the inheritance of the religious youth of the country. What virtue
can exist when total depravity is daily preached? What bar does it put
to the passions of man to know or to believe that his salvation does
not depend upon his good life? What conception of the universe can he
form who sees in it only the work of what a popular preacher has
called an “infinite gorilla”? Nothing is more pathetic than the
history which we have of minds whose natural goodness vainly struggled
against these detestable heresies. And if the religious heart of New
England found in its creed nothing but discouragement, what was the
effect of that religion upon the popular mind? Is it not mainly to its
influence that all that is repulsive and hard in the Yankee character
is to be attributed?

But, on the other hand, what has been left by the decay of emotional
religion? It might have been prophesied with safety that the result
would be simply a reaction. So far as can be observed, it is nothing
more or less. The writer was not a little amused at reading lately in
a Methodist paper an editorial charging strongly against the present
style of revivals, under the heading of “Religious Fits.” The editor,
in the course of his remarks, very bluntly asserted that religious
fits are not much better than any other kind of fits—a proposition
which sums up the vital weakness of Methodism. And when a whole nation
or a large class is reduced to this condition, the recovery from the
fit will be attended with great disaster. “The religion of gush,” as
it has been forcibly styled, is fatal to morality. It is an attempt to
feed a starving man upon stimulants. The appearance of strength which
it gives is simply an additional tax upon the system. Emotional
religion may succeed in quieting women who are secluded in domestic
life, or even the weaker sort of men who are occupied solely in
teaching it; but for the common mass, who are daily exposed to
temptation, it is, at most, a salve with which the wounds inflicted
upon conscience are plastered over. There is nothing in it to
discipline the soul before trial, and nothing to repair its weaknesses
after it has fallen.

With regard to the results of the naturalistic revolt against
Calvinism there is little to be said. The charming writers who have
given it prestige are not its product but its cause. In so far as they
assert the dignity of human reason against Calvinism, to this extent
they are in harmony with our natural instincts and have tended to
produce a wholesome influence. But even transcendentalism is past its
wane, and will be known in the future only by its literary reputation.
Free religion has developed no permanent constructive idea. Its
principal effect will be to obliterate whatever of Christianity has
clung to the tradition of New England Protestantism. Its mission will
be accomplished when all connection between the past and present shall
have been effectually broken. It leaves us only a considerable amount
of scientific knowledge which we should possess without it. Its
morality staggers through the wide range extending from free love and
spiritism into the undefined vacuity which it supposes to lie between
these bolder theories and old-fashioned uprightness. Like emotional
Protestantism, it is wholly incapable of withstanding any strain or of
guiding and controlling the absolute individualism which it has
created. If the Congregational pastor of Plymouth Church affords a sad
example of the impotence of emotional pietism, the unfortunate
plaintiff in the lawsuit against him is no less a melancholy instance
of the aberrations of the last phase of American Protestantism.

There is little affectation of concealment, on the part of thoughtful
Americans, of the conviction that our national growth and the success
of our government are subject to the universal laws according to which
past empires have risen and perished. It is to be hoped that the
success with which we have been blessed so far will not blind our eyes
to this truth. We must have a solid basis of morality, or we are
doomed to fall into such a condition as will make our absolute
extinction a desirable thing. Whence is this new life to come? Is
there anything in American Protestantism which can reverse its steady
process of decay and disintegration? Has it any principles which can
arrest for one moment the popular tendencies? We are unable to see in
it even a “serviceable breakwater against errors more fundamental than
its own”; quite the contrary. Its dogmatic front only serves to
disgust those who mistake it for Christianity. Protestantism never
converted a nation to Christianity or formed one. It could do neither
even if it had an opportunity. In its latitudinarian aspect it
directly fosters the present vagueness of moral convictions; while its
emotional tendency only justifies the substitution of sentiment for
reason and nullifies all attempts to subject the feelings to the

However one may be disposed to prefer the paganism which universally
pervades our era to the unlovely fanaticism of earlier times,
experience, both past and present, forbids the indulgence of any hope
of future success springing from it.

It is hard to imagine what thought has been expended upon this subject
by those who profess to see the way out of our present difficulties
through a lavish system of public education. We hear declamations on
this subject which fill us with bewilderment. If the public schools
were able to furnish the people with sound moral instruction, we could
understand something of the enthusiasm which describes them as the
sources of national morality and as the salvation of the future. God
knows we have no desire to cut off one ray of light; but the present
moment is not one in which to indulge in madness. The sooner it is
understood that our system of education is destroying the generation
that is subjected to its influence, the better. It stands to reason
that the great need of the hour is to save our children from its
evils. Our public education barely succeeds in exaggerating all the
moral and physical degeneracies of the day. To develop the desire and
capacity for action and enjoyment, without providing means of guiding
and restraining within wholesome limits the power thus produced, is
simply to court disaster. We are suffering at present from aversion to
hard labor and a quiet life from the unbridled desire of wealth and
pleasure, from the absence of well-defined moral sentiment. The
present system of education, so vehemently applauded, is an
aggravation of all the morbid tendencies of our condition. This
complaint will not receive much attention coming from this source, but
it is finding universal utterance from the medical profession, and its
justice will speedily appear to the most casual observer.

There is nothing in paganism, however brilliant its science or art,
that can restore the health of a race which is morally corrupt. The
“positive stage of development,” as it is styled by a certain class of
modern writers, is an age of decrepitude. If the analogy be true which
they hold to exist between the life of man and the development of a
race, we must expect death as soon as the “positive” era has been
attained. The muscular epoch has passed. The age of delusions has left
the mind incapable of anything but observing facts; the demand for
artificial stimulants has exhausted the brain of the nation; and the
body politic, though surrounded with luxury, is moribund beyond the
power of recovery.

While we do not fully accept the analogy of positivism, we are
convinced that neither Protestantism nor paganism can raise the nation
from the slough in which it seems about to settle. Nor will it be
saved by the infusion of fresh blood, as was the ancient world
according to some ingenious writers. The Hun and Vandal and Goth would
never have changed their originally savage state had they not met in
the world that they destroyed an indestructible power which, after
surviving the assaults of both Roman and barbarian, by its subtle
constructive faculty altered the face of the earth. This power was
Christianity, whose work of universal civilization was so fatally
marred by the religious catastrophe of the sixteenth century.

Now that the false Christianity of our forefathers has developed its
utter worthlessness as a guide, it will be well to inquire whether the
religious system, which is historically identified with Christianity,
contains any of those elements of stability so lacking in our

It is not to be expected that such a discussion, even if resulting
favorably to Catholicity, will be sufficient to convert the American
people to its faith, but it will greatly conduce to removing
misconceptions and ignorance on the part of many of our
fellow-citizens with regard to the relative merits of Catholicity and

No system can ever prove efficient which is unable to maintain its own
integrity. No intellectual movement can hope to exert any large
practical influence after it has lost its unity. Protestantism, having
begun with a denial of the need of authority, was soon forced to
contradict itself in practice in order to preserve its existence. But
the principle which had given it life could not be disregarded, and
the germ of discord, involved in the idea of a teaching body without
any claim to be believed save what private conscience might be willing
to concede to it, continued to produce disintegration without end.

The evils of our present exaggerated individualism are universally
admitted. Men are united upon all points except those involving moral
responsibility. While it is quite clear that in matters of science we
are willing to trust to authority, on the other hand, in the more
complex and easily perverted order of ideas (involving as they do the
gravest consequences), every man is endowed with infallibility. This
is simply an inversion of the natural order. The normal and rational
order is preserved by Catholicity. With the Catholic Church religious
truth as the basis of morality is a tradition whose bearing upon human
science and politics always requires fresh application and is
co-extensive with the possibility of human growth. But while this
application of principle is left to individual effort and furnishes
the proper exercise of the intellect, the excesses of individualism
are always to be counteracted by a living authority. The ability of
the church to maintain her unity has been demonstrated and perfected
in its operation by the storms which the last three centuries have
launched against her. The opposition to her, on the contrary, has
brought about its own destruction. If the absurdities of modern
individualism are to be remedied, the cure lies in an earnest
consideration of the claims of Christianity. Protestantism, though a
grievous calamity, has served to settle for ever all those questions
concerning the supreme source of doctrinal authority which had been
raised by the intrigues of the secular power in the middle age. Now it
is no longer possible to confuse the sentiment of obedience to
authority by reference to unlawful sources. The attack of modern
governments upon the church tends still further to circumscribe the
limits of secular power, and to define clearly that which belongs to
Cæsar and that which belongs to God.

The stability and permanence of Catholic thought are maintained in
great measure by the prerogatives of the spiritual power, which
promulgates and guards the divine tradition committed to its care. But
the real power which that tradition exercises is its truth and its
conformity with facts. The divine revelation is made to reason. It
supposes a rational being. It is accepted on rational and convincing
evidence, and becomes operative in virtue of divine grace. Its aim is
to elevate and ennoble human nature and to heal its infirmities. In
fulfilling this mission it acts in harmony with God’s other works,
always above and with reason, but never against it. It puts no
obstacle in the way of human science, which, as the Vatican Council
declares, can only contradict revelation by being incomplete or by
misinterpreting divine truth. It encourages labor in its development
of nature as a means of discipline and as furnishing the necessary
condition of peace and civilization. It stimulates art to search after
beauty as a means of showing the necessity and embellishing the truth
of heavenly doctrine. It is true that the Catholic faith does not
permit the intellect to repose in any one of these occupations as its
sole end. In the light of divine truth science and art are united by a
synthesis; and the rest which faith forbids the soul to take in
earthly pursuits is denied by its own nature. The synthesis which
faith provides is sought restlessly and eagerly by the mind. Modern
thought, which has been turned away from Catholicity, searches vainly
for some principle of unity.

The faith which redeemed the ancient world and prepared the germs of
that degree of civilization that has not been wholly destroyed by
Protestantism, was in no respect like the withering, soul-destroying
horrors of Calvinism. The doctrines which supplied matter for the
intense intellectual life of the middle age, which corrected Aristotle
and piled tome after tome of the close, serried reasoning of St.
Thomas Aquinas, was in accord with human reason, vindicated the
dignity and powers of man, and stimulated him with fresh vigor in
every sphere of science, poetry, and art. Scholasticism was nothing
else than an effort of human reason to demonstrate the reasonableness
of Christianity. The present generation is so grossly ignorant of
those eight hundred years of most intense life which formed
Christendom that it is not capable of appreciating their influence and
still less their character. But whoever will read the _proœmium_ of
the _Summa Contra Gentiles_ of the “Angel of the Schools” will see the
difference between the constructive doctrine of the middle age and the
reactionary delusions of the sixteenth century—the bitter fruit of
that splendid revival of paganism. Protestantism, viewed as a system
of doctrine, was simply an extravagant caricature of the
supernaturalism of the Catholic Church. As a system of morality it was
nothing else than the emancipation of the passions from the restraints
imposed by Christianity. Having destroyed the necessary conditions of
faith by denying authority, it presented the ideas of grace and
sanctification in such a distorted manner as to render sacraments
unnecessary and unmeaning, to do away with free will, merit, and
natural goodness—in a word, to abolish human nature. Wherever the
heirs of the so-called Reformers have revolted from the unnatural task
of propagating their religious system they have left mankind, not
simply bewildered by the darkness whence it has emerged, but without
the heavenly guidance which genuine Christianity provides. It has
robbed men of the light of heavenly doctrine, and has furthermore
stripped them of the aid of the sacramental system, the means of the
action of divine grace and of the growth of supernatural life, without
which natural virtue and natural intelligence cannot long endure in

The present state of our people calls for what Protestantism has not.
Justification by faith could not save its first professor from
breaking his vows and debauching another person equally bound; nor
will its influence increase by repeating his famous dictum, _Pecca
fortiter sed crede fortius_. The evanescence of genuine fanaticism on
the part of evangelical religion is no guarantee of a better state of
morals. Our people have got beyond simply _believing_ and _feeling_;
they wish to _do_ right, but they are gradually coming to acknowledge
that man cannot _do_ right without _knowing_ what he ought to do,
viz., what is right; and the best and wisest will confess that they do
not know what they ought to do, and that they can see nothing in the
future from whence they may expect to learn. Whether they will be
content to review the evidences of Catholicity we know not. Many are
doing so, but the intense worldliness of the day is not favorable to
serious thought on the part, of the multitude. Should, however, the
authority of true Christianity be revealed to, and accepted by, them,
we may justly expect a development of the utmost significance in the
history of the world.

Catholicity not only preserves and restores the Christian truth of
which men have been robbed by the heresies of the Reformation, but it
preserves, sanctifies, and makes fruitful the natural goodness which
remains in the individual, the race, and the nation. But above all
things it applies those principles of natural justice and purity which
are now so seriously jeopardized.

An unjust man can console himself, when transmitting his dishonest
gains to his descendants, by reflecting that he is to be justified by
faith alone. This has been done to our certain knowledge, and
doubtless every New Englander can recall similar cases. A man who
admits the injustice of his transactions can find ways of forgetting
his indebtedness. The fraudulent bankrupt can revel in the wealth of
his wife and children. Even the thief who admits in the abstract the
obligation of restoring that which he has stolen, without the
assistance of the confessional is too apt to cling to that which he
has once acquired.

We want, first, to hear the Catholic doctrine of the necessity of
restitution in the place of maudlin denunciation of “carnal
righteousness.” We want to have it well understood that no amount of
exalted emotion will relieve the guilty thief until he has handed over
his ill-gotten goods. We do not say that the neglect of this doctrine
is the cause of the special cases of corruption which come before our
eyes; but we freely assert that the spread of dishonesty is due to
nothing less than the ineptitude and fatuity of Protestantism in this

We further assert our conviction that no amount of preaching will
change the present widespread disregard of the rights of property.
These must be enforced in the private life of each man, backed by a
supernatural principle. The means which the Catholic Church has
provided for the support and assistance of the individual conscience
is the confessional. This it is which has created the very sentiment
of honesty that is now dying out among us for want of it. Antiquity
did not possess this sentiment. The Greeks encouraged stealing and
made a god of theft. The Romans acknowledged only the claims of
hospitality and the force of law. Our barbarian ancestors grew and
thrived upon piracy and pillage. It was no abstract or speculative
doctrine which overcame their savage traits and established the new
sentiment which condemns successful villany; nor will the present
decay of honesty be arrested by any system which divorces it from the
institution that has brought it into existence.

The most fatal symptom, however, of our lapse into paganism reveals
itself in that department of morality in which the struggle is carried
on with the most lawless of human passions. The morality of
Protestantism offered no assistance to the individual in this conflict
between reason and the excesses of that instinct which is at once the
most necessary and at the same time the least governable. Developments
such as Mormonism and the Oneida Community, the increasing frequency
of divorce, and the freedom with which the maxims of the ancient
Christian morality are questioned, are sufficient to illustrate the
decay of fixed principles of morality. Such results are not strange
when we recall the actual conduct of the founders of Protestantism.
Nor is it unreasonable to expect a certain amount of laxity in an
intellectual movement which constitutes each individual his own
supreme judge and teacher of morals; but the worst is that the very
source of purity is thoroughly vitiated. In ancient Christianity the
laws of chastity were clearly defined, peremptory, and plainly set
before the intellect. Modern individualism, having begun by denying
man’s responsibility and asserting his necessary depravity, has placed
the rule of virtue, not in reason, but in instinct. The old morality
was a sentiment based upon dogmatic conviction. The modern
Neo-protestantism has nothing upon which to depend for its purity of
life except the natural feelings of modesty and shame. The very idea
of attempting to subject sexual instinct to reason is scouted as an
absurdity by popular writers. The license taken by those whose
occupation is to amuse the public every day increases in
shamelessness. Art, whether pictorial or dramatic, will not listen to
any suggestion of restraint, and the natural sentiment upon which our
virtue rests is constantly being weakened.

It is foolishly supposed that this species of disorder, having gone to
certain lengths, will at last return to rational limits. It is with
some such notion that the enthusiasts, who profess to see in popular
education a panacea for all evils, expatiate upon the future. This,
however, is mere thoughtlessness. The development of the nervous
temperament in the system of a nation is no remedy for this moral
illness; on the contrary, the reverse is true. The result is the most
dangerous form of sensuality. When an intense and excitable organism,
quick in its intellectual movements, eager in its appreciation of
beauty, is left to follow its own instincts in the application of
wealth, we have the nearest approach to the ancient classic type of
culture. The recent development of American art is a source of
universal remark. Here the successful artist finds golden
appreciation. The diva of the lyric stage, the painter and sculptor,
meet with substantial welcome. The growing taste for beauty of line is
well known and acknowledged. Extravagance in dress is becoming a
national weakness. There is every indication that the next century
will witness in our descendants a race more elegant in its tastes,
more intense in its enjoyment of every form of beauty, than even the
heirs of European refinement—a generation as unlike the ungainly type
of Brother Jonathan as an Athenian of the age of Pericles was
dissimilar to the rude Pelasgic fisherman of the Hellespont. We think
of Greece most commonly in her æsthetic character and influence; but
we must not forget that her immorality as recorded in history was
hideously dark. The product of her sensuous and overwrought knowledge
and enjoyment of nature spread with her literature and art. They
brought death to the strong and vigorous race which had overcome the
world. The annals of Suetonius and Tacitus, the calm records of
current facts, are too obscene to bear circulation among ordinary
readers of our day. The literature of their time has to be expurgated
before it is fit to be perused by youthful students. The crimes which
are charged by the apostle in his terrible invective against the
heathen culture, which are rehearsed by Terence and Aristophanes,
satirized by Juvenal, laughed at by Horace, celebrated in the flowing
measures of Anacreon, Ovid, and Catullus, and coldly set down by
historians as the public acts of the cultivated classes—these
frightful excesses live to-day, with all their unnatural beastliness,
in the exquisitely-wrought marbles and frescos of Pompeii.

There was never a case in which either a nation or an individual was
cured of this species of corruption by increasing the æsthetic
faculties and amplifying the temptations of wealth. But, it is urged,
education gives the rising generation the ability to read, and
therefore puts it in the way of acquiring sound instruction. Let it be
understood that we believe no parent has a right to deny this
instruction to his children; but we bespeak on the part of all earnest
men the utmost attention to the practical issue of this theory, in
order that they may see how incomplete it is as a safeguard to the
virtue of the youth now growing up. What is the nature of our popular
literature? Upon what sort of reading is the newly-acquired art
exercised? What is the ratio of books which furnish useful instruction
to those works whose aim is solely to amuse and excite the
imagination? And of the latter class, what is the proportion between
the harmless and noxious publications? Those who receive only
elementary instruction practically go to school in order to learn to
read novels and the trashy and immoral periodicals whose costly
illustrations and increasing number amply prove the increasing demand
for them. The influence of the press is necessary and indispensable,
but there is nothing in our literature which will in any degree
restrain the tendencies of our civilization.

We wish it were possible to use language of sufficient force to
express the reality of our perilous condition; for our people have
already gone far enough in this direction to excite the utmost alarm.
The moral corruption of New England is such as to threaten with
extinction the vigorous race which originally inhabited it. The
medical profession of this country is so profoundly impressed with the
constant decrease in the birthrate of the native stock and with its
marked physical decadence, that essays on these subjects are to be
seen in every scientific periodical.

Ten years ago Dr. Storer called attention to the fact that, as far
back as 1850, the natural increase of the population, or the excess of
births over deaths, was by those of foreign origin, and that
subsequently the ratio in favor of foreign parents was constantly on
the increase. “In other words,” he says, “it is found that, in so far
as depends upon the American and native element, and in the absence of
the existing immigration from abroad, the population of our older
States, even allowing for the loss by emigration, is stationary or
decreasing.” Dr. Storer did not hesitate to attribute this fact to the
criminal destruction of human life or to the suppression of the family
by those whose natural instincts ought to procure its conservation.
The evidences of this widespread evil are before us in every daily
issue of the press.

The demands of pleasure, the numerous inducements to women to find
their occupation outside of domestic life, and to shrink from the
duties and cares of maternity—none of those temptations which furnish
the occasion of this crime are to be met by increasing the size and
beauty of our public schools or by providing the children of the poor
with elegant accomplishments. Nor will the result be more favorable if
the privilege of the elective franchise is added to the other
extra-domestic responsibilities of American women. What, then, is to
save us when marriage, if recognized, has ceased to be a desirable
state, when luxury and nervous development have subjected the chastity
of single life to the severest temptation, and when our inherited
morality has vanished in the process of our growth?

If the native American race is not going to die out, it must learn
from foreigners the secret of their vitality. Christianity has, in the
confessional, the means of applying not only sacramental grace to the
fallen and repentant, but of securing them from further disorder. Dr.
Storer has told the country very plainly that “the different frequency
of the abortions depends, not upon a difference in social position or
in fecundity, but in the religion.” In other words, the cultivated
American is far below the ignorant immigrant in morality; and the
reason of this is that the immigrant referred to is a Catholic and his
employer is not.

Dr. Storer proceeds to observe: “It is not, of course, intended to
imply that Protestantism, as such, in any way encourages or, indeed,
permits the practice of inducing abortion; its tenets are
uncompromisingly hostile to all crime. So great, however, is the
popular ignorance regarding this offence that an abstract morality is
here comparatively powerless.” This touches the fundamental truth
involved in the whole discussion—“an abstract morality” never can
prove effective against any concrete evil. But the doctor further
expresses his conviction, drawing the legitimate conclusion and
stating the fact: “And there can be no doubt that the Romish
ordinance, flanked on the one hand by the confessional and by
denouncement and excommunication on the other” (he has previously
quoted from the pastoral of a Catholic prelate), “has saved to the
world thousands of infant lives.”

The American people is beginning to perceive that wealth and culture
without true morality mean ruin. If it does not perceive that
Protestantism is the cause of its present corruption, it at least
confesses that its inherited religion is powerless to remedy the evils
of the day. We cannot ask it to reject its false guide much faster
than it is doing. We cannot tell how soon it will be able to receive
the divine truth of Christianity. It will be no pleasure to us to have
the old faith vindicated by the destruction of this people.

We beg to be allowed to preserve our Catholic population and to keep
them pure and faithful, at least until non-Catholics can offer
something which will meet their own contingencies. If this demand be
persistently disregarded and our honest attempt to save ourselves be
misconstrued into an assault upon others, we will do the best we can,
at all events.

But, in the meantime, let all earnest men admit the reality of danger.
Do not let attention be absorbed by particular manifestations of a
disease which is universal. The evils which threaten our life will not
be removed by retrenchment of government expenses, or by a temporary
destruction of party tyranny, or by an ostentatious simplicity in
official circles, or by “justification by faith,” or by pietistic
feeling, or by acting out individual crotchets, or even by sound moral
doctrine in an abstract form, but by the living truth of God, taught
by him through human lips, applied by him with divine efficacy through
the ministry of human hands. The truth which has saved the ancient
world and has produced all that is desirable in modern civilization is
alone able to preserve our nation in its future growth.


This title will prove a disappointment to those who only associate the
idea of a French novel with that typical production of vicious and
feverish literature to which the fiction-mongers of France have so
long accustomed us, and whose corrupt influence has made itself felt
far beyond the limits of the nation which gives it birth. Our present
purpose is not to discuss one of those pernicious books, but to
consider one which rises as far above their level by its artistic
beauty and literary merits as by the nobler tone of its morality. A
novel by a Catholic writer, impregnated from first to last with the
spirit and principle of the faith, full of noble sentiments, and yet
as amusing and as exciting as any “naughty” novel; a book where all
the good people, even the holy people, are as charming, witty, odd, or
fascinating as if they were anything but holy; a book that conveys in
the characters and scenes it brings before us a great moral lesson,
and which at the same time absorbs and excites us as powerfully as the
cleverest novel of the sensational school, with its inevitable murders
and forgeries and double marriages—the appearance of a novel such as
this is surely an event that it behoves us to examine closely as the
curious literary phenomenon which it is.

Mrs. Augustus Craven’s last work, _Le Mot de l’Enigme_, which, under
the title of _The Veil Withdrawn_, appeared in THE CATHOLIC WORLD
simultaneously with its issue in the _Correspondant_ of Paris, is
known to most of the readers of the present article, but we would ask
them if, when enjoying its persual, they have sometimes stopped to
consider what a genuine achievement the book was, and how pregnant
with promise for the lighter Catholic literature of the future? Any
book by the author of the _Récit d’une Sœur_ is sure to command a wide
audience in Europe and America among readers of different languages
and creeds; but there are reasons why _The Veil Withdrawn_ should meet
with a specially triumphant welcome from us Catholics, for it is in
truth a triumph over prejudices whose narrow and tyrannical rule have
hitherto been fatal to Catholic fiction. The _Récit d’une Sœur_, the
peerless story that stands unrivalled amidst the literature of the
world, taught many lessons to our day, but no one, perhaps, more
important, considering its possible results, than that which it
conveyed to Catholic writers—namely, that religion, in its most ardent
form and its most rigid application, is compatible with the tenderest
romance; that human hearts and imaginations, far from being chilled or
fettered by the sublime truths of the faith, are kindled and enlarged
by their influence; that human passions come into play as powerfully
in souls ruled by the divine law as in those that reject and defy it,
the only difference being that to the former they are weapons used in
noble warfare, servants and auxiliaries, whereas to the others they
are tyrants that strike only to destroy. The loves of Alexandrine and
Albert revealed this secret to the world, and this alone would have
sufficed to immortalize the _Récit_. No romance ever reached the skyey
heights to which these lovers soared; and yet, while their hearts sang
their sweet love-song together, their souls were fixed on God,
dreaming of heaven, where their love was to find its perfect
consummation, scorning the pitiful meed of earthly happiness, unless
it might lead them to the secure possession of the eternal bliss of
which this was but the transient foretaste. “_Pour la vie, c’est trop
court!_”[70] was Alexandrine’s reply when Albert asked her for the
ring on which the words were graven, _Pour la vie!_ And such should be
the motto of all love worthy of the name.

This pure key-note is struck and sustained with a master-hand
throughout the whole story of _The Veil Withdrawn_, and the success
with which the principle it enunciates has been forced into the
service of art is the point which we would invite Catholic writers in
all countries to consider attentively. Our grand mistake, as a rule,
is to assume that Catholic literature, in order to be true to its
mission, must be constantly talking of holy things, bringing forward
pious maxims and practices; that the heroes and heroines of its
stories must be pious people, or else very wicked people whose final
cause is the glorification of the pious ones who are to convert them;
it must never deal openly with the great problems of life, never
grapple with its deepest mysteries, never describe men and women as
they ordinarily exist around us—human beings endowed at their birth
with the fatal inheritance of Adam, with mighty capabilities for good
and evil, with passions and instincts that have to work out their
issue to ruin or to endless victory; souls where all the forces are
clashing in deadly and desperate strife—these things are forbidden
ground to the Catholic novelist. He may tread timidly on the outskirts
of the battle-field, but he must not venture into the thick of the
fight; he must not lift the veil and let us look upon the scene where
this momentous combat is going forward, where nature and grace and all
the allied enemies of the human heart are wrestling and striving in
fierce war. These things would not be “edifying”; they would not be
fit reading for young girls; they might put ideas into their heads and
excite their imaginations. And why, we ask, is it invariably taken for
granted that Catholic writers only write for young girls? Are there no
Catholic men in the world? It might be urged, with better show of
reason, that young girls are not obliged to read novels at
all—stories, yes; but novels do not form any necessary part of their
education. These are intended for men and women—people who have found
out the “answer to the riddle,” learned some of the dark and painful
lessons of life; who turn to the pages of a novel to find an hour’s
harmless recreation, if nothing more, and to forget the dull round of
care and vexing realities in the amusement or excitement of imaginary
troubles and joys. We are far from saying that the novel has no higher
purpose than this; but if it claimed no other, this, in itself, is a
legitimate one. Human nature must have relaxation. The most ascetic
saints sought recreation of some kind from the strain of work and
contemplation. Still more must ordinary mortals seek it; and as
novel-reading has become one of the easiest and most popular forms of
mental diversion, it is of the highest importance that it should be of
good and wholesome quality. Now, a novel is neither good nor wholesome
when it ignores the canons of art, and eschews the true study of human
nature, and confines itself to pretty commonplaces and pious allusions
and exemplary sentiments exchanged between namby-pamby people who are
represented as in a state of society which, practically, has no
prototype in real life, where strong passions and conflicting
interests and fierce temptations have no existence, but where all
difficulties are adjusted by a pious suggestion offered at the right
moment by a friend or a book. Grown-up men and women will not be put
off with this sort of thing, be they ever such good Catholics; when
they take up a novel, they do so for interest or amusement, and, for
lack of better, they fall back on the real novels, sensational or

This is a lamentable state of things, and as fatal to Catholic writers
as to their readers. It is this false idea of the character and
requirements of Catholic literature which has brought it to the low
ebb at which it now is among English-speaking Catholics, in spite of
the growing numbers of a cultivated and intelligent audience. Every
one recognizes the fact, and many deplore it, but no one has the
courage to attempt the remedy. It would require, indeed, something
more than any effort of individual influence to break down the
prejudices and puerile traditions that fence in the authorized field
of Catholic fiction in the present day, and it is difficult to say
which calls for strongest denunciation—the prohibition which excludes
certain subjects, or the large license given to the use of others. The
Catholic novelist is forbidden to strike the deep, vibrating chords of
nature and of souls, but he believes himself free to handle the most
sacred subjects, to preach and moralize to the top of his bent. It is
hard to speak of this folly as dispassionately as we should wish; but
looking at it with all possible indulgence, is there not something in
the stupid conceit and self-complacent audacity of it that may justly
rouse indignation? We see grave men, who have graduated in the
schools, give up long years to the study of sacred science, in order
that they may some day be competent to speak worthily on these high
themes, that they may learn how to balance the relations of right and
wrong, and define the limits of temptation and sin, of cause and
effect; and when, with knowledge ripened by study and meditation, they
venture to write, it is in a spirit of great reverence and in fear and
trembling. On the other hand, we see incompetent laymen, young ladies
and young gentlemen fresh from school, utterly inexperienced, but well
supplied with the boldness of inexperience and incompetence, dipping a
dainty pen into a silver inkstand and proceeding to discourse in a
novel of pious subjects—of prayer, and temptation, and sacraments, and
priests and the priestly character, and controversial subjects—as
flippantly as they might discuss the merits of a new opera or a new
costume. And they fancy, forsooth, that this is doing good and giving
edification! They imagine that it is enough to mention sacred subjects
and emit pious or quasi-pious sentiments in order to reach the human
heart and strike the _sursum corda_ on its springs! One could afford
to laugh at the silly delusion, if the danger did not lie so close to
the folly of it. A moment’s reflection and a little humility would
suffice to convince these well-meaning persons of their mistake. Many
of them might really attain their end of edifying if they had only the
sense to confine themselves within the range of their powers. If a
beginner, or one endowed with a delicate sense of music but limited
musical ability, should attempt to perform one of Beethoven’s glorious
sonatas, he would only irritate us by spoiling the masterpiece; but if
the same person wisely contented himself with playing some simple air,
he might afford genuine and unalloyed pleasure, touching some chord of
feeling in the listener’s heart, evoking, mayhap, sweet memories of
childhood, sacred and long forgotten. Few things provoke the disgust
of an intelligent reader, pious or not, more than to come upon
religious platitudes in a book ostensibly written to amuse; and the
prospect of meeting with this kind of thing at every page is
sufficient to prejudice him against a book which bears a Catholic name
on the title-page. Even the name of a Catholic publisher brands it at
first sight as “dull and silly.” Here, as elsewhere, the cause and
effect react upon each other, and the puerile tone and absence of
artistic treatment in the author, by failing to gain the favor and
attention of the public, paralyzes the most energetic efforts of
Catholic publishers, and those few Catholic writers who can command a
wider audience are unavoidably driven to the Protestant publishers in
order to secure a hearing.

Is it too much to say that a Catholic novelist who would successfully
break through these narrow-minded and false theories, and courageously
inaugurate a new reign in Catholic fiction, would be conferring a
great benefit on our generation? We claim for Mrs. Augustus Craven the
merit of having achieved this feat. The mission which she began in the
_Récit d’une Sœur_ was successfully continued in _Fleurange_, and may
be said to triumph completely in _The Veil Withdrawn_. Her last novel
is a book which appeals as strongly to the interest of the unbeliever
and the heretic as of the most fervent Catholic. The moral lesson it
conveys may be accepted or not, just as the reader pleases; it is
there, brilliantly and powerfully delivered; but, like so many
messages broadly written on the face of nature or faintly whispered to
our hearts, we may hearken or we may close our ears to it, as we
choose; the story still remains one of enthralling interest, full of
tenderest romance, of fiery passion, of picturesque description, of
sparkling repartee, of gay and pathetic and thrilling situations. With
the skill of a real artist the author lifts the curtain and bids us
look into the hearts of our fellow-creatures; she touches the hidden
springs, reveals the dubious motives, evil sometimes blending with
good so closely that it requires the finest analysis to discern their
true proportions, to decompose the elements, and show where and how
far each in turn prevails.

The two characters who stand out from the canvas as the leading
figures in the picture are brought face to face in the most terrible
conflict that human hearts can know. Ginevra—not a child, not a placid
convent maiden suspecting no life beyond her “narrowing nunnery
walls,” but a woman with a strong, impassioned soul—is first
inebriated with the pure wine of permitted happiness; the cup is
dashed from her, and she tries to clutch it in defiance and despair.
It eludes her still. She beholds her happiness wrecked, her life
blighted, at the very outset. She does not take her rosary, and, with
conventional propriety, accept the ruin of her young life with the
resigned spirit and smiling countenance of a saint; far from it. The
evil that is in her starts into activity and makes a fierce fight
against her cruel lot. She plunges into the whirl of society, and
tries to drown her misery in such consolations as excitement and
gratified vanity can give. We follow her step by step in the perilous
career, now trembling at her rashness, now rejoicing at her escape,
but never, in the bottom of our hearts, believing that she will prove
unworthy of her nobler self.

Let us glance over the story, not to analyze its merits as a work of
high art and moral philosophy, but simply to review it in the light of
a novel characteristic of our times and full of the stir of
nineteenth-century life.

It opens at Messina, in an old palazzo, where Ginevra, blossoming out
in her fifteenth summer, sits watching the sea through the half-closed
window, listening to the wave sobbing on the beach, unconscious and
dreamy, but already vibrating to the “low music of humanity” that
stirs the unwakened pulses of her heart. She rivets our attention at
the first glance as a creature whose beauty, sensitiveness, and
dormant energy of character contain all the elements of some high
romance. The description of her home and its inmates forms a charming
and animated picture. Fabrizio, the learned and somewhat austere
father; Bianca, the mother, with her tenderly brooding love; Livia,
the sister, at first so misjudged, but destined to rise to such
prestige amidst them all; Ottavia, the fussy, superstitious, devoted
old nurse; Mario, the sombre and jealous-tempered brother—they all
come before us with the reality of living characters whom we love,
fear, or suspect as they gradually reveal themselves. The episode of
the flower flung from the window in a moment of frolic and girlish
vanity, and which leaves so deep a mark on Ginevra’s life, is cleverly
introduced and prepares us for the retribution which awaits the poor
child’s innocent misdemeanor. Her life glides on peacefully in the old
frescoed saloon, where she cons her book and tends her nightingales,
until one day, while high perched on a stool, ministering to her
singing bird, the old majordomo flings the door wide open and in a
sonorous voice announces _Sua eccellenza il Duca di Valenzano_!
Ginevra starts, and so does the reader; for he knows instinctively
that this visitor is the fairy prince of the story, destined to make
the golden-haired maiden supremely happy or supremely miserable.
Ginevra’s confusion, at being discovered by this illustrious intruder
in such an awkward attitude and so childishly engaged, is charmingly
described. She knows not whether to be terrified or delighted when the
handsome duke goes forward and assists her to descend from her aerial
standpoint. But old Don Fabrizio knows what to feel about it, and
surveys the group in the embrasure of the window with a glance of
stern displeasure. This high-born client of his has nothing in common
with Don Fabrizio’s daughter, and it is with undisguised reluctance
that the proud lawyer obeys the duke’s request to introduce him to the

And now the story is fairly afloat, and we follow it with an interest
that grows in proportion as the plot advances, rising in dramatic
power at every chapter. We know that Valenzano is not to be trusted,
that he has in him all the elements of a faithless lover and a cruel
husband; but we surrender ourselves all the same to the charm of his
manner, his genius, his irresistible fascinations. The love-making is
as warm as the author dares to make it in a country where the freedom
of Anglo-Saxon courtship is unknown, and where the course of true love
runs smoothly between the contracting families on one side and the
family lawyers on the other. Ginevra goes forth to her new life with a
mixture of delight and fear that are like the foreshadowing of the
flickered destiny that awaits her, and Livia’s voice strikes like a
note of painful warning in the concert of the family joy and triumph
and congratulation, when she reminds Ginevra that “marriage is like
death”—a thing that we wait and watch for, but never know until we
have passed the gates and it is too late to turn back. The description
of the bridal festivities, when she goes home to her husband’s palace,
and, worn out by the grandeur and the glare, takes refuge alone in the
quiet starlight, and removes the circlet of glittering jewels from her
brow, that cannot bear the pressure any longer, presents one of those
pictures of life in the great Italian world that Mrs. Craven excels in

Life has now become like an enchanted dream to Ginevra. But the first
touch of the awakening reality is not long delayed. One night, when
the moon was high in the blue heavens and flooding earth and sea with
a mystic glory, Ginevra and Lorenzo were sitting on the terrace,
listening to the water lapping on the shore, to the nightingales
trilling in the ilex groves; the young wife, hushed into silence by
the ecstatic beauty of the scene, laid her hand upon her husband’s arm
and whispered to him, “Let us lift up our hearts in prayer for one
moment, and give thanks for all this beauty.” Lorenzo bent on her a
look of tenderest love, and then murmured with a smile, as if
answering the poetic folly of a child,

  “‘Beatrice in suso, ed io in lei guardava.’[71]

Thine eyes are my heaven, Ginevra. I feel no need to raise my own any
higher.” A cold chill like the first suspicion of a great sorrow crept
over the young wife. But Lorenzo quickly chased it away, and she tries
to banish the memory of it. But we do not forget it. Slight as the
incident is, it has all the import of the first growl of the distant
thunder, the small patch of cloud, “no bigger than a man’s hand,” upon
the summer sky, that are the certain forerunners of the storm.

But the storm will not burst just yet, and meantime we follow Ginevra
in her brilliant career, first travelling here and there with her
husband, and finally enthroned as a queen in her delightful world at
Naples. The first thing that makes us tremble for her is Lorenzo’s
startled exclamation of anger—was it?—when he comes upon Donna
Faustina’s card amongst those that are left at the young duchess’
door, and the latter, in surprise, asks what it means. He turns it off
adroitly, and Ginevra dismisses it from her mind. The interval that
follows is bright with incident and pictures of society in Naples and
in Paris. We see Lorenzo at work in his studio, where Ginevra sits to
him as a model for his Vestal, and where his rapturous admiration of
her beauty makes her recoil instinctively as from a homage unworthy of
her, too much “of the earth earthly.” And yet this husband, who is
almost an unbeliever, who smiles with indulgent fondness on his wife’s
ardent piety, is glad enough that she should have religion to guard
her from the perils that beset her on all sides; he recognizes the
power and utility of her faith, and is careful not to shock it or to
let her see how little he really shares it. Lando, the cousin and boon
companion of the duke, now comes upon the scene, and for a time we
side with Ginevra in her dislike and suspicion of him; but soon we
find out our mistake, and acknowledge that, in spite of his loose
principles and wild ways, he is kind-hearted and a stanch and loyal
friend to Ginevra. He does his best to save both her and Lorenzo,
though to the last he is unable to understand why any woman in her
right mind should care so much more for her husband’s love than for
his fortune, and why the ruin of the latter should be as nothing to
her compared to even a passing breach in the former. The scene at the
concert, where she first detects Lorenzo at a card-table, and it
breaks upon her that her husband is a gambler, is finely introduced,
and the conversation of Lando with the terrified young wife is
admirably drawn. But we know that the real crisis in her peace and
happiness has yet to come, and we hurry on till Donna Faustina enters.
Lorenzo disarms us, and almost gains our sympathy for this evil genius
of Ginevra, by the frankness with which he tells her story to the
latter; but the relations between all three, as he now tries to
establish them, are radically false, and it requires no prophetic eye
to foresee how they must end. What barrier have either Faustina or
Lorenzo to stem the torrent of passion when it breaks loose—outraged
love and desire of revenge on her side, and on his the embers of a
love that he fancies dead, but which it only needs the vanity of his
own undisciplined nature and the spell of her guilty passion to fan
into a livelier flame than ever? While the storm is rapidly rising in
this direction, Gilbert de Kergy crosses Ginevra’s path; but she is
yet far from suspecting that he is the messenger of fate to her, the
one who is to exercise a supreme influence in her life and call out
its energies in her soul’s defence with a courage that till now has
never been demanded of her. We know how the battle is sure to go with
Ginevra, as we foresee the issue with Lorenzo and Faustina. We see the
force that will ensure the victory in the one case, just as we see how
the want of it must lead to slavery and surrender in the other. And
here again the skill and power of the author triumph and afford a
striking contrast to the old system we have denounced. She never
moralizes, or reminds us that Lorenzo, being a bad Christian, who
never goes to Mass or the sacraments, is certain to fall, and that
Ginevra, in spite of passions that sway her heart with such relentless
power, will come safe out of it because of that restraining force
which, like a mysterious presence, rules her even when she is
unconscious of it—the author does not say these things; she proves
them by making her characters demonstrate their truth and act out
their conclusions. We will quote the passage where Gilbert and Ginevra
part, only to meet again in those sweet and tempting days at Naples.
Gilbert has been lecturing on his travels with an eloquence that
carried away his hearers. Then Ginevra says:

     “I remained seated near the mantelpiece, and fell into a
     dreamy silence, while Diana sat down to the piano. She began
     to execute, with consummate art, a nocturne of Chopin’s,
     which sounded to me like the expression, the very language,
     of my own thoughts.… I woke up from my reverie with a
     strange thrill, and blushed to the very roots of my hair;
     for in lifting my eyes I met those of Gilbert fixed upon me,
     and mine were full of tears. I brushed them away quickly,
     and muttered something about the effect Chopin’s music
     always had on my nerves, and then rose and drew near to the
     piano, where Diana continued to pass her hands in rapid
     changes over the keys.… Gilbert remained silent and pensive
     in the place where I had left him, following me with his
     eyes, and perhaps trying to guess the real cause of my
     emotion.… When the time had come for me to go, and Mme. de
     Kergy clasped me to her heart, I no longer strove to repress
     my tears.… Gilbert gave me his arm and conducted me to my
     carriage without speaking. As I was entering it, he said in
     a voice that faltered slightly:

     “‘Those whom you are leaving are greatly to be pitied,

     “‘I am still more to be pitied,’ I replied, and my tears
     flowed freely.

     “He was silent for a moment, and then he said:

     “‘As for me, I have the hope of seeing you again; for I
     shall come to Naples, … _if I dare_.’

     “‘And why should you not dare? You will be received and
     welcomed as a friend.’

     “He made no reply, but when he had placed me in the
     carriage, and I held out my hand to him to say adieu, he
     murmured in a low voice: _Au revoir!_’”

And he keeps his word. He goes to Naples and meets Ginevra at a ball,
whither she has rushed, half mad with despair and jealousy, reckless
of everything resolved to drown the anguish of her heart in the
intoxication of gayety and the adulation of the world, that until now
she had carelessly despised. It was the night after the masked ball at
the Festina, where, on the impulse of the moment, she and her
beautiful friend Stella went as dominos to join in the fun and mystify
their friends a little. Ginevra recognized Lorenzo’s stately figure
the moment she entered the ball-room, and, terrified at finding
herself alone in the crowd, seized hold of his arm, clinging to him in
silence. Lorenzo, deceived by the color of her domino, mistakes her
for Faustina, whom he is expecting. He stoops low and whispers a
tender welcome in her ear. Ginevra, with a stifled cry, starts from
him and rushes frantically from the scene. The next night, with the
delirium of this discovery upon her, she goes forth in her loveliest
attire to dispute the palm of beauty with the rest.

     “I had my diamonds and pearls brought out, and I gave
     precise directions as to how I intended to wear them; this
     done, long before the time came I began my toilet and spent
     an endless time over it. So many women seem to take pleasure
     in making a triumphant entry into a ball-room, I said to
     myself, and in being flattered and admired, why should I not
     taste of this pleasure as well as they? I am beautiful, I
     know that—very beautiful even. Why should I not attract and
     indulge my vanity and coquetry like other women?”

And she does attract, and her vanity is satisfied to overflowing. Her
beauty and the dazzling splendor of her jewels create a perfect furore
the moment she appears. She announces her intention of dancing, and
the noblest cavaliers in the room are at her feet in a moment,
quarrelling for the honor of her hand. Never was the triumph of a
coquette more complete than Ginevra’s. Her youth and its instinctive
love of pleasure vindicated themselves for a time, and she enjoyed her
success to the full; but as the night wore on nobler instincts
asserted themselves, worthier voices made themselves heard above the
din of this ardent and puerile vanity, and Ginevra feels the cold
chill of remorse stealing over her; a sense of vague misfortune takes
possession of her and stills her feverish gayety like a touch of ice.
Her last partner leads her to her seat, and she sinks into it
exhausted and miserable.

     “At the same moment,” she says, “I heard near me a voice
     well known though well-nigh forgotten—a voice at once calm,
     strong, and sweet, but which now sounded slightly sarcastic.
     ‘Although I cannot aspire to the honor of dancing with the
     Duchess de Valenzano, may I hope that she will deign to
     recognize me?’

     “I turned around quickly. The speaker who stood there and
     thus addressed me was Gilbert de Kergy.”

The ordinary French novelist had here a fine opportunity for bringing
matters to a crisis between Ginevra and Gilbert; but the present
author uses it differently. Gilbert does not take advantage of the
temporary madness of Ginevra to gain influence over her and beguile
her from her allegiance to Lorenzo, faithless and cruel as he is.
Gilbert is far too noble for this, and his first feeling, on beholding
his ideal in this dangerous and unworthy atmosphere, is one of censure
and poignant regret. Neither he nor Ginevra is of the conventional
type of defaulters; both are good, high-principled, and brave; they
are both practical Christians, and the idea of betraying their duty to
God and to their own honor would have revolted them had it presented
itself in its naked horror. But it did not. The approach was gradual,
imperceptible. And here we have a great truth illustrated—one which it
is customary in Catholic authors to ignore practically, if not
theoretically: The possession of the faith and the practice of
religion do not act as opiates on human beings, deadening their hearts
and annihilating nature, and lifting them to a secure region where the
great temptations of life cannot reach them, or where, if they do,
they glide off harmless as arrows glance from the steel cuirass of the
soldier. Ginevra is pure and true as ever woman was who vowed at the
altar “that most solemn vow that a woman can utter”; she was,
moreover, genuinely pious. Gilbert was the very ideal of manly
chivalry and honor and goodness, an accomplished type of the Christian
gentleman; but neither he nor she was fireproof when the time of trial
came. He loved Ginevra before he knew it; and she, forsaken,
humiliated, stung in her love and her wifely pride, is thrown into his
constant companionship, not by her seeking, but through one of those
accidents to which women of her class and circumstances are liable
every day. She is grateful for Gilbert’s brotherly regard, she admires
his noble life and his sentiments, so true, so different from those of
other men; she is grateful to him for the frank rebuke which he spoke
out at the ball when she was drifting she knew not whither. Step by
step the friendship grows to a tenderer feeling, and at last
culminates in a love whose depth and power Ginevra does not even
suspect, so gradual has been its development. We tremble for her; but
even when we see her tottering blindfold on the edge of the abyss, we
feel certain she will never take the fatal plunge. All this is
depicted with infinite delicacy and rare psychological skill.

Livia now reappears upon the scene as one of the visible forces that
are guarding Ginevra along the slippery road. Livia is one of the most
striking and carefully drawn of the subordinate characters. It is
worth mentioning _en passant_ that here, as elsewhere, Mrs. Craven
breaks boldly through the time-honored traditions of the Catholic
novelist. The holier and more spiritual-minded her _dramatis personæ_,
the brighter, more sympathetic and accessible they are. Stella, the
heroic friend in days of sorrow, so gifted, so beautiful, so untainted
with the spirit of the world where she lives and moves—Stella has the
high animal spirits of a school-girl, the glad heart—_le sang joyeux_,
as she herself calls it—of a happy child. Livia, who in her father’s
home was pensive almost to melancholy, the moment she embraces the
austere rule of the cloister, spending her days in the contemplation
of heavenly things, grows as merry as a lark. Joy is henceforth the
keynote and regulator of her life; we have no trace of the downcast
face and solemn, mournful voice that have hitherto been characteristic
of pious people in novels. No one pulls long faces here, or whines or
sighs, except it may be those who have forsaken the fountain where
true joy has its spring, to drink of the poisoned waters of this
world’s pleasures, of sin, ambition, or folly. How winning, too, is
Livia’s tender interest in the gay life of her brilliant young sister!
She has not closed her heart against the actors on the world’s stage
outside her convent gates, but keeps her sympathies wide open to all
life and all humanity beyond them.

     “‘Gina mia, you don’t tell me everything,’ she says one day
     that Ginevra is conversing with her through the grating. ‘Is
     it that you think I take no interest in your life now?’

     “‘It is not only that, Livia, but it is difficult to talk
     about such trivial, foolish things in presence of these bars
     and looking at you as you stand behind them.’

     “‘Nay, it is always good for me to hear you and for you to
     talk to me,’ replied Livia. ‘It is true that when Aunt
     Clelia comes here with her daughters, I put on a severe
     countenance now and then, and tell them pretty plainly what
     I think of the world; … but I must say that my aunt bears me
     no malice for it, for she counts on my vocation to get good
     husbands for Mariuccia and Teresina.… She does not look upon
     me as “_jettatrice_” at all now, I can tell you!’

     “She laughed so merrily as she spoke that I could not help
     exclaiming with envy and surprise:

     “‘Livia, how happy you are to be so gay!’”

The sense of humor, so essential to preserve the balance in true
mental power, is not wanting in this story. Donna Clelia is lightly
and brightly touched. She is everywhere true to herself;
self-important, silly, and good-natured, she and her daughters are
redeemed from hopeless vulgarity as much by their _naïveté_ and
naturalness as by the sheer inability of the author to depict
vulgarity—a fact which we notice without comment, leaving our readers
to decide whether it be a merit or a fault. Donna Clelia’s intense
satisfaction at being able to parade “my niece, the duchess” is one of
those touches that throw a character into striking relief. Her
enthusiasm for the “view” from the _baronessa’s_ house, where “not a
donkey-boy, nor a cart, nor a horse, nor a man, nor a woman could pass
in the narrow street but you saw them so plainly you could tell the
pattern of their clothes,” gives us the measure of her artistic
perceptions, while her raptures over the situation “with the church on
one side and the new theatre on the other … _figurateir!_ so that the
_baronessa_ can let herself into the church on the right, and through
a passage into her box in the theatre on the left,” is equally
characteristic of the manners and minds of the society around her. The
description of the splendid pageant of the Carnival, passing under
Donna Clelia’s balcony, is as spirited a bit of picturesque writing as
we have come upon for a long time. But we hurry on through these gay
and vivid scenes, impatient for the crisis that is at hand between
Gilbert and Ginevra. Nothing, so far, had prepared our heroine for its

     “Apparently,” says Ginevra, “and in reality, our intercourse
     was precisely what it had always been; every word he said to
     me might have been said before the whole world. I felt, it
     is true, that he spoke to me as he did not speak to any one
     else, and I, on my side, spoke to no one as I did to him. We
     were seldom alone, but every evening, in the drawing-room or
     on the terrace, he managed to converse with me for a moment
     or two when no one was by. He did not disguise from me that
     these stolen moments were to him the most enjoyable of the
     evening, and I knew they were the same to me. From time to
     time something indefinable in his voice, in his glance, even
     in his silence, made me shudder as at some threat of danger.
     But as he had never swerved by so much as a word from the
     position he had assumed towards me—that of a friend—my
     slumbering conscience did not awake!”

The awakening, however, came at last. The immediate occasion of it was
an eruption of Vesuvius, which is described with a dramatic power
worthy, if possible, of the sublime and terrible subject. The mountain
is on fire; the lava streams forth from a rent in its side, and,
strong and pitiless as fate, flows on over vineyards and villages and
smiling gardens, spreading desolation before it. Ginevra, with a large
party of friends, goes out to witness the magnificent spectacle from a
safe eminence. She and Gilbert are thrown together and climb to the
top of a hillock overlooking the scene of the conflagration. The
flames rose on all sides as in some vengeful apocalypse, high,
fantastic, awful. Ginevra could not take away her eyes from the sight,
but gazed on it as on some mysterious apparition that held her
spell-bound. At last she exclaimed:

     “‘This is truly _la città dolente_! We have before our eyes
     a faithful picture of the last day!’

     “Gilbert did not answer. He was a prey to some emotion more
     poignant than mine, and, in glancing towards him in the
     lurid glare of the fire, I was frightened by the change in
     his features and their strange expression. ‘Would to
     heaven,’ he muttered at last, ‘that it were so in reality,
     and that the last day were come for me! Yes, I wish I could
     die here, on this spot, near you and worthy of you!’

     “In spite of the appalling scene around us, in spite of the
     roar of the detonations thundering above the dull noise of
     the lava, the accent of his voice struck upon my ear, and
     his words made my heart leap up with an emotion mingled with

     “‘You are growing giddy,’ I said, and my voice trembled.
     ‘Take care; the effect of looking long at this is sometimes
     to draw one on to the abyss.’

     “‘Yes, Donna Ginevra,’ he replied in the same strange tone,
     ‘you are right; I am giddy and I am walking on to the abyss.
     I know it. I exposed myself rashly; I presumed too much on
     my strength.’

     “The look which he fixed upon me in pronouncing these words
     gave them a meaning which it was impossible to
     misunderstand. It was no longer Gilbert who was speaking to
     me; it was no longer the man to whom I fancied I had granted
     only the safe privileges of a friend. The bandage which I
     had wilfully placed upon my eyes fell off in an instant,
     and, in the sudden emotion which followed, the sight of the
     roaring flames that encircled us, the certain peril to which
     one step further would lead us, appeared to me as the exact
     representation of the danger to which I had madly exposed my
     honor and my soul! For one moment I covered my face with my
     hands, not daring to utter a word. At last I said in a voice
     of supplication:

     “‘Monsieur de Kergy, cease to look upon the fire that
     surrounds us; lift up your head and see how, far above this
     hell, the night is calm and beautiful!…’

     Gilbert’s eyes followed mine and remained for some time
     fixed upon the peaceful stars, that seemed, indeed, as far
     away from the terrible convulsion of nature as from that
     which was agitating our souls. Mine felt the need of a
     mighty help, and I murmured in a low voice, and with a
     fervor which had long been absent from my prayers: ‘O my
     God! have pity upon me.’ A long silence ensued, and then
     Gilbert said in a voice that was low and tremulous:

     “‘Will you forgive me, madame? Will you trust yourself to me
     to lead you from this place?’

     “‘Yes, I will trust you,’ I replied. ‘But let us make haste
     to leave it, for it is dangerous.…’

     “‘Do not fear,’ he said in a tone that had resumed its
     wonted calmness; ‘we must make haste, but the only danger
     would be if you were to become frightened. Give me your

     “He would have taken it, but I hesitated and made an
     involuntary movement, as if I meant to descend without his

     “‘In the name of Heaven,’ he said quickly, and trembling
     with agitation, ‘don’t refuse my assistance in this
     extremity! You cannot do without it; you _must_ give me your

     “His voice was now almost imperious; I gave him my hand,
     and, grasping his arm firmly with the other, we descended
     the hill slowly together.”

But although this first victory is the sure guarantee of the ultimate
one, Ginevra has a fierce battle yet to fight. Perhaps it will be
better that our cursory notice of the story should, however, end here,
and that we should leave our readers to discover the sequel for
themselves: how the same strong hand which held Ginevra safe on the
brink of the precipice led her faithfully through the peril, and
brought her back, not only to the inward peace which follows every
generous renunciation, every conquest over self, but how it finally
won back her husband’s love, crowning them both with a joy such as
they had never known in the days of their early happiness. The fitness
of Lorenzo’s punishment, the wreck of his fortune through one passion
and the vengeance brought upon his selfish pride by the other, is
worked out with a constructive art of no mean order. The minor
characters and their parts are carefully finished and satisfactorily
disposed of. Livia to the last shines like a sweet, pure star above
the horizon of Ginevra’s stormy life, pointing onwards and upwards
with faithful hand, never too strong for pity or too far removed for
sympathy, sorrowing with those who mourn, rejoicing with those who
rejoice. Her interview with Ginevra after the fearful ordeal through
which the latter has passed, when she comes like one who has been
“saved, but through fire,” to seek consolation in the peaceful
atmosphere of the convent, rises to a high degree of power. We are
strongly tempted to quote the scene between Padre Egidio and Ginevra,
but it is almost too sacred to be made matter of critical comment, and
would lose, moreover, much in effect by being detached from the
complete frame, and especially from the crucial experiences which
prepared Ginevra’s soul for that touch of the divine hand which healed
and strengthened and uplifted her in one instant. Such an episode can
only be appreciated in its proper place as part of a whole which
justifies and glorifies it. The close of the story is full of deep

It is significant that this novel, which is recognized as the herald
of a new era in Catholic literature, should have made its appearance
at the same time in France and in America. May we not venture to infer
from the coincidence that America, in harmony with sound Catholic
teaching, placing greater confidence in human nature, may aid in
redeeming Catholic English fiction, and prove to the world that the
faith does not paralyze the imagination, but elevates it; leaving the
novelist at liberty to deal with the deepest problems of life, to
disport himself freely in the wide realms of fancy, nature, and the
world, and, guided and enlightened by the Spirit of truth, to grasp
with a firm hand and turn to the best account all those things that
come within the scope and province of art?

     [69] _Le Mot de l’Enigme_—_The Veil Withdrawn_. By Madame
          Craven. Translated by permission. New York: The
          Catholic Publication Society. 1875.

     [70] “_For life_, is too short!”

     [71] “Beatrice gazed upwards, and I on her did gaze.”


“Good and evil fortune are to a brave man as his right hand and his
left: he uses either equally well.”—_Saying of S. Catherine of Sienna._

Charitas Pirkheimer, the eldest daughter of John Pirkheimer and
Barbara Löffelholz, was born on the 21st of March, 1466. Her family
was a distinguished one in the annals of Nuremberg, her native town,
one of those old free cities of Germany whose burghers, as Æneas
Sylvius, afterwards Pope Pius II., once said, were better lodged and
more daintily fed than the kings of Scotland. Among the citizens of
Nuremberg there was a kind of prescriptive aristocracy or patriciate
composed of those families technically called “_Rathsfähig_”—that is,
capable of being elected members of the ruling body or council of the
little republic. Of those whose names occur again and again in this
history one of the most ancient was that of the Pirkheimer, who, for
at least a hundred and fifty years before the birth of Charitas, had
been celebrated for their learning, piety, and statesmanship. Upright
and honorable in their private life, as well as in the execution of
their public trusts, they were looked up to by all, and their women no
less than their men were distinguished for strength of character, love
of learning, and solid, enlightened piety.

Nuremberg was at that time a centre of art and letters. Her youths
went to Italy and studied at the old universities of Padua and
Bologna, whence they brought back the prevailing enthusiasm for
classical lore; the new art of printing had found in her citizens
discerning patrons; the streets were full of the beautiful houses of
the rich merchants; churches and monasteries adorned with treasures of
sacred art abounded, as even to this day the passing tourist can see;
Albert Dürer, Adam Krafft, and Peter Vischer made their native city
known far and wide in the world of art; while Regiomontanus drew his
astronomical instruments from Nuremberg and published his works there,
and his disciple, Martin Behaim, a Nuremberger by birth, discovered
the sea-route to the East Indies. Literature was even more firmly
established, and John Pirkheimer himself instituted a sort of academy
after the model of those of the Italian princes. Wilibald, his only
son and the last of his name, continued his work and became famous as
the friend or patron of nearly all the renowned men of learning of his

Among these refining influences Charitas grew up, and early showed her
enthusiasm for “polite” studies. The historians of Nuremberg,
Lützelberger and Dr. Lochner, both Protestants, have left high
testimony of the breadth of her intellect and the great consideration
in which she was held by men of all parties. The latter calls her “a
gifted, enlightened, pious, and prudent woman, who has conferred
lasting honor on the Convent of St. Clare,” and who “deserves a high
degree of respect for the firmness and dignity with which she
withstood the storm of the Reformation, which to her and her community
was a sorrowful event.” Lützelberger, in a lecture delivered at
Nuremberg, said to his Protestant audience:

     “The Reformation was a deep grief to her pious heart,
     accustomed as it was to the gentle amenities of convent
     life, and, if we would judge her aright, we must put
     ourselves entirely in her circumstances. But this done, she
     will appear to us peculiarly worthy of respect and
     consideration as a gifted and conscientious opponent of the
     new religion.… Both by speech and in writing did she oppose
     all attempts to convert her; and even if we differ from her,
     we cannot but admire her earnest conviction, her prudence
     and understanding, and especially the patience which she
     added to her other virtues.”

Her father, John, was at the time of her birth a doctor of civil law
(the degree had been conferred at the University of Padua), and was
shortly after called to the service of the Bishop of Eichstädt,
William of Reichenau, as counsellor, in which capacity he also for
some years served the Duke of Bavaria and the Archduke of Austria at
their respective courts at Munich and Innsbrück. He was also often
sent as envoy and representative to other courts, after which services
he returned to his native city and died there, a member of the
council. Of his seven daughters only one married—Juliana, the
youngest; the rest all took the veil. Charitas and Clara were joined
in a lifelong friendship in the Convent of St. Clare in Nuremberg. By
all accounts the former seems to have entered the convent at the age
of twelve, whether as a novice or a scholar we are not told. The
convent had existed as a Clarist institution for two hundred years,
when some nuns of Söflingen, near Ulm, had introduced the Franciscan
rule; but the building, which was several centuries old, had been
tenanted before by a community of Sisters of St. Mary Magdalen. All
the nuns, with very few exceptions, were Nurembergers by birth and
descent (this was a condition of their admittance); and as each
generation of every illustrious family was represented by one or two
members, the convent had become peculiarly a cherished local
institution, whose welfare was closely connected with that of the
town. One of the council was charged with its temporal concerns, and
gifts and bequests were often made to it by the citizens. It was also
the school where the young girls of patrician family were mostly

A model of strict observance and reformed rule, it was under the
spiritual direction of the barefooted Franciscans, who, in the middle
of the fifteenth century, under the protection of Pope Eugenius IV.,
had, in a time when discipline was relaxed in many of the houses of
their order, taken up their abode in Nuremberg and put things upon the
old ascetic footing ruled by the great reforming saint, Francis of

Apollonia Tucher was Charitas’ best and dearest friend. They lived
together more than fifty years, and died within a few months of each
other. Through her Charitas also learnt to know and appreciate Sixtus
Tucher, her cousin, the provost of St. Lawrence, also a prominent man
in those days. Apollonia was at that time prioress and Charitas a
teacher in the convent school. The provost kept up a regular
correspondence with the two nuns, of which unfortunately one part has
been lost; but all _his_ letters are preserved, and were first
translated into German by his nephew, Christopher Scheurl, and
dedicated to a successor of his at St. Lawrence—Provost George Behaim.
His advice to Charitas and her friend was a great boon, and now and
then he would send little presents, such as gilt lanterns for the
church, which he always accompanied by some symbolical warning. Among
other things, he once reminded them that the convent life alone was
not enough to save their souls. “There is no other way to deserve the
eternal Fatherland,” he says, “but by industriously keeping all God’s
commandments.” He also furnished them with books, a _Commentary on the
Liturgical Hymns and Sequences_, 1494, _and_ 1506, and the _Discourse
of St. Augustine on the Siege of Hippo_. This was sent apropos of a
siege in 1502 which Nuremberg suffered at the hands of the Margrave
Casimir, and during which three hundred brave and noted burghers, all
heads of families, lost their lives. On the occasion of her father’s
death, in 1501, he writes to Charitas:

     “Therefore we must not sorrow when a man has deserved to
     return from a strange land to his own country, from an inn
     to his own house, from work to rest, from death to life,
     from time to eternity, and especially when he has, by a
     blessed exchange, accumulated many good works; for we are
     all like unto merchants sent into this pilgrimage of earth,
     that with temporal goods we may buy and win eternal life.”

This learned and holy man died at the age of forty-six, in 1507, but
not before he had seen his friend Charitas chosen abbess of St. Clare.
She was only thirty-eight, but her strength of character made the
choice unanimous; and if the nuns could have foreseen what a stormy
time they would soon have to tide over, they would have congratulated
themselves still more on their good sense in electing her. From
henceforth she was the heart and soul of the convent: the nuns looked
to her for advice, support, and comfort; the council saw in her a
distinguished, learned, and enlightened countrywoman, the example not
only of her own community, but of those in the neighborhood who
followed her lead. One of the first events that marked her rule was
the attack of the plague which visited Nuremberg in 1505 and laid low
one of her own spiritual family. She insisted upon nursing the sick
nun, notwithstanding the remonstrances of her anxious sisters, and was
rewarded by the recovery of the patient. In those years of peace and
prosperity the convent fully vindicated its claim to being a house of
happy labor. Besides the instruction given to the young girls of the
city, the nuns were occupied in various artistic works, such as
illumination, copying, and embroidery. Their particular industry was
the manufacture of carpets and tapestries for hangings. They fulfilled
orders for public and civic buildings, as well as for private
families, and once the town council gave the imperial regalia into
their hands for putting in order for the coronation of Charles V. at
Aix-la-Chapelle. Nuremberg had the care of these venerated garments,
and was jealous of its reputation; so that the nuns felt a high
responsibility in being allowed to handle and repair such treasures.
They carefully mended and re-embroidered the white dalmatic, and lined
other pieces of the imperial dress, until they were fit to do honor to
the care of the city of Nuremberg. The convent had also a library of
some note for that time, the Scriptures and the fathers of the church
forming the principal part of it. Charitas’ favorite among the latter
was St. Jerome. She was solicitous concerning the daily reading of the
Scriptures, both in Latin and in German, which was done in common as
well as in private—a fact which she brought to her own defence in the
evil days that followed. She might truly say that she stood on
evangelical ground; for, as she wrote to the learned but scarcely
Christian Celtes, she saw in Scripture the “field of the Lord, whence
learning must draw the kernel from the shell, the spirit from the
letter, oil from the rock, and blossoms from the thorn.”

She had much to do also to manage the temporal concerns of her house.
The town demanded a yearly account of her stewardship; and in every
report made by the council on her administration there is nothing but
praise and recognition of her business talents. She corresponded with
a circle of lettered friends whom she knew through her brother
Wilibald, and these literary friendships form one of the most
interesting phases of her life. Conspicuous among her friends was her
brother himself, the friend of Albert Dürer, who has left us a
portrait of him, the correspondent of Erasmus, the polished man of
letters, the scholar of two Italian universities, for some time the
head of the council of the republic, and the leader of the Nuremberg
contingent in the war with Switzerland (1499). This last office he
held when he was only twenty-nine, and he afterwards became the
historian of the war. When the first beginnings of the Reformation
disturbed and excited all thoughtful minds in Germany, he looked upon
them as simple moral reforms, a renewal of ancient fervor and
discipline. But as the true nature of the changes heralded by Luther
broke upon him, he separated himself from the movement and rallied to
the side of the church doctrines so ruthlessly attacked. He proved a
great support to his sister in the days when the convent was under the
ban of the triumphant Reformers of Nuremberg, and his opinion of the
classical studies which some of the atheistic _literati_ would fain
have exalted as the _only_ learning fit for civilized men was clearly
expressed in these words: “It is not my belief that Christian
knowledge is incomplete without heathen literature. God forbid! Divine
Wisdom needs no human inventions, and it is possible to attain to the
highest point of theology without the help of Plato and Aristotle.”
Wilibald was accustomed to write to his sister in Latin, as Sixtus
Tucher also did, and Charitas’ style, notwithstanding her lowly
opinion of her own proficiency, was such as to do honor to her
education. He often sent her presents of books—for instance, the Hymns
of Prudentius, the Christian poet, and some writings of her favorite
doctor, St. Jerome. Later on he dedicated to her the works of
Fulgentius, which he had edited. Both Charitas and her sister Clara
were great admirers of Erasmus and diligently read his German
translation of the New Testament (in 1516), as well as some works of
the famous scholar Reuchlin (1520). To the former Charitas excused
herself from writing “on account of her bad Latin,” but sent him many
complimentary messages through her brother, and both he and Reuchlin
spoke of her in high terms in their letters to Wilibald. Clara also
was marvellously fond of books, and playfully told her brother that
there was nothing she envied out of her convent except his library.
The women of the Pirkheimer family all seem to have been distinguished
for their love of art and books. Catherine, Charitas’ niece, was
almost a transcript of her aunt and showed a wonderful strength of
character. The abbess’ married nieces were earnest and generous women,
a great support to the convent in the evil days that followed; and her
sister Sabina, the abbess of a Benedictine monastery on the Danube,
was a patroness of sacred art, the friend of Dürer, who sent her
designs for her illuminations and took great interest in the school of
miniature-painting established in her community.

Celtes was one of Charitas’ correspondents, and dedicated to her his
compilation of the works of Roswitha, the poet-nun of Gandersheim in
the tenth century. On the occasion of his being attacked by robbers
she writes him a letter of condolence, in which, in the style of the
day, she alludes to “the precious treasure of true wisdom, which is
the noblest and only possession wherein consolation may be found”; but
at another time she thinks it due to her conscience to speak to him of
a higher wisdom, and says:

     “Your worthiness, of which I am a humble follower, will
     pardon me for being also a lover of your salvation, and
     therefore do I beseech you from my heart, not, indeed, to
     give up worldly knowledge, but to add to it that higher one
     which will lift you from the writings of the heathen to the
     sacred books, from the earthly to the heavenly, from the
     creature to the Creator. For although no kind of knowledge
     or experience ordained of God is to be despised, yet a
     virtuous life and the study of theology is to be considered
     above everything; for man’s mind is weak and may err, but
     true faith and a good conscience can never err.”

Christopher Scheurl, a clever jurist and called the Cicero of
Nuremberg, who had learnt letters at the University of Bologna,
dedicated his book on “The Use of the Mass” (_Utilitates Missæ_) to
Charitas, and sent it to her from Bologna, where it was printed in
1506, through his uncle, Sixtus Tucher. In his dedication Scheurl says
that in all his life he has only known two women—the pious Cassandra
of Venice and Charitas of Nuremberg—who “for their gifts of mind and
fortune, their knowledge and high station, their beauty and their
prudence, could be compared to Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi,
and to the daughters of Lælius and Hortensius.” He praises her that,
following the example of her illustrious ancestors, she has preferred
“the book to the wool and the pen to the spindle,” and proved her high
degree of mental culture by such remarkable letters as he had seen and

Albert Dürer was also often in communication with the sister of his
friend Wilibald. He, with the administrator of the convent, Kaspar
Nützel, and another companion, had gone in 1518 to the Reichstag at
Augsburg, where the painter was to take the old Emperor Maximilian’s
portrait. They wrote her a joint account of their doings there, which
she received in the same jesting spirit as it was written; for she
says she “cried for laughing” when she read it. She also touches on
the political questions of the day, and playfully gives them each his
lesson to learn in Augsburg. The convent administrator was to admire
in the Swabian Confederation “an example of strict observance”; the
secretary of the council, Lazarus Spengler, was to observe “the
apostolical life in common” of the members; and the painter to take
note of the fine buildings for which Augsburg was famous, in case they
might some day want good designs for the rebuilding of the convent
choir. She also bade them not to forget the “little gray wolf” among
the stately black and white habits of the religious of Augsburg (her
nuns wore a gray habit), and alluded to the three men as the captive
“sand-hares”—a name given to the burghers of Nuremberg, first in
scorn, but now become a mere jest.

Charitas’ mind was like a diamond of many facets; she was no angular,
sour ascetic, narrow in her sympathies and petrified in her
prejudices, but a genuine, warm-hearted woman, with as much love for
innocent mirth on the one hand as for the widest researches of
learning on the other. With her the words of her contemporary, Abbot
Trithemius, were true—“To know is to love”—and her affection for her
own family, no less than her appreciation of the intellectual movement
of the age, is shown in her voluminous correspondence. She and her
brother often exchanged little simple domestic presents, and she
delighted to send him sweetmeats, preserves, and cakes made in the
convent, often with her own or her nieces’ hands.

But she was not destined to end her life in these pleasant and
peaceful interchanges of friendship. The storm was brewing, and the
“new learning,” or new doctrine, as it was called, was beginning to
take formidable proportions and go far beyond the needed reforms which
Pope Adrian VI., one of the noblest men who ever sat in the apostolic
chair, so anxiously recommended to the nuncio Chieregati on the
occasion of the Reichstag at Nuremberg in 1522. Charitas grieved to
see holy things indiscriminately attacked, often with unworthy motives
cloaked by the convenient plea of conscience and zeal for the Gospel,
and grieved still more to hear no voice among her learned friends
raised in defence of all she held dear. At last, however, Jerome
Emser, licentiate of canon law at Leipsic, and private secretary of
Duke George of Saxony, published a masterly defence of the old faith,
and Charitas eagerly read it through and caused it to be read aloud to
the nuns during meals. The sisters and the abbess of the Convent of
St. Clare at Eger, who had sent her Emser’s writings, begged her to
acknowledge them in a letter to the author, which she accordingly did,
writing in fervent, unconstrained terms and thanking him in the name
of her sixty sisters and all other convents of her order. But this
letter fell into other hands, and in a distorted, mutilated shape, and
accompanied by a malicious commentary on its sentiments and motives,
was published by an enemy of Emser and Charitas. Even her brother
Wilibald, who had not yet seen through the real motives of the
Reformers, was vexed at her taking part in the fray, and told her she
had better have held her tongue. This was the beginning of a teasing
persecution of pin-pricks which gradually became serious and well-nigh
insupportable as years went on. Her brother, when he had fully rallied
to the Catholic party, had left the council and could be of little
practical use to his sister, while the majority of the council were
decidedly hostile. The convent’s administrator especially used his
station and authority only to torment the poor nuns. Charitas at this
time began to keep a diary, of which her biographer has made good use.
Dr. Lochner, the historian of Nuremberg, recognizes that many evil
deeds were done in the name of religion; and as to the case of the
Convent of St. Clare, he says that “it was the victim of that force
which at many times clothes itself in the garb of a moral and divine
reform, without being any the less mere force, the right of the

In 1524 Charitas says:

     “There came to the convent many strangers, men and women,
     but especially the latter, to tell the nuns the new things
     that were being taught from the pulpit, and to represent to
     them what a ‘damnable’ state was that of the religious life,
     and how impossible it was for them to be saved in the
     cloister, adding most unceremoniously that nuns were all the
     devil’s creatures. Many citizens spoke threateningly of
     withdrawing their relatives from the convent, whether the
     persons in question wished it or no.”

As may be supposed, these attacks made no impression on the sisters;
but the town council, ready enough now to seize upon any pretext,
ascribed their steadfastness to the influence of their spiritual
directors, the Franciscans, and ordered the convent to be put under
the control of the new preachers. Charitas immediately drew up a
petition, which was approved by the community, in which she
represented to Kaspar Nützel, the administrator, that this was the
first time for forty-five years that she had seen her sisterhood in
grief, and went on to beseech him, as he had always been her friend
and supporter in temporal matters, so, now that she required his help
more than ever, he would not fail her in this spiritual distress. She
likewise wrote to Jerome Ebner, another of the highest dignitaries of
the council, whose daughter Katharine was one of her community; and to
Martin Geuder, her brother-in-law, to whom she touchingly appealed on
the ground of the innocence and evangelical character of the community.

     “I beg of you,” she says, “do not allow yourself to be
     persuaded by those who untruly say that the clear word of
     God is hidden from us; for, by the grace of God, this is not
     so. We have the Old and New Testaments here as well as you
     who are out in the world; we read it day and night, at
     meals, in the choir, in Latin and in German, in common and
     in private. By God’s grace we know well the holy Gospels and
     St. Paul’s Epistles, but still I think he is more
     praiseworthy who fulfils the Gospel’s precepts in his
     actions than he who has them always on his lips, but does
     not act up to them.” She continues: “We desire to be no
     burden or offence to any one; but if any one can point out
     an abuse, let him do so, and we will gladly reform it. For
     we acknowledge ourselves to be weak creatures, who may go
     easily astray, and who do not dare to take pleasure in good
     works. We only ask that no one shall do us wrong and
     violence, and that we shall not be forced to do that which
     we consider a disgrace and against our eternal salvation.”

Charitas’ former petition to Nützel was now supplemented by a more
formal petition of the convent, addressed to the town council. She
protested against the violent change meditated, and repelled the idea
of submitting to spiritual directors imposed by the republic; she
asked the councillors why they should object to a few women
voluntarily living in common, and besought them not to root up a
time-honored institution which was so intimately connected with the
annals of their native city. Part of the council was decidedly in
favor of less violent measures, and by the advice of these members the
intrusion of Lutheran directors was put off for a time and affairs
left to take their own course; but the lull was but momentary. People
still besieged the convent, threatening its inmates and disseminating
scandalous rumors in the town, and the poor nuns lived in daily fear
of some outbreak. This was in the Advent of 1524, and in March, 1525,
the storm broke loose again.

One of those frequent and useless disputations on the subject of
religion which made such a characteristic feature of the
sixteenth-century movement took place at Nuremberg at the beginning of
March. Eight religious of the Carmelite, Franciscan, and Dominican
orders took the Catholic side against seven preachers of the Lutheran
doctrines (among them the famous Osiander) under the leadership of the
prior of the Augustinians at Nuremberg. The debate lasted for eleven
days, or five sessions, without any shadow of an accommodation
appearing possible, and at the sixth session the Catholic doctors gave
in a written statement to the effect that the affair had become a
discussion such as by imperial mandate was strictly forbidden, and
that, as there was no impartial judgment to be looked for, the
presidents of the _colloquium_ being known adherents of the new
doctrines, they thought it best to retire from the useless conflict.
The council, however, had attained its end, and prepared an
opportunity for formally introducing the new religion into the
republic. The convents and monasteries were ordered to give up their
rule and the members to enter the world again. Four of the male
communities did as they were bid; the Dominicans and Franciscans still
refused to comply. The former were compelled to leave in 1543, and the
latter stood their ground till the last brother died. They were,
however, forbidden to preach and hear confessions, and the direction
of both convents of women, St. Clare and St. Catherine, was taken from

The first open attack on St. Clare was made five days after the
religious disputation, on the 19th of March, 1525. A deputation from
the council demanded admittance into the interior of the convent, and,
though Charitas pleaded the “enclosure” and offered to gather the
community at the grated window through which it was customary to speak
with strangers and men, she was forced to accede to their demand and
admit the councillors into the winter refectory. The two
representatives began with a honeyed address, telling the assembled
nuns that, now the light of the Gospel was fully manifested in the
city, it were a shame that they alone should be denied the privilege
of seeing it. Therefore a learned and distinguished preacher, Herr
Poliander, of Würzburg, would impart to them this knowledge, and, the
Franciscans being removed, the council would provide the nuns with
suitable confessors. The abbess heard them out, and then retorted that
her nuns were well stored with Gospel knowledge, which had been
clearly preached to them before, and that the connection between their
order and the Franciscans was of long date and authorized by papal and
imperial decrees, but that, if they were to suffer violence in this
matter, God and their conscience urged them to declare that it was so,
and that they protested against such violence being used. The
councillors said that, since they objected to secular[73] priests as
confessors, they might choose one of the Augustinians (who had
apostatized), since they too were “religious.” But Charitas answered:
“If we are to have religious, why not leave us the Franciscans? We
know and honor them and have had long experience of them; but as to
the order you name, we also know how lax its discipline has grown.”

“Nay,” said the councillors, “you will soon not have that to complain
of; for these brothers will doff their cowls and enter into another

To which the abbess replied: “That is no comfort to us. They could
only teach us to follow their example; and as they have taken to
themselves wives, they would have us take husbands. God forbid!”

The useless conversation was carried on some time longer, and on
Charitas asking the reason why the council so oppressed her
sisterhood, and whether they had committed any offence, the
councillors were forced to allow that the “council knew of no offence
or abuse on their part, but, on the contrary, only of honor,
diligence, and modesty,” but that in other communities it was not
always so, and the new laws must be enforced everywhere alike. The
very next day Poliander, the Lutheran preacher, came for the first
time to preach to the reluctant nuns, while on the 21st of March the
Franciscans were allowed to pay their charges a farewell visit,
administer the sacraments, say Mass, and preach. This was the last
time the nuns enjoyed these holy privileges; henceforward the dying
were deprived of the Viaticum and Extreme Unction, and Mass was no
longer said in the convent chapel. On the 22nd Charitas assembled a
chapter of her nuns, which decided on presenting a second petition to
the council, and the abbess sent to ask Kaspar Nützel to come in
person to the convent. He consented and sent her a friendly message,
but it was clear he expected submission. He came and set before the
community the advantages of gracefully giving way and the evil they
would entail on themselves by resistance; but Charitas answered to the
point: that, although he had spoken in friendly terms, he had not
mentioned the real subject of the dispute—_i.e._, the question of who
should be the convent’s spiritual directors. “We see,” she said, “that
every means is being used to drive us to accept the new doctrines, but
until the whole church accepts them neither will we. Nothing will part
us from the fellowship of the universal church nor from the vows we
have vowed unto God.” She then offered to let the administrator ask
each nun her opinion separately during her own absence; but Nützel saw
that this would be useless, and even refused to take the petition,
whereupon the abbess read it aloud before him. The gist of it was
contained in the prayer that, in the name of the Gospel-freedom which
the times had so extolled, no violence should be done to the
consciences of the nuns. They begged also that if their confessor was
taken from them, at least no one should be imposed upon them in his
place. But it was evidently in vain, although Nützel reluctantly
pledged himself to represent their case to the council. Before he left
the convent, however, he attempted to cajole the abbess out of her
firm resistance to his wishes, and, taking her aside, begged her to
put her authority and influence on his side, telling her that she
might personally do much to prevent even bloodshed, and that, if he
could only win her over, he would think himself sure of the city and
the neighborhood. Indeed, many pinned their faith to her steadfastness
and looked to her example for support in their own temptations. But
neither flattery nor threats could win her over, nor even the hint
that by her obstinacy she would confirm others in contumacy, and bring
upon her native town the vengeance of the peasants who had risen in
arms against the Catholics. To this she answered calmly that it was
well known that the peasants had risen because, in the midst of this
new preaching of fraternity and evangelical freedom, they saw a way to
abolish the custom of vassalage, and meant forcibly to possess
themselves of that which their richer brethren were so glibly prating
of in theory. As the second petition had remained without effect,
Charitas drew up a third, a model of clearness and logic. Quoting St.
Paul, she said, “I can do all things in Him who is my strength,” and
she again assured the council that nothing would drive the sisters out
of the church. This paper was signed by all the nuns. She also asked
through Nützel for a secular priest, a holy man of the name of
Schröter, for a confessor, since the council was determined that the
Franciscans should no longer serve the convent; but this prayer was
also refused.

Things grew worse and worse. Poliander preached vile and opprobrious
sermons to the poor nuns, upbraiding and accusing them; and when he
left Würzburg, two others, Schleussner and Osiander, succeeded him and
preached regularly three times a week in the chapel. A sharp and
degrading watch was kept over the nuns, as the council suspected them
of stopping their ears with cotton-wool or exercising other petty
devices to escape the words of the distasteful sermons. This continued
throughout Lent, and the violence of the preachers inflaming the
passions of the people, the nuns lived in daily fear of seeing the
latter put into execution their frequent threat of burning down the
convent. The serving-girls could hardly go out of the house in safety
to purchase provisions, and the friends of the nuns had to use all
manner of subterfuges to be able to visit them in peace, while every
knock at the door frightened the poor women as if it heralded their
doom. But worse was yet to come. On the 7th of June three of the
councillors, Fürer, Pfinzing, and Imhof, visited the convent and laid
before the nuns five propositions with which the council demanded
instant compliance: an inventory was to be taken of all the convent
possessions, a laxer rule introduced, the religious dress laid aside,
the grated window replaced by a common one of glass, and free
permission granted to every nun to leave if she chose, taking with her
whatever dowry she had brought to the convent, or a suitable
remuneration for the services done during her stay there. Charitas
wisely showed a disposition to yield in minor matters, in which she
knew that the council would find means at any rate to force her
compliance, but on the matter of the religious vows she stood firm,

     “In so far as my sisters owe me any personal obedience and
     consideration, I am ready to forgive them the debt, but I
     cannot absolve them from vows vowed unto the Lord; for what
     are we poor creatures that we should lay hands on the things
     that are God’s?”

The council allowed her four weeks to make up her mind to these
changes, and promised, in case of compliance, to protect the convent;
but if these conditions were resisted, neither the house nor the nuns
would be either protected or supported. Charitas called a chapter
together and announced her determination to have nothing to do with an
“open convent,” at the same time asking the sisters’ opinion on the
council’s proposal. The nuns unanimously (there were nearly sixty of
them) declared that they did not wish to be “made free” after the
council’s pattern of freedom; they meant to keep to their vows and
maintain their rule, and begged the abbess not to forsake them. She
then swore to stand by them as long as they would stand by their vows,
and exhorted them to steadfast courage and fervent prayer. Her friends
in the council, seeing that their influence was too weak to help the
convent, advised her to consent to the lesser propositions, and
accordingly the inventory was quietly made and handed over to the
authorities; the grating was taken down, and, at Wilibald Pirkheimer’s
suggestion, some part of the nuns’ habit was dyed black and assumed
only at the parlor window and in the gardens, while in the private
parts of the house the usual gray garb was worn. But the nuns
steadfastly refused to change the rule or to consider themselves
absolved from their vows, and, unless they were to be forcibly ejected
from the convent, there was no possibility of carrying out these two
important changes. But the council was prepared for anything, and soon
even this last violent act was publicly enforced.

Dame Ursula Tetzel had already tried some months before, with the help
of her brothers, to get her daughter Margaret, who had been for nine
years in the convent, to leave it and come home; but the girl herself
vigorously resisted the attempt, and Charitas represented it to the
mother as an infringement of the rights of the convent. Things had
marched rapidly enough since then to enable Dame Tetzel to renew the
attempt with more certainty of success; and accordingly she, with the
wives of the two councillors, Ebner and Nützel, who had each a
daughter in the convent, determined to take their children home at all
hazards. They gave the nuns a week’s notice, and on the 14th of June
appeared with a number of their male relations in two large
conveyances or wagons. A great crowd had collected round the convent
door, and a considerable excitement prevailed; the street and the
churchyard were full. Charitas, on her side, had requested two of the
councillors, Pfinzing and Imhof, to be present as witnesses of the
disgraceful scene she foresaw. The young nuns, respectively nineteen,
twenty, and twenty-three years old, fell on their knees before the
abbess, weeping and entreating her not to let them be taken away. They
even wished to hide themselves; but this, of course, Charitas forbade
and led the girls with her to the chapel where they had taken their
vows. She prayed and wept with them, and hesitated taking them over
the threshold into the presence of their mothers; but the latter came
into the chapel and violently upbraided their children, who with tears
piteously begged to be left alone. Katharine Ebner especially spoke in
eloquent tones for more than an hour, and, as the councillors
afterwards said, “She spoke no word that was weak or useless, but
talked with such force and cogency that every word weighed a pound.”
Her mother stormed, and Held, the brother of Dame Nützel, threatened
her “like an executioner,” but Katharine continued speaking in her own
behalf and that of her friends: “Here will I stand and not move one
step; and if you employ force, I will complain to God in heaven and
every man upon earth.” She was rudely dragged forward, but, stretching
her arms towards the abbess, cried out: “Dear mother, do not let me be
driven away from you!” Four persons, however, seized hold of her, and
amid loud cries on all sides she was dragged over the threshold of the
chapel, where she and Margaret Tetzel fell over each other, the latter
having her foot crushed in the crowd. Dame Ebner followed her daughter
with angry threats, telling her that if she did not go willingly she
would fling her down the stairs and break her head on the pavement
below. At last poor Charitas could stand it no longer and took refuge
in her cell, while the councillors who had witnessed the scene
declared that, had they foreseen such a sad sight, they would not have
come for a world of money, and never again would they lend the
sanction of their presence to such violent proceedings.

The poor young nuns were put in the wagons and driven away, but they
still cried out to the crowd that they were suffering violence and
demanded to be taken back to their convent. Dame Ebner got so incensed
that she struck her daughter on the mouth, and the poor girl bled all
the way home. There were many in the crowd who cried “Shame!” and
would gladly, had they dared, have attempted a rescue, but the strong
hand of the “trained bands” of Nuremberg was not to be defied in vain.
Charitas never saw her spiritual children again, but she heard from
time to time that they were still unchanged in their feelings. Clara
Nützel ate nothing for four days after she was taken away, and day and
night cried to be taken back again.

This scene of violence made a great stir at the time and awakened much
sympathy for the convent, and at least it had this good effect: that
no more forcible abductions were attempted. Some time later one nun,
Anna Schwarz, whose sisters had left the other convent of Nuremberg,
St. Catherine, left St. Clare of her own accord; she was the only one
who voluntarily gave up her vows. In this case, however, her mother
was not well pleased and by no means urged her to leave. The community
was now reduced to fifty-one members, and of these none henceforward
left the convent, unless by the call of God to a better and more
peaceful life.

In the following autumn Melanchthon visited Nuremberg, and, though
their views now differed, his friendship with Pirkheimer was not
weakened. He inquired into the state of affairs, and, together with
the administrator, Nützel, visited the convent and had a long
conversation with the abbess. She says in her diary: “He was more
gentle and discreet in his speech than any of the new teachers I have
met before”; and, indeed, she had long had the greatest esteem for the
young and ripe Greek scholar.

     “He spoke much of the new doctrines,” she continues; “but
     when I told him that we did not place our hope in our own
     works, but solely in the grace of God, he replied that in
     that case we might be saved in the cloister quite as well as
     in the world. Indeed, we agreed in the main on all points,
     except concerning the vows, which he holds not to be
     binding, but yet strongly disapproved of the violence that
     had been done to the nuns to force them to give up their
     vows. He took leave of us in a very friendly manner, and
     afterwards strongly reproved the administrator and the other
     councillors for having forbidden the Franciscans to
     celebrate divine service at St. Clare, and having dragged
     the children out of the convent against their will; indeed,
     he told them that, between themselves, he considered that
     therein they had committed a grievous sin.”

Charitas dated from his visit a quieter state of things and the
cessation of many petty persecutions on the part of Kaspar Nützel. She
says of Melanchthon in her diary: “I hope God sent this man to us at
the right time; …” and later in a letter she writes thus of the
administrator: “Would to God every one were as discreet as Master
Philip; we might then hope to be rid of many things that are very

Although the three young nuns were not restored to the convent, their
parents, smarting under the many insinuations made against their
conduct, conveyed to the abbess, through Sigismund Fürer and Leonard
Tucher, a formal acknowledgment of their satisfaction at the “manner
in which the girls had been brought up and their health cared for”;
while the two men added of their own accord that as to the girls they
must tell the truth—_i.e._, that if it depended upon them, they would
be back at the convent before evening. Kaspar Nützel himself said the
same thing to the abbess, thanking her for the care bestowed on his
daughter’s physical and moral well-being, and acknowledging himself
indebted to the convent for this favor. But, better than this, he soon
wrote a letter in which he distinctly stated that he regretted having
several times “overstepped his legitimate authority in his attempts to
convert her to the new doctrines,” and promised that in future he
would attend with peculiar zeal at least to the temporal concerns of
the convent. Their possessions had, however, been so curtailed during
these troublous times that they almost literally subsisted on alms.

On All Souls’ day, 1527, the same two councillors who had witnessed
the forcible taking away of the young nuns two years before, and two
other associates, were commissioned to institute a domiciliary
visitation in the convent and to speak in private with each sister,
with a view to elicit their grievances and give them a chance of
speaking freely. The poor nuns were very much frightened at the
proposal, but Charitas only made this remonstrance:

     “Worthy masters,” she said, “you are somewhat vehement
     confessors. It has pleased our rulers to abolish private
     confession to one man, and now you require us poor women to
     confess to four men at once, and lay open to them all our
     spiritual needs!” And as the men were rather staggered, she
     continued: “You say many abuses among us have come to the
     ears of the council. We should like to hear them detailed.
     We have been driven and oppressed like worms for three
     years, and would gladly, if we could, have hidden ourselves
     under a stone like worms; but if we have offended in
     anything, let it be clearly brought home to us.”

The men looked at each other, and one said: “This point is not yet
settled”; while another asked helplessly: “What am I to say? I do not
understand the matter.” At last they went through the form of
examining each nun alone and separately, and got tired and left off
when they had examined thirty-nine. The preacher Osiander once held a
discussion with Charitas for four hours without any result but both
parties remaining stronger in their own belief; and on another
occasion, when Dr. Link, formerly an Augustinian, and now preacher at
the hospital, sent her a controversial pamphlet, she answered him in
writing, argument for argument, and made all who saw her defence
marvel at the clearness of her logic and the ease of her style. He had
put himself forward as an example (doubtless because he had been, like
her, a religious), but she answered:

     “Forgive me if I do not care to follow the example of any
     man; our example is Christ, and, even if we were to look for
     models among men, it would be strange if we sought for them
     among living men while such men as St. Augustine, St.
     Jerome, St. Cyprian, and others are set aside and disowned.”

Later on she again wrote to him:

     “If God does not inspire us with love for your new faith, we
     cannot of ourselves force our hearts to it. We should
     deceive ourselves and do violence to our conscience (which
     is wrong) if we were to listen to the threats or persuasions
     of men. It is no luxurious life, God knows, that keeps us in
     our convent; neither is it any belief that simply to have
     taken the veil assures salvation. We do not place our hope
     in the conventual rule, but in the mercy of God and his only
     Son. I hold none of my nuns back against their will; if they
     choose to leave, they are free to do so. I only ask that
     they should not be forced to do it, as has happened already
     on one occasion.”

Towards the end of 1528 came a time of negative peace for the nuns,
and, as the “silver wedding” or jubilee of the abbess fell about
Christmas time, the convent prepared itself for a modest festival in
honor of this event. It was the first time that an abbess had held her
office for so many years, and the celebration was looked upon with so
much the more interest that no former abbess had gone through such
stirring and troublous times during the period of her abbess-ship. The
festival was put off till Easter, 1529, and was long remembered by the
nuns as one of their few red-letter days. Their friends from the town
sent them presents of wine, fruit, cakes, and preserves, and
Pirkheimer and Dame Ursula Kramer, his neighbor, both sent their plate
to adorn the nuns’ table on the occasion. This pleased the simple
women immensely, and Katharine, Charitas’ niece, wrote in glowing
terms to her father, giving him an account of the festivities of the
day. We will quote a few passages from her letter:

     “In the morning the whole community came to the mother, each
     sister bearing a torch, and the prioress put a crown upon
     her head and led her to the choir, where we said the Office
     for the day and then sang the Mass as best we could. Then
     the mother took the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle
     and exposed it, and the community knelt to adore it and make
     a spiritual communion. We comforted ourselves with the words
     of St. Augustine: _Crede et manducasti_ (Believe, and thou
     hast eaten). The mother then sat by the altar, and one by
     one we all went up to her and embraced her, … and she had
     her hands full of rings, and gave each of the sisters one as
     a pledge of their renewed espousals with their Bridegroom
     and of their resolve to be true to him; … although it has
     not been the custom hitherto with us, the mother thought
     that, considering these exceptionally sad years, it would be
     a remembrance of the obedience and earnestness with which we
     have hung together through these vicissitudes.… Then we took
     the mother to table, … and you, dear father, have proved
     yourself a generous host. The sisters said, ‘Oh! that Master
     Pirkheimer were here to see how we are enjoying his good
     gifts’; and your plate and Dame Kramer’s delighted us also
     mightily.… At last, at night, we had a little dance. The old
     nuns danced as well as the young ones. Mother Apollonia
     Tucher, who has been fifty-seven years in the convent, took
     hold of me and turned me round; … and the dance was so
     hearty that the mother said, ‘Dear children, spare my

This was the last joyful event of Charitas’ life. Three months after
this festival her niece Crescentia, Pirkheimer’s daughter, died, and
the wicked tongues of the town took occasion to wag against the nuns,
accusing them of worrying her to death; but Pirkheimer himself put
down these scandalous rumors by publicly thanking the community for
the care bestowed on his child, and by making a special gift to the
convent in recognition of it. He also singled out the sisters who had
had special care of his daughter during her illness, and sent them
tokens of his gratitude; and, not content with this, he left the
convent fifty gulden in his will, which they received after his death.

Another cross befell the abbess in the loss of reason of two of her
nuns—a circumstance of which her enemies did not fail to make good
use; but, the two sisters being perfectly harmless, except at long
intervals, no removal was necessary, and they went about their common
duties peacefully until their death.

In 1530 Charitas lost her well-beloved brother Wilibald, which was a
sad break-up to her; but before he died he published an _Apology for
the Convent of St. Clare_, which greatly comforted, if it did not
help, the nuns. But the council contemptuously overlooked this as it
had done all previous petitions.

Two years after her brother’s death the noble Charitas Pirkheimer
followed him to a better land, and her sister Clara was chosen abbess
in her stead. Her friend Apollonia Tucher died within a few months, on
the 15th of January, 1533, and the new abbess the following month,
whereupon her niece Katharine became abbess and ruled the community
for thirty years. She was the last abbess but one; for towards the end
of the century the last nun died and the convent reverted to the
town.[74] But the good fight had been fought, and the noble defeat
only brought fresh and eternal honor on the name of the Clarist Order;
for, as says Montaigne, “There are defeats that dispute the palm with
victories,” and Lacordaire comments thus on the saying: “This noble
axiom applies no less to moral than to military defeats, and we should
never tire of inculcating the principle that as long as honor and
conscience are safe, so long also is fame deserved.”

     [72] _Charitas Pirkheimer, Abbess of St. Clare at
          Nuremberg._ By Franz Binder. Herder, Freiburg im
          Breisgau. The biographer, Franz Binder, has compiled
          the life of Charitas, which we have condensed in the
          present article, from trustworthy sources, the
          principal ones being the _Works of Wilibald
          Pirkheimer_, in Latin, published at Frankfort in 1610;
          MS. letters of the Pirkheimer family preserved in the
          town library at Nuremberg; Charitas’ own diary,
          published at Bamberg in 1852; Dr. Lochner’s _Biography
          of Celebrated Nurembergers_, published in 1861; and
          other less important and shorter works in which passing
          reference is made to the events of Charitas’ life.

     [73] Literally _lay priests_, but, we think, referring to

     [74] The church of St. Clare at Nuremberg remained for a
          long time closed. It was then opened again and soon
          afterwards given over to Protestant worship. It was
          subsequently used for commercial purposes, as a
          magazine of wares, a market-place, and place for local
          exhibitions, and finally as a barracks. In 1854 it was
          given back to the Catholics of Nuremberg as their
          second church. In the following year its restoration
          was begun, and on May 13, 1857, the Church of St. Clare
          was publicly consecrated anew for Catholic worship.


  “It might have been.” We say it oft,
     With aching heart, with streaming eyes;
   We grope with eager, outstretched hands
     After another’s slighted prize.

   We call a life a wasted life.
     O mourning souls! be not too sure.
   Out of great darkness may come light,
     And, after evil, hearts grow pure.

   God only knows. We leave to him
     The things that are not what we would,
   And trust that in his own good time
     He will do that which he sees good.

   His will be done. The quivering lips
     Must say it, though with bitter tears.
  _His will!_ It is enough, enough
     To hush our murmurs, soothe our fears.

   He overrules all pain and sin,
     Makes dire disgrace work out his word.
   Poor souls, bow down before his might
     And trust all myst’ries with the Lord.


VI.,” ETC.



When the first overflow of emotion had subsided, Sir Simon drew a
chair close to the sofa and wanted to hear every detail about
Raymond’s illness—what the doctor had done, and, if possible,
everything he had said about it at each visit. When Franceline had
told the little there was to tell beyond the one terrible central
fact, it was Sir Simon’s turn to be catechised. He submitted willingly
to the inquisition. He went over the story of Clide de Winton’s
letter, and all the happy consequences it had entailed—the
hard-hearted Jew sent to the right-about, the rest of the duns
quieted, all Sir Simon’s difficulties happily settled. Clide’s name
was openly mentioned in the course of the narrative, and coupled with
epithets of enthusiastic admiration and gratitude—he was a
noble-hearted fellow, true as steel, generous as the sun, delicate as
a woman; it was impossible which to admire most, his generous conduct
or the delicacy with which he had done this immense service to his
father’s old friend. Franceline said nothing while this panegyric was
being sung, but she could not hide from herself the fact that it was
sounding in her ears like the sweetest music. She had found out long
since why Clide’s name had become a dead-letter with Sir Simon, why he
never even alluded to his existence in her presence; since he now
broke through this reticence, was it not a proof that the motive of it
had been removed, and that he was free to speak of Clide, and she to
listen, and that consequently no barrier existed any longer between
their lives? The truth was that Sir Simon had come to the conclusion
that the barrier was of no great importance to either of them by this
time. He was not given much to diving into the depths of human hearts,
analyzing their motives and impulses; and he did not give other people
credit for spending their lives in such unprofitable work as brooding
over sentimental grievances and pining after the impossible. It was
evident that if Franceline had been in love with Clide, she must have
either died of it by this time or got over it. She had not died,
_ergo_ she had got over it. There was no harm, therefore, in singing
that fine young fellow’s praises in her hearing, and it was a great
satisfaction to the baronet to be able to pour out his grateful
eulogies to a sympathizing audience. So they went on playing at cross
purposes, each perfectly unconscious of what was uppermost in the
other’s thoughts; Sir Simon settling it in his own mind that Ponsonby
Anwyll would carry the day, now that everything else had adjusted
itself so satisfactorily, while Franceline dreamed her own little
dream, and fancied it must be the reflection of it in her father’s
thoughts that filled his eyes with those gentle sunbeams as his glance
met hers.

Sir Simon, having emptied his budget of news, proceeded to unfold his
programme, and was agreeably surprised to find that he was to be
spared the trouble of defending it. Franceline was overjoyed at the
prospect of seeing a new country, and Raymond acquiesced in everything
as placid and innocently happy as an infant. So it was agreed that
they would start for the south without the loss of a day, if possible.
Angélique was called into council and ordered to begin to pack up at
once. To-morrow morning Dr. Blink should decide what climate was best
suited to Raymond, who was now the person to be chiefly considered.
Meantime, Sir Simon took rather an unfair advantage of the medical man
by biassing the inclinations of both patients towards a certain
sun-girt villa on the Mediterranean, where myrtle and olive groves
were said to crown every hillside, where the vine and the orange and
the pomegranate grew like wild flowers elsewhere, mirrored in the sea
that is “deeply, darkly, beautifully blue.”

“When did you come home—to England, I mean?” said M. de la Bourbonais
when the baronet paused in his glowing description of a Mediterranean

“This morning. I came straight on here from Dover. The lawyer wanted
that deed that led to my finding the snuff-box. I must go back with it
by the early train to-morrow; it is absolutely necessary that it
should be forthcoming to prove the validity of Lady Rebecca’s marriage

“Marriage settlement!” exclaimed Raymond and Franceline together. “Do
you mean that she is going to be married?”

“Good gracious, no! Poor soul, she’s gone—gone to her great account,”
said Sir Simon, shaking his head with becoming solemnity. “She died
three days ago. It was a happy release, a most merciful release! She
really had nothing to regret, poor, dear soul.” And her step-son
heaved a dutiful sigh, and drew his hand across his forehead with a
gesture expressive of resigned sorrow.

Raymond was in no mood to laugh, even if the subject had been less
solemn; but he could not but remember—and Sir Simon knew he must
remember—how often this mournful event had been devoutly invoked by
both of them in days not so long gone by. It was probably the
recollection of this that prompted his next question.

“How did she leave her property?”

“Oh! admirably; nothing could be kinder or juster,” replied the
baronet, heaving the tribute of another sigh. “She left her £50,000 to
me unconditionally, chargeable merely with a life legacy for three old
servants; the jointure, you know, reverts to the estate. So you see
the duns would not have had so long to wait even if De Winton had not
come to the rescue. She was an excellent woman. Of course one feels
the blow, but it really would be selfish to regret her; she was a
great sufferer, and it was a happy release.”

“Then you did not stop in London to ask if there were any letters at
your bankers’?”

“No; were there any?”

“There was one from me—or at least written at my request.”


Sir Simon looked up, full of curiosity. Franceline feared she was in
the way of some explanation, so made an excuse to leave the room about
some _tisane_ it was time for her father to take.

“You must be more puzzled than ever now to know why I refused to let
my pockets be examined that night,” said M. de la Bourbonais,
resorting to his old trick of fixing his spectacles to hide his

“Why was it?” said Sir Simon, pulling out his cigar-case, and
carefully selecting one of the choice Havanas, as if he had the
remotest intention of lighting it; it was only an excuse not to have
to look at Raymond.

“You may remember that there were little _pâtés de foie gras_ at
dinner; they looked like _petits pains_?”

“I remember it perfectly; and excellent they were. I had just got the
recipe from the _Frères Provençeaux_; it was the first time Dorel had
ever made them. Well?”

“Franceline was, you know, very ill just then; she could eat nothing.
I fancied these might tempt her, so I slipped a couple of them into my
pockets with some bonbons. This was why I would not turn them out. I
was ashamed to exhibit my poverty to all those men, especially to that
stranger who had been taunting me with it; I would not let him see
what a poor devil I was, and to what straits poverty drove me to get
food for my sick child.”

“My poor Raymond!” was all Sir Simon could say, and he grasped his

“Then you remember I came back? I was rushing home when it occurred to
me that I had done a mad thing; so I threw away the _pâtés_ and the
bonbons, and went back and made a fool of myself, as you know. I think
I must have been mad. I know I had been taking a great deal of wine to
keep me up; anyhow, I did not reflect, until I saw the effect of my
presence, what a preposterous act it was, and that you should have
been all fools to see any proof of my innocence in it.”

“You might have trusted _me_,” said Sir Simon reproachfully. “I would
have believed you—I did believe you in spite of my senses. I came to
the conclusion you were, as you say, either mad or drunk, and had
taken it unawares. Why didn’t you write to me?”

“I did. I wrote you a full account of it all; but, as ill-luck had it,
your letter telling me to send back the ring arrived before mine left.
I was so incensed at your suspecting me that I tore up the letter. I
was a fool, of course; but you know of old that pride is my weak
point. It was not until I was struck down by illness, and brought face
to face with death, and with the thought that I was going to leave my
child friendless in the world with a dishonored name, that I resolved
to sacrifice it, and for her sake to write to you and ask you to take
charge of her and do what you could to clear my memory from the stain
that my own vanity and folly had fixed upon it. Father Henwick wrote
to you to this effect in my name on Tuesday. The letter is lying at
your bankers’.”

“I was as much to blame as you. I ought to have known you better than
to mistrust you; I ought to have known there _must_ be some mistake in
it,” said Sir Simon, rising and going to the window. “I ought to have
written to you to ask you for an explanation, and so I was always
intending to do; but what with the excitement of Clide’s finding
his—of his finding out my difficulties and so on,” he continued,
checking himself in time before the murder was out, “and then poor,
dear Lady Rebecca’s telegraphing for me, I nearly lost my head, and
kept putting off writing from day to day, in hopes that you would

“Is monsieur going to stay to tea? Because, if so, it is time I began
the omelette,” said Angélique, following Franceline into the room,
carrying a tray with something on it for M. de la Bourbonais.

But Sir Simon said he must be going that very minute. How the time had
flown, and he had so many things to see to at the Court! Raymond was
rather exhausted when his friend left, but he slept sounder that night
than he had done for a long time.

      *     *     *     *     *

The warm southern spring had burst its green bonds and flown suddenly
into the arms of summer; it lay disporting itself in the splendor of
new-clad flowers along the shores of the Mediterranean, laughing up at
the dazzling sky like a babe smiling into its mother’s face.
Everything was fresh, lustrous, and dewy. The sun was not too hot to
be enjoyable, the birds were not too tired to sing, a light breeze
came fluttering from the sea to cool the vines, and died away in sighs
and whispers amidst the ilex-grove that made a background to the
white-washed villa where a group of three persons were sitting out on
the terrace under the shade of a broad veranda. I dare say you have
recognized the young lady in the fleecy muslin dress. The pink tint in
her ivory complexion is a decided improvement; but it has not so
changed her that you could forget her. She looks stronger now; there
is an energetic grace in her movements that tells of improved health;
so, too, does the warmer glow of the dark gold hair and the more
animated glance of the eyes. You see she has brought her doves with
her, and seems to have many interesting things to say to them as they
perch on her head and her finger, and utter that, to her, melodious
chant of theirs, but which Sir Simon Harness has the bad taste to find
wearisome and lugubrious.

“Could you persuade those doves of yours to cease that dismal noise
just for ten minutes, Franceline? It’s working under difficulties,
trying to correct proof-sheets while they keep up that dirge.”

Franceline, deeply offended, carries off her darlings to the other
side of the house, without deigning any further comment than a toss of
her pretty head at the speaker and a look of mild reproach at her
father, who yields a tacit consent to the insult by his silence.
Moreover, when Franceline and “those doves of hers” are out of sight,
he breathes an audible sigh of relief and proceeds to read the
contested sentence aloud again. There was a good deal of arguing and
bickering over it; Sir Simon insisting that the epithet was too strong
and should be modified, while M. de la Bourbonais maintained that
whether _he_ applied the term “patriot cast in the rough antique
mould” to Mirabeau or not signified very little, since the facts as he
stated and construed them applied it far more forcibly. They were
squabbling over it still when, half an hour later, Franceline came
back, apparently in a forgiving mood, and expressed her wonder how
people could go on quarrelling when everything around was so full of
peace, in a world where all created things were steeped in beauty and
in bliss; where life was not a struggle, but a joy; where nothing was
needed but the will to vibrate to the pulse of love with which the
great mother’s breast was heaving, to respond to the sun’s wooing and
the wind’s wafting, to the music of flowers and birds, to be a voice
in the choir and a grain of incense on the altar, to live, to love,
and to be happy. What were proof-sheets worth if they could not swell
the glad concert and sound their chime in the joy-bells of life? They
were sounding their little chime, though, in spite of the frequent
clash of arms they gave rise to between the author and his pig-headed
Tory critic. The crisp little rolls of paper were an immense
superadded interest to Raymond—and consequently to Franceline—in their
new life of golden sunshine. They would come to an end soon now; a few
more bundles of proofs, then a pause of solemn expectation, and the
great work would appear immortalized between the boards.



While the three inmates of the white-washed villa were watching the
days go by, and wondering if to-morrow could possibly be as happy as
yesterday and to-day, Clide de Winton was living a very different life
in his lodgings near the asylum. He had not yet been permitted to see
the lady whom he believed to be his wife. She had fallen ill with an
attack on the lungs which had very nearly proved fatal, and during the
six weeks that it lasted it was impossible to let any one approach her
except the familiar faces of the doctor and her attendant. She had
rallied from this illness only to return to her old delusion with a
fonder intensity than ever. Day after day she decked herself in her
faded flowers and ribbons, and stood or knelt at her window,
stretching out her arms to the mid-day sun, calling to him with the
tenderest words of endearment, and telling him her passionate
love-tale over and over again; then turning from this to paroxysms of
despair more violent than formerly, and which threatened at each
crisis to shatter the fragile vase and send the feeble spark flying

     “And now she courted love; now, raving, called on hate.”

Clide had repeatedly asked to see Mr. Percival, but the desire for an
interview was evidently not mutual; for, although no refusal was ever
sent, the promises held out by the medical man were continually
broken; the visit of Mr. Percival was always “unexpectedly prevented”
by one cause or another. Stanton arrived at the conclusion that he did
not wish to meet Clide, and that, moreover, he was constantly at the
asylum unknown to them, and that the only way to see him would be to
lie in wait and collar him, and make him speak out by main force,
since he would not do it otherwise. Mr. de Winton saw difficulties in
the way of this summary method of proceeding, but his valet entreated
him to leave it in his hands and not trouble himself about that. Clide
had small confidence in the diplomatic skill of his man, but he could
trust him not to do anything dangerously rash; so he asked no
questions, but let him follow his own devices for catching Mr.
Percival. That gentleman, however, proved himself a match for Stanton.
He was not to be taken either by stratagem or force; and though
Stanton dodged about the park gates, and recruited a small police
force, amongst little boys on the lookout for a penny, to skulk about
late and early to watch the comers and goers from the asylum, and give
him timely warning, it led to nothing but vain hopes and frequent

Clide was growing sick to death of the miserable business. He had been
more than two months now stationed at his post. Isabel’s illness had
made two-thirds of that time utterly useless to him; but it was now a
full week since the doctor had declared her convalescent, and he
seemed no nearer the solution of her identity than when he first
descried her through the panel of the door. He determined at last one
morning to go in and speak out his mind to the medical man. He told
him that he insisted on an interview with Mr. Percival, or else he
would take steps in the matter which might be disagreeable to all
parties. It was quite inexplicable, he said, that they should not have
been able to find an opportune moment or letting him approach the
patient all this time, and the persistent obstacles that were thrown
in the way of an interview with the man who called himself her
guardian led him to infer that both Mr. Percival and the doctor were
in league to prevent her identity being tested and established.

The effect of this broadside was startling. But although it took the
doctor entirely by surprise, it did not throw him off his guard or
disturb his presence of mind. He looked at the speaker for a moment in
silence, and then said in a perfectly cool and collected manner:

“I see there is no use in playing at this game any longer. I have
humored you up to this, and borne with your mania, because I knew it
was a mania. It has been plain to me from the third time I saw you,
Mr. de Winton, that you were yourself the victim of a delusion and an
eligible candidate for a lunatic asylum. I have prevented Mr. Percival
from taking steps to have you confined—the law empowers us to do so
when a madman threatens the security and honor of another—because I
hoped the monomania would wear itself out with patience. I find I have
been mistaken. I shall interfere no farther with Mr. Percival in his
legitimate desire to protect the lady who is under my care from your
persistent persecution. She is no more your wife than she is mine.
Your story about her is as groundless as the ravings of a man in

While the doctor delivered himself of this attack Clide stared at him
in stupefaction. He saw the medical man’s glance fixed on him with the
expression of one who was versed in the art of reading the mind
through that lucid and faithful interpreter—the eye. But though he was
both shocked and indignant, he was not a whit frightened; he bore the
scrutiny without flinching, without dropping his lid once.

“You are a clever tactician, I see,” he said coolly. “Carrying the war
into the enemy’s country is one of the desperate strategies of a
daring general, but it is sometimes more fatal to the invader than to
the invaded. You have now thrown off the mask and shown me exactly
what manner of man I have to deal with, and I shall resort to other
means than those I have hitherto employed for seeing the patient whom
I am now absolutely and fully convinced is no other than my unhappy

He rose, and was leaving without further parley when the doctor cried

“You can see her this moment, if you choose—that is, if you choose to
be guilty of homicide. I am prepared to state before the first men in
the faculty, and to stake my character on the assertion, that—if she
be your wife—the sight of you, supposing that it brings recognition,
will be fatal to her life by causing the rupture of a vessel on the
brain. Come back with any qualified witnesses you think fit, and I
will repeat this in their presence, and then, on your responsibility,
I will conduct you to the patient.”

Clide made no answer, but left the house, and was soon on his way to
Piccadilly in a cab. The admiral had come to town the night before; it
was partly the desire to be able to give his uncle some definite
information concerning the inmate of the mad-house that had driven him
to burn his ships and have it out with the doctor.

The cab stopped, and as Clide alighted he was accosted by a friendly
voice and the grip of a heavy hand on his shoulder.

“Hallo, De Winton! How are you? Where have you turned up from?”

It was Ponsonby Anwyll’s voice; he looked in the highest state of
elation, blonder and burlier than ever, the very picture of good
temper, good digestion, and general prosperity.

The sight of him jarred on Clide; he had naturally a vindictive
feeling toward poor Ponsonby since that random shot of Sir Simon’s
about his making Franceline a good husband by and by. He did not
believe a word of it; but it made him feel savagely to the young
squire, nevertheless. How dare he behave so as to get his name coupled
with hers at all?

“I have been hanging about town for some time,” returned Clide as
stiffly as he could without being uncivil. “I suppose you’re on leave?
Or perhaps quartered somewhere hereabouts?”

“Quartered! No such luck! We’re vegetating in Devonshire still, I’m
sorry to say; but there’ll soon be an end of it for me. I mean to sell
out and settle down one of these days. I’ve come up to try and get a
month’s leave. I think I’ll succeed, too, the colonel is such an
awfully good fellow; and what do you think I’m going to do with it?
Where do you think I’m going to spend it?”

“How should I know?”

“At Nice! Sir Simon Harness has asked me over to stay at his villa
there; the De la Bourbonais are there, you know. You’ll be glad to
hear that Franceline has made a splendid recovery of it, and the count
has picked up wonderfully too.… Oh! I beg a thousand pardons. Pray
allow me!…” This was to an old lady whose umbrella he had whisked into
the middle of the street with a touch of his stick, that he kept
swinging round while he held forth to Clide. When he had picked it up
and dusted it, and apologized three times over, he went on to say:
“Why shouldn’t you run over and see them all too, eh? You used to be
very friendly with the count, eh? And Sir Simon would be enchanted to
see you. There’s nothing he likes so much as being come down on by a
friend unawares, you know.”

“I never gratify my friends in that respect,” said Clide freezingly;
“I always wait to be invited. Are you to be a large party at the

“I don’t fancy so; but I really don’t know. The only invitations I
know of are myself and Roxham. He’s a capital fellow, Roxham; I’m glad
we are going together. I wish you’d come too, though, eh? Perhaps
you’ll think it over and pop down on us one of these days when we
least expect it? Have you any message for Sir Simon or any of them?”

“My best respects to M. de la Bourbonais and his daughter.
Good-afternoon. A pleasant journey to you!”

“Wish me good-luck about the leave first!” said the good-natured,
obtuse dragoon as he strode on, laughing.

“The lumbering idiot! How I should like to kick him! The impudence of
the lout calling her Franceline!” This was Mr. de Winton’s soliloquy
as he stood looking after Ponsonby, giving at the same time a pull to
the bell as if the house were on fire.

The admiral was out. Cromer, his old valet, who had first sounded the
signal about Isabel, happened to be at his master’s for the day, and
said he believed he had gone to see Master Clide. Clide jumped back
into his cab and told the man to go like the wind, as he wanted to
overtake some one. His reflections on the way were none of the
pleasantest. What was bringing Ponsonby Anwyll to spend a month at Sir
Simon’s while M. de la Bourbonais and his daughter were there? What
but to marry Franceline? Had she, then, so completely forgotten Clide?
Why not? If his love for her had a tithe of the unselfishness it
boasted, he ought to be the first to rejoice at it; to be glad that
she was happy and was about to become the wife of a good and honorable
and warm-hearted man whom she loved. Did she love him? could she love
him?—a lump of red and white clay with as much soul as a prize bull!
She that was such an ethereal, lily creature—how could it be possible?
What could any girl see in him to love? If this was an irrational and
unfair estimate of Ponsonby’s outward and inward man, it was natural
enough on Clide’s part. No man, be he ever so reasonable, is expected
to do justice to the claims of any other man to be preferred by the
woman he loves. But Clide was more savage with Sir Simon even than
with Anwyll. What business had he to go meddling at making a match for
Franceline? Why could he not have let her alone, and let destiny take
its course—or, to put it in a more concrete shape, let Clide de Winton
take his chance? Clide did not consider that his chance virtually had
no existence whatever in Sir Simon’s calculations. He believed that
Isabel’s identity was established beyond a doubt, and that this fact,
much as he might regret it, excluded Clide for ever from having any
part in Franceline’s destiny. He believed, moreover, or he wished to
believe—which with the sanguine Sir Simon meant one and the same
thing—that Clide had quite got over his _passion malheureuse_ for
Franceline, but, whether he had or not, it could not be helped; he
could not marry her, and it was preposterous to expect that she was to
remain unmarried out of consideration for his feelings. Here was an
admirable settlement in life that presented itself, and it was Sir
Simon’s duty, as her self-elected guardian and her father’s oldest
friend, to do all in his power to secure it to her.

Oh! but if Franceline would but wait a little longer—it might be such
a very little while—until Clide was free! “What a pitiful thing a
woman’s love is compared to a man’s! If I had been in her position,
and she in mine,” he thought, “I would have waited a lifetime for

You see Clide was assuming, in spite of his oft-sighed hopes to the
contrary, that Franceline did love him. He argued the point bitterly
in his mind, accusing her and acquitting her and cursing his own fate
all in the same breath, as he rattled over the stony street. But the
cursing brought no relief. Help was nowhere at hand. In the old
story-books, when a man found himself at bay with difficulties, he
called the devil to the rescue, and the devil came. These delightful
legends generally represent him in spectacles and a bottle-green coat;
they may sometimes differ as to the precise color of the coat, but
they all agree that he was the most accommodating practitioner, often
volunteering his services without waiting to be asked. When it came to
striking a bargain, no one was more liberal than he. The man in
difficulties made his own terms: unlimited wealth, a long life with
the lady of his choice, the sweet triumphs of revenge—one or all of
these the devil would concede with the utmost generosity; all the
client had to do in return was to scratch his name to a bit of paper,
signing his soul away—a sort of post-obit bill to be presented at some
period that was not always even of necessity specified.

If this obliging old legendary personage had appeared at this juncture
to Clide de Winton, I suspect he would have had little difficulty in
striking a bargain with him. To be free; to burst at once this odious,
insufferable chain that must soon be dissolved by death; to be able to
seize the prize that was about to be snatched from him at the very
moment he felt sure that a little delay would have secured it to him
for ever—to obtain this Clide would have signed away his life, ay, and
his soul’s life too, for the asking. No evil one, it is true,
presented himself in a bottle-green coat or any other visible attire,
but one, nevertheless, got close enough to the distracted lover’s ear
to whisper a proposal audibly. An invisible devil jumped into the cab
with him, and sat close to him all the way from Piccadilly home, and
never ceased urging, pleading; no tongue of flesh ever spoke more

“You have the game in your own hands. The doctor is out now. You know
your way to her room. No one will stop you. Go straight up, and walk
in, and address your wife; you are her husband, and have a right to do
it. The shock will kill her; but what of that? What is life to her
that any merciful man should wish to prolong it? Death will be the
cessation of mental and bodily anguish to her, poor raving maniac, and
it will set you free—free to marry Franceline. You know Franceline
loves you. The mercy will then be for her too; if she marries Ponsonby
Anwyll, it will be only to please her father. She will be miserable;
it will break her heart. Go and save both her and yourself.”

When the tempter comes armed with such weapons as these, and finds us
in the mood in which Clide was as he drove home through the noisy
streets into the quiet suburb, the issue of the struggle, if struggle
there be, is hardly doubtful. There was a struggle in this case. You
could see it in the feverish movements of the tempted man; he could
not sit still, but kept shifting his limbs as we are apt to do when
there is no other escape from the steady contemplation of our
thoughts. One moment he leaned back with his hands thrust deep into
his pockets, and stared out of the window; the next he started forward
and bent down on his knees, as if examining closely something at his
feet. He took off his hat, smoothed it with his coat-sleeve, pushed
back his hair, and put his hat on again. This physical agitation
seemed to bring him no relief. He drew out his pocket-book and read
over attentively the memoranda of the day before—appointments at the
club, with his tailor, books that he had dotted down for reading; but
while he perused these commonplace items the voice of the tempter kept
on whispering, louder and louder, sweeter and sweeter. The dusty cab
was the temple of a vision. Franceline stood before him, with her arms
outstretched; she drew nearer, she called him by his name; he felt her
breath upon his cheek, the soft touch of her hand in his. Could sin
come to him in such guise as this? His features for a moment were
convulsed, swayed by the terrible conflict. Gradually the combat
ceased, and an expression, not of calm, but of rigid determination,
settled on them; the dark brows drew together, making that black line
across the forehead which gave to Clide’s face its peculiar, strong
individuality. He had not accepted the tempter’s arguments, but he had
accepted the issue they pointed at, twisting reasons to his own
purpose, and adopting the sophistry of passion: “I will go and accost
her. Ten to one—what do I say? a hundred to one, she is not my wife.
The absence of the silver tooth ought to have convinced me of that
long ago. It ought to have settled the non-identity from the first;
for Percival says he never heard of such a thing. As to its killing
her, supposing she be my wife, it’s all nonsense; the fellow is in
Percival’s pay, and that’s why he has fought out so against my seeing
her. I’ll defy him once for all, and make an end of it one way or

Clide did not, or would not, see the palpable paradox that there was
in this train of reasoning; but deafen himself as he might by
sophistry and inclination, he could not drown the voice of conscience,
that clamored so as to make itself heard above every other.

“Has the admiral been here?” was his first question as he sprang out
of the cab and rushed up-stairs.

“Yes, sir; him and Mr. Simpson.”

“Ah! Simpson. Are they long gone?”

“Not above a good quarter of an hour. They’re not gone very far;
they’re over yonder,” said Stanton, with a knowing jerk of his head in
the direction of the asylum.

Clide started.

“What do you mean? What are they gone to do there?”

“They’re just gone to have it out with the doctor, sir. Mr. Simpson
says it’s all gammon about your not being let see her. He’s gone over
to insist on seeing her himself—him and the admiral; and if the doctor
refuses to let them up, Mr. Simpson’ll set the law on him.”

“Good God! they will kill her. They have done it already perhaps! I am
too late to stop them!” said Clide, white to the lips, and taking a
stride towards the door. The room reeled round him. Was he going to be
an accomplice in the murder of his wife? He would at that moment have
renounced Franceline for ever to prevent the act that a few minutes
ago he was bent on committing.

Stanton was frightened.

“Stay you here, Master Clide,” he said, taking him by both arms and
forcing him into a chair. “Don’t you take on like that. I’ll run
across and stop ‘em. There an’t no ‘arm done; the doctor’s never in
the ‘ouse at this hour, and they never ‘ud let them hup without him.
You stay quiet while I run after them. I’ll be back in no time.”

Clide made no resistance; he let himself drop into the chair in a kind
of stupor. The sudden reaction, coming close upon the fierce mental
conflict he had gone through, acted like a blow on a drunken man; it
stunned and felled him.

“Go, then, and be quick, for God’s sake!” he muttered.

      *     *     *     *     *

Ten minutes went by, and then fifteen, and Clide began to wonder what
was keeping Stanton.

He could bear the suspense no longer, but took up his hat and went to
see what caused the delay.

Stanton, meantime, had not been amusing himself. In answer to his
inquiries the porter informed him that the two gentlemen he was
looking for had called at the house and asked to see the doctor, and,
on hearing that he was out and not expected home for half an hour, had
declined to come in, but were walking about the place waiting for him.
Stanton hesitated a moment whether he should run home at once with
this reassuring news to his master, or fetch the admiral and Mr.
Simpson, and bring them back with him; he decided for the latter and
set off to look for them. The grounds were spacious and thickly
planted enough to admit of two persons easily getting out of sight for
a few minutes; but when Stanton had looked all round, walking hastily
from avenue to alley, and could see no trace of the two gentlemen, he
began to think they must have changed their minds and gone away. He
went on, however, a good way behind the house until he came on a low
brick wall that he fancied must mark the limits of the premises. He
was about to turn back when he heard a loud, shrill scream proceeding
from the other side of the wall. He ran along by it till he saw a door
that was ajar, and then, without pausing to consider where he was
going or what he was doing, rushed in and ran on in the direction of
the scream. Presently he heard voices raised in angry strife. A few
more steps brought him in presence of Admiral de Winton, Mr. Simpson,
and a third gentleman. They were disputing violently. The admiral was
supporting a woman who had apparently fainted; the stranger was
expostulating and trying to take her from him; Mr. Simpson was
standing between them, speaking in loud and authoritative tones:

“Very well, very good; we shall see if it is as you say. But we must
see for ourselves; we must find out if there was nothing in her crying
out ‘Clide! Clide!’ the moment she saw this gentleman and heard his
voice. Stand back! Don’t lay a finger on him or on her! I _do_ know
what I am doing—I know better than you do. Stand off, I tell you!”

The stranger was, however, determined to make a fight for it, and was
answering in a bullying, insolent manner when Stanton came up.

“I know that voice! Where have I heard it?” was the valet’s first
thought as the loud, harsh tones fell on his ear.

There was a garden seat close at hand. The admiral was carrying the
fainting woman towards it. Stanton ran forward to help.

“Go to the house and call for proper assistance,” said Mr. Simpson
shortly to the stranger. “You know where to find it, I suppose; you
know the house.”

“I know I sha’n’t move from this while my child is at the mercy of two
escaped lunatics! That’s what I know,” retorted the other savagely.

The words were not out of his mouth when Stanton was at his throat,
collaring him with both hands.

“You scoundrel! I’ve caught you at last,” he said. “You villain of
villains! I’ll do for you! He’s the fellow that called himself
Prendergast, and that’s master Clide’s wife!”

All this took much less time to enact than to relate. The scream which
had brought Stanton to the spot had been heard by an attendant; there
was always one on the watch in the neighborhood of the patients’
garden, and she came hurrying up in an instant.

“Who are you all, and what are you doing here?” she cried, casting an
alarmed look at the three men and at the lifeless figure stretched on
the wooden seat.

“A couple of escaped lunatics!” shouted Mr. Percival, struggling
furiously. Stanton was holding him by the collar, while Mr. Simpson
pinioned him from behind, the admiral standing meantime, bent in eager
scrutiny, over the strange figure, decked out in faded flowers and
ribbons, that lay insensible before him.

“Come here!” he said, beckoning to the attendant; “come and attend to
this poor creature, and leave those gentlemen to settle their business

The woman evidently felt that this was what it most concerned her to
do; she allowed the admiral to lift the patient in his arms, while she
guided him into the house. They had just entered by a back door when
Clide de Winton walked by in search of Stanton. The porter had
directed him to “somewhere about the grounds,” and, after looking in
vain up and down the avenues, he was going to give it up in despair
when he saw the door in the garden wall, now wide open, and heard a
voice which he recognized as Stanton’s, “Come on! You may as well give
in and come quietly; bad language and kicks will only make it worse
for you, you rascal!”

Clide was quickly on the spot, and beheld Stanton and Mr. Simpson
wrestling desperately with a man whose fury seemed a match for their
united strength.

“I’ve caught him, Master Clide! We have him tight—that rascal
Prendergast! You an’t he? You be choked for a —— liar!”

Clide stood for a moment confounded. There was not a trait of
resemblance, as far as he could see, between the stout, full-bodied
man with jet black hair, and the gray-haired, thin, miserable-looking
mortal whom he remembered as Mr. Prendergast. His first idea was that
Stanton had made another outrageous mistake, as in the case of Miss
Eliza Jane Honey.

“Who are you? You are not the Mr. Prendergast I knew, are you?” he
said, addressing the stranger.

“Of course I am not! I never saw you or this madman in my life! My
name is Mathew Percival; my daughter is unfortunately a patient in
this asylum, and this fellow will have it that she is his wife!”

“My master’s wife, you scoundrel! Don’t think to come over us with
making believe not to understand! She’s Mr. Clide de Winton’s wife!”
said Stanton, taking a tighter grip, as if he feared the prize might
make a sudden dart and escape from him.

“You _are_ the man who called himself Prendergast, and whose niece, as
you then called her, I married!” said Clide. The voice and the broad
Scotch accent were unmistakable, though the speaker had made an effort
to disguise them. “You say she is your daughter now. Speak the truth
at once. The patient in yonder house is the Isabel Cameron whom I
married. Let him go, Simpson! Stanton, let go your hold on him! Speak
out now.”

Mr. Prendergast, or Percival, looked down sullenly for a moment, as if
making up his mind how to meet this challenge; then he looked up with
the dogged, defiant air of a man at bay who is resolved to die game.
He was going to speak, when a woman, the same attendant who had just
left them, came running up in breathless haste.

“Stanton! Which of you is Stanton?” she cried.

“It’s me!”

“Then go as fast as you can and fetch your master! His wife is calling
for him; run quickly, or it will be too late. She is dying!”

“I am his master! I am her husband! Take me with you!” said Clide,
turning so white that Stanton thought he was going to faint and made a
movement to give him his arm; but Clide waved him away and walked on
with a steady step.

Something between a cry and an oath escaped from Percival; he made no
attempt to follow them, but muttered more to himself than to his

“The murder is out! There is nothing more to tell. She is his wife,
and I am the Prendergast he knew.”

Stanton’s fury had subsided in an instant, quenched by the chill which
those words of the attendant had thrown upon the group: “_She is
dying!_” What had human passion or earthly vengeance to do now with
Isabel or Mr. Prendergast? In the presence of the Great Avenger all
other vengeance was silenced. The three men walked on toward the house
without exchanging a word. The porter let them in. The doctor, he
said, had not yet returned. It did not matter; they would wait, not
for him now, but for Death.

When Clide entered the room, he beheld Admiral de Winton seated beside
the dying woman’s bed; her face was lifted toward his with a mute
expression, half of yearning, half of fear, while she listened to the
soothing words he tried to speak to her. The moment Clide appeared her
eyes turned toward him. There was no mistaking the identity now; those
eyes, so faded and dim, were the same that had first fired his foolish
heart with their dark young radiance. The cheeks, once round, were wan
and hollow, the glossy, ebon hair was specked with gray, but the face
was that of his long-lost wife, the Isabel of his boyish love.

“You have come!… You have come to say that you forgive me!” she said
in faint, low tones, fastening a wistful, trembling glance on him; for
Clide did not advance at once, but stood on the threshold, arrested by
the mournful spectacle.

“Isabel!” he exclaimed, approaching softly, and he knelt down and
leaned over her.

She looked at him so long without speaking that he began to fear she
did not know him after all. He raised the little hand to his lips, and
then stroked it caressingly; the action, the touch, seemed to strike
some chord long sleeping.

“Clide, Clide!” she murmured, and the tears rose and rolled in large
drops down her cheeks. His heart was wrung with pity; there was no
room for any other feeling. If she had wronged him as deeply as he had
ever feared, he forgave it all. He remembered nothing but that they
had once loved each other, that she had suffered cruelly, and that she
was dying.

“My poor Isabel! I forgive you with all my heart, as I hope to be
forgiven; so help me God!”

He let his head fall on the pillow beside her and wept silently.

Admiral de Winton made a sign to the attendant that they had better
withdraw and leave them alone; she hesitated a moment, and then
followed him and closed the door softly behind her. And so they were
once more together—those two who had been joined and parted, and
reunited now for a moment only before the final parting. No one
disturbed them, no eye looked behind the curtain while that last
sacred interview lasted. For three hours Clide knelt by the side of
his dying wife, her hand in his, her head resting on his breast. He
whispered words of tenderness and mercy to the wearied spirit; he told
her of a Love greater than his, and of a pardon mightier and more
availing, of which his was but the pledge and the forerunner.

At sunset she died.



In the _Life of Pope Pius VII._ Miss Allies has given us a picture of
rare beauty and deep interest. We think, however, that the title of
the book has not been well chosen. It is not a biography of Pius VII.,
but a history of the efforts of Napoleon Bonaparte to make the Papacy
an appendage and support of the vast empire which he had founded with
his sword. The materials for the narrative have been drawn chiefly
from the _Mémoires_ of Cardinal Consalvi and the _Memorie Storiche_ of
Cardinal Pacca, both of whom were witnesses of the facts which they
relate. The author is also greatly indebted to the recent work of
d’Haussonville, _L’Eglise Romaine et le Premier Empire_.

The shock of the Revolution of 1789, which unsettled everything in
Europe—ideas, customs, laws, government—could not possibly have left
the church undisturbed. In France the goods of the clergy were
declared to belong to the nation. The churches were turned into
temples of Reason, the convents converted into barracks, the priests
who remained faithful to their consciences guillotined or sent into
exile. The new republic, “one and indivisible,” aspired to be also
universal, and soon the clash of arms resounded throughout Europe.
Napoleon, at the head of the army of Italy, gained those brilliant
victories which kindled in his heart the flame of an all-devouring
ambition. He was ordered to march upon Rome, and he wrote to Cardinal
Mattei: “Save the pope from the greatest of evils; be persuaded that I
need only the will in order to destroy his power.” Pius VI. was in
consequence forced to sign a treaty in which he gave up a considerable
part of his territory, and in the following year (1798) the French
republic invaded Rome. The reign of the popes was declared to be at an
end; the Holy Father was dragged away into captivity, and in August,
1799, died at Valence. The following November the cardinals met in
conclave in Venice under the protection of Russia, England, and
Turkey, and elected Barnaba Chiaramonti, who took the title of Pius
VII., and on the 3d of July, 1800, entered Rome amidst universal
demonstrations of joy. Just two months before Bonaparte had led his
victorious troops across the Alps, and, having triumphed over Austria,
had a _Te Deum_ sung in the cathedral of Milan for the deliverance of
Italy from infidels and heretics—the Turks, namely, and the English.
Shortly afterwards he informed Pius VII. of his wish to open
negotiations for the arrangement of religious matters. The First
Consul was preparing to assume the purple. “I did not usurp the
crown,” he said; “it was lying in the mire: I picked it up. The people
placed it on my head.” He felt, however, that an empire founded upon
“blood and iron” could not dispense with the moral support of
religion. He therefore determined to enter into a Concordat with the
pope. This resolution, we are bound to believe, sprang purely from
political and selfish motives. Whilst fortune smiled upon him Napoleon
cared for religion only so far as it served his ambitious ends. To
Menon, in Egypt, he wrote: “I thank you for the honors you have paid
to _our prophet_.” In India he would have been for Ali, for Confucius
in China, and in Thibet for the Dalai Lama. Consalvi was despatched to
Paris to enter into articles of agreement with the First Consul. When
the cardinal presented himself before Bonaparte, he turned abruptly
upon him and said: “I know what brings you to France. I wish the
negotiations to begin at once. I give you five days, and, if at the
end of that time matters are not arranged, you must return to Rome;
for my own part, I have already provided against such a contingency.”

After many discussions the First Consul declared that he was ready to
ratify the Concordat. Joseph Bonaparte, Bernier, and Crétet were to
sign for the French government, and Consalvi, Spina, and Caselli for
the pope. At the appointed hour and place they all met. Bernier held
in his hand what he said was the Concordat, and, as the cardinal
claimed the right of signing first, he attempted to get him to affix
his signature without looking at the document; but a glance showed
Consalvi that a spurious paper had been substituted, and he refused to
sign his name. The Concordat was to be proclaimed at a public dinner
on the following day; so the discussions were reopened and continued
through the whole night, but no satisfactory conclusion was reached.
The hour for the dinner arrived, and when the cardinal entered the
banquet-hall Bonaparte called out to him in a mocking tone:

     “So you wish to break with me, Monsieur le Cardinal? Well,
     be it so! I have no need of Rome! I have no need of the
     pope! If Henry VIII., without the twentieth part of my
     power, was able to change the religion of his subjects, how
     much more able am not I! In changing the religion of France
     I shall change it in all Europe, in all places where my
     power is felt. When will you go?”

“After dinner,” replied the cardinal with seeming unconcern. This
outburst of wrath was meant to frighten Consalvi: Bonaparte had really
no intention of breaking so suddenly with the pope. Again negotiations
were begun. The Concordat was signed, and Joseph was deputed to take
it to the First Consul to obtain his _placet_; but the great man tore
the paper into a hundred pieces. Finally, however, he yielded, and the
public exercise of religious worship was again permitted in France.

But when Bonaparte published the Concordat, he added to it the
“Organic Articles,” by which many of its provisions were practically
annulled; and he was even guilty of the falsehood of making it appear
that these articles were part of the convention with Pius VII. He was
resolved to rule the consciences of men in the same absolute way in
which he commanded his army. The bishops were required to submit all
their official documents to the prefects of the departments. To
prelates who were particularly zealous pastorals were sent, made to
order by the central bureau at Paris. A bishop was not permitted to
appoint or remove a priest without Bonaparte’s permission. Public
worship was placed under the supervision of the police.

On the 16th of May, 1804, the senate voted that Napoleon should assume
the title of emperor. Two months before, with premeditation and in
cold blood, he had had the Duc d’Enghien assassinated at Vincennes;
and this stain upon his name made him the more anxious to receive the
imperial crown from the consecrated hands of the pope. A middle course
was not open to Pius VII. He had either to accept Napoleon’s
invitation or to declare himself his enemy.

With the understanding that the “Organic Articles” should be repealed,
and that the constitutional clergy should make their retractation in
his hands, the pope set out for Paris. In his long journey he was
permitted to stop but twice, and upon his first meeting the new
emperor he was treated in the most uncivil manner.

On the eve of the coronation Pius VII. received a visit from
Josephine. She came to unburden her heart to him. The church had never
blessed her marriage with Bonaparte, and she felt that this would
probably be her last opportunity to have this matter arranged. The
pope declared that he would not assist at the coronation unless the
marriage was first contracted according to the rite of the church. The
duplicity of Napoleon had deeply wounded the Holy Father, and the
emperor’s wrath could not shake the pope’s firm resolve. During the
night preceding the coronation, therefore, Cardinal Fesch performed
the marriage ceremony in the chapel of the Tuileries in the presence
of two witnesses. When the moment for the coronation came, Napoleon
took the crown from the altar of Notre Dame, and himself placed it on
his head. He had given the Holy Father his word that there should be
but one coronation; in violation of this promise he had himself
crowned a second time in the Champ de Mars. He crammed for his
interviews with the pope, in order to astonish him by his knowledge of
church history. Already he was pondering over the thought of keeping
the Holy Father in France. The archiepiscopal palace was to be fitted
up for Pius VII. and reserved exclusively for the Pontifical Court.
When this was intimated to the pope, he replied that it had not been
unforeseen; before leaving Rome he had signed a formal abdication, in
case he should be forcibly detained in France. The document was in
Palermo in the hands of Cardinal Pignatelli; the emperor might
imprison Barnaba Chiaramonti, the simple monk, but not Pius VII., the
Vicar of Christ.

The subject was dropped. The petty jealousy and dread of rival power
or popularity which was so marked a feature in Napoleon’s character
could not be concealed whilst the Holy Father remained in Paris as an
independent sovereign. He was not allowed to celebrate pontifical Mass
at Notre Dame on Christmas day; and he was hurried off to Mâcon before
Easter, and thence continued his journey back to Rome, having refused
to assist at the ceremony of Napoleon’s coronation at Milan as King of

Jérome Bonaparte, a younger brother of Napoleon, had married a
Protestant girl in the United States, and the emperor, who wished his
brothers and sisters to make matrimonial alliances with the most
powerful families of Europe, applied to the pope to annul the
marriage. Pius VII. declared that he had no power in the case.
Napoleon sought revenge by meddling still further with the affairs of
the church in Italy, and by taking forcible possession of Ancona, a
portion of the papal territory. The Holy Father protested in a letter
dated the 13th of November, 1805, which Napoleon did not find time to
answer till January 7, 1806. In those two months he had brought to a
close one of his most brilliant campaigns, had conquered the emperors
of Austria and Russia, and dictated terms to all Europe.

In reply to the protest of the Holy Father Napoleon wrote to his
ambassador at Rome in the following style: “The pope has written me a
most ridiculous, a most foolish letter. These people thought I was
dead.… Since these idiots do not object to the possibility of a
Protestant occupying the throne of France, I will send them a
Protestant ambassador.… I will change nothing outwardly, if people
behave themselves with me; but otherwise I shall reduce the pope to be
bishop of Rome. Really, nothing is so wanting in sense as the court of

Only the Emperor of Russia and the King of England he declared were
masters in their own states, because they had no pope to trouble them.

A month later (February, 1806) Pius VII. received another letter from

     “Your Holiness,” he wrote, “must profess the same regard for
     me in the temporal order as I profess for you in the
     spiritual order. All my enemies must be your enemies. That
     an Englishman, a Russian, a Swede, or a minister of the
     Sardinian king should henceforth reside in Rome or in any
     part of your states is entirely unfitting. No vessel
     belonging to any of these states should enter your ports.”

The Holy Father replied that he was unable to assent to demands which
were opposed to the character of his divine mission, “which owns no
enmities, not even with those who have departed from the centre of
unity.” Napoleon attributed the pope’s firmness to the counsels of
Consalvi, and he determined to drive him from office. “Tell him,” he
wrote to his ambassador, “that but two courses remain open to him:
always to do what I wish or to quit the ministry.” He also informed
the cardinal that none of his movements were unknown to him, and that
for the first compromising act he should answer with his head; he
would have him arrested in the streets of Rome. “These priests,” he
said, “keep the soul for themselves and throw me the carcass.”

All this storm of imperial rage had broken upon the Head of the church
because he had dared defend the honor of a Protestant girl, the
daughter of a simple American citizen, against the attacks of the most
terrible monarch of Europe.

Napoleon’s dream was to found a great western empire like that of
Charlemagne, and for the accomplishment of this design he saw that the
co-operation of the pope was necessary. He was therefore willing to
defend the pope on condition that he should become his tool and lend
himself as an obedient slave to his ambitious projects. But when he
saw that there was no hope of bringing Pius VII. to accept his views
on this subject, he began to govern the church after his own fashion.
The bishops and priests who did not conform to his wishes were thrown
into prison or forced to keep silence. He had his victories proclaimed
from the pulpits; he furnished pastorals and exhortations in which it
was made to appear that he was the defender of the faith, fighting
against infidels and heretics; he recommended that prayers should be
said that “our brothers, the persecuted Catholics of Ireland, might
enjoy liberty of worship.” “Inform M. Robert, a priest of Bourges,” he
wrote, “of my displeasure. He preached a very foolish sermon on the
15th of August. L’Abbé de Coucy is a great worry to me. He keeps up
too great a correspondence. I wish him to be arrested and put into a
monastery.… It is really shameful that you have not yet arrested M.
Stevens. People are too sleepy; else how could a wretched priest have
escaped?… I see from your letter that you have caused a _curé_ of La
Vendée to be arrested. You have acted very wisely. Keep him in
prison.” All religious newspapers—save one, the _Journal des Curés_,
whose publications were strictly supervised—were suppressed. “No
priest,” said Napoleon, “should bother his head about the church
except in his sermons.” A special Sunday each year was set aside to
commemorate the coronation and the victories of the _Grande Armée_;
and in the sermon preached on that day particular mention was to be
made of those who had fallen at Austerlitz. M. Portalis was charged
with the preparation of a new imperial catechism, which was published
in August, 1806. The children of France were taught that “the honor
and the service of the emperor is one and the same thing as the honor
and service of God”; that those who were wanting in their duty to
Napoleon rendered themselves worthy of eternal damnation; and that God
had given the crown not only to him, but to his family. The French
bishops submitted in silence to this orthodox imperialism.

The next step was to deprive the pope of his temporal power. As Pius
VII. had refused to enter into the emperor’s plans for the founding of
a great western empire, he was to be imprisoned. Napoleon had just
annihilated the wonderful troops of Frederick the Great, and from his
palace at Berlin he once more dictated terms to the Holy Father. “Let
the pope,” he wrote, “do what I wish, and he will be repaid for the
past and the future.”

All Europe, save England, was lying helpless at the feet of the
conqueror; and that the pope should continue to defend the interests
of a Protestant country against the power of a second Charlemagne was
an impossible supposition.

But Napoleon was now so great that he refused to enter into personal
correspondence with Pius VII.; so he wrote to Eugene Beauharnais, the
Viceroy of Italy, with instructions that he should communicate his
letter to the pope.

     “They say,” wrote the emperor,” that they want to publish
     all the evil that I have committed against religion. The
     idiots! They ignore, then, that there does not exist a spot
     in Italy, Germany, or Poland where I have not done more for
     religion than the pope has done evil.… What does Pius VII.
     mean by denouncing me to Christendom? Does he imagine that
     their arms will fall from the hands of my soldiers?…
     Perhaps the time is not far off when, if this meddling in my
     affairs does not stop, I shall acknowledge the pope to be
     nothing more than bishop of Rome, holding a rank in all
     respects similar to my bishops.… In two words, this is the
     last time that I consent to treat with these wretched
     priests of Rome.”

The pope replied to these insults in a letter full of meekness and
humility, in which he declared that he had refused Napoleon nothing
which his conscience would permit him to grant. Napoleon gave orders
for the occupation of Rome by the French troops under General Miollis;
and the army passed in through the open gates of the city on the 2d of
February, 1808. The pope was a prisoner. The Neapolitan cardinals were
carried off by force; and in March all who were not natives of the
states of the church were ordered to leave Rome. The dethronement of
the pope was proclaimed with the sound of the trumpet, and his
dominions were declared irrevocably united to the kingdom of Italy.
The Holy Father signed the bull of excommunication, and in the night
of the 5th of July, 1809, General Radet broke into his apartments,
arrested him and Cardinal Pacca, hurried them into a closed carriage,
and drove out of Rome through the Porta Pia, accompanied by a
detachment of _gendarmes_. The pope, who was ill and weak, was driven
in great haste through Italy to Savona, a fortified town near Genoa,
where he was imprisoned.

Europe was dumb, the press was silent, and people dared not even
express sympathy for the Holy Father. Napoleon tried to make the world
forget that there was a pope; but he himself was often reminded of his
existence. Many dioceses were without bishops, and the pope refused to
confirm those who had been appointed, so long as he was deprived of
his liberty. The emperor had some of the highest dignitaries of the
French church to write to the prisoner of Savona to represent the evil
consequences of this refusal; but to no purpose. All the cardinals
were summoned to Paris to grace the Imperial Court. The
_Penitentiaria_ and _Dataria_ were also removed thither. Napoleon sent
a circular to the bishops, ordering them “to suppress the prayer to
St. Gregory VII., and to substitute another feast for that of this
saint, whom the Gallican Church cannot recognize.” Everything was “to
be organized as if no pope existed.” No priest was to be ordained
without the emperor’s permission. “Give orders,” he wrote, “to the
prefect of the Taro department to choose fifty of the worst priests at
Parma and fifty of the worst at Piacenza.… Let them embark for

The time had now come when Napoleon was resolved to be divorced from
Josephine. He consulted the Archbishop of Bordeaux and his clergy on
the subject. Their reply was unfavorable, and he summarily dismissed
them and had the vicar-general and the superior of the seminary
deprived of their offices. One day, after a very silent repast with
the empress, he broached the subject to her. She fell fainting to the
floor; the emperor summoned the chamberlain and had her carried to her
apartments. Her adieu to sovereignty was effected under trying
circumstances. A grand reception took place at the Tuileries on the
evening of her departure. She assisted at the funeral of her worldly
greatness, and the fate of Napoleon was decided at the same moment by
a few hurried words spoken by two courtiers as they were leaving the
imperial presence. Negotiations for the marriage of Napoleon with the
Grand Duchess Olga, sister of the Czar of Russia, were all but
concluded. That night M. Floret, the first secretary of the Austrian
Embassy, whispered to M. de Sémonville that the emperor might easily
have the hand of Marie Louise of Austria. This was related to
Napoleon; the alliance with Russia was broken off; and two years later
came the retreat from Moscow, when the arms fell from his soldiers’
hands. But to espouse a daughter of the Catholic house of Austria it
was necessary to obtain not only a civil but also a religious divorce
from Josephine. No other authority than that of the pope, Cardinal
Fesch declared, would be otherwise than “uncertain or dangerous” on
the subject; but to apply to the captive of Savona would be useless.
Napoleon therefore created an ecclesiastical tribunal for the
occasion, over which his uncle, Cardinal Fesch, was appointed to
preside. The emperor first attempted to make it appear that his
marriage with Josephine in 1804 was invalid, because it had taken
place without witnesses or deed; but the cardinal was able to show
that this was not true. He next alleged as a cause of illegality the
absence of the parish priest; but the faculties conferred upon Fesch
by Pius VII. more than supplied this deficiency. As a last resort
Napoleon declared that he had never consented to the religious
marriage, thus openly confessing that he had deceived Josephine,
Cardinal Fesch, and the Holy Father. This statement, however, was
probably an after-thought and false, which is not surprising in an
habitual liar like Napoleon. The tribunal was threatened with the
anger of the emperor if it kept him waiting beyond a certain day. As
it had been created only to do his bidding, his marriage with
Josephine was declared null; but let us remark that the Holy Father
had nothing to do with this business; he was not even consulted, as he
had already given proof of what might be expected from him in the case
of Jérôme Bonaparte and Miss Paterson. Nearly all the cardinals were
at this time living in Paris. Fourteen of them gave it as their
opinion that the divorce had been rightly granted; thirteen others
asserted that the tribunal was incompetent, and that the case should
have been submitted to the pope. In consequence they determined not to
assist at the marriage of Napoleon and Marie Louise. When Cardinal
Fesch reported this to the emperor, he got into a fit of rage. “Bah!
they will not dare,” he exclaimed; and when Cardinal Consalvi, the
leader of the thirteen, came to a public audience at the Tuileries
eight days before the ceremony, Napoleon came up to him, stopped
before him, gave him a thundering look, and passed on without speaking
a word. As he entered the chapel of the Louvre for the wedding he wore
an air of triumph; but his countenance grew dark when he perceived the
thirteen were not there.

“Where are the cardinals?” he asked in an irritated tone.

“A great number are here,” was the reply.

“Ah! the fools; but they are _not_ here,” said Napoleon with another
glance at the empty seats. “The fools, the fools!”

He declared that it was his intention to cause _the resignation of
these individuals_, and that henceforth they were to be deprived of
the Purple. In this way arose the title of Black and Red cardinals.
The property of the thirteen was seized and their income went to swell
the public treasure, whilst they were sent to different provincial
towns and placed under surveillance.

The difficulty as to the appointment of bishops to vacant dioceses had
not been settled. In May, 1810, Napoleon despatched two cardinals,
most favorable to his pretensions, to Pius VII., whom he still held a
prisoner in Savona, to persuade the pope to confirm the bishops
appointed by the emperor; but the Holy Father was immovable. Napoleon
thereupon resolved to make his own bishops and dispense with the papal
confirmation. Cardinal Fesch, who had accepted the title of
Archbishop-elect of Paris, now refused to take possession of his see
without the approval of the pope.

“I can force you to obey me,” said Napoleon to his uncle.

“Sire, _potius mori_,” replied the cardinal.

“Ah! ah! _potius mori_—rather Maury. Be it so. You shall have Maury.”
Cardinal Maury accepted, and in a few days his vicar-general was
arrested and sent to the dungeon of Vincennes, where he remained till
the fall of the empire. About the same time Vincennes opened its
gloomy gates to Cardinals di Pietro and Gabrielli. This was in 1811.
Pius VII. had been in prison for two years. Napoleon now ordered his
jailers to treat him with greater severity. No person was allowed to
see him without the emperor’s permission; and for violating this
regulation some priests from Marseilles were thrown into a filthy
dungeon. All letters to and from the Holy Father were submitted to the
inspection of the keeper of the prison.

     “It is useless for the pope to write,” said Napoleon; “the
     less he does, the better it will be.… The less that which he
     writes reaches its destination, the better.… I trouble
     myself very little as to what he may do.… Let him be told
     that it is distressing for Christendom to own a pope so
     ignorant of what is due to sovereigns, but that the state
     will not be disturbed, and good will be effected without

On the 8th of January, 1811, experts sent from Paris entered the
episcopal palace at Savona, where the Holy Father was confined, opened
his doors and drawers, searched his correspondence, unsewed his
clothes, and broke open his desk, in order to discover something that
might incriminate him. They even took away his breviary and the Office
of the Blessed Virgin. He was also ordered to deliver up the Ring of
the Fisherman; but, justly suspecting that it would be used for
fraudulent purposes, he broke it in two and handed the pieces to
Napoleon’s agent. A moral terrorism reigned over the religious world
in France and Italy. The emperor’s vengeance pursued even ladies who
gave alms to the Black cardinals. The cardinals, bishops, and priests
who had spoken against his tyranny were in prison; the rest remained

Napoleon now called a National Council to devise measures for
governing the church without the assistance of the pope. The French
bishops had for the most part been kept ignorant of the precise nature
of the trouble between himself and Pius VII., and he intended by this
new move to impress upon the mind of the Sovereign Pontiff that he
could nor rely upon the support of the bishops. First, however, a
deputation was sent to the pope to urge upon him the pressing
necessity of conforming without further delay to the will of the
emperor. Pius VII. was at this time in very feeble health, and
Napoleon did not hesitate to bribe his physician, Dr. Porta, that he
might inform the members of the deputation of the most favorable
opportunity to take advantage of the weak and suffering state of the
Holy Father to wring from him the desired concessions. For some days
those who surrounded him were able to attest the presence of all the
symptoms of madness.

     “You will have seen,” wrote his jailer to the Minister of
     Worship, “by my last letters that the uncertainty of the
     pope when he is left to himself goes to the length of
     affecting his reason and his health. At present the mental
     alienation has passed off.”

Still, the bishops sent by Napoleon to Savona were obliged to return
without the pope’s signature to the document of concessions. The
National Council was opened on the 17th of June, in the Cathedral of
Notre Dame, under the nominal presidency of Cardinal Fesch. The
opening discourse was delivered by Mgr. de Boulogne, Bishop of Troyes,
who spoke in eloquent and burning words “of the Supreme Head of the
episcopate, without whom it resembles a branch separated from the tree
and withered, or a vessel tossed by the waves without rudder or

“This see may be removed,” he said, “but it cannot be destroyed. Its
magnificence may be taken away, but never its strength. Wherever this
see shall establish itself it shall draw all others around it.” These
words fell like burning coals in the midst of the assembly and
produced great emotion. The effect had not died away when the Bishop
of Nantes arose to comply with the formality of asking each prelate
whether it pleased him that the council should be opened. “Yes,”
answered the Archbishop of Bordeaux, “saving the obedience due to the
Sovereign Pontiff, to whom I bind myself and whom I swear to obey.”
Then Cardinal Fesch in a loud voice read the oath as prescribed by a
bull of Pius IV.: “I acknowledge the Holy Catholic, Apostolic, and
Roman Church to be the mother and mistress of all other churches; I
promise and swear perfect obedience to the Roman pontiff, the
successor of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and Vicar of Jesus
Christ on earth.” One by one the bishops bound themselves irrevocably
to the cause of Pius VII. Napoleon was furious and berated his uncle
for “getting up one of his scenes.” Two laymen were appointed to be
present in his name at all future meetings of the bishops.

Some of the courtier prelates drew up a fulsome address to Napoleon, a
kind of treatise on state theology, which they presented to the
members of the council for their signature. Mgr. de Broglie, Bishop of
Ghent, declared he would never sign it. Another bishop proposed that
“the liberty of the pope” should be demanded. This was received with a
confused murmur of applause; but Cardinal Fesch, who dreaded the wrath
of his nephew, declared that the time was inopportune for such a
request. Napoleon, unable longer to restrain himself, ordered the
council to put an end to its “idle debates.” He gave the members eight
days to devise an expedient for providing bishops for the vacant sees.
As a sign of his displeasure he refused to receive the council
officially at the Tuileries. The bishops, he said, had “acted as
cowards.” In answer to the demand to find an expedient for providing
bishops for the vacant sees without the confirmation of the pope, the
council declared that it would first be necessary to send a deputation
to consult Pius VII. This declaration was carried by Fesch to his
imperial nephew. He was received with an outburst of anger. Napoleon
would soon show the bishops their place. When the cardinal attempted
to reason with him, he rudely stopped him: “What! theology again!
Where did you learn it? Be quiet; you are an ignoramus.” He threatened
to dissolve the council and organize a system of state religion, but
finally drew up a decree himself, in which he falsely asserted that
the pope had made the desired concessions. The bishops were deceived,
and, with two exceptions, voted in favor of the decree. A little
reflection, however, convinced many of them of the fraud which had
been practised upon them, and they recalled their votes. Suddenly, on
the 11th of July, Napoleon dissolved the council. The following day,
at three o’clock in the morning, Mgr. de Broglie, Mgr. de Boulogne,
and Mgr. Hirn, who had taken a prominent part in opposing the decree,
were arrested in their beds and carried off to the prison of
Vincennes. In August five cardinals and eight bishops, partisans of
the emperor, were sent to Savona to make still another effort to win
over Pius VII. to Napoleon’s plans. The Holy Father, who was so
closely guarded that no one was allowed to see him except his bribed
doctor and the jailer, was in total ignorance of all that had passed
in the National Council. For five months, from September, 1811, to
February, 1812, these cardinals and bishops used every argument and
artifice to induce the pope to sign the decree of the council.

Their efforts were successful. Pius VII., worn out with importunities,
feeble in body and in mind, wrote the brief of adhesion. But Napoleon
was not satisfied. He was already organizing his army for the fatal
Russian campaign, and he wrote to his Minister of Worship the
following instructions: “I send you the original papal brief. Keep it
and communicate its contents to nobody. I wish to find the bishops in
Rome on my return, to see what we can do.… The truth is, the church is
experiencing a crisis.” His victory over Russia was, in his
imagination, already an accomplished fact; he would return the
undisputed sovereign of all Europe, would gather the bishops in Rome,
and would give to the church, as he had given to the state, a _Code

On the 24th of January, 1812, the Holy Father wrote to him in the most
unaffected and simple manner, and begged to be permitted to consult
disinterested counsellors and to have free communication with the
faithful. Napoleon disdained to answer this letter, but sent through
his Minister of Worship the following notification to the deputation
at Savona: “His majesty deems that it is unfitting to his dignity to
answer the letter of the pope.… His majesty pities the ignorance of
the pope, and compassionates a pontiff who could have played so great
a part, but who has become the calamity of the church.… His majesty
understands these matters of ecclesiastical jurisdiction better than
the Holy Father.… If the pope cannot make a distinction which is
simple enough to be grasped by the most uncultivated seminarian, why
does he not voluntarily descend from the papal chair and leave it to a
man who is less feeble in mind and better principled than he?” And
now, just as he was setting out on the Russian campaign, he ordered
that Pius VII. should be transferred from Savona to Fontainebleau.

The Holy Father was unwell, but to this no attention was paid. Just
before reaching the Mont Cenis he fell dangerously ill. The journey
was not interrupted. A bed was fitted up in the carriage and a surgeon
procured, who, with the instruments that might be needed, accompanied
him. When they reached Fontainebleau nothing was prepared, and the
pope had to pass the first night in the porter’s lodge. A _Guide-book
of Paris_, published at this time, informed the French that they
possessed a “papal palace” in their capital. But the end was drawing
near. On the 24th of June, 1812, Napoleon crossed the Niemen at the
head of an army of five hundred thousand men. As he reached the
opposite bank his horse stumbled and fell. His fatalism led him to
consider this a bad omen. The Russians fled before him, and, after the
victories of Smolensk and Borodino, he rode into Moscow on the 15th of
September. It was silent as a desert, and the Kremlin, where he took
up his residence, was like a tomb. At midnight from a hundred quarters
the flames burst forth, and in the lurid light of the burning city the
army began the fatal retreat. The weather, which had been fine,
suddenly grew cold; sleet and snow and rain beat with merciless fury
upon the men, from their benumbed hands their arms fell, and by the
roadside they laid down to die. On the 18th of December Napoleon
arrived, a fugitive, in Paris. In this one campaign he had lost
250,000 men, half of whom had died of cold and hunger.

With the beginning of the year 1813 he wrote to Pius VII. and begged
him to believe that his feelings of respect and veneration were
independent of circumstances. Shortly afterwards he went to visit the
Holy Father at Fontainebleau, and upon their first meeting for eight
years he embraced him with every mark of affection. The health of the
pope was wretched, and advantage was taken of his weak condition to
obtain still further concessions.

Upon the promise of Napoleon to liberate the imprisoned cardinals,
bishops, and priests, Pius VII. signed the Concordat of
Fontainebleau—an act which he almost immediately recalled, and which
he never ceased to regret. When the faithful Pacca, after so long a
separation, was at length admitted to his presence, he expressed his
admiration for the pope’s heroic constancy.

     “But finally,” cried out the Holy Father in anguish, “we
     have sullied our conscience. Those cardinals dragged me to
     the table and made me sign.”

Pius VII. was still held a prisoner, and Napoleon acted as though the
Concordat of Fontainebleau still existed. He appointed bishops,
imprisoned priests, and drafted seminarians to fill up his decimated

The victories of Lutzen and Bautzen were more brilliant than
important. In August, 1813, the Emperor of Austria declared against
his son-in-law. Then came the crushing defeat of Leipsic, and Napoleon
was slowly driven back upon France, closely followed by the allied
armies. Orders were sent to remove Pius VII. from Fontainebleau, and a
few days later the war was raging at the very gates of the palace
which he had so recently occupied. Finally, on the 10th of March,
1814, when all hope was lost, Napoleon signed a decree which restored
his dominions to the pope. Since his removal from Fontainebleau Pius
VII. had been driven about through various parts of France, closely
guarded; but now that he turned his face toward Rome, his journey
assumed the appearance of a triumphal procession, and at length, on
the 24th of May, 1814, the Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, he
re-entered the Holy City amid the universal enthusiasm of his people.
Just one month before, in the palace of Fontainebleau, Napoleon signed
the decree which declared his empire at an end; and, a fallen
sovereign, he passed out in silence through the ranks of the men whom
he had so often led to victory.

In his last meeting with Josephine he took her hand and said:
“Josephine, I have been as fortunate as any man upon earth. But in
this hour, when a storm is gathering over me, I have in the wide world
none but you upon whom I can repose.” And in St. Helena he said to
Caulaincourt: “If I live a hundred years, I shall never forget those
scenes; they are the fixed ideas of my sleepless nights. I have had
enough of sovereignty. I want no more of it; I want no more of it.”

It is not easy to form a just estimate of the character of Napoleon.
We have heard veterans who had fought at Austerlitz and Lutzen declare
that when he rode along the line his glance did so blind the eye that
they could not look upon him; and they thought so. This light of glory
still enshrines his memory and dazzles us, to prevent us from seeing
him as he was. No one has ever doubted his surprising strength; his
almost incredible power to bear labor, whether of body or mind; his
wonderful intellect, which grasped things with equal ease, in general
and in detail; his unequalled ability to organize an army, a nation,
or a continent; his courage, which rose superior to the most crushing

But with these great endowments he had a coarse and selfish nature. He
was as ready to lie as to tell the truth. No act that was expedient
was bad. His ambitious ends sanctified all means by which they could
be attained. Dissimulation, deceit, hypocrisy, betrayal of friends,
imprisonment, murder, assassination, he was ready to use indifferently
as his purposes demanded. Without moral convictions himself, he
believed others equally devoid of them. To assign conscience as a
reason for anything was in his eyes pretence and hypocrisy. The
religious scruples of the pope and cardinals he held to be mere
obstinacy and ill-will. When Pius VII. declared he had not the power
to annul the marriage of Jerome with Miss Patterson, Napoleon saw in
this only a desire to take revenge for the way in which he had been
insulted at the coronation. After having persecuted bishops and
priests, keeping many of them in prison, during his whole reign, he
had the impudence to declare in St. Helena that the priests were all
for him as soon as he allowed them to wear violet-colored stockings.
He was the coarsest reviler and insulted all whom he feared or hated.
The pope and the cardinals were “idiots and fools”; the republicans
were “mad dogs and brigands”; the King of Prussia was “the most
complete fool of all the kings on earth”; the Spanish Bourbons were “a
flock of sheep”; De Broglie, the Bishop of Ghent, was “a reptile”; the
priests who disapproved of the Concordat were “the scum of the earth”;
and of the philosophers he said: “Je les ai comme une vermine sur mes
habits.” His conduct towards women was coarse and contemptuous. They
ought to know nothing and were not fit to have opinions. He told
Madame de Staël to go home and knit her stockings; the greatest woman
was she who had the most children—he wanted soldiers. He did not
conceal his contempt for men. “Every year of my reign,” he said in St.
Helena, “I saw more and more plainly that the harsher the treatment
men received, the greater was their submission and devotion. My
despotism then increased in proportion to my contempt for mankind.”
From 1804 to 1815 he sacrificed to his mad ambition not less than five
millions of men. Several thousand French subjects were shot merely for
desertion. Each principal town had its _place aux fusillades_. The
prisons of France were filled with his victims. A more thorough tyrant
than he never lived. Liberty of all kinds was odious to him. He hated
all whom he could not enslave. To be free was to be his enemy. While
he reigned men spoke with bated breath, the press was fettered, and
the church was in chains. In his own family he was a despot; he gave
his brothers crowns, but only on condition that they would become his
slaves; and when Lucien thought that even royal honors might be bought
at too dear a price, he was forced to leave France.

His jealousy was surpassed only by his vanity. “Go,” said he to his
soldiers, “kill and be killed; the emperor beholds you.”

He had a barbaric love of vulgar display, and this was one of the
passions which impelled him to his bloody wars. No man ever had less
heart. If he loved any one, it was Josephine, and her he sacrificed
without a pang. Remorseless as destiny, which was his god, he trod out
with the iron hoof of war right and life, and where he passed there
was wailing and desolation as after pestilence. In his last illness on
the desolate rock of St. Helena he spoke with reverence and feeling of
religion. From the hands of the priest sent to him by Pius VII. he
received the sacraments of the church. For six years he had held in
cruel confinement Christ’s vicar, the gentlest of men; for six years
he himself pined in living death on the barren island of St. Helena.
It was the 5th of March, 1821, that he died. On the tomb of St. Peter
Pius VII. offered up the divine Sacrifice for the repose of the soul
of Napoleon.

     [75] _The Life of Pope Pius VII._ By Mary H. Allies. London:
          Burns & Oates. 1875.


Mr. Stedman, the author of _The Victorian Poets_, appears to be a
painstaking and conscientious writer. He has read with extraordinary
industry all the poetry of the period to which his criticism is
limited, including not a little which, if he deemed it his duty to
study, it was not worth his while to name. He has brought to this
study a highly, although we think not methodically, cultivated mind
and a retentive memory. He has a remarkable fluency of diction,
bordering occasionally on volubility, and a certain fecundity of
illustration; but his words have at times a vagueness, not to say
inaptness, of application which is not suggestive of clearness or
depth of thought. His work, he will pardon us for thinking, is rather
an “essay in” technical than “philosophical criticism.” He himself
appears to be conscious of this; for he writes in his preface: “If my
criticism seems more technical than is usual in a work of this kind,
it is due, I think, to the fact that the technical refinement of the
period has been so marked as to demand full recognition and analysis.”
Furthermore, he informs us that he “has no theory of poetry”; and we
must own that, in the absence of any theory of poetry, a philosophical
criticism of it seems to us to be out of the question. The qualities
he requires of it “are simplicity and freshness in work of all kinds,
and, as the basis of persistent growth and of greatness in a
masterpiece, simplicity and spontaneity, refined by art, exalted by
imagination, and sustained by intellectual power”; but does he
understand what he means by this? We do not. Are we to understand that
the only inseparable qualities, the only properties, of poetry which
must characterize “work of all kinds”—by which we presume he means
every real poetical production—are simplicity and freshness? What does
he mean by simplicity? what by freshness? Does he refer these
qualities to expression only? If so, what does he mean by “simplicity
not being excluded from the Miltonic canon of poetry”?

In the higher efforts of poetry, he tells us, we must still have
simplicity; but instead of freshness we are there to look for
“spontaneity.” Are, then, “simplicity and spontaneity” the basis of
persistent growth (we must own that even the meaning of this
expression is hidden from us) and of “greatness in a masterpiece”? No;
it must be “simplicity and spontaneity refined by art, exalted by
imagination, and sustained by intellectual power.” But will not the
simplicity, and most assuredly the spontaneity, disappear in the
“artistic refinement”? Still more difficult is the idea of “simplicity
and spontaneity exalted by imagination” being the “basis” of a
poetical “masterpiece.” Poetry is the offspring of the imagination.
Its excellence depends absolutely on the force and vigor of that
intellectual power. There can be no poetry in its absence. And what
other is imagination than intellectual power?

The poetic feeling we believe to be the echo of the soul to God in the
presence of all his works. It is the emotion—really rapture—which
wells up within it at the contemplation of the sensible images in
which he reveals portions of his beauty in every variety and
combination of form, proportion, color, touch, scent, and sound. Let
the poet stand alone by the long margin of the sea on a still summer
day. What but it is that profound emotion of which he is so intensely
conscious as he looks out upon the immense ocean in its still unrest,
which the blue heavens only seem to limit because his power of vision
can reach no further, and when he hears the mellow murmur of the
wavelets as, rearing themselves in graceful curves, they fall in low
whispers along the yellow sands, as if depositing some message from
infinitude, and then rapidly withdraw?

What else is that indefinable transport, resembling, only in an
infinitely inferior degree, the ecstasy of a saint, which holds in
suspense all our faculties as, in the languid heat of summer-tide, we
stand at the foot of craggy heights between which in distant ages some
river has found for itself a channel; and, as we gaze into the
impenetrable shade of the dense thickets which cover their sides, hear
the distant sound of falling waters, and scent the fresh perfume of
the breathing foliage, the river flowing past us at our feet, to be
almost immediately hidden from our view by projecting headlands,
covered, they too, with the living darkness of foliage crowding upon
foliage, trees on trees?

The delightful trance into which the poetic soul is lulled by the
beauty and truth of God speaking through even the least of his works
defies analysis; but we may say of it with some confidence that the
objects that provoke it never weary of their charm. And wherefore?
Because they do not obstruct the instinct of immortality, the yearning
for infinitude, which is a passion within the soul of the poet, but is
wholly absent from no one in whom God’s image is not quite effaced. On
the contrary, their apparent endlessness, their want of boundary and
definite outline, suggest infinitude, and awake the echoes of
immortality from their profoundest depths, and minister to the deep
yearning of the soul for something more lovely than aught of which it
has been hitherto cognizant.

This it is which accounts for the immense superiority of Gothic to
Grecian architecture—a superiority so complete as to elevate it into
quite another sphere of beauty. The pleasure we experience at the
sight of the highest efforts of a Greek architect is almost
exclusively æsthetic, sensible, artistic. It is occasioned by
sharpness of outline, grace of form, beauty of proportion. In these is
the only poetry it can express; which can never, consequently, mount
to sublimity. It can only be beautiful at best. It pleases the sense,
but the soul—of the poet, at all events—soon wearies of them.

But the Gothic cathedral, with its soaring arches interlacing one
another, its many naves, aisles, chapels, and recesses, its endless
wealth of tracery and sculpture, its clustering pinnacles and spires
pointing heavenwards, the deep shadows of its buttresses, and its many
mounting roofs—in short, the utter absence of definiteness of outline,
and its grandeur as well as grace of form and beauty of
proportion—respond, and powerfully, to the soul’s craving for
infinitude, impatience of limitation, and heart-yearning for the
infinitely Beautiful and True.

This poetic sense it is which causes all mere human pleasures so soon
to pall upon us. For it is impossible for the human soul to experience
any save a transient pleasure from aught less than the infinite and
eternal. Life itself is not a pleasure, because we know it is passing
away. If we believed we should be annihilated at death, the pain of
life would be intolerable.

We hold, therefore, that this suggestiveness—which must not be
confused with obscurity, an element antagonistic to poetry—must
underlie every expression of poetry, whatever form it may take. A
didactic poem is a contradiction in terms, although such a production
may abound in poetical passages. It reminds one of the pictures one
sees sometimes in which the painter represents with great accuracy a
melon or grapes, a glass with wine in it, knives and forks, a loaf of
bread, a cheese sometimes, not omitting the maggots, or a lobster
tempts his brush—in short, anything which goes into the human mouth
for bodily sustenance. Ordinary folk gape with wonder at the
cleverness of the imitation; but there is no one so dull as to suppose
that there is in it any of the poetry of art.

The visible creation is the expression of the divine Idea in it. It is
impossible, consequently, that it should not express, in all its
infinitude of forms, modes, color, scent, sound, etc., the truth and
beauty of Him who conceived it. It would be contrary to reason to
suppose that he sent it forth into objective existence as a mere toy
for the amusement of his august creature, as we throw dissolving views
of grotesque figures upon a white surface for the amusement of
children. It was to convey to us intimations of himself, as well as
snatches of his happiness. The spherical form of the unnumbered
worlds; the limited power of our visual organ, which can only see the
beginnings of things; perpetual motion; sound and scent, which fail
not when they are no longer within the reach of our senses; the
revolution, in never-ending cycles, of years, seasons, weeks, and
days; renewed life never failing to come forth from rest and
repose—ay, even from death and corruption; imaginary horizons,
vanishing distances, light prevailing over darkness; the thrill of
awful pleasure with which the created soul of man apprehends this deep
meaning of things—that spiritual instinct to which time is a pain,
eternity a rapture—in all are mirrored, in every variety and form of
grace and loveliness, as well as of unsightliness and horror,
Infinitude, Immortality, God the infinitely lovable, because he is the
infinitely Beautiful and True.

In proportion to the strength of this instinct is the excellence or
inferiority of the poetic gift. From this must it draw all its highest
inspirations. Poetry is, in fact, its advertent expression; and thus
the poet is, like God—only, of course, after a secondary and imitative
fashion—a creator (ποιητὴς). He avails himself of some of the
illimitable wealth of imagery in which God has expressed, or given
objective existence to, his own one but infinitely varied idea, and,
by fresh combinations, throws them into really new forms or creations.
Out of many examples that come to mind—for excellence in this is less
uncommon than in the higher order of poetry, of which the crown and
lord of nature form the material—may be quoted the following creation
of a midsummer noon in the _Earthly Paradise_, by Morris:

  “Within the gardens once again they met,
  That now the roses did well-nigh forget;
  For hot July was drawing to an end,
  And August came the fainting year to mend
  With fruit and grain; so ‘neath the trellises,
  Nigh blossomless, did they lie well at ease,
  And watched the poppies burn across the grass,
  And o’er the bindweed’s bell the brown bee pass,
  Still murmuring of his gains. Windless and bright
  The morn had been, to help their dear delight;
  But heavy clouds, ere noon, grew round the sun,
  And, half-way to the zenith, wild and dun
  The sky grew, and the thunder growled afar;
  But, ere the steely[76] clouds began their war,
  A change there came, and, as by some great hand,
  The clouds that hung in threatening o’er the land
  Were drawn away; then a light wind arose
  That shook the light stems of that flowery close,
  And made men sigh for pleasure.”

This brings us to another, and an important, point in which it is our
misfortune to differ from Mr. Stedman. He regards poetry as an art. He
treats it as such throughout this work; and as such he criticises it.
Hence his criticism is almost exclusively technical; hence, too, it
exhibits frequent inconsistencies. For example, amongst the properties
he assigns to the highest poetry, which we have already quoted, he
places spontaneity. By this term he means, we presume, a freedom from
effort, the unbidden outflow of imagination, not the labored product
of teaching and practice. But this is utterly inapplicable to art,
which supposes instruction, clumsy first efforts, and perfection
acquired only by years of toil. What there is of art in poetry is
limited, or nearly so, to its expression; and even here the less there
is of art, and the more of what Mr. Stedman means by spontaneity, the
loftier and the more genuine the poetry. It is no praise but a
depreciation of Matthew Arnold’s or Tennyson’s poetry to trace the
inspiration of one to Bion and Moschus and of the other to Theocritus.
In good sooth, he does the laureate injustice in the far-fetched
examples of imitation of Theocritus he ascribes to him. It is the
blemish of nearly all our modern poetry that its expression is so
labored, so technical. For this it is that, in the highest poetry,
nearly all who have tried it have failed; none more signally than
Tennyson in _Queen Mary_. One only has succeeded—Sir Aubrey de Vere.
Another—whom, because he has so foully outraged the moral sense of all
mankind, we prefer not to name until he has made reparation, and who,
if he had not cast from him all sense of the beautiful and the true,
might have been perhaps the greatest poet of the age—is as remarkable
for the originality and unstudiedness of his expression as for the
brilliance and fecundity of his imagination.

Mr. Stedman literally limits poetry to expression. In a passage at the
side of which is the marginal index, “What constitutes a poet,” he
writes: “Again, the grammarian’s statement is true, that poetry is a
means of expression. A poet may differ from other men in having
profounder emotions and clearer perceptions; but this is not for him
to assume, nor a claim which they are swift to grant. The lines,

  “Oh! many are the poets that are sown
  By nature—men endowed with highest gifts,
  The vision and the faculty divine,
  Yet wanting the accomplishment of verse,”

imply that the recognized poet is one who gives voice, in expressive
language, to the common thought and feeling which lie deeper than
ordinary speech. He is the interpreter; moreover, he is the maker—an
artist of the beautiful, the inventor of harmonious numbers which
shall be a lure and a repose.”

It is clear from this unintelligible and self-contradicting passage
that the writer has no theory of poetry. Yet in it he makes a very
definite attempt to sketch such theory, although he before told us
that he has none. What he means by it being “a grammarian’s statement”
that “poetry is a means of expression” we know not. Had he asserted
that poetry is the poet’s means of expression, we could have
understood him without agreeing with him; but he identifies poetry
with its expression. Say they must co-exist; but they are not
identical. There is not a human soul without a body, nor a leaf
without the sap of the tree; but great confusion would ensue from
identifying the one with the other. He goes, however, even further
than this. It seems to be his idea that no one can be a poet who does
not write poetry. It is true he uses the term “recognized,” but he
goes on to describe the poet as “an artist of the beautiful, the
inventor of harmonious numbers.” But it is not necessary, for any one
to be a poet, that he should be recognized as such. There are those
who “want the acomplishment of verse” through the very intensity of
the poetic gift. Their intuitions are so profound that language sinks
under the task of conveying them; expression is overwhelmed. People
never write more feebly than when under the influence of strong
emotion. For this reason it is, too, that poetry may sometimes be
improved by the travail of art, the less, however, in proportion to
the inspiration of the poet. There are those, pre-eminently Shakspere,
in whom the expression is nearly as inspired as the poetry.

  Ingenium miserâ fortunatius arte
  Credit, et excludit sanos Helicone Poëtas

In more than one passage Mr. Stedman approaches the truth about
poetry, as when he says that “poets differ from other men in having
profounder emotions and clearer perceptions”; and again when he
writes: “Certain effects are suggested by nature; the poet discovers
new combinations within the ground which these afford.” If for
“effects” had been substituted “conceptions of the beautiful,” it
would have been very near a sufficiently accurate description of the
creative power of the poet; but he is hampered by his identification
of poetry with its expression, and so, even here, substitutes
“effects”—which really has no meaning in the context—for ideas. Poetry
is the intuition of the Beautiful and True as expressed in nature and
in man, not an analysis of its causes and effects. Not the least
inspired of modern poets, Rossetti, has very exquisitely sung this
theory of poetry in a sonnet on “St. Luke the Painter”:

  “Scarcely at once she [Art] dared to rend the mist
  Of devious symbols: but soon having wist
    How sky-breadth and field-silence and this day
    Are symbols also in some deeper way,
  She looked through these to God, and was God’s priest.”

The fault of almost all the modern English poets is that they are too
artistic. Certainly their poetry cannot be blamed as _carmen quod non_.

  Multa dies et multa litura coercuit, atque
  Perfectum decies non castigavit ad unguem.

But it makes too much display of labor. We admire its artistic skill,
and that is its principal attraction. We feel that it is not nature
which is hymning amidst so much art. The result of such obvious effort
betrays the handicraft of the artisan rather than the inspiration of
the poet. It is the Versailles fountains instead of Niagara. It cannot
be too much insisted on that poetry is not one of the fine arts. The
greater number of modern English poets, however, treat it as such, as
much as is possible with only the imagery of words for their material.
They are disciples rather of Horace than of Democritus. There is
plenty of _labor_ and _litura_, and of verse _perfectum decies ad
unguem_; of _ingenium miserâ fortunatius arte_ but little. They
surpass in mountain-labor the forgotten Lucilius, who _in versu
faciendo sæpe caput scabunt, vivos et rodunt ungues_; but they have
too little of “the sacred madness of the bards” for admission into
Helicon. The reason is not far to seek. We notice a similar phenomenon
in Greece when religious belief was forced to retire before scepticism
and the prating sophists. To the sceptical temper of the age is
undoubtedly owing the labor devoted to expression, which has done all
it could to reduce poetry to an art. It has also occasioned a certain
subjectivity, if we may use the word—a painful mental analysis—which
is fatal to poetry.

Robert Browning is the greatest offender in this regard. So painfully
intense, in truth, is his introspection that he pays far less
attention to expression than his contemporaries. Cut off from the
divine suggestiveness of nature by his hard materialism, he does
nothing but think; and thinking poetically rather than syllogistically
is an unamalgamation. Thought and expression are alike confused,
rugged, and difficult. The reader, without even melody of rhythm to
help him on, stumbles and gropes through intricate sentences,
parentheses in parentheses, a startling image here and there; anon a
whirring flight of poetry, or what resembles it; but the wings soon
droop, and the poet is on the earth again, or lower than the
earth—anywhere but soaring heavenwards. He has in him the making of a
poet. Had he the Catholic faith, his imagination would carry him to
great heights and keep him there. He might have soared nigh to
Shakspere. His talent is dramatic—which is to say, his poetic gift is
of the highest order; but nature has no divine suggestiveness to him,
the hollow shell whispers no eternity in his dull ear; for him man has
no end, events no purpose; and inasmuch as man has a definite end, and
a sublime one, to which events definitely contribute, he is not able
to create men and women, a destiny, or destinies, in any of which
should there be a living verisimilitude. A plot in which men, women,
and children talk and act as men, women, and children do talk and act
is out of his reach. His highest effort is the dramatic poem, in
which, however, occur at times passages of great dramatic power,
showing what he could have done had he not been a heathen.

Mr. Tennyson has been the subject of various articles in THE CATHOLIC
WORLD; but so markedly does he contrast with Browning, and so
noteworthy is the different bias given to the poetry of each by the
materialistic spirit of the age, that we cannot afford to pass him by
here in complete silence.

We may look in vain in the poetry of the laureate for passages of
dramatic force such as now and then light up the creaking, groaning
poetry of Browning; but he never grovels, as the latter does very
often indeed.

Tennyson has strong sympathy with the one faith, and, as one may
think, a kind of supernatural bias in its favor, or he too, like the
author of _Paracelsus_ and _Bishop Blosegram’s Apology_, might have
used his poetry as a fantastic costume for crude psychological
problems and for the mind-darkness of doubt. The distinguishing
characteristic of his poetry is the exquisitely artistic finish of its
expression. Every line shows signs of careful toil. His genius has
been without doubt hampered by it. He is more artist than poet; and,
as though conscious of this, he seems to claim inspiration by an
affectation of oracular obscurity. Yet not unseldom the refined
simplicity of word and phrase, the grace of imagery, and all the
artistic brilliance of choicest ornament express poetry, although
never of a very high order. An elegiac poem such as _In Memoriam_, of
nearly seven hundred quatrains, however beautiful in expression, has
“unreal” on the face of it; and that is fatal to its pretensions as a
poem. Yet are there indications here and there of true poetic feeling.

Painful is it, and not without shame, to have a difference with all
the world of criticism. But if we have reason, our fellow-critics will
not disdain us; and if we have not, we throw the blame on our theory
of poetry. But there is a modern poet—Rossetti—whom, on the whole, we
must place on a higher pedestal than Tennyson. With an equal
simplicity of word and phrase, a refinement of expression not
inferior, he has the art, if it be the result of art, to conceal his
art. It is true he has all the artistic finish of Tennyson—so much so
that we cannot but feel that it is an artist who is singing to us; but
the artist disappears in the poet. We must disenchant ourselves of the
thrall of his poetry before we can criticise the artistic perfectness
of its expression. It is not only that, as Tennyson, he paints scenes
of nature and human doings with consummate art; but, true poet that he
is, he catches the very life of nature and it throbs within his verse.
His soul echoes to the Beautiful and the True imaged in nature through
all her modes and forms of color, scent, and sound; he reads their
meaning; and when he reproduces them, as Mr. Stedman has it, “in
different combinations,” they are as suggestive of those ideas of God
as the very images of nature herself. Take, for example, the eleventh
song in _The House of Life—The Sea Limits_:

  “Consider the sea’s listless chime:
     Time’s self it is made audible—
     The murmur of the earth’s own shell.
   Secret continuance sublime
     Is the sea’s end: our sight may pass
     No furlong further. Since time was
   This sound hath told the lapse of time.

  “No quiet, which is death’s—it hath
     The mournfulness of ancient life
     Enduring always at dull strife.
   As the world’s heart of rest and wrath
     Its painful pulse is in the sands
     Lost utterly, the whole sky stands,
   Gray and not known, along its path.

  “Listen alone beside the sea,
     Listen alone among the woods;
     Those voices of twin solitudes
   Shall have one sound alike to thee.
     Hark where the murmurs of thronged men
     Surge and sink back and surge again—
   Still the one voice of wave and tree.

  “Gather a shell from the strown beach
     And listen at its lips: they sigh
     The same desire and mystery,
   The echo of the whole sea’s speech.
     And all mankind is thus at heart
     Not anything but what thou art:
   And earth, sea, man, are all in each.”

This is poetry of the loftiest kind.

We cannot forbear quoting one more example of his “quality.” It is
poetry which reaches near to Shakspere. “The poet of the world”
himself might have thus grandly imaged lust—with more nervous
terseness, may be; but the structure of dramatic numbers exacts that,
and we do not yet know that Mr. Rossetti is not equal to the drama.

  “Like a toad within a stone
   Seated while time crumbles on;
   Which sits there since the earth was cursed
   For man’s transgression at the first;
   Which, living through all centuries,
   Not once has seen the sun arise;
   Whose life, to its cold circle charmed,
   The earth’s whole summers have not warmed;
   Which always, whitherso the stone
   Be flung, sits there, deaf, blind, alone—
   Ay, and shall not be driven out
   Till that which shuts him round about
   Break at the very Master’s stroke,
   And the dust thereof vanish as smoke,
   And the seed of man vanish as dust:
   Even so within this world is lust.”

Thus much we have quoted in support of a criticism which will not be
readily assented to by all. Our space does not admit of our quoting
more. But we refer the reader to _The Blessed Damozel_ as a gem not to
be outshone; and, for dramatic power joined to the loftiest poetry, to
_A Last Confession_.

Next after Rossetti, if at all after, comes William Morris. In the
form and sound and bias of their numbers there is a close resemblance.
The imaginings of the latter flow more profusely, perhaps because he
does not tarry to spend so much care upon his art. Indeed, whilst the
_art_ of Rossetti is faultless in its way, a seldom blemish, like a
minute blur in a diamond of the best water, may be detected in that of
Morris, as the word “now” thrice in three successive quatrains, the
word “golden” in five successive lines, in a scene, of almost tragic
pathos, of _Sir Galahad, a Christmas Mystery_—the finest music he has
smitten from the chords of no feeble instrument:

  “Why not, O _twisting_ knight, now he is dead?”

But amidst so much finish and faultlessness slight fallibilities like
these are, as it were, a relief. The truth is, the artistic spirit in
both, which (and no wonder) is all enamored of mediæval art—art in
those ages of faith when she appeared in forms of beauty as sublime as
faultless—is too forgetful of the living, breathing, moving present.
That they should drink in inspirations of the Beautiful and the True
from the forms in which that most poetic age embodied them, is well;
but the art—the poetic expression—was _natural_ to that epoch; it is
not natural to this. If this is made too conspicuous, as we think it
is in both these poets, there is a risk of mannerism; and mannerism is
an artistic blemish. The attempt to entice men away from the turbid
and muddy torrent of sounding hap-hazard words, which, setting in from
Johnson and Gibbon, has swollen into an inundation of all but sheer
nonsense from the babbling tributaries of the cheap press, to the
nervous grace of simple words and simple sentences and the suggestive
imagery of pure nature, is a service to letters as well as art, for
which alone they and Tennyson, and all the poets of that school,
deserve to be crowned. But aught by which so profoundly artistic a
renaissance is needlessly dissociated from the present should have
been carefully eschewed. In the matter of words we do not think that
such as “japes,” “dromond,” “whatso,” the substitution of the ending
“head” for “hood” in words for which universal custom has decreed the
former, and so on, are a needed revival of the obsolete. We think,
too, that simplicity of grammatical construction has been pushed to
the verge of affectation. Still, it is so artistically done, is so
beautiful in itself, and evidences such a return of leal homage from
hideousness to the rightful Beautiful and the True, that it goes
against us to complain.

It is time that the appointment of a poet-laureate should cease in
England. It is an anachronism. It is almost an insult to the world of
letters. These are not times in which people are likely to accept the
criticism of the British crown or of the crown’s advisers as decisive
of a poet’s merits. So, too, there is such a dearth of independent,
trustworthy criticism, it has become such a follow-the-leader kind of
business, that if the crown merely caps the opinion of the
contemporary public, there is every chance of the wrong man being put
in the wrong place. At any rate the appointment should not be limited
to one. There should be “power to add to their number.” We have no
hesitation in assigning a higher niche to either Rossetti or Morris
than to Tennyson. In two respects Morris surpasses Rossetti. We have
as yet from the latter no sustained efforts such as _The Earthly
Paradise_ of the former, and the poetic fire appears to be kindled in
him with less effort. We are quite sure that it is in no spirit of
challenge or rivalry that he takes Tennyson’s very own theme in _The
Defence of Guenevere_, _King Arthur’s Tomb_, _Sir Galahad_, _a
Christmas Mystery_, and _The Chapel in Lyoness_; but it is an
involuntary expression of conscious power. In all the _Idyls of the
King_ there is not a passage of such vivid poetry as the following in
_The Defence of Guenevere_:

  “‘All I have said is truth, by Christ’s dear tears.’
   She would not speak another word, but stood
   Turned sideways, listening like a man who hears

  “His brother’s trumpet sounding through the wood
   Of his foe’s lances. She leaned eagerly,
   And gave a slight spring sometimes, as she could

  “At last hear something really; joyfully
   Her cheek grew crimson, as the headlong speed
   Of the roan charger drew all men to see.
   The knight who came was Launcelot at good need.”

The poetry of the _Idyls_, glittering and charming as it may be, is
cold and pulseless by the side of _King Arthur’s Tomb_, a poem which
rises to the utmost height of tragic pathos. The description of the
remorse of Guenevere for merely ideas of disloyalty to her kingly
husband which she had permitted herself to entertain, as well as of
the satisfaction she made, is poetry in its noblest form, short of the
drama. But we should never meet throughout all the poetry of Tennyson
such blemishes as those we have already quoted, nor such as

                        “I tell myself a tale
  That will not last beyond the whitewashed wall”

—an image which is beneath the dignity of poetry, whilst it rather
dulls than quickens our idea of the fleeting nature of his tale; or

                      “… till the bell
  Of her mouth on my cheek sent a delight
  Through all my ways of being.…”

But for a poetry so lofty and so inspiring we can well afford to pay
the penalty of a few blemishes.

We think that he shares with Tennyson, to a certain extent, the fault
of obscurity—never, as Tennyson, in single passages, but in the design
and end of entire pieces. We cannot suppose, for example, that he has
not a definite end and purpose in _The Earthly Paradise_; but it is an
immense defect that it must be very carefully studied in order even to
conjecture one; that it does not readily occur, and still more that,
study it as one may, he cannot feel quite sure he has conjectured
rightly. And we feel this very serious defect the more keenly because
in several of the separate portions of that poem we are afraid to
trust ourselves implicitly to the poet; we dare not throw ourselves
into his imagination, fearful whither it is to bear us. This is
specially remarkable in _Cupid_ _and Psyche_. The subject startles us
from the first. Gods and goddesses whose memory only remains as the
long-passed-away images of falsehood instead of the Beautiful and the
True, especially sensuous impersonations of impurity, are a subject
which is calculated to scare rather than attract us. But we gain
confidence as we read on. Had Byron sung of it, we should have
luscious and sensuous imagery of base suggestiveness. Had it been the
theme of a living poet, we should have had shameless obscenity. Our
poet transfigures it into purity itself. Not an unchaste image shocks
the soul. The whole subject is etherealized—we would say, if we felt
quite sure of its purpose, even spiritualized. As we interpret it, the
heathen myth, although used without stint, is, by the inimitable
genius of the poet, stripped of all impure suggestiveness, and is even
made a vehicle of exquisite beautifulness for conveying one of the
most touching revelations of the great poem of humanity. Psyche (the
soul) is represented to us undergoing by the power of divine love all
sorrow, overcoming superhuman difficulties, succored always, when hope
was well-nigh gone, by guardian angels, until,

  “Led by the hand of Love, she took her way
   Unto a vale beset with heavenly trees,
   Where all the gathered gods and goddesses
   Abode her coming; but when Psyche saw
   The Father’s face, she, fainting with her awe,
   Had fallen, but that Love’s arm held her up.

  “Then brought the cup-bearer a golden cup
   And gently set it in her slender hand,
   And while in dread and wonder she did stand
   The Father’s awful voice smote on her ear:
  ‘Drink now, O beautiful! and have no fear;
   For with this draught shalt thou be born again,
   And live for ever free from care and pain.’

  “Then, pale as privet, took she heart to drink,
   And therewithal most strange new thoughts did think,
   And unknown feelings seized her, and there came
   Sudden remembrance, vivid as a flame,
   Of everything that she had done on earth,
   Although it all seemed changed in weight and worth,

  “Small things becoming great, and great things small;
   And godlike pity touched her therewithal
   For her old self, for sons of men that die;
   And that sweet new-born immortality
   Now with full love her rested spirit fed.
   Then in that concourse did she lift her head,
   And stood at last a very goddess there,
   And all cried out at seeing her grown so fair.”

This is the inspiration of true poetry. Nothing at all approaching it
can be found throughout the poetry of Tennyson.

In contrast to the soul led by divine love, the poet depicts her
sisters devoured by envy and hatred, until, deceiving themselves the
while with the dream that they too were objects of delight to divine
love, the one having reached “the bare cliff’s rugged brow,” her end
of life,

  “She cried aloud, ‘O Love! receive me now,
   Who am not all unworthy to be thine.’
   And with that word her jewelled arms did shine
   Outstretched beneath the moon, and with one breath
   She sprang to meet the outstretched arms of Death,
   The only god that waited for her there,
   And in a gathered moment of despair
   A hideous thing her trait’rous life did seem”;

and the other

  “… rose, and, as she might,
   Arrayed herself alone in that still night,
   And so stole forth, and, making no delay,
   Came to the rock a-nigh the dawn of day;
   No warning there her sister’s spirit gave,
   No doubt came nigh her the doomed soul to save,
   But with a fever burning in her blood,
   With glittering eyes and crimson cheeks, she stood
   One moment on the brow, the while she cried,
  ‘Receive me, Love, chosen to be thy bride
   From all the million women of the world!’
   Then o’er the cliff her wicked limbs were hurled,
   Nor has the language of the earth a name
   For that surprise of terror and of shame.”

Can anything be grander than this imaged suicide of the evil human
soul? And the glowing description of Psyche content to forget her
father and her father’s house, and finding the fondest delight in
sequestering herself alone with her divine Lover, whom she never sees,
only whose voice she hears, is the most exquisite piece of poetic
imagining to be met with anywhere. But the poem deserves a criticism
to itself.

We have here to pause. We had hoped to apply similar canons of
criticism to others of our modern poets. We had selected Buchanan,
Adelaide Procter, Matthew Arnold, Aubrey de Vere, and especially his
father, whose mantle has descended on him. Sir Aubrey de Vere is the
only one of the modern poets who has written a poem belonging to the
highest order of poetry—_Mary Tudor_, a historical drama—which,
although at a long distance from the dramas of “the poet of the
world,” is the nearest to them that has been written since his day.

     [76]  This epithet, to our mind, is a blemish in a very
           beautiful creation. In the midst of lofty and
           suggestive natural imagery it abruptly sinks us to a
           vulgar matter-of-fact struggle of men at fisticuffs
           armed in the product of the blacksmith’s shop.


“_No word shall be impossible with God._”

   O blessed bells! ring joyfully to-day;
     O incense clouds! float gladly up to heaven;
     All glory, honor, power, and praise be given
   To Him whom earth and sea and sky obey.
   Behold, the conqueror doth assert his sway
     Here where men once would fain have died unshriven,
     Proclaimed the Holy Faith unholy leaven,
   And drove its followers out as Satan’s prey.
   But now, beneath a great cathedral’s dome,
     The Sacred Heart doth beat, and men adore;
   Our Lord hath found at last a glorious home,
   In spite of unbelief that rages still.
    “Thy kingdom come,” pray we as ne’er before,
   Whose eyes have seen his power to work his will.

MARCH, 1876.




“This is very singular!” cried Sir Roger Lassels, master of the earl’s
household, as they passed the edge of the wood. “I had made a bet with
myself that we would follow the road on the bank of the river. At all
events, the expedition will not be a very long one, since they have
given me no order for provisions. It is true, however, that our poor
young lord’s head is not as sound as it might be. Ah! well, in the
time of the late duke things were not managed in this fashion. When
they were going into the country, the duke would send for me eight
days in advance. ‘Lassels,’ he would say—‘my dear Lassels,’ slapping
me on the shoulder, ‘above all take great care that we shall want for
nothing. Prepare everything in advance; because in matters of cooking,
you know, I hate nothing so much as the uncertainty of the ‘fortune of
the pot.’ He was right, very right, was the duke. The duchess used
always to say on seeing our wagons passing by: ‘With Roger Lassels
they carry everything with them.’”

In the meantime the first rays of the sun were not slow in dissipating
the heavy mists of morning; the air became pure and exhilarating, and
the northern pines, which grew in great profusion in that portion of
the forest, imparted to the atmosphere a sweet, pungent odor. Myriads
of dewdrops, more brilliant than diamonds, were suspended from the
points of the leaves, which the slightest breath of air was sufficient
to call down in a laughing shower. Creeping vines, thickly laden with
blossoms, crossed and recrossed the road, almost hidden by the thick
verdure with which it was overgrown. The birds saluted the return of
day with a thousand joyous songs; the deer and young fawns bounded
beneath the heavy shade of the forest. All nature wore an air of
majestic beauty, calm and tranquil; the heart of man is alone found to
remain always in a state of agitation and unrest.

“Oh! what a beautiful shot,” cried a voice from the crowd, on seeing a
large grouse, its wings dripping with the dew, flying slowly above
their heads.

“Take it, then!” cried another.

“For what purpose?” exclaimed Northumberland.

Sir Walsh, hearing the voice of Lord Percy, took advantage of that
moment to urge his horse beside him, and declare the pain it caused
him to see his friend so deeply depressed.

“What could you expect?” replied Percy. “All is ended with me. I have
renounced everything. I am detached from everything earthly. A single
moment has dissipated all the illusions of my short and miserable
life—illusions in which so many others remain for ever enveloped. I
believed that henceforth a word would be sufficient to answer my every
thought; to suffer alone, while awaiting death, which is only the
beginning of life. Might I not thus believe myself to be almost
shielded by evils, since I was determined to endure them all? One evil
only I had not foreseen—that of being made the cause of suffering to
others; of becoming, in the hands of an unjust and barbarous ruler, an
instrument destined to destroy my friends! Ah! it is this that makes
me rebel, that bows me to the earth and surpasses everything that I
have yet been made to suffer. I go at this moment to arrest the
Archbishop of York—to conduct him, doubtless, on the road to
execution; and the day will come when those who loved him will
exclaim, while they point the finger of scorn at my abode: ‘There
lives the man who arrested the great Wolsey, the venerable friend who
had reared and educated him in his own house!’”

“The great Wolsey!” replied Walsh, astonished.

“Yes, _great_,” said Northumberland. “When he will be no more, then
will they forget his faults and appreciate his great qualities. He has
known how to keep the lion chained, so that you have only seen him
lap; but you will know him better if he ever gets the chance to use
his teeth.”

“Who is this lion?” asked Walsh.

“I cannot name his name,” replied Northumberland angrily; “he is one
whose claws tear the heart and destroy the innocent; one who is—But
never mind!” And he abruptly ceased speaking.

After riding for some time through the forest, they at last emerged
into a vast plain, in the midst of which appeared several villages;
and very soon they found themselves near a church, whose ringing
chimes announced the beginning of the divine Office.

“Ah!” said Sir Roger Lassels to himself, “there is to be Mass at the
chapel of Sir William Harrington.”

At that moment the Earl of Northumberland turned to Sir Walsh. “If
agreeable to you,” he said, “we will stop and hear Mass. We shall, at
any rate, arrive soon enough at Cawood. You will have an opportunity,
if you are curious, of visiting the monuments Sir William Harrington
has had erected to the memory of his parents in this chapel, founded
by him in order that prayers may every day be offered for the repose
of their souls.”[77]

“I ask nothing better,” replied Sir Walsh.

They all entered the chapel, where Mass had already begun. A great
number of the inhabitants of the surrounding country were assembled,
and Lord Percy found himself close beside a woman, still very young,
but whose features seemed to have been entirely changed by misery and
suffering. Two small children knelt beside her and held to her coarse,
black woollen gown.

“Mother, I am very hungry yet!” said the eldest in a voice as sweet as
that of a young dove. “Brother has eaten up all the bread.” And he
laid his head against her shoulder.

The young woman looked at the child, and her eyes filled with tears.

“My dear child,” she replied in a low, choking voice, “I have nothing
more to give you; this evening, may be, I shall find something to buy
bread with. If your father were living, we would be very happy; but,
my son, a poor widow is cast off by all the world, even though she is
too feeble to work for bread for her children.”

Tears streamed from her eyes as she pressed the starving child close
to her bosom.

Northumberland listened to the woman’s mournful complaint, observing
especially that she did not murmur; she only wept. The expression of
her pale and suffering face, as well as the feeling she had expressed
of entire abandonment, filled his soul with pity.

“Such as these,” he said to himself—“such as these indeed have a right
to complain of life and its miseries. I have ignored them. Shut up in
my castle, I have even forgotten the orphan. Of no possible service to
my kind, the earth supports me like an arid, sterile plant. Cruel
selfishness! Is it, then, essential for all to smile around me before
I can think of those who are crushed by poverty and misfortune? My
tears, my sighs, my regrets, have all been in vain, have vanished into
thin air; there remains for me nothing but duty to my neighbor, and
that I have not done!”

Greatly agitated, he remained for an instant motionless, then, leaning
over toward the woman, he requested her to leave the chapel for a

Surprised that any one should think of speaking to her, she raised her
eyes, all streaming with tears, to his face, while astonishment was
painted on her emaciated features.

She arose, however, and followed him out, and they stopped a short
distance from the chapel.

“You weep!” said Northumberland compassionately. “You are a widow, it
seems. Are you not able to support your children?”

“Alas! sir,” replied the young woman without hesitation, “my husband
died in a strange land while on a voyage which would have secured us a
living; and I, a stranger in this country where he has left me, and
where I have no relations, no friends, to assist me, have been brought
down to extreme poverty. My work has scarcely sufficed to keep us
alive, and to-day it has failed entirely.”

“Poor woman!” said Northumberland, putting some pieces of gold in her
hand, “hereafter have no fears; I will take care of you and your young

“My God!” cried the woman, falling on her knees—“bread, bread for my
children! Are you an angel sent from heaven to save us? O sir! who
will thank you for me? Ah! it shall be my poor children and your own!
May they love and bless you as I do this moment.”

“Alas!” replied Lord Percy, “I have no children; I shall never have
any! But you, poor mother, can at least rejoice in the happiness of
possessing children to love and cherish you.”

In spite of the painful recollections awakened in his soul, when Percy
returned to the chapel his heart was overflowing with a secret and
sweet consolation; he felt that henceforth he would find brothers and
friends in these unfortunates, whose father he would replace by taking
upon himself their support.

When the Mass was ended, they all remounted their horses to continue
their journey. They had scarcely started when they were joined by a
troop of horsemen as numerous as it was brilliant, being composed of a
great number of the most distinguished gentlemen in the province, who
were proceeding to York to assist at the installation of their
archbishop. At their head rode old Robert Ughtred, chief of one of the
oldest Yorkshire families, whose valor and merit had been admired by
all his contemporaries. Six of his sons accompanied him. At his side
rode Clifton, Lord d’Humanby, his friend and relative; Thomas
Wentworth, of Nettlestead; Sir Arthur Ingram de Temple, Lord of
Newsam; Walter Vavassour; John de Hothum, Lord of Cramwick and of
Bierly; William Aytoun, Swillington; Meynill, Lord of Semer and
Duerteton, together with a crowd of others. They recognized with
astonishment the Earl of Northumberland, and eagerly approached to
salute him.

This meeting, but little agreeable at first, became still less so when
informed of the object of their journey. Percy, however, deemed it
inexpedient to let this opportunity pass of creating for himself a
sort of justification for the future. On being told, therefore, that
they would spend two days at the little village of Cawood before going
to salute the archbishop, he assured them he would be most happy to do
the same and not separate from their company; but he was forced to go
where he had been ordered, and that it was a mission on which he
proceeded with the greatest reluctance and sorrow.

The travellers, astonished at his singular explanation, looked
inquiringly at each other; but as they regarded the Earl of
Northumberland with great deference because of his rank, his
well-known worth, and the affection they cherished for the memory of
his father, they held their peace, and continued their journey until
within a very short distance of Cawood.

      *     *     *     *     *

Notwithstanding the resolution taken by Cardinal Wolsey that the
ceremony of his installation should be attended by the least possible
_éclat_, he could not prevent the entire nobility of the province from
assembling to do him honor and to express on this solemn occasion
their affection and joy. The little village of Cawood and the castles
around it were crowded with visitors. The archbishop’s courtyard was
constantly filled with carts laden with game, fruits, and all kinds of
provisions, sent to him from every direction to assist in doing honor
to the entertainment it was customary to give on these occasions.

Wolsey felt touched to the heart by these testimonials of friendship
and esteem, in which there was no reason to suspect that self-interest
mingled its destructive poison. Nevertheless, he felt more than ever
depressed, and his spirit was overshadowed by dark and terrible
presentiments, in spite of all his efforts to dispel them.

It was the hour for the repast taken by our fathers at noon, and
Wolsey found himself seated opposite the salt-cellar which divided the
table, and served also to designate the rank of the guests. In those
remote times a common expression prevailed: “It takes place above or
below the salt.”

The chaplains were seated around him, quietly discussing the
foundation of the cathedral of York. Some of them stated that the
Venerable Bede alleged in his writings that it was Edwin the Saxon,
King of Northumberland, who, having embraced the Christian faith in
the year 627, was the first to build a wooden church, which he
afterwards rebuilt of stone. But the others contended, the monument
having been pillaged and devastated by the Danes, then burned by the
Normans, together with a portion of the city, the title of founder
could only be accorded to Archbishop Roger, who commenced the erection
of the superb edifice in 1171, and to his successors, John of Romagna
and William of Melton, who had the honor of completing it after forty
years’ labor. They insisted that it would assuredly be just to include
among them Robert Percy, Lord of Bolton, who had all the wood cut
employed in the construction, and Robert Vavassour, who had furnished
the stone.

The archbishop for a long while had finished eating. He had listened
patiently to their lengthy discussions. When he saw at last they had
nearly concluded, he arose to say grace; but at the moment they were
standing with bowed heads awaiting the act of thanksgiving, the black
velvet robe of Dr. Augustine, his physician, became entangled in the
foot of the large silver cross that was carried before the archbishop.
This cross was standing in one corner, resting against the tapestry,
and the robe made it fall with its entire weight on the head of Dr.
Bonner, who sat on the opposite side of the table. He uttered a
piercing cry.

They all rushed toward him.

“What is the matter with him?” demanded the archbishop, who had seen
nothing of the accident.

“The cross,” explained Cavendish, his master of the horse—“the cross,
which was leaning against the wall, has fallen in Dr. Bonner’s face.”

“In his face! Is he bleeding?” cried Wolsey.

“Yes,” replied several of those who surrounded the wounded man, “but
it is nothing serious; the skin only is broken.”

“Ah!” said Wolsey, and he stood motionless; his head sank on his
breast, as though he had suddenly fallen into a profound reverie.

“Woe is me!” he at length exclaimed, “woe is me!” And the tears
coursed down his cheeks. He quickly wiped them away and retired
immediately to his bedroom, where no one dared follow him without
being summoned.

The attendants of the cardinal, however, were extremely apprehensive,
having remarked the sudden change in his manner and the extreme pallor
which had overspread his countenance. Dr. Bonner especially earnestly
insisted that Cavendish should go to him at once.

He finally resolved to do so. On entering the apartment he found the
archbishop on his knees, and remarked that the floor of his chamber
was wet with tears.

Wolsey made a sign for him to retire; but the faithful servitor stood
near the door and hesitated to obey him. The cardinal then called him
to assist him in rising to his feet, feeling, he said, extremely

“Alas! my dear lord,” said Cavendish, “what is it that so deeply
grieves you? and why will you withdraw from your trusty servitors, if
it is in their power to assist you?”

“I thank you, Cavendish,” replied the cardinal, inclining his head,
“but listen to me. My poor friend, I am going to die very soon—I have
a presentiment of it; and God, in his mercy, often sends us these
warnings, in order that we may not be surprised by death. The cross of
York has fallen: it represents myself.”

“Why think you so?” asked Cavendish earnestly. “This cross fell
because it was struck; nothing could have been more natural than such
an accident.”

“No! no!” exclaimed Wolsey, “it was not at all natural, but it is only
too true. York is overthrown! Augustine is my accuser; he makes my own
blood flow in making Bonner bleed, the master of my faculties and
spiritual jurisdiction. My destiny is accomplished. My doom is sealed.
Cavendish, if you doubt it, you will soon be convinced. My shadow, the
sound of my name alone, is sufficient to alarm them; already I am no
more, and yet this remnant of life makes them tremble, even in the
midst of their triumphs. It is necessary for their peace that my last
breath be extinguished; they have resolved and they will accomplish

“No! no!” cried Cavendish, deeply moved. “The king loves you; he will
defend you! All love you,” he continued warmly. “See with what
eagerness they hasten hither to give you the most earnest assurances
of their devotion.”

“That is true,” replied Wolsey, who was becoming more calm, and was
greatly relieved by the presence of Cavendish. “It is the only feeling
of joy I have experienced in a long time; but I am grieved not to have
received any token of remembrance from the young Earl of
Northumberland. His intellect, goodness, and his many amiable
qualities have always made me regard him with the greatest esteem and
affection. They say he loves solitude, and I am well assured that he
receives no visitors; but I very much fear he cherishes bitter
recollections of the court and Anne Boleyn. However, he should not
take it ill that I have helped to prevent him from marrying such a

Whilst Wolsey was speaking a great noise was heard in the courtyard.
Cavendish, at the cardinal’s request, immediately went out to
ascertain the cause.

He had advanced but a few steps when he encountered another equerry,
coming in all haste to announce the arrival of the Earl of

Overjoyed at hearing the name, Cavendish at once returned to inform
the archbishop.

“Here is Lord Percy himself, who also comes to congratulate your
grace!” he exclaimed the instant he came in sight of Wolsey.

“The dear child!” cried the cardinal, his heart overflowing with a
gush of tenderness. “Cavendish, you are not mistaken. Eh? Ah! I shall
never forget him! Let us go and receive him, Cavendish.”

He advanced with a tottering step, and more rapidly than he was able,
toward the staircase which Northumberland had just ascended. On seeing
the archbishop approaching to meet him Lord Percy felt his heart
suddenly throb with a sensation of inexpressible wretchedness.

“He comes to meet me!” he exclaimed.

He found him so much changed, so old and worn, that without his
vestments he would scarcely have recognized him.

“He also has found the cup of life embittered!” said Northumberland.
“Sorrow carves deep furrows on the brow, and with her haggard finger
impresses every feature.”

He turned anxiously to look for Walsh, but found he was no longer near
him. In the meantime Wolsey advanced rapidly toward him, and, taking
him in his arms, pressed him closely to his heart.

“You are most welcome, my dear lord! How happy I am to see you!” he
exclaimed. “But why have I not been informed of your coming? I should,
at least, have been prepared to give you a better reception; for you
must know that what formerly required but a moment to effect I am now
scarcely able to execute at all. But you will, I hope, appreciate my
good intentions; and if I am ever so happy as to be re-established in
my fortune, I shall then be able to express more worthily the joy I
feel at receiving you in my house.”

“I thank your lordship,” answered Northumberland.

But he was unable to utter another word. However, he embraced Wolsey,
though with great excitement of manner, his hands trembling visibly in
those of the archbishop.

“Let us go,” continued Wolsey glancing at the followers of Lord Percy.
“I am glad to see you have remembered the advice I gave you in your
youth, to love and take care of all your father’s old domestics; that
is why, I suppose, you have brought so many of them with you.”

“Yes, I prefer them,” replied Northumberland. And Wolsey went and took
them each by the hand, praising their fidelity and recommending them
to love their young master as he himself had always done.

The more Wolsey exerted himself to assure Northumberland of the
gratification he experienced at his coming, the less strength Percy
felt to thank him. However, the cardinal begged to be allowed to
accompany him to his bed-chamber, where they might be alone, except
Cavendish, who remained near the door, as his duty required him.

For a moment they sat in silence. Wolsey regarded Lord Percy with
astonishment on observing the latter change color and become every
instant more and more embarrassed. At length, arousing himself
suddenly to a determined degree of resolution, he approached, and,
laying his hand gently on the arm of the archbishop, said in a voice
tremulous with emotion: “My lord, I arrest you on the charge of high

Wolsey sat so completely stupefied that he was incapable of uttering a
word; they gazed at each other in mournful silence.

“Who has induced you to do this?” the cardinal at length exclaimed,
“and by what authority do you it?”

“My lord,” replied Northumberland coldly, “I have a commission that
authorizes me; or that compels me, rather,” he continued in a low

“Where is this commission? Let me see it?”

“No, my lord, I cannot.”

“Then,” cried Wolsey, “I will not submit to your authority.”

As he said this, Sir Walsh pushed Dr. Augustine, whom he had arrested,
rudely into the apartment. “Go in there, traitor,” he cried; but
perceiving the cardinal, he fell on his knees before him, and,
removing his cap, bowed almost to the floor.

Wolsey turned pale on seeing Walsh; he at once recognized him as being
an officer of the king’s palace, and knew he would not be there
without an express order.

“Sir,” he exclaimed, “rise, I implore you! My Lord of Northumberland
comes to arrest me! If he has a commission, and you are with him for
that purpose, you will be pleased to let me see it.”

“My lord,” answered Walsh, “if it please your grace, it is true that I
have one; but we cannot permit you to see it. They have added to the
paper on which it is written some instructions that we are bound not
to make known.”

“Then,” cried Wolsey, melting into tears, “all is over with me! They
deprive me even of the means of defending myself, and my cruel enemies
behold all their schemes accomplished. It is well, sir,” continued the
archbishop, turning his back on the Earl of Northumberland; “I consent
to surrender myself to you, but not to my Lord of Northumberland, who
comes here only to enjoy my discomfiture. As to you, I know you; your
name is Walsh, and you are one of the officers of the king, my master.
Therefore I do not demand your commission; his will is sufficient. I
am perfectly aware that the greatest peer in the realm is liable to be
arrested by the lowest subject, if such be his majesty’s good
pleasure. This is why I shall obey you without delay. Begin, then, to
put your orders into execution. If I had known them, I would have
assisted you myself; but, at least, I submit.”

Saying this, the archbishop seated himself in silence; but the tears
continued to flow rapidly down his cheeks.

Meanwhile, Lord Percy felt so deeply wounded by the suspicion
manifested by the archbishop, and his believing him to be actuated by
a principle of low revenge and cruelty in coming to arrest him, that
he was about to withdraw without offering him a solitary word of
consolation, as he had intended; but a sudden feeling of compassion
induced him to return and take a seat by his side.

Wolsey was deeply moved by this.

“My lord,” he exclaimed, “I swear before God I am innocent of all the
crimes my enemies impute to me, beyond doubt, for the purpose of
securing my death! I have committed many errors, I know; but it has
been against God and against myself that I have committed them, and
not against my king, whom I have always served with an inviolable
fidelity. I have possessed great riches; but I employed them in
founding great and useful establishments. I have held correspondence
with foreign princes, and have acquired great influence in their
councils, but I have always used it in the interests of my king and
the state. And now he has abandoned me to the malice of my enemies,
and does not hesitate an instant to believe all the calumnies they
have heaped upon my head! No, I shall indulge in vain illusions no
longer. I go now to my death; and it is my king who strikes the fatal
blow! Ah!” continued Wolsey, transported by his feelings, “would I
might appear before him, that I might justify myself in the face of
heaven and earth! Then I should fear no man living under the sun. But,
no; it will not be thus. I shall die without vindication, in the
depths of some obscure prison, some noisome dungeon! Not a friend has
remained faithful; not a single voice has been raised in my defence!”

“Friendship,” replied Northumberland, “is but a vain word, a beautiful
sound that dissolves in the air, a shifting sand requiring the one who
reposes on it always to remain on his guard, to beware; for one-half
of the world is too frivolous and the other half too selfish for any
confidence ever to be placed in them.”

“Therefore you yourself feel no compassion for me?” said Wolsey,
looking at him.

“You are unjust!” replied Lord Percy. “God is my judge how deeply I
have suffered in being forced before you in my present capacity. But
tell me, how am I to arrest the destroying tempest or turn aside the
falling thunderbolt? Have they not crushed me also?”

      *     *     *     *     *

After two long days had passed, during which the archbishop was
entirely deprived of all communication with those around him,
Northumberland came to inform him that everything was arranged for the
journey and it was time to depart.

“Alas! where are you going to take me?” cried Wolsey, to whom this
departure seemed the first step toward condemnation and death.

In that fatal moment he felt an attachment for every stone and every
spot connected with the abode which, until this time, he had regarded
as the most gloomy place of exile.

“Not to be able to die in peace!” he mournfully exclaimed. “Where are
you going to take me, Lord Percy?”

“I cannot accompany you,” sadly replied Northumberland, who had
endeavored during the preceding days to make him regard his condition
with less terror; “but I know that Sir Walsh has orders to deliver you
at Sheffield Park, and place you in the hands of my father-in-law, the
Earl of Shrewsbury; and you need suffer no anxiety, nor doubt but that
he will gladly exert himself to have you well treated as far as
depends on him. To-night you will sleep at Pomfret.”

“At the castle?” demanded Wolsey.

“No, no,” replied Lord Percy: “at the abbey. I am certain of it. I
swear it! I have myself sent the order for you to be received there. O
my father!” continued Percy, who felt more and more deeply grieved, “I
must now leave you.” (And he fell on his knees before the archbishop.)
“May God be with you! But first give me your blessing. I indeed have
need of it! I have never forgotten the care you bestowed on me in my

“My dear son,” said the archbishop, “may the Lord Almighty, the God of
Israel and of Jacob, for ever bless you! We shall meet no more but in

As the archbishop extended his hands and laid them on the head of
Percy, and while he bent affectionately over him, Walsh entered,
followed by a number of armed men; and the sound of smothered sighs
and stifled cries was heard.

“What is that?” exclaimed Wolsey in alarm.

“Nothing, my lord,” answered Walsh in an imperious tone. “As you could
only take four of your men with you, I feared the others would make
too much disturbance at your departure; consequently, I had them shut
up in the chapel.”

“Sir,” cried Wolsey indignantly, “I will not leave this place until I
have seen and bade farewell to all my servants. You cannot have been
authorized to treat me with such a degree of cruelty. My Lord
Northumberland, since you have seized for the king’s benefit the
little money I possessed, and have left me nothing to give them, at
least permit me to thank them for their services and mingle my tears
with theirs.”

“We thought it would be painful for you to witness their grief,”
replied Northumberland, “and wished to spare you the infliction. But
they shall be summoned.”

As soon as the door of the chapel was opened they gathered in a crowd
around Wolsey, kissing his hands and his vestments. “My children,” he
said to them, “weep not; we shall meet again very soon, I hope. My
Lord Northumberland, I recommend them to you! You will take care of
them—I feel assured of it.”

He then hastened to depart, feeling his courage ready to desert him.
At every step he took his anguish redoubled; and when he reached the
great courtyard, he turned his eyes for a moment toward the high,
black walls of the castle he was leaving, then glanced at the mule
assigned him to ride. Cavendish followed with his almoner and two of
his valets. But a new grief awaited Wolsey, already overwhelmed with
sorrow. Scarcely had they opened the outer gate of the castle, when
they perceived without a crowd of gentlemen of the province, whom
Walsh had summoned, in the king’s name, to come and secure the arrest
of the archbishop; because the whole country was in a state of
commotion, and more than three thousand men had gathered along the
route, in the plain, and as far as the moats of the castle, around
which they assembled as soon as they were informed of his arrest. They
were powerless to oppose his departure, but followed him for several
miles, shouting incessantly: “God save his grace, and perish his
enemies who have forced him from us!” They regarded the noblemen who
surrounded him with wrathful scowls, without reflecting that, while
feeling it necessary to obey the king, the lords were as deeply
disaffected as themselves, and in their turn accused the Earl of
Northumberland of having seconded Walsh in this enterprise.

During the journey they unceasingly manifested the greatest regard for
the archbishop, and only left him after seeing him committed into the
hands of the Earl of Shrewsbury, whose castle was situated near the
confines of Yorkshire, a short distance from the town of Doncaster.


     [77] The son has now ceased to invoke in this once
          hallowed spot the divine mercy on the souls of his
          fathers; the bells no more announce the vows nor the
          regrets of the heart; the august Sacrifice is never
          offered up but in the gloomy silence imposed by



  My own Sennuccio, though bereft of thee,
    Weeping and lonely, me this thought sustains:
    That from this breathing tomb, these fleshly chains,
  Thy soaring spirit nobly set thee free.
    Now the twin poles by thee discovered are,
  The wheeling lights, and all the starry ways:
  Thou seest our seeing falter from afar;
  So thy delight the pain of loss allays.
    But I beseech thee in that far third sphere
  Greet Franceshino and the bard divine,
  Cino, Guitton, and all thy comrades there;
    And tell my Love, tell her what tears are mine,
  And what dark moods of wilder sorrow breeds
  The thought of her sweet face and saintly deeds.


  “Oh! how comely it is, and how reviving
   To the spirits of just men long oppressed,
   When God into the hands of their deliverer
   Puts invincible might
   To quell the mighty of the earth, th’ oppressor,
   The brute and boist’rous force of violent men,
   Hardy and industrious to support
   Tyrannic power, but raging to pursue
   The righteous and all such as honor Truth.”
                               —_Samson Agonistes._

The Turks, from their first appearance upon European soil, have been a
danger to the peace and civilization of Christendom. When their fierce
hordes crossed the Bosporus, bearing aloft the standard of the
crescent, it was a boast among them that the sign was but a temporary
emblem of their power, and that when she had waxed to the fulness of
her orb—_donec Lunæ totus impleatur orbis_, as was insolently said to
an ambassador of the West—her silvery sheen would change to the golden
glory of the sun, and blaze from an eastern sky over prostrate and
Mohammedan Europe.

With one foot upon Constantinople and the other on Rome,[78] the
colossus of Islam would have projected an awful shadow over the
Christian world. Efforts tremendous and long sustained were made to
lift itself up; but this it could never do, and it has fallen and is
broken, but in its fall covers fair provinces and crushes a multitude
of unfortunate Christians. If the Turks have ceased to be a stirring
menace to the nations, we must ascribe the curbing of their power to
divine Providence, which brought forward at critical times a number of
men mighty by the sword or through the word—Huniades, Matthias
Corvinus, Ladislas of Hungary, St. John Capistran, Cardinal Julian
Cesarini, Scanderbeg, St. Pius V., Don John of Austria, Mark Anthony
Colonna, Sobieski, and others—who fought their advance towards the
Adriatic and along the Danube. As this great Ottoman inundation rose
higher and higher, until it seemed as though the work of the church
for a thousand years would be swept away in fewer days, God spoke: “I
set my bounds around it, and made it bars and doors; and I said:
Hitherto thou shalt come, and shalt go no further: and here thou shalt
break thy swelling waves.” (Job xxxviii.)

In the fifteenth century several independent princelings, called
_despots_ by the Greeks, were in possession of the rich and populous
district of Albania, which stretches along the coast of the Adriatic
and Mediterranean Seas, and corresponds geographically to the Epirus
of the ancients. One of the noblest of these chiefs was John Castriot,
who came of an ancient family in Lower Macedonia. His wife, Woïzava,
presented him with nine children, and among them that George, born in
1404, who was destined to become the defender of his persecuted race,
the Christian Gideon, as he was hailed by Pope Paul II., and the hero
of his native country against the Turks. Several omens are reported to
have accompanied his birth and signified his future greatness. Without
denying that these may have been something more than mere accidents or
freaks of the imagination, we only certify that as the child grew up
he developed a strength of character and an aptitude for arms which
his after-successes amply justified and the inherent nobility of his
parents had prepared.

  “_Fortes creantur fortibus et bonis;
    … nec imbellem feroces
    Progenerant aquilæ cotlumbam._”[79]

Sultan Mohammed I. had invaded Albania in 1413, and obliged John
Castriot to deliver up his four young sons to him as hostages. He
immediately, and against the solemn promise made to their father,
caused them to be circumcised and educated in the Mussulman religion.
George, our hero, was the youngest. He was endowed with a prodigious
memory, and soon learned to speak the Greek, Turkish, Arab, Illyrian,
and Italian languages. A handsome person, unusual bodily strength, and
vigorous mental qualities won for him the warm affection of the
next sovereign, Amurath II., who changed George’s name to
_Scanderbeg_—_i.e._, Beg or Lord Alexander—and at the early age of
eighteen gave him the rank of sangiac and command of five thousand
horsemen on the confines of Anatolia. His personal prowess and
military skill in Asia Minor brought him into considerable notice, and
he was given a command in the European provinces of the empire. This
was a difficult position to be placed in; for he had not forgotten
that he was born a Christian and had been impressed into his present
service. He felt a great dislike to turn his arms against
co-religionists and countrymen. His brothers were dead, and now his
father died in 1432. At this juncture the sultan very unjustly took
possession of his hereditary dominion, and, sending his mother and
sister Mamisa into exile, put a pasha over the country. Scanderbeg did
not immediately pronounce himself against this act of treacherous
spoliation, although several Albanian noblemen, proud of his renown
and convinced that he was not at heart attached to his new creed,
corresponded with him secretly, urging him to come and put himself at
the head of the Christian population to free the country from the
infidel. The Albanians have always been distinguished for their spirit
of nationality, and, like the inhabitants of all mountainous regions
are remarkable for independence and love of home.

The favorable moment to declare himself had not arrived but his plans
were maturing. At last, after a great battle lost by the Turks at
Morava on the 10th of November, 1443, he concerted with his nephew
Hamza and a few trusty friends of Christian origin, forced, like
himself, to serve the foreign tyrant, and by a skilful ruse and very
sudden irruption at the head of six hundred Albanians, who hastened to
join him as soon as his defection was known, he obtained possession of
Croia, the capital of his paternal dominions. The Turkish garrison,
not so much by his orders as from an uncontrollable impulse of
outraged feelings in the populace, was put to the sword. Scanderbeg
was just twenty-nine years old. He publicly renounced Mohammedanism
and renewed his profession of the Catholic faith. The chiefs of
Albania were then invited to meet him. When they came together at
Croia, they called him their deliverer, unanimously proclaimed him
Prince of Epirus, and soon collected an army of about twelve thousand
men. While the troops were being raised, the civil service and
revenues of the state were reorganized. Besides a large immediate
contribution from his own countrymen, he obtained two hundred thousand
ducats from his neighbors, the Venetians, and had a large source of
income in the salt-mines near Durazzo.

Petralba was next taken, and this success brought new accessions of
men and means to prosecute the war. Within a month after the first
blow had been struck every fortress except one was captured, and every
Turk either killed, a prisoner, or in flight. Sfetigrad could not be
surprised, and, leaving a force of three thousand men to watch it and
cut off supplies, Scanderbeg retired with the rest of the army to
Croia for the winter, and occupied himself in making an alliance with
the republic of Venice, which held several towns along the coast of
Dalmatia, and in preparing for the inevitable struggle the sultan
would make to recover the country. Amurath did not dissemble his anger
at the revolt of one whom he had treated, he said, with so much
kindness and taught the use of the arms he was now turning against
him. Being engaged at the time against the Hungarians, he put off
revenge until the spring, thinking that he could at any moment easily
subdue the undisciplined bands of Albania; but when a truce was
concluded and spring opened with fair weather for an imposing
campaign, he sent Ali Pasha in command of forty thousand men, his
orders being to crush the insurrection at a single blow. Scanderbeg
had by this time reduced Sfetigrad and strongly fortified and
garrisoned the more important towns. He now took the field with only
fifteen thousand troops, knowing that in such a country as the one he
was to defend a very large force would be difficult to handle and
impossible to feed. His tactics were generally those of partisan
warfare. His little army was composed partly of cavalry from the
northern, and partly of a hardy and active infantry from the southern
section of the country. His object was to wear out the enemy by a
stout resistance at every point, and harass the retreats which the
very vastness of the Turkish armies would necessitate by the
impossibility, if for no other reason, of providing for so many
mouths. Only occasional raids were made in force upon the fertile
plains of Thessaly and Macedonia to capture horses, cattle, sheep, and
to gather in grain to be stored in the fortified towns. During the war
of Albanian independence, which lasted a quarter of a century, the
Turks always, except towards the end, repeated the fatal blunder of
sending immense armies, consisting in some cases of two hundred
thousand men, into a country where they could be maintained only for a
single and brief campaign, and to fight a general who was sure, from
his bravery, skill, and thorough knowledge of every torrent, mountain
pass, road, and valley, to turn defeat into overwhelming disaster. It
was thus that the army of Ali Pasha was drawn by wily manœuvres into a
narrow district only ninety miles from Croia and opening into the very
heart of Albania. The upper end was very contracted, and here
Scanderbeg drew up his main body of troops, to the number of ten
thousand, which were posted in three divisions _en échelon_. As soon
as the enemy was well engaged in the valley three thousand horsemen,
who had been watching their slow advance, came down at its lower end,
which had been left quite unguarded, while fifteen hundred irregular
infantry lay in ambush on either side amidst the woody acclivities. As
soon as the Turks came up to the Albanians they halted, tried to
deploy, but could not, repeatedly charged and swept up in heavy
columns against the small but solid masses who evenly filled the gap
and made it impossible to flank them. The Turks after a while began to
waver and fall into still greater disorder. Ali Pasha had blundered.

The Albanians now took the offensive. The signal-clarions sounded,
and, while the Turks were attacked in front, the cavalry from the
lower end of the valley charged them in the rear, and the infantry
that lay in ambush came rushing down on both sides with terrific cries
and sword in hand to complete their discomfiture. It was now a
slaughter; and although the battle lasted only four hours altogether,
over twenty thousand infidels were killed or wounded. Few
prisoners—not more than two thousand—were taken. The rest of the
enemy, under cover of darkness and from sheer exhaustion on the part
of the victors, escaped through the now open passage at the lower end
of the valley.

When Scanderbeg had entered Croia in triumph, he announced the victory
by letters to Pope Eugenius IV. and several Christian princes; and
while some of the twenty-five captured battle-flags were distributed
among the confederate chiefs, others were suspended in the principal
church of the capital.

Amurath was so alarmed by this defeat—not, perhaps, so much from what
he had to fear on the side of the immediate victors, but from the
encouraging effects it might have in leaguing the Christian princes
against him—that he wrote a letter from Adrianople, offering
Scanderbeg peace on certain conditions. But when these were discussed
in the council at Croia, they were declared unjust and humiliating,
and Scanderbeg was advised to reject every sort of condition and
insist on the complete independence of Albania. The answer to this
letter announced his intention of holding out to the last extremity,
and began with these valiant words: “From our camp near Croia, August
12, 1445. George Castriot, surnamed Scanderbeg, soldier of Jesus
Christ and Prince of the Epirotes, to Othman, Prince of the Turks,
greeting.” A second army under Fizour, and a third and larger one
under Mustapha, were successively defeated, but not without
considerable loss in men and damage to the country. During the inroads
of these fierce barbarians into Albania they perpetrated the most
horrible massacres without regard to age or sex, and heaped the most
brutal outrages upon the inhabitants. The handsomest girls were seized
for the seraglios of the sultan and his wealthy minions, the prettiest
boys were kept to minister to their unnatural lusts, while youths of a
maturer age or less attractive appearance were circumcised, educated
in the Mohammedan religion, and drafted into the Janizaries. Others
who were not butchered on the smoking ruins of their homes were driven
in chains to the slave markets, while many were made eunuchs and set
to guard the harems of their masters in Asia Minor.

Mustapha Pasha, although he had been defeated, was entrusted with
another army, but with a similar result, and even worse; for he
himself was taken prisoner. Twenty-five thousand golden ducats were
paid for his ransom. Scanderbeg now made a _razzia_ on a large scale
into Macedonia and returned laden with an immense booty of every
description. His fame was so solidly established by these victories
that the republic of Venice sent a magnificent embassy to compliment
him and convey to him the news of his appointment as governor-general
of all the Italian possessions along the Adriatic and in the interior,
where the important cities of Scutari and Alessio were situated. His
name was enrolled in the Golden Book at the head of the list of
Venetian nobles.

The revolt of the Janizaries having obliged Amurath to leave his
luxurious retreat at Magnesia and once more resume the management of
public affairs, he determined to conduct in person the war against
Scanderbeg. He soon appeared at the head of a formidable army before
Sfetigrad, which surrendered after a gallant resistance. During the
siege the Turks lost in one of the assaults six thousand men.
Satisfied, apparently, with this single victory, the slothful sultan
retired into Macedonia after leaving a strong garrison in the captured
fortress. Scanderbeg hovered on his flanks and rear, making many
prisoners and taking a large amount of stores and war material; then,
after seeing him well out of the country, he turned towards Sfetigrad
and sat down before it on September 20, 1445, with eighteen thousand
men, among whom were adventurers from almost every country in Europe,
Germans, French, and Italians being the most numerous. For want of
artillery no regular siege could be conducted, and Scanderbeg was
repulsed with heavy loss in his attacks on the place. Hearing that
Amurath was preparing to return, he hastily concentrated his available
troops around Croia, which was provisioned for a long resistance. Some
large, unwieldy pieces of cannon, directed by Frenchmen, added to the
strength of the capital. The sultan was slow in his movements, and did
not appear as soon as was expected. In the meanwhile Scanderbeg was
encouraged by receiving congratulatory letters from Pope Nicholas V.,
which were brought to him by two Franciscans, one of whom was a
bishop. The winter of 1449-50 had been passed by him in the saddle
inspecting every fortress, going into every part of his dominions to
encourage the people and hasten the levy of troops. The coming tempest
was naturally expected to assail the capital; and to make its
neighborhood a howling wilderness, the whole country around Croia was
ravaged by his order, for a distance of from fifteen to eighteen
miles, so completely that not a house or a bridge was left standing,
and not a road passable; every growing and living thing was either
destroyed or removed. The enemy could find no shelter there.

On April 15, 1450, the sultan appeared before the city with an army of
one hundred and sixty thousand fighting men and a host of
camp-followers. Uranocontes commanded inside and repelled numerous
assaults, while Scanderbeg, with a force of five thousand picked
cavalry, hovered about the outskirts of the enemy, inflicting
considerable loss in men and stores, but above all annoying the long
line of communications by which the army drew its daily supplies.
Amurath finally tired of the siege, and, being convinced that the
mountains and valleys of Epirus were not worth his time, his trouble,
or his money while richer conquests awaited him, charged a certain
Yousouf to leave the camp and seek Scanderbeg, to try and induce him
to accept the single condition of an annual tribute of only ten
thousand ducats. After a two days’ search he was found, but instantly
rejected even this almost nominal condition attached to the
independence of his country. Knowing that he could not take Croia by
assault or maintain his army any longer in such a country, the sultan
slowly retreated and died soon afterwards at Adrianople, on February
5, 1451. He was succeeded by his son, Mohammed II., who renewed his
father’s offer, but with no better result.

The news of Amurath’s ill-success before Croia made a great noise in
Italy, and even beyond. The kings of Hungary and Aragon, and Philip,
Duke of Burgundy, sent complimentary missions to the Albanian hero,
and presents of money and provisions. King Alphonsus of Aragon, who
was also King of Sicily and Naples, sent him four hundred thousand
bushels of grain. Among other rich presents that he received from this
magnificent monarch was a helmet or casque of the finest Spanish
steel, lined on the inside with Cordovan leather and soft silk, and
covered on the outside with the purest gold artistically chased and
embossed by an Italian jeweller and studded with precious stones.
Scanderbeg was very proud of this really regal headgear, and ranked it
along with his famous sword, a veritable _Excalibur_, the blade of
which was of perfect Damascus workmanship, and the handle a blaze of
Oriental gems set with exquisite skill by a Persian lapidary. This
weapon was a present from Amurath on giving him his first command.
With it he killed at least two thousand Turks in his war of
independence, and it was looked upon by his enemies with a species of
superstitious awe. During one of the informal truces between the Turks
and Christians Sultan Mohammed begged to see the blade of which he had
heard so much. It was sent to him and tried by the best swordsmen of
his army, but not one of them could perform the feats that its owner
had been seen to do with it; and when it was returned, the sultan told
him this and asked the reason. “I sent your highness the sword,” said
Scanderbeg, “but not the limb that wields it!” When he went into
battle, it was always with his right arm bare and his shoulder
perfectly free. He was so tall and strong that a few years later, when
he went over to Italy to assist King Ferdinand, and had occasion to
meet the commander of the enemy’s troops—the famous _condottiére_
Count Piccinino, whose stature, it is true, was small, but still that
of a grown person—he took him by the belt with one hand, and, slowly
raising him up, impressed a courtly kiss upon the forehead and as
gently set him down again. He looked so brave and handsome that even
his foes applauded.

  “His haughtie helmet, horrid all with gold,
   Both glorious brightnesse and great terrour bredd:
   For all the crest a dragon did enfold
   With greedie pawes, and over all did spredd
   His golden winges; his dreadfull hideous hedd,

   Close couchèd on the bever, seemed to throw
   From flaming mouth bright sparcles fiery redd,
   That suddeine horrour to faint hartes did show;
   And scaly tayle was stretcht adowne his back full low.”

In May, 1451, Scanderbeg married the Princess Donica, daughter of
Arrianites Thopia, one of the most influential lords of Albania, and
connected on his mother’s side with the imperial family of the
Comneni. He received at this time from King Alphonsus five hundred
arquebusiers, the same number of expert crossbow-men, and a few pieces
of artillery with their cannoniers. We have only space to mention the
events of the next years: how successive armies of Turks were
defeated; how Scanderbeg himself was repulsed with a loss of five
thousand men in an attack on Belgrade; and how, during a lull in the
war, he was invited over to Italy by Pope Pius II. to the assistance
of King Ferdinand, son of his old friend Alphonsus, who was hard
pressed by his rival, John of Anjou. (_Raynald. Annales Eccl. ad an._
1460, num. lx.) He contributed greatly to the victory won at Troja on
Aug. 18, 1462, and for his services was created Duke of San Pietro, in
the kingdom of Naples. He remained in Italy a little over a year.
Recalled to Albania by the appearance of the Turks, he repulsed Sultan
Mohammed from Croia; but his own losses and the new plans of the
enemy, which consisted in sending only small armies under experienced
generals—one of whom, Balaban Badera, was an Albanian renegade—with
orders to avoid battle if possible, but to remain in the country at
all hazards, made him feel that his cause was failing, and that,
unless relieved from the west, he must sooner or later succumb. In
this emergency he went to Rome and appealed to the pope and cardinals
to preach a new crusade. The example of the broken-hearted Pius II.
showed how fruitless it would have been for them to do so. Paul,
indeed, wrote to all the Christian princes, but he got nothing but
fair words in return. The great schism had lamentably diminished the
prestige of the Papacy, and a multitude of heretics more or less
openly preluded that Reformation which would soon divide Christendom
itself into hostile camps. The pope gave him three thousand golden
florins and conferred upon him the insignia of the cap and sword which
is annually blessed by the pontiff on the vigil of Christmas for
presentation to the prince who has deserved best of the church.
Scanderbeg lodged while in Rome in a house which, although rebuilt in
1843, still retains over the door his portrait in fresco and the
laudatory inscription set up soon after his death. The street and an
adjoining little _piazza_ under the Quirinal gardens have long
perpetuated his name as the _Via di Scanderbeg_. He left Rome in
disappointment and sorrow.

  “Ah! what though no succor advances,
   Nor Christendom’s chivalrous lances
   Are stretched in our aid? Be the combat our own!
   And we’ll perish or conquer more proudly alone;
   For we’ve sworn by our country’s assaulters,
   By the virgins they’ve dragged from our altars,
   By our massacred patriots, our children in chains,
   By our heroes of old, and their blood in our veins,
   That, living, we shall be victorious,
   Or that, dying, our deaths shall be glorious.”

On his way back to Albania he was allowed to recruit in the Venetian
territories a force of thirteen thousand men, which he commanded in
person. His former little army in the field was captained by his
faithful friend Tanusios, and after planning together the two generals
attacked the Turks around Croia on two different points, while a
vigorous sortie was made by the besieged, during which Balaban, the
Turkish commander, was killed. His death and the suddenness and vigor
of the triple attack threw the enemy into confusion, and they were
completely routed. We pass over other battles and victories, by which
Scanderbeg’s resources were finally exhausted. The end had come.
During the winter of 1466-7 he was making a tour of inspection, and
while in the city of Alessio, or Lissa, as it is sometimes called,
where the ambassador of Venice and the confederate chiefs of Albania
had convened to meet him and combine for one last and desperate
effort, he was seized by a fever which proved fatal. After addressing
a solemn and pathetic discourse to his principal officers, he embraced
them one by one, and gave orders to his only son John to cross over to
his Neapolitan fiefs with his mother, and there wait until some
favorable occasion might present itself to return and put himself at
the head of his countrymen as his father had done. He died during the
night of January 17, 1467, after having received the Viaticum and
Extreme Unction, and was buried in the cathedral church of Alessio.
His death caused a profound sensation throughout Europe. Mohammed
exulted over the loss of one whom he called the sword and buckler of
the Christians, and immediately poured his troops into Albania; but it
was not until the year 1478, when Croia surrendered on conditions
which were afterwards basely violated, that the war ended. Since that
time the infamous Turks have lorded it over the land made glorious in
legendary lore by the son of Achilles, in history by King Pyrrhus, and
in modern times by Scanderbeg. The presence of those barbarous
Asiatics in any part of Europe is one of the foulest stains upon the
moral sense and the politics of Christian governments.

When Alessio was captured the infidels dug up the remains of the great
warrior and divided his bones among the soldiers, to be worn in rich
reliquaries as amulets of courage. His countrymen still sing of him as
their national hero, and the Turks frighten naughty children with his
terrible name.

After Scanderbeg’s death many Albanians emigrated to Italy, either in
the suite of his son or independently. The most remarkable colony was
in Calabria, where as late as 1780 their descendants, numbering about
one hundred thousand, retained the dress, manners, and language of
their ancestors. Another colony, not so numerous, is scattered about
the Abruzzi. The last lineal descendant of the hero was the Marquis of
Sant’Angelo, who was killed at the battle of Pavia by the hand (as
Paulus Jovius says) of Francis I.

Most of the Albanians remained Christians until the middle of the
seventeenth century, when the majority conformed, outwardly at least,
to the Mohammedan religion. The popes have tried hard to keep alive
the Catholic faith among the population, and, under the circumstances,
with considerable success. Pope Clement XI., of the (now) princely
family of Albani which emigrated from Albania in the sixteenth
century, and settled at Urbino, established a purse of four thousand
scudi in 1708 for the support of three students from that country in
the Propaganda College. The Catholics there do not now number more
than ninety thousand. There are two archbishoprics, Antivari united
with Scutari, and Durazzo, and three bishoprics, Alessio, Pulati, and
Sappa. These sees are usually filled by Franciscans, who, with a few
Propagandists (with one of whom, now bishop of Alessio, we have the
honor of being acquainted), are the only missionaries in the country.
We conclude our article with a bibliographical notice of the subject,
because, as Dr. Johnson used to say, a great part of knowledge
consists in knowing _where_ knowledge is to be found.

The original source of information upon which all subsequent writers,
whether with or without acknowledgment, have drawn is a work by Marino
Barlezio, a priest of Scutari, who, besides being a native of the
country about which he wrote, was an almost constant companion of
Scanderbeg and an eye-witness of most of the events which he relates.
He was a scholar and penned very excellent Latin, which greatly adds
to the charm of his narrative. We give the full title: _De Vita et
Moribus ac Rebus præcipuè adversus Turcas gestis Georgii Castrioti
clarissimi Epirotarum Principis, qui propter celeberrima facinora
Scanderbegus, hoc est Alexander Magnus, cognominatus fuit. Libri
xiii._ It is not certain where this curious book was first published.
Some say at Rome as early as 1506, but this is extremely doubtful;
others at Frankfort in 1537 (in folio). A German translation by
Pinicianus was published in 1561 in 4to, with woodcuts; and a French
one, the language of which is quaint and racy, by Jacques de Lavardin,
in 1597. Independent biographies have been written in Latin by an
anonymous author at Rome in 1537 or earlier, in folio; in Italian by
T. M. Monardo, Venice, 1591, and almost immediately translated into
Spanish and Portuguese; in French by Du Poncet (Paris, 1709, in 12mo),
a Jesuit, who took upon himself to refute the calumny of Machiavelli
and Helvetius, that Christian principles and practices can never
develop the qualities of a perfect soldier, a hero. Other French
biographies are those of Chevilly (Paris, 1732, 2 vols. 12mo), and
Camille Paganel (_ibid._ 1855, 1 vol. 8vo), which is the best we have
read. In English there is one by Clement C. Moore, an American (New
York, 1850), and another by Robert Bigsby, an Englishman (London,
1866); while we have also, from the graceful pen of Benjamin Disraeli,
_The Rise of Iskander_, a tale founded on Scanderbeg’s revolt against
the Turks (London, 1833). A _Summarium_ or epitome of his life is
preserved among the MSS. of the Royal Library at Turin; and the Grand
Ducal one at Weimar treasures among its rarities a MS. parchment
called _The Book of Scanderbeg_, composed of three hundred and
twenty-five leaves, each of which is beautifully illustrated with
figures in india-ink representing scenes from civil and military life
in the fifteenth century. It was a present to the Albanian hero from
Ferdinand of Aragon. Two Latin poems have been published about him,
one by a German named Kökert at Lubec, 1643, and the other by a French
Jesuit, Jean de Bussières, at Lyons, 1662, in eight books; finally,
one in Italian, called _La Scanderbeide_, by a lady named Margherita
Sarrocchi, without date or place of publication; but it sometimes
turns up in book-sales at Rome.

Scanderbeg’s large gilt cuirass, damaskeened with designs of Eastern
pattern, is found in the Belvedere collection at Vienna. It is
supposed to have been one of his trophies captured in Anatolia.

     [78] It was a common boast of the more ambitious
          sultans that they would some day feed their horses at
          the tomb of St. Peter.

          The good and brave beget the brave;
          … Fierce eagles breed not harmless doves.

         The family standard of the Castriots, which Scanderbeg
         carried in his battles, was a black, double-headed eagle
         on a red field.


Men are governed more by their sympathies than by reason. Weak
arguments are strong enough when supported by prejudice which is able
to withstand even the most conclusive proofs. We do not pretend to say
that this is wholly wrong. Our feelings are in general sincerer than
our thoughts; spring more truly from our real selves; are less the
product of artificial culture and more of those common principles of
our nature which make the whole world akin. But since in rational
beings the feelings cannot be purely instinctive, it follows that they
are more or less modifiable by the action of the intellect, which in
turn is also subject to their influence. Prejudice, therefore, may be
either intellectual or moral, or the one and the other; the most
obstinate, however, is that which is enrooted in feeling and springs
from sympathies and antipathies; and this is usually the character of
religious prejudice. The tendency to make religion national, which is
a remarkable feature in the history of mankind, together with the fact
that states have always been founded and peoples welded into unity by
a common faith, has as a rule thrown upon the side of religion the
whole force of national prejudice, which, though it does not touch the
deep fountains of immortal life and of the infinite, revealed by
faith, is yet an immense power, more than any other aggressive and
defiant. As the Catholic Church is non-national, it is not surprising
that she should often be brought into conflict with the spirit of

Christ was himself opposed by this spirit; on the one side he was
attacked by the religious nationalism of the Jews, and on the other by
that of the Romans. These enemies surrounded the early church. There
was the internal struggle to free herself from the bonds of Judaism, a
purely national faith; and there was the open battle with the Roman
Empire for the liberty of the soul and her right to exist as a
Catholic and non-national religion. Heresies and schisms have
invariably been successful in proportion as they have been able to
rouse national prejudice against the universal church. To pass over
those of more ancient date, we may safely affirm that but for this
Luther’s quarrel with Tetzel would never have given birth to
Protestantism. The conflicts during the middle ages between popes and
emperors and kings, together with schisms and scandals, had accustomed
the public mind, especially in Germany and England, to look upon the
successor of St. Peter as a foreign potentate; nor was it easy, in the
state of things which then existed, to draw the line between his
spiritual and his temporal authority. He came more and more to be
considered an Italian sovereign who had usurped undue power, and thus
in Germany and England Italians grew to be both hated and despised;
and this more, probably, than kings and parliaments helped on the
cause of Protestantism.

The Catholic faith was made to appear, not as the religion of Christ,
but as popery, a foreign idolatrous superstition, which had by artful
means insinuated itself amongst the various nations of German blood;
and to throw off the yoke of Italian despotism was held to be both
political and religious disenthralment. The specific doctrines of
Luther and the other heresiarchs had merely an incidental influence.
In England, where the separation from the church was more complete
than elsewhere, there was the least doctrinal departure from Catholic
teaching; which is of itself proof how little any desire for a
so-called purer faith had to do with the movement. The appeal to the
Scriptures was popular because it was an appeal from the pope. That
the Reformation was not an intellectual revolt, at least primarily,
there is abundant evidence in the indisputable fact that the most
enlightened and learned people of that age—the Italians—remained firm
in their attachment to the old faith; and even in Germany, which was
comparatively rude and barbarous, the cultivators of the new classical
learning, which had been revived in Italy, were for the most part
repelled by the coarseness and ignorance of the preachers of
Protestantism, who in England found no favor with men like More and
Wolsey, scholars, both of them, and patrons of letters.

As Protestantism did not spring from intellectual convictions, but
from passion and prejudice—national antagonisms, which had been
intensified by ages of conflict and strife, and which became the
potent allies of the ambition and rapacity of kings and princes—it is
but natural that Protestants, continuing the traditions of their
fathers, should still be influenced in their opinions of the Catholic
Church more by their antipathies than by reason, and that these
antipathies should invariably run with the current of national
prejudice. Hence the objections to the church which really influence
men are not religious but social. A Protestant who accepts the Bible
as the word of God, and receives in the literal sense all that is
there narrated, could not with any show of reason make difficulty
about believing the teachings of the church; nor can one who trusts to
himself alone for his creed feel great confidence that those who are
supported by the almost unanimous consent of all Christians for
fifteen hundred years, and of the great majority even down to the
present day, are less certain of salvation than himself. But when he
comes to consider the social influence of the church, he finds it less
difficult to justify his dislike of Catholic institutions; for in this
direction he is upheld most strongly by traditional prejudice. That
the church fosters ignorance and immorality is to his mind axiomatic.
He still thinks that the darkness, the scandals, and crimes of the
middle ages, which he always exaggerates, are to be ascribed to her
and not to the barbarians. The labors of the learned have long since
shown the old Protestant theory, that the church sought to keep the
people in ignorance, to be not only groundless, but the reverse to be
true; and that not less false is the charge that she encouraged
immorality, however corrupt some who have held high ecclesiastical
positions may have been. But as we have quite recently discussed these
questions,[80] we turn to the subject of the relative influence of the
church and of Protestantism upon civil liberty. Discussions of this
kind, though not new, are nevertheless full of actual interest. The
subject of social liberty profoundly influences the practical
controversies of the age, and bids fair to become of still more vital
moment in the future. The adversaries of the Catholic Church never
feel so secure as when they attack her in the name of freedom. She is
supposed to be the fatal foe of all liberty, intellectual, religious,
and social.

For the present we shall put aside the controversies concerning
liberty of thought and discussion, and confine ourselves to the
examination of the relation of the church to social freedom. And it
will be necessary, in order to institute a comparison between her
action and that of Protestantism, to go back to the first ages to
study her early efforts in behalf of human rights.

Those great battles for human liberty were fought, not by
Christianity, but by the Christian Church. The religion of Christ was
from the beginning corporate and organized; and it was through its
organization that it exerted its influence upon individuals and upon
society. To understand, therefore, the true relation of the church to
liberty, we must study her history in the past as well as in the
present. In fact, it is only in the light of the past that the present
can be understood. The clear perception of her spirit and action
during the centuries which preceded the advent of Protestantism will
enable us to see how far and in what respect the politico-religious
revolution of the sixteenth century was favorable to social freedom.

Human society, like the heavenly bodies, is guided by two forces, the
natural tendencies of which are antagonistic, but whose combined
action, when properly harmonized, produces order. Authority and
Liberty are the centripetal and centrifugal forces of the social
world; but, unlike those which govern the motions of the planets, they
are indefinitely modifiable by free human agency. To regulate these
two powers is the eternal political problem, which is never solved
because the factors of the equation are ever varying and consequently
never known. The exaggeration of the principle of authority is
tyranny; of that of liberty, anarchy; and the excess of the one is
followed by a reaction of the other, so that, whichever preponderates,
the resulting evils are substantially the same. Tyranny is anarchical,
and anarchy is tyrannical; and both are equally destructive of
authority and liberty.

Though authority and liberty, as applied to human society, are
relative terms, they presuppose the absolute, and therefore have as
their only rational basis the existence of a personal God; and hence
the social order is, in its very constitutive elements, religious. In
view of this fact it is not surprising that the state, which is the
symbol of secular society, should be drawn to usurp the functions of
the church, the symbol of the spiritual order. As a result of this
tendency, pre-christian history shows us a universal subordination of
religion to the temporal government, or, what is practically the same,
the identification of the two powers; since, where both are united,
that which regards man’s present, visible, and urgent wants will
always preponderate.

The direct consequence of this was the destruction of liberty;
indirectly it also undermined authority. The state was absolute, and
under the most favorable circumstances, as in the Græco-Roman
civilization, recognized the rights of the citizen, but not those of
man; and even the citizen had rights only in so far as the state saw
fit to grant them. The logical development of the absorption of all
power by the state may be seen in imperial Rome, in which the ruler
was at once emperor, supreme pontiff, and God.

When the Christian, though willing to obey Cæsar in temporal matters,
reserved to himself a whole world upon which he would permit no human
authority to trespass, he asserted, together with the supremacy of his
spiritual nature, the principle to which modern nations owe their
liberties. It would indeed be difficult to exaggerate the influence of
this assertion of the sovereign rights of the individual conscience.
It contains the principles of all rights and the essential elements of
progress and civilization; it is the necessary preamble to every
declaration of human liberties; the logical justification of all
resistance to tyranny, and of every reaction against brute force and
consecrated wrong. It is the impregnable stronghold of freedom,
without which the sentiment of personal independence which the
barbarians brought with them into European life would have been
powerless to found free institutions. That sentiment was as strong in
the North American Indians; in the Tartar and Turkish hordes which
swept down from the table-lands of Asia upon fairer and more fertile
regions; and yet with them it only subserved the cause of despotism.
It is, indeed, inherent in human nature. To be self-conscious is to
wish to be free and to take delight in the possession of liberty. This
feeling finds a sanctuary in the heart of every boy who roams the
forest, or plunges through the stream, or beholds the eagle cleave the
blue heavens. It was as active in the breasts of the early Greeks and
Romans as in the barbarians who rushed headlong upon a falling empire.
The love of liberty was, in fact, with them a sublime passion, and yet
they were unable to found free institutions because the state,
absorbing the whole man, made itself absolute.

They lacked, moreover, that of which the barbarians were also
deprived—the knowledge of the worth and dignity of human nature. Man,
as man, was not honored; to have any rights did not come of our common
nature, but of the accident of citizenship. Slavery was consecrated as
being not only just but necessary; and the slave was outside the pale
of the law. Woman was degraded and infant life was not held sacred. In
nothing is the contrast between modern and ancient civilizations more
striking than in their manner of regarding human life. With us the
life of the unborn child is under the protection of conscience, of
public opinion, and of the law equally with that of the highest and
noblest. Its value to the state, to society, to the world, is not
considered; we think of it only as a creature of God, endowed by him
with rights which men may not violate. But this doctrine is unknown to
paganism. In Rome the father was free either to bring up his child or
to murder it; even the laws of Romulus grant him this privilege, with
the nominal restriction of obtaining the consent of the nearest of
kin; but under the empire his right to kill his newly-born infant was
fully recognized. The abandonment of children by their parents was a
universal custom, and one of which the Emperor Augustus approved in
the case of the infant of his niece Julia. If child-murder was not a
crime, abortion, of course, was no offence at all, and was universally
practised, especially among the rich. The contempt in which human life
was held is seen also in the public games—in which hundreds of men
were made to butcher one another merely for the amusement of the
spectators—as well as in the power of life and death of the master
over his slave.

It has been maintained quite recently that those who gave their
approval and lent the countenance of their presence to these
inhumanities were not therefore cruel; that, on the contrary, many of
them were kind-hearted and benevolent; but this, if we grant it, makes
our argument all the stronger, since it proves that the system was
more vicious than the men. A social state which does not respect life
is incompatible with liberty. It would be vain to seek for the origin
of our free institutions in any supposed peculiarities of our
barbarous ancestors. Nothing short of a radical revolution of thought
as to what man is could have made civil liberty possible. It was
necessary to re-endow the individual with absolute and inviolable
rights in the presence of the state. Man had to be taught that he is
more than the state; that to be man is godlike, to be a citizen is
human; but this he could not learn so long as he remained helplessly
under the absolute power of the state; nor could he, with the
conviction that the state is the highest and that he exists for it,
make any effort to break the bonds of his servitude. Before this could
be possible he had to be received into a society distinct from, and
independent of, the state; he had to be made fully conscious that he
is a child of God, in whose sight slaves have equal rights with kings.
It was necessary to bring out man’s personal destiny in strong
contrast to the pagan view, which took in only his social mission, and
this narrowly and imperfectly.

This is what the Christian religion did: it created a personal
self-consciousness which made heroes of the commonest natures. The
Roman died for his country; the Christian died for God and for his own
soul’s sake. He was not led to brave death by the majesty of the city,
of the empire, or by the memory of the victories which had borne his
country’s arms in triumph through the world, but by his own individual
faith and duty as a man with a personal and immortal destiny. When the
Christian appealed from emperors and senates and armies, from the
power and force of the whole world, to God, it was the single human
soul asserting itself as something above and beyond this visible
universe. Never before had the eternal and the infinite come so near
to man; never before had he so felt his own immortal strength. He was
lifted up into the heaven of heavens, stood face to face with the
everlasting verities of God, became a dweller in the world that is,
and the garments of space and time fell from his new-born soul. He was
free; strong in the liberty with which Christ had clothed him, he
defied all tyrannies. “As we have not placed our hope,” said Justin to
the Emperor Antoninus, “on things which are seen, we fear not those
who take away our lives; death being, moreover, unavoidable.” The
pagan Roman knew, indeed, how to die; but his death, though full of
grandeur and dignity, was sombre and hopeless; he died as the victim
of fate. To the Christian death came as the messenger of life; he died
as one who is certain of eternity, as one whose soul is free and
belongs to himself and God. This sense of a personal destiny which is
eternal, of infinite responsibility, gave to the individual a strength
and independence of character for which we will seek in vain among the
religions of paganism. It is a feeling wholly distinct from the
barbarian’s dislike of restraint. The love of wild and adventurous
life neither fits men for the enjoyment of liberty nor predisposes
them to grant it to others.

The more we study the history of Christian nations, the more profound
is our conviction that without their religion they could never have
won their liberties, which even now without this divine support could
not be maintained. It is to our religion that we are indebted for the
creation of popular free speech. Before Christ gave the divine
commission to the apostles, philosophers had discoursed to their
chosen disciples, and orators had declaimed to citizens, on the
interests of the state; but no one had spoken to the people as moral
beings with duties and responsibilities which lift them into the world
of the infinite and eternal. There were priesthoods, but they were
mute before the people, intent upon hiding from them all knowledge of
their mysteries. Religious eloquence did not exist; it first received
a voice on the shores of the Lake of Genesareth and on the hills of
Judea, in the preaching of Jesus, who remains for ever its highest
exponent, speaking as one who had authority with godlike liberty on
whatever most nearly touches the dearest interests of men; speaking
chiefly to the people, bringing back to their minds the long-forgotten
truths which prove them the royal race of God. The preaching of God’s
word with the liberty of Heaven, which no earthly authority might
lessen, became the great school of the human race; it was the first
popular teaching, and like an electric thrill it ran through the
earth. It belongs exclusively to the religion of Christ. Mahomet, who
sought to borrow it, was able to catch only its feeble echo. This free
Christian public speech is unlike all other oratory; it possesses an
incommunicable characteristic, through which it has exercised the most
beneficent influence upon the destinies of mankind. It is essentially
spiritual, lifts the soul above the flesh, and creates new ideals of
life; inspiring contempt for whatever is low and passing, it begets
enthusiasm for the divine and eternal. It is a voice whose soul-thrill
is love, the boundless love of God and of men, who are the children of
this love, and therefore brothers. This voice cannot be bought, it
cannot be silenced. _Currit verbum_, said St. Paul, and again from his
prison-cell: “But the word of God is not fettered.” On innumerable
lips it is born ever anew; and always and everywhere it is a protest
against the brutality of power, an appeal in the name of God, our
Father in heaven, in behalf of the poor, the oppressed, the
disinherited of humanity. Men may still be tyrants, may still crush
the weak and sacrifice truth and justice to their lustful appetites;
but the voice of God, threatening, commanding, rebuking, shall be
silent nevermore.

Festus will tremble before Paul; at the bidding of Ambrose Theodosius
will repent; and before Hildebrand the brutal Henry will bow his head.
At the sound of this voice all Europe shall rouse itself, shall rush,
impelled by some divine instinct, into the heart of Asia, to strike
the mighty power which threatened to blight the budding hope of the
world. If we would understand the relations of the church to liberty,
we must consider the influence of this free speech, which, without
asking the permission of king or people, impelled by a divine
necessity, made itself heard of the whole earth. Over the door of his
Academy Plato had inscribed: “None but geometers enter here”; over the
portals of the church was written the word of Christ: “Come to me, all
ye who labor and are heavy laden.” “All you,” exclaimed St. Augustine,
“who labor, who dig the earth, who fish in the sea, who carry burdens,
or slowly and painfully construct the barks in which your brothers
will dare the waves—all enter here, and I will explain to you not only
the γνῶθι σεαυτόν of Socrates, but the most hidden of mysteries—the
Trinity.” This new eloquence was as large as the human race; it was
for all, and first of all for the poor and the oppressed. It was not
artistic, in the technical meaning; it did not captivate the senses;
it was not polished. There was no showy marshalling of words and
phrases, no sweet and varied modulation of voice, no graceful and
commanding gesture. Around the altar were gathered the slave, the
beggar, the halt, and the blind—the oppressed and suffering race of
men. If with them were found the rich and high-born, they were there
as brothers—their wealth and noble birth entered not into the church
of Christ. Here there was neither freeman nor slave—all were one. Thus
in every Christian assembly was typed the humanity which was to be
when all men would be brothers and free. To this new race the apostle
of Christ spoke: “My brothers,” he said, or “My children”; and though
all history and all society shrieked out against him, his hearers felt
and knew that his words were God’s truth. The heart is not deceived in
love. “I seek not yours,” he said, “but you; for God is my witness how
I long after you all in the heart of Jesus Christ.… I could wish that
myself were accursed, if only my brethren be saved.” And then, with
the liberty which love alone can inspire, he threatened, rebuked,
implored, laid bare the hidden wounds of the soul, nor feared to
become an enemy for speaking the truth. To the great and rich he spoke
in the plainest and strongest manner, reminding them of their duties,
denouncing their indifference, their cruelty, their injustice; and
then, in words soft as oil, he breathed hope and courage into the
hearts of those who suffer, showing them beyond this short and
delusive life the certain reward of their struggles and sorrows. He
taught them that the soul is the highest, that purity is the best,
that only the clean of heart see God; that man’s chief worth lies in
that which is common to all, derived from God and for him created.
Human life was perishing, wastefully poured through the senses on
every carnal thing. No love of beauty or truth or justice was left.
The mind was darkened, the heart was paralyzed. The great, strong
human passions that bore the people of Rome in triumph through the
earth were dead; everywhere, in religion, in art, in manners, was the
deadly blight of materialism; a kind of delirium hurried all men into
animal indulgences fatal alike to soul and body. To a race thus glued
to the earth by carnal appetites came the voice of the apostle,
preaching Christ and him crucified; telling of the divine love that
had bowed the heavens and brought down to men God’s own Son to suffer,
to labor, to die for them. He was poor, he was meek and humble, he
fasted, he prayed; he comforted the sorrowful, gave hope to the
despairing; he offered up his life for men. Such as he was those who
believe in him must be. To serve the lusts of the flesh, to be
heartless, to be cruel, to be unjust, is to have no part with him. The
greed of gold and of pleasure had reduced the masses of men to slavery
and beggary; those who would follow God’s Son in the perfect way were
to sell what they had, to give to the poor. The whole race of men was
fallen, sunk in sin; the disciples of Christ were bidden to separate
themselves from a world which had denied God, that, having received
faith, hope, and love through union with him, they might bring to the
dying peoples a new life.

The Christian religion turned the mind’s eye from the contemplation of
beauty of form to the inner life of the soul; from thoughts of power
and success to principles of right and justice. All the forces of
society had been brought together to develop in its highest potency
the passion of patriotism, which, bending to its purpose all the
powers of individual life, had created mighty states, embellished them
with art, crowned them with victory, made them eternal in literature
that cannot die; but on the altar of all this glory man had been
sacrificed. Patriotism had failed, hopelessly failed, to satisfy the
unutterable longings of an immortal race. It was based upon false
principles and perverted instincts. Man’s end is not more fulfilled in
citizenship in a great and prosperous state than in the possession of
vast wealth. The religion of patriotism was a low and material creed
without eternal verities upon which to rest. Power was its divinity,
and it was therefore without mercy; success was its justification, and
it consequently trampled upon right. It is not surprising that such
principles should have created states whose chief business was to prey
upon the human race, and which, when conquest was no longer possible,
were brought to ruin by the viciousness of their essential
constitutions. In fact, patriotism, as understood by the pre-christian
states, was a denial of the principles out of which the common law of
Christendom has grown. It placed the interests of the nation above
those of the race, and thereby justified all inhumanity if only it
tended to the particular good of the state.

In contradiction of this unjust and narrow spirit, the Christian
preacher declared that man’s first duty is to God, as his first aim
should be to seek God’s kingdom by purifying and developing his own
moral nature. He declared that man is more than the state, as God is
more than the world; inspiring in another form those views of the
paramount worth of the individual soul without which there could be no
successful reaction against the slavery and degradation of paganism.
“The world,” said Tertullian, “is the common country and republic of
all men.”

These principles gradually worked their way, through “the foolishness
of preaching,” into the minds and hearts of the masses and became the
leaven of a new society. Let us examine their action more specially.
In the church the brotherhood of the race was from the earliest day
not only taught but recognized as a fact. “There is neither Jew nor
Greek,” said St. Paul, “neither bond nor free, neither male nor
female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This doctrine is stated
in various places in the New Testament with such emphasis as to leave
no doubt of its true meaning. It is equally certain, however, that the
apostles did not proclaim the emancipation of the slaves. “Let those
who are servants under the yoke,” said the same apostle who declared
that in Christ there was neither bond nor free, “count their masters
worthy of all honor, lest the name of the Lord and his doctrines be

It was not the spirit of the Christian faith to encourage visionary
schemes or to awaken wild dreams of liberty; but rather to subdue and
chasten the heart, to make men content to bear worthily the ills of
life by giving to suffering a meaning and a blessing.

The misery of the pagan slave was extreme, but it was also hopeless.
He believed himself the victim of relentless fate, from whose power
death was the only deliverance, and he therefore rushed wildly into
all excess, giving little thought to whether he should live to see the
morrow. Suffering for him was without meaning—a remediless evil, a
blind punishment inflicted by remorseless destiny. For this reason
also his wretchedness excited no pity. Even as late as the time of St.
Ambrose the pagans were accustomed to say: “We care not to give to
people whom the gods must have cursed, since they have left them in
sorrow and want.”

But with the preaching of Christ, and him crucified, came the divine
doctrine of expiatory suffering—of suffering that purifies,
regenerates, ennobles, begets the unselfish temper and the heroic
mood. When the Christian suffered he was but filling up the measure of
the sufferings of Christ. The slave, laboring for his master, was not
seeking to please men; he was “the servant of Christ, doing the will
of God from the heart”; “knowing that whatsoever good any man shall
do, the same shall he receive from the Lord, whether he be bond or
free.” Masters in turn were taught to treat their slaves kindly and
gently, even as brothers; “knowing that the Lord both of them and of
you is in heaven, and with him there is no respect of persons.”

Thus, without attempting to destroy slavery by schemes that must have
been premature, the Christian religion changed its nature by diffusing
correct notions concerning the mutual rights and duties implied in the
relations of master and slave. The slave as a brother in Christ is
separated by a whole world from the slave who is a tool or chattel.
Who can read St. Paul’s Epistle to Philemon, written in behalf of the
fugitive slave Onesimus, without perceiving the radical revolution
which Christianity was destined to make in regard to slavery? “I
beseech thee for my son, Onesimus: … receive him as my own heart; no
longer as a slave, but as a most dear brother. If he hath wronged thee
in anything, or is in thy debt, put it to my account.”

This is after all but the application of the teaching of Christ: I was
hungry, I was thirsty, I was sick, I was a captive, and ye fed me, ye
gave me to drink, ye visited me; for inasmuch as ye have done this for
the least of my brethren, ye have done it for me. In every suffering
and wronged human being there is the Christ to be honored, to be
loved, to be served. Whosoever refuses to take part in this ministry
places himself outside the kingdom of God.

Slavery, from the Christian point of view, is but one of the thousand
ills entailed upon the human race by the transgression of Adam; it is
enrooted, not in nature, but in sin; and as Christ died to destroy
sin, his religion must tend to diminish and gradually abolish its
moral results. The freedom of all men in Christ which the great
apostle so boldly proclaims must in time find its counterpart in the
equality of all men before the law. Indeed, the admission of the slave
into the Christian brotherhood logically implied the abolition of
slavery. It so raised the individual by giving him the knowledge of
his true dignity, and so softened the master’s treatment, that the
moral elevation of the whole class was the inevitable result. In this
way the church made the slave worthy to be free, and from this to
liberty there is but a step. “We teach the slaves,” said Origen, “how
they may beget in themselves a noble spirit, and so become free”; and
it need not surprise us, therefore, when Lactantius testifies that
among Christians already in his day the difference between master and
slave was but formal; in spirit both were brothers and fellow-servants
of Christ. Nor is it remarkable that as evidence of this moral
regeneration we should find the slaves among the early martyrs. There
is an example of the sentiments which Christians entertained for their
slaves in the self-reproaches of St. Paulinus in his letter to
Sulpicius Severus: “He has served me,” he wrote; “he has been my
slave. Woe to me, who have suffered that he who has never been a slave
to sin should serve a sinner. Every day he washed my feet, and, had I
permitted it, would have cleansed my sandals; eager to render every
service to the body, that he might gain dominion over the soul. It is
Jesus Christ himself whom I venerate in this youth; for every faithful
soul comes from God, and every one who is humble of heart proceeds
from the very heart of Christ.” Men who felt so lovingly and so deeply
for their fellows could not long consent to hold them in bondage. “We
have known,” wrote Pope Clement to the Corinthians, “many of the
faithful to become bondsmen that they might ransom their brethren.”

Pagan masters, such as Hermes and Chromatius, on the occasion of their
baptism gave freedom to their slaves; and holy women, like St.
Melania, induced their husbands to follow this example. “Every day,”
wrote Salvian in the fifth century, “slaves receive the right of
citizenship and are permitted to carry with them whatever they have
saved in the house of their master.” And we know, upon the authority
of St. Gregory of Nyssa, that these manumissions frequently took place
at Easter and other solemn festivals of the church. After the
conversion of Constantine the influence of the church induced the
civil authority to relax the severity of its legal enactments
concerning slaves. Their manumission, especially from religious
motives, was facilitated and the cruelty of masters was restrained.
The successors of Constantine, particularly Justinian, continued to
act in the same generous spirit, until finally, in the sixth century,
all the harsher pagan laws were abolished, and men who had been slaves
were even admitted to holy orders. This wonderful change in the policy
of the Roman state had been wrought by the pressure of Christian
influences. The voices of the great preachers, St. Chrysostom, St.
Ambrose, St. Augustine, never wearied in pleading the cause of the
slave; the councils of the church placed them under the protection of
the ecclesiastical law; the bishops and priests defended them against
the cruelty of their masters; and when once they were free, the church
clothed their liberty with an inviolable sanctity. In other ways, too,
religious influences were at work to destroy slavery. The universal
custom of the ancient pagan nations, which deprived captives of war of
their freedom, was an unfailing source of supply to the slave markets.
Though the church was unable at once to erase from the battle-flags of
the ancient world the _Væ victis_, she found means to alleviate the
lot of the captive.

We have quoted the words of St. Clement to show that in his day
already Christians not unfrequently took upon themselves voluntary
servitude in order to redeem their brethren. The property of the
church was considered best employed when used for the redemption of
captives. For this purpose the bishops were permitted to sell even the
sacred vessels of the altar. “Since our Redeemer, the Creator of all
things,” wrote Pope St. Gregory, “has vouchsafed in his goodness to
become man, in order to restore to us our first liberty by breaking,
through his divine grace, the bonds of servitude by which we were held
captive, it is a holy deed to give to men, by enfranchisement, their
native freedom; for in the beginning nature made them all free, and
they have been subjected to the yoke of slavery only by the law of

A council held at Rome under this great pope (A.D. 595) decreed that
slaves who wished to enter the monastic life should receive their
liberty; and so great was the number of those who availed themselves
of this privilege that the masters on all sides loudly complained of
it as an intolerable abuse. The church of the middle ages went still
further in the warfare for human liberty. Slavery existed among the
Germanic races which overran the Roman Empire and took possession of
its territory; and with them, too, the slave was the property of the
master, who had the right to exchange, to sell, or even to put him to

The struggle which had been but begun amidst the corruptions of
ancient Rome with an effete and dying race was renewed with the wild
and rugged children of the forest. In this great battle for the rights
of man the monks came forward as the leaders. In many convents it was
forbidden to have slaves, and when the wealthy took the monastic habit
they were required to emancipate their slaves.

A council held in England in 816 ordained that at the death of a
bishop all his English slaves should be given their freedom; and at
the Council of Armagh, in 1172, all English slaves in Ireland were
emancipated. The Council of Coblentz, held in 922, declares that he
who sells a Christian into slavery is guilty of murder.

Numerous decrees of ecclesiastical synods condemned the slave-trade,
and with such efficacy that by the end of the tenth century slaves
were no longer sold in the kingdom of the Franks.

In the British Islands this abuse was not eradicated till towards the
close of the twelfth century. In Bohemia it was abolished in the
tenth, and in Sweden in the thirteenth century. The church continued
to buy slaves in order to give them their liberty. The right of asylum
was given to those who fled from the cruelty of their masters. The
historical records of manumission in the middle ages, as preserved in
testamentary acts, almost universally assign religious motives for the
emancipation of slaves.

The efforts of the church in the first centuries of Christianity, and
later too, in behalf of the weak and the oppressed—woman, the child,
and the slave—are intimately connected with the progress of civil
liberty. It is impossible for us, who are the children of two thousand
years of Christian influences, to realize the full significance of her
enthusiastic devotion to the people, poor, suffering, and degraded, in
an age in which no other voice than hers pleaded for them. In order to
do this we should be able to place ourselves in the midst of the old
pagan world, so as to contemplate the abject condition to which the
masses of men had been reduced—a state so pitiable that possibly
nothing short of the appearance of God himself, in poverty and sorrow,
could have inspired the courage even to hope for better things.

The history of heathenism, in the past as in the present, is marked by
contempt for man, by the degradation of the multitude. In this respect
the civilization of Greece and Rome was not different from that of
India and China in our own day. If in Christian nations, after long
struggles and terrible conflicts, a better state of social existence
has been brought about, we owe it to Christ working in and through his
church. To render liberty possible an intellectual and moral
revolution had to take place. New ideas as to what man is in himself
simply, new sentiments as to what is due him by virtue of his very
nature, new doctrines as to what all men owe to all men, had to be
preached and accepted before there could be any question of civil
reform in the direction of larger and more universal liberty.
Institutions, laws, constitutions are mechanical, the surfaces of
things, social garments which, unless they cover and protect some
inner life and divine truth, are merely useless forms. Liberty,
individual and social, is inseparable from self-control, which is born
of self-denial. Good men cannot be made by good laws any more than by
good clothes. Man, of course, is influenced, in part educated, by what
he wears as by what he eats; but it does not follow that the wisest
course would be to hand over the children, body and soul, to cooks and
tailors. Not less unreasonable is it to surrender them to politicians
to be drilled and fashioned by the mechanical appliances of

Liberty is of the soul; it is from this sanctuary that it passes into
the laws and customs of society. Men who are slaves in heart cannot be
made free by legislative enactments. The church of Christ taught men
how to be worthy to be free by showing them liberty’s great
law—self-denial; by restoring to the soul the sovereignty of which it
had been deprived since the gates of Paradise were barred; by clothing
human nature with inviolable sacredness and inalienable rights; by
proclaiming that man, for being simply man, is worthy of all love and

When Christ came, the slave, without honor and without hope, was
everywhere. The master was like his slave. Surrounded by human herds,
to whom vice in its most degrading forms had become a necessity, he
breathed in an atmosphere of corruption against whose deadly poison he
was powerless to contend. His life was a fever alternating between
lust and blood. The debauched are always cruel, and as men sank deeper
into the slough of sensual indulgence the cry for carnage grew
fiercer. Nothing but the hacking and mangling of human bodies could
rouse the senses, deadened by the gratification of brutish passions.
Here and there a stray voice protested, but only in the sad tones of
despair. Hope had fled; the world was prostrate; in the mephitic air
of sensuous indulgence the soul was stifled; the poor were starving
and the rich were glutted; a thousand slaves could hardly feed the
stomach of Dives; and Jesus Christ took Lazarus in his arms, and in a
voice from heaven called upon all who believed in God and in man to
follow him in the service of outraged humanity; and his voice was
re-echoed through the earth and through the ages. At its sound the
despairing took heart, the dead lived, the poor heard the new gospel
of glad tidings, and the slave, crushed and ignored by human society,
found citizenship and liberty in the kingdom of God.

     [80] “A Sequel of the Gladstone Controversy.” THE CATHOLIC
          WORLD, February, March, and April.


The glorious sun of Easter morning, 1875, arose in splendor, gilding
the domes and turrets of the Eternal City with burnished gold,
picturing to the mind the gates of Paradise this day opened by the Sun
of Righteousness. The Roman people were early astir, though no cannon
sounded from Mount St. Angelo to usher in the great festival, nor
papal banner flung its folds to the breeze from that old citadel this
bright spring day to speak to Christians of him whom our Lord
appointed to watch over his sheep.

After early Masses at the church of Sant Andrea delle Fratte, so much
beloved and sought after by English and American Catholics in Rome as
the place where Ratisbon the Jew received the great gift of faith, we
took our way to the Basilica of St. Peter. Multitudes filled the
streets, men and women in holiday attire, but not with the old-time
life and exhilaration of a great _festa_. Loss does not sit lightly on
the Roman; and everywhere there seemed to be something wanting to make
this day what it should have been; no grand processions, no public
solemn High Mass celebrated with august ceremonies by his Holiness, no
precious benedictions from his paternal hand. A veil hung over the
face of our Easter joys; for the Bride of Christ sat in sackcloth.

When we entered on the pavement of St. Peter’s, far-off sounds of
joyous music came from the canon’s chapel, scarcely reaching the
hallowed arches without; but a wail of sadness, a chord of grief, ran
through it all, for wicked men had made it impossible that our Holy
Father should present himself at the altar where he alone officiates,
lest his presence should excite tumult and bloodshed among his dear
children. High Mass was being celebrated in the canon’s chapel, which
contains one of the forty or more altars of St. Peter’s, and is shut
off from the aisle by a glass partition. Crowds had pressed in among
the dignitaries of the church, and far out into the nave hundreds were
uniting themselves to the Holy Sacrifice there offered.

There is perhaps no place on earth where a person can be so entirely
alone among a multitude as at St. Peter’s. Each one seems bent upon
the particular purpose that brought him there. The church on this day
contained twelve thousand people at least (we heard the number rated
much higher), but no noise was heard save the constant footfall on the
marble pavement and the faint echo of the voices from the choir, while
of room there was no lack. Low Masses were being celebrated at many of
the altars, around which gathered groups of attentive worshippers; and
when the tinkling of the small bell hung at the door of the sacristy
gave notice of another Mass, from every quarter persons were seen
moving rapidly forward following the priest to the altar where he was
to celebrate.

Many there were in that privileged place on that holy day who had come
from motives of curiosity, to see what it was all like—gazers who
looked upon Catholics with cool contempt as but a step removed from
the heathen to whom they send missionaries; the industrious
sight-seeker, the tourist, whom no solemn function can hold more than
a few minutes, coming even on Easter day with their red-covered
‘Bädeker,’ and sometimes with their opera-glasses levelled at the
altar where the priest was saying Mass, and walking with perfect
nonchalance over and among the people kneeling in devotion. They spoke
to each other in undertones (intelligible to one of their own tongue),
and with visible sneers, of the subjection and superstition of “these
Romanists.” A few of them were Americans, while more were English;
but, it is needless to say, none of them persons of good breeding.

Long lines of students from the various colleges in Rome passed and
repassed, each in their distinctive color, pausing a moment on bended
knee to speak to our dear Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, then going
onward toward the hundred lamps that burn continually before the tomb
of the Prince of the Apostles, and passing quietly out again to visit
some other temple. There were schools of boys and schools of girls in
picturesque costumes, charity children and children of princes, all
kneeling together before their common Lord, all seeking their share in
his Easter benedictions. Streams of people flowed in from the
Campagna, often rough, ragged, unkempt—the women in their harlequin
holiday clothes, the men in goat-skin breeches and brilliant vests.
These, like the others, had come _home_; for St. Peter’s is a home for
all, and the poorest beggar feels that he has a right within those
consecrated walls. Soldiers and officers in the varied uniform of the
Italian army walked about listlessly, sometimes haughtily, only a few
bending their knee as they recognized the divine Presence. We pitied
them greatly; to be an earnest Catholic in Victor Emanuel’s army must
be a great trial to one’s faith.

The numerous confessionals, for many different languages, were the
resort of wayfarers that day, while the confessors sat quietly at
their posts hour after hour listening to the tale of sin and
repentance. Almost every Catholic paused to touch and kiss the foot of
the bronze statue of St. Peter, worn by centuries of devout kisses.
The statue had this day a new attraction; for over it was hung a
gorgeous drapery of scarlet and gold. We found that these rich
hangings, so graceful and beautiful, were in mosaic from the famous
workshop of the Vatican. A fine portrait of the Holy Father crowned
the whole, wrought from the same material, and a very satisfactory

This calls to mind an incident which took place in the Vatican
Basilica a short time before the Easter day of which we are writing.
We had gone to St. Peter’s for Lenten rest and refreshment, and,
having visited the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, were directing our
steps to the altar of our Blessed Mother, when a sacristan politely
requested us to leave the church. We were inclined to rebel for a
moment, till we observed the whole assembly, priests as well as
people, moving towards the entrance; we followed, of course, and the
doors were closed. So surprising a movement in the middle of the day
was the cause of much questioning, and it was discovered that his
Holiness wished to see the decorations put over the statue of St.
Peter by his orders. He could not appear before the congregation, lest
the zeal of his Catholic children might get the better of their
prudence, and cries of _Viva il Papa!_ might bring upon innocent
friends the indignation of the Italian government, as they had done on
a former occasion.

This day we were to see no illuminations of the grand façade and the
broad portico; no brilliantly-lighted cupola, visible to the furthest
corner of Rome; none of the imposing ceremonies that have been so much
sought after and admired by Protestants. These latter go away from the
Easter celebrations dissatisfied, sometimes annoyed and angry, that
they should be deprived of the fine sights “just for a whim of the
Pope.” We heard them utter these words as we passed down the massive
steps leading to the piazza. They seemed to forget that holy church
puts not forth her beauties solely for the delectation of Protestants
who come to Rome at Christmas and Easter “to see sights.” They might
know that when her Head is bowed with sorrow, all true children of the
church carry the same cross, the whole body suffering with the head.
There was joy tempered with much sadness in our hearts as we went from
the noble basilica and wandered away to the Coliseum, fit emblem of
the church in the Rome of to-day. Ruthless hands—hands of those who
would make Rome like any modern city—have shorn this sacred spot of
half its beauties; hard hearts have stripped it of its hallowed
stations and forbidden the people to pray where the martyrs shed their





As a lavish and yet unwasteful abundance was the first condition and
eminent characteristic of the creation, so is longanimity, or
patience, the special quality which marks the dealings of God with his
creatures, in the gradual and long-enduring developments of his
government. It is the quality to which we are most indebted, and yet
which, as regards the history of mankind, we value and understand the
least. Possibly the fact of our own brevity of life, as compared with
the multitude of thoughts, efforts, and emotions which the immortality
of our being crowds across the narrow limit of time, leaving an
impression of breathlessness and haste, may put it almost out of our
power—save as all things are possible by the grace of God—to raise
ourselves to any approximate appreciation of God’s long-enduring
patience. And this is increased in the minds of those who are zealous
for God’s glory. They chafe at the outrages committed against his law;
they sicken before the long, dreary aspect of man’s incredulity and
hardness of heart; and the rise of a new heresy, the advent of an
antipope, or the horrors of a French Revolution lead them hastily to
conclude, and impatiently to wish, that the last day may be at hand.
Experience is a slow process. At fifty a man only begins to learn the
great value of life and to look back with marvel at the lavish waste
of his earlier years. But if to the individual the convictions
resulting from experience are of slow and laborious growth, they are
still more so to the multitude. Consequently, though more than
eighteen hundred years have come and gone since St. John wrote to his
disciples, “Little children, it is the last hour,” nevertheless the
pious of all shades of opinion in all ages have not been afraid to
utter random guesses that the end of the world cannot be far off
because of the wickedness of men. It is indeed true, as the Holy Ghost
spoke by St. John, that it is the “last hour.” But what does that
“last hour” mean? Not surely a literal last hour or last day, but a
last epoch. The epoch in the history of the cosmos before the coming
of the Redeemer—that is, before the hypostatic union in a visible,
tangible, and real human body of the second Person of the Triune
Godhead—was the first hour, or the first epoch. The period since the
Incarnation is the last hour, or the last epoch; because nothing
mightier or greater can take place than the fact of God taking flesh
in the womb of the Blessed Virgin. It is the consummation; it is the
one great end of all creation. This last epoch will have its eras,
evolving themselves within the bosom of the Catholic Church, just as
the first epoch had its eras in the diverse revelations which God made
of himself to man; and which were, if we may use the term without
seeming to derogate from their unspeakable importance and their divine
origin, of a more desultory nature than those which are, and shall be,
accorded to God’s spouse, the infallible church. What is this but to
say again what we are endeavoring to express in every page, namely,
that “He who sitteth on the white horse went forth conquering, that he
_might conquer_”;[81] and that God’s work ever has been, is now, and
ever will be a progressive work. “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O
Thou most mighty. With thy comeliness and thy beauty set out,
_proceed_ prosperously and reign.”[82] When the whole of Scripture is
teeming with promises of future more glorious eras of which we now
only see the germ, developed here and there in some favored soul, in
some special corner of God’s vast vineyard, the church (for the saints
have always been men of the future, in advance of their own time), is
it not a marvel to hear desponding men talking as though there were
nothing better to be hoped for than the end of the world, coming, as
they seem to expect it, like a terrific frost which shall nip in the
bud all the, as yet, unfulfilled promises, and drown the wicked in a
deluge of flame! And this we expect and almost desire, hoping we
ourselves may be saved, but without a second thought for God’s
beautiful earth, which he has blessed a thousand fold by his own
divine footprints on its surface; and where he now makes his
tabernacle in ten thousand churches, waiting, nay watching, with that
ineffable patience of his, whose cycles of longanimity we are
incapable of appreciating!

But it is cruel to speak harshly of a few words of discouragement
falling from the lips of those who are weary with vigils waiting for
new daylight. Only let us learn that the Sun of Righteousness to our
perceptions, as it were, sets and rises again. We are like children
who think when the glorious golden disc has sunk beneath the horizon
that it is utterly gone and is perhaps extinct, while on the contrary
the children of another hemisphere are playing in the warmth of its
beams; so we see the dark clouds of evil hiding from us the light of
grace, first in one spot, then in another, and we grow downcast and
impatient. We forget that “not one jot or one tittle shall pass of the
law till all be fulfilled”;[83] and that our Lord tells us he “did not
come to destroy either the law or the prophets, but to fulfil them.”
Bearing this in mind, let our readers take up the Psalms and the
Prophets, and study, with a deliberate faith in the inspired words,
the promises which concern the future of the world under the tent of
the church, the place of which tent shall be enlarged that she may
“pass on to the right hand and to the left; and inhabit the [now]
desolate cities.”[84]

It is a want of hope—and let us ever remember that hope is a virtue,
and not a mere quality or faculty of the mind—which leads us to read
the stupendously sublime promises of God to the whole earth in the
future of the church, as so much beautiful imagery of which a limited
application manifests itself, from time to time, in the partial
conversion of some thousands here and there over the vast face of the
semi-civilized world, while millions upon millions remain heathens,
Hindoos, Jews, and Mussulmans. We read these glorious utterances of
the Scriptures with the restrained admiration of one who, while
admiring a poem, makes allowances for the “fine frenzy” of the poet.
We take it _cum grano salis_, and forget that it is the trumpet voice
of absolute truth; and that whether or no it point to a millennium
upon earth—a question left open by the church, and so little discussed
as yet by her modern theologians that we will not dwell upon it—it
must mean all it says; and, after the fashion of God’s gifts, more
than we can conceive. This, then, is what the patience and longanimity
of God is leading us to. These glories, which have exhausted the
tenderest as well as the most powerful utterance of language to
depict, are the future of the church, when the spouse of Christ shall
be the mistress of the world. St. Paul in the Epistle to the Hebrews,
quoting the eighth Psalm on the high destinies of man, says, “Thou
hast subjected all things under his feet,” and adds, “but we see not
as yet all things subject to him.” Nevertheless the delay gave no
place for doubt that the promise should have an ultimate and complete
fulfilment; while he unfolds to us the wherefore of these sublime
predictions, the only adequate reason why the human race should be
crowned with glory and honor—the one, sole emphatic cause, namely,
that all creation is in and for the Incarnation; that the Incarnation
is the basement, and the sublime architrave and final coping-stone of
the whole edifice; that the creation is for him as entirely as it is
by him, and that man is the younger brother of his Redeemer, and
shares in his inheritance.

We have already spoken of the indirect and adaptive government of God;
of “the government which he condescends to administer in his world
through the moral and physical activity with which he has endowed
mankind.” We have shown that the representative law of creation is
“increase and multiply.” We now come to the fact that since the fall
the corollary of that law is labor and toil. The earth from
henceforward brought forth thorns and thistles; in other words, on all
sides obstacles and difficulties met the advancing steps of the
discrowned lord of creation. Speaking according to the eternal decrees
of God, and not according to their manifestation through time, we
should say that the younger and fallen sons of God had to reconquer
the world they were given to reign over, as the elder Son of God, he
who is from all eternity, has, in consequence of the same fall, to
reconquer the reign of grace in the souls of men, step by step,
vanquishing the thorns and thistles with which our unbelief and
iniquity tear and rend his bleeding feet! There is God’s work going on
in the material world, and there is God’s work going on in the
spiritual world. And what we want to do is to persuade our readers not
so constantly to put the two in opposition, as though, while the
progress of grace is exclusively God’s work, material progress were
quite as exclusively man’s work—to say nothing of those who hold it to
be the devil’s work.

When the three Persons of the ever blessed Trinity said, “Let us make
man,” it was with the expressed intention that he should have dominion
over the whole earth—“_universæ terræ_.” That constitution of man as
the lord of creation was not annulled when man fell. It is true that
it became a dominion he had to contest with the beasts of the forest,
who were originally to have been his willing slaves; with the thorns
and thistles that ever since bar his passage; and with the convulsions
of nature, to the secret harmonies of which he had lost the key; while
the angelic guardians of the cosmos could not hold intercourse with
him in his degraded state, who, although they be “ministering
spirits,” are so in secret only, until the time shall come for their
promised mission upon earth. Nevertheless man was a monarch still,
though a fallen monarch. Or rather we should say that, as redeemed
man, he is God’s viceroy; and in that character is reconquering the
material world, that as the ages roll on the church, the spouse of
Jesus, may “lengthen her cords and strengthen her stakes.”[85]

Materialism is no necessary consequence of material progress.
Scientific discovery, whether as regards the solar system, the dynamic
forces, chemical affinities, or the properties of the world’s flora,
the habits of its fauna and the uses to which all these may be put,
is—next to the development of theological truth, of which in a certain
sense, as will one day be proved, it is the correlative—the highest
gift of God. It is simply man’s fulfilment of his second and inferior
mission upon earth. His first mission, or rather his vocation, is to
save his soul from sin, and to live in union with his God. His second
is to fill the one spot, be it wide or narrow, which God has assigned
him in the creation with all the faculties of his mind and intellect.
It may be a very small, a scarcely discernible spot that he occupies;
but in his degree he too has to conquer his territorial inch and
govern in the creation, though he do so but as a shepherd or a
ploughman. We are conscious as we write this of all that may be said
in detriment of material progress, of the luxury it leads to, of the
rapid propagation of false opinions, evil literature, and irreligious
thought; or of the increased facilities for the wholesale slaughter of
mankind in modern warfare. No wonder the pure-minded shrink in dismay
from much that material progress appears to be producing in the world,
and that timid souls are led to believe that such progress not only is
not God’s work, but (if we may make this distinction) is also not his
intention. We would entreat all such to take courage from a few
considerations which will lay before them their error in principle,
and also give them a wider view of God’s merciful designs in his own

First, it may be assumed that, as the Almighty has not abdicated his
providential government of the world in favor of the powers of
darkness, therefore no great and wide-spread movement takes place
amongst the children of men without its having an ultimate end for
good. We do not believe that evil is to win the day. We utterly refuse
to give credit to those who look upon the Lord of Hosts as vanquished
in the end, and upon the personal Lucifer, and the principle of evil
which he embodies and represents, as going off the field with a crowd
of prisoners who will far outnumber the armies of the Lord. This
desponding about the triumphs of grace is the residuum of
Protestantism. It is the melancholy of sectarianism. It is not in
accordance with the teaching of the church; she who is forever lifting
up her eyes unto the hills from whence cometh her help. The church
which is built on the Incarnation, which is fed with the Eucharistic
Sacrifice, and which owns as her queen the woman “clothed with the
sun,” “terrible as an army with banners,” does not limit her hopes to
a few sheep scattered in the wilderness, but knows that the “cattle on
a thousand hills” also belong to her Lord and Master.

We have no wish to palliate the evil which dogs the footsteps of
modern progress. We see that, like the huge behemoth, it tears down
many a sacred barrier, many a hallowed landmark, with its gigantic
strides, and we mourn with our mother the church, and with all the
body of the faithful, over the souls that perish in the fray. But not
even for this is it possible to doubt the ultimate designs of God’s
providence in making all work together for good.

Good works through evil, not as its instrument but as its vanquished
enemy; and material and scientific progress is so certainly a good in
itself that it arises from and forms part of the development of man’s
original destination, as being lord over the creation. It is the
necessary result of that; consequently it is a fulfilment of God’s
will. As to its fatal, or at least deleterious, moral effects on
individuals, or even for a time on the multitude, this is but the
weaving of the dark woof into the web of man’s existence, which is the
result of man’s estrangement from God, but which, neither in this nor
in any other form, will be allowed ultimately to defraud the Almighty
of his glory, by turning a relative, and much less a positive, good
into positive evil. We see the beginning; we do not see the end, save
by the eyes of faith, and trust in the goodness of God. We are looking
out on the world through the small aperture of time, our own limited
time, our own individual brief life, and thus we see all the present
evil, and but little, and occasionally nothing, of the future good.
But surely as Christians we are bound to believe that no waves of
thought or sentiment, and no sustained and wide-spread effort of _any
kind_, take possession of mankind without a special beneficial
intention of God’s providence, and without a distinct and absolute
good being their ultimate result. We bow our heads to the storm of the
elements; we accept the flood and the hurricane, and even the
pestilence, as coming by the permission of our heavenly Father, and as
in some way working for good. And shall we behold the moral and
intellectual activity of man scanning the high heavens, searching the
deep bosom of the earth, snatching from nature her most hidden
secrets; seeking the principles of life, and the occult laws of
development and progression; shall we watch wonderingly the strange,
new, and pathetic tenderness with which men are beginning to
appreciate and investigate the whole world of creation inferior to
themselves, but holding perchance in its silent and patient existence
secrets important to us—shall we behold all this, while our hearts
burn within us, and not intimately and intently believe that God is
carrying on his work, while man seems only to be following his own
free will in the exercise of his intellect? Let us be larger hearted
and more trusting with our God; nor for a moment suppose that the
reins of government have fallen from his hands, or that passing evil
will not terminate in greater good. The darkest hour is ever the one
before the dawn. Doubtless when the eagles of Rome sped victorious
over the vast and crowded plains of the Gaul and the Frank there were
gentle spirits left at home who, having kept themselves pure by the
undiscerned aid of the grace which our heavenly Father never refuses
to men of good will, grieved that the corruption of Roman luxury
should infiltrate its poison into the simple lives of the
semi-barbarous and valorous nations. And yet, but for these victorious
eagles what would the world be now?

God brings good out of evil; and though material progress is seldom a
real advantage at its first advent, yet when the moral excitement of
its early possession has subsided, when the ever living, ever
penetrating spirit of God has gradually, through the poor human
instruments he condescends to use, claimed all that man can know, do,
or acquire, as belonging to himself in the great scheme of creation
and redemption, then, by slow degrees perhaps, but by sure ones, the
evil gives way to good. It rests with us to hasten the appropriation
of all that men call progress, gathering into Peter’s net the large
and the small fishes; for it is all ours. As children of the church,
to us alone does the world belong in the ultimate and supreme sense.
It is our fault if we are not more rapidly converting the raw material
which is swept to our feet into increments of God’s glory. It rests
with the church in her children to make what the world calls progress
become a real progress.

There is no real progress without a fixed principle as its basis and
starting point. And that Christianity alone can give; and chiefly
Christianity in its only full and perfect form, the Catholic Church.
By Christianity we mean the fear and the love of God, with all the
pure moral results which flow therefrom. The moral law is the first
law, and material progress is not a real gain until it is married to
the moral law. The immediate consequence of material progress is to
increase wealth; and the immediate result of increased wealth is a
doubtful benefit. While the wealth remains in the hands of the few,
the gulf between rich and poor is widened and animosities increased.
When first it percolates into the lower strata of society, for the
time it exercises thereon a demoralizing effect; for the tendency of a
vast deal of material progress, and of its resulting modern
institutions and modern customs, is to sap real happiness, and
substitute a fictitious excitement based on wealth and luxury. We are
thus forever eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil. The bitter and the sweet will grow together till God shall part
them. But the evolutions of the eternal years gradually reconquer the
crude materials to the cause which must ultimately triumph; and as the
spirit of God moves over the face of the troubled waters the
discordant social elements fall into place, and a further degree of
the real, true, moral progress of mankind is found to harmonize with
the material progress that man was so proud to have gained, and which
when he did so was but the coarse though precious ore which waited to
be purified in the crucible of the divine law.

Is there any sane man now living who really regrets the invention of
printing? We have heard the project of a railroad in China deprecated
by a zealous friend to truth. It will carry our merchandise; but will
it not also carry our priests? We remember when men said murders would
increase because London was to be lit with gas! Do these
sincere-hearted men really think that man is working out solely his
own will, and that an evil will, in all this heavy tramp of material
progress through God’s world? Is not man fulfilling his destiny of
conquering the world; and when he has done his part, albeit done too
often in blind and arrogant ignorance, will not the rightful owner of
the vineyard come and claim the whole?

It is impossible for us to be slack in the exercise of any one virtue
without the omission affecting the whole of our inner and spiritual
life. If we allow our hopes to sink low it is certain to affect our
faith; and if our faith, then also our love. Nor should we forget that
it is “_according_ to our faith that it shall be done unto us.” We are
not seconding God’s precious intentions towards us so long as we are
taking a desponding, narrow, and unaspiring view of what are likely to
be his intentions as regards the future of his creation; and all
despising of that creation, all holding cheap the law, the order, the
beauty, and the uses of the material creation, arises from an
inadequate sense of the mystery of the incarnation, of the _Verbum
caro factum est_ which is the one sole efficient reason of all we see
and of all that exists. Once raise the inferior questions of nature,
of science, and of art up to that level, and we shall find that it
imparts a certain balance to all our thoughts, and diffuses a peaceful
looking forward and a calm endurance of present ills which are morally
what the even pulse and the vigorous strength are physically to the
man in perfect health. He is as free from the excitability of fever as
from the lassitude of debility; he is a sane man.

There is another point from which we can view the material progress of
the world with hopefulness, as helping to work out the future in a
sense favorable to the church; and this point comes under the head of
what we have called God’s adaptive government of his creation. It is
the fact that the progress of civilization develops the natural
characteristics of the various races of mankind, and that the history
of the church reveals how the providence of God makes use of the
characteristics of race—as he does of everything else—for the building
up and development of the church, and of truth by her. The life and
death of our Lord having been accomplished in the chosen land, among
the chosen people, the infant church was speedily transplanted from
the shadow of Mount Calvary to the City on the Seven Hills. Judea was
her cradle, but Rome was to witness her adolescence. The two leading
characteristics of the Latin race were necessary to her growth; for
the Latins were the conquerors and the lawgivers of the world, and the
pioneers of the future. She was borne on the wings of the Roman
eagles. She followed in the footsteps of the victorious legions, and
as Rome and time went on with devouring steps, she caught the
conqueror and the conquered both in her mystic net, and reigned among
the Latin-Celtic races. Rome was the world’s lawgiver. The Latin
genius is essentially legislative and authoritative. Subtlety,
accuracy, and lucidity were the necessary human elements for the
outward expression of the divine truth which the church carried in her
bosom; for Catholic theology is a _certain_ science, admitting of
fuller developments as “things new and old” are brought forth from her
treasured store, but never making one step too far in advance of
another throughout her rhythmical progress. These human elements
resided essentially in the Latin mind; and in the Latin tongue, which
has ever been the language of the church, and which, the church having
consecrated it to her own purposes, became what we popularly call a
dead language so far as concerns the shifting scenes and fluid states
of man’s mortal life; she laid her hand upon it, and it sublimated
beneath her touch, and was consecrated to her use, beyond all changing
fashion or wavering sense. The dying Roman Empire involuntarily
bequeathed it to her; and the language of the great lawgivers of the
world became that of the church, and only on her lips is a living
language to this hour. The Latin people were the fountain of law;
their code to the present day forms the common law, or the base of the
common law, of all Christian nations except where the retrogradations
of the Napoleonic code have been flung in the face of humanity and the
church as an insult to both. The principle of law, the love of law,
lay in them as an hereditary gift. Thus were they as a race specially
adapted to become the framers of the church’s canon law, of her
discipline, and of her glorious ritual, each phrase of which is the
crystallization of a theological truth, a fragment from the Rock of
Peter, but perfect in itself and concomitant with all the rest.

Thus also she wrote in letters of red and gold her marvellous ritual,
the least part of which embodies a symbolic act relating to the things
that are eternal. There is not a touch that is not significative,
there is not a line that does not seem caught from the traditions of
the nine choirs of angelic ministers. As full of mystery as of
practicality, beautiful, graceful, and complete, it runs through all
the life of the church like the veins through the living body, and
carries order and harmony through every low Mass in the village
church, through high pontifical ceremonials and within the silent
gates of cloistered orders where men and women daily and hourly enact
and represent the drama of the church.

The same genus runs through all the component parts; and that genus
belonged to the race to whom was consigned the laying of the church’s
foundations, and the raising of the edifice. And thus there exists,
besides the divine integrity of the whole, a certain human consistency
which, humanly speaking, is the consequence of the work having been
put into the hands of the race that was naturally adapted to effect
it. Now, as the ways of God are necessarily always consequent—that is,
consistent with each other, moving in harmony and working through
law—it is not a vain presumption to imagine that as he has constituted
different races with different characteristics, so it is his intention
to make use of each and all in the fuller developments of his church.

“Other sheep I have that are not of this fold; them also must I
bring.” The words were spoken in Jerusalem while the Latin race was
lying in the blind pride of paganism, and the Celtic races were only
recently being hewn out of the darkness of their far-off life by the
swords of the conquering nation. Surely it is one of those words the
fulfilment of which is not complete. There are other races waiting to
bring into the vineyard the tools that their native genius has put
into their hands. As the church through the Latin race has formed her
external, congregational, hierarchical, and authoritative condition,
and has crowned the whole in the last Vatican Council by the dogma of
the infallibility, laying thereby the keystone that locks the perfect
arch, so now the Teutonic Saxon races, the people of individuality, of
complete inner life, combined with vast exterior activity and
resistless energy, will be brought forth in God’s providence to carry
out the law of liberty which is the correlative of the law of

God speaks to the individual soul through his organ the church,
through her sacraments, down to her least ceremony, and through her
authority. Nor have we any absolute test and security that it is his
voice we hear and no delusion of our own, _except as we are in harmony
with her authority_. All may be a mistake save what is in accordance
with the one infallible voice. But nevertheless it is to the
_individual_ soul that God speaks, and not to the masses as such. God
leads each soul separately, and individually apart, and there is no
real religion that is not the secret intercourse, the hidden
communion, of the solitary soul, alone with God. Every human soul has
its secret with God, a secret of love, or a secret of hatred, or of
avoidance. God penetrates our souls through the sacraments of the
church; but past the sacraments, and as the result of the sacraments,
there must grow up the continued, sustained, and ever more and more
habitual presence of God in the soul, before we arrive at that state
for which the church and the sacraments are but the means to an
end—though a divine means. “We will come to him and make our abode
with him.”[86]

Nothing less than this is the promise of God, and should be the object
of man. The church in her sacraments and ordinances is the one
authorized and infallible way to bring about this blessed union. But
unless that be accomplished, all the outward devotions that saints, or
confraternities, that individuals or congregations, ever devised and
poured into the church’s lap like handfuls of flowers, will be to
those who rest in them as fading as flowers, and as sure to be swept
away and burned when the fire shall try of what sort the work is. The
dying to self—not as man’s restrictions can produce its outward
semblance, but as God’s working in the soul joined to our good will
can alone effect it—and the consequent union with him whose divine
spirit rushes in wherever we make room for him to come, is the one
sole object of all that the church gives us and does for us; of all
the barriers she erects, of all the gardens she plants, of all her
discipline and her ceremonial. It is the only living reality. It was
so with the saints of all ages and nations. They valued all in
proportion as by its use they killed self and put the living God
instead; and they valued it no more. Low down in the soul the deep
pulsation of the thought of God, ruling all our actions from the least
to the greatest, this is what our dear Lord demands of us in every
communion we make; this is what his church intends in all her
teaching. This alone will hasten the reign of the Holy Ghost, when God
“will pour his spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters
shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men
shall see visions.”[87] In other words, the gates of the supernatural
world shall be thrown open, not to a rare and scanty few, but to all
to whom “it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God.”[88]

We seem to have wandered from our subject; but it is not so. We were
writing of the future development of the church through the different
characteristics of different races, as instruments in God’s hands in
the working of his adaptive government; and this has led us to
describe the necessity of the inner life of the soul with God, because
the Teutonic and Saxon races are the people with whom the tendency to
a deep inner life is a natural peculiarity. They are more
self-contained, self-reliant, reserved, and recollected than the
versatile Latin races; and though none of these characteristics
necessarily lead to a spiritual inner life of any form—that being a
free grace from God—they are the apt instruments for grace to make use
of in producing a certain form. They are, therefore, those to whom we
may look for the next important era in the church’s history; when all
the vast and complicated edifice of her hierarchy being complete she
has now to expand the fuller development and deeper utterance of her
inner life in individual souls; and that no longer as an occasional
glorious phenomenon of grace, but as spread over a vast area, as
influencing whole peoples, and as becoming the sustained life of
Christianity. Law and liberty in one; the “freedom wherewith Christ
hath made us free.”

We were also speaking of material progress; and these same Teutonic
Saxon races are the races who are specially extending it throughout
the world. We have endeavored to show that in material progress man is
achieving his secondary mission of exercising dominion over the whole
creation. Thus we find that, having in his wonderful providence united
the two characteristics of strong individuality and vehement activity
in certain races, God has prepared for the future of the church, when
inner spiritual life shall be more diffused, an era when the spirit of
God will take possession of all that man can know, do, or acquire as
belonging to himself, “and through him to his church, in the great
scheme of creation and redemption.” And thus material progress will be
assimilated to the welfare of the church; and the stones will be
turned into bread—not in the sense of the arch deceiver, who claims
all material progress as his own region, but united with “the word
that proceedeth from the mouth of God”;[89] the material sanctified by
the spiritual, when all shall be “holy to the Lord.”

The inaccuracy of the popular, as distinguished equally from the
Catholic and the rationalistic view of the importance of matter, and
of material progress which is the march of man’s conquest over matter,
arises chiefly from the imperfect manner in which we realize the
universal presence of God. Many among us can look back with a distinct
recollection to the time when a mother first announced to us the great
truth that God is everywhere. With the unfailing practical sense of
children, we probably began to individualize certain familiar objects
with the query was he there—in this table, in that flower, in my
living hand, in the pen I hold? And the bewilderment of immensity
crept over us as we tried to grasp the thought of the great universal

As in later years theological questions opened upon us—the mysteries
of our faith, the angelic choirs, the army of saints and martyrs, the
Incarnation, and the localization of the eucharistic presence in the
Blessed Sacrament—many of us have gradually dropped the more intense
sense of God’s omnipresence. It probably was more accurately felt by
the Old Testament saints than by any, except saints, under the new
law. It is not that we have lost sight of the truth that he sees,
hears, and knows each one of us, always and everywhere; but we forget
that he fills all space, and that he is in all things. It is a
remarkable fact that the very lowest, the least theological and
dogmatic, of all heathen beliefs, where all are a jargon of error, is
nevertheless the faint reflection of this truth. We allude once more
to the animism of the lower savage races, which lends a spiritual
presence even to inanimate and inorganic matter. To them God is
everywhere and in every thing; so that to them no _thing_ exists
disconnected from a spiritual presence as abiding in it, and that not
in the pantheistic form of many gods, but as all matter holding an
occult spirit, which is the same spirit in each substance. But there
it ends; a blind creed, which does not even go the length of
acknowledging a personal deity or a divine providence. None the less
is it founded on a truth which often slips out of our consciousness,
while we are occupied with the more familiar articles of our faith.
Let us examine how this great truth, as we hold it in its fulness and
completeness, may be brought to bear on the question now before us of
the value of the cosmos, of the status of matter, and of the fact that
it is the indirect revelation, even as the Incarnation is the direct
revelation of God—Jesus Christ the God-Man being the mediator between
the creature and his creator.

First let us bear in mind that no cause can act where it is not
virtually present by its power, even if not actually present by its
matter. And this law has its correlative in the spiritual world. I
influence you only so far as I touch you. I shall have written in vain
unless these pages touch your sight. If I were speaking to you with my
living voice I could only reach the hearts of those who heard me. To
all the rest I am dead; and they are dead to me. This is the moral
side of the question, as between man and man. As regards the material
side, let us suppose I push forward a ball. It is force emanating from
my touch which sets it in motion; but my force has not ceased with my
direct touch. It is still my force propelling it as absolutely, though
not so powerfully, as at the moment I touched it; and the ball only
stops when my force is expended, or when a counter force arrests it.
But whence comes my force? Solely from him in “whom we live, and move,
and are.” He is our motive power; every act of ours is formed out of
his force, equally whether we are acting according to his will or
against it.

We have said that causes can only act where they are actually or
virtually present. But it is a great fact in the material world that
there is no such thing as material contact. No matter what substance
or what fluid we select, the limpid air or the hard iron, in all each
infinitesimal molecule dwells solitary and apart, and crush them
together as we may there is still a space between.

Now, theology teaches us that God is nearer to us than we are to
ourselves. His divine contact with us is closer on our bodies and our
souls than the molecules of our bodies are to each other. The only
real contact is the presence of God; whether through ourselves or in
the vast cosmos around us, the action of forces is God making himself
felt. Force is the contact of God, the touch of the divine being on
the material world. He is not in us, nor in the worlds around us, as
he is in his own essential essence, as he is in himself; but he is
there in the effects of his concurrence, and the moment he were to
cease to be there (were such a thing possible) in all, or in any one
part, the whole or the part would fall away into chaos, quite as
certainly as the ball which I have set in motion will cease to roll
the instant my force has exhausted itself and ceases to act on the
ball. My force diminishes gradually; it is a limited and a borrowed
force. The ball goes slower and slower; but so long as it moves, my
force is upon it in a stronger or weaker degree. But the force of the
divine Being is almighty, is always absolute, is always infinite, is
always under his own control; and consequently it never fails, it
never waxes less at any one moment, in any one direction.

In every act of our existence we are using God’s force, for him or
against him. The whole universe is doing the same. His presence is the
sole real contact; the contact of the _Qui Est_, of pure absolute
being with his own creation.

And all around us we hear a vain clamor about an immutable law that
governs nature, while the great primary cause has withdrawn himself
from all interference.

We hear of blind forces which spring from nowhere, and hurry us on
without any guide save themselves. We repeat it—Law and force are not
God; but God is both law and force. There is no motion without a
motive power; and there is no motive power at an actual distance from
the object set in motion. And thus God, who is law and force, is upon
us, within us, around us; and within all, always, and throughout
space. There are mutations and diversities in the exhibitions of God’s
force, according to his divine will; but there is never anywhere any
cessation of it. And there never will be; for if there were, he would
contradict himself, and that is impossible.

This, then, is what matter is. It is the exponent of the being of God
to the angels and to us. It is not the exponent of himself to himself.
_That_ is the eternal generation of the Son in his own bosom; the
second person of the Trinity, the divine Logos. And the Incarnation of
the eternally-begotten Son in the womb of the ever blessed Virgin
Mother is the blending of this double exponent of his being; for it is
the Word made flesh; it is God clothing himself in the matter of his
own creation, and dwelling amongst men.

Could matter be more beautiful than this? Can we say more in its
praise? And could any reflections lead us further from the notions of
materialism, or draw us nearer to God?

     [81] Apocalypse vi. 2.

     [82] Psalm xliv.

     [83] Luke v. 18.

     [84] See the whole of the 54th chapter of Isaias, as
          well as numerous other passages.

     [85] Isaias liv. 2.

     [86] John xiv. 23.

     [87] Joel ii. 28.

     [88] Mark iv. 11.

     [89] Matt. iv. 3, 4.


The church is once more in the Catacombs. She has not fled thither
from persecution, albeit she is suffering sorely at present; but she
has gone down there to live over again the memories of the past. With
the lamp of research held aloft, she paces reverently through those
dark and tortuous passage-ways where erst she lived in her saints and
martyrs. Many a precious relic of her primitive existence is delved
out of the accumulated masses of tufa and _débris_, all more or less
showing forth the usages of the early times, and she experiences no
small consolation in beholding that what she was then, in all those
usages which are founded in dogma, she is now. She has not changed.
She is consistent throughout—the beautiful Spouse of Christ,
yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Every new discovery in those
limitless necropolises is a vindication of the maxim of St. Augustine:
_Ecclesia orat, ergo credit_—The church prays, therefore she believes.
The chapels, the altars, the rude frescos, the sarcophagi, the very
inscriptions on the tombs, bear evidence to the great truth couched in
the words of the inspired Doctor of Hippo. To prove, therefore, that
the church prays is identical with proving that she believes; and what
she believes must be true, else she is no church, not the spouse of
Christ, but an unworthy and intruding handmaid. But we are not going
to dogmatize. We would only show on archæological authority, that, as
the church, in her liturgy, at this day commends the dead and the
dying to the intercessory influence of the saints, so did she in the
beginning, when not her dogmas, but her very existence, was called in
question; when, had she been a human institution, she must have made a
false step, for then there were no critical rationalists or fribbling
logicians to take her to task. Sophists there were many, even in those
days. But they had good faith enough to acknowledge that, if she were
a church at all, she could not err; so they consistently confined
themselves to an attack upon her existence.

Among the many important discoveries made of late in the cemetery of
St. Domitilla, outside of the gate of St. Sebastian at Rome, by the
illustrious Chevalier de Rossi (to whose _Bulletin_ we are indebted
for the inscriptions given below), that of the tomb of Veneranda, a
Roman matron, is not the least important, since it constitutes a
strong link in the chain of archæological evidence on the antiquity of
intercessory prayers for the dead. The tomb lies in a chamber which
branches off from one of the subterraneous galleries, entered from the
apsis of the old basilica. On the wall over the sarcophagus is a
fresco in a good state of preservation and of a style anterior to the
Byzantine. It represents a matron in the act of praying in the garden
of Paradise, which is symbolized by a flower plant springing up at her
feet. She is dressed in a loose dalmatic, and veiled like other
Christian matrons who are represented as praying in various cemeterial
pictures of the third and fourth centuries. There is none of that
stiffness in the style and coloring which indicates the graceless
Byzantine school, but such an ease and elegance mark the figure as
have induced De Rossi to compare it with that of the “Five Saints”
(St. Dionysias and her companions) in the crypt of St. Eusebius in the
adjoining catacombs of St. Calixtus. Over the right arm is the
inscription, VENERANDA DET. VII. IDVS IANVARIAS. On the left is the
figure of a maiden, without any veil, dressed in a long double tunic
and pallium. The right hand of the figure is extended as if in the act
of welcoming or receiving Veneranda. She points with the left to an
open box or casket full of volumes, a symbol of the salutary faith
contained in the Holy Scriptures. An open volume is suspended on the
wall, and on the pages are the names of the four Evangelists. Beside
this figure are the words PETRONELLA MARTyr. Of the title of martyr
applied to St. Petronilla we will say a few words presently. On the
whole, the style of the fresco, the fashion of the dress, the form of
the letters, and the ancient laconism “Petronella Martyr,” without the
epithet saint, pronounce the picture to be as ancient as the middle of
the fourth century. The purpose of the picture is unmistakable, being
in form like many which represent some of the characters in an
attitude of prayer, while others are in the act of receiving them into
heaven or inviting them to go in as they draw aside the curtains. This
picture, however, has the additional worth of declaring explicitly the
names of the intercessor and the advocate. The prayers used by the
church from time immemorial in behalf of the dying invite the saints
and martyrs to come and meet the departing soul and conduct her to a
“place of refreshment, light, and peace.” In the same manner the
acclamations which we read in the epitaphs of the early ages call upon
the spirits of the blessed to receive the soul of the departed. Here
is a beautiful epitaph, discovered in one of the cemeteries of Rome
towards the end of the last century:


The acclamation reads: _Paulo Filio merenti_: _in pacem te
suscipian_(t) _omnium ispirita sanctorum_—To the worthy son Paul: May
the spirits of all the saints receive thee in peace. The strange
plural form, _ispirita_ or _spirita_, need not be wondered at. The
Catacombs abound in similar inscriptions. Here are a few of the most
noteworthy: _Leopardum cum spirita sancta_ [that is, _Cum spiritibus
sanctis_] _acceptum_—Leopard received with the blessed spirits.
Another inscription, bearing the date 291, reads: _Refrigera cum
spirita sancta_—Grant him refreshment with the blessed spirits. From
what has been said a clue may be had to the understanding of many more
or less laconic acclamations which the visitor meets with in the Roman
Catacombs; such as, CVM SANCTIS—INTER SANCTOS. They are to be taken in
the sense explained above, because they allude clearly to the soul of
the departed, and not to the body, which is buried close to the tomb
of the saint appealed to. The prayers and acclamations of the faithful
to the saints in behalf of the dead were not simply the outpourings of
tender hearts moved by a pious fancy, but the result of a strong
belief, confirmed by the authority of the church speaking in her
liturgies. In an ancient Sacramentary of Gaul we read, in the Mass of
a martyr: _Tribue (Domine) tuorum intercessione sanctorum martyrum
caris nostris, qui in Christo dormiunt, refrigerium in regione
vivorum_—Grant, O Lord! through the intercession of thy holy martyrs,
to our beloved who sleep in Christ, refreshment in the land of the
living; and in the Mass of SS. Cornelius and Cyprian: _Beatorum
martyrum, Cornili_ [_sic_] _et Cypriani … nos tibi Domine commendet
oratio, ut caris nostris, qui in Christo dormiunt, refrigeria æterna
concedas_—Let the prayer of thy blessed martyrs, Cornelius and
Cyprian, commend us to thee, O Lord! that thou grant eternal
refreshment to our beloved who sleep in Christ.[90] In an ancient
Mass, discovered by More, express mention is made of the times of
persecution—a proof that the invocation of the saints for the repose
of the faithful departed was an established usage in the very earliest
days of the church. Before the reading of the diptychs the priest
prayed in these words: _Deus, præsta, si quies adridat te colere, si
temptatio ingruat, non negare_—God, grant that if peace smile upon us,
we may continue to worship thee; if temptation assail us, we may not
deny thee. Here there is an evident allusion to the intervals of peace
which the early Christians enjoyed between different persecutions.
After the recitation of the diptychs the priest continued: _Sanctorum
tuorum nos gloriosa merita, ne in pœna_(m) _veniamus, excusent;
defunctorum fidelium animæ, quæ beatitudinem_ [_sic_] _gaudent nobis
opitulentur; quæ consolatione indigent ecclesiæ precibus
absolvantur_—May the glorious merits of thy saints excuse us, that we
may not be brought to punishment; may the souls of the faithful
departed that enjoy blessedness assist us; may those [souls] that need
consolation be pardoned through the prayers of the church. The
distinction in this prayer between the commemoration of the living, of
the blessed, and of those souls that have need of the prayers of the
church could not be more evident.

The faith of the early Christians in the efficacy of the prayers of
the martyrs especially, was the reason why they had such a strong
desire, and regarded it as a great privilege, to be buried near the
tombs of the martyrs. St. Gregory Nazianzen, in his funeral epigrams,
makes frequent allusions to proximity with the tombs of the martyrs,
and takes occasion thence to apostrophize them in behalf of the dead.
In an epigram which he wrote on the death of his mother, Nonna, whose
body was laid close to the martyrs, he says: “Receive, O martyrs! this
great victim, this mortified flesh, joined to your blood.” The words
“joined to your blood” have a spiritual signification. By her life of
mortification and sacrifice she had assimilated herself to the
martyrs; but they have also a literal meaning, and allude to the
material contiguity of her tomb with that of the martyrs; for he
premises with the words, “Her body we have placed near the martyrs.”
The idea that the blood of the martyrs penetrated into the neighboring
tombs, and its spiritual signification, that the merits of their
sufferings, and their intercession, invoked by the living, would be
salutary to the dead, are beautifully shown forth in the epigram of
St. Ambrose on the tomb of his brother Satirus, who was buried in
Milan, side by side with the martyr St. Victor:

  “Hæc meriti merces ut sacri sanguinis humor
   Finitimas penetrans abluat exuvias.”[91]

This distich was quoted by the Irish monk Dungal, in the eighth
century, as a powerful argument in favor of intercessory prayer,
against Claudius of Turin, who was opposed to the invocation of the
saints in behalf of the dead. The same thought is expressed in the
touching verses of Paulinus of Nola, wherein he narrates the sepulture
of his little child near the last resting-place of the martyrs. And as
the little innocent (he died at the age of eight days) had no
short-comings of his own to atone for, the father beseeches him, and
his cousin Celsus, who died at the age of eight years, that the
intercession of the martyrs, near whose holy remains they slept, might
be turned to the benefit of their parents.

  “Innocuisque pares meritis, peccata parentum
   Infantes castis vincite suffragiis.”[92]

This was in the time of St. Augustine. We find him interrogated by the
same Paulinus, who had granted permission to a widow to bury her son,
Cynesius, near the tomb of St. Felix of Nola: _Utrum prosit cuique
post mortem quod corpus ejus apud sancti alicujus memoriam
sepeliatur_—Whether it might benefit one after death to have his body
buried near the tomb of some saint. The answer was St. Augustine’s
celebrated work entitled _De cura pro mortuis_. The ultimate
conclusion of the book is this: that being buried in proximity to the
tomb of the martyrs is beneficial to the dead in this much only: that
the remembrance of the place invites the living to commend them to the
intercession of the martyrs whose holy remains repose near by. It is
in this sense that we must understand Maximus of Turin when he writes:
_Fratres, veneremur eos [martyres] in sæculo, quos defensores habere
possumus in futuro; et sicut eis ossibus parentum nostrorum jungimur,
ita et eis fidei imitatione jungamur; … sociemur illis tam religione
quam corpore_—Brethren, let us venerate them [the martyrs] in this
life, that we may have them as our defenders in the next; and as we
are united with them through the bones of our parents, so also let us
be joined to them by imitating their faith; let us be associated with
them in religion as well as in the body. Nor did the archdeacon
Sabinus depart from the spirit of the church and the old fathers when
he censured the indiscreet desire and the material devotion of many of
the faithful, in wishing to be buried near the tombs of the martyrs.
He himself chose the last place, near the door, in the Church of St.
Lawrence outside the walls of Rome, and on his tomb is the following
inscription, written at his own dictation:

  “Nil juvat, immo gravat, tumulis hærere piorum;
   Sanctorum meritis optima vita prope est.
   Corpore non opus est, anima tendamus ad illos,
   Quæ bene salva potest corporis esse salus.”[93]

In the first part of the epitaph he
alludes to the difficulty of finding a
place vacant near the tombs of the
martyrs, and in the end he writes that
the efficacy is not in being joined to
them in body, but in the soul, which,
being saved, will ensure the salvation
of the body. Maximus, whose
words we cited above, and who
was bishop of Turin after the year
412, insinuates the same when he
says: _Et sic ut eis ossibus parentum_
_nostrorum jungimur_. Hence we conclude
that the usage of burying
the dead near the bodies of the
martyrs was regarded as an ancient
tradition even in the fifth century.
It is not the fact of the material
burying-place to which we would
invite the reader’s attention, but to
the spirit of faith in the efficacy
of the martyrs’ intercession. The
chamber which contains the tomb
of Veneranda is filled with _loculi_,
most of which date back as far as
the year 356. A Roman epitaph of
the year 382 testifies that even at
that date they were very few who
obtained the privilege of being buried
_intra limina sanctorum_—within
the threshold of the saints. The
privilege was only granted to those
whose merits during life had been
eminent, and who had signalized
themselves in the service of God,
and especially in their charity towards
the poor. Thus we read of
a Roman by the name of Verus,
_qui post mortem meruit in Petri limina
sancta jacere_—who after his death
merited that he should repose within
the sacred threshold of Peter.
We are far, however, from asserting
that the formula _sociatus sanctis_ always
alludes to the proximity of a
martyr’s tomb. Very often the formula
refers to the soul, which is already
supposed to be in Paradise.
Here is a fragment of a beautiful
epitaph found in the cemetery of
St. Commodilla:

   ESCVT_ [Illustration]

The ingenious De Rossi makes of this fragment the following
inscription: (Euse)_bius_ _infans per ætatem sene_ (sine) _pecca_(to)
(acc)_edens_ _ad sanctorum locum in_ _pa_(ce) (qui)_escit_—The infant
Eusebius, going to the place [abode] of the saints without sin,
because of his age, rests in peace.

To remove all doubt regarding the spirit which prompted the early
Christians to desire burial near the tombs of the martyrs, we will
cite a passage from one of the homilies of Maximus, Bishop of Turin:
“Therefore the martyrs are to be honored most devoutly; but we must
venerate those especially whose relics we possess. With these we have
_familiarity_; … they receive us when we go out from this body.” This
special devotion of _familiarity_ with the martyrs, whose relics the
faithful possessed, as it inspired the pious trust that the spirits of
the martyrs would welcome them into the realms of bliss, so did it
induce the faithful living to invoke the intercession of the martyrs
for those who were already gone from this life. But we have yet some
of the most beautiful epigraphs to cite—those touching, deprecatory
appeals to the saint or martyr by name, near whose tomb the remains of
the departed are placed: SANCTE LAVRENTI, SVSCEPA(m) (h)ABETO ANIMA(m)
(ejus)[94]—St. Lawrence, receive his soul!

In the cemetery of St. Hippolytus Bosius read the following:
REFRIGERI TIBI DOMNVS IPOLITVS _refriger_(et) _tibi dom_(i)_nus_
_Hippolytus_—May the lord Hippolytus refresh thee. Here is an
invocation, in a fragmentary state, of St. Basilla: SERENVS FLENS
Another appeal to St. Basilla may be seen in an epigraph now exposed
in the Lateran museum. It is that of a bereaved father and mother who
commend their departed daughter to the protection of the saint:
_Domina Basilla, commandamus tibi Crescentinus et Micina Filia_(m)
_nostra_(m) _Crescen_(tiam)—St. Basilla, we, Crescentius and Micina,
recommend our daughter Crescentia to thee. Side by side with this is
the epitaph of Aurelius Gemelli, a child of four years of age. It was
written by his mother, of whose tender affection a more moving
expression cannot be found than those four words: _Commando Basilla
Innocentia_(m) _Gemelli_—Basilla, I recommend [to thee] Innocence
Gemelli. She calls him not only _innocent_, but innocence itself.
Since we have mentioned the above as a specimen of the tender
affection of the Romans for their dead, and how they gave expression
to it in their epitaphs, it may not be out of place to mention
another, to be seen to-day in the _hypogeum_ of the Church of St.
Praxedes. It is in this form: _Sancti Petre, Marcelline, suscipite
vostrum alumnum!_—Sts. Peter and Marcellinus, receive your pupil. The
Chevalier de Rossi is of the opinion that this inscription belongs to
the cemetery of St. Helen, on the Labican Way. As a sort of
counterpart to it he gives another, of the same tenderness of tone,
which he read in Carpentras: MARTER BAVDELI S PER PASSIONIS DIE DNO
DVLCEM SVVM COMMENDAT ALMVNVM—_Martyr Baudelius per passionis_ [_suæ_]
_die_(m) _Domino dulcem suum commendat alumnum_—The martyr Baudelius,
through the day of his passion, commends his sweet pupil to the Lord.
Hence we may conclude with the illustrious archæologist, whose
erudition has borne us out so far, that the custom of burying the dead
near the tombs of the martyrs, and of asking, as it were, their local
protection for the dead, was universal in the first five or six
centuries. He cites the only exception to this usage that has come
within his extensive observation. It is a Greek epitaph, in which the
three divine Persons, the archangels Michael and Gabriel, the prophets
Jeremias and Henoch, the Blessed Virgin, and, finally, the sibyl are
besought in behalf of the departed.

Thus far we have appealed almost exclusively to the testimony afforded
us by inscriptions discovered in the Roman Catacombs. In conclusion we
would transcribe entire two epitaphs which, though not Roman, are of
the greatest importance in the matter we have been treating. One is
the epitaph on the tomb of Cynesius, in the Church of St. Felix of
Nola, the same of whom Paulinus wrote to St. Augustine, asking
“whether it were efficacious to bury the dead near the tomb of the
martyrs.” The inscription was probably dictated by Paulinus himself.
We give it with the restorations:


Here there is a thought expressed rarely to be met with in sacred
epigraphy—that the martyr Felix will, on the day of general
resurrection, accompany his “guest” before the tribunal of the Great
Judge, and that “the youth shall be protected before the judge,
Christ.” As a general rule the patronage of the martyrs is invoked for
the souls of the faithful departed as they are now. We will give
another epigraph in conclusion which confirms the conception we have
just been speaking of. It is read upon the tombstone of a priest in
Vercelli, by name Sarmata. It is metrical, and the illustrious Father
Bruzzi is inclined to attribute its authorship to St. Flavian, the
poet, who was bishop of Vercelli about the end of the fifth century.
This is the Flavian who was styled by his contemporaries the “Damasus
of Liguria.” Sarmata was buried in the _loculi_ between the martyrs
Nazarius and Victor. The chronicles speak of this privilege in the
following terms: _Sedes proxima sanctis martyribus concessa est ad
mercedem meritis_—The nearest place to the martyrs was given as a
reward of his merits. Here is the epitaph:


Nazarius and Victor are here spoken of as the ushers of Sarmata into
the presence of the Lord—_ad Dominum_—and to eternal rest. In the same
manner St. Petronilla is represented, in the fresco of which we spoke
in the beginning, as introducing the matron Veneranda into Paradise.
The epigraphical, liturgical, and patristic testimonies hitherto
quoted place in a clear and unmistakable light the deep religious
significance and the topographical worth of the representation on the
tomb of Veneranda. St. Petronilla, the patroness of the departed, and
whose holy ashes reposed not far distant, _familiarly_ (the expression
of Maximus of Turin) receives her into heaven, and the painter gave
expression to the holy trust of her relatives that St. Petronilla
would intercede for her, while the picture itself would invite them to
pray more fervently to the saint whose holy “memories” (St. Augustine)
were near at hand.

Now that the signification of the picture has been fairly determined,
it may not be an unfitting conclusion to our paper to inquire into the
accuracy of the title of _martyr_ applied to St. Petronilla in this
fresco. In the first place, it is certain that no other saint or
martyr is alluded to but the veritable St. Petronilla whose remains
reposed in the _hypogeum_ of the basilica of SS. Nereus and Achilleus.
Still, it is also certain from the Acts of the two martyrs, in which
mention is made of St. Petronilla, that she was not a martyr in any
sense whatever. The martyrology of Ado speaks of her thus: “When
Flaccus, a knight, desired to be united with her in marriage, she
asked for a delay of three days, and, together with her foster-sister,
Felicula, giving herself up to continual fasting and prayer, and the
divine Mysteries being celebrated on the third day, as soon as she had
received the Sacrament of Christ she lay down upon her bed and gave up
the ghost.” In other codices of her life the opening chapter is
entitled, _De obitu Petronillæ et passione Feliculæ_—On the death of
Petronilla and the martyrdom of Felicula. Hence there is a formal
contradiction between her Acts and this fresco. Without entering into
a critical examination of the authenticity of the Acts of Nereus and
Achilleus—which, by the way, receive new confirmation from every fresh
discovery in the cemetery—we will merely say that, were they
apocryphal, the supposition would be that they would rather magnify
her glory, by giving her the title of martyr, than diminish it.
Setting aside the inscription, the appearance of the picture confirms
her Acts. She is said to have been a virgin of extraordinary beauty,
and that she belonged to a noble family. The picture coincides
perfectly with this belief; for she is represented as being beautiful;
she wears her hair in plaited tresses, wound into a knot on the top of
the head, according to the custom of virgins in those days; while the
make of her dress proclaims her as belonging to noble rank. For the
rest, there is not a single authentic document which gives her the
title of martyr, but all speak of her as _Sancta Petronilla_, or
simply _Virgo Petronilla_. Hence there is no reason in the world why
we should give credence to the inscription of the painter. The title
of _martyr_ accorded to her by him does not become an inexplicable
mystery to us when we recall to mind the many and obvious examples of
the title of _martyr_ being given, especially by private individuals,
without due regard for historical facts. For instance, St. Pudentiana,
St. Cyriaca, and others have been styled martyrs, when we have
positive evidence that they were not. Thus popes who lived after the
persecutions—Mark, Julius, and Damasus—are called martyrs. Nay,
Petronilla herself is named _martyr_ in the _Liber Pontificalis_, at
the life of Leo III. (816), when the history of her life, as given by
Ado, was universally accepted. However, if we recall to mind what has
already been said on the special confidence of the primitive
Christians in the intercession of the martyrs for the dead; if we
reflect that they were regarded as the principal citizens in the
kingdom of God, to whom the heavens were opened, as St. Stephen said
(_martyribus patent cœli_), and hence that to them was attributed,
equally with the angels, the office of introducing departed souls into
the divine Presence, it is easy to understand why the artist, in
portraying Petronilla as receiving Veneranda into Paradise, either
believed her a martyr or deliberately wished to make her equal to one.
_Pictoribus atque poetis æqua est licentia._

But in this matter we must not observe the material form as it is
presented to us, accurately or inaccurately as the case may be. That
is merely relative and secondary. It is the spirit of the work which
we must contemplate—that great faith in the intercessory prayers of
those who had fought the good fight, and whose happiness was complete
in the Beatific Vision. Some of the epigraphs may be very inaccurate,
even exaggerated; yet they bear, in their way, testimony to a sublime
dogma of the church—the communion of saints, not only for the good of
the living, but for the happy repose of the dead. In fine, they are
the embodiment of the loving counsel: “It is a holy and a wholesome
thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins.”

     [90] Mabillon, _Liturgia Gallicana vetus_, pp. 278, 289.

     [91] Such the reward of his merit that his sacred blood
          should penetrate and lave [spiritually] adjacent

     [92] And being alike in the merits of innocence, children,
          cover the sins of your parents by your pure

     [93] It availeth nothing, nay it oppresseth rather, to
          lie near the tombs of the blessed. The best life
          approacheth the merits of the saints. In body it is not
          necessary; let us cleave to them in soul, which, being
          saved, can be the salvation of the body.

     [94] The inscription is one carried from Rome to
          the museum in Naples.

     [95] The holy house of Blessed Felix now holds him,
          and so possesses him for long years. Felix his patron
          is glad in his happy guest; thus when the awful trumpet
          shall shake the world with its sound, and resuscitated
          souls shall return to their bodies, the youth shall be
          protected before Christ, the Judge; he will stand near
          Felix before the tribunal.

     [96] For Blessed Nazarius and Victor alike protect
          him at their side and crown him with merits. Oh! happy
          he who was worthy to be led to the Lord through a
          happier path by the two martyrs, and to obtain repose.


  Over the glad earth, with her robe of beauty,
        Glideth the Spring;
  Pouring out perfume from a thousand censers
        The peach-wands swing.

  Down through the sunny vista of the orchard
        Tender green glows,
  Gnarled apple-boughs arrayed in robes of splendor
        Pearl tint and rose.

  Out from the dead leaves and the soft green mosses,
        Like joy from pain,
  Trailing arbutus, the sweet May evangel,
        Bloometh again.

  Who can remember, in this wealth of beauty,
        How April came?
  Crowned with a frost wreath on her pallid forehead,
        And snow-star rain.

  Yet ‘neath the shadow of the wing of winter
        Nature’s heart beat,
  Golden wine surging through each rugged column
        Like dancing feet.

  Thus, my belovèd! though upon us shadows
        Coldly may fall,
  God worketh slowly with the germs of beauty
        Given to all.

  Out from the shadow of our solemn parting
        Shall sweet hope spring;
  Faith, to an altar where the fire is hallowed,
        Her gifts will bring.

  Grace hath not left thee; it but sleeps, belovèd.
        Through wintry hours,
  Waiting the footsteps of the soul’s glad spring-time
        To wake the flow’rs.

  What though the sadness of an earthly parting
        On us be laid?
  In the bright sunshine of the blest hereafter
        Shadows shall fade.


     ALZOG’S UNIVERSAL CHURCH HISTORY. Pabisch and Byrne. Vol. II.
     Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co. 1876. (For sale by The
     Catholic Publication Society.)

The time included in this second volume of the great work edited by
Dr. Pabisch and Father Byrne extends from the beginning of the fourth
century to the beginning of the sixteenth. We have already said all
that is requisite on the excellence of the work in general in our
notice of the first volume. At present we have no criticisms to make,
except on a very few special points. A condensed summary of this kind
is always liable to the fault of ambiguity in some of its general
statements from the very fact of its extreme conciseness, and thus may
give occasion to false impressions on the mind of an ordinary reader.
There is a notable instance of this on page 22, where a short notice
is given of the famous Ulfila. He was, as is well known, an Arian. The
historian tells us that he “accepted it [viz., Christianity] with
simple and earnest faith, just as he found it, putting aside all the
idle and speculative questions that distracted the religious mind of
the age.” We are inclined to agree with the opinion, which the author
evidently intended to express, that Ulfila was not culpably in error
respecting the faith, and that to his simple, untutored mind the
disputes between Catholics and Arians were unintelligible.
Nevertheless, the language we have quoted, taken in connection with a
previous sentence in which the Gothic bishop is called a “great
apostle and bishop,” and another in which it is curtly stated that the
Christianity to which the Goths were converted “meant simply the
_Arian heresy_,” is so extremely awkward and inaccurate that one would
naturally understand it to imply that Catholic faith only differed
from Arian heresy in respect to _idle and speculative questions_. A
careful and instructed reader would, of course, judge that Dr. Alzog
could not have intended such a grossly absurd and heterodox sense;
nevertheless, his translators would have done well to add an
explanatory note showing what he really did intend, but signally
failed to express in a suitable way.

On page 972 the author speaks of the “pantheistic language of
_Tauler_.” In this instance he seems to have followed closely the
opinion of Dr. Stöckl, an author for whom we have a sincere respect,
but whose estimate of Tauler we regard as altogether wrong. We have no
fault to find with the censure pronounced upon the _Theologia
Germanica_, and pass over what is said of the writings of Master
Eckhart, since, although we incline to the opinion that his subjective
sense was orthodox, the objective sense of many of his propositions is
pantheistic and deserved the condemnation of the Holy See. In regard
to Tauler, however, of whom the author speaks in another place in the
highest terms, Dr. Alzog has made, as it seems to us, an inconsiderate
statement by a blind following of Stöckl and other authors who condemn
all the German mystics without discrimination. We have never observed
a single expression in Tauler which has any more semblance of
pantheism than the language of St. Bonaventure or any other approved
mystical writer. We cannot perceive any difference between the
doctrine of Tauler and that of St. John of the Cross, except that the
latter states more distinctly the precise theological and
philosophical sense of several important propositions.

The learned editor-in-chief of the present translation, Dr. Pabisch,
sustains his reputation as a scholar who has a vast knowledge _de
omnibus rebus et quibusdam aliis_, perhaps on a par with that of Dr.
Alzog himself. With the exception of occasional infelicities of
diction of not much importance, and the frequent use of italics, which
gives us the sensation of jouncing on a road with many ruts in it, the
style and manner of the translation, which are chiefly due to the
diligent care of the Rev. Mr. Byrne, are satisfactory, and the various
tables at the end are extremely serviceable to the student. One more
volume will complete this exceedingly valuable compendium of the
history of the church.

     BURNING QUESTIONS. By William Molitor. London: Burns &
     Oates. 1876. (For sale by The Catholic Publication Society.)

Burning pretty briskly they have been, these questions, for some time
past; the fire seems to be spreading, and not a very speedy prospect
of putting it out! Mr. Molitor has a very agreeable and skilful way of
handling this kind of fire. A gentleman once went to lecture on
nitro-glycerine. Proceeding coolly and with an unembarrassed air to
the platform, one of the committee who surrounded him and were
pleasantly chatting on the subject of the lecture having casually
asked him if he would exhibit any specimens, he replied: “Oh!
certainly; my pockets are full of them.” Several gentlemen of the
committee retired to the back seats on hearing this announcement,
awaiting in fear and trembling the dreaded explosion in the safest
place they could find. The application of Catholic principles to
politics has long and widely been dreaded as explosive and incendiary.
Of late politics have been brought into pretty smart collision with
Catholic principles. Of course it makes no particular difference
whether you throw nitro-glycerine on a rock or throw a rock on
nitro-glycerine. An explosion has certainly resulted in Europe which
is likely to be followed by more explosions. If any damage is done, it
will not be suffered by the church. The anticipated destruction of
Hell Gate by General Newton next July is a figure of what must take
place in that quarter after which a certain locality in the East River
was facetiously named by our Dutch ancestors. We have said that Mr.
Molitor, although in a similar position with the gentleman who
lectured on nitro-glycerine, handles his themes very agreeably and
pleasantly. He is not only good-tempered and humorous, but he makes
his somewhat abstruse topics quite intelligible and interesting. The
form adopted by the author, who is a German priest of high rank in the
church and of considerable note as a writer, is that of a series of
conversational discussions. The interlocutors are educated men of
several nationalities, one of them an American, who are passing a
vacation together on the borders of Lake Como. Several little episodes
and descriptions of scenery are introduced, making a pretty and
enlivening _mise en scène_ for the talkers and their very intelligent
and learned talk. We have not seen the book in its original language,
which is German, but the English translation reads well, and the book
is a masterpiece in its way, both in respect to its matter and form.
The intelligent reader will already have perceived that its subject is
the relation of the church to the state. In substance it is a popular
exposition of one part of ethics which is treated of scientifically in
every Catholic text-book or treatise on morals—such, for instance, as
Liberatore’s _Philosophical Prelections_. We cannot too strongly
recommend its careful perusal to all those of our readers who wish to
understand what Catholic principles and doctrines really are, in
opposition to the popular errors condemned in the Syllabus. We are
glad to see that a more extensive and formal treatise on the same
topics by Hergenröther has been translated and is advertised in the
English papers, although we have not yet received a copy.

     the Diocese of Springfield. Springfield: Philip J. Ryan.

We never take up a new catechism without distrust. It is easy to find
objections, real or imaginary, to any and every abridgment of the
Christian doctrine, and consequently there is little difficulty in
coming to the conclusion that a new catechism is needed; but it is
rare that even tolerable success rewards the compilers of text-books
of this kind. We are of the opinion that it is not so important that
we should have the best possible catechism as that one which is good
should be adopted throughout the whole country. Many of our wisest and
most learned prelates have insisted upon this point, and in the first
Plenary Council of Baltimore (1852) a catechism was approved of and
recommended to the clergy of the United States; and this is still
to-day, we think, the best to be found in this country.

The catechism by a priest of the Diocese of Springfield, which we have
carefully examined, has not changed our opinion upon this subject. It
is not free from errors and inaccuracies which are of themselves
sufficient to deprive it of any value as a text-book of religious
instruction. In the “Act of Hope,” p. 4, we come upon the following
ungrammatical sentence: “O my God! who _has_ promised every blessing.”
“What is God?” is asked at the very outset, and the answer given is:
“God is a spirit.” This is no more a definition of God than it is of
an angel or a soul. “What was the Garden of Paradise? Answer—A place
of pleasure.” This is a poor, not to say false, rendering of the
Scriptural phrase. “Who is the devil? Answer—One of the fallen
angels.” Is he not the prince of fallen angels? “Who are the angels?
Answer—Pure spirits without a body.” Is it, then, possible for pure
spirits to have a body? Hell, we are informed, is “a place of eternal
torments, where there is all evil and no good.” This is theologically
inaccurate. It is impossible that a place where there is _no_ good
should exist, since existence itself is a good.

“What are the chief things we must believe? Answer—The chief things we
must believe are contained in the Apostles’ Creed.” Question and
answer do not agree. The one is _what_ and the other is _where_.

“Why did he establish but _one_ church? Answer—Because God being
_one_, he could have but _one_ church.” To affirm that God’s nature
renders more than one church impossible is, we think, unwarranted.

“Can the church err? Answer—She cannot.” The catechism approved by the
First Plenary Council says: “She cannot err in matters of faith.” The
priest of the Diocese of Springfield fails to give the four marks of
the church; and this is certainly a very grave omission. He, moreover,
says not a word about the infallibility of the pope, which is equally

“How many kinds of sin are there? Answer—Two kinds: original sin and
actual sin.” We were under the impression that the kinds of sin were
very numerous.

“What sins are mortal? Answer—Grievous sins.” And what sins, then, are
grievous? Mortal sins, we suppose.

“Is tale bearing a great sin? Answer—Yes; supported by a text of
Scripture.” Now, we cannot think that tale-bearing is necessarily a
great sin, or even that it is generally so.

“What is the Eucharist made from? Answer—From wheaten bread and the
wine of the grape.” This, in our eyes, as a matter of taste, if for no
other reason, is very objectionable.

We confess that much of what we have found fault with is not of great
moment, but in a work of this kind we have the right to demand the
strictest care and accuracy. We have no desire to be severe in our
criticism, and gladly bear testimony to evidences of talent in the
author, who, with greater pains, would have given us, we doubt not, a
very excellent catechetical text-book.

     Theophilus Parsons. Boston: Roberts Brothers. 1876.

Philosophy of Swedenborg! That is a desideratum which we have looked
for in vain some twenty years or more. We have read a considerable
number of volumes of the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and much that
has been written on their contents, conversed with not a few of his
prominent followers, and yet we have failed to obtain from them all a
clear and philosophical statement of the doctrines which he taught.
Here, however, is a volume written expressly to give to the world such
a statement.

But, alas! we are again doomed to disappointment; for nowhere do we
find in it, in precise terms, the nature of this new revelation. The
nearest we come to it is in the following passage: “If a new
revelation was to be made through him, if it was to be made by his
statement of spiritual truths, they should be not merely new, but so
entirely distinct from all that was ever before known, so well adapted
to send the mind forward on a new path and from a new beginning, so
able to supply new motives and incentives to a new moral and
affectional as well as intellectual progress, and new instruction to
guide this progress, as to justify and authorize this large claim.”

The first pretension made in this paragraph for the new church is “new
motives and incentives to a new moral and affectional progress.”
Neither Swedenborg in his life nor his followers in theirs have yet
made this title good. Nowhere have they shown the signs of a higher
spiritual life or of a greater self-sacrifice. When they shall have
given us a St. Charles Borromeo, or a St. Vincent de Paul, or the
heroism displayed by a Sister of Charity, then, and not till then,
will there be reason to investigate their claim of a revelation which
is superior to that given by Christ himself.

The next assertion in this paragraph is that this “new revelation” is
a source of “new intellectual progress.” Swedenborg revolted at some
of the grossest errors of Protestantism, and, in repudiating them,
seems to have been entirely ignorant of Catholic theology. The author
supposes Swedenborg’s opposition to the errors of Calvinism is the
cause of its decline; seemingly, he is unaware of its refutation
centuries before Swedenborg lived, and the statements of the truths
opposed to it, by the Council of Trent. What is true in
Swedenborgianism is not new, and what is new is not true.

As a specimen of “intellectual progress” we take the very first
sentence of this book: “A church,” the author says, “may be defined as
the collective body of those who agree together in faith and in
worship.” This is the same as if he had said: “A man may be defined as
the collective body of those members which agree together in physical
action.” This is the play of _Hamlet_ with Hamlet left out. Had Mr.
Parsons the true conception of the church, this would have started the
question of the mission of his master!—a point upon which his evidence
would have proven very unsatisfactory.

Again he says “that it is of the very essence of this revelation that
it is given to man’s reason” (page 22).

Is the author ignorant of the fact that Christianity from the
beginning made, and has always made, appeal to man’s reason? By
Christianity we mean the Catholic, the Roman Catholic, Church, outside
of which Christianity never had, and has not now, a real, separate
existence. Have we to tell Mr. Parsons that the Catholic Church has
always upheld the value of human reason and defended its rights? Has
he ever looked into any work of Catholic theology? Has he ever opened
the _Summa_ of St. Thomas, or his volume _Contra Gentiles_? Does the
author not know that it was Martin Luther who asserted against the
church that “a man becomes all the better a Christian by throttling
his reason”? It seems that this new revelation, instead of being an
incentive to intellectual progress, acts upon the intellectual
faculties like a poison, leaving them without tone, vigor, or logical
perception, rapt in a dreamy self-sufficiency.

The author says “he agrees with Professor Tyndall in saying that to
yield to the religious sentiment reasonable satisfaction is the
problem of problems at the present hour,” and adds: “We believe also
that the system of thought and belief introduced by Swedenborg will
lead to the solution of this ‘problem of problems’” (page 30). This is
equivalent to saying that the Creator has made man for a destiny which
he has carefully concealed from him these six thousand years or more!

The same Creator did not fail to satisfy every appetite with its
proper food, except the highest of all—the thirst of the soul to know
its true destiny and the means of attaining it. This he allowed to
tantalize man up to the date of this new revelation! Pity poor
Professor Tyndall could not be made to see it! Happy Professor
Theophilus Parsons, who has found it at the feet of Emanuel
Swedenborg, whose words, he tells us, “were not God’s words, but his
own; full, as we believe, of truth and wisdom, but limited in their
scope and _liable to error_” (page 31).

Swedenborgianism is a product of a mind given to the pursuit of
natural sciences, ignorant of theology, and transported into the
dream-world—a sublimated materialism. There runs through all the
writings of the followers of Swedenborg the assumption of a superior
knowledge of spiritual truths, which allies it closely to the old
heresy of Gnosticism. In kind, Swedenborgianism does not differ from
modern Spiritism, only it assumes an air of greater respectability.

     HYMNS. By Frederick William Faber, D.D. New York: E. P.
     Dutton & Co. 1876.

The title “Faber’s Hymns” gleams in golden letters from the back of
this handsome little volume, “Hymns by Frederick Wm. Faber, D.D.” (in
choice mediæval characters) on either cover. “Faber’s Hymns”
consequently they must be. It is impossible to doubt their
authenticity, surrounded as they are by all that wealth of adornment
in which our ritualistic friends delight. Here are the thorns, and the
hammer and nails, and a chaste border of what may be taken at will for
the passion flower or forget-me-not, and over the title a gorgeous
cross and beneath it I. H. S. One would be shocked not to meet with
the softest-toned paper inside—paper full almost of that “dim
religious light” that Milton sang. He lingers over these externals,
for they are very lovely, and very characteristic; so lovely that a
sentimental person would weep to find they are only the adornments of
a wilful and systematic mutilation of the hymns of the gentle and
saintly man whose name the volume bears.

A complete collection of Father Faber’s Hymns was published in London
in 1861 with the approval of the author and under his direct
supervision. He wrote a preface to it in which he complained of the
liberties that had been taken with his hymns. He added that “he was
only too glad that his compositions should be of any service, and he
has in no instance refused either to Catholics or Protestants the free
use of them: _only in the case of Protestants he has made it a title
to stipulate, wherever an opportunity has been given him, that, while
omissions might be made, no direct alterations should be attempted_.
Hence he wishes to say that he is not responsible for any of the Hymns
in any other form, literary or doctrinal, than that in which they
appear in this edition.”

That edition bore and bears the same title as the one now under
notice. The difference in size, however, between the two volumes is
rather startling. This difference is accounted for by the fact that in
the ritualistic version fifty-eight hymns have disappeared. There are
one hundred and fifty in the original, there are ninety-two in the
new, and what the editor and publishers would doubtless consider
improved edition. Nor is the list of omissions complete even with
these fifty-eight absent.

But, to do what justice may be done to the ritualistic editor and
publishers—we should be delighted to give the editor’s name as well as
the publishers’, only that a judicious modesty has concealed it from
us—we quote from the preface: “This book of selections from Faber’s
Hymns contains all of the Author’s latest revised edition, except the
Hymns written for the use of Roman Catholics, such as those for the
festivals of the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and the Holy Family, and for
the Devotions in honor of them, and the Hymns addressed to the Angels
and Saints.”

In other words, it contains “_all_ of the author’s latest revised
edition” with the insignificant omission of very nearly one-half. How
many hymns “of the author’s latest revised edition” were _not_
“written for the use of Roman Catholics” were an investigation worth
making, which the reader may take up at his choice. Leaving those
points, however, it is to be supposed that so honest a confession
amply atones for everything, especially after Father Faber’s
permission to Protestants to use his hymns. But there was a solemn
stipulation attached to that permission, and to inquire into how far
that stipulation has been observed is the purpose of the present

From the hymn entitled “God,” which is only the fourth in the volume,
verses 7 and 9 are left out. Those verses have the name of Mary in
them and sing of her beauty. The beauty of the angels and saints,
which is sung in the same hymn, is allowed to pass, but for the queen
of angels and saints of course there is no room.

In the hymn “My Father,” a few pages on, the same thing is observable.
The tender conscience of the editor revolted from and consequently
struck out such a verse as this:

  “Mary, herself a sea of grace,
     Hath all been drawn from Thine;
   And thou couldst fill a thousand more
    From out those depths divine.”

In the rendering of the _Veni Sancte Spiritus_ the last verse, which
prays for the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, is struck out, the editor
probably objecting to those gifts for some reason of his own. In
“Christmas Night” the pretty chorus is mutilated for the purpose of
throwing out the name of Mary. The original reads:

  “All hail, Eternal Child!
     Dear Mary’s little Flower
     God hardly born an hour,
   Sweet Babe of Bethlehem!
     Hail Mary’s Little One,
     Hail God’s Eternal Son,
   Sweet Babe of Bethlehem,
   Sweet Babe of Bethlehem!”

This the critical editor improves as

    “All hail, Eternal Child!
  Sweet Babe of Bethlehem!
     Hail God’s Eternal Son,
  Sweet Babe of Bethlehem!”

The fine hymn “The Three Kings” is shortened by two verses—4 and 12.
To be sure those two verses bear rather hardly on Protestants, but in
that case, and in many others, why not leave the hymn out altogether?
In the hymn immediately following it, “The Purification,” the last
verse, which claims “all rightful worship” for the Mother of Christ,
is thrown out—of course by Father Faber’s express desire. In “Lent,”
on the very next page, verse 3, which celebrates “the feast of
penance,” does not appear. Two pages on, in that most touching of
plaints, “Jesus Crucified,” such verses as these are found unworthy a

  “His mother cannot reach His face;
     She stands in helplessness beside;
   Her heart is martyred with her Son’s;
     Jesus, our Love, is crucified!

      *     *     *     *     *

  “Death came, and Jesus meekly bowed;
     His failing eyes He strove to guide
   With mindful love to Mary’s face;
     Jesus, our Love, is crucified!”

What a starved religion it must be that cannot stomach such lines as
those! And what justice to Father Faber! Yet the editor allows the
next hymn to open with the lines:

  “Hail, Jesus! hail! who for my sake
   Sweet blood from Mary’s veins didst take.”

It is to be supposed that he could not well deny the physical fact,
though he would seem to have strong doubts about it, for presently we
find him in “We come to thee, Sweet Saviour,” changing the last line
of the chorus,

  “O blood of Mary’s son,”


  “O blood of God’s dear son.”

Just one-half the hymn to “Jesus Risen” is thrown out, from verses 2
to 6 inclusively. These verses treat of the sacred humanity. “The
Apparition of Jesus to Our Blessed Lady,” “The Ascension,” and
“Pentecost,” which immediately follow, are among those struck out, as
are also the first eight verses of “The Descent of the Holy Ghost.”
The reason of course is that they eulogize the Mother of God. For the
same reason verses 13 and 14 are omitted. Indeed this hymn alone must
have caused the pious soul of the editor much trouble; for we find in
his fourth verse (the twelfth in the original) the lines:

  “One moment—and the Spirit hung
   O’er _them_ with dread desire”;

  “O’er _her_ with dread desire”

is the original. Again in his sixth verse, which in the original reads:

  “Those tongues still speak within the Church,
     That Fire is undecayed;
   Its well-spring was that Upper Room
     Where Mary sat and prayed.”

Of course Mary cannot be tolerated in such company. Her name is
accordingly stricken from the roll and “the disciples” substituted for
it, so that the last line reads:

  “Where the disciples sat and prayed.”

It is too much to look to this man for respect for the Mother of God;
but at least he might have some respect for Father Faber, and at the
very least for the laws of rhythm.

It is useless to multiply instances of this kind. They run through the
book. A few other gross liberties taken with the text cannot pass

In “The Wages of Sin” the second verse of the author reads:

  “We gave away all things for him,
     And in truth it was much that was given—
   The love of the angels and saints,
     And the chance of our getting to heaven.”

The Protestant editor objects to

  “The love of the angels and saints,”

for which he substitutes

  “We gave away Jesus and God,”

a line that belongs to the third verse. This third verse of course
disappears, because it sings of “Mary and grace” and “prayer and
confession and Mass.”

Why the last verse of “Conversion” is condemned, even by so tender a
conscience as that of our editor, it is impossible to conceive.

  “Jesus, Mary, love, and peace”

sang Father Faber in “The Work of Grace”;

  “Jesus, _mercy_, love, and peace”

sings his self-appointed editor.

In “Forgiveness of Injuries,” the very title of which might have
caused him to pause, a happy specimen of his peculiar art and animus
is given. Father Faber’s first verse read

  “Oh! do you hear that voice from heaven—
   Forgive and you shall be forgiven?
   No angel hath a voice like this;
   Not even Mary’s song of bliss
   From off her throne can waft to earth
   A promise of such priceless worth.”

In the Protestant version only the first two lines appear; the other
four are taken from the second verse; the remainder of which, with the
rejected four of the first verse, are thrown away altogether.

Here an examination which might be prolonged indefinitely may as well
end. The reader may judge for himself whether the word “mutilation”—a
grave word to use—is misapplied in this instance. Selections, of
course, may be taken from a man’s works in these days, though we
should say not without permission from the author or from those
empowered to grant it. But that such permission should be extended to
hacking a man right and left, distorting his words, spoiling his
verses, studiously making him say just what he does not say,
persistently making him dishonor those whom he most honors—strange
indeed must be the conscience which can interpret the widest
permission thus! We need not refer to the glowing love of Father Faber
for the Blessed Virgin. It was no vague aspiration after some ideal
being, existing or not existing in a remote state. It was a vital
reality to him. The Blessed Virgin was near him always. To her he
turned with the love and confidence of a child, as to no imaginary
mother, at all times. Her name was ever on his lips, as her love was
in his heart. It was natural, then, that all his writings, but above
all his hymns, should bubble over with the love that was ever welling
upwards from the very depths of his being. Yet this man, pursued
apparently by hatred of the Mother of Jesus, and thinking to honor the
Son by dishonoring the Mother, follows her up and hunts her from the
pages of one so devoted to her, wherever it was possible to do so.
Further comment on a man who can commit so dishonest an act, in the
name too of religion, is unnecessary. As for the publishers who can
lend themselves to such unworthy work, we leave them to their own

We have no desire to take this as characteristic of our Protestant
friends generally, particularly of the Protestant Episcopal section of
them. But there is too much of such dishonest practice. _The Following
of Christ_; the _Devout Life_, by St. Francis de Sales; the _Memorial
of a Christian Life_, by Father Lewis of Granada; the _Spiritual
Combat_, and all Father Avrillon’s works, have been tampered with in
the same manner and by the same set of zealous Christians. Is it too
much to detect in this the old spirit that gave us what is known as
the King James version of the Bible, and that is content to let
centuries of great Christian faith go by, for the purpose of claiming
a fancied union with that of the earlier centuries, basing the claim
on distorted extracts from the works of a few great writers?

     GERTRUDE MANNERING: A Tale of Sacrifice. By Frances Noble.
     London: Burns & Oates. 1875. (For sale by The Catholic
     Publication Society.)

One begins to grow shy of “tales of sacrifice” written by Catholic
authors. They are so very like one another that the maxim _Ex uno
disce omnes_ is nowhere more applicable than to them. Given the
characters and their relations one to another, and a very limited
amount of experience will enable the reader to sketch out the story
faithfully enough for himself without going to the trouble of reading
the book. _Gertrude Mannering_, though bearing a strong family
likeness to her sisters, and beginning in the orthodox fashion—in the
convent, of course—improves upon acquaintance, and leaves the reader
with the impression that the hand which fashioned her is capable of
much better work. It is useless to sketch the story, which is a short
one and of simple enough construction. Its defects are of the usual
order, though in a less degree than ordinarily. There is too much
pious “talk,” in season and out of season. When will our Catholic
story-writers learn this first lesson of fiction: that a little of
such talk goes a very long way? Even inquiring Protestants are not
likely to be moved profoundly by the tremendous arguments of a girl of
sixteen or seventeen just out of a convent, while Catholics yawn as
soon as they appear, and either skip the pages that contain them or
close the book. Then, again, Gerty blushes a little too often, even
for a convent girl. The color rises in her cheeks more or less deeply
at almost every other page. One grows rather tired, too, of the
frequent mention of “the pale, proud face” of the “haughty Stanley”
and his “splendid intellect.” These, to be sure, are the ordinary
attributes of lady novelists’ heroes, but, at least, the last quality
might be judiciously omitted, unless excellent grounds are given for
it. A “splendid intellect” is no doubt a very good thing to have, as
is also a “pale, proud face” in its way; but when the “splendid
intellect” only shows itself in rather commonplace observations, such
as persons with no pretension at all to so rare a gift would use, the
effect is not quite satisfactory.

One more objection we must make, and a serious one. The sacrifice
around which the story turns is by no means to be commended and would
have been better omitted. Young ladies, even young ladies whose love
has been crossed, can easily find something far better to do with
their lives than to offer them to God for the soul of some young
gentleman whom they are particularly anxious to convert. Martyrdom for
the faith is one thing; but the picture of a young lady, who cannot
conscientiously marry a young infidel, offering her life to God for
his conversion, is quite another thing. One is tempted to ask how much
the “pale, proud face” and the “splendid intellect” of the “haughty
Stanley” had to do with so tremendous a sacrifice in the present
instance. Gerty might have done him, and herself, and her reader much
more good by living than by dying for him, as did that practical
patriot when the cause of his country seemed lost.

We have noticed this story at some length because the writer, whose
name meets us for the first time, seems, as already hinted, to give
promise of much better work. Lady Hunter is a well-drawn character.
So, apart from the excessive tendency to blush and “talk pious,” is
Gerty. The “haughty Stanley” is rather a conventional hero, which,
perhaps, is only natural in days when so many young men lay claim to
“splendid intellects.” The scene between Gerty and Stanley, where love
and duty on the one side, and love and pride on the other, contend for
mastery, is drawn with genuine power, while the end is indeed touching.

     pp. 200. New York: The Catholic Publication Society.

The republication of the various essays on education which have from
time to time appeared in THE CATHOLIC WORLD, treating this
all-important subject from widely different points of view, presenting
a great variety of style and method as well as of authorship, will, we
are confident, be welcomed by the reading Catholic public as
especially opportune at the present moment, when the questions here
discussed enter so largely into all our social, theological, and
political controversies.

Though the subject of education is much talked of and written about,
it is rarely carefully examined or seriously studied. We have
ourselves been made to blush more than once by the ignorance on this
point of even intelligent Catholics. Self-respect, one would think,
should suffice to make us acquaint ourselves with the arguments upon
which our dissent from the theories of education commonly received in
this country is based. At the expense of very little time and labor
any ordinarily intelligent Catholic might be in a position to defend
himself against the attacks of the advocates of a purely secular
school system. To those who feel the need of informing themselves more
thoroughly on this subject we heartily commend these essays. The
questions with which they deal have been discussed, not without
ability and sound reason, in pamphlets and lectures; but before the
publication of this volume we should have been unable to refer to any
one book as giving a fair and satisfactory statement of Catholic
principles on the subject of education. This collection supplies a
want which many besides ourselves must have felt.

     THE ACOLYTE; OR, A CHRISTIAN SCHOLAR. A story for Catholic
     youth. Philadelphia: Peter F. Cunningham & Son. 1876.

Stories for Catholic youth, which are at once interesting and safe,
are greatly to be desired. Every honest attempt to satisfy this want
is consequently to be, in a certain sense, commended. Our boys,
however, fare rather badly at the hands of writers. The books written
for them are, as a class, either slow and uninteresting or so
goody-goody that a boy yawns before he has finished half a dozen
pages. The author of _The Acolyte_, though animated with the best
intentions, has fallen into the common mistake. His book is too
“good.” His hero, whom he evidently looks upon as the beau-ideal of a
Catholic student, is, it must be confessed, rather a tiresome young
person, having a dreadful propensity to indulge in disquisitions of
classroom philosophy with his young sister and others. In fact, the
atmosphere of the classroom pervades the book, and the result is not
agreeable. When boys read a story, they want to be out of school.
There are excellent things in this book, but such as would appear to
better advantage in one of a purely spiritual character, where they
would probably find more readers, even among boys, than they are
likely to do in their present form. The volume is dedicated to the
“Acolythical Society” of a church in Cincinnati. If such a society
exist, we recommend it to change its name. “Acolythical” is a
barbarism which should not be tolerated.

     Lloyd. Philadelphia: Sower, Potts & Co. 1876.

The object of this little book is to make even the “Little Folks” so
familiar with good English as habitually to speak and write it
correctly. They will, it is claimed by the author, thus acquire a
knowledge of correct English without going through the regular but
slow process of first committing the rules of syntax to memory. The
object is praiseworthy, and the plan of the work seems well adapted to
make it easy of accomplishment.

     HOW TO WRITE LETTERS. A Manual of Correspondence, etc. By J.
     Willis Westlake, A.M. 1 vol. 16mo, pp. 264. Philadelphia:
     Sower, Potts & Co. 1876.

This is no mere compilation in the usual style of manuals, but an
elaborate and interesting little work, showing the proper structure,
composition, punctuation, formalities, and uses of the various kinds
of letters, notes, and cards. It also contains a considerable amount
of miscellaneous information about _epistolography_ in general, and an
article on “Roman Catholic Titles and Forms,” with particular
reference to this country. The appearance of such a complete work of
this nature is a proof of that more careful attention now paid by
Americans to the written forms and etiquette of social intercourse,
which, whatever may be ranted about republicanism and democratic
habits, are as necessary, or at least as desirable, in the United
States as in Europe. We would say of them, as of the devices of
heraldry, if used at all, they should be used correctly; and this book
will show people how to use them.

     EXPLANATIO PSALMORUM. Studio F. X. Schouppe, S.J.
     Prolegomena in S Scripturam. Auctore F. X. Schouppe, S.J.
     Bruxellis. 1875. Benziger Brothers, New York.

These two treatises from the pen of Father Schouppe, the learned
Belgian Jesuit, who has labored so indefatigably to enrich Catholic
literature, form part of the author’s “Course of Sacred Scripture,”
but have been published separately in order to give them a wider
circulation. In the “Explanatio Psalmorum” Father Schouppe has chosen
for elucidation the psalms which are appointed to be recited in the
common offices of the Roman Breviary and his commentaries are made
with special reference to this official devotion of the priesthood.
Each psalm is accompanied by a paraphrase; a short but satisfactory
commentary follows; and, finally, the _sensus liturgus_ is given,
showing its special appropriateness to the various offices of the
Breviary in which it is found.

The “Prolegomena” is a brief introduction to the study of Holy
Scripture, in which the various subjects comprised under the head of
hermeneutics are discussed.

Both these treatises are characterized by the solid learning and lucid
style which distinguish all the works of Father Schouppe.

     LES PRINCIPES DE LA SAGESSE. Par François de Salazar, S.J.
     Traduits de l’Espagnol. Gand. Benziger Brothers, New York.

This work of Father Salazar, a Spanish Jesuit, was discovered in 1628
by Dom Geronimo Perez, a doctor of the University of Alcala, who, in
his _Summa_ _Theologiæ_, speaks of it in the following terms: “I have
read with attention all that the most weighty authors have written on
subjects proper to effect the conversion of the soul; but I have met
with no one who has treated these matters with a force equal to that
which is found in a manuscript of Francis de Salazar, a religious of
the Society of Jesus.”

The success of the book has more than justified this estimate of Dr.
Perez. It has passed through innumerable editions in the original
Spanish, and has been translated into nearly all the languages of
Europe. The French translation now before us has reached a fifteenth

     1875. Benziger Brothers, New York and Cincinnati.

This is a new and elegant edition of the Roman Breviary, to which have
been added the offices of St. Boniface and St. Paul of the Cross, the
recitation of which has recently been made obligatory upon all priests
by a decree of the Holy Father. It is printed in large and clear type
on delicately-tinted paper of a shade peculiarly grateful to the eye,
strongly bound in morocco, and of convenient size. We have rarely seen
a finer edition of the Breviary.

     PIUS IX. AND HIS TIMES. By Thomas O’Dwyer, M.D., M.R.C.S.
     (late English Physician at Rome). London: Burns, Oates & Co.

This volume is made up of a series of entertaining sketches of travel
and letters from Rome, where the author resided many years, during
which he was correspondent to the London _Weekly Register_. His
letters to that journal make up the bulk of the book. At a time when
so much that is false issues from the capital of Christendom and finds
a welcome place in the columns of non-Catholic journals, the letters
from the same city of an observant and intelligent Catholic would
possess a special value quite apart from their intrinsic literary

     Burns & Oates. 1876.

The author of this pamphlet presents the argument for the church from
the Scriptures with very considerable skill and ability.

     Being Selections, Personal, Historical, Philosophical, and
     Religious, from his Various Works. Arranged by William
     Samuel Lilly, of the Inner Temple, Barrister-at-Law. With
     the author’s approval. New York: D. & J. Sadlier & Co. 1876.

This is an American reprint of the London edition. The latter has
already been noticed in THE CATHOLIC WORLD. The praise given to the
original edition cannot be accorded to the present volume. The type is
too small for general use, and the book lacks what we characterized at
the time as “one of the best portraits of Dr. Newman which we have

     His Children. By Canon Warmoll. London: Burns & Oates.

This useful little book is intended for very young children. It
contains short prayers, acts, meditations, and instructions for Mass,
confession, communion, and daily conduct. The meditations are
admirable, being just adapted to catch the attention of children. The
instructions also are excellent. Only here and there are to be found
passages that strike us as a little too ponderous for very young

      *     *     *     *     *


Lives of the Saints. Rev. F. X. Weninger, D.D. Part VI. P. O’Shea.

“Messenger Series.” No. 6. The Acts of the Early Martyrs. By J. A. M.
Fastré, S.J. Philadelphia: Peter F. Cunningham & Son. 1876.

A Study of Freemasonry. Translated from the French of Monseigneur
Dupanloup, Bishop of Orleans. New York: D. & J. Sadlier & Co.

Pax Animæ: A Short Treatise declaring how necessary the tranquillity
and peace of the soul is, and how it may be obtained. By St. Peter of
Alcantara. From an old English translation of 1665. Edited by Canon
Vaughan. London: Burns & Oates. 1876.

Major John Andre: An Historical Drama in Five Acts. By P. Leo Haid,
OSB. Baltimore: John Murphy & Co. New York: The Cathol. Publication
Society. 1876.

The Martyrdom of St. Cecily: A Drama in Three Acts. By the Rev. Albany
Christie, S.J. London: Burns & Oates. 1876.

Christianity the Law of the Land. A discourse delivered in the Church
of the Saviour, Brooklyn, N. Y. By the Pastor. A. P. Putnam. With an
Appendix; or, Voices of American History. Brooklyn, N. Y.

Report of the Xavier Union of the City of New York. 1875.

Report of the City Superintendent of Schools to the Board of Education
of the City of New York, for the Year ending December 31, 1875.

Addresses at the Inauguration of Daniel C. Gilman, as President of the
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, February 22, 1876.


VOL. XXIII., No. 135.—JUNE, 1876.

Copyright: Rev. I. T. HECKER. 1876.


The universal hymn of journalistic praise, sung throughout the
civilized world with hardly a discordant note, is of itself no mean
evidence of the power of the press. “Great is journalism,” says
Carlyle. “Is not every able editor a ruler of the world, being a
persuader of it?” From France M. Thiers declares that the liberty of
the press is theoretically and practically the most necessary of all;
and was it not our own Jefferson who solemnly affirmed that he would
rather live in a country with newspapers and without a government than
in a country with a government but without newspapers? Did not the
great Napoleon himself stand in greater awe of a newspaper than of a
hundred thousand bayonets? “Give me but the liberty of the press,”
cried Sheridan, “and I will give to the minister a venal House of
Peers; I will give him a corrupt and servile House of Commons; I will
give him the full sway of the patronage of office; I will give him the
whole host of ministerial influence; I will give him all the power
that place can confer upon him to purchase up submission and overcome
resistance; and yet, armed with the liberty of the press, I will go
forth to meet him undismayed; I will attack the mighty fabric he has
reared with that mightier engine; I will shake down from its height
corruption and bury it amidst the ruins of the abuses it was meant to

But we do not propose to treat our readers to a dissertation written
in the style of him who declared that, were the starry heavens
deficient of one constellation, the vacuum could not be better
supplied than by the introduction of a printing-press. We fully
recognize, however, the very great power of the press which controls
public opinion, and indeed often makes it. Nothing is unimportant
which throws light upon the constitution and workings of this “Fourth
Estate,” into whose hands the destinies of modern nations and
civilization seem to have been delivered; and it is for this reason
that we take pleasure in bringing to the notice of the readers of THE
CATHOLIC WORLD the work of Professor Wuttke on _German Journalism and
the Origin of Public Opinion_.

It would be difficult to find a more curious or instructive book. For
years connected with the press himself, a leader of the “great German
party,” and the author of several valuable historical and
philosophical works, Herr Wuttke has brought to his present task the
thoroughgoing and painstaking conscientiousness of a German professor.
He is wholly in earnest; neither smiles nor laughs; does not even stop
to give smoothness and polish to his phrase, but without remorse or
fear invades the editorial sanctum, and pours upon its most hidden
mysteries the profane light; holds them up before vulgar eyes, and
leaves not the suspicion of a doubt but that he is resolved to tell
all he knows. His courage no one can deny. The enterprise to which he
has devoted himself was full of perils, none of which were hidden from

German newspapers before the revolution of 1848 were chiefly of a
literary character. Their columns were filled with criticisms of
books, philosophical and theological discussions, æsthetic treatises,
accounts of travel, entertaining stories, and theatrical notices.
Scarcely any attention was paid to events of the day, and least of all
to those of a political character. The explanation of this anomaly is
simple. The governments of Germany exercised a rigorous censorship
over the press, and allowed nothing to be published which might set
people to thinking about what their rulers were doing. But the storm
of 1848 blew the pen from the hand of the official censor, and opened
the columns of the newspaper to all kinds of political theories and
discussions. The governments were at sea, borne helpless by the
popular wave which had broken them loose from their ancient moorings
and was carrying them they knew not whither. Their official organs,
with unlimited financial support from the state, were powerless,
because people refused to read them whilst independent journals were
within their reach. The revolutionary outburst was soon followed by a
reaction, partly brought on by its own excesses; and with the aid of
the military the former governments were restored. Restrictions were
again placed upon the liberty of the press; but so universal had the
political agitation been that to think of carrying through a policy of
rigorous repression was manifestly out of the question. It became
necessary, therefore, to devise some expedient by which the press
might be controlled without being muzzled.

With this view Von Manteuffel, the Prussian minister, established in
Berlin a “Central Bureau of the Press,” which stood in intimate
relations with the government and received from the “Secret Fund” a
yearly support of from forty to fifty thousand thalers. With this
money the pens of a crowd of needy scribes were bought, who for twenty
or thirty thalers a month agreed to write articles in support of the
views which the director of the Bureau should inspire. The next step
was to make an opening for these articles in the columns of journals
in different parts of the kingdom. This was not difficult, as the
contributions were well written, by persons evidently thoroughly
informed, and were offered at a nominal price, or even without pay. On
the 9th of March, 1851, the director of the Bureau sent a circular to
“those editors and publishers of the conservative party with whom he
has not at present the honor of holding personal relations,” in which
he promised, with special reference to his connection with the
Ministry of State, to send them from time to time communications
concerning the real condition of political affairs, in order to
furnish them indispensable materials for the successful prosecution of
their labors. This assistance was to be given free of cost, and many
editors were eager to avail themselves of it without inquiring with
much care into its special significance. In this way the “Central
Press-Bureau” wove a network of lines of communication over the whole
kingdom, which, however, was carefully hidden from public view. It
also kept up constant intercourse with the representatives of Prussia
at the various European courts, which enabled it to give tone to
public opinion on foreign affairs as well as on matters at home.
Through the influence of the government, and by spending money, the
Bureau gradually succeeded in introducing its agents into the offices
of many newspapers, and occasionally in getting entire control of this
or that journal. By this cunning policy the Prussian government was
able to lead the unsuspecting public by the nose.

Whilst confiding readers throughout the land were receiving the views
of their favorite journals as the honest expression of public opinion,
these newspapers were in fact only the whispering-galleries of the
Berlin ministry. The editors themselves were often ignorant of the
fact that the pens of their co-laborers had been bought and sold. Even
foreign journals, in England and France, did not escape the meshes of
the “Press-Bureau,” but were entrapped and made to do service for

Another contrivance for working up public opinion was the
“Lithographic Correspondence-Bureau,” which is a French invention.
This is an agency for the manufacture of correspondence from all parts
of the world, at home and abroad, which is lithographed and sent to
journals that are willing to pay for it; and nearly all of them find
this the cheapest and easiest method of keeping abreast of the times.

As the men who found these Bureaus are chiefly intent upon making
money, and live, moreover, in salutary awe of the government, they
generally find it advisable to place themselves at its disposition.
The correspondence-agency of Havas-Büllier in Paris was Orleanistic
under Louis Philippe, and Napoleonic under the Empire. In return it
obtained the monopoly of “lithographic correspondence”; so that,
during the reign of Louis Napoleon, France received its knowledge of
the foreign world through the single channel of this Bureau, which was
carefully supervised by the government. This was too excellent a
device not to find ready acceptance in Berlin, and in the most natural
way in the world the “Lithographic Correspondence-Bureau” was placed
alongside the “Press-Bureau”; the journals which had already fallen
under the influence of the latter yielded without resistance to the
seductions of the new ally, and thus became to a still greater extent
the tools of the government. In this way the “eunuchs of the court and
press” were in position deliberately and with malice to falsify and
pervert public opinion, which soon came to mean the utterances of the
herd of venal scribes in Berlin who had sold themselves, body and
soul, to the “Press-Bureau.” One of the five sins which, according to
Confucius, is unpardonable, is from under the mantle of truth to
scatter broadcast lies which are hurtful to the people; and this is
the charge which Professor Wuttke brings against the crowd of German

Telegraphy, which was first introduced into Germany in 1849, led to
further improvements in the art of manipulating the press. The
“Correspondence-Bureau” of Havas-Büllier became a telegraphic agency
and furnished despatches free of charge to the Parisian journals, in
order to prevent the starting of a rival business; and when,
notwithstanding, the _Agence Continentale_ was organized, it was
suppressed by Persigny, the Minister of State, who by this means was
enabled to control the publication of telegrams in all the leading
journals of France. In Italy the Stefani Agency, at Turin, rendered
similar services to the government of Victor Emanuel; sending out the
most shameless falsehoods to the four corners of the earth, and
carefully suppressing whatever the authorities wished to conceal from
the public. These despatches were printed in the leading journals of
Europe and America as coming from unsuspected sources, when they were
in fact the “cooked” telegrams of the secret agents of Cavour and the

In 1850 Reuter established his telegraphic Agency in Aix-la-Chapelle,
but removed it in the following year to Berlin; and a few months
later, when the cable between Calais and Dover was laid, he made
London the central point of his operations. In Berlin a similar
business was opened by Dr. Wolf, a Jew. In 1855 he sold out
to a number of capitalists, who organized the _Continentale
Telegrafenkompagnie_, and then entered into a combination with Reuter
and Havas, through which they controlled the telegraphic despatches
furnished to the press of all Europe. To have the latest news was a
journalistic necessity; and yet to maintain special agents in the
great centres, and to pay the high rates for sending special
telegrams, would have been too heavy a burden. Nothing remained,
therefore, but to take the despatches of the Agencies which were now
in league with one another.

In Prussia nearly all the telegraphic lines, most of which were put up
during the reaction after the revolution of 1848, were in the hands of
the government; and this, of itself, was sufficient to place the
Agencies at its disposal. And in point of fact, it is no secret that
in Prussia there exists a censorship of the telegraph, and that the
government decides as to the despatches which the newspapers shall
receive. Whoever will take the trouble to weigh this matter will see
what a terrible instrument for the perversion of public opinion is
thus placed in the hands of the state. A despatch has always in its
favor the force of first impressions. When, after days or weeks,
explanations follow, they are passed over, new events having already
preoccupied public attention. All the world reads the telegram;
comparatively few pay any attention to the later-coming corrections of
inaccurate or false statements.

Prussia, then, through her “Central Press-Bureau,” her
“Correspondence-Bureau,” and her “Telegram-Bureau,” succeeded in
getting control of the leading German journals, which, while keeping
up the appearance of independence and honesty, were either in her pay
or under the influence of her agents. Public opinion in Germany was at
her mercy; so that, after she had made the most thorough preparations
for the war of 1866, she found no difficulty in having it proclaimed
throughout the fatherland that Austria had been arming and was ready
to fall upon her in order to rob her of Silesia. The newspapers even
lent themselves, when the war had begun, to the publication of a
spurious address to the army by Benedek, the Austrian leader, in which
there was not one word of truth, but in which he was made to speak in
a way that could not fail to arouse the indignation of the Prussian
soldiers. This forged document was circulated by the press and read by
the captains to their men as soon as they had entered Bohemia.

The creation of the new empire has not improved German journalism. The
“Press-Bureau” has enlarged the circle of its activity, while the
government has invented other means not less effective for controlling
the newspapers. “We care not for public opinion,” said a high official
in Berlin some months ago; “for the entire press belongs to us.”
Prussia has German public opinion, in so far as it is allowed to find
expression, in her keeping. After the war with Austria the annual
secret fund of the “Press-Bureau” was increased to 70,000 thalers; but
this is in reality a very inconsiderable portion of the money at its
disposition. The incorporation of Hanover and Hesse with Prussia threw
into the hands of the government very large resources. From George of
Hanover King William exacted 19,000,000 thalers, and from the Prince
Elector of Hesse property with an annual rental of 400,000 thalers.
Both these sums were placed at the disposal of Bismarck by the
Landtag, that he might use them to defeat the “intrigues” of the
enemies of Prussia. It was on the occasion of this grant that Bismarck
used the words which have given to the “Press-Bureau” fund a name
which it can never lose. “I follow,” he said, “malignant reptiles into
their very holes, in order to watch their doings.” The money which he
received to carry on this dark underground business was appropriately
designated by the Berlin wits the “Reptile-fund” (_Reptilienfond_). A
vocabulary of slang has been invented to designate the hired scribes
of the Bureau and their operations. Bismarck calls them “my
swine-herds” (_meine Sauhirten_). To write for the “Press-Bureau” is
to take mud-baths (_Schlammbäder nehmen_); and the writers themselves,
who are classified as “officious,” “high-officious,” “half-officious,”
and “over-officious,” are called “mud-bathers” (_Schlammbäder_), and
they devour the “Reptile-fund.” The instructions issued by the
directors for the preparation of articles for the different journals
are styled “wash-tickets” (_Waschzettel_). The directors who are not
immediately connected with the Bureau are known by the name of “Piper”
(_Pfeifer_), which, in the jargon of Berlin, has a peculiar and by no
means flattering signification.

As the buzzards fly to the carcass, so gathered the hungry German
scribes around the “Reptile-fund”; but their pens were cheap and the
“Press-Bureau” was able to feed a whole army of them, and yet have
abundant means to devote to other methods for influencing public
opinion. Its machinations are, of course, conducted with the greatest
secrecy. All manner of blinds are used. Its agents assume in their
articles a style of great independence, deal largely in loud and
captious epithets, occasionally even criticise this or that measure of
the government, and ape the ways of honest and patriotic men. The
“Central Press-Bureau” itself is pushed as far out of sight as
possible; stalking horses and scarecrows are put forward; and the
institution is made to appear as only a myth. But the Cave of Æolus is
in Berlin, and the winds which are let loose there blow to and fro,
hither and yon, through all Germany, starting currents in other parts
of the world. In this cave the old snake-worship of so many ages and
peoples still exists, and the god is the “Reptile-fund.” Out of this
cavern are blown the double-leaded leaders which fall thick all over
the land, and always, as if by magic, just in the right place. False
reports eddy through the air; stubborn facts are pulled and bent and
beaten until they get into the proper shape. The light which is
permitted to fall upon them is managed as skilfully as in an
art-gallery or a lady’s drawing-room. With the aid of the
“Reptile-fund” the “Press-Bureau” found little difficulty in extending
its business of buying up journals, paying sometimes as high as a
hundred thousand thalers for a single newspaper; and where this could
not be done money was freely spent to start an opposition sheet.
Whenever a journal was found to be growing weak, aid was proffered on
condition that it should open its columns to the “Press-Bureau”;
sometimes with the understanding that one of its agents should be
placed in the editorial chair. So thoroughly has this system of
bribery taken possession of Prussian journalism that the court decided
(October, 1873), in a suit against the _Germania_ newspaper, that to
accuse an editor of being in the pay of the “Press-Bureau” is not a
criminal offence, since it does not in the public estimation tend to
lower his character.

Occasionally, in spite of the greatest care, the secrets of the Bureau
are betrayed. Thus in February, 1874, a circular was sent to various
journals, and amongst others to the _Neue Wormser-Zeitung_, with the
offer to furnish from the capital, first, a tri-weekly original
article on the political situation; second, original political and
diplomatic advice from all the departments of the government, also
three times a week; third, a short but exhaustive parliamentary
report; fourth, special correspondence from other capitals (written in
Berlin); fifth, original accounts of foreign affairs, drawn from the
special sources of the Bureau; and, sixth, a short daily, as well as a
more lengthy weekly, exhibit of the Berlin Bourse. For these services
nothing was demanded; but, that the thing might not appear too bald,
it was stated that the editor should fix his own price. Now, it so
happened that when this circular was received by the _Neue
Wormser-Zeitung_ that paper was in the hands of Herr Westerburg, a
Social Democrat, who straightway took the public into his confidence.

The newly-acquired provinces of Prussia were a favorite field for the
operations of the Berlin Bureau. General Manteuffel, in 1866,
suppressed the _Schleswig-Holsteinische Zeitung_, and handed the
country over to the reptile-press. In Alsace and Lorraine also
journals were suppressed, and others established, by the government.
In these provinces the independent press has wholly disappeared, with
the exception of two tame and unimportant sheets. In fact, if we
except the Catholic and a few Social Democratic newspapers, there is
hardly a journal of any weight in the German Empire in which the
press-reptile is not found. “I know,” wrote to Professor Wuttke an
author well acquainted with the circumstances—“I know few German
newspapers in which there is not a mud-bather.” For even passing
services the Bureau is ready to pay cash. Chaplain Miarka, the editor
of the _Katholik_, has declared publicly that he was offered 7,500
thalers on condition of consenting to write in a milder manner during
the elections.

The working up of public opinion through the press extends far beyond
the boundaries of the German Empire. The proceedings of the court in
the trial of Von Arnim in 1874 developed the fact that he, whilst
representing Prussia at the Tuileries, had entered into relations with
various journals of Paris, Vienna, and Brussels; and it is generally
understood that 50,000 thalers were placed at the disposition of Herr
Rudolf Lindau for the purpose of manipulating the Parisian press.
Through these and similar means an opening for the articles of the
“Press-Bureau” was made in English, French, and Belgian newspapers;
and these articles, which had been first written in German, were
translated back into German and published by the reptile-press as the
expression of public opinion in foreign countries on Prussian affairs.
“I could give the names,” says Professor Wuttke, “of the
press-reptiles who write for the _Indépendance Belge_, of those who
take care of the _Hour_, and of others whose duty it is to furnish
articles to the Italian and Scandinavian newspapers.”[98] To hold the
English in leading strings, Berlin had, in 1869, a _North Germany
Correspondence_, and then, under the supervision of Aegidi, the
director of the “Press-Bureau,” a _Norddeutsche Correspondenz_, which
is still the chief source from which both English and American
journals draw their information on German affairs. The attempt made
from Berlin to buy Katkoff’s _Journal of Moscow_ was defeated by the
incorruptibility of the proprietor.

The reptile-press, of course, ignores and strives to hush whatever may
throw light upon the dark workings and intrigues of the “Press
Bureau”; and no better instance of its power in this respect can be
given than the history of Professor Wuttke’s book on German
journalism. Its existence was not recognized by the press-reptiles;
its startling revelations were ignored or received in profound
silence; and so successful was this policy that a year after the
publication of the work only three hundred copies had been sold; and
it is chiefly through the efforts of a Catholic newspaper—the
_Germania_—and of Windthorst, a leader of the party of the _Centrum_,
that it has finally been brought to public notice and has now reached
a third edition. In the German Parliament, on the 18th of December,
1874, Windthorst took Professor Wuttke’s book with him to the
speaker’s stand, and, in a powerful address against any further grant
of the “Secret Fund” (_Reptilien-fond_), made special reference to
this work, which he characterized as “conscientious” and full of
startling revelations which leave room to suspect even worse things. A
year before (December 3, 1873) the same speaker declared in the
Prussian Landtag that in Germany the government had nearly succeeded
in getting entire control of the press; that the influence of the
“Reptile-fund” was already noticeable in foreign countries,
particularly in the newspapers of Vienna; and that the attempt had
been made to establish a “Reptile-Bureau” in connection with the
London embassy; and when this was found not to work well, a
“Press-Bureau” for England, France, and Italy was organized in Berlin.
These charges, made in public parliamentary debate, were allowed to
pass without contradiction, although Aegidi, the director of the
Central Bureau, was a member of the Assembly and present during the

Eugen Richter, the member for Hagen, brought forward other accusations
of like import on the 20th of January, 1874. We have already given an
example of the uses to which the Prussian government puts the
reptile-press, in the instance of the forged army address attributed
to Benedek, and published throughout Germany at the outbreak of the
war with Austria in 1866.[99] Similar services were rendered by the
“mud-bathers” at the time of the crisis with France in 1870. A false
telegram, purporting to come from Ems, dated July 13, 1870, in which
the French minister, Count Benedetti, was said to have grossly
insulted King William, was eagerly taken up by the venal press and
commented upon in a way which excited the greatest indignation in the
minds of the Germans against Napoleon, who, they firmly believed, was
bent upon humiliating Prussia. In this way public feeling in both
countries was fanned into a heat which could be cooled only by blood.
The account of the interview at Ems was a fabrication, as Benedetti
has since clearly shown; but Bismarck’s “swineherds” had faithfully
done their unholy work.[100]

When, just at the beginning of the war, the Fren