The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Catholic World, Vol. 22, October, 1875,
to March, 1876, by Various

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Title: The Catholic World, Vol. 22, October, 1875, to March, 1876
       A Monthly Magazine of General Literature and Science

Author: Various

Release Date: April 27, 2017 [EBook #54617]

Language: English

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General Literature and Science.

OCTOBER, 1875, TO MARCH, 1876.

9 Warren Street.







VOL. XXII., No. 127.—OCTOBER, 1875.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by Rev. I. T. Hecker, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.


Mr. Tennyson has achieved a great reputation as a lyric poet. He urges now a higher claim. In the sunset of a not inglorious life, when we should have expected his lute to warble with waning melodies and less impassioned strains, he lays it aside as too feeble for his maturer inspirations, and, as though renewed with the fire of a second youth, he draws to his bosom a nobler instrument, and awakes the echoes of sublimer chords. He has grown weary of the lyric

“hœrentem multa cum laude coronam,”

and with some confidence claims the dramatic bays. Nay, he even invites a comparison with Shakspere. True to the temper of the times, his prestige follows him in so hazardous a competition, the accustomed wreaths are showered upon him with unreflecting haste, and the facile representatives of the most incapable of critics—public opinion—have already offered him that homage as a dramatist which had already been too lavishly offered to his idyllic muse.

It is an ungrateful task to go against the popular current, and it is an ungracious one to object to crowns which the multitude have decreed. But there is no help for it, unless we would stoop to that criticism of prestige which is so characteristic of the age, and would follow in the wake of the literary rabble, criticising the works by the author, instead of the author by his works.

We may as well say, at once, that we have never felt it in our power to acknowledge the poetical supremacy of the English poet-laureate.[2] It has always appeared to us that there is, in his poetry, a lack of inspiration. To borrow a too familiar but expressive metaphor, the coin is highly burnished, glitters brightly, and has the current stamp, but one misses the ring of[2] the genuine metal. He sits patiently on the tripod, dealing forth phrases as musical as Anacreon’s numbers, and as polished as those of a Greek sophist, spiced with a refined humor, which has a special charm of its own. But his soul does not kindle at the sacred fire. We miss the divine frenzy. A passionateness of love of the beautiful does not appear to be the quickening inspiration of his creations. All alike show signs of extreme care and preparation. We do not forget the counsel of Horace. But that only refers to a distant revision of creations which an unchecked genius may have produced under the divine influence. Whereas, Mr. Tennyson’s poetry bears evidence of infinite toil in production. All his thoughts, ideas, and images, down to words and phrases, are too evidently, instead of the happy inspirations of genius, the labored workmanship of a polished, refined, and fastidious mind. They something resemble the tout ensemble of a petit maître who has succeeded in conveying to his dress an appearance of such consummate simplicity and unexceptionable taste that every one notices the result of hours before the mirror. His diction is pure and polished, his phrases simple and nervous, and the English language owes him much for what he has done towards neutralizing the injury inflicted on it by the gaudy phraseology of the “correct” poets, and the antithetical sesquipedalianism of such prose writers as Johnson and Gibbon, and for preserving it in its pure and nervous simplicity. But his soul is dull to the poetic meanings of nature. His natural scenery is rather descriptive than a creation, much as artists, of whom there are not a few, who reproduce with consummate skill of imitation objects in detail, and bestow infinite care upon color, shade, perspective, grouping, and all the other technical details of a picture, whilst comparatively indifferent to the subject, which ought to be the poetic meaning of creations of genius. And what are they but only fruitful manifestations of the love of the beautiful, and echoes of its creative word, not the mere manipulations of an artificer? Mr. Tennyson’s descriptions of nature owe their vividness to the brilliance of word-painting and a certain refined delicacy of touch; sometimes, even, and indeed very often, to a certain quaint humor which is inconsistent with the highest art—it is not a passionate love which regards the object beloved from a ridiculous point of view—as when he describes the willows living adown the banks of a streamlet as “shock-headed pollards poussetting down the stream.”

The sensations provoked by his poetry resemble those of one who has sauntered through a museum of precious stones of rare workmanship and purest water. Our æsthetic taste has been pleased by the glitter and the color and the brilliance, but our mind and heart have not been deeply moved. His poems are ablaze with detached thoughts of lofty meaning, and of a multitude of others whose meaning is not obvious, all alike expressed in vivid imagery, in the purest phraseology, and in rare melody of rhythm. But they are confused and cabalistic. He seems to be always laboring to be incomprehensible. He calls it “the riddling of the bards.” And he succeeds. The problem of the Sphinx, the emblematic warning sent by the Scythians to their Persian invader,[3] the mute counsel sent by the Samian to the Corinthian tyrant, a Delphic oracle, all were clear and easy by comparison with Mr. Tennyson’s lyrics, alike in detached passages and in entire poems. None of woman born can fathom the meaning of the Idylls of the King.

This defect alone is fatal to poetry. So keenly did Spenser feel it that although the meaning of his allegory, The Faerie Queene, is obvious enough to any ordinary intelligence, he is careful to explain it in full in a letter dedicated to Sir Walter Raleigh.

Mr. Tennyson, on the contrary, involves himself in the thickest mystery he can contrive, and expects his worshippers to take it for inspiration. Take the following, for example, from “The Coming of Arthur”:

“Rain, rain, and sun, a rainbow in the sky!
A young man will be wiser by-and-by,
An old man’s wit may wander e’er he die.
“Rain, rain, and sun, a rainbow on the lea!
And truth is this to me, and that to thee
And truth, or clothed or naked, let it be.
“Rain, sun, and rain! and the free blossom blows,
Sun, rain, and sun! and where is he who knows?
From the great deep to the great deep he goes.”

These are, no doubt, “riddling triplets,” as he himself calls them. The riddling of Shakspere’s fools, even the wanderings from the night of distraught Ophelia’s brain, are light itself by the side of them. We may well echo his invocation of “Sun, rain, and sun! and where is he who knows?” Whatever inspiration may be evident here, it is not that of the beautiful. And yet even this has snatches of meaning which many passages we might adduce have not; as the following, from “Gareth and Lynette”:

“Know ye not, then, the riddling of the bards?
Confusion, and illusion, and relation.
Elusion, and occasion, and evasion?”

It is almost a pity that the bard did not complete his “riddling” while he was about it. Another couplet:

Diffusion, and ablution, and abrasion.
Ablution, expectation, botheration,

would have rendered still more impenetrable the bardic mystery.

There is no resemblance in this studied concealment of meaning, if meaning there be, to that

“Sacred madness of the bards
When God makes music through them,”

of which he sings. It is more like the melodious confusion of the Æolian harp. Even if the poet have a definite meaning in his own mind, if he so express it that I cannot even guess it, to me it is nonsense; and nonsense, however melodious, although it may enchant my sense, cannot move my heart. Here and there, however, our poet sings snatches of real poetry, as Sir Bedivere’s answer to his king in “The Coming of Arthur”:

“I heard the water lapping on the craig
And the long ripple washing in the reeds.”

Upon the whole, Mr. Tennyson excels in a certain underlying vein of exquisitely refined humor. And when his subject admits of it, he is unrivalled. His is the poetry of humor. We would name as examples “The Northern Farmer” and the satirical poem, “Locksley Hall,” perhaps the most vigorous of all his productions; and, of his longer poems, The Princess. It is for this reason we think he is more likely to excel, as a dramatist, in comedy than in tragedy.

If our readers would estimate the full force of our remarks, we would invite them to read the works of any of the principal of our earlier lyrical poets, as, for example, Collins. We name him because he[4] too excels in that melody of versification for which Mr. Tennyson is so distinguished. At times, as in his “Sonnet on Evening,” he surpasses the Laureate in that respect, although for sustained and unfailing rhythmical melody the latter bears away the palm from him, and perhaps from every other rival. But in profound sympathy with nature, in the fidelity of his creations, in the echoes of the beautiful which he provokes within the soul of the reader, the Poet-Laureate must yield to the Demy of Magdalen. Like Shakspere, he peopled inanimate nature with a fairy world, and amongst elves and genii and other dainty spirits he abandoned himself to that power of impersonation which is almost an attribute of a true poet.

Our space does not admit of illustrative quotations, but we would refer the reader inclined to institute the comparison suggested to the elegy over Fidele, in the play of Cymbeline, and to his Eclogues.

Mr. Tennyson’s poetry has beauties of its own peculiar kind of so remarkable and striking a description that we might have hesitated to take any exceptions whatsoever to his poetical genius. But his new poem, his first effort in dramatic poetry, seems to us to set all doubt at rest. It convinces us that, for whatever reasons, of the highest flights of poetic inspiration Mr. Tennyson is incapable. We are convinced that he lacks that which constitutes a great poet. However beautiful his poetry, we feel that it wants something which, however keenly we may be sensible of it, it is not easy either to analyze or explain.

For what is the inspiration of poetry but the echoes of the beautiful within the soul of man? The universe of things is the visible word of God. It is his essential beauty projected by an energy of creative love—the quickening spirit opening his wings over chaos—into an objective existence, on which its generator looked with complacency as “very good,” and which he generated in order that his creature, whom he had made in his own image, might, with himself, rejoice in its contemplation. He did not, at first, endow him with the power of beholding himself “face to face,” but only his reflex. We have the right to believe that, whilst in union with his Maker, he read at a glance the meaning of the word, he felt instantaneously the beauty of the image. His nature, into which no discord had as yet been introduced, uncondemned to the judgment of painful toil, did not acquire charity and knowledge by long and laborious processes, disciplinary and ratiocinative, but by intuition. Incapable as yet of the Beatific Vision, he comprehended the whole of the divine beauty as revealed in creation, and the comprehension itself was a transport of love. He saw, and knew, and loved, and the three were one simultaneous energy of the sonship of his nature. But, as now, “the greatest of these was charity.” It was the result and sum and end of the sight and knowledge. It was the feeling they inevitably and unremittingly occasioned. To speak as we can only speak in our actual condition, it was as those thuds of loving admiration with which our hearts throb when we look upon some surpassing embodiment of innocent and modest female loveliness. When the mind, jealous of pre-eminence, led captive, so to speak, the heart in revolt against the revealed law,[5] the human being was no longer in union with himself, a war of impulses and of energies was set up within him, the image of God was defaced, his perception of created beauty became more and more obscure as he went further away from his original abode of innocence, until, finally, it was all but lost. The emotion, if we may describe it as such, which it was of its nature to suggest, could not perish, for it is imperishable. But it had lost its true object, and surveyed knowledge in a form more or less degraded.

Now out of this very faint and rapid sketch of a psychological theory which would require a volume for its development, we hope to be able to convey some idea, however vague, of the nature of the poetic spirit.

It is certain that the remains of the divine image have not since been alike and equal in all the individuals of the race. It may be asserted, on the contrary, that there are no two human microcosms in which the elements of the confusion introduced into them by the original infidelity exist in the same proportion. Those in whom the intelligence is the quickest to see, and the mind, heart, and soul to love in unison, the image of divine beauty revealed in creation—those, that is, in whom the divine image remains the most pronouncedly—are the truest poets.

When this echo of the soul to the beautiful does not go beyond the physical creation, the inspirations of love express themselves in lyric or idyllic poetry. The poet imitates the divine Creator in reproducing, even creating, images of his lower creation so faithful and suggestive that they who look upon them experience similar sensations and emotions to those provoked within them by the divine creation itself, nay, not unseldom, even profounder ones. He reveals the beautiful in similar images to those in which The Beautiful revealed himself to his creature; he is thus himself a ποιητὴς, or creator, and his work is a ποίησις, or creation. When his forms derive their inspiration only from the inferior creation, they are exclusively some form of idyls or lyrics. But when, soaring above the grosser medium of the merely material universe, and poising himself on wings tremulous with reverent joy at the confines of the invisible, his soul echoes the music of the beautiful issuing from that invisible creation; and that imitative energy which is of its essence, inspired by these reawakening inspirations, calls into being psychical individualities with their precise bodily expression and proper destinies—that is to say, with all the causes and results, ebb and flow, action and reaction, in human affairs, of every volition and energy, he reproduces the highest energy of the divine creative power, he evokes into sensible existence whole multitudes of fresh creatures made in the image of God, and, what is even yet more sublime, he evokes into equally sensible being the particular providence which overrules each and all—the one difference between the two creations being that one is original, the other imitative; one imaginary—that is, merely sensible; the other, not only sensible, but real also, and essential. Yet are the accidents of the former produced occasionally with such extraordinary fidelity that they have sometimes, as in the creations of Shakspere, for example, the same effect upon those who become acquainted with them as if they were in truth the latter.


Who that has ever studied the creations of that immortal dramatist has not them all, from high to low, treasured within his inner being as vividly as any other of his absent acquaintances, whom he has met in society, to whom he has been formally introduced, with whom he has eaten, drank, laughed, wept, walked, and conversed? Has not that remarkable genius transgressed even the imitative faculty—imitative, that is, of all the original creative energy that is known—produced original creations, and peopled the preter- rather than supernatural with beings which have no known existence, but whom nevertheless he surrounds with a distinct verisimilitude which ensures them easy admission into our minds and hearts, which presents them to our senses as concrete beings with as much positiveness, and even as clearly defined individuality, as if they were solid creatures of flesh and bone, and which makes us feel that if such beings did really exist, they would be none other than precisely those he has represented?

Of such sort, we take it, is the highest, or dramatic, poetry. And of it there is a manifest deficiency in this work, which its author terms, indeed, a drama, but which is in fact a tragedy.

Mr. Tennyson has not enough of the divine afflatus to write tragedy. If he has not sufficient love of the beautiful in inanimate nature for his soul to echo to it, and his heart to throb with the sense of it, with the rapidity of an intuition, so as to make unattainable to him the highest excellence in lyric poetry, how much more out of his reach must be a first rank in the tragic drama; where, if anywhere, an intuition of the beautiful amounting to an inspiration is demanded in that supreme creation of God which, as the consummation of his “work” and word, he has embodied in his own substance! In that profound and intuitive perception of the workings of man’s inner being, of the passions, emotions, feelings, appetites, their action and reaction, ebb and flow; of the struggle of the two natures, its infinite variety and play of life, under all conceivable conditions and vicissitudes, with much more than can be detailed here included in these, Mr. Tennyson is strikingly deficient.

In the tragedies of Shakspere, as in all his dramas, the distinct personality of every one of the characters, high and low, is impressed upon us with vivid distinctness. But the principal personages in the tragedies dilate before us in heroic proportions as the portentous struggle progresses. Whether it be King Lear, or King John, or King Richard, or Othello, or Lady Macbeth, or Lady Constance, or the widowed Princess of Wales, or Ophelia, or whoever else, we look on with bated breath, as did the spectators of the boat-race with which Æneas celebrated the suicide of his regal paramour, and we come away at its close a prey to the storm of emotions which the magic art of the island sorcerer has conjured up within us.

But the drama, or tragedy, as we prefer to call it, we read with but languid interest. The psychical struggle is neither very obvious nor very critical, there is no very striking revelation of the sublime beauty or tragic overthrow of human nature, and although the canvas is crowded with figures, not one of them impresses any very distinct image of his or her individuality on our mind[7] and heart. Instead of, as Shakspere’s creations, retaining every one of them as a distinct and intimate acquaintance, whom we may summon into our company at will, we rise from the perusal of Queen Mary without having received any very definite impression of any, even the principal, personages, and we forget all about them almost as soon as we have read the play.

This vital defect in a drama the author has rendered doubly fatal through his having carried his imitation of Shakspere to the extent of adopting his simplicity of plot. Shakspere could afford to do this. The inspired verisimilitude of the struggle of the two natures in every one of his human creations, the profoundness of his development of the innermost working of the human microcosm, often by a few master-touches, surround every one of his dramatis personæ with all the rapt suspense and sustained interest of a plot. Every one of his characters is, as it were, a plot in itself. But it is quite certain that Mr. Tennyson—and it is no depreciation of him—has not this power. He has, therefore, every right to call to his aid the interest of an elaborate plot, which itself would also, we think, cause him to develop more vividly his characters. It is in this the late Lord Lytton, whose poetical pretensions are very much below Mr. Tennyson’s, achieved whatever success he had as a dramatist. Mr. Tennyson has not to depend on this solely, as was very nearly the case with Lord Lytton, but it would contribute very much to a higher success. The great dramatist he is unwise enough so avowedly to imitate peoples the simplest plot with a whole world of stirring destinies. He moves his quickening wand, and lo! as by the master-will of a creator, appear a Hamlet or a Malvolio, a Lady Macbeth or a Goneril or Miranda, an Ariel or a Caliban, contribute their precise share to the history, which would not have been complete without them, and then disappear from the scene, but never from our memory. A magic word or two has smitten them into it, and they live for aye in our mind and heart. His heroes and his heroines he clothes with such a majesty of poetry that we watch anxiously with bated breath their every gesture, word, or look; we cannot bear their absence, until, entranced into their destiny, and half unconscious, we watch them disappear in the catastrophe, our ears are blank, all voices mute, the brilliant theatre is the chamber of death, and they who, to us, were but now living flesh and blood, in whose destinies our innermost soul was rapt, have passed away, amidst a tempest of emotions, and are no more.

But Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, either of the two great classic epics, or any striking historic passage in even so ungraphic a writer as Lingard, is more dramatic than this drama. The feeble plot gives birth to feebler impersonations. They come and go without making any deep impression upon us, or seizing our attention by any striking originality. Their features are indistinct, their actions insignificant. They are bloodless and colorless. They are ghosts, things of air, whom a feeble incantation has summoned from their slumber, who mutter a few laborious Spartanisms in a renewed life in which they seem to have no concern, and vanish without provoking a regret, nor even an emotion. We observe in them such an absence of verisimilitude, so marked[8] a want of truth to nature, as very much to weaken, when it does not entirely destroy, the dramatic illusion. Nowhere is this more observable than where he intends most manifestly a rivalry of Shakspere. Shakspere not unseldom introduces the multitude into his poetic history. But when he does so, it seizes our interest as forcibly as his more important personages. With a few rapid touches he dashes in a few typical individuals, who reveal to us vividly what the whole kind of thing is of which they are prominent units. They are the mob of the very time and place to which they belong. Whether at Rome in the time of Julius Cæsar, or at Mantua or Verona in the Middle Ages, or in England during the time of the Tudors, we feel that they act and speak just as then and there they might have said and done. Every one, too, has his or her distinct individuality. And such a verisimilitude have they that even an occasional anachronism, such as, in Troilus and Cressida, making a Trojan servant talk of being in the state of grace, does not dispel the charm. But Mr. Tennyson’s mob-types have no more striking features to seize our interest than his more exalted creations, whilst his anachronisms are of a kind which send all verisimilitude to the winds. Joan and Tib, and the four or five citizens, have nothing in them for which they should be singled out of the very ordinary condition of life to which they belong. And we are tempted to sneer when we hear an Elizabethan mob talking like Hampshire or Yorkshire peasants of the present day.

For all that, Mr. Tennyson’s cockneys and rustics are not his most ineffective portraiture. We experience a slight sensation of their having been lugged in, perhaps because of the inevitable comparison with Shakspere they provoke, and we feel them to be too modern; but the poet’s sense of humor here serves him in good stead, and although, in this respect, immeasurably below Shakspere, he gives a kind of raciness to his plebeians which saves them from being an absolute failure.

It is, however, in the principal personages of the drama that we most miss the Promethean fire, and pre-eminently in the hero, if Cranmer is intended for such a dignity, and the heroine. Amongst these, the most lifelike are Courtenay and Sir Thomas Wyatt; because, in their creation, the peculiar vein of quaint irony and exceedingly refined humor, which is Mr. Tennyson’s most eminent distinction, comes to his aid. For the rest, up to the heroine herself and the canting and recanting Cranmer, they are colorless and bloodless. We scarcely know one from the other. And we do not care to. Noailles and Renard are but poor specimens of diplomatists. Their sovereigns, were the time the present, might pick up a dozen such any day in Wall Street. If the poet could embody no greater conception of two such men as Bonner and Gardiner than a couple of vulgar, self-seeking, blood-thirsty knaves, he should have dispensed altogether with their presence. He should have given to them some elevation, whatever history may say about it. A drama is a poem, not a history; and the poet may take the names of historic personages and, within certain limits, fit to them creations of his own. In Cardinal Pole he had an opportunity for a noble ideal. But all we have is an amiable dummy, an old gentleman,[9] as ordinary and ineffective as the rest.

Facts have been so distorted by the influence which for so long had sole possession of literature, that there is plenty of room for taking great liberties with history. Mr. Tennyson has slightly availed himself of this, but in the wrong direction. Shakspere himself could not have made a saint of Cranmer. For poetry, there was nothing for it but to make him a more splendid sinner. To retain all his littlenesses and to array them in seductive virtues, is to present us with some such figure as the dusky chieftains decked in gaudy tinsel that solicit our admiration in front of the tobacconists’ shops. To attempt to give heroic proportions to a man whose profession of faith followed subserviently his self-interest until no hope remained, and then place in the hands of the burning criminal the palm of martyrdom, is to invite the love within us of the beautiful and the true to echo to a psychical impossibility, and that without an element of greatness.

Yet had the front figure of the history been a noble conception grandly executed all this might have been condoned. One might well have looked at them as a few rough accessories to heighten by their contrast the beauty of the central form. There was place for a splendid creation. No more favorable material for a tragic heroine exists than Mary Tudor—with the single exception of that other Mary who fell beneath the Puritans like a lily before the scythe of the destroyer. Around her history and person circle all the elements of the tenderest pathos, which is of the very essence of tragedy. That Shakspere did not use them is a proof he thought so. For “the fair vestal throned in the west” would have resented such a creation as his quickening genius would have called to life. A queen of noble nature gradually swept away by a resistless current of untoward circumstances, is a history capable of the sublimity of a Greek catastrophe, with the added pathos of Christian suffering. But who have we here? A silly woman, devoutly pious, and endowed with a conspicuous share of the family courage. But she is so weak that her piety has the appearance of superstition, and her fits of courage lose their royalty and fail to rescue her from contempt. Unattractive in person, she falls desperately in love with a man much younger than herself, and her woman’s love, ordinarily so quick to detect coldness in a lover, is blind to the grossest neglect; and yet not so blind but that a few words scrawled on a rag of paper, dropped in her way, could open her eyes on the spot. The tenderness of her love and the importunity of cruel-minded men, transform her almost suddenly from a gentle-natured woman to an unrelenting human tigress. And she, who would not allow the law to take its course on her most dangerous enemies, can exclaim of her sister Elizabeth,

“To the Tower with her!
My foes are at my feet, and I am queen.”

Afterwards of Guilford Dudley, the Duke of Suffolk, and Lady Jane Grey—

“They shall die.”

And again of her sister—

“She shall die.
My foes are at my feet, and Philip king.”

This is not the grandness of crime, as in Richard III., or even in Lady Macbeth. It is the petty despotism[10] of a weak and silly woman. There is no greatness of any kind about it. It is the mere triumphant chuckle of an amorous queen, wooing a more than indifferent husband. It is little—little enough for a comedy. There is something approaching the tragic in the desolation of her last moments. Calais is lost, her husband hates her, her people hate her. But the poet has already robbed her of the dignity of her position. She has forfeited our esteem. We experience an ordinary sympathy with her. But her fate is only what was to be expected. And the highest pathos is out of the question. When, following the example of her injured mother in the play of Henry VIII., she betakes herself to lute and song, the author insists on a comparison with Shakspere, and beside the full notes of the Bard of Avon the petty treble of the Laureate pipe shrinks to mediocrity.

But the most unpardonable of Mr. Tennyson’s imitations of Shakspere are those in which he rings the changes on the celebrated passage about “no Italian priest shall tithe nor toll in our dominions,” which inevitably provokes the applause of those amongst a theatrical audience who do not know what it means—unpardonable, because it makes even Shakspere himself as ridiculous as a poor travesty cannot fail to do. He was content with one such passage throughout his many plays. If Terence had filtered the noble sentiment of his celebrated passage, “Ego homo sum, et nihil humanum a me alienum,” through a variety of forms, it would have excited the laughter instead of the plaudits of the Roman “gods.” But the author of Queen Mary is not afraid to pose his sentiment, itself borrowed in no less than three different attitudes in one play; committing the additional absurdity of thrusting it, like a quid of tobacco, into the cheek of two different personages. Gardiner uses it twice, Elizabeth once:

“Yet I know well [says the former]
Your people …
Will brook nor Pope nor Spaniard here to play
The tyrant, or in commonwealth or church”;

and again, with questionable taste:

“And see you, we shall have to dodge again,
And let the Pope trample our rights, and plunge
His foreign fist into our island church,
To plump the leaner pouch of Italy”;

whilst Elizabeth is made to vulgarize it beyond hope of redemption into a mere petty ebullition of splenetic womanly vanity:

“Then, Queen indeed! No foreign prince or priest
Should fill my throne, myself upon the steps.”

It must be owned, indeed, that this play lacks the highest poetry in its expression as much as in its conception. We occasionally come across passages of vivid and vigorous limning, as Count Feria’s reply to Elizabeth towards the end of the play, and Howard’s description to the Lord Mayor of the state of mind of the citizens. But even the force of this latter passage is not dramatic. There is none of the rush and movement of an excited populace. There are a few striking groups. But they are inactive. Theirs is a kind of dead life, if we may be pardoned such an expression. Rather, they are mere tableaux vivants. They inspire us with no fear for Mary’s throne. More near to dramatic power and beauty is Elizabeth’s soliloquy at Woodstock, suddenly lowered in the midst of its poetry, even to nursery familiarity, by the introduction of such a phrase as “catch me who can.”

But for one single effort of the[11] highest poetic flight we look in vain.

Even the few snatches of his lyre which he introduces fail to woo us. They are not natural. If they are poetry, it is poetry in a court-dress. It is rich with brocade, and the jewels glitter bravely; it treads delicately, but its movements are artificial and constrained. Compare, for example, the song of the Woodstock milkmaid, wherein labor is visible in every line, with those gushes of nature with which the poet’s soul would seem to be bubbling over the brim of the visible in the various lyrical snatches of Ariel or with the song of Spring at the end of Love’s Labor Lost.

But what has more surprised us than the lack of the poetic inspiration in this drama is the occasional want of correct taste in a writer of such exceeding polish as Mr. Tennyson. Such a speech as

“And God hath blest or cursed me with a nose—
Your boots are from the horses,”

should not have been put in the mouth of a lady, still less a lady of the rank of Elizabeth, and that the less when she appeals to our sympathies from a kind of honorable imprisonment.

Lady Magdalen Dacres may have beat King Philip with a staff for insulting her, and have remained a lady, but we do not want to be told, in the midst of dramatic pathos,

“But by God’s providence a good stout staff
Lay near me; and you know me strong of arm;
I do believe I lamed his Majesty’s.”

Is our poet, again, so barren of invention that he could find no other way of portraying Philip’s indifference to his Queen than the following:

“By S. James, I do protest,
Upon the faith and honor of a Spaniard,
I am vastly grieved to leave your Majesty.
Simon, is supper ready?”
Renard—Ay, my liege,
I saw the covers laying.”
Philip—Let’s have it.”

Whatever may be the character he may have wished to depict in Philip, we expect a Spanish king to be a gentleman. And such an ending of a scene susceptible of the tenderest pathos, where the heroine and another of the principal personages of the drama are in presence, argues a wonderful dulness of perception of the beautiful.

Worse than all, however, is his treatment of Cardinal Pole.

Shakspere puts a few words of Latin into the mouth of Cardinal Wolsey in a scene in Henry VIII., in which he and Cardinal Campeggio are endeavoring to bend the queen to the king’s will. But it is a wonderful touch of nature. It is one of those profound intuitions for which the great dramatist is so distinguished. So seemingly simple an incident reveals, at a touch, as it were, the preoccupation of Wolsey’s mind, and the hollowness at once and difficulty of the duty he had suffered to be imposed upon him. They had paid her ostensibly a private visit, as friends. But Wolsey, oppressed with the difficulty of his undertaking, and meditating how he should set about it, forgets himself, the old habit crops up, and he begins as if he were beginning a formal ecclesiastical document:

“Tanta est erga te mentis integritas, regina serenissima.”

It is a slip. The queen stops him. He recollects himself, and we hear no more Latin.

But in this drama the poet literally makes a cardinal, and such a cardinal as Pole, address Queen[12] Mary with the angelic salutation to the Blessed Virgin, and in Latin:

“Ave Maria, gratia plena, benedicta tu in mulieribus!”

Upon the whole, the defects of this drama are so many and so serious, so radical and fundamental, that no competent criticism can pronounce it other than a failure; and a failure more complete than would have been thought possible to a poet of so great a reputation as Mr. Tennyson.[3]


Could I but see thee, dear my love!
That face—but once! Not dazzling bright—
Not as the blest above
Behold it in God’s light—
But as it look’d at La Salette;
Or when, in Pyrenean wild,
It beam’d on Bernadette,
The favor’d peasant child.
Once seen—a moment—it would blind
These eyes to beauty less than thine:
And where could poet find
Such theme for song as mine?
But if I ask what may not be,
So spell me with thy pictur’d face
That haunting looks from thee
May hold me like a grace.





And now a new life began for Franceline.

“You must fly from idleness as from sin,” Father Henwick said; “you must never let a regret settle on your mind for an instant. It will often be hard work to resist them; but we are here to fight. You must shut the door in the face of idle thoughts by activity and usefulness. I will help you in this. You must set to work amongst the poor; not so as to fatigue yourself, or interfere with your duties and occupations at home, but enough to keep you busy and interested. At first it will be irksome enough, I dare say; but never mind that. By and by the effort will bring its own reward, and be a pleasure as well as a duty.”

He sat down and wrote out a time-table for her which filled up every hour of the day, and left not one moment for brooding. There were visits to the cottages and a class for children in the morning; the afternoon hours were to be devoted to helping her father, writing and copying for him, sometimes copying MSS. for Father Henwick, with no other purpose than to keep her mind and her fingers occupied.

But when the excitement caused by this change in her daily routine subsided, something of the first heart-sinking returned. Do what she would, thought would not be dumb. The external activity could not silence the busy tongues of her brain or deafen her to their ceaseless whisperings. It was weary work staggering on under her load, while memory tugged at her heart-strings and dragged its longings the other way. It was hard not to yield to the temptation now and then of sitting down by the wayside to rest and look back towards the Egypt that was for ever out of sight. But Franceline very seldom yielded to the treacherous allurement. When she caught herself lapsing into dreams, she would rise up with a resolute effort, and shake off the torpor, and set to work at something. When the torpor changed to a sting of anguish, she would steep her soul in prayer—that unfailing opiate of the suffering spirit, its chloroform in pain.

One day, about three weeks after Father Henwick’s return, she was coming home through the wood after her morning’s round amongst the cottages. She was very tired in mind and body. It was dull work dinning the multiplication-table into Bessy Bing’s thick skull, and teaching her unnimble fingers to turn the heel of a stocking; to listen to the widow’s endless lamentations over “the dear departed” and the good old times when they killed a pig every year, and always had a bit of bacon on the rack. Franceline came to the old spot where she used to sit and listen to the concert of the grove. The songsters were nearly all silent now, for the green was turning gold; but the felled tree was lying in the[14] same place, and tempted her to rest a moment and watch the sun shooting his golden shafts through the wilderness of stems all round. Another moment, and she was in dreamland; but the spell had scarcely fallen on her when it was broken by the sound of footfalls crushing the yellow leaves that made a carpet on every path. She started to her feet, and walked on. A few steps brought her face to face with Father Henwick. He greeted her with a joyous exclamation.

“Here comes my little missionary! What has she been doing to-day?”

“She has achieved a great conquest; she has arrived at making Bessy Bing apprehend the problem that seven times nine and nine times seven produce one and the same total,” replied Franceline with mock gravity.

Father Henwick laughed; but the tired expression of her face did not escape him.

“I am afraid you will be growing too conceited if this sort of thing goes on,” he said. “But you must not overdo it, my dear child; it won’t do to wear yourself out in gaining arithmetical triumphs.”

“Better wear out than rust out.” And Franceline shrugged her shoulders; she had learned the expressive French trick from her father.

The priest bent his clear eyes on her for a second without speaking. She read, disappointment, and perhaps mild reproach, in them.

“I am sorry I said that, father; I did not mean to complain.”

“Why are you sorry?”

“Because it was cowardly and ungrateful.”

“To whom?”

“To you, who are so kind and so patient with me!”

“And who bids me be kind? Who teaches me to be patient with you?—poor little bruised lamb!”

“I know it, father; I feel it in the bottom of my heart; but one can’t always be remembering.” There was the slightest touch of impatience in her tone.

“How if God were some day to grow tired of remembering us, and bearing with us, and forgiving us?”

“I know. But I am not rebelling; only sickening and suffering. You have told me there was no sin in that?” The words came tremulous, as if through rising tears; but Franceline raised her head with a defiant movement, and forced the briny drops down. “I cannot help it!” she continued impetuously; “I have tried my best, and I cannot help it!”

Father Henwick heaved an almost inaudible sigh before he said: “What cannot you help, Franceline? Suffering?”

“No! I don’t care about that! Remembering I cannot forget.”

“My poor child! would to God I could help you! I would suffer willingly in your place!” The words came like a gush from his inmost heart. They broke down the sufferer’s proud resistance and let the tears have vent. He turned to walk back with her. For some time neither spoke; only the soft sobs that came unchecked from Franceline broke the temple-like stillness of the wood. Suddenly she cried out in a tone of passionate desperation: “O father! it is dreadful. It will kill me if it lasts much longer! The humiliation is more than I can bear! To feel that I am harboring a feeling that my whole soul rebels against, that is revolting in the eyes of God and of my conscience! And I cannot master it!”


“You will never master it by pride, Franceline; that very pride is your greatest hindrance in setting your heart free. Try and think more of God and less of yourself. There is no sin, as you say, in the suffering, any more than, if you strayed to the edge of a precipice in the dark, and fell over and were killed, you would be guilty of suicide. The sinfulness now is in your rebellion against the suffering simply because it wounds your pride.”

“It is not all pride, father,” she said meekly. Presently she turned and looked up at him through wet lashes. “Father, I must tell you something,” she said, speaking with a sort of timidity that was unusual with her towards him—“a thought that came to me this morning that never came to me before.…”

“What was it?”

“If his wife should die … he would be free?”

A dark shadow fell now on Father Henwick’s large, smooth brow. Franceline read his answer in the frown and the averted gaze; but he spoke soon, though he did not look at her.

“That was a sinful thought! You should have cast it behind you with contempt. Has it come to that with you, that you could look forward to the death of any one as a thing to be longed for?”

“I did not long for it. The thought came to me.”

“You should have hunted it out of your mind like an evil spirit, as it was. You must never let it near you again. He should be to you as if he were already dead. Whether his wife dies or not should not, and does not, concern you. Besides, how do you know whether she is not as young as yourself, and stronger? My child, such a thought as that would lead you to the brink of an abyss, if you listened to it.”

“I never will again, father,” she answered promptly. “I hardly know now whether I listened to it or not; only I could not help telling you.”

“You were right to tell me; and now banish it, and never let it approach you again.”

After a pause he resumed:

“You are sure that silence is best with M. de la Bourbonais?”

“Oh! yes. How can you ask me, father?” And Franceline looked up in surprise.

“Yet it cannot remain a secret from him for ever; he is almost certain to hear of it sooner or later, and it might save him a severe shock if he heard it from you. It would set his mind at rest about you?”

“It is quite at rest at present on that score. He has no idea that the discovery would be likely to affect me.”

“You are better able to judge of that, of course, than I am. But it grieves me to see you have a secret from your father; I wish it could be avoided.”

“But it cannot; indeed it cannot!” she repeated emphatically. “You may trust me to speak, if I thought it could be done without injury to both of us. It is much better to wait; perhaps by the time it comes to his ears I may be able to hear him speak of it without betraying myself and paining him.”

Father Henwick acquiesced, but reluctantly. He hoped she was right in supposing M. de la Bourbonais quite blind to what had been so palpable to a casual observer. But, making even the fullest allowance for the absent-minded habits of the studious man, this seemed scarcely probable. Franceline had affirmed it herself more[16] confidently, perhaps, than was warranted. She had, however, succeeded in lulling her father into forgetfulness of his former conjectures and impressions; she was certain of this. It had been done at a terrible price of endurance and self-control; but she had succeeded, and it would be doubly cruel now to revive his suspicions and let him know the truth.

“I will trust you,” said Father Henwick; “it is indeed a mercy that he is not called upon to bear such a trial while he is yet so unprepared.”

There was an earnestness about him as he said this that would have caused Franceline a deeper emotion than curiosity if her mind were not fixed wide of the mark. She replied after a moment’s reflection: “If anything should occur to make it necessary to tell him, will you break it to him, father?”

“I will,” said the priest simply.

Franceline had not the least fear of Father Henwick. The severity of his passionless brow did not frighten her; it never checked the outflow of the thoughts and emotions that came surging up from her own perturbed heart. He seemed too far removed from strife himself to be affected by it, except as a pitying angel might, looking down from his calm heaven on poor mortals struggling and striving in the smoke and din of their earthly battle-field.

“Father,” said Franceline suddenly, “I wish I cared more for the poor! I wish I could love them and pity them as you do; but I don’t. I’m so shy of going amongst them. I’m sure I don’t do them any good, and they don’t do me any good, they’re so prosy and egotistical—most of them, at least.”

He turned an amused, indulgent smile on her.

“There was a time when I thought so too; but persevere, and the love will come after a little while. All that is worth having is bought with sacrifice. Oh! if we could only understand the blessedness of sacrifice! Then we should find the peace passing all understanding that comes of passion overcome, of sorrow generously accepted!”

He held out his hand to say good-by. Franceline laid hers in it; but did not remove it at once. “Father,” she said, with her eyes lifted in childlike fearlessness to his, “one would think, to hear you speak of passion overcome and sorrow accepted, that you knew something about them! I sometimes wish you did. It would make it easier to me to believe in the possibility of overcoming and accepting.”

A change came over Father Henwick’s face for one moment; it was not a cloud nor a tremor, but the shadow of some deep emotion that must pass away before he could answer. Then the words came with grave simplicity, and low, as if they were a prayer:

“Believe, then, my child, and take courage; I have gone through it all!”

He turned and walked back into the wood. Franceline stood looking after him through gathering tear-drops. Never had he seemed so far above her, so removed from human weakness, as at this moment, when he so humbly acknowledged kindred with it.

A pleasant surprise met Franceline on her return home. Sir Simon was at The Lilies, and loudly expressing his indignation at not[17] finding her there to greet him. She arrived, however, before he had quite divested himself of a cargo of small boxes which he had carried down himself in order to have the delight of witnessing her curiosity and pleasure in their contents. There was hardly any event which could have given her so much pleasure in her present frame of mind as the sight of her kind old friend; and she satisfied him to the full by her affectionate welcome and her delight in all his presents. He had not forgotten her favorite friandise—chocolate bonbons—and she set to nibbling them at once, in spite of Angélique’s protest against such a proceeding close on dinner-time.

“Va, petite gourmande!” exclaimed the bonne, tramping off to her kitchen, in high glee to see Franceline’s gayety and innocent greediness over the dainty.

Sir Simon was, if possible, in brighter spirits than ever; like Job’s friends, he was “full of discourse,” so that there was nothing to do but listen and laugh as the current rippled on. He had a deal to tell about his rambles in the Pyrenees, and a whole budget of adventures to retail, and anecdotes about odd people he had come across in all sorts of out-of-the-way places. Nothing checked the pleasant flow until M. de la Bourbonais had the unlucky inspiration to inquire for Lady Rebecca’s health; whereupon the baronet raised his right hand and let it fall again with an emphatic gesture, shook his head, and compressed his lips in ominous silence. Raymond, who held the key of the pantomime, gathered therefrom that Lady Rebecca had for the six-and-thirtieth time rallied from the jaws of death, and plunged her long-suffering heir once more into dejection and disappointment. He knew what was in store for his private ear, and heaved a sigh. “But the present hour shall be a respite,” Sir Simon seemed to say; and he quitted the subject abruptly, and proceeded to catechise Franceline on her behavior since his departure. He was surprised and annoyed to find that she had been to no parties; that nothing more exciting than that short visit to Rydal had come of his deep-laid scheme with the dowager; and that there had been no rivalry of gallant suitors attacking the citadel of The Lilies. He had been rather nervous before meeting her; for, though it had been made quite clear to him by Raymond’s letters that he had received no crushing blow of any description, Sir Simon had a lurking fear that recent events might have left a deeper shadow on his daughter’s existence than he was conscious of. Her aspect, however, set him at ease on this score. He could hardly have lighted on a more favorable moment for the confirmation of his sanguine hopes regarding Franceline’s heart-wholeness. True, she had been crying, only half an hour ago, bitter, burning tears enough; but her face retained no trace of them, and it still held the glow of inward triumph that Father Henwick’s last words had called up into her eyes, and her cheeks had got a faint color from the rapid walking. Sir Simon breathed freely as he took note of these outward signs; he could indulge in a little chaffing without remorse or arrière-pensée. He wanted to know, merely as a matter of curiosity, how many hearts she had broken in his absence—how many unfortunates had been mortally struck as they passed within reach of her arrows on the wayside. Franceline protested that she carried no[18] quiver, and had not inflicted a scratch on any one. Humph! Sir Simon invited her to convey that answer to the marines.

“And how about Ponsonby Anwyll? Has he been here lately?”

“No; he called twice, but papa and I were out.”

“Poor devil! so much the better for him! But he won’t have the sense to keep out of harm’s way; he’ll be at it again before long.”

Franceline gave one of her merry laughs—she was in a mood to enjoy the absurdity of the joke—and went to take off her things; for Angélique put in her head to say that dinner was ready.

Things fell quickly into their old course at the Court. There was a procession of morning callers every day, and pleasant friendly dinners, and a few men down in relays to shoot. Sir Simon insisted on M. de la Bourbonais coming to join them frequently, and bringing Franceline; he had established a precedent, and he was not going to let it drop. Franceline, on the whole, was glad of the excitement; she was determined to use everything that could help her good resolutions; and the necessity for seeming to enjoy soon led to her doing so in reality. After the stillness of her little home-life, filled as it was with restless voices audible to no ear but hers, the gay stir of the Court was welcome. It was a pleasurable sensation, too, to feel herself the object of admiring attentions from a number of agreeable gentlemen, to be deferred to and made much of, as if she were a little queen amongst them all. Sir Simon was more indulgent than ever, and spoiled her to his heart’s content. Father Henwick, who was kept au courant of what was going on, could not find it in his heart to oppose what seemed to be an innocent diversion of her thoughts.

It was, therefore, anything but a welcome break when Lady Anwyll came down one morning, accompanied by Sir Simon, to announce her intention of carrying off her friend the next day to Rydal. Franceline fought off while she could, but Sir Simon pooh-poohed her excuses about not liking to leave her father, and so forth; he was there now to look after him, and she must go. So she went. Rydal had a dreadful association in her mind, and she shrank from going there as from revisiting the scene of some horrible tragedy. She shrank, too, from leaving her father. Of late they had been more bound up in their daily life than ever; she had coaxed him into accepting her services as an amanuensis, and he had quickly grown so used to them that he was sure to miss her greatly at his work.

There was nothing, moreover, in the inmates of Rydal to compensate her for the sacrifice; they were not the least interesting. It was always the same good-natured petting from Lady Anwyll, as if she were a kitten or a baby. She knew exactly what the conversation would be—gossip about local trifles, about the family, especially Ponce, his boots, his eccentricities, his pet dishes, his pranks in the regiment; the old tune played over and over again on the same string. As to Ponce himself, Franceline knew the big hussar already by heart; he would do his best to be entertaining, and would only be awkward and commonplace. Nothing at Rydal, in fact, rose above the dead-level of Dullerton.

The dowager had some few young[19] people in for a carpet-dance, in which Franceline had to take her part, and did without any repugnance. Dancing brought back certain memories that pierced her like steel blades; but her heart was proof against the thrusts, and she defied them to wound her. Lord Roxham was invited, and showed himself cordial and friendly, but nothing more. He said he had been called away to London soon after they last met, or else he would have profited by M. de la Bourbonais’ permission to call at The Lilies; he hoped that the authorization might still hold good.

“Oh! yes; do come. I shall be so glad to see you,” was the frank and unaffected reply.

Lady Anwyll had meantime felt rather aggrieved at Lord Roxham’s behavior. Her little scheme had gone off so swimmingly at first she could not understand why it had suddenly collapsed in its prosperous course, and come to a dead halt. At any rate, she would give him one more chance. The young legislator seemed in no violent hurry to improve it. He danced a couple of times with Franceline, and once with two other young girls, and then subsided to dummy whist with the rector of Rydal and his wife, leaving Franceline to the combined fascinations of Mr. Charlton and Ponce, who usurped her between them. The latter bestowed such an unequal share of a host’s courtesy on the young French girl, indeed, that his mother felt it incumbent on her to explain to the other young ladies that Mlle. de la Bourbonais was a foreigner; therefore Ponce, being so good-natured, paid her particular attention. And he certainly did—not only on that occasion, but while she remained. He was continually hovering about her like a huge overshadowing bird whose wings were always in the way of its movements. He tripped over footstools in attempting to place them under her feet; but then he was always so thankful that it was himself, not her, he nearly upset! He spilt several cups of tea in handing them to her, and was nearly overcome with gratitude when he saw the carpet had got the contents, and that her pretty muslin frock was safe! He would hold an umbrella open over her because it looked so uncommonly like rain; and it was such a mercy to have only spoiled her bonnet and made a hole in her veil, when he might so easily have run the point into her eye. Ponce, like many wiser men, had endless satisfaction in the contemplation of the blunders he might have committed and did not. Yet, with all his boyish awkwardness, Franceline was growing very fond of him. He was so thoroughly kind-hearted, and so free from the taint of conceit; and then there was an undeniable enjoyment in the sense of being cared for, and thought of, and watched over; and it was all done in a naïve, boyish way, and with a brotherly absence of compliment or constraint that left her free to accept it without any sense of undue obligation, or the fear of being called upon to repay it except by being pleased and grateful. When he followed her into the conservatory with a shawl and wrapped it round her unceremoniously, she looked up at his fresh, honest face, and said, almost as if he had been a woman: “I wish I had you for a brother, Captain Anwyll!” He got very red, and was fumbling somewhere in his mind for an answer, when his mother called to him for the watering-pot; Ponce seized it, and,[20] dashing out a sudden shower-bath upon the dowager’s dress, narrowly escaped drenching Franceline’s. But it did escape. What a lucky dog he was!

How pleasant it was riding home in the fresh afternoon! Lady Anwyll came in the carriage, while Franceline and Capt. Anwyll cantered on before. Nothing was likely to have happened at The Lilies during her absence; but as they drew near she grew impatient and rode at a pace, as if she expected wonderful tidings at the ride’s end. The air was so clear that Dullerton, yet a mile off, sent its hum of life towards the riders with sharp distinctness. The panting of the train, as it moved out of the station, sounded close by; every street cry and tinkling cart-bell rang out like a chime. Soon the soft cooing of the doves came wafted above the distant voice of the town; and when the travellers came within sight of The Lilies, the flock flew to greet Franceline, wheeling round high up in the air several times before alighting on her shoulders and outstretched wrist. Then came her father’s delighted exclamation, as he hurried down the little garden-walk, and Angélique’s affectionate embrace. And once more the small, still home-life, that was so sweet and so rich in a restored joy, recommenced. Franceline devoted hours every day now to working with her father, and soon she became almost as much absorbed in the work as he was. Sometimes, indeed, she hindered rather than helped, stopping him in the midst of his dictation to demand an explanation; but Raymond never chided her or grudged the delay. Her fresh young eyesight and diligent, nimble hand were invaluable to him, and he wondered how he had got on so long without them.

Lord Roxham redeemed his promise of calling at The Lilies. He talked a good deal to Raymond about politics and current events, saying very little to Franceline, who sat by, stitching away at some bit of plain sewing. This was just what she liked. Her father was entertained and interested. A breeze from the outer world always refreshed him, though he was hardly conscious of it, still less of needing any such reviving incident in his quiet, monotonous existence; but Franceline always hailed it with thankfulness for him, and was well content to remain in the shade now while the visitor devoted himself to amusing her father. Was it fancy, or did she, on glancing up suddenly from her needle-work, detect an expression, half compassionate, half searching, in Lord Roxham’s face, as he looked fixedly at her? Whether it was fancy or not, her eyes fell at once, and the blood mantled her cheek; she did not venture to let her gaze light on him again, and it was with a sense of shyness that she shook hands with him at parting.

Ponsonby Anwyll was now a frequent visitor at The Lilies, sometimes coming alone, sometimes with Sir Simon; and it was a curious coincidence, if quite accidental, that he generally made his appearance as Franceline was on the point of starting for her ride; and as he was always on horseback, there was no conceivable reason why he should not join the party. The burly hussar was a safer companion in the saddle than in the drawing-room; he rode with the masterly ease of a cavalryman, and, the road being free from the disturbing influence of tea-trays and chairs, he spilt[21] nothing and upset nobody, and Franceline was always glad of his company. She was too inexperienced and too much absorbed in other thoughts to forecast any possible results from this state of things. Ponsonby continued the same familiar, kind, brother-like manner to her; was mightily concerned in keeping her out of the bad bits of road, and out of the way of the cattle that might be tramping to market and prove offensive to her mettlesome pony. He never aimed at making himself agreeable, only useful. But the eyes of Dullerton looked on at all this brotherly attention, and drew its own conclusion. The Langrove young ladies, of whom somehow she had of late seen less than ever, grew excited to the highest pitch about it, and were already discussing how many of them would be bridemaids at the wedding, if bridemaids there were. Most likely Sir Simon would settle that and probably give the dresses. Even discreet Miss Merrywig could not forbear shaking her finger and her barrel curls at Franceline one day when the latter hurried off to get ready for her ride, with the excuse that Sir Simon and Capt. Anwyll were due at three o’clock. But Franceline knew by this time what Dullerton was, and what it could achieve in the way of gossip; spinning a yarn a mile long out of a thread the length of your finger. She only laughed, and mentally remarked how little people knew. They would be marrying her to Sir Simon next, when Ponsonby rejoined his regiment and was seen no more at her saddle-bow.

The three had set out for a ride one afternoon, when, as they were dashing along at full tilt, Sir Simon pulled up with a strong formula of exclamation.

“What’s the matter?” cried Sir Ponsonby, plunging back heavily, while Franceline reined in Rosebud, and turned in some alarm to see what had occurred.

“If I have not actually forgotten all about Simpson, who comes down from London by appointment this afternoon! I dare say he’s waiting for me by this, and he must return by the 5:20. I must leave you, and post home as quick as Nero will carry me.” And with a “by-by” to Franceline and a nod to Capt. Anwyll, coupled with an injunction not to let her ride too fast and to keep her out of mischief, the baronet turned his horse’s head and galloped away, desiring the groom to follow on with the others.

They went on at a good pace until they reached the foot of a gentle ascent, when both of one accord fell into a walk. For the first time in their intercourse Franceline was conscious of a certain vague awkwardness with Capt. Anwyll; of casting about for something to say, and not finding anything. The place was perfectly solitary, the woods on one side, the fields sloping down to the river on the other. The groom lagged respectfully a long way behind, quite out of ear-shot, often out of sight; for the road curved and wheeled abruptly every now and then, and hid the foremost riders from his view. Ponsonby broke the silence:

“Miss Franceline”—he would call her Miss Franceline, because it was easier and shorter—“I have something on my mind that I want badly to say to you. I’ve been wanting to say it for some time. I hope it won’t make you angry?”

“I can’t say till I hear it; but if[22] you are in doubt about it, perhaps it would be safer not to say it,” remarked Franceline, beginning to tremble ominously.

“I wouldn’t vex you for anything in the world! ’Pon my honor I wouldn’t!” protested Ponce warmly. “But, you see, I don’t know whether what I’m going to say will vex you or not.”

“Then don’t say it; you are sure not to vex me then,” was the encouraging advice, and she devoutly hoped he would take it. But he was not so minded.

“That’s true,” he assented; “but then, you see, it might please you. I’m half afraid it won’t, though, only I can’t be sure till I try.” After musing a moment, in obvious perplexity, he resumed, speaking rapidly, as if he had made up his mind to bolt it all out and take the consequences. “I’m not a puppy—my worst enemy won’t accuse me of that; but I’m not a bad fellow either, as my mother and all the fellows in the Tenth will tell you; and the fact is, I’ve grown very fond of you, Miss Franceline, and if you’ll take me as I am I’ll do my best to be a good husband to you and to make you happy.”

He said it quickly, as if he were reciting a lesson got by heart, and then came to a dead halt and “paused for a reply.” He might have paused long enough, if he had not at last turned round and read his fate in Franceline’s scared, white face and undisguised agitation.

“Oh! now, don’t say no before you think it over!” entreated the young man. “I know you’re ten times too good for me; but, for that matter, you’re too good for the best fellow that ever lived. I said so myself to Sir Simon only this morning. But I do love you with all my heart, Franceline; and if only you could care for me ever so little to begin with, I’d be satisfied, and you’d make me the happiest man alive!”

Franceline had now recovered her self-possession, and was able to speak, though she still trembled.

“I am so sorry!” she exclaimed. “I never dreamed of this; indeed I did not! I dare say I have been very selfish, very thoughtless; but it was not wilful. I am very unhappy to have given you pain!”

“Oh! don’t say that. You’ll make me miserable if you say that!” pleaded Ponsonby. “Of course you never thought of it. It’s great impudence of me to think of it, I have so little to offer you! But if you don’t quite hate the sight of me, I’m sure I could make you a devoted husband, and love you better than many a cleverer fellow. I’ve been fond of you from the first, and so has my mother.”

“You are both very good to me; I am very, very grateful!” The tears rose to her eyes, and with a frank, impulsive movement she held out her hand to him. Ponsonby bent from the saddle and raised it to his lips, although it was gloved. If he had not been over-sanguine at heart and a trifle stupid, poor fellow, he would have felt that it was all over with him. The little hand lay with cold, sisterly kindness in his grasp, and Franceline looked at him with eyes that were too kind and pitying to promise anything more than sisterly pity and gratitude.

“I cannot, I cannot. You must never think of it any more. Do you not see that it is impossible? I am a Catholic!”

“Pshaw! as if that mattered a whit! I mean as if it need make any difference between us! I don’t[23] mind it a pin—’pon my honor I don’t! I said so to the count. We’ve settled all that, in fact, and if he’s satisfied to trust me why will not you?”

“Then you have spoken to my father?”

“Oh! yes; that was the right thing, Sir Simon told me, as he was a Frenchman.”

“And what did he say to you?”

“He said that if you said yes, he was quite willing to give you to me. I wanted to come to settlements at once—I only wish I was ten times better off!—but he would not hear a word about that until I had consulted you. Only, he said he would be glad to receive me as his son; he did indeed, Franceline!” She was looking straight before her, her eyes dilated, her whole face aglow with some strong emotion that his words seemed to have stirred in her.

“You remember,” continued Ponsonby, “that you said to me once you would like to have me for a brother? Well, it will be nearly the same thing. You would get used to me as a husband after a while; you would, Franceline!”

“Never, never, never!” she repeated, not passionately, but with a calm emphasis that made Ponsonby’s heart die within him. He could not find a word to oppose to the strong, quiet protest.

“No, it is all a mistake,” said Franceline. “I don’t know who is to blame—I suppose I am. I should not have let you come so often; but you were so kind, and I have so few people to care for me; and when one is sad at heart, kindness is so welcome! But I should have thought of you; I have been selfish!”

“No, no, you have not been selfish at all; it’s all my doing and my fault,” affirmed the young man. “I wish I had held my tongue a little longer. My mother will come and see you to-morrow; she will explain it all, and how it sha’n’t make any trouble to you, my being a Protestant.”

“She must not come,” said Franceline with decision; “there is nothing to explain. I am sincerely grateful to her and to you; but I have only gratitude to give you. I hope with all my heart that you may soon forget me and any pain I am causing you, and that you may meet with a wife who will make you happier than I could have done.”

Ponsonby was silent for a few moments, and then he said, speaking with a certain hesitation and diffidence:

“I could be satisfied to wait and to go on hoping, if I were sure of one thing:… that you did not care for anybody else. Do you?”

She flashed a glance of indignant pride at him.

“What right have you to put such a question to me? I tell you I do not care for you, and that I will never marry you! You have no right to ask me any more.”

Ponsonby recoiled as if a flash of lightning had forked out of the cold, gray sky. “Good heavens! I did not mean to offend you. I declare solemnly I did not!”

But he had touched a vibrating chord unawares, and set every fibre in her heart thrilling and every pulse throbbing; and the disturbance was not to be laid by any words that he could utter. Franceline turned homewards, and they did not exchange a word until they reached The Lilies and Ponsonby was assisting her to alight.

“Say you forgive me!” he said, speaking very low and penitently.


She had already forgiven him but not herself.

“I do, and I am sorry for being so impetuous. Good-by!”

“And my mother may come and see you to-morrow?”

“No, no! It is no use; it is no use! I say again I wish you were my brother, Sir Ponsonby, but, as you care to remain my friend, never speak to me again of this.”

He pressed the hand she held out to him; the groom backed up to take the reins of her horse, and Ponsonby rode away with a thorn in his honest heart.

Miss Merrywig was within, chatting and laughing away with the count. Franceline was not in a mood to meet the garrulous old lady or anybody; so she went straight to her room, and only came down when the visitor was gone.

“Father,” she said, going up behind him and laying a hand on each shoulder, “what is this Sir Ponsonby tells me? That you are tired of your clair-de-lune, and want to get rid of her?”

M. de la Bourbonais drew down the two trembling hands, and clasped them on his breast, and lifted his head as if he would look at her.

“It would not be losing her, but gaining a son, who would take care of her when I am gone! She has not thought of that!”

“No; and she does not wish to think of it! I will live with you while I live. I don’t care to look beyond that; nor must you, petit père. But I am very sorry for Sir Ponsonby. You must write and tell him so, and that he must not come any more—until he has forgotten me; that you cannot give me up.”

“My cherished one! Let us talk about this matter; it is very serious. We must not do anything rashly.” He tried to unclasp her hands and draw her to his side; but she locked them tighter, and laid her cheek on his head.

“Petit père, there is nothing to talk about; I will never marry him or anybody!”

“My child, thou speakest without reflection. Captain Anwyll is a good, honorable man, and he loves thee, and it would be a great comfort to me to see thee married to him, and not to leave thee friendless and almost penniless whenever God calls me away. I understand it has taken thee by surprise, and that thou canst not accept the idea without some delay and getting used to it; but we must not decide so important a matter hastily. Come, sit down, and let us discuss it.”

“No, father,” she answered in a tone of determination that was quite foreign to her now, and reminded him of the wilful child of long ago; “there is no use in discussing what is already decided. I will never marry Ponsonby—or anybody. Why, petit père, do you forget that he is a Protestant?”

“Nay, I have forgotten nothing; that has been all arranged. He is most liberal about it; consents to leave you to … to have everything your own way in that respect, and assures me that it shall make no difference whatever to you, his not being of your religion.”

“No difference, father! No difference to a wife that her husband should be a heretic! You cannot be in earnest. What blessing could there be on such a marriage?”

“But you would soon convert him, my little one; you would make a good Catholic of him before the year was out,” said M. de la Bourbonais. “Think of that!”

“And suppose it were the other[25] way, and that he made a good Protestant of me? It is no more than I should deserve for my presumption. You know what happens to those who seek the danger.…”

“Oh! that is a different thing; that warning applies to those who seek it rashly, from vain or selfish motives,” protested Raymond, moving his spectacles, as he always did instinctively when his argument was weak; and he knew right well that now it was slipping into sophistry.

“I cannot see anything but a selfish motive in marrying against the express prohibition of the church and without any affection for the person, but simply because he could give you a position and the good things of this life,” said Franceline.

“The prohibition is conditional,” persisted Raymond, “and those conditions would be scrupulously fulfilled; and as to there not being the necessary affection, there is enough on his side for both, and his love would soon beget thine.”

“Father, it is no use. I am grieved to contradict you; but I cannot, cannot do this to please you. You must write and say so to Capt. Anwyll; you must indeed.”

Raymond heaved a sigh. He felt as powerless as an infant before this new wilfulness of his clair-de-lune; it was foolish as well as imprudent to yield, but he did not know how to deal with it. There was honest truth on her side; no subterfuges could baffle the instinctive logic of her childlike faith.

“We will let things remain as they are for a few days, and then, if thou dost still insist, I will write and refuse the offer,” he said, seeking a last chance in temporizing.

“No, petit père; if you love me, write at once. It is only fair to Sir Ponsonby, and it will set my mind at rest. Here, let me find you a pen!” She chose one out of a number of inky goose-quills on the little Japan tray, and thrust it playfully between his fingers.

The letter was written, and Angélique was forthwith despatched with it to the pillar at the park gate.

During the remainder of the afternoon Franceline worked away diligently at the Causes of the French Revolution, and spent the evening reading aloud. But M. de la Bourbonais could not so lightly dismiss the day’s incident from his thoughts. He had experienced a moment of pure joy and unutterable thankfulness when Ponsonby had come in and stammered out his honest confession of love, and pleaded so humbly with the father to “take his part with Miss Franceline.” The pleasure was all the greater for being a complete surprise. Sir Simon had cautiously resolved to have no hand in negotiating between the parties; he had let things take their course from the first, determined not to interfere, but clearly foreseeing the issue. Raymond was bewildered by Franceline’s rejection of the proposed marriage. He did not try much to explain it to himself; it was a puzzle that did not come within the rule and compass of his philosophy—a young girl refusing to be married when an eligible husband presented himself for her father’s acceptance. He heaved many a deep sigh over it, as his anxious gaze rested on the golden-haired young head bent over the desk. But he did not ask any questions.

Sir Simon came down next morning in high displeasure. He was angry, disappointed, aggrieved. Here he had been at considerable[26] pains of ingenuity and forethought to provide a model husband for Franceline, a young fellow whom any girl ought to jump at—high-principled, unencumbered rent-roll, good-looking, good-tempered—and the little minx turns up her nose at him, and sends him to the right-about! Such perverseness and folly were not to be tolerated. What did she mean by it? What did she see amiss in Anwyll? Sir Simon was for having her up for a round lecture. But Raymond would not allow this. He might groan in his inmost heart over Franceline’s refusal, but he was not going to let her be bullied by anybody; not even by Sir Simon. He stood up for his child, and defended her as if he had fully approved of her conduct.

“I’ll tell you what it is, Bourbonais, you’re just as great a fool as she is; only she is a child, and knows nothing of life, and can’t see the madness of what she is doing. But you ought to know better. I have no patience with you. When one thinks of what this marriage would do for both of you—lifting you out of penury, restoring your daughter to her proper position in the world, and securing her future, so that, if you were called away to-morrow, you need have no care or anxiety about her! And to think of your backing her up in rejecting it all!”

“I did not back her up in it. I deplore her having done so,” replied Raymond. “But I will not coerce her; her happiness is dearer to me than her interest or my own.”

“What tomfoolery! As if her interest and her happiness were not identical in this case! A man who is fond of her, and rich enough to give her everything in life a girl could wish for! What does she want besides?” demanded Sir Simon angrily.

“I believe she wants nothing, except to be left with her old father. She does not care for Capt. Anwyll,” said Raymond; but his French mind felt this was very weak argument.

“The devil she doesn’t! Who does she care for?” retorted the baronet. But he had no sooner uttered the words than he regretted them; they seemed to recoil on him like a stone flung too near. He seized his hat, and, muttering impatiently something about the nonsense of giving into childish fancies, etc., strode out of the cottage, and did not show himself there for several days.

He was pursued by that question of his own, “Who did Franceline care for?” and made uncomfortable by the persistency with which it kept dinning in his ears. He had made up his mind long ago that the failure of his first matrimonial plot had had no serious effect on her heart or spirits. She was looking very delicate when he came back, but that was the dulness of the life she had been leading during his absence. She had picked up considerably since then. It was plain to everybody she had; her spirits were better. There was certainly nothing wrong in that direction. How could there be when he, Sir Simon, so thoroughly desired the contrary, and did so much to cheer up the child—and himself into the bargain—and make her forget any impression that unlucky Clide might have made? Still, no matter how emphatically he answered it, the tiresome question kept sounding in his ears day after day. He could stand it no longer. He must go and see them at The Lilies—see Franceline,[27] and read on her innocent young face that all was peace within, and cheer up his own depressed spirits by a talk with Raymond. Nobody listened to him and sympathized with him as Raymond did. He had no worries of his own to distract him, for one thing; and if he had, he was such a philosophical being he would carry them to the moon and leave them there. Sir Simon was blessed with no such happy faculty. He could forget his troubles for a while under the stimulating balm of cheerful society and generous wine; but as soon as he was alone they were down on him like an army of ants, stinging and goading him. Things were very gloomy just now, and he could less than ever dispense with the opiate of sympathetic companionship. Lady Rebecca had taken a fresh start, and was less likely to depart than she had been for the last ten years. The duns, who watched her ladyship’s fluctuations between life and death with almost as sincere and breathless an interest as her heir, had got wind of this, and were up and at him again, hunting him like a hare—the low, grasping, insolent hounds! His revived money annoyances made him the more irascible with Franceline for throwing away her chance of being for ever saved and protected from the like. But he would harp no more on that string.

He had been into Dullerton on horseback, and, overtaking the postman on his way home, he stopped to take his letters, and then asked if there were any for The Lilies. He was going there, and would save the postman the walk that far.

“Thank you, sir! There is one for the count.” And the man held up a large blue envelope, like a lawyer’s letter, which Sir Simon thrust into his pocket. He left his horse at the Court, and walked on through the park, reading his letters as he went. Their contents were not of the most agreeable, to judge by the peevish and angry ejaculations that the reader emitted in the course of their perusal. He had not done when he reached the cottage.

“Here’s a letter for you, Bourbonais; I’ll finish mine while you’re reading it.” He handed the blue envelope to his friend, and, flinging himself into a chair, became again absorbed and ejaculatory.

M. de la Bourbonais, meanwhile, proceeded to open his official-looking communication. He surveyed it with uplifted eyebrows, examined well the large red seal, and scrutinized the handwriting of the address, before he tore it open. His eye ran quickly over the page. A nervous twitch contracted his features; his hand shook as if a string at his elbow had been rudely pulled; but he controlled all further sign of emotion, and, after reading the contents twice over, silently folded the letter and replaced it in the envelope. Sir Simon had seen nothing; he was deep in suppressed denunciations of some rascally dun.

“Hang me if I know what’s to be the end of it, or the end of me—an ounce of lead in my skull, most likely!” he burst out, ramming the bundle of offending documents into his coat-pocket. “The brutes are in league to drive me mad!”

“Has anything new happened?” inquired the count anxiously. “I hoped things had arranged themselves of late?”

“Not they! How can they when these vampires are sucking the blood of one? It’s pretty much[28] like sucking a corpse!” he laughed sardonically. “The fools! If they would but have sense to see that it is their own interest not to drive me to desperation! But they will goad me to do something that will make an end of their chance of ever being paid!”

M. de la Bourbonais ought to have been hardened to this sort of thing; but he was not. The vague threats and dark innuendoes always alarmed him. He never knew but that each crisis which called them out might be the supreme one that would bring about their fulfilment. At such moments he had not the heart to rebuke Sir Simon and add the bitterness of self-reproach to his excited feelings. His look of keen distress struck Sir Simon with compunction.

“Oh! it will blow off, as it has done so often before, I suppose,” he said, tossing his head. “Here’s a letter from L—— to say he is coming down next week with a whole houseful of men to shoot. I’ve not seen L—— for an age. He’s a delightful fellow; he’ll cheer one up.” And the baronet heaved a sigh from the very depths of his afflicted spirit.

“Mon cher, is it wise to be asking down crowds of people in this way?” asked Raymond dubiously.

“I did not ask them! Don’t I tell you they have written to invite themselves?”

It was true; but Sir Simon forgot how often he had besought his friends to do just what they were now doing—to write and say when they could come, and to bring as many as they liked with them. That had always been the way at the Court; and he was not the man to belie its old traditions. But Raymond, who had also his class of noble traditions, could not see it.

“Why not write frankly, and, without explaining the precise motive, say that you cannot at present receive any one?”

Sir Simon gave an impatient pshaw!

“Nonsense, my dear Bourbonais, nonsense! As if a few fellows more or less signified that”—snapping his fingers—“at the end of the year! Besides, what the deuce is the good of having a place at all, if one can’t have one’s friends about one in it? Better shut up at once. It’s the only compensation a man has; the only thing that pulls him through. And then the pheasants are there, and must be shot. I can’t shoot them all. But it’s no use trying to make you take an Englishman’s view of the case. You simply can’t do it.”

M. de la Bourbonais agreed, and inwardly hoped he never might come to see the case as his friend did. But, notwithstanding this, Sir Simon went on discussing his own misfortunes, denouncing the rascality and rapacity of the modern tradesman, and bemoaning the good old times when the world was a fit place for a gentleman to live in. When he had sufficiently relieved his mind on the subject, and drew breath, M. de la Bourbonais poured what oil of comfort he could on his friend’s wounds. He spoke confidently of the ultimate demise of Lady Rebecca, and expressed equal trust in the powers of Mr. Simpson to perform once again the meteorological feat known to Sir Simon as “raising the wind.” Under the influence of these soothing abstractions the baronet cheered up, and before long Richard was himself again. He overhauled Raymond’s latest work; read aloud some notes on Mirabeau which Franceline had taken down at his dictation the[29] previous evening, and worked himself into a frenzy of indignation at the historian’s partiality for that thundering demagogue. Raymond waxed warm in defence of his hero; maintained that at heart Mirabeau had wished to save the king; and almost lost his philosophical self-control when Sir Simon called him the master-knave of the Revolution, a traitor and a bully, and other hard names to the same effect.

“I wash my hands of you, if you are going to play panegyrist to that pock-marked ruffian!” was the baronet’s concluding remark; and he flung out his hands, as if he were shaking the contamination from his fingers. Suddenly his eye fell upon the great blue letter, and, abruptly dismissing Mirabeau, he said: “By the way, what a formidable document that is that I brought you just now! Has it anything to do with the Revolution?”

Raymond shook his head and smothered a rising sigh.

“It has been as good as a revolution to me, at any rate.”

“My dear Bourbonais, what is it? Nothing seriously amiss, I hope?” exclaimed Sir Simon, full of alarmed interest.

The count took up the letter and handed it to him.

“Good heavens! Bankrupt! Can pay nothing! How much had you in it?”

“Nearly two hundred—the savings of the last fourteen years,” replied M. de la Bourbonais calmly.

“My dear fellow, I’m heartily sorry!” exclaimed his friend in an accent of sincere distress; “with all my heart I’m sorry! And to think of you having read this and said nothing, and I raving away about my own troubles like a selfish dog as I am! Why did you not tell me at once?”

“What good would it have done?” Raymond shrugged his shoulders, and with another involuntary sigh threw the letter on the table. “It’s hard, though. I was so little prepared for it; the house bore such a good name.…”

“I should have said it was the safest bank in the country. So it was, very likely; only one did not reckon with the dishonesty of this scheming villain of a partner—if it be true that he is the cause of it.”

“No doubt it is; why should they tell lies about it? The whole affair will be in the papers one of these days, I suppose.”

“And you can stand there and not curse the villain!”

“What good would cursing him do? It would not bring back my poor scrapings.” Raymond laughed gently. “I dare say his own conscience will curse him before long—the unhappy man! But who knows what terrible temptation may have driven him to the deed? Perhaps he got into some difficulty that nothing else could extricate him from, and he may have had a wife and children pulling at his conscience by his heart-strings! Libera nos a malo, Domine!” And looking upwards, Raymond sighed again.

“What a strange being you are, Raymond!” exclaimed Sir Simon, eyeing him curiously. “Verily, I believe your philosophy is worth something after all.”

M. de la Bourbonais laughed outright. “Well, it’s worth nearly the money to have brought you to that!”

“To see you stand there coolly and philosophize about the motives that may possibly have led an unprincipled scoundrel to rob you of every penny you possessed! Many a man has got a fit from less.”

“Many a fool, perhaps; but it[30] would be a poor sort of man that such a blow would send into a fit!” returned the count with mild contempt. “But I must not be forgetful of the difference of conditions,” he added quickly. “It all depends on what the money is worth to one, and what its loss involves. I don’t want it at present. It was a little hoard for the rainy day; and—qui sait?—the rainy day may never come!”

“No; Franceline may marry a rich man,” suggested the baronet, not with any intent to wound.

“Just so! I may never want the money, and so never be the poorer for losing it.”

“And supposing there was at this moment some pressing necessity for it—that your child was in absolute need of it for some reason or other—what then?” queried Sir Simon.

Raymond winced and started imperceptibly, as if a pain went through him.

“Thank heaven there is no necessity to answer that,” he said. “We were taught to pray to be delivered from temptation; let us be thankful when we are, and not set imaginary traps for ourselves.”

“Some men are, I believe, born proof against temptation; I should say you are one of them, Bourbonais,” said his friend, looking steadily at him.

“You are mistaken,” replied Raymond quietly. “I don’t know whether any human being may be born with that sort of fire-proof covering; but I know for certain that I was not.”

“Can you, then, conceive yourself under a pressure of temptation so strong as that your principles, your conscience, would give way? Can you imagine yourself telling a deliberate lie, for instance, or doing a deliberate wrong to some one, in order to save yourself—or, better, your child—from some grievous harm?”

Raymond thought for a moment, as if he were poising a balance in his mind before he answered; then he said, speaking with slow emphasis, as if every word was being weighed in the scales: “Yes, I can fancy myself giving way, if, at such a crisis as you describe, I were left to myself, with only my own strength to lean on; but I hope I should not be left to it. I hope I should ask to be delivered from it.”

The humility of the avowal went further to deepen Sir Simon’s faith in his friend’s integrity and in the strength of his principles than the boldest self-assertion could have done. It informed him, too, of the existence of a certain ingredient in Raymond’s philosophy which the careless and light-hearted man of the world had not till then suspected.

“One thing I know,” he said, taking up his hat, and extending a hand to M. de la Bourbonais: “if your conscience were ever to play you false, it would make an end of my faith in all mankind—and in something more.”




We enter on a work whose practical usefulness no one, we suspect, will dispute, since it concerns perhaps the most memorable act of the reign of Pius IX.—the Syllabus. There has been a great deal of discussion about the Syllabus—much has been written on it in the way both of attack and defence—but it is remarkable that it has scarcely been studied at all. The remark was made by one of the editors of this review, Father Marquigny, in the General Congress of Catholic Committees at Paris; and, so true was it felt to be, that it provoked the approving laughter of the whole assembly. But to pass by those who busy themselves about this document without having read it, how many are there, even among Catholics, who, after having read it, have only the most vague and confused notions about it—how many who, if they were asked, “What does the Syllabus teach you; what does it make obligatory on you?” would not know what to answer! Thus is man constituted. He skims willingly over the surface of things; but he has no fancy for stopping awhile and digging underneath. If he is pleased with looking at a great many things, he does not equally concern himself to gain knowledge; because there is no true science without labor, and labor is troublesome. Yet nothing could be more desirable for him than to come by this luminous entrance from the knowledge to the possession of truth. Christian faith, when it is living and active, necessarily experiences the desire of it; for, according to the beautiful saying of S. Anselm, it is, by its very nature, a seeker of science—of knowing: Fides quærens intellectum.

But, not to delay ourselves by these considerations, is it possible to exaggerate the importance of the study of the Syllabus in the critical circumstances in which we are placed? The uncertainty of the future; the impossibility of discovering a satisfactory course in the midst of the shadows which surround us; the need of knowing what to seize a firm hold of in the formidable problems whose obscurity agitates, in these days, the strongest minds; above all, the furious assaults of the enemies of the church, and the authority belonging to a solemn admonition coming to us from the chair of truth—all these things teach us plainly enough how culpable it must be for us to remain indifferent and to neglect the illumination offered to us. The teachings of the Vicar of Jesus Christ deserve to be meditated on at leisure. It is this which inspires us with a hope that our work will be favorably received. Truth, moreover, claims the services of all, even of the feeblest, and we must not desert her cause for fear our ability may not suffice for her defence.

Certainly, no one will expect us,[32] here, to give an analytical exposition of the eighty propositions condemned by Pius IX. Several numbers of the Etudes would scarcely suffice for that. General questions dominate all others; it is to the careful solution of these that we shall devote ourselves. They have always appeared to us to need clear and decisive explanation. Often they are incorrectly proposed, oftener still they are ill-defined. The object of our efforts will be to point out with precision the limits within which they must be restrained, the sense in which they must be accepted, and their necessary import; then, to give them, as clearly as we are able, a solution the most sure and the most conformable to first principles. If it should be objected that in this we are entering on a wide theological field, we shall not deny it. Proudhon, who desired anarchy in things, in principles—everywhere, in fact, except in reasoning—averred that rigorous syllogism lands us inevitably at theology. How, then, would it be possible not to find it in the Syllabus? They, on the other hand, who are unceasing in their violent attacks on this pontifical act, are they not the first to provoke theological discussions? We are compelled to take their ground. As Mgr. Dupanloup judiciously observed, in his pamphlet on the Encyclical of the 8th December: “It is needful to recur to first principles in a time when thousands of men, and of women even, in France talk theology from morning to night without knowing much about it.”

The first and fundamental question to be determined is: What is the precise weight to be ascribed to the Syllabus, or, rather, what is its doctrinal authority? On the manner in which we reply to this depends the solution of numerous practical difficulties which interest consciences, and which have more than once been the subject of the polemic of the journals themselves. For example, are the decisions of the Syllabus unchangeable; is it not possible that they should be modified some day; is it certain they will never be withdrawn; are Catholics obliged to accept them as an absolute rule of their beliefs, or may they content themselves with doing nothing exteriorly in opposition to them? It is understood, in fact, that if we are in presence of an act wherein the successor of S. Peter exercises his sovereign and infallible authority, the doctrine is irrevocably, eternally, fixed without possible recall; and, by an inevitable corollary, the most complete submission, not of the heart only, but also of the intelligence, becomes an obligation binding on the conscience of the Catholic which admits of no reserve or subterfuge. If, on the contrary, the step taken by the Pope is merely an act of good administration or discipline, the door remains open for hopes of future changes, the constraint imposed on the minds of men in the interior forum is much less rigorous; a caviller would remain in Catholic unity provided that, with the respectful silence so dear to the Jansenists, he should also practise proper obedience. Now, the question, in the terms in which we have stated it, although treated of at various times by writers of merit, has not always been handled in a complete manner. Writers have been too often contented with generalities, with approaching only the question, and nothing has been precisely determined.

Some have asserted, with much[33] energy, the necessity of this submission, but they have not sufficiently defined its extent and nature. Others have dwelt upon the deference and profound respect with which every word of the Holy Father should be received, but, not having given any further explanation, they have left us without the necessary means for ascertaining what precisely they intended. Others have ventured to insinuate that the Syllabus was perhaps merely an admonition, a paternal advice benevolently given to some rash children, to which such as are docile are happy to conform, without feeling themselves under the absolute necessity of adopting it. Others, more adventurous still, have been unwilling to see more in it than a mere piece of information, an indication. According to these, Pius IX., wishing to notify to all the bishops of Christendom his principal authoritative acts since the commencement of his pontificate, had caused a list of them to be drawn out, and to be forwarded to them. The Syllabus was this illustrious catalogue, neither more nor less.

Is there any excuse to be found for this indecision on one hand, presumption on the other? We do not think so; but they do, we must confess, admit of a plausible explanation. And here, let it be observed, we come to the very marrow of the difficulty. The Syllabus was drawn out in an unusual form. It resembles no pontifical documents hitherto published. When, in other times, the sovereign pontiffs wished to stigmatize erroneous propositions, they did not content themselves with reproducing the terms of them, in order to mark them out for the reprobation of the people. They were always careful to explain the motives of the judgment they delivered, and above all to formulate with clearness and precision the judgment itself. Invariably, the texts they singled out for condemnation were preceded by grave and weighty words, wherein were explained the reasons for and the nature of the condemnation. In the Syllabus, there is nothing of the kind. The propositions, stated without commentary, are classified and distributed under general titles; at the end of each of them we read the indication of the Encyclical Letter, or pontifical Allocution, in which it had been previously rebuked. For the rest, there is no preamble, no conclusion, no discourse revealing the mind or intention of the pontiff, unless it be the following words, inscribed at the head of the document, and which we here give both in the Latin and in English: Syllabus complectens præcipuos nostræ ætatis errores, qui notantur in Allocutionibus consistorialibus, in Encyclicis, aliisque Apostolicis Litteris sanctissimi Domini Papæ Pii IX.—Table, or synopsis, containing the principal errors of our epoch, noted in the consistorial Allocutions, the Encyclicals, and other Apostolic Letters of our most Holy Father, Pope Pius IX.

We may add, that nowhere does the Pope formally express an intention of connecting the Syllabus with the bull Quanta cura, although he issued them both on the same day, at the same hour, under the same circumstances, and upon the same subjects. He left it to the public common sense and to the faith of Christians to decide whether these two acts are to be taken together, or whether they are to be considered as isolated acts having no common tie between them.

Such are the facts. Minds, either troubled or prejudiced, or, may be,[34] too astute, have drawn from them consequences which, if we lay aside accessory details of not much importance here, we may reduce to two principal ones.

It has been stated—and they who hold this language form, as it were, the extreme group of opposers—that the Apostolic Letters mentioned in the Syllabus are the only documents which have authoritative force; that the latter, on the contrary, has no proper weight of its own—absolutely none, whether as a dogmatic definition, or as a disciplinary measure, or even as a moral and intellectual direction. To these assertions, not a little hazardous, have been added others whose rashness would fain be hidden under the veil of rhetorical artifices. We will lift the veil, and expose the naked assertions. The meaning of the Syllabus, it is stated, must not be looked for in the Syllabus, but in the pontifical letters whence it is drawn. The study of the letters may be useful; not only is that of the Syllabus not so, but it is dangerous, because it often leads to lamentable exaggerations. To know the true doctrines of Rome, we must search the letters for them, not the Syllabus. In fact, to sum up all in a few words, as a condemnation of error and a manifestation of truth, the letters are all, the Syllabus nothing.

The other group, which we may describe as the moderates, knows how to guard itself against excess. It does not diminish the authority of the Syllabus to the extent of annihilation. Very far from it—it recognizes it and proclaims it aloud; but, struck with the peculiar form given to the act, it asserts that it is impossible to discover in it the marks of a dogmatic definition, and, to borrow a stock expression, of a definition ex cathedra. The Syllabus, it is said, is undoubtedly something by itself—to deny it would be ridiculous and absurd. It has a weight of its own; who would venture to dispute it? It may be termed, if you please, an universal law of the church, so only that its pretensions be not carried further, and that it does not claim to be considered an infallible decision of the Vicar of Jesus Christ.

What, then, have we to do but to demonstrate that the Syllabus is by itself, and independently of the pontifical acts which supply the matter of it, a veritable teaching; that this teaching obliges consciences because it issues from the infallible authority of the head of the church? We shall not have omitted, it seems to us, any of the considerations calculated to throw light on this important subject if, after having thus followed it through all its windings and discussed all its difficulties, we succeed in illustrating the triple character of the pontifical act—its doctrinal character, its obligatory character, and its character of infallibility.

To assert that Pius IX., when he denounced with so much firmness to the Christian world the errors of our time, did not propose to teach us anything, that he had no intention of instructing us, was, even at the time of the appearance of the Syllabus, to advance a sufficiently hardy paradox; but to state it, to maintain it, at this time of day, when we are the fortunate witnesses of the effects produced by that immortal act, is to speak against evidence. Undoubtedly—we stated it at the commencement—the Syllabus is not sufficiently known nor sufficiently studied. Little known as it may be, however, it cannot be denied that it has already set right[35] many ideas, and corrected and enlightened many minds. Thanks to it, not learned men only and those who are close observers of events, but Catholics generally, perceive more clearly the dangers with which certain doctrines threaten their faith. They have been warned, they keep themselves on their guard, they see more distinctly the course they must follow and the shoals they must avoid. Pius IX. has lighted a torch and placed it in their hands.

That being the case, what is the use of playing with words, as if vain subtleties could destroy the striking evidence of this fact? Let them say, as often as they please, “The Syllabus is only a list, a catalogue, a table of contents, a memorial of previously condemned propositions”—what good will they have done? What matter these denominations, more or less disrespectful, if it be otherwise demonstrated that this list, catalogue, or table of contents explains to us exactly what we must believe or reject, and is imposed upon us as a rule to which we owe subjection. The imprudent persons who speak thus would seem never to have studied the monuments of our beliefs. Had they considered their nature more attentively, would they have allowed themselves to indulge in such intemperance of language? If they would more closely examine them, their illusions would soon be dissipated. Are not all the series of propositions condemned by the Popes, veritable lists? Did not Martin V. and the Council of Constance, Leo X. and S. Pius V., when they smote with their anathemas the errors of Wycliffe, John Huss, Luther, Baïus, draw out catalogues? Are not the canons of our councils tables in which are inscribed an abridgment, summary, or epitome of the impious doctrines of heretics? Is not every solemn definition, every symbol of the faith, a memorial designed to remind the Christian what he is obliged to believe? It is, then, useless to shelter one’s self behind words of doubtful meaning, and which can only perplex the mind without enlightening it. It is to assume gratuitously the air of men who wish to deceive others and to deceive themselves. What is the use of it?

They are much mistaken who imagine themselves to be proposing a serious difficulty when they demand how the Syllabus, which, before its publication, existed already in the letters of the Holy Father, can possibly teach us anything new? Let us, for the sake of argument, since they ask it, reduce it to the humble rôle of echo or reverberator, if we may be pardoned such expressions. Let us suppose that its whole action consists in repeating what has been already said. We ask if an echo does not often convey to the ear a sound which, without it, would not have been heard—if it does not sometimes send back the sound stronger, more resounding, and even more distinct than the original voice? It is not a new voice it brings to us. Be it so. But it does bring it to us in fact, and is able to give it to us again fuller and more sonorous.

Comparison, it is true, is not reason. We will therefore abandon the redundancy of figurative language, and reply directly to the question put to us. What is wanted is to know what the Syllabus is in itself, independently of the pontifical letters which are its original sources. It is as follows:

It is, at least, a new promulgation, more universal, more authentic, and[36] therefore more efficacious, of previous condemnations. Now, it is well known, it is a maxim of law, that a second promulgation powerfully confirms and, in case of need, supersedes the first. The history of human legislation is full of instances of this. When, by reason of the negligence of men, of the difficulty of the times, of the inconstancy or waywardness of peoples, a law has fallen into partial neglect and oblivion, they in whom the sovereign power resides re-establish its failing authority by promulgating it anew. It revives thus, and if it has been defunct it receives a second life. What can the greater number of Christians know of so many scattered condemnations, buried, one may say, in the voluminous collection of pontifical encyclicals, if the Syllabus had not revealed them? How could they respect them, how obey them? It was necessary that they should hear them resound, in a manner, a second time, in the utterance of the great Pontiff, in order to be able to submit anew to their authority, and to resume a yoke of which many of them did not know the very existence. The salvation of the church required this.

The Syllabus is, however, not only a new promulgation, it is often a luminous interpretation of the original documents to which it relates; an interpretation at times so necessary that, should it disappear, from that moment the meaning of those documents would become, on many points, obscure or at least doubtful. It is worthy of remark that in order to deny the doctrinal value of the Syllabus the following fact is relied on—that it is unaccompanied with any explanation, with any reflections. “It is a dry nomenclature,” it has been said, “of which we cannot determine either the character or the end.” Now, it happens to be exactly here that brevity has brought forth light. The eighty-four propositions, in fact, isolated from their context, appear to us more exact, in stronger relief, more decidedly drawn. One may perceive that in the bulls their forms were, as yet, slightly indistinct; here they detach themselves vividly, and with remarkable vigor. And we wish that all our readers were able to judge of this for themselves. They would better understand, possibly, wherefore certain men insist with so much energy on our abandoning the Syllabus and applying ourselves exclusively to the sources—an excellent mode of preventing certain questions from becoming too clear.

We will cite a few examples in illustration of our argument.

The second paragraph of the Syllabus has for its object the condemnation of moderate rationalism. Some of the seven propositions contained in it reproduce the doctrine of a man little known in France, but much thought of in Germany—a kind of independent Catholic, who, before he opposed himself to the church, from which he is now, we believe, quite separated, having transferred his allegiance to the pastoral staff of the aged Reinkens, wrote some works destined to sow among the students of the university of Munich the damaged grain of infidel science. We allude to M. Froschammer, a canon who has lost his hood, professor of misty philosophy, as befits a doctor on the other side of the Rhine. Pius IX. rebuked his errors in a letter addressed to the Archbishop of Munich the 12th December, 1862. We will lay aside the Syllabus, and take merely the[37] letter. We shall find in it only the condemnation of M. Froschammer and his works; nothing whatever else. But who, in this our country, France, has ever opened the works of M. Froschammer? The Catholic Frenchman who might read the letter of Pius IX. knowing nothing of the condemned works, would say to himself: “This Munich professor has doubtless written according to his own fancy; he must have been rash, as every good German is bound to be who loses himself in the shadowy mazes of metaphysics. After all, there is nothing to show that he has written exactly my opinions. Why should I trouble myself about the letter of Pius IX.? It does not concern me.”

Another example. In Paragraph X. we find the same principle of modern liberalism enunciated in the following manner: “In this our age, it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be considered as the only religion of the state, to the exclusion of all others.” “Ætate hac nostra, non amplius expedit religionem Catholicam haberi, tanquam unicam status religionem, cæteris quibuscumque cultibus exclusis.” The document to which we refer is a consistorial Allocution pronounced the 26th July, 1855, and it commences with these words, Nemo vestrum. What is this Allocution? A solemn protest against the criminality of the Spanish government, which, in contempt of its word and oath, of the rights of the church and the eternal laws of justice, had dared to perjure itself by abrogating, of its own single authority, the first and second articles of the concordat. Pius IX., full of grief, speaks in these terms: “You know, venerable brethren, how, in this convention, amongst all the decisions relative to the interests of the Catholic religion, we have, above all, established that this holy religion should continue to be the only religion of the Spanish nation, to the exclusion of every other worship.” The proposition of the Syllabus is not expressed in any other way in the Allocution. A man of great ability, or a scientific man, taking into account the facts, and weighing carefully the expressions of the Pontiff, might perhaps detect it therein. But how many others would it wholly escape! How many would not perceive it, or, if they should chance to catch sight of it, would remain in suspense, uncertain which was rebuked, the application of the doctrine or the doctrine itself! How many, in short, would be unwilling to recognize, in these words, aught but the sorrowful complaint of the Vicar of Jesus Christ outraged in his dearest rights! Return, however, to the Syllabus, and that which was obscure comes to light and manifests itself clearly. The two propositions we have cited do not appear, in it, confused or uncertain. Detached, on the contrary, from the particular circumstances which were calculated to weaken their meaning, and clad in a form more lofty, more universal, more abstract, they receive an unspeakable signification. No hesitation is possible. It is no longer the doctrine of M. Froschammer, nor the sacrilegious usurpations of the Spanish government, which are rebuked; it is but the doctrine considered in itself and in its substance. And since the Roman Pontiff, after having isolated it, fixes on it a mark of reprobation by declaring it erroneous, he denounces it to all ages and all people as deserving the everlasting censure of the church.


It is for this reason, as far as ourselves, at least, are concerned, we shall never accept without restriction a phrase which we find, under one form or other, in all directions, even from the pen of writers for whom we entertain, in other respects, the highest esteem: “The Syllabus has only a relative value, a value subordinate to that of the pontifical documents of which it is the epitome.” No! We are unable to admit an appreciation of it, in our opinion, so full of danger. We must not allow ourselves to weaken truth if we would maintain its salutary dominion over souls. They talk of the value of the Syllabus. What is meant by this? Its authority? It derives that most undoubtedly from itself, and from the sovereign power of him who published it. It is as much an act of that supreme authority as the letters or encyclicals to which it alludes. The meaning of the propositions it contains? Doubtless many of these, if we thus refer to their origin, will receive from it a certain illustration. Others, and they are not the fewest, will either lose there their precision, or will rather shed more light upon it than they receive from it. Between the two assertions—The pontifical letters explain the Syllabus, and, The Syllabus explains the pontifical letters—the second is, with a few exceptions, the most rigorously true. A very simple argument demonstrates it. Suppose that, by accident or an unforeseen catastrophe, one or other of these documents were to perish and not leave any trace of its existence, which is the one whose preservation we should most have desired, in order that the mind of Pius IX. and the judgment of the church concerning the errors of our age might be transmitted more surely to future generations?

Most fertile in subtleties is the mind of man when he wishes to escape from a duty that molests him. We must not, consequently, be astonished if many opponents of the Syllabus have lighted on ingenious distinctions which allow of their almost admitting, in theory, the doctrines we have just explained, whilst contriving to elude their practical consequences. For that, what have they done? They have acknowledged the real authority of this grand act in so far as it is a doctrinal declaration, or, if it is preferred, a manifestation of doctrine; adding, nevertheless, that the Pope has not imposed it on us in the way of obligation, but only in the way of guidance. The expression, only in the way of guidance, would have been a happy enough invention, had it been possible, in matter so important, and in an act so solemn, to imagine a guidance truly efficacious—such, for instance, as the Pope could not but wish it to be—which would not be an obligation. But we ourselves must avoid reasoning with too much subtlety, and content ourselves with opposing a difficulty more specious than solid with a few positive proofs.

We interpose, in the first place, the very title of the Syllabus: “Table, or abridgment, of the principal errors of our time, pointed out in consistorial Allocutions,” etc. To which we add the titles of various paragraphs: “Errors in relation to the church”; “Errors in relation to civil society”; “Errors concerning natural and Christian morals,” etc. For the Pope, the guardian and protector of truth, obliged by the duty of his office to hinder the church from suffering any decline or any alteration, to[39] denounce to the Christian world a doctrine by inflicting on it the brand of error, is evidently to forbid the employment of it, and to command all the faithful to eschew it. What communion is there between light and darkness, between life and death? There can be no question about guidance or counsel when the supreme interest is at stake. The duty speaks for itself. It is imposed by the nature of things. When Pius IX. placed at the head of his Syllabus the word “error,” and intensified it by adding words even more significant, when he expressed himself thus, “Principal errors of this our age,” he as good as said, “Here is death! Avoid it.” And if, in order still to escape from the consequences, a distinction is attempted to be drawn between an obligation created by the force of circumstances and an obligation imposed by the legislator, we would wish it to be remembered that the same Pius IX. uttered, in reference to the Syllabus, the following memorable sentence: “When the Pope speaks in a solemn act, it is to be taken literally; what he has said, he intended to say.” For our part, we would say, “What the Pope has done, he intended to do.”

But what need is there of so much discussion? The proof of what we have urged is written in express terms in the letter accompanying the Syllabus—a letter signed by his eminence Cardinal Antonelli, secretary of state, and intended to make known to the bishops the will of His Holiness. It is sufficient to quote this decisive document, which we do in full, on account of its importance:

Most Reverend Excellency:

“Our Holy Father, Pope Pius IX., profoundly solicitous for the safety of souls and of holy doctrine, has never ceased, since the commencement of his pontificate, to proscribe and to condemn by his encyclicals, his consistorial Allocutions, and other apostolic letters already published, the most important errors and false doctrines, above all, those of our unhappy times. But since it may come to pass that all the political acts reach not every one of the ordinaries, it has seemed good to the same sovereign Pontiff that a Syllabus should be drawn out of these same errors, to be sent to all the bishops of the Catholic world, in order that these same bishops may have before their eyes all the errors and pernicious doctrines which have been reproved and condemned by him. He has therefore commanded me to see that this printed Syllabus be sent to your most reverend excellency, on this occasion, and at this time. When the same sovereign Pontiff, in consequence of his great solicitude for the safety and well-being of the Catholic Church, and of the whole flock which has been divinely committed to him by the Lord, has thought it expedient to write another encyclical letter to all the Catholic bishops, thus executing, as is my duty, with all befitting zeal and respect, the orders of the same Pontiff, I hasten to send to your excellency this Syllabus with this letter.”

This Syllabus, placed by the order of the Holy Father “before the eyes of all the bishops,” what else is it, we ask, than the text of the law brought under the observation of the judges charged with the duty of causing it to be executed? What is it except a rule to which they owe allegiance, and from which they must not swerve? They must not lose sight of it. Wherefore? Because it is their duty to be careful to promulgate its doctrine in their own teaching, because it is their duty to repress every rash opinion which should dare to raise itself against and contradict it. It is thus that all have understood the commandment given to them. The fidelity and unconquerable courage of their obedience prove it. What has taken place in France? In[40] the midst of the universal emotion produced by the appearance of the Syllabus, the government, abusing its power, had the sad audacity to constitute itself judge of it. Through the instrumentality of the keeper of the seals, minister of justice and of public worship, it forbade the publication of the pontifical document in any pastoral instruction, alleging that “it contained propositions contrary to the principles on which the constitution of the empire rests.” What was the unanimous voice of the episcopate? Eighty-four letters of bishops are in existence to bear witness to it. All, united in the same mind, opposed to the ministerial letter the invincible word of the apostles, Non possumus. All declared that they must obey God rather then man; and two amongst them, ascending courageously their cathedral thrones, braved the menaces of a susceptible government by reading before the assembled people that which they had been forbidden to print. Could they have acted all alike with this power truly episcopal, if they had not been inspired by the conviction that they were fulfilling a duty, and putting into practice the adage of the Christian knights, “I do my duty, happen what may”?

We will insist no further on this point. We approach, lastly, the question which might well supersede all the others. Let us enquire whether the Syllabus is an infallible decision of the Vicar of Jesus Christ.

It appears to us that, in reality, we have already settled this question. Can a definition ex cathedra be anything else than an instruction concerning faith and morals addressed to, and imposed on, the whole church by her visible head upon earth? How can we recognize it except by this mark, and is not that the idea given to us of it by the Council of the Vatican? Read over the words, so weighty and selected with so much care by the fathers of that august assembly, and you will find that nothing could express more accurately the exact and precise notion of it. After that, all doubts ought to disappear. The Syllabus emanates from him who is the master and sovereign doctor of Catholic truth. It belongs exclusively to faith and morals by the nature of the subjects of which it treats. It has received from the circumstances which have accompanied its publication the manifest character of an universal law of the church. What is wanting to it to be an irreformable decision, an act without appeal, of the infallible authority of Peter?

We know the objection with which we shall be met. Peter may speak, it will be urged, and not wish to exert the plenitude of his doctrinal power. Yes; but when he restrains thus within voluntary limits the exercise of his authority, he gives us to understand it clearly. He is careful, in order not to overtax our weakness, to apprise us that, notwithstanding the obligation with which he binds consciences, it is not in his mind, as yet, to deliver a definitive sentence upon the doctrine. Frankly, does the Syllabus offer to us an indication, however faint, of any such reserve? What more definitive than a judgment formulated in these terms: “This is error, that is truth”? Is any revision possible of such a judgment? Is it possible to be revoked or abrogated? Does it not settle us necessarily in an absolute conclusion which excludes all possibility of diminution or of change? In a word, can the assertion be[41] ever permissible—“Error in these days, truth in others”? It may be added that, by the admission of all, friends and enemies—an admission confirmed by the declaration of the cardinal secretary of state, the Syllabus is an appendix to, and as it were a continuation of, the bull Quanta cura, to which no one can reasonably refuse the character of a definitive and irreformable decree; and it will be understood how unreasonable it would be to despise the evidence of facts, in order to cling to an objection without consistency, and which falls of itself for want of a solid foundation.

For the rest, the mind of the Holy Father is not concealed, as has been at times suggested, under impenetrable veils. It appears the moment we look for it; and we find it, for example, in the preparation of the Syllabus. It should be known that the Syllabus was not the work of a day. Pius IX. has often asserted this. He had early resolved to strike a signal blow, and to destroy from top to bottom the monstrous edifice of revolutionary doctrines. To this end, immediately after the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, he transformed the congregation of cardinals and theologians who had aided him in the accomplishment of that work into a congregation charged with the duty of singling out for the Apostolic See the new errors which, for a century, had been ravaging the church of God. Ten years passed away; encyclicals were published, allocutions pronounced; the theologians multiplied their labors. At length, on the 8th of December, 1864, the moment of action appearing to have arrived, Pius IX. addressed to the world that utterance whose prolonged echoes we all have heard. The bull Quanta cura and the Syllabus were promulgated. It is obvious that an act so long prepared, and with so much anxiety, cannot be likened to an ordinary act. The object of the Pontiff was not simply to check the evil—it was to uproot it. The object of such efforts could not have been to determine nothing. Who is there, then, who will venture to assert that the whole thought of an entire reign, and of such a reign as that of Pius IX., should miserably collapse in a measure without authority and without effectiveness? To believe it would be an outrage; to affirm it would be an insult to the wisdom and prudence of the most glorious of pontiffs.

But what need is there for searching for proofs? A single reflection banishes every difficulty. We have in the church two means for ascertaining whether a pontifical act is, or is not, a sovereign definition, an infallible decision. We have to enquire of the pontiff who is the author of it, or the people who subordinate themselves to his teaching. Neither one nor the other can deceive us in the answer they give. The divine promise continues equally assured in both: in the former, when he teaches; in the latter, when they listen and obey. It is what the theologians call active and passive infallibility. Admit that Pius IX. had left us in ignorance; that he published the Syllabus, but did not tell us what amount of assent he required of us. Well, none of us are in any doubt as to that. How many times has not this people said, how many times has it not repeated with an enthusiasm inspired by love, that this Syllabus, despised, insulted by the enemies of the church, they accept as the rule of their beliefs, as the very word[42] of Peter, as the word of life come down from heaven to save us. Is it not thus that have spoken, one after the other, bishops, theologians, the learned and the ignorant, the mighty and the humble? Who amongst us has not heard this language? A celebrated doctor, Tanner, has said that in order to distinguish amongst the teachings of the church those which belong to its infallible authority, we must listen to the judgment of wise men, and above all consult the universal sentiment of Christians. If we adhere to this decision, it reveals to us our duties in regard to the sovereign act by which Pius IX. has withdrawn the world from the shadow in which it was losing its way, and has prepared for it a future of better destinies.

We have the more reason for acting thus as hell, by its furious hatred, gives us, for its part, a similar warning, and proclaims, after its fashion, the imperishable grandeur of the Syllabus. Neither has it, nor have those who serve it, ever been under any illusion in this respect. They have often revealed their mind both by act and word. What implacable indignation! what torrents of insults! what clamor without truce or mercy! And when importunate conciliators interfered to tell them they were mistaken, that the Syllabus was nothing or next to nothing, and need not provoke so much anger, how well they knew how to reply to them and to bury them under the weight of their contempt! At the end of 1864, at the moment when the struggle occasioned by the promulgation of the Encyclical and Syllabus was the most furious, an agency of Parisian publicity, the agency Bullier, could insert the following notice: “The Encyclical is not a dogmatic bull, but only a doctrinal letter. It is observable that the Syllabus does not bear the signature of the Pope. This Syllabus has besides been published in a manner to allow us to believe that the Holy Father did not intend to assign to it a great importance. One may conclude, therefore, that the propositions which do not attack either the dogma or morals of Catholics, and do not at all impeach faith, are not condemned, but merely blamed.” To these words, poor in sense, but crafty and treacherous in expression, the journal Le Siècle replied as follows:

“There are now people who tell us that the Encyclical is not a dogmatic bull, but a doctrinal letter; that the eighty propositions are not condemned, because they do not figure in the Encyclical, but only in the Syllabus; that this Syllabus does not bear the signature of the Pope; that it has been composed only by a commission of theologians, etc. These people would do better to be silent. Encyclical or Syllabus, the fact is that the theocracy has just hurled as haughty a defiance against modern ideas as it was possible for it to do. We shall soon see what will be the result.”

We will leave them to settle their quarrels between themselves. For ourselves, listening to these voices of heaven and of hell, of the church and of the world, which coincide in exalting the work eternally blessed by Pius IX., we repeat with profounder conviction than ever: “Yes, the Syllabus is the infallible word of Peter; and if our modern society is within the reach of cure, it is by the Syllabus that it is to be saved!”





In a sumptuous apartment, whose magnificent furniture and costly adornings announced it as the abode of kings, in a large Gothic arm-chair—whose massive sides were decorated with carvings in ebony and ivory of exquisite delicacy, and which was in itself, altogether, a model of the most skilful workmanship—there reclined the form of a stately and elegant woman.

Her small feet, but half-concealed beneath the heavy folds of a rich blue velvet robe, rested on a footstool covered with crimson brocade, embroidered with golden stars. Bands of pearls adorned her beautiful neck, contrasted with its dazzling whiteness, and were profusely twined amid the raven tresses of her luxuriant hair. An expression of profound melancholy was imprinted upon her noble features; her eyes were cast down, and the long, drooping lashes were heavy with tears which she seemed vainly endeavoring to repress, as she sat absorbed in thought, and nervously entwining her snowy fingers with the silk and jewelled cord which, according to the fashion of that day, she wore fastened at her girdle and hanging to her feet. This royal personage was Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, wife of Henry VIII., and queen of England.

The king himself was hurriedly pacing to and fro in the apartment, with contracted brow, a deeply troubled expression gleaming from his dark eyes and obscuring, with a shade of gloomy fierceness, the naturally fine features of his face. The ordinary grace of his carriage had disappeared; his step was hurried and irregular; and every movement denoted a man laboring under some violent excitement. From time to time he approached the window, and gazed abstractedly into the distance; then, returning to Catherine, he would address her abruptly, with a sharp expression or hurried interrogation, neither waiting for nor seeming to desire a reply.

While this strange scene was being enacted within the palace at Greenwich, one of an entirely different nature was occurring in the courtyard. From the road leading from Greenwich a cavalcade approached, headed by a personage invested with the Roman purple, and apparently entitled to and surrounded by all the “pomp and circumstance” of royalty. He was mounted on a richly caparisoned mule with silver-plated harness, adorned with silver bells and tufted with knots of crimson silk. This distinguished personage was no other than the Archbishop of York, the potent minister, who united in his person all the dignities[44] both of church and state—the Cardinal Legate, the king’s acknowledged favorite, Wolsey. To increase his already princely possessions, to extend his influence and authority, had been this man’s constant endeavor, and the sole aim of his life. And so complete had been his success that he was now regarded by all as an object of admiration and envy. But how greatly mistaken was the world in its opinion!

In his heart, Wolsey suffered the constant agony of a profound humiliation. Compelled to yield in all things, and bow with servile submission to the haughty will of his exacting and imperious master—who by a word, and in a moment, could deprive him of his dignities and temporalities—he lived in a state of constant dread, fearing to lose the patronage and favor to secure which he had sacrificed both his honor and his conscience.

He was accompanied on this journey by a numerous retinue, composed of gentlemen attached to his household and young pages carrying his standard, all of whom were eagerly pressing upon him the most obsequious attentions. They assisted him to dismount, and as he approached the palace the guards saluted and received him with the utmost military deference and respect; and with an air of grave dignity Wolsey passed on, and disappeared beneath the arch of the grand stairway.

Let us again return to the royal apartments. The king, seeing Wolsey arrive, immediately turned from the window and, confronting Catherine, abruptly exclaimed:

“Come, madam, I wish you to retire; the affairs of my kingdom demand instantly all my time and attention.” And hastily turning to the window, he looked eagerly into the courtyard.

Catherine arose without uttering a word, and approaching the centre of the apartment she took from the table a small silver bell, and rang it twice.

On this table was a magnificent cloth cover that she had embroidered with her own hands. The design represented a tournament, in which Henry, who was devoted to chivalrous amusements, had borne off the prize over all his competitors. In those days her husband received such presents with grateful affection and sincere appreciation, and, as the souvenir recalled to her mind the joy and happiness of the past, tears of bitterness flowed afresh from the eyes of the unhappy princess.

In answer to her signal, the door soon opened, the queen’s ladies in waiting appeared, and, arranging themselves on either side, stood in readiness to follow their royal mistress. She passed out, and was slowly walking in silence through the vast gallery leading to the king’s apartments, when Wolsey appeared, advancing from the opposite end of the gallery, followed by his brilliant retinue.

Catherine, then, instantly understood why the king had so abruptly commanded her to retire. Suddenly pausing, she stood transfixed and immovable, her soul overwhelmed with anguish; but, with a countenance calm and impassible, she awaited the approach of the cardinal, who advanced to salute her. In spite of all her efforts, however, she could no longer control her feelings.

“My lord cardinal,” she exclaimed in a low voice, trembling with emotion, “go, the king waits for you!” And as she uttered these[45] words, the unhappy woman fell senseless to the floor.

The hardened soul of the ambitious Wolsey was moved to its very depths with compassion as he silently gazed on the noble woman before him, who possessed the unbounded love and grateful esteem of all her household, not only as their sovereign, but also as their beneficent mother.

The cloud of ambition that forever surrounded him, darkening his soul and obscuring his perceptions, was for the moment illuminated, and for the first time he realized the enormity of Henry’s proceedings against the queen.

As this sudden light flashed on him, he felt remorse for having encouraged the divorce, and resolved that henceforward all his influence should be used to dissuade his sovereign from it.

At the approach of the royal favorite the ushers hastily made their salutations (although the queen had been permitted to pass them with scarcely the slightest mark of respect), and seemed to consider the most humble and servile attitude they could assume before him as only sufficiently respectful. They hastened to throw open the doors before him as he advanced, and Wolsey soon found himself in the presence of the king, who awaited his arrival in a state of almost angry impatience.

“Well! what do you come to tell me?” he cried. “Do you bring me good news?”

Wolsey, whose opinions had so recently undergone a very great change, for a moment hesitated. “Sire,” he at length replied, “Campeggio, the cardinal legate, has arrived.”

“Has he indeed?” said Henry, with an ironical smile. “After so many unsuccessful applications, we have then, at last, obtained this favor. Well, I hope now this affair will proceed more rapidly; and, Wolsey, remember that it is your business so entirely to compromise and surround this man, that he shall not be able even to think without my consent and sanction. And, above all, beware of the intrigues of the queen. Catherine is a Spaniard, with an artful, unyielding nature and fierce, indomitable will. She will, without doubt, make the most determined and desperate effort to enlist the legate in favor of her cause.”

“Is the decision of your majesty irrevocable on the subject of this divorce?” replied Wolsey, in a hesitating and embarrassed manner. “The farther we advance, the more formidable the accumulating difficulties become. I must acknowledge, sire, I begin myself to doubt of success. Campeggio has already declared that, if the queen appeals to Rome, he will not refuse to present her petition, and defend her cause; that he himself will decide nothing, and will yield to nothing he cannot conscientiously approve.”

On hearing Wolsey express these sentiments, Henry’s face flushed with rage, and a menacing scowl contracted his brow.

“Can it be possible,” he cried, “that you dare address me in this manner? I will castigate the Pope himself if he refuses his sanction. He shall measure his power with mine! He trembles because Charles V. is already on his frontier. I will make him tremble now, in my turn! I will marry Anne Boleyn—yes, I will marry her before the eyes of the whole world!”

“What do you say, sire? Anne Boleyn!” cried Wolsey.


“Yes, Anne Boleyn!” replied the king, regarding Wolsey with his usual haughty and contemptuous expression. “You know her well. She is attached to the service of Catherine.”

“Lady Anne Boleyn!” again cried Wolsey after a moment’s silence, for astonishment had almost for the time rendered him speechless and breathless. “Lady Anne Boleyn! The King of England, the great Henry, wishes, then, to marry Anne Boleyn! Why, if contemplating such a marriage as that, did you send me to seek the alliance of France, and to offer the hand of your daughter in marriage to the Duke of Orleans? And why did you instruct me to declare to Francis I. that your desire was to place on the throne of England a princess of his blood? It was only by these representations and promises that I succeeded in inducing him to sign the treaty which deprived Catherine of all assistance. You have assured me of your entire approval of these negotiations. This alliance with France was the only means by which to secure for yourself any real defence against the Pope and the Emperor. Do you suppose that Charles V. will quietly permit you to deprive his aunt of her position and title as queen of England?” Here Wolsey paused, wholly transported with indignation.

“Charles!” replied the king, “Charles? I can easily manage and pacify him by fine promises and long negotiations. As to our Holy Father, I will stir up strife enough to fill his hands so full that he will not be able to attend to anything else. The quarrels of Austria and France always end by recoiling on his head, and I imagine he will not soon forget the sacking Rome and his former imprisonment.”

“Yes, but you forget,” said Wolsey, “that the King of France will accuse you of flagrant bad faith: and will you bring on yourself their abhorrence in order to espouse Anne Boleyn?”

The minister pronounced these last words with an expression and in a tone of such contemptuous scorn as to arouse in a fearful degree the indignation of the king, accustomed only to the flattery and servile adulation of his courtiers. At the same time, he was compelled to feel the force of the cardinal’s reasoning, although the truth only served still more to irritate and enrage him.

“Cease, Wolsey!” cried Henry, fixing his flashing eyes fiercely upon him; “I am not here to listen to your complaints. I shall marry whom I please; and your head shall answer for the fidelity with which you assist me in executing my will.”

“My head, sire,” replied Wolsey courageously, “has long belonged to you; my entire life has been devoted to your service; and yet I shall most probably, in the end, have bitter cause to repent having always made myself subservient to your wishes. But your majesty will surely reflect more seriously on the dishonor you will necessarily incur by such a choice as this. The queen’s party will grow stronger and stronger, and I tell you frankly, I fear lest the legate be inflexible.”

“Wolsey,” cried Henry, elevating his voice in a threatening manner, “I have already declared my intentions—is that not sufficient? As to the legate, I repeat, he must be gained over to my cause. Gold and flattery will soon secure to us that[47] tender conscience whose scruples you now so sorely apprehend. Bring him to me to-morrow.”

“He is suffering too much, sire. The cardinal is aged and very infirm; I have no idea he will be in a condition to see your majesty for several days yet.”

“Too long, entirely too long to wait!” replied the king. “I must see him this very day; he shall be compelled to make his appearance. I wish you to be present also, as we shall discuss affairs of importance, and then I shall depart.”

With these words Henry withdrew and went to look for a casket, of which he alone carried the key, and in which he usually kept his most valuable and important papers.

During his absence, Wolsey remained leaning on the table, before which he was seated, absorbed in deep and painful reflections. He feared Henry too much to oppose him long in any of his designs; besides, he saw no possible means to induce him to change his resolution. He had felt, as we have seen, a momentary compassion for the misfortunes of the queen, but that impression had been speedily effaced by considerations of far greater moment to himself.

As a shrewd diplomatist, he regretted the alliance with France; besides, he was really too much interested in the welfare of the king not to deplore his determination to contract such a marriage.

But the cause of his deepest anxiety was the knowledge he possessed of Anne’s great dislike for him, and the consciousness that her family and counsellors were his rivals and enemies; in consequence of which he clearly foresaw they would induce her to use all the influence she possessed with the king in order to deprive him of Henry’s favor and patronage. He was suffering this mental conflict when the king reappeared, bearing a bronze casket carved with rare perfection. Placing it on the table, he unlocked it. Among a great many papers which it contained was a very handsome book, the printing beautifully executed, and every page ornamented with arabesques exquisitely tinted and shaded. The cover, formed of two metal plates, represented in bass-relief the figures of Faith, Hope, and Charity as young virgins, bearing in their hands and on their foreheads the allegorical emblems of those sublime Christian virtues. Emeralds of immense value, surrounded by heavy gold settings, adorned the massive gold clasps, and also served to hold them firmly in their places.

On the back of this book, deeply engraven in the metal, were the following words: The Seven Sacraments. Henry had written this work in defence of the ancient dogmas of the Catholic Church, when first attacked by the violent doctrines of a monk named Luther. Whether the king had really composed it himself, or whether he had caused it to be secretly done by another, and wished to enjoy the reputation of being the author, he certainly attached great importance to the work. Not only had he distributed it throughout his own kingdom, but had sent it to the Pope and to all the German princes, through the Dean of Windsor, whom he instructed to say that he was ready to defend the faith, not only with his pen but, if need be, with his sword also. It was at that time that he asked and obtained from the court of Rome the title of “Defender of the Faith.”


Now he was constantly busy with a manuscript, which he took from the mysterious casket, containing a Treatise on Divorce, and to which he every day devoted several hours. Greatly pleased with a number of arguments he had just found, he came to communicate them to Wolsey. The latter, after urging several objections, at length reminded him of the fraudulent and persistent means that had been employed to extract from the University of Oxford an opinion favorable to divorce. “And yet,” added the cardinal, “it has been found impossible to prevent them from increasing the number of most important restrictions, and thus rendering your case exceedingly difficult, if not entirely hopeless.”

“What!” said the king, “after the good example of the University of Cambridge, are we still to encounter scruples? Consider it well, cardinal, in order not to forget the recompense, and, above all, the punishment, for that is the true secret of success! You will also take care to write to the Elector Frederick, and say that I wait to receive the humble apologies of that man Luther, whom he has taken so entirely under his protection.”

“Sire,” replied the cardinal, “I have received frequent intelligence with regard to that matter which I have scarcely dared communicate to you.”

“And why not?” demanded the king. “Do you presume, my lord cardinal, that the abuse of an obscure and turbulent monk can affect me? And besides, to tell you the truth, I do not know but this man may, after all, be useful to me. He has attracted the attention of the court of Rome, and may yet have to crave my protection.”

“Well, sire, since you compel me to speak, I will tell you that, far from making humble apologies, his violence against you has redoubled. I have just received a tract he has recently published. In it I find many passages where, in speaking of you, he employs the most abusive epithets and expressions. For instance, he repeatedly declares that your majesty ‘is a fool, an ass, and a madman,’ that you are ‘coarser than a hog, and more stupid than a jackass.’ He speaks with equal scurrility of our Holy Father the Pope, addressing him, in terms of the most unparalleled effrontery, this pretended warning, which is of course intended simply as an insult: ‘My petit Paul, my petit Pope, my young ass, walk carefully—it is very slippery—you may fall and break your legs. You will surely hurt yourself, and then people will say, “What the devil does this mean? The petit Pope has hurt himself.”’ Further on, I find this ridiculous comparison, which could only emanate from a vile and shameless pen: ‘The ass knows that he is an ass, the stone knows that it is a stone, but these asses of popes are unable to recognize themselves as asses.’ He concludes at length with these words, which fill the measure of his impiety and degradation: ‘If I were ruler of an empire, I would make a bundle of the Pope and his cardinals, and throw them altogether into that little pond, the Tuscan Sea. I pledge my word that such a bath would restore their health, and I pledge Jesus Christ as my security!’”

“What fearful blasphemy!” cried Henry. “Could a Christian possibly be supposed to utter such absurd, blasphemous vulgarities? I trow not! This pretended ‘reformer’ of the ‘discipline and abuses of[49] the church’ seems to possess any other than an evangelical character. No one can doubt his divine mission and his Christian charity! A man who employs arguments like these is too vile and too contemptible to be again mentioned in my presence. Let me hear no more of this intolerable apostate! Proceed now with business.”

“Sire,” then continued the cardinal, presenting a list to the king, “here are the names of several candidates I wish you to consider for the purpose of appointing a treasurer of the exchequer. Thomas More has already filled, most honorably, a number of offices of public trust, and is also a man of equal ability and integrity. I recommend him to your majesty for this office.”

“I approve your selection most unhesitatingly,” replied the king. “I am extremely fond of More, and perfectly satisfied with the manner in which he has performed his official duties heretofore. You will so inform him from me. What next?”

“I would also petition your majesty that Cromwell be confirmed as intendant-general of the monasteries latterly transformed into colleges.”

“Who is this Cromwell?” inquired Henry. “I have no recollection of him.”

“Sire,” replied Wolsey, “he is of obscure birth, the son of a fuller of this city. He served in the Italian wars in his youth; afterwards he applied himself to the study of law. His energies and abilities are such as to entitle him to the favorable consideration of your majesty.”

“Let him be confirmed as you desire,” replied the king very graciously, as he proceeded to sign the different commissions intended for the newly appointed officials.

“I wish,” he added, regarding Wolsey with a keen, searching glance, “that you would find some position for a young ecclesiastic called Cranmer, who has been strongly recommended to me for office.”

The brow of the cardinal contracted into a heavy frown as he heard the name of a man but too well known to him. He immediately divined that it was from Anne Boleyn alone the king had received this recommendation.

In the meantime, the queen had been carried to her apartments. The devoted efforts of the ladies of her household, who surrounded her with the tenderest ministrations, soon recalled her to the consciousness and full realization of her misery.

Now the night has come, and found Catherine still seated before the grate, absorbed in deep thought. Born under the soft skies of Spain, she had never become acclimated, nor accustomed to the humid, foggy atmosphere of England. Like a delicate plant torn from its native soil, she sighed unceasingly for the balmy air and the golden sunlight of her own genial southern clime. Such regrets, added to the sorrows she had experienced, had thrown her into a state of habitual melancholy, from which nothing could arouse her, and which the slightest occurrence sufficed to augment. For a long time her firmness of character had sustained her; but her health beginning to fail, and no longer able to arouse the energy and courage which had before raised her above misfortune, she sank beneath the burden and abandoned herself to hopeless sorrow.


As she sat all alone in her chamber, she held in her hand a letter but recently received from her native country. Reading it slowly, she mused, dreaming of the days of her happy childhood, when suddenly the door was opened, and a young girl, apparently ten or twelve years of age, ran in and threw her arms around the neck of the queen. The figure of the child was slight and graceful; around her waist was tied a broad sash of rose-colored ribbon, with long ends floating over her white muslin dress; her beautiful blonde hair was drawn back from her forehead and fastened with bows of ribbon, leaving exposed a lovely little face glowing with animation and spirit, and a frank, ingenuous expression, at once prepossessing and charming. This was the Princess Mary, the daughter of Henry, the future consort of a Spanish prince, to whom the shrewd diplomatist Wolsey had promised her hand, in order to deprive the unfortunate mother of this her only remaining consolation.

“Why is it, my dearest mamma,” she exclaimed, “that you are again in tears?” And, laughingly, she took the handkerchief from the queen and put it to her own eyes, pretending to weep.

“See now, this is the way I shall do when I am grown up, for it seems to me grown-up people are always weeping. Oh! I wish I could always remain a child, and then I should never be miserable! Listen, my dear mamma,” she continued, again twining her arms around her mother’s neck, “why is it that you are always weeping and so sad? It must surely do you harm. Everybody is not like you, constantly sighing and in tears, I do assure you. Only this morning, I was at St. James’ Park with Alice, and there I met Lady Anne Boleyn; she was laughing gaily as she promenaded with a number of her friends. I ran immediately to her to say good morning, for I was really very glad to see her. How is it, mamma—I thought you told me she had gone to Kent to visit her father?”

“My child,” replied the queen, her tears flowing afresh, “what I told you was true; but she has since returned without my being informed.”

“But, mamma, since this is your own house, why has she not yet presented herself? I am very sorry she has acted so, for I love her better than any of the other ladies. She told me all she saw in France when she travelled with my aunt, the Duchess of Suffolk. Oh! how I would love to see France. Lady Anne says it is a most beautiful country. She has described to me all the magnificent entertainments that King Louis XII. gave in honor of my aunt. Mamma, when I marry, I want the King of France to be my husband.”

“And you—you also love Anne Boleyn?” replied the queen.

“Oh! yes, mamma, very much, very much indeed!” innocently answered the child. “I am very sorry she is no longer to be here, she is so amiable, and when she plays with me she always amuses me so much!”

“Well, my dear child,” replied the queen, “I will tell you now why people weep when they are grown up, as you say: it is because they very often love persons who no longer return their affection.”

“And do you believe she no longer loves me?” replied the impulsive little Mary with a thoughtful expression. “And yet, mamma,[51] I kissed her this morning and embraced her with all my heart. However, I now remember that she scarcely spoke a word to me; but I had not thought of it before. She seemed to be very much embarrassed. But why should she no longer love me when I still love her so dearly?”

As Mary uttered these words, a woman entered the room and, whispering a moment in the ear of the queen, placed a note in her hand.

Catherine arose and approached the light; after reading the note, she called the young princess and requested her to retire to her chamber, as she had something to write immediately that was very important.

Mary ran gaily to her mother, and, after kissing and embracing her fondly and tenderly again and again, she at last bade her good-night, and with a smiling face bounded from the room in the same light and buoyant manner that she had entered it.

“Leonora,” said the queen, “my dear child, you have left for my sake our beautiful Spain, and have ever served me with faithful devotion. Listen, now, to the request I shall make—go bring me immediately the dress and outer apparel belonging to one of the servant women.”

“Why so, my lady?”

“Ask no questions—I have use for them; you will accompany me; I must go to London this night.”

“Good heaven! my dear mistress, what are you saying?” cried Leonora in great alarm. “Go to London to-night? It is five miles; you will never be able to walk it, and you well know it would be impossible to attempt the journey in any other way—they would detect us.”

“Leonora,” answered the queen, “I am resolved to go. Faithful friends inform me that the legate has arrived. Henry will now redouble his vigilance. I have but one day—if I lose this opportunity, I shall never succeed. My last remaining hope rests upon this. If you refuse to accompany me, I shall go alone.”

“Alone!—oh! my beloved mistress,” cried Leonora, her hands clasped and her eyes streaming tears, “you can never do this! Think of what you are going to undertake! If you were recognized, the king would be at once informed, and we would both be lost.”

“Even so, Leonora; but what have I to lose? Is it possible for me to be made more wretched? Shall I abandon this, my last hope? No, no, Leonora; I am accountable to my children for the honor of their birth. Go now, my good girl! fly—there is not a moment to lose. Fear nothing; God will protect us!”

Leonora, shrewd and adroit like the women of her country, was very soon in possession of the desired habiliments. Her actions might have excited suspicion, perhaps; but entirely devoted to the queen as she was she felt no fear, and would, without hesitation, have exposed herself to even greater danger, had it been necessary, in the execution of her mistress’ wishes.

Catherine feigned to retire; and, after her attendants had been dismissed, she left the palace, closely enveloped in a long brown cloak, such as was habitually worn by the working-women of that period. The faithful Leonora tremblingly followed the footsteps of her mistress. They breathed more freely when they found themselves at last beyond the limits of the[52] castle. Leonora, however, when they entered the road leading to London, anxiously reflected on the danger of meeting some one who would probably recognize them. Her excited imagination even began to conjure up vague apprehensions of the dead, to blend with her fears of the living. She also dreaded lest the strength of the queen should prove unequal to the journey—in fine, she feared everything. The sighing winds, the rustling leaves, the sound of her own footsteps as she walked over the stones, startled and filled her with apprehension. Very soon there was another cause for alarm. The wind suddenly arose with violence; dark clouds overspread the heavens; the moon disappeared; large drops of rain began to fall, and soon poured in torrents, deluging the earth and drenching their garments.

In vain they increased their speed; the storm raged with such fury they were compelled to take refuge under a tree by the roadside.

“My poor Leonora,” said the queen, supporting herself against the trunk of the tree, whose wide-spread branches were being lashed and bent by the fury of the storm, “I regret now having brought you with me. I am already sufficiently miserable without the additional pain of seeing my burdens laid upon others.”

“My beloved lady and mistress,” cried Leonora, “I am not half so unhappy at this moment as I was when I feared my brothers would prevent me from following you to England. It seems to me I can see the vessel now, with its white sails unfurled, bearing you away, whilst I, standing on the shore, with frantic cries, entreated them to let me rejoin you. That night, I remember, being unable to sleep, I went down into the orange-grove, the perfume of whose fruits and flowers embalmed the air of the palace gardens. Wiping away the sad tears, I fixed my eyes upon your windows, which the light of our beautiful skies rendered distinctly visible even at night. In Spain, at that hour, we can walk by the light of the stars; but in this land of mud and water, this horrid England, one has to be wrapped to the ears in furs all the year round, or shiver with cold from morning till night. This is doubtless the reason why the English are so dull and so tiresome to others. In what a condition is this light mantle that covers our heads!” said Leonora, shaking the coarse woollen cloak dripping with water, that enveloped Catherine. “These Englishwomen,” she resumed, “know no more about the sound of a guitar than they do about the rays of the sun; they are all just as melancholy as moles. There is not one of them, except the Princess Mary, who seems to have the slightest idea of our beautiful Spain.”

“Ah!” sighed the queen, “she is just as I was at her age. God forbid that her future should resemble that of her mother!”

In the meantime the storm had gradually abated; time pressed, and Catherine again resumed her journey with renewed courage and accelerated speed. In spite of the mud, in which she sank at every step, she redoubled her efforts. For what cannot the strong human will accomplish, when opposed to feeble, physical strength alone, or even when the obstacles interposed proceed from the elements themselves? She at length arrived at the gate of the palace of Lambeth, situated on the banks of the[53] Thames, where the cardinal Campeggio, according to the intelligence conveyed to her, would hold his court.

The courtyards, the doors, the ante-chambers, were thronged with servants and attendants, eager and active in the performance of their duties, for Henry had ordered that the cardinal should be entertained in a style of princely munificence, and entirely free from personal expense. All these valets, being strangers to their new masters, and unaccustomed to their new employments, permitted the queen to pass without question or detention, not, however, without a stare of stupid curiosity at her muddy boots and draggled garments.

Catherine, being perfectly familiar with the interior of the palace, had no difficulty in finding the legate’s cabinet.

The venerable prelate was slightly lame, and in a feeble and precarious state of health. She found him seated before the fire in a large velvet arm-chair, engaged in reading his Breviary. His face was pale and emaciated; a few thin locks of snow-white hair hung about his temples. Hearing the door open, he rested the book on his knee, casting upon the queen, as she entered, a keen, penetrating glance.

Without hesitation, Catherine advanced towards him. “My lord cardinal,” she exclaimed, removing the hood from her face, “you see before you the queen of England, the legitimate spouse of Henry VIII.”

Hearing these words, Campeggio was unable to suppress an exclamation of surprise. He arose at once to his feet, and, perceiving the extraordinary costume in which Catherine was arrayed, he cast upon her a look of incredulous astonishment. He was about to speak when she, with great vehemence, interrupted him.

“Yes,” she cried, raising her hands towards heaven, “I call upon God to witness the truth of what I say—I am Queen Catherine! You are astonished to see me here at this hour, and in this disguise. Know, then, that I am a prisoner in my own palace; my cruel husband would have prevented me from coming to you. They tell me you are sent to sit in judgment on my case. Surely, then, you should be made acquainted with my bitter woes and grievances. Lend not your aid to the cause of injustice and wrong, but be the strength of the weak, the defence of the innocent. A stranger in this country, I have no friends; fear of the king drives them all from me. I cannot doubt it—no, you will not refuse to hear my appeal. You will defend the cause of an injured mother and her helpless children. What! would you be willing to condemn me without first hearing my cause—I, the daughter of kings? Have I been induced to marry Henry of Lancaster to enjoy the honors of royalty, when all such honors belong to me by my birthright? Catherine of Aragon has never been unfaithful to her husband; but to-day, misled by a criminal passion, he wishes to place upon the throne of England a shameless woman, to deny his own blood, and brand his own children with the stigma of illegitimacy! Yes, I solemnly declare to you that nothing can shake my resolution or divert me from my purpose! Strong in my innocence and in the justice of my cause, I will appeal to the whole world—aye, even to God himself!”

The cardinal stood motionless,[54] regarding Catherine with reverence, as an expression of haughty indignation lighted up her noble features. He was struck with admiration at her courage and filled with compassion for her woes.

“No, madam,” he replied, “I am not to be your judge. I know that it is but too true that you are surrounded by enemies. But let me assure you that in me, at least, you will not find another. I shall esteem myself most happy if, by my counsel or influence, I may be of service to your cause, and it is from the depths of my heart that I beg you to rely upon this assurance.”

Catherine would have thanked him, but a noise was that moment heard of the ushers throwing the doors violently open and announcing, in a loud voice, “His Eminence Cardinal Wolsey!”

“Merciful heaven!” cried Catherine, “must this odious man pursue me for ever?” She hurriedly lowered her veil, and took her place at the left of the door, and the moment he entered passed out behind him. Wolsey glanced at her sharply, the appearance of a woman arousing instantly a suspicion in his mind, but, being compelled to respond with politeness to the legate’s salutations, he had no time to scrutinize, and Catherine escaped without being recognized.

Wolsey was passionately fond of pomp and pageant. The principal positions in his house were filled by barons and chevaliers. Among these attendants were numbered the sons of some of the most distinguished families, who, under his protection and by the aid of his all-powerful patronage and influence, aspired to civil or military preferment.

On this occasion, he considered it necessary to make an unusual display of luxurious magnificence. It was with great difficulty and trepidation that the queen threaded her way through the crowd of prelates, noblemen, and young gentlemen who awaited in the ante-chambers the honor of being presented by the king’s favorite to the cardinal-legate.

The courtyard was filled with their brilliant equipages, conspicuous among which were observed a great number of mules, richly caparisoned, and carrying on their backs immense chests, covered with crimson cloth, trimmed with fringe and embroidered with gold.

A crowd of idle valets were engaged in conversation at the foot of the stairs. The queen, in passing them, attracted their attention, exciting their ridicule and coarse gibes, and she heard them also indulge in the most insolent conjectures regarding her.

“Who is that woman?” said one. “See how dirty she is.” “She looks like a beggar, indeed,” cried another, addressing himself to one of the new-comers engaged to attend the legate. “Your master receives strange visitors; we, on the contrary, have nothing to do with people like that, except quickly to show them the door.”

“Ha! ha! you will have your hands full,” exclaimed the most insolent of the crowd, “if your master gives audience to such rabble as that.” Emboldened by these remarks, one of the porters approached the queen, and, rudely pushing her, exclaimed with an oath: “Well, beldame, what brought you here? Take yourself off quickly. My lord is rich, but his crowns were not made for such as you.” These words excited the loudest applause from the whole crowd, who clapped their[55] hands and cheered vociferously. Catherine trembled with mortification.

“It is thus,” she mentally exclaimed, “that the poor are received in the palaces of the rich. And I myself have probably more than once, without knowing it, permitted them to sigh in vain at the gates of my own palace—mothers weeping for their children, or men, old and helpless, making a last appeal for assistance.”

The queen, entirely absorbed in these reflections, together with the impression made upon her by the appearance of the venerable legate, the sudden apparition of Wolsey, the snares that had been laid for her, and the temptations with which they had surrounded her, mechanically followed Leonora, to whom the fear that her mistress might be pursued and arrested seemed to have given wings.

“Leonora,” at length cried the queen, “I feel that I can go no farther. Stop, and let us rest for a moment; you walk too quickly.” Exhausted with fatigue, she seated herself on a rock by the roadside.

She had scarcely rested a moment when a magnificent carriage passed. The silken curtains were drawn back, and the flaming torches, carried by couriers, who surrounded the carriage, completely illuminated the interior. Seated in this princely equipage was a young girl, brilliant in her youthful beauty and the splendor of her elegant dress and jewelled adornings. At a glance, Catherine recognized Anne Boleyn, who was returning from a grand entertainment given her by the Lord Mayor of London.

She passed like the light; the carriage rapidly whirling through the mud and water, that flew from the wheels and covered anew the already soiled garments of the hapless queen.

Catherine, completely overcome by painful emotions, felt as though she were dying.

“Leonora, listen!” she said in a faint voice, scarcely audible—“Leonora, come near me—give me your hand; I feel that I am dying! You will carry to my daughter my last benediction!”

She sought in the darkness the hand of Leonora; the film of death seemed gathering over her eyes; she did not speak, her head sank on her shoulder, and poor Leonora thought the queen had ceased to breathe. She at first held her in her arms; but at length, overcome by fatigue, she sank upon the earth as she vainly endeavored to revive her by breathing into her mouth her own life-breath. But seeing all her efforts to restore animation useless, she came to the terrible conclusion that Catherine was indeed dead.

“My dear mistress,” she cried wildly, wringing her hands, “my good mistress is dead! What will become of me? It is my fault: I should have prevented her from going. Ah! how miserable I am!” And her tears and cries redoubled. At length she heard in the distance the sound of approaching footsteps, and was soon able to distinguish a litter, borne by a number of men. “Help!” she cried, her hopes reviving at the sight, and very soon they were near her—“help! come to my assistance; my mistress is dying!” Seeing two women, one lying on the ground supported in the arms of another, who appeared half-deranged, the person who occupied the litter commanded the men to stop immediately, and he quickly alighted. It was the king! He also was going to London to[56] see the legate; to prevent his anxious haste from being known, and commented on, he had adopted this secret conveyance. When she saw him, Leonora was paralyzed with apprehension and alarm. The king instantly recognized the queen and the unhappy Leonora. In a furious voice, he demanded what she was doing there and where she had been. But in vain she endeavored to reply—her tongue clove to the roof of her mouth—she was unable to articulate a word. Transported with rage at her silence, and by what he suspected, he immediately had the queen placed in the litter, and ordering the men to walk slowly, he followed them on foot to the palace.

Catherine was carried to her own apartment, and soon restored to consciousness; but on opening her eyes she looked around, vainly hoping to behold her faithful Leonora. She never saw her again! She had been taken away, and the punishment that was meted out to her, or the fate that befel the unfortunate girl, was for ever involved in mystery.

While discord filled the royal palace with perplexity and sorrow a statesman, simple and peaceful, awaited, with happiness mingled with impatience, the arrival of a friend. In his house, all around him seemed possessed of redoubled activity. The family table was more elegantly spread, fresh flowers decorated all the apartments, the children ran to and fro in the very excess of their joy and delight, until at length, in every direction, the glad announcement was heard, “He has come! he has come!” The entire family eagerly descended to the court-yard to meet and welcome the visitor, and Sir Thomas, with feelings of inexpressible joy, folded in his embrace the Bishop of Rochester, the wise and virtuous Fisher, whom he loved with the purest and tenderest sentiments of friendship.

“At last you are here,” he exclaimed; “how happy I am to see you once more!”

While the good bishop was ascending the stairs, surrounded by a troop of Sir Thomas’ youngest children, Margaret, the eldest daughter, came forward and saluted him, accompanied by Lady More, her step-mother, and young William Roper, her affianced husband. They all entered the drawing-room together, and, after engaging a short time in general conversation, Sir Thomas bade the children retire, that he might converse with more freedom.

“My dear friend,” he exclaimed, taking the bishop’s hand again in his own, “I cannot express the joy I feel at your return. I have been so long deprived of your presence, and I have so many things to say to you. But my heart is too full at this moment to permit me to express all I feel or would say! But why have you not answered my letters?”

“Your letters!” replied the bishop. “Why, it has been more than a month since I received one from you.”

“How can that be possible unless they have been intercepted?” replied More. “The king every day becomes more and more suspicious. If this continues, it will soon be considered high treason for a man to think.”

“I cannot tell what has become of your letters. I only know I have not received them, and it has caused me a great deal of anxiety and apprehension. But my friend, since I[57] find you full of life and health, I am quite satisfied and happy. Now, let me hear all that has happened at court; but let me begin by first telling you that the king has sent me, through Cardinal Wolsey, a document he has written on the subject of divorce, asking my opinion and advice. I have answered him with all frankness and candor, expressing myself strongly against his views. Certainly, there is nothing more absurd than the idea of the king’s wishing to repudiate, after so many years of marriage, a princess so virtuous and irreproachable, to whom he can find no other objection than that she was betrothed to his brother, Prince Arthur. Besides, a dispensation was obtained on that account at the time of his marriage, therefore it would seem his conscience ought to be perfectly satisfied.”

“Yes, yes, his conscience should be entirely at rest,” replied Sir Thomas. “And if he sincerely believes the marriage has been void until this time, why does he not make the effort to have it rendered legitimate, instead of endeavoring to annul it entirely? It is because he wishes to marry one of the queen’s ladies—the young Anne Boleyn!”

“Oh! horrible,” cried Fisher. “Are you sure, my friend, of what you say? Gracious heaven! If I had only suspected it! But I assure you I have had entire confidence in him. I have, therefore, examined the subject conscientiously and with the greatest possible diligence before giving him my reply. Had I suspected any such scheme as this, I should never have had the patience to consider the arguments he has presented with so much duplicity.”

“Well, my dear Fisher,” replied Sir Thomas, “such is the sad truth, and such are the ‘scruples’ that disturb the tender conscience of the king. To repudiate the queen and the Princess Mary, his daughter, is his sole aim, his only desire. I also have received an order to read and give my opinion on the divorce question; but I have asked to be excused, on the ground of my very limited knowledge of theological matters. Moreover, all these debates and hypocritical petitions for advice are entirely absurd and unnecessary. Cardinal Campeggio, the Pope’s legate, has already arrived from Rome, and the queen will appear before a court composed of the legate and Wolsey, together with several other cardinals.”

“The queen brought to trial!” cried the Bishop of Rochester. “The queen arraigned to hear her honor and her rank disputed? What a shame upon England! Who will speak for her? I would give my life to be called to defend her! But how is it that Wolsey—the all-powerful Wolsey—has not diverted the king from his unworthy purpose?”

“He is said to have tried; but he stands in awe of the king. You know an ambitious man never opposes him to whom he owes his power. Nevertheless,” added More, “I cannot believe he will dare to pronounce the Princess Mary illegitimate. For, all laws aside, supposing even that the marriage were annulled, the good faith in which it was contracted invests her birth with an inalienable right.”

“I hope it may be so,” said Fisher; “but what immense calamities this question will bring on our unhappy country!”

“I fear so, my friend,” replied More. “At present, the people are pledged to the queen’s cause;[58] it could not be otherwise, she is so much beloved and esteemed; and they declare, if the king does succeed in repudiating Catherine, that he will find it impossible to deprive his daughter of her right to reign over them.”

“And Wolsey,” replied the bishop thoughtfully, “will be called to sit in judgment on his sovereign! He will be against her! And this Campeggio—what says he in the matter?”

“We believe,” replied More, “that he will sustain the queen; he seems to possess great firmness and integrity of character. His first interview with the king gave us great hopes. Henry has overwhelmed him with protestations of his entire submission, but all his artifices have been frustrated by the discernment and prudence of the Italian cardinal. His impenetrable silence on the subject of his own personal opinions has plunged the king into despair. Since that day he has honored him with incessant visits, has offered him the rich bishopric of Durham, and worked unceasingly to corrupt his integrity by promises and flattery.”

“How keenly the queen must suffer,” said Fisher—“she that I saw, at the time of her arrival in the kingdom, so young, so beautiful, and so idolized by Henry!”

“Alas! I think so,” said More. “For some time I have found it impossible to approach her. However, she appears in public as usual, always gracious and affable; there is no change in her appearance. The queen is truly a most admirable woman. During your absence, an epidemic made its appearance called the ‘sweating sickness,’ which made terrible ravages. Wolsey fled from his palace, several noblemen belonging to his household having died very suddenly of the disease. The king was greatly alarmed; he never left the queen for a moment, and united with her in constant prayers to God, firmly believing that her petitions would avail to stay the pestilence. He immediately despatched Anne Boleyn to her father, where she was attacked by the disease, and truly we would have felt no regret at her loss if the Lord in taking her had only deigned to show mercy to her soul. At one time we believed the king had entirely reformed, but, alas! the danger had scarcely passed when he recalled Anne Boleyn, and is again estranged from the queen.”

“Death gives us terrible lessons,” replied the Bishop of Rochester. “In his presence we judge of all things wisely. The illusions of time are dissipated, to give place to the realities of eternity!” As the bishop said these words, several persons who had called to see Sir Thomas entered the room. Conspicuous among them was Cromwell, the protégé of Wolsey. This man was both false and sinister, who made use of any means that led to the acquisition of fortune. He possessed the arts of intrigue and flattery. To a profound dissimulation he added an air of politeness and a knowledge of the world that, in general, caused him to be well received in society. A close scrutiny of his character, however, made it evident that there was something in the depths of this man’s soul rendering him unworthy of any confidence. To him, vice and virtue were words devoid of any meaning. When he found a man was no longer necessary to his designs, or that he could not in some manner use him, he made no further effort to conciliate or retain[59] his friendship. He saluted Sir Thomas and the Bishop of Rochester with a quiet ease, and seated himself beside young Cranmer—“with whom I am very well acquainted,” he remarked. For Cromwell, like all other intriguers, assumed intimacy with all the world.

Scarcely had he uttered the words when a Mr. Williamson was ushered in, who had returned to London a few days before, after a long absence on the Continent.

“And so you are back, Mr. Williamson,” cried More, taking his hand. “You are just from Germany, I believe? Well, do tell us how matters stand in that country. It seems, from what we hear, everything is in commotion there.”

“Your supposition is quite correct, sir,” replied Williamson in a half-serious, half-jesting manner. “The emperor is furious against our king, and has sent ambassadors to Rome to oppose the divorce. But the empire is greatly disturbed by religious dissensions, therefore I doubt if he will be able to give the subject as much attention as he desires. New reformers are every day springing up. The foremost now is Bacer, a Dominican monk; then comes Zwingle, the curate of Zürich—where he endeavored to abolish the Mass, to the great scandal of the people—and there is still another, named Œcolampadius, who has joined Zwingle. But strangest of all is that these reformers, among themselves, agree in nothing. The one admits a dogma, the other rejects it; to-day they think this, to-morrow that. Every day some new doctrine is promulgated. Luther has a horror of Zwingle, and they mutually damn each other. The devil is no longer able to recognize himself. They occasionally try to patch up a reconciliation, and agree altogether to believe a certain doctrine, but the compact is scarcely drawn up before the whole affair is upset again.”

Cranmer, while listening to this discourse, moved uneasily in his chair, until at length, unable to restrain himself longer, he interrupted Williamson in a sharp, cutting manner that he endeavored to soften.

“In truth, sir, you speak very slightingly of these learned and distinguished men. And only, it seems, because they demand a reform in the morals of the clergy, and preach against and denounce the abuses of the church in the matter of indulgences.”

“Beautiful reformers!” cried Williamson. “They protest to-day against an abuse which they alone have felt as such, and that but for a very short time. And permit me to insist on your observing a fact, which it is by no means necessary or expedient to forget, that this quarrel originated in the displeasure felt by Luther because it was not to his own order, but to that of the Dominicans, to whom the distribution of indulgences was entrusted.”

“That may be possible, sir,” interrupted Cranmer, “but at least you will not deny that the immorality of the German clergy imperatively demanded a thorough reformation.”

“It is quite possible, my dear sir, that I may not be ready at once to agree with you in your opinions. But if the German church has become relaxed in morals, it is the fault of those only who before their elevation to the holy office had not, as they were bound to have, the true spirit of their vocation. But I pray you, on this[60] point of morals, it will not do to boast of the severity of these new apostles. The disciples of Christ left their wives, when called to ‘go into all the world and preach the Gospel,’ but these men begin by taking wives. Luther has married a young and beautiful nun, an act that has almost driven his followers to despair, and scandalized and excited the ridicule of the whole city. As to Bucer, he is already married to his second wife!”

“What!” cried the bishop, “these men marry! Marry—in the face of the holy church! Do they forget the solemn vows of chastity they have made?—for they are all either priests or monks.”

“Their vows! Oh! they retract their vows, they say. These ‘vows’ are what they call abuses; and the priests of this so severely reformed church will hereafter enjoy the inestimable privilege of marrying.”

Whilst this conversation had been going on, Sir Thomas kept his eyes closely fixed on Cranmer, trying to discover, from the expression of his pale, meagre face, the impression made on him by the conversation. He was well convinced that latterly Cranmer, although he had already taken orders, maintained the new doctrines with all the influence he possessed. And the reason why he had so thoroughly espoused them was because of a violent passion conceived for the daughter of Osiander, one of the chief reformers.

Born of a poor and obscure family, he had embraced the ecclesiastical state entirely from motives of interest and ambition, and without the slightest vocation, his sole aim being to advance his own interests and fortunes by every possible means, and he had already succeeded in ingratiating himself with the Earl of Wiltshire, who, together with all the family of Anne Boleyn, were his devoted patrons and friends. It was by these means that he was afterwards elevated to the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury, where we will find him servilely devoting himself to the interests of Henry VIII., and at last dying the death of a traitor.

Influenced by such motives, Cranmer warmly defended the new doctrines, bringing forward every available argument, and ended by declaring he thought it infinitely better that the priests should be allowed to marry than be exposed to commit sin.

“Nothing obliges them to commit sin,” cried the Bishop of Rochester, who was no longer able to maintain silence. “On the contrary, sir, every law and regulation of the discipline and canons of the church tends to inspire and promote the most immaculate purity of morals. These rules may seem hard to those who have embraced the ecclesiastical state from motives of pride and an ambitious self-interest, and without having received from God the graces necessary for the performance of the duties of so exalted and holy a ministry. This is why we so often have to grieve over the misconduct of so many of the clergy. But if they complain of their condition now, what will it be when they have wives and families to increase their cares and add to their responsibilities? The priest!” continued the bishop, seeming to penetrate the very depths of Cranmer’s narrow, contracted soul, “have you ever reflected upon the sublimity of his vocation? The priest is the father of the orphan, the brother of the[61] poor, the consoler of the dying, the spiritual support of the criminal on the scaffold, the merciful judge of the assassin in his dungeon. Say, do you not think the entire human race a family sufficiently large, its duties sufficiently extended, its responsibilities, wants, and cares sufficiently arduous and pressing? How could a priest do more, when his duty now requires him to devote, and give himself entirely to, each and every one of the human family? No; a priest is a man who has made a solemn vow to become an angel. If he does not intend to fulfil that vow, then let him never pronounce it!”

“O Rochester!” cried Sir Thomas More, greatly moved, “how I delight to hear you express yourself in this manner!”

And Sir Thomas spoke with all sincerity, for the bishop, without being conscious of it, had faithfully described his own life and character, and those who knew and loved him found no difficulty in recognizing the portrait.

As Sir Thomas spoke, the door again opened, and all arose respectfully on seeing the Duke of Norfolk appear—that valiant captain, to whom England was indebted for her victory gained on the field of Flodden. He was accompanied by the youngest and best-beloved of his sons, the young Henry, Earl of Surrey. Even at his very tender age, the artless simplicity and graceful manners of this beautiful child commanded the admiration of all, while his brilliant intellect and lively imagination announced him as the future favorite and cherished poet of the age.

Alas! how rapidly fled those golden years of peace and happiness. Later, and Norfolk, this proud father, so happy in being the parent of such a son, lived to behold the head of that noble boy fall upon the scaffold! The crime of which Henry VIII. will accuse him will be that of having united his arms with those of Edward the Confessor, whose royal blood mingled with that which flowed in his own veins.

Sir Thomas approached the duke and saluted him with great deference. The Bishop of Rochester insisted on resigning him his chair, but the duke declined, and seated himself in the midst of the company.

“I was not aware,” said he, turning graciously towards the bishop, “that Sir Thomas was enjoying such good company. I congratulate myself on the return of my Lord of Rochester. He will listen, I am sure, with lively interest to the recital I have come to make; for I must inform you, gentlemen, I am just from Blackfriars, where the king summoned me this morning in great haste, to assist, with some of the highest dignitaries of the kingdom, at the examination of the queen before the assembly of cardinals.”

He had scarcely uttered these words when an expression of profound amazement overspread the features of all present. More was by no means the least affected.

“The queen!” he cried. “Has she then appeared in person? And so unexpectedly and rudely summoned! They have done this in order that she might not be prepared with her defence!”

“I know not,” replied the duke; “but I shall never be able to forget the sad and imposing scene. When we entered, the cardinals and the two legates were seated on a platform covered with purple cloth; the king seated at their right. We[62] were arranged behind his chair in perfect silence. Very soon the queen entered, dressed in the deepest mourning. She took her seat on the left of the platform, facing the king. When the king’s name was called he arose, and remained standing and in silence. But when the queen was in her turn summoned, she arose, and replied, with great dignity, that she boldly protested against her judges for three important reasons: first, because she was a stranger; secondly, because they were all in possession of royal benefices, which had been bestowed on them by her adversary; and, thirdly, that she had grave and all-important reasons for believing that she would not obtain justice from a tribunal so constituted. She added that she had already appealed to the Pope, and would not submit to the judgment of this court. Having said these words, she stood in silence, but when she heard them declare her appeal should not be submitted to the Pope, she passed before the cardinals, and, walking proudly across the entire hall, she threw herself at the feet of the king.

“It would be impossible,” continued Norfolk, “to describe the emotion excited by this movement.

“‘Sire,’ she cried, with a respectful but firm and decided tone, ‘I beg you to regard me with compassion. Pity me as a woman, as a stranger without friends on whom I can rely, without a single disinterested adviser to whom I can turn for counsel! I call upon God to witness,’ she continued, raising her expressive eyes towards heaven, ‘that I have always been to you a loyal, faithful wife, and have made it my constant duty to conform in all things to your will; that I have loved those whom you have loved, whether I knew them to be my enemies or my friends. For many years I have been your wife; I am the mother of your children. God knows, when I married you, I was an unsullied virgin, and since that time I have never brought reproach on the sanctity of my marriage vows. Your own conscience bears witness to the truth of what I say. If you can find a single fault with which to reproach me, then will I pledge you my word to bow my head in shame, and at once leave your presence; but, if not, I pray you in God’s holy name to render me justice.’

“While she was speaking, a low murmur of approbation was heard throughout the assembly, followed by a long, unbroken silence. The king grew deadly pale, but made no reply to the queen, who arose, and was leaving the hall, when Henry made a signal to the Duke of Suffolk to detain her. He followed her, and made every effort to induce her to return, but in vain. Turning haughtily round, she said, in a tone sufficiently distinct to be heard by the entire assembly:

“‘Go, tell the king, your master, that until this hour I have never disobeyed him, and that I regret being compelled to do so now.’

“Saying these words, she immediately turned and left the hall, followed by her ladies in waiting.

“Her refusal to remain longer in the presence of her judges, and the touching, unstudied eloquence of the appeal she had made, cast the tribunal into a state of great embarrassment, and the honorable judges seemed to wish most heartily they had some one else to decide for them; when suddenly the king arose, and, turning haughtily towards them, spoke:


“‘Sirs,’ he said, ‘most cheerfully and with perfect confidence do I present my testimony, bearing witness to the spotless virtue and unsullied integrity of the queen. Her character, her conduct, in every particular, has been above reproach. But it is impossible for me to live in the state of constant anxiety this union causes me to suffer. My conscience keeps me in continual dread because of having married this woman, who was the betrothed wife of my own brother. I will use no dissimulation, my lords; I know very well that many of you believe I have been persuaded by the Cardinal of York to make this appeal for a divorce. But I declare in your presence this day, this is an entirely false impression, and that, on the contrary, the cardinal has earnestly contended against the scruples which have disturbed my soul. But, I declare, against my own will, and in spite of all my regrets, his opinions have not been able to restore to me the tranquillity of a heart without reproach. I have, in consequence, found it necessary to confer again with the Bishop of Tarbes, who has, unhappily, only confirmed the fears I already entertain. I have consulted my confessor and many other prelates, who have all advised me to submit this question to the tribunal of our Holy Father, the Sovereign Pontiff. To this end, my lords, you have been invested by him with his own supreme authority and spiritual power. I will listen to you as I would listen to him—that is to say, with the most entire submission. I wish, however, to remind you again that my duty towards my subjects requires me to prevent whatever might have the effect in the future of disturbing their tranquillity; and, unfortunately, I have but too strong reasons for fearing that, at some future day, the legitimacy of the right of the Princess Mary to the throne may be disputed. It is with entire confidence that I await your solution of a question so important to the happiness of my subjects and the peace of my kingdom. I have no doubt that you will be able to remove all the obstacles placed in my way.’

“Saying these words, the king retired, and started instantly for his palace at Greenwich. The noblemen generally followed him, but I remained to witness the end of what proved to be a tumultuous and stormy debate. Nevertheless, after a long discussion, they decided to go on with the investigation, to hear the advocates of the queen, and continue the proceedings in spite of her protest.”

“Who is the queen’s advocate?” demanded the Bishop of Rochester.

“He has not yet been appointed,” replied Norfolk. “It seems to me it would only be just to let the queen select her own counsel.”

“But she will refuse, without a doubt,” replied Cromwell, “after the manner she has adopted to defend herself.”

They continued to converse for a long time on this subject, which filled with anxious apprehension the heart of Sir Thomas, as well as that of his faithful friend, the good Bishop of Rochester.




“I love all waste
And solitary places where we taste
The pleasure of believing what we see
Is boundless as we wish our souls to be:
And such was this wide ocean and the shore
More barren than its billows.”

The Landes—that long, desolate tract on the western coast of France between the Gironde and the Adour, with its vast forests of melancholy pines, its lone moors and solitary deserts, its broad marshes, and its dunes of sand that creep relentlessly on as if they had life—appeal wonderfully to the imagination, that folle du logis, as Montaigne calls it, but which, in spite of him, we love to feed. One may travel for hours through these vast steppes covered with heather without discovering the smoke of a single chimney, or anything to relieve the monotonous horizon, unless a long line of low sand-hills that look like billows swayed to and fro in the wind; or some low tree standing out against the cloudless heavens, perhaps half buried in the treacherous sands; or a gaunt peasant, the very silhouette of a man, on his stilts, “five feet above contradiction,” like Voltaire’s preacher, perhaps with his knitting-work in his hands, or a distaff under his arm, as if fresh from the feet of Omphale, driving his flock before him—all birds of one feather, or sheep of one wool; for he is clad in a shaggy sheepskin coat, and looks as if he needed shearing as much as any of them. Or perhaps this Knight of the Sable Fleece—for the sheep of the Landes are mostly black—is on one of the small, light horses peculiar to the region, said to have an infusion of Arabian blood—thanks to the Saracen invaders—which are well adapted to picking their way over quaking bogs and moving sands, but unfortunately are fast degenerating from lack of care in maintaining the purity of the breed.

During the winter season these extensive heaths are converted by the prolonged rains into immense marshes, as the impermeable alios within six inches of the surface prevents the absorption of moisture. The peasant is then obliged to shut himself up with his beasts in his low, damp cottage, with peat for his fuel, a pine torch for his candle, brackish water relieved by a dash of vinegar for drink, meagre broth, corn bread, and perhaps salt fish for his dinner. Whole generations are said to live under one roof in the Landes, so thoroughly are the people imbued with the patriarchal spirit. Woman has her rights here—at least in the house. The old dauna (from domina, perhaps) rules the little kingdom with a high hand, including her sons and her sons’ wives down to the remotest generation, with undisputed sway. It is the very paradise of mothers-in-law. The paterfamilias seldom interferes if his soup is ready at due time and she makes both ends meet at the end of the year, with a[65] trifle over for a barrel of pique-pout to be indulged in on extraordinary occasions. From La Teste to the valley of the Gave this old house-mother is queen of the hive, active, thrifty, keen of eye, and sharp of tongue. The slightest murmur is frozen into silence beneath the arctic ray of her Poyser-like glance. She is a hawk by day and an owl by night. She directs the spinning and weaving of the wool and flax, orders the meals, and superintends the wardrobe of the whole colony. The land is so poor that it is seldom divided among the children. The oldest heir becomes head of the family, and they all fare better by sharing in the general income. In unity there is safety—and economy.

At every door is the clumsy machine for breaking the flax that is spun during the long winter evenings for the sail-makers of Bayonne or the weavers of Béarn, whose linen, if not equal to that of Flanders, is as good as that of Normandy. Before every house is also the huge oven where the bread is baked for general consumption. Flocks of geese paddle from pool to pool in the marshes, and wild ducks breed undisturbed in the fens. In the villages on the borders of the Landes you hear in the morning a sharp whistle that might serve for a locomotive. It is the swineherd summoning his charge, which issue in a gallop, two or three from each house, to seek their food in the moors. They all come back in the evening, and go to their own pens to get the bucket of bran that awaits them. Feeding thus in the wild, their meat acquires a peculiar flavor. Most of these animals go into the market. The hams of Bayonne have always been famous. We might say they are historic, for Strabo speaks of them.

When the rainy season is at an end, these bogs and stagnant pools give out a deadly miasma in the burning sun, engendering fevers, dysentery, and the fatal pellagra. The system is rapidly undermined, and the peasant seldom attains to an advanced age. He marries at twenty and is old at forty.

A kind of awe comes over the soul in traversing this region, and yet it has a certain mysterious attraction which draws us on and on, as if nature had some marvellous secret in store for us. The atmosphere is charged with a thin vapor that quivers in the blazing sun. Strange insects are in the air. A sense of the infinite, such as we feel in the midst of the ocean, comes over us. We grow breathless as the air—grow silent as the light that gilds the vast landscape before us. One of the greatest of the sons of the Landes—the Père de Ravignan—says: “Solitude is the patrie des forts: silence is their prayer.” One feels how true it is in these boundless moors. It is the only prayer fit for this realm of silence, where one is brought closer and closer to the heart of nature, and restored, as it were, at least in a degree, to the primeval relation of man with his Creator.

Carlyle says the finest nations in the world, the English and the American, are all going away into wind and tongue. We recommend a season in the Landes, where one becomes speedily impressed that “silence is the eternal duty of man.”

We wonder such a region should be inhabited. The daunas, we hope, never have courage enough to raise their still voices in the open air. We fancy wooing carried on in true Shaksperian style:

“O Imogen! I’ll speak to thee in silence.”
—“What should Cordelia do? Love and be silent.”


However this may be, the Landes are peopled, though thinly. Here and there at immense distances we come to a cottage. The men are shepherds, fishermen, or résiniers, as the turpentine-producers are called. Pliny, Dioscorides, and other ancient writers speak of the inhabitants as collecting the yellow amber thrown up by the sea, and trafficking in beeswax, resin, and pitch. The Phœnicians and Carthaginians initiated them into the mysteries of mining and forging. The Moors taught them the value of their cork-trees. They still keep bees that feed on the purple bells of the heather, and sell vast quantities of wax for the candles used in the churches of France—cierges, as they are called, from cire vierge—virgin wax, wrought by chaste bees, and alone fit for the sacred altars of Jesus and Mary.

Ausonius thus speaks of the pursuits of the people:

“Mercatus ne agitas leviore numismate captans,
Insanis quod mox pretiis gravis auctio vendat,
Albentisque sevi globulos et pinguia ceræ
Pondera, Naryciamque picem, scissamque papyrum
Fumantesque olidum paganica lumina tœdas.”

They are devoting more and more attention to the production of turpentine by planting the maritime pine which grew here in the days of Strabo, and thereby reclaiming the vast tracts of sand thrown up by the sea. A priest, the Abbé Desbiez, and his brother are said to have first conceived the idea of reclaiming their native deserts and staying the progress of the quicksands which had buried so many places, and were moving unceasingly on at the rate of about twenty-five yards a year, threatening the destruction of many more. That was about a hundred years ago. A few years after M. Brémontier, a French engineer, tested the plan by planting, as far as his means allowed, the maritime pine, the strong, fibrous roots of which take tenacious hold of the slightest crevice in the rock, and absorb the least nutriment in the soil. But this experiment was slow to lead to any important result, as the pinada, or pine plantations, involve an outlay that makes no return for years. It was not till Louis Philippe’s time that the work was carried on with any great activity. Napoleon III. also greatly extended the plantations—the importance of which became generally acknowledged—not only to arrest the progress of the sands, but to meet the want of turpentine in the market, so long dependent on imports.

In ten years the trees begin to yield an income. Each acre then furnishes twelve or fifteen thousand poles for vineyards or the coalman. The prudent owner does not tap his trees till they are twenty-five years old. By that time they are four feet in circumference and yield turpentine to the value of fifty or sixty francs a year. Then the résinier comes with his hatchet and makes an incision low down in the trunk, from which the resin flows into an earthern jar or a hollow in the ground. These jars are emptied at due intervals, and the incision from time to time is widened. Later, others are made parallel to it. These are finally extended around the tree. With prudence this treatment may be continued a century; for this species of pine is very hardy if not exhausted. When the poor tree is near its end, it is hacked without any mercy and bled to death. Then it is only fit for the sawmill, wood-pile, or coal-pit.

Poor and desolate as the Landes are, they have had their share of great men. “Every path on the[67] globe may lead to the door of a hero,” says some one. We have spoken of La Teste. This was the stronghold of the stout old Captals de Buch,[4] belonging to the De Graillys, one of the historic families of the country. No truer specimen of the lords of the Landes could be found than these old captals, who, poor, proud, and adventurous, entered the service of the English, to whom they remained faithful as long as that nation had a foothold in the land. Their name and deeds are familiar to every reader of Froissart. The nearness of Bordeaux, and the numerous privileges and exemptions granted the foresters and herdsmen of the Landes, explain the strong attachment of the people to the English crown. The De Graillys endeavored by alliances to aggrandize their family, and finally became loyal subjects of France under Louis XI. They intermarried with the Counts of Foix and Béarn, and their vast landed possessions were at length united with those of the house of Albret. Where would the latter have been without them? And without the Albrets, where the Bourbons?

And this reminds us of the Sires of Albret, another and still more renowned family of the Landes.

Near the source of the Midou, among the pine forests of Maremsin, you come to a village of a thousand people called Labrit, the ancient Leporetum, or country of hares, whence Lebret, Labrit, and Albret. Here rose the house of Albret from obscurity to reign at last over Navarre and unite the most of ancient Aquitaine to the crown of France. The history of these lords of the heather is a marvel of wit and good-luck. Great hunters of hares and seekers of heiresses, they were always on the scent for advantageous alliances, not too particular about the age or face of the lady, provided they won broad lands or a fat barony. Once in their clutches, they seldom let go. They never allowed a daughter to succeed to any inheritance belonging to the seigneurie of Albret as long as there was a male descendant. Always receive, and never give, was their motto. Their daughters had their wealth of beauty for a dowry, with a little money or a troublesome fief liable to reversion.

The Albrets are first heard of in the XIth century, when the Benedictine abbot of S. Pierre at Condom, alarmed for the safety of Nérac, one of the abbatial possessions, called upon his brother, Amanieu d’Albret, for aid. The better to defend the monk’s property, the Sire of Albret built a castle on the left bank of the Baïse, and played the rôle of protector so well that at last his descendants are found sole lords of Nérac, on the public square of which now stands the statue of Henry IV., the most glorious of the race. The second Amanieu went to the Crusades under the banner of Raymond of St. Gilles, and entered Jerusalem next to Godfrey of Bouillon, to whom an old historian makes him related, nobody knows how. Oihenard says the Albrets descended from the old kings of Navarre, and a MS. of the XIVth century links them with the Counts of Bigorre; but this was probably to flatter the pride of the house after it rose to importance. We find a lord of Albret in the service of the Black Prince with a thousand[68] lances (five thousand men), and owner of Casteljaloux, Lavazan, and somehow of the abbey of Sauve-Majour; but not finding the English service sufficiently lucrative, he passed over to the enemy. Charles d’Albret was so able a captain that he quartered the lilies of France on his shield, and held the constable’s sword till the fatal battle of Agincourt. Alain d’Albret made a fine point in the game by marrying Françoise de Bretagne, who, though ugly, was the niece and only heiress of Jean de Blois, lord of Périgord and Limoges. His son had still better luck. He married Catherine of Navarre. If he lost his possessions beyond the Pyrenees, he kept the county of Foix, and soon added the lands of Astarac. Henry I. of Navarre, by marrying Margaret of Valois, acquired all the spoils of the house of Armagnac. Thus the princely house of Navarre, under their daughter Jeanne, who married Antoine de Bourbon, was owner of all Gascony and part of Guienne. It was Henry IV. of France who finally realized the expression of the blind faith of the house of Albret in its fortune, expressed in the prophetic device graven on the Château de Coarraze, where he passed his boyhood: “Lo que ha de ser no puede faltar”—That which must be will be!

But we have not yet come to the door of our hero. There is another native of the Landes whose fame has gone out through the whole earth—whose whole life and aim were in utter contrast with the spirit of these old lords of the heather. The only armor he ever put on was that of righteousness; the only sword, that of the truth; the only jewel, that which the old rabbis say Abraham wore, the light of which raised up the bowed down and healed the sick, and, after his death, was placed among the stars! It need not be said we refer to S. Vincent de Paul, the great initiator of public charity in France, who by his benevolence perhaps effected as much for the good of the kingdom as Richelieu with his political genius. He was born during the religious conflicts of the XVIth century, in the little hamlet of Ranquine, in the parish of Pouy, on the border of the Landes, a few miles from Dax. It must not be supposed the particule in his name is indicative of nobility. In former times people who had no name but that given them at the baptismal font often added the place of their birth to prevent confusion. S. Vincent was the son of a peasant, and spent his childhood in watching his father’s scanty flock among the moors. The poor cottage in which he was born is still standing, and near it the gigantic old oak to the hollow of which he used to retire to pray, both of which are objects of veneration to the pious pilgrim of all ranks and all lands. Somewhere in these vast solitudes—whether among the ruins of Notre Dame de Buglose, destroyed a little before by the Huguenots, or in his secret oratory in the oak, we cannot say—he heard the mysterious voice which once whispered to Joan of Arc among the forests of Lorraine—a voice difficult to resist, which decided his vocation in life. He resolved to enter the priesthood. The Franciscans of Dax lent him books and a cell, and gave him a pittance for the love of God; but he finished his studies and took his degree at Toulouse, as was only discovered by papers found after his death, so unostentatious was his life. He partly defrayed his expenses at[69] Toulouse by becoming the tutor of some young noblemen of Buzet. Near the latter place was a solitary mountain chapel in the woods, not far from the banks of the Tarn, called Notre Dame de Grâce. Its secluded position, the simplicity of its decorations, and the devotion he experienced in this quiet oratory, attracted the pious student, and he often retired there to pray before the altar of Our Lady of Grace. It was there he found strength to take upon himself the yoke of the priesthood—a yoke angels might fear to bear. It was there, in solitude and silence, assisted by a priest and a clerk, that he offered his first Mass; for, so terrified was he by the importance and sublimity of this divine function, he had not the courage to celebrate it in public. This chapel is still standing, and is annually crowded with pilgrims on the festival of S. Vincent of Paul. It is good to kneel on the worn flag-stones where the saint once prayed, and pour out one’s soul before the altar that witnessed the fervor of his first Mass. The superior-general of the Lazarists visited this interesting chapel in 1851, accompanied by nearly fifty Sisters of Charity. They brought a relic of the saint, a chalice and some vestments for the use of the chaplain, and a bust of S. Vincent for the new altar to his memory.

Every step in S. Vincent’s life is marked by the unmistakable hand of divine Providence. Captured in a voyage by Algerine pirates, he is sold in the market-place of Tunis, that he might learn to sympathize with those who are in bonds; he falls into the hands of a renegade, who, with his whole family, is soon converted and makes his escape from the country. S. Vincent presents them to the papal legate at Avignon, and goes to Rome, whence he returns, charged with a confidential mission by Cardinal d’Ossat. He afterwards becomes a tutor in the family of the Comte de Gondi—another providential event. The count is governor-general of the galleys, and the owner of vast possessions in Normandy. S. Vincent labors among the convicts, and, if he cannot release them from their bonds, he teaches them to bear their sufferings in a spirit of expiation. He establishes rural missions in Normandy, and founds the College of Bons-Enfants and the house of S. Lazare at Paris.

A holy widow, Mme. Legros, falls under his influence, and charitable organizations of ladies are formed, and sisters for the special service of the sick are established at S. Nicolas du Chardonnet. Little children, abandoned by unnatural mothers, are dying of cold and hunger in the streets; S. Vincent opens a foundling asylum, and during the cold winter nights he goes alone through the most dangerous quarters of old Paris in search of these poor waifs of humanity.[5] Clerical[70] instruction is needed, and Richelieu, at his instance, endows the first ecclesiastical seminary. The moral condition of the army excites the saint’s compassion, and the cardinal authorizes missionaries among the soldiers. The province of Lorraine is suffering from famine. Mothers even devour their own children. In a short time S. Vincent collects sixteen hundred thousand livres for their relief. Under the regency of Anne of Austria he becomes a member of the Council of Ecclesiastical Affairs. In the wars of the Fronde he is for peace, and negotiates between the queen and the parliament. The foundation of a hospital for old men marks the end of his noble, unselfish life. The jewel of charity never ceases to glow in his breast. It is his great bequest to his spiritual children. How potent it has been is proved by the incalculable good effected to this day by the Lazarists, Sisters of Charity, and Society of S. Vincent of Paul—beautiful constellations in the firmament of the church!

In the midst of his honors S. Vincent never forgot his humble origin, but often referred to it with the true spirit of ama nesciri et pro nihilo reputari. Not that he was inaccessible to human weakness, but he knew how to resist it. We read in his interesting Life by Abbé Maynard that the porter of the College of Bons-Enfants informed the superior one day that a poorly-clad peasant, styling himself his nephew, was at the door. S. Vincent blushed and ordered him to be taken up to his room. Then he blushed for having blushed, and, going down into the street, embraced his nephew and led him into the court, where, summoning all the professors of the college, he presented the confused youth: “Gentlemen, this is the most respectable of my family.” And he continued, during the remainder of his visit, to introduce him to visitors of every rank as if he were some great lord, in order to avenge his first movement of pride. And when, not long after, he made a retreat, he publicly humbled himself before his associates: “Brethren, pray for one who through pride wished to take his nephew secretly to his room because he was a peasant and poorly dressed.”

S. Vincent returned only once to his native place after he began his apostolic career. This was at the close of a mission among the convicts of Bordeaux. During his visit he solemnly renewed his baptismal vows in the village church where he had been baptized and made his First Communion, and on the day of his departure he went with bare feet on a pilgrimage to Notre Dame de Buglose, among whose ruins he had so often prayed in his childhood, but which was now rebuilt. He was accompanied, not only by his relatives, but by all the villagers, who were justly proud of their countryman. He sang a solemn Mass at the altar of Our Lady, and afterwards assembled the whole family around the table for a modest repast, at the end of which he rose to take leave of them. They all fell at his feet and implored his blessing. “Yes, I give you my blessing,” replied he, much affected, “but I bless you poor and humble, and beg our Lord to continue among you the grace of holy poverty. Never abandon the condition in which you were born. This is my earnest recommendation, which I beg you to transmit as a heritage to your children. Farewell for ever!”


His advice was religiously kept. By mutual assistance his family might have risen above its original obscurity. Some of his mother’s family were advocates at the parliament of Bordeaux, and it would have been easy to obtain offices that would have given them, at least, prominence in their own village; but they clung to their rural pursuits. The advice of their sainted relative was too precious a legacy to be renounced.

Not that S. Vincent was insensible to their condition or unambitious by nature, but he knew the value of the hidden life and the perils of worldly ambition. We have on this occasion another glimpse of his struggles with nature. Hardly had he left his relatives before he gave vent to his emotion in a flood of tears, and he almost reproached himself for leaving them in their poverty. But let us quote his own words: “The day I left home I was so filled with sorrow at separating from my poor relatives that I wept as I went along—wept almost incessantly. Then came the thought of aiding them and bettering their condition; of giving so much to this one, and so much to that. While my heart thus melted within me, I divided all I had with them. Yes, even what I had not; and I say this to my confusion, for God perhaps permitted it to make me comprehend the value of the evangelical counsel. For three months I felt this importunate longing to promote the interests of my brothers and sisters. It constantly weighed on my poor heart. During this time, when I felt a little relieved, I prayed God to deliver me from this temptation, and persevered so long in my prayer that at length he had pity on me and took away this excessive tenderness for my relations; and though they have been needy, and still are, the good God has given me the grace to commit them to his Providence, and to regard them as better off than if they were in an easier condition.”

S. Vincent was equally rigid as to his own personal necessities, as may be seen by the following words from his own lips: “When I put a morsel of bread to my mouth, I say to myself: Wretched man, hast thou earned the bread thou art going to eat—the bread that comes from the labor of the poor?”

Such is the spirit of the saints. In these days, when most people are struggling to rise in the world, many by undue means, and to an unlawful height, it is well to recall this holy example; it is good to get a glimpse into the heart of a saint, and to remember there are still many in the world and in the cloister who strive to counterbalance all this ambition and love of display by their humility and self-denial.

Immediately after S. Vincent’s canonization, in 1737, the inhabitants of Pouy, desirous of testifying their veneration for his memory, removed the house where he was born a short distance from its original place, without changing its primitive form in the least, and erected a small chapel on the site, till means could be obtained for building a church. The great Revolution put a stop to the plan. In 1821 a new effort was made, a committee appointed, and a subscription begun which soon amounted to thirty thousand francs; but at the revolution of 1830 material interests prevailed, and the funds were appropriated to the construction of roads.


The ecclesiastical authorities at length took the matter in hand, and formed the plan, not only of building a church, but surrounding it with the various charitable institutions founded by S. Vincent—a hospital for the aged, asylums for orphans and foundlings, and perhaps a ferme modèle in the Landes.

In 1850 the Bishop of Aire appealed to the Catholic world for aid. Pius IX. blessed the undertaking. On the Festival of the Transfiguration, 1851, the corner-stone was laid by the bishop, assisted by Père Etienne, the superior-general of the Lazarists. Napoleon III. and the Empress Eugénie largely contributed to the work, and in a few years the church and hospice were completed. The consecration took place April 24, 1864, in the presence of an immense multitude from all parts of the country. From three o’clock in the morning there were Masses at a dozen altars, and the hands of the priests were fatigued in administering the holy Eucharist. Among the communicants were eight hundred members of the Society of S. Vincent de Paul, from Bordeaux, who manifested their joy by enthusiastic hymns. At eight in the forenoon Père Etienne, surrounded by Lazarists and Sisters of Charity, celebrated the Holy Sacrifice at the newly-consecrated high altar, and several novices made their vows, among whom was a young African, a cousin of Abdel Kader. A châsse containing relics of S. Vincent was brought in solemn procession from the parish church of Pouy, where he had been held at the font and received the divine Guest in his heart for the first time. The road was strewn with flowers and green leaves. The weather was delightful and the heavens radiant. At the head of the procession was borne a banner, on which S. Vincent was represented as a shepherd, followed by all the orphans of the new asylum and the old men of the hospice. Then came a long line of Enfants de Marie dressed in white, carrying oriflammes, followed by the students of the colleges of Aire and Dax. Behind were fifteen hundred members of the Society of S. Vincent de Paul, and a file of sisters of various orders, including eight hundred Sisters of Charity, with a great number of Lazarists in the rear. Then came thirty relatives of S. Vincent, wearing the peasant’s costume of the district, heirs of his virtues and simplicity—Noblesse oblige. Then the Polish Lazarists with the flag of their nation, beloved by S. Vincent, and after them the clergy of the diocese and a great number from foreign parts, among whom was M. Eugène Boré, of Constantinople, now superior-general of the two orders founded by the saint. The shrine came next, surrounded by Lazarists and Sisters of Charity. Behind the canons and other dignitaries came eight bishops, four archbishops, and Cardinal Donnet of Bordeaux, followed by the civil authorities and an immense multitude of people nearly two miles in extent, with banners bearing touching devices.

This grand procession of more than thirty thousand people proceeded with the utmost order, to the sound of chants, instrumental music, and salutes from cannon from time to time, to the square in front of the new church, where, before an altar erected at the foot of S. Vincent’s oak, they were addressed by Père Etienne in an eloquent, thrilling discourse, admirable in style and glowing with imagery,[73] suited to the fervid nature of this southern region. He spoke of S. Vincent, not only as the man of his age with a providential mission, but of a type suited to all ages.

The man who loved his brethren, reconciled enemies, brought the rich and poor into one common field imbued with a common idea of sacrifice and devotion, fed the orphan, aided the needy, and wiped away the tears of the sufferer, is the man of all times, and especially of an age marked by the fomentation of political passions.

The old oak was gay with streamers, the hollow was fitted up as an oratory, before which Cardinal Donnet said Mass in the open air, after which thousands of voices joined in the solemn Te Deum Laudamus, and the thirteen prelates terminated the grand ceremony by giving their united benediction to the kneeling crowd.

A whole flock of Sisters of Charity, with their dove-like plumage of white and gray, took the same train as ourselves the pleasant September morning we left Bayonne for the birth-place of S. Vincent of Paul. They seemed like birds of good omen. They were also going to the Berceau (cradle), as they called it, not on a mere pilgrimage, but to make their annual retreat. What for, the saints alone know; for they looked like the personification of every amiable virtue, and quite ready to spread their white wings and take flight for heaven. It was refreshing to watch their gentle, unaffected ways, wholly devoid of those demure airs of superior sanctity and repulsive austerity so exasperating to us worldly-minded people. They all made the sign of the cross as the train moved out of the station—and a good honest one it was, as if they loved the sign of the Son of Man, and delighted in wearing it on their breast. Some had come from St. Sebastian, others from St. Jean de Luz, and several from Bayonne; but they mingled like sisters of one great family of charity. Some chatted, some took out their rosaries and went to praying with the most cheerful air imaginable, as if it were a new refreshment just allowed them, instead of being the daily food of their souls; and others seemed to be studying with interest the peculiar region we were now entering. For we were now in the Landes—low, level, monotonous, and melancholy. The railway lay through vast forests of dusky-pines, varied by willows and cork-trees, with here and there, at long distances, an open tract where ripened scanty fields of corn and millet around the low cottages of the peasants. The sides of the road were purple with heather. The air was full of aromatic odors. Each pine had its broad gash cut by some merciless hand, and its life-blood was slowly trickling down its side. Passing through this sad forest, one could not help thinking of the drear, mystic wood in Dante’s Inferno, where every tree encloses a human soul with infinite capacity of suffering, and at every gash cut, every branch lopped off, utters a despairing cry:

“Why pluck’st thou me?
Then, as the dark blood trickled down its side,
These words it added: Wherefore tear’st me thus?
Is there no touch of mercy in thy breast?
Men once were we that now are rooted here.”

Though the sun was hot, the pine needles seemed to shiver, the branches swayed to and fro in the air, and gave out a kind of sigh which sometimes increased into an inarticulate wail. We look up, almost expecting to see the harpies sitting


“Each on the wild thorn of his wretched shade.”

Could we stop, we might question these maimed trees and learn some fearful tragedy from the imprisoned spirits. Perhaps they recount them to each other in the wild winter nights when the peasants, listening with a kind of fear in their lone huts, start up from their beds and say it is Rey Artus—King Arthur—who is passing by with his long train of dogs, horses, and huntsmen, from an old legend of the time of the English occupation which says that King Arthur, as he was hearing Mass on Easter-day, attracted by the cries of his hounds attacking their prey, went out at the elevation of the Host. A whirlwind carried him into the clouds, where he has hunted ever since, and will, without cessation or repose, till the day of judgment, only taking a fly every seven years. The popular belief that he is passing with a great noise through space when the winds sweep across the vast moors on stormy nights probably embodies the old tradition of some powerful lord whose hounds and huntsmen ruined the crops of the poor, who, in their wrath, consigned them to endless barren hunting-fields in the spirit-land—a legend which reminds us of the Aasgaardsreja of whom Miss Bremer tells us—spirits not good enough to merit heaven, and yet not bad enough to deserve hell, and are therefore doomed to ride about till the end of the world, carrying fear and disaster in their train.

In a little over an hour we arrived at Dax, a pleasant town on the banks of the Adour, with long lines of sycamores, behind which is a hill crowned with an old château, now belonging to the Lazarists. The place is renowned for its thermal springs and mud-baths, known to the Romans before its conquest by the Cæsars. It was from Aquæ Augustæ, the capital of the ancient Tarbelli (called in the Middle Ages the ville d’Acqs, or d’Acs, whence Dax), that the name of Aquitaine is supposed to be derived. Pliny, the naturalist, speaking of the Aquenses, says: Aquitani indè nomen provinciæ. The Bay of Biscay was once known by the name of Sinus Tarbellicus, from the ancient Tarbelli. Lucan says:

“Tunc rura Nemossi
Qui tenet et ripas Aturri, quo littore curvo
Molliter admissum claudit Tarbellicus æquor.”

S. Vincent of Saintonge was the first apostle of the region, and fell a martyr to his zeal. Dax formed part of the dowry of the daughter of Henry II. of England when she married Alfonso of Castile, but it returned to the Plantagenets in the time of Edward III. The city was an episcopal see before the revolution of 1793. François de Noailles, one of the most distinguished of its bishops, was famous as a diplomatist in the XVIth century. He was sent to England on several important missions, and finally appointed ambassador to that country in the reign of Mary Tudor. Recalled when Philip II. induced her to declare war against France, he landed at Calais, and, carefully examining the fortifications, his keen, observant eye soon discovered the weak point, to which, at his arrival in court, he at once directed the king’s attention, declaring it would not be a difficult matter to take the place. His statements made such an impression on King Henry, who had always found him as judicious as he was devoted to the interests of the crown, that he resolved to lay siege to Calais, notwithstanding the opposition of his ministers, and the Duke of Guise[75] began the attack January 1, 1558. The place was taken in a week. It had cost the English a year’s siege two hundred and ten years before. Three weeks after its surrender Cardinal Hippolyte de Ferrara, Archbishop of Auch (the son of Lucretia Borgia, who married Alphonso d’Este, Duke of Ferrara) wrote François de Noailles as follows: “No one can help acknowledging the great hand you had in the taking of Calais, as it was actually taken at the very place you pointed out.” French historians have been too forgetful of the hand the Bishop of Dax had in the taking of a place so important to the interests of the nation, which added so much to the glory of the French arms, and was so humiliating to England, whose anguish was echoed by the queen when she exclaimed that if her heart could be opened the very name of Calais would be found written therein!

This great churchman was no less successful in his embassy to Venice, where he triumphed over the haughty pretensions of Philip II., and, as Brantôme says, “won great honor and affection.” After five years in Italy he returned to Dax, where he devoted most of his revenues to relieve the misery that prevailed at that fearful time of religious war. Dax, as he said, was “the poorest see in France.” In 1571 he was appointed ambassador to Constantinople by Charles IX. Florimond de Raymond, an old writer of that day, tells us the bishop was at first troubled as to his presentation to the sultan, who only regarded the highest dignitaries as the dust of his feet, and exacted ceremonies which the ambassador considered beneath the dignity of a bishop and a representative of France. He resolved not to submit to them, and, thanks to his pleasing address, and handsome person dressed for the occasion in red cramoisie and cloth of gold, he was not subjected to them. Moreover, by his fascinating manners and agreeable conversation, he became a great favorite of the sultan, and took so judicious a course that his embassy ended by rendering France mistress of the commerce of the Mediterranean, and giving her a pre-eminence in the East which she has never lost.

It was after his return from the Levant that, in an interview with Henry III., the sagacious bishop urged the king to declare war against Spain, as the best means of delivering France from the horrors of a civil war. De Thou says the king seemed to listen favorably to the suggestion; but it was opposed by the council, and it was not till ten years later that Henry IV. declared war against that country, as Duruy states, “the better to end the civil war.”

The Bishop of Dax seems to have been poorly remunerated for his eminent services. Like Frederick the Great’s father, he said kings were always hard of hearing when there was a question of money, and complained that, notwithstanding his long services abroad, he had never received either honors or profit. Even his appointments as ambassador to Venice, amounting to more than thirty thousand livres, were still due. Many of his letters to the king and to Marie de Médicis have been preserved, which show his elevation of mind, and his broad political and religious views, which give him a right to be numbered among the great churchmen of the XVIth century.

At Dax we took a carriage to the Berceau of S. Vincent, and, after half an hour’s drive along a level road bordered with trees, we came[76] in sight of the great dome of the church rising up amid a group of fine buildings. Driving up to the door, the first thing we observed was the benign statue of the saint standing on the gable against the clear, blue sky, with arms wide-spread, smiling on the pilgrim a very balm of peace. Before the church there is a broad green, at the right of which is the venerable old oak; at the left, the cottage of the De Pauls; and in the rear of the church, the asylums and hospice—fine establishments one is surprised to find in this remote region. We at once entered the church, which is in the style of the Renaissance. It consists of a nave without aisles, a circular apsis, and transepts which form the arms of the cross, in the centre of which rises the dome, lined with an indifferent fresco representing S. Vincent borne to heaven by the angels. Directly beneath is the high altar where are enshrined relics of the saint. Around it, at the four angles of the cross, are statues of four S. Vincents—of Xaintes, of Saragossa, of Lerins, and S. Vincent Ferrer. The whole life of S. Vincent of Paul is depicted in the stained-glass windows. And on the walls of the nave are four paintings, one representing him as a boy, praying before Our Lady of Buglose; the second, his first Mass in the chapel of Notre Dame de Grâce; in the third he is redeeming captives, and in the fourth giving alms to the poor.

We next visited the asylums, admiring the clean, airy rooms, the intelligent, happy faces of the orphans, and the graceful cordiality of the sister who was at the head of the establishment—a lady of fortune who has devoted her all to the work.

At length we came to the cottage—the door of the true hero to which our path had led. The broad, one-story house in which S. Vincent was born is now a mere skeleton within, the framework of the partitions alone remaining, so one can take in the whole at a glance. There is the kitchen, with the huge, old-fashioned chimney, around which the family used to gather—so enormous that in looking up one sees a vast extent of blue sky. Saint’s house though it was, we could not help thinking—Heaven forgive us the profane thought!—it must have been very much like the squire’s chimney in Tylney Hall, the draught of which, like the Polish game of draughts, was apt to take backwards and discharge all the smoke into his sitting-room! The second room at the left, where the saint was born, is an oratory containing an altar, the crucifix he used to pray before, some of the garments he wore, shoes broad and much-enduring as his own nature, and many other precious relics. Not only this, but every room has an altar. We counted seven, all of the simplest construction, for the convenience of the pilgrims who come here with their curés at certain seasons of the year to honor their sainted countryman who in his youth here led a simple, laborious life like themselves. We found several persons at prayer in the various compartments, all of which showed the primitive habits and limited resources of the family, though not absolute poverty. The floor was of earth, the walls and great rafters only polished with time and the kisses of the pilgrims, and above the rude stairway, a mere loft where perchance the saint slept in his boyhood. Everything in this cottage, where a great heart was cradled, was from its very simplicity[77] extremely touching. It seemed the very place to meditate on the mysterious ways of divine Providence—mysterious as the wind that bloweth where it listeth—the very place to chant the Suscitans à terrâ inopem: et de stercore erigens pauperem; ut collocet eum cum principibus, cum principibus populi sui.

S. Vincent’s oak, on the opposite side of the green, looks old enough to have witnessed the mysterious rites of the Druids. It is surrounded by a railing to protect it from the pious depredations of the pilgrim. It still spreads broad its branches covered with verdure, though the trunk is so hollowed by decay that one side is entirely gone, and in the heart, where young Vincent used to pray, stands a wooden pillar on which is a statue of the Virgin, pure and white, beneath the green bower. A crowd of artists, savants, soldiers, and princes have bent before this venerable tree. In 1823 the public authorities of the commune received the Duchess of Angoulême at its foot. The learned and pious Ozanam, one of the founders of the Society of S. Vincent of Paul, came here in his last days to offer a prayer. On the list of foreign visitors is the name of the late venerable Bishop Flaget of Kentucky, of whom it is recorded that he kissed the tree with love and veneration, and plucked, as every pilgrim does, a leaf from its branches.

There is an herb, says Pliny, found on Mt. Atlas; they who gather it see more clearly. There is something of this virtue in the oak of S. Vincent of Paul. One sees more clearly than ever at its foot the infinite moral superiority of a nature like his to the worldly ambition of the old lords of the Landes. Famous as the latter were in their day, who thinks of them now? Who cares for the lords of Castelnau, the Seigneurs of Juliac, or even for the Sires of Albret, whose ancient castle at Labrit is now razed to the ground, and, while we write, its last traces obliterated for ever? The shepherd whistles idly among the ruins of their once strong holds, the ploughman drives thoughtlessly over the place where they once held proud sway, as indifferent as the beasts themselves; but there is not a peasant in the Landes who does not cherish the memory of S. Vincent of Paul, or a noble who does not respect his name; and thousands annually visit the poor house where he was born and look with veneration at the oak where he prayed.

Charity is the great means of making the poor forget the fearful inequality of worldly riches, and its obligation reminds the wealthy they are only part of a great brotherhood. Its exercise softens the heart and averts the woe pronounced on the rich. S. John of God, wishing to found a hospital at Granada, and without a ducat in the world, walked slowly through the streets and squares with a hod on his back and two great kettles at his side, crying with a loud voice: “Who wishes to do good to himself? Ah! my brethren, for the love of God, do good to yourselves!” And alms flowed in from every side. It was these appeals in the divine name that gave him his appellation. “What is your name?” asked Don Ramirez, Bishop of Tuy. “John,” was the reply. “Henceforth you shall be called John of God,” said the bishop.

And so, that we may all become the sons of God, let us here, at the foot of S. Vincent’s oak, echo the words that in life were so often on his lips:

Caritatem, propter Deum!



In the year 1638 the Earl of Castlehaven, then a young man, made the Grand Tour, as became a nobleman of his family in that age. Being at Rome, whither the duty of paying his respects to the Holy Father had carried him—for this lord was the head of one of those grand old families which had declined to forswear its faith at the behest of Henry or Elizabeth—he received a letter from King Charles I., requiring him to attend the king in his expedition against the Scots, then revolted and in arms. With that instant loyalty which was the return made by those proscribed families to an ungrateful court from the Armada down, Lord Castlehaven, two days after the messenger had placed the royal missive in his hands, took post for England. Near Turin he fell in with an army commanded by the Marquis de Leganes, Governor of Milan for the King of Spain, who was marching to besiege the Savoy capital. But the siege was soon raised, and Lord Castlehaven entered the town. There he found her Royal Highness the Duchess of Savoy in great confusion, as if she had got no rest for many nights, so much had she been occupied with the conduct of the defence; for even the wives of this warlike and rapacious family soon learned to defend their own by the strong hand, and could stretch it out to grasp still more when occasion served. But as yet the ambition of the House of Savoy stopped short of sacrilege—or stooped to it like a hawk on short flights—nor dreamed of aggrandizing itself with the spoils of the whole territory of the church. When Lord Castlehaven came to take leave of the duchess, her royal highness gave him a musket-bullet, much battered, which had come in at her window and missed her narrowly, charging him to deliver it safely to her sister, the Queen of England—as it proved, a present of ill omen; for of musket-balls, in a little time, the English sister had more than enough.

Arriving in London, Lord Castlehaven followed the king to Berwick, where he found the royal army encamped, with the Tweed before it, and the Scotch, under Gen. Leslie, lying at some distance. A pacification was soon effected, and both armies partially disbanded. After this the earl passed his time “as well as he could” at home till 1640. In that year the King of France besieged Arras, and Lord Castlehaven set out to witness the siege. Within was a stout garrison under Owen Roe O’Neal, commanding for the Prince Cardinal, Governor of the Low Countries. This was the first meeting of Castlehaven with the future victor of Benburb, with whom he was afterwards brought into closer relations in the Irish Rebellion. The French pressed Arras close, and the confederates being defeated, and the hope of the siege being raised grown[79] desperate, the town was surrendered on honorable terms. This action over, Lord Castlehaven returned to England and sat in Parliament till the attainder of the Earl of Strafford. When that great nobleman fell, deserted by his wavering royal master, and the king’s friends were beginning to turn about—they scarce knew whither—to prepare for the storm that all men saw was coming, Lord Castlehaven went to Ireland, where he had some estate and three married sisters. While there the Rebellion of 1641 broke out. Although innocent of any complicity in the outbreak, his faith made him suspected, and he was imprisoned on a slight pretext by the lords-justices. Escaping, his first design was to get into France, and thence to England to join the king at York, and petition for a trial by his peers. But coming to Kilkenny, he found there the Supreme Council of the Confederate Catholics just assembled—many of them being of his acquaintance—and was persuaded by them to throw in his lot with theirs, seeing, as they truly told him, that they were all persecuted on the same score, and ruined so that they had nothing more to lose but their lives. From that time till the peace of 1646 he was engaged in the war of the Confederate Catholics, holding important commands in the field under the Supreme Council. His Memoirs is the history of this war.

After the peace of 1646, concluded with the Marquis of Ormond, the king’s lord-lieutenant, but which shortly fell through, Lord Castlehaven retired to France, and served as a volunteer under Prince Rupert at the siege of Landrecies. Then, returning to Paris, he remained in attendance on the Queen of England and the Prince of Wales (Charles II.) at St. Germain till 1648. In that year he returned to Ireland with the lord-lieutenant, the Marquis of Ormond, and served the royal cause in that kingdom against the parliamentary forces under Ireton and Cromwell. The battle of Worcester being lost, and Cromwell the undisputed master of the three kingdoms, Castlehaven again followed the clouded fortunes of Charles II. to France. There he obtained permission to join the Great Condé. In the campaigns under that prince he had the command of eight or nine regiments of Irish troops, making altogether a force of 5,000 men. Thus we find the Irish refugees already consolidated into a brigade some years before the Treaty of Limerick expatriated those soldiers whose valor is more commonly identified with that title.

Lord Castlehaven returned to England at the Restoration. In the war with Holland he served as a volunteer in some of the naval engagements. In 1667, the French having invaded Flanders, he was ordered there with 2,400 men to recruit the “Old English Regiment,” of which he was made colonel. The peace of Aix-la-Chapelle ended this war. Peace reigned in the Low Countries till the breaking out, in 1673, of the long and bloody contest between the Prince of Orange and the confederate Spaniards and Imperialists on the one side, and Louis XIV. on the other. This was the age of grand campaigns, conducted upon principles of mathematical precision by the great captains formed in the school of M. Turenne, before the “little Marquis of Brandenburg”[7] and the “Corsican[80] corporal” in turn revolutionized the art of war. Castlehaven entered the Spanish service, and shared the checkered but generally disastrous fortunes of the Duke of Villahermosa and the Prince of Orange (William III.) against Condé and Luxembourg, till the peace of Nymegen put an end to the war in 1678.

Then, after forty years’ hard service, this veteran retired from the field, and returning to England, like another Cæsar, set about writing his commentaries on the wars. Thus he spent his remaining years. First he published, but without acknowledging the authorship, his Memoirs of the Irish Wars. This first edition was suppressed. Then, in 1684, appeared the second edition, containing, besides the Memoirs, his “Appendix”—being an account of his Continental service—his “Observations” on confederate armies and the conduct of war, and a “Postscript,” which is a reply to the Earl of Anglesey. And right well has the modern reader reason to be thankful for his lordship’s literary spirit. His Memoirs is one of the most authentic and trustworthy accounts we have of that vexed passage of Irish history—the Rebellion of 1641. Its blunt frankness is its greatest charm; it has the value of an account by an actor in the scenes described; and it possesses that merit of impartiality which comes of being written by an Englishman who, connected with the Irish leaders by the ties of faith, family, and property, and sympathizing fully with their efforts to obtain redress for flagrant wrongs was yet not blind to their mistakes and indefensible actions.

Castlehaven, neglected for more than a century, has received more justice at the hands of later historians. He is frequently referred to by Lingard, and his work will be found an admirable commentary on Carte’s Life of Ormond. There is a notice of him in Horace Walpole’s Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors (vol. iii.)

“If this lord,” says Walpole, “who led a very martial life, had not taken the pains to record his own actions (which, however, he has done with great frankness and ingenuity), we should know little of his story, our historians scarce mentioning him, and even our writers of anecdotes, as Burnet, or of tales and circumstances, as Roger North, not giving any account of a court quarrel occasioned by his lordship’s Memoirs. Anthony Wood alone has preserved this event, but has not made it intelligible. … The earl had been much censured for his share in the Irish Rebellion, and wrote the Memoirs to explain his conduct rather than to excuse it; for he freely confesses his faults, and imputes them to provocations from the government of that kingdom, to whose rashness and cruelty, conjointly with the votes and resolutions of the English Parliament, he ascribes the massacre. There are no dates nor method, and less style, in these Memoirs—defects atoned for in some measure by a martial honesty. Soon after their publication the Earl of Anglesey wrote to ask a copy. Lord Castlehaven sent him one, but denying the work as his. Anglesey, who had been a commissioner in Ireland for the Parliament, published Castlehaven’s letter, with observations and reflections very abusive of the Duke of Ormond, which occasioned first a printed controversy, and this a trial before the Privy Council; the event of which was that Anglesey’s first letter was voted a scandalous libel, and himself removed from the custody of the Privy Seal; and that the Earl of Castlehaven’s Memoirs, on which he was several times examined, and which he owned, was declared a scandalous libel on the government—a censure that seems very little founded; there is not a word that can authorize that sentence from the Council of Charles II. but the imputation on the lords-justices of Charles I.; for I suppose the Privy Council did not pique themselves on vindicating[81] the honor of the republican Parliament! Bishop Morley wrote A True Account of the Whole Proceeding between James, Duke of Ormond, and Arthur, Earl of Anglesey.”

Immediately after the Restoration, as it is well known, an act was passed, commonly called in that age “the Act of Oblivion,” by which all penalties (except certain specified ones) incurred in the late troublous and rebellious times were forgiven. So superfine would have been the net which the law of treason would have drawn around the three kingdoms, had its strict construction been enforced, that it was quite cut loose, a few only of the greatest criminals and regicides being held in its meshes. So harsh had been Cromwell’s iron rule that there were few counties of England in which the stoutest squires, and even the most loyal, might not have trembled had the king’s commission inquired too closely into the legal question of connivance at the late tyrant’s rule. And in the great cities, London especially, the tide of enthusiasm which now ran so strongly for the king could not hide the memory of those days when the same fierce crowds had clamored for the head of the “royal martyr.” Prudent it was, as well as benign, therefore, for the “merry monarch” to let time roll smoothly over past transgressions. But though the law might grant oblivion, and even punish the revival of controversies, the old rancor between individuals and even parties was not so easily appeased after the first joyful outburst. Books and pamphlets by the hundred brought charges and counter charges. But these “authors of slander and lyes,” as Castlehaven calls them, outdid themselves in their tragical stories of the Irish Rebellion of 1641. Nor have imitators been wanting in this age, as rancorous and more skilful, in the production of “fictions and invectives to traduce a whole nation.” To answer those calumnies by “setting forth the truth of his story in a brief and plain method” was the design of Castlehaven’s work.

Then, as now, it was the aim of the libellers of the Irish people to make the whole nation accountable for the “massacre,” so called, of 1641, and to confound the war of the Confederate Catholics and the later loyal resistance to Cromwell in one common denunciation with the first sanguinary and criminal outbreak. Lord Castlehaven’s narrative effectually disposes of this charge. In a singularly clear and candid manner he narrates the rise and progress of the insurrection, and shows the wide difference between the aims and motives of those who planned the uprising of October 23, 1641, and of those who afterwards carried on the war under the title of the Confederate Catholics of Ireland. The former he does not hesitate to denounce as a “barbarous and inhumane” conspiracy, but the responsibility for it he fixes in the right quarter—the malevolent character of the Irish government and the atrocious spirit of the English Puritan Parliament, which, abandoning all the duties of protection, kept only one object in view—the extirpation of the native Irish.

With the successful example of the Scotch Rebellion immediately before them, it was a matter of little wonder to observant and impartial minds in that age that the Irish should have seized upon the occasion of the growing quarrel between the king and Parliament as the opportune moment for the[82] redress of their grievances. For in the year 1640, two years after the pacification of Berwick, the Scotch Rebellion, primarily instigated by the same cause as the Irish—religious differences—broke out with greater violence than ever. The Scots’ army invaded England, defeated the king’s troops at Newburn, and took Newcastle. Then, driven to extremity by those Scotch rebels, as mercenary as they were fanatical,[8] and his strength paralyzed by the growing English sedition, Charles I. called together “that unfortunate Parliament” which, proceeding from one violence to another, first destroyed its master, and then was in turn destroyed by its own servant. Far from voting the Scotch army rebels and traitors, the Parliament at once styled them “dear brethren” and voted them £300,000 for their kindness. Mr. Gervase Holles was expelled from the House for saying in the course of debate “that the best way of paying them was by arms to expel them out of the kingdom.” The quarrel between King and Commons grew hotter, until finally it became evident that, notwithstanding Charles’ concessions, a violent rupture could not be long delayed.

No fairer opportunity could be hoped for by the Irish leaders, dissatisfied with their own condition, and spurred on by the hope of winning as good measure of success as the Scotch. The plan to surprise the Castle of Dublin and the other English garrisons was quickly matured; but failing, some of the conspirators were taken and executed, and the rest forced to retire to the woods and mountains. But the flame thus lighted soon spread over the whole kingdom, and occasioned a war which lasted without intermission for ten years.

The following reasons are declared by Castlehaven to have been afterwards offered to him by the Irish as the explanation of this insurrection:

First, that, being constantly looked upon by the English government as a conquered nation, and never treated as natural or free-born subjects, they considered themselves entitled to regain their liberty whenever they believed it to be in their power to do so.

Secondly, that in the North, where the insurrection broke out with the greatest violence, six whole counties had been escheated to the crown at one blow, on account of Tyrone’s rebellion; and although it was shown that a large portion of the population of those counties was innocent of complicity in that rising, nothing had ever been restored, but the whole bestowed by James I. upon his countrymen. To us, who live at the distance of two centuries and a half from those days of wholesale rapine, these confiscations still seem the most gigantic instance of English wrong; but who shall tell their maddening effect upon those who suffered from them in person in that age—the men flying to the mountains, the women perishing in the fields, the children crying for food they could not get?

Thirdly, the popular alarm was[83] heightened by the reports, current during Strafford’s government in Ireland, that the counties of Roscommon, Mayo, Galway, and Cork, and parts of Tipperary, Limerick, and Wicklow, were to share the fate of the Ulster counties. It hardly needs the example of our own Revolution to prove the truth of Castlehaven’s observation upon this project: “That experience tells us where the people’s property is like to be invaded, neither religion nor loyalty is able to keep them within bounds if they find themselves in a condition to make any considerable opposition.” And this brings to his mind the story related by Livy of those resolute ambassadors of the Privernates, who, being reduced to such extremities that they were obliged to beg peace of the Roman Senate, yet, being asked what peace should the Romans expect from them, who had broken it so often, they boldly answered—which made the Senate accept their proposals—“If a good one, it shall be faithful and lasting; but if bad, it shall not hold very long. For think not,” said they, “that any people, or even any man, will continue in that condition whereof they are weary any longer than of necessity they must.”

Fourthly, it was notorious that from the moment Parliament was convened it had urged the greatest severities against the English Roman Catholics. The king was compelled to revive the penalties of the worst days of Edward and Elizabeth against them. His own consort was scarce safe from the violence of those hideous wretches who concealed the vilest crimes under the garb of Puritan godliness. Readers even of such a common and one-sided book as Forster’s Life of Sir John Eliot will be surprised to find the prominence and space the “Popish” resolutions and debates occupied in the sittings of Parliament. The popular leaders divided their time nearly equally between the persecution of the Catholics and assaults upon the prerogative. The same severities were now threatened against the Irish Catholics. “Both Houses,” says Castlehaven, “solicited, by several petitions out of Ireland, to have those of that kingdom treated with the like rigor, which, to a people so fond of their religion as the Irish, was no small inducement to make them, while there was an opportunity offered, to stand upon their guard.”

Fifthly, the precedent of the Scotch Rebellion, and its successful results—pecuniarily, politically, and religiously—encouraged the Irish so much at that time that they offered it to Owen O’Conally as their chief motive for rising in rebellion; “which,” says he (quoted by Castlehaven), “they engaged in to be rid of the tyrannical government that was over them, and to imitate Scotland, who by that course had enlarged their privileges” (O’Conally’s Exam., October 22, 1641; Borlace’s History of the Irish Rebellion, p. 21).

To the same purpose Lord Castlehaven quotes Mr. Howell in his Mercurius Hibernicus in the year 1643; “whose words, because an impartial author and a known Protestant, I will here transcribe in confirmation of what I have said and for the reader’s further satisfaction”:

“Moreover,” says Mr. Howell, “they [the Irish] entered into consideration that they had sundry grievances and grounds of complaint, both touching their estates and consciences, which they pretended to be far greater than those of[84] the Scots. For they fell to think that if the Scot was suffered to introduce a new religion, it was reason they should not be punished in the exercise of their old, which they glory never to have altered; and for temporal matters, wherein the Scot had no grievance at all to speak of, the new plantations which had been lately afoot to be made in Connaught and other places; the concealed lands and defective titles which were daily found out; the new customs which were enforced; and the incapacity they had to any preferment or office in church or state, with other things, they considered to be grievances of a far greater nature, and that deserved redress much more than any the Scot had. To this end they sent over commissioners to attend this Parliament in England with certain propositions; but they were dismissed hence with a short and unsavory answer, which bred worse blood in the nation than was formerly gathered. And this, with that leading case of the Scot, may be said to be the first incitements that made them rise.… Lastly, that army of 8,000 men which the Earl of Strafford had raised to be transported into England for suppressing the Scot, being by the advice of our Parliament here disbanded, the country was annoyed by some of those straggling soldiers. Therefore the ambassadors from Spain having propounded to have some numbers of those disbanded soldiers for the service of their master, his majesty, by the mature advice of his Privy Council, to occur the mischiefs that might arise to his kingdom of Ireland from those loose cashiered soldiers, yielded to the ambassadors’ motion. But as they were in the height of that work (providing transports), there was a sudden stop made of those promised troops; and this was the last, though not the least, fatal cause of that horrid insurrection.

“Out of these premises it is easy for any common understanding, not transported with passion or private interest, to draw this conclusion: That they who complied with the Scot in his insurrection; they who dismissed the Irish commissioners with such a short, impolitic answer; they who took off the Earl of Strafford’s head, and afterwards delayed the despatching of the Earl of Leicester; they who hindered those disbanded troops in Ireland to go for Spain, may be justly said to have been the true causes of the late insurrection of the Irish.

“Thus,” continues Castlehaven, “concludes this learned and ingenious gentleman, who, as being then his majesty’s historiographer, was as likely as any man to know the transactions of those times, and, as an Englishman and a loyal Protestant, was beyond all exception of partiality or favor of the Papists of Ireland, and therefore could have no other reason but the love of truth and justice to give this account of the Irish Rebellion, or make the Scotch and their wicked brethren in the Parliament of England the main occasion of that horrid insurrection.”

As for the “massacre,” so called, that ensued, Lord Castlehaven speaks of it with the abhorrence it deserves. But this very term “massacre” is a misnomer plausibly affixed to the uprising by English ingenuity. In a country such as Ireland then was—in which, though nominally conquered, few English lived outside the walled towns—an intermittent state of war was chronic; and therefore there was none of that unpreparedness for attack or absence of means of defence on the part of the English settlers which, in other well-known historical cases, has rightfully given the name of “massacre” to a premeditated murderous attack upon defenceless and surprised victims. To hold the English as such will be regarded with contemptuous ridicule by every one acquainted with the system of English and Scotch colonization in Ireland in that age. The truth is, the cruelties on both sides were very bloody, “and though some,” says Lord Castlehaven, “will throw all upon the Irish, yet ’tis well known who they were[85] that used to give orders to their parties sent into the enemies’ quarters to spare neither man, woman, nor child.” And as to the preposterous muster-rolls of Sir John Temple—from whom the subsequent scribblers borrowed all their catalogues—giving fifty thousand (!) British natives as the number killed, Lord Castlehaven’s testimony is to the effect that there was not one-tenth—or scarcely five thousand—of that number of British natives then living in Ireland outside of the cities and walled towns where no “massacre” was committed. Lord Castlehaven also shows that there were not 50,000 persons to be found even in Temple’s catalogue, although it was then a matter of common notoriety that he repeats the same people and the same circumstances twice or thrice, and mentions hundreds as then murdered who lived many years afterwards. Some of Temple’s, not the Irish, victims were alive when Castlehaven wrote.

But the true test of the character of this insurrection is to be found, not in the exaggerated calumnies of English libellers writing after the event, but in the testimony of the English settlers themselves when in a position where lies would have been of no avail. We will therefore give here, though somewhat out of the course of our narrative, an incident related by Castlehaven to that effect.

Shortly after he had been appointed General of the Horse under Preston, Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate Catholics in Leinster, that general took, among other places, Birr, in King’s County. Here Castlehaven had the good fortune, as he says, to begin his command with an act of charity. For, going to see this garrison before it marched out, he came into a large room where he found many people of quality, both men and women. They no sooner saw him but, with tears in their eyes, they fell on their knees, desiring him to save their lives. “I was astonished,” says Castlehaven, “at their posture and petition, and, having made them rise, asked what the matter was? They answered that from the first day of the war there had been continued action and bloodshed between them and their Irish neighbors, and little quarter on either side; and therefore, understanding that I was an Englishman, begged I would take them into my protection.” It is enough to say that Lord Castlehaven, with some difficulty, and by personally taking command of a strong convoy, obtained for them the protection they prayed for from the exasperated and outraged population around them. But what we wish to point out is this: that here are those victims of Sir John Temple’s “massacre”—not the garrison of the fort, observe, but the English settlers driven in by the approach of Preston’s army, after terrorizing the country for months—now, with the fear of death before them, confessing on their knees that from the first day of the war they had arms in their hands, and that little quarter was given on either side!

How well the English were able to take care of themselves at this time, and what their “massacres” were like, are shown by the following extract from a letter of Colonel the Hon. Mervin Touchett to his brother, Lord Castlehaven. Col. Touchett is describing a raid made by Sir Arthur Loffens, Governor of Naas, with a party of horse and dragoons, killing such of the Irish as they met, to punish an attack[86] upon an English party a few days before: “But the most considerable slaughter was in a great strength of furze, scattered on a hill, where the people of several villages (taking the alarm) had sheltered themselves. Now, Sir Arthur, having invested the hill, set the furze on fire on all sides, where the people, being a considerable number, were all burned or killed, men, women, and children. I saw the bodies and the furze still burning.”

We remember the horror-stricken denunciations of the English press some years ago when it was stated, without much authentication, that some of the French commanders in the Algerine campaigns had smoked some Arabs to death in caves. But it would seem from Col. Touchett’s narrative that the English troopers would have been able to give their French comrades lessons in the culinary art of war some centuries ago. A grilled Irishman is surely as savory an object for the contemplation of humanity as a smoked Arab!

But whatever the atrocities on the English side, we will not say that the cruelties committed by the Irish were not deserving of man’s reprobation and God’s anger. Only this is to be observed: that whereas the “massacres” by the Irish were confined to the rabble and Strafford’s disbanded soldiers, those committed by the English side were shared in, as the narratives of the day show, by the persons highest in position and authority. They made part of the English system of government of that day. On the other hand, the leading men of the Irish Catholic body not only endeavored to stay those murders, but sought to induce the government to bring the authors of them on both sides to punishment. But in vain! On the 17th of March, 1642, Viscount Gormanstown and Sir Robert Talbot, on behalf of the nobility and gentry of the nation, presented a remonstrance, praying “that the murders on both sides committed should be strictly examined, and the authors of them punished according to the utmost severity of the law.” Which proposal, Castlehaven shrewdly remarks, would never have been rejected by their adversaries, “but that they were conscious of being deeper in the mire than they would have the world believe.”

So far the “massacre” and first uprising.

Now, as to the inception of the war of the Confederate Catholics, and its objects, Lord Castlehaven’s narrative is equally convincing and clear.

Parliament met in the Castle of Dublin, Nov. 16, 1641. The Rebellion was laid before both Houses by the lords-justices, Sir William Parsons and Sir John Borlace. Concurrent resolutions were adopted, without a dissenting voice, by the two Houses, declaring their abhorrence of the Rebellion, and pledging their lives and fortunes to suppress it. Castlehaven had a seat in the Irish House of Lords as an Irish peer, and being then in Ireland, as before related, took his seat at the meeting of Parliament. Besides Castlehaven, most of the leaders of the war that ensued were members of the Irish House of Lords. These Catholic peers were not less earnest than the rest in their unanimous intention to put down the Rebellion. Both Houses thereupon began to deliberate upon the most effectual means for its suppression. “But this way of proceeding,” says Castlehaven, “did[87] not, it seems, square with the lords-justices’ designs, who were often heard to say that ‘the more were in rebellion, the more lands should be forfeit to them.’” Therefore, in the midst of the deliberations of Parliament on the subject, a prorogation was determined on. The lords, understanding this, sent Castlehaven and Viscount Castelloe to join a deputation from the commons to the lords-justices, praying them not to prorogue, at least till the rebels—then few in number—were reduced to obedience. But the address was slighted, and Parliament prorogued the next day, to the great surprise of both Houses and the “general dislike,” says Castlehaven, “of all honest and knowing men.”

The result was, as the lords-justices no doubt intended, that the rebels were greatly encouraged, and at once began to show themselves in quarters hitherto peaceful. The members of Parliament retired to their country-houses in much anxiety after the prorogation. Lord Castlehaven went to his seat at Maddingstown. There he received a letter, signed by the Viscounts of Gormanstown and Netterville, and by the Barons of Slane, Lowth, and Dunsany, containing an enclosure to the lords-justices which those noblemen desired him to forward to them, and, if possible, obtain an answer. This letter to the lords-justices, Castlehaven says, was very humble and submissive, asking only permission to send their petitions into England to represent their grievances to the king. The only reply of the lords-justices was a warning to Castlehaven to receive no more letters from them.

Meanwhile, parties were sent out from Dublin and the various garrisons throughout the kingdom to “kill and destroy the rebels.” But those parties took little pains to distinguish rebels from loyal subjects, provided they were only Catholics, killing promiscuously men, women, and children. Reprisals followed on the part of the rebels. The nobility and gentry were between two fires. A contribution was levied upon them by the rebels, after the manner of the Scots in the North of England in 1640. But although to pay that contribution in England passed without reproach, in Ireland it was denounced by the lords-justices as treason. The English troopers insulted and openly threatened the most distinguished Irish families as favorers of the Rebellion. “This,” says Castlehaven, “and the sight of their tenants, the harmless country people, without respect to age or sex, thus barbarously murdered, made the Catholic nobility and gentry at last resolved to stand upon their guard.” Nevertheless, before openly raising the standard of revolt against the Irish government, which refused to protect them, they made several efforts to get their petitions before Charles I. Sir John Read, a Scotchman, then going to England, undertook to forward petitions to the king; but, being arrested on suspicion at Drogheda, was taken to Dublin, and there put upon the rack by the lords-justices to endeavor to wring from him a confession of Charles I.’s complicity in the Rebellion. This Col. Mervin Touchett heard from Sir John Read himself as he was brought out of the room where he was racked. But that unfortunate monarch knew not how to choose his friends or to be faithful to them when he found them. He referred the whole conduct of Irish affairs[88] to the English Parliament, thus increasing the discontent to the last pitch by making it plain to the whole Irish people that he abandoned the duty of protecting them, and had handed them over to the mercy of their worst enemies—the English Parliament. That Parliament at once passed a succession of wild votes and ordinances, indicating their intention of stopping short at nothing less than utter extirpation of the native race. Dec. 8, 1641, they declared they would never give consent to any toleration of the Popish religion in Ireland. In February following, when few of any estate were as yet engaged in the Rebellion, they passed an act assigning two million five hundred thousand acres of cultivated land, besides immense tracts of bogs, woods, and mountains, to English and Scotch adventurers for a small proportion of money on the grant. This money, the act stated, was to go to the reduction of the rebels; but, with a fine irony of providence upon the king’s weak compliance, every penny of it was afterwards used to raise armies by the English rebels against him. “But the greatest discontent of all,” says Castlehaven, “was about the lords-justices proroguing the Parliament—the only way the nation had to express its loyalty and prevent their being misrepresented to their sovereign, which, had it been permitted to sit for any reasonable time, would in all likelihood, without any great charge or trouble, have brought the rebels to justice.”

Thus all hopes of redress or safety being at an end—a villanous government in Dublin intent only upon confiscation, a furious Parliament in London breathing vengeance against the whole Irish race, and a king so embroiled in his English quarrels that he could do nothing to help his Irish subjects, even had he wished it—what was left those loyal, gallant, and devoted men but to draw the sword for their own safety? The Rebellion by degrees spread over the whole kingdom. “And now,” says Castlehaven, “there’s no more looking back; for all were in arms and full of indignation.” A council of the leading Catholic nobles, military officers, and gentry met at Kilkenny, and formed themselves into an association under the title of the Confederate Catholics of Ireland. Four generals were appointed for the respective provinces of the kingdom—Preston for Leinster, Barry for Munster, Owen Roe O’Neale for Ulster, and Burke for Connaught. Thus war was declared.

When the Rebellion first broke out in the North, Lord Castlehaven had immediately repaired to Dublin and offered his services to the lords-justices. They were declined with the reply that “his religion was an obstacle.” After the prorogation of Parliament, as we have seen, he retired to his house in the country. Then, coming again to Dublin to meet a charge of corresponding with the rebels which had been brought against him, he was arrested by order of the lords-justices, and, after twenty weeks of imprisonment in the sheriff’s house, was committed to the Castle. “This startled me a little,” says Castlehaven—as it well might do; for the state prisoner’s exit from the Castle in Dublin in those days was usually made in the same way as from the Tower in London, namely, by the block—“and brought into my thoughts the proceedings against the Earl of Strafford, who, confiding in his own innocence, was voted out of his life by an unprecedented[89] bill of attainder.” Therefore, hearing nothing while in prison but rejoicings at the king’s misfortunes, who at last had been forced to take up arms by the English rebels, and knowing the lords-justices to be of the Parliament faction, and the lord-lieutenant, the Marquis of Ormond, being desperately sick of a fever, not without suspicion of poison, and his petition to be sent to England, to be tried there by his peers, being refused, he determined to make his escape, shrewdly concluding, as he says, that “innocence was a scurvy plea in an angry time.”

Arriving at Kilkenny, he joined the confederacy, as has been related.

From this time the war of the Confederate Catholics was carried on with varying success until the cessation of 1646, and then until the peace of 1648, when the Confederates united, but too late, with the Marquis of Ormond to stop the march of Cromwell.


She sang of Love—the love whose fires
Burn with a pure and gentle flame,
No passion lights of wild desires
Red with the lurid glow of shame.
She sang of angels, and their wings
Seemed rustling through each soft refrain;
Gladness and sorrow, kindred things
She wove in many a tender strain.
She sang of Heaven and of God,
Of Bethlehem’s star and Calvary’s way,
Gethsemane—the bloody sod,
Death, darkness, resurrection-day.
She sang of Mary—Mother blest,
Her sweetest carols were of thee!
Close folded to thy loving breast
How fair her home in heaven must be!



I was very stupid in my youth, and am still far from being sharp. I could not master knotty questions like other boys; so this natural deficiency had to be supplemented by some plan that would facilitate the acquisition of knowledge. The advantage to be derived from a garrulous preceptor, whose mind was stored with all sorts of learning without dogmatism or hard formularies, were fully appreciated by my parents. John O’Neil was a very old man when I was a boy, and he was just the person qualified to impart an astonishing quantity of all sorts of facts, and perhaps fancies. I hold him in affectionate remembrance though he be dead over twenty-five years, and rests near the remains of his favorite hero, O’Connell, in Glasnevin Cemetery. When he became the chief architect of my intellectual structure, I thought him the most learned man in the world. On account of my dulness, he adopted the method of sermonizing to me instead of giving me unintelligible lessons to be learned out of books. I took a great fancy to him, because I found him exceedingly interesting, and he evinced a strong liking for me because I was docile. We became inseparable companions, notwithstanding the great discrepancy in our years. His tall, erect, lank figure and lantern jaw were to me the physiological signs of profundity, firmness, and power, and his white head was the symbol of wisdom. Our tastes—well, I had no tastes save such as he chose to awaken in me, and hence there came to be very soon a great similitude in our respective inclinations. I was like a ball of wax, a sheet of paper, or any other original impressionable thing you may name, in his hands for ten years, after which very probably I began to harden, though I was not conscious of the process. However, the large fund of knowledge that he imparted to me crystallized, as it were, and became fixed in my possession as firmly as if it had been elaborately achieved by a severe mental training. After I went to college he was still my friend, and rejoiced in my subsequent successes, and followed me with a jealous eye and a sort of parental anxiety in my foreign travels, and even in death he did not forget me, for he made me the custodian of his great heaps of literary productions, all in manuscript, embracing sketches, diaries, notes of travel, learned fragments on scientific and scholastic topics, essays, tales, letters, the beginnings and the endings and the middles of books on history, politics, and polemics, pieces of pamphlets and speeches, with a miscellaneous lot of poetry in all measures. He was a great, good man, who never had what is called an aim in life, but he certainly had an aim after life; and yet no one could esteem the importance of this pilgrimage more than he did. He would frequently boast of being heterodox on that point. “You will hear,” he would remark, “people depreciating this life as a matter of little concern. Don’t allow their sophistry[91] to have much weight with you. The prevalent opinions which are flippantly spoken thereon will not stand the test of sound Christian reasoning. That part of human existence which finds its scene and scope of exertion in this life is filled with eternal potentialities. You have heard it said that man wants but little here below. Where else does he want it? Here is where he wants everything. Then do not hesitate to ask, but be careful not to ask amiss. When the battle is over, it will be too late to make requisitions for auxiliaries. If you conquer, assistance will not be wanted; if you are defeated, assistance cannot reach you. The fight cannot be renewed; the victory or defeat will be final. This life is immense. You cannot think too much of it, cannot estimate it too highly. A minute has almost an infinite value. Man wants much here, and wants it all the time.” I thought his language at that time fantastical; now I regard it as profound. From a survey of his own aimless career, it is evident he did not reduce the good of earthly existence of which he spoke to any sort of money value. Those elements and forces of life to which he attached such deep significance and importance could not have their equivalent in currency, nor in comforts, nor in real estate, nor even in fame. My old preceptor had spent most of his youth in travelling, and the picturesque meanderings of the Rhine furnished subjects for many of his later recollections. I recall now with a melancholy regret the many pleasant evenings I enjoyed listening to his narratives of travel on that historic river, and in imagination sat with him on the Drachenfels’ crest, looking down upon scenes made memorable by the lives and struggles of countless heroes and the crowds of humanity that came and went through the course of a hundred generations—some leaving their mark, and others erasing it again; some leaving a smile behind them on the face of the country, and others a scar. He loved to talk about the beautiful city of Bonn, where he had spent some years, it being the most attractive place, he said, from Strasbourg to the sea—for learning was cheap there, and so were victuals—the only things he found indispensable to a happy life. He would glide into a monologue of dramatic glow and fervor in reciting how he procured access to the extensive library of its new university, and, crawling up a step-ladder, would perch himself on top like a Hun, who, after a sleep of a thousand years, had resurrected himself, gathered his bones from the plains of Chalons, and having procured a second-hand suit of modern clothes from a Jew in Cologne, traced with eager avidity the vicissitudes of war and empire since the days of Attila. It was there, no doubt, he discovered the materials of this curious paper, which I found among his literary remains. Whether he gathered the materials himself, or merely transcribed the work of some previous writer, I am unable to determine. Without laying any claim to critical acumen, I must confess it appears to me to be a meritorious piece, and I picked it out, because I thought it unique and brief, for submission to the more extensive experience and more impartial judgment of The Catholic World’s readers. Having entire control of these productions of my friend and preceptor, I took the liberty of substituting modern phraseology for what was antique, and of putting the sketch[92] in such style that the most superficial reader will have no difficulty in running it over. Objection may be raised to the title on the score of fitness. I did not feel authorized to change it, believing the one chosen by the judgment of my old friend as suitable as any I could substitute.

In the year 1250 the mind of man was as restless and impatient of restraint as now, and some people in Bonn, under a quiet exterior, nursed in their bosoms latent volcanoes of passion, and indulged the waywardness of rebellious fancy to a degree that would have proved calamitous to the placid flow of life and thought could instrumentality for action have been found. There is indubitable proof that the principle of the Reformation, which three hundred years later burst through the environment of dogma and spread like a flood of lava over Europe, existed actively in Bonn in the year named, and would have arrived at mature strength if nature had not interposed an impassable barrier to the proceeding. It is hard to rebel against nature, and it is madness to expect success in such a revolt. Fourteen men, whose names have come down to us, gave body and tone, and a not very clearly defined purpose, to this untimely uprising against the inevitable in Bonn. How many others were in sympathy or in active affiliation with them is not shown. Those fourteen were bold spirits, who labored under the misfortune of having come into the world three or four centuries too soon. They were great men out of place. There is an element of rebellion in great spirits which only finds its proper antidote in the stronger and more harmonious principle of obedience. Obedience is the first condition of creatures. Those fourteen grew weary of listening to the Gospel preached every Sunday from the pulpit of S. Remigius, when they attended Mass with the thousands of their townsmen. The Scriptures, both New and Old, were given out in small doses, with an abundant mixture of explanation and homily and salutary exhortation. Their appetites craved a larger supply of Scripture, and indeed some of them were so unreasonable as to desire the reading of the whole book, from Genesis to Revelations, at one service. “Let us,” said Giestfacher, “have it all. No one is authorized to give a selection from the Bible and hold back the rest. It is our feast, and we have a right to the full enjoyment thereof.”

“Well,” said Heuck, his neighbor, to whom he addressed the remonstrance; “go to the scrivener’s and purchase a copy and send your ass to carry it home. Our friend Schwartz finished a fine one last week. It can be had for sixteen hundred dollars. When you have it safe at home, employ a reader, who will be able to mouth it all off for you in fifty hours, allowing a few intervals for refreshment, but none for sleep.” And Heuck laughed, or rather sneered, at Giestfacher as he walked away.

Giestfacher was a reformer, however, and was not to be put down in that frivolous manner. He had been a student himself with the view of entering the ministry, but, being maliciously charged with certain grave irregularities, his prospects in that direction were seriously clouded, and in a moment of grand though passionate self-assertion he threw up his expectations and abandoned the idea of entering the church, but instead took to the[93] world. He was a reformer from his infancy, and continually quarrelled with his family about the humdrum state of things at home; was at enmity with the system of municipal government at Bonn; and held very animated controversies with the physicians of the place on the system of therapeutics then pursued, insisting strongly that all diseases arose from bad blood, and that a vivisection with warm wine would prove a remedy for everything. He lacked professional skill to attempt an experiment in the medical reforms he advocated; besides, that department would not admit of bungling with impunity. For municipal reforms he failed in power, and the reward in fame or popular applause that might follow successful operations in that limited sphere of action was not deemed equivalent to the labor. But in the field of religion there was ample room for all sorts of tentative processes without danger; and, in addition to security, notoriety might be obtained by being simply outré. He had settled upon religious reform, and his enthusiasm nullified the cautionary suggestions of his reason, and reduced mountains of difficulty to the insignificant magnitude of molehills; even Heuck could be induced to adopt his views by cogent reasoning and much persuasion. Enthusiasm is allied to madness—a splendid help, but a dangerous guide.

Giestfacher used his tongue, and in the course of a year had made twelve or fourteen proselytes. Those who cannot enjoy the monotony of life and the spells of ennui that attack the best-regulated temperaments, fly to novelty for relief. The fearful prospect of an unknown and nameless grave and an oblivious future drives many restless spirits into experiments in morals and in politics as well as in natural philosophy, in the vain hope of rescuing their names from the “gulf of nothingness” that awaits mediocrity. The new reformers, zealous men and bold, met in Giestfacher’s house on Corpus Christi in 1251, the minutes of which meeting are still extant; and from that record I learn there were present Stein the wheelwright, Lullman the baker, Schwartz the scrivener, Heuck the armorer, Giestfacher the cloth merchant, Braunn, another scrivener, Hartzwein the vintner, Blum the advocate, Werner, another scrivener, Reudlehuber, another scrivener, Andersen, a stationer, Esch the architect, Dusch the monk, discarded by his brethren for violations of discipline, and Wagner the potter. Blum was appointed to take an account of the proceedings, and Giestfacher was made president of the society.

“We are all agreed,” said Giestfacher, “that the Scriptures ought to be given to the people. From these divine writings we learn a time shall come when wars shall cease, and the Alemanni and the Frank and the Tartar may eat from the same plate and drink out of the same cup in peace and fraternity, and wear cloth caps instead of brass helmets, and plough the fields with their spears instead of letting daylight through each other therewith, and the shepherds shall tend their flocks with a crook and not with a bow to keep off the enemy. How can that time come unless the people be made acquainted with those promises? I believe we, who, like the apostles, number fourteen, are divinely commissioned to change things for the better, and initiate the great movements which will bring about the millennium. Let us[94] rise up to the dignity of our position. Let us prove equal to the inspiration of the occasion. We are called together by heaven for a new purpose. The time is approaching when universal light will dispel the gloom, and peace succeed to all disturbance. Let us give the Scriptures to the people. They are the words of God, that carry healing on their wings. They are the dove that was sent out from the ark. They are the pillar of light in the desert. They are the sword of Joshua, the sling of David, the rod of Moses. Let us fourteen give them to the people, and start out anew, like the apostles from Jerusalem, to overturn the idols of the times and emancipate the nations. We have piled up heaps of stones in every town and monuments of brass, and still men are not changed. We see them still lying, warring, hoarding riches, and making gods of their bellies—all of which is condemned by the word of God. What will change all this? I say, let the piles of stone and the monuments of brass slide, and give the Scriptures a chance. Let us give them to the people, and the reign of brotherhood and peace will commence, wars shall cease, nation will no longer rise up against nation, rebellion will erect its horrid front no more. Men will cease hoarding riches and oppressing the poor. There will be no more robbing rings in corporate towns, and men in power will not blacken their character and imperil the safety of the state by nepotism. The whole world will become pure. No scandals will arise in the church, and there will be no blasphemy or false swearing, and Christian brethren shall not conspire for each other’s ruin.”

“We see,” remarked Heuck, “that those who have the Scriptures are no better than other people. They too are given to lying, hoarding riches, warring one against another, and making gods of their bellies. How is that?”

“Yes,” said Blum, “I know three scriveners of this town who boast of having transcribed twenty Bibles each, and they get drunk thrice a week and quarrel with their wives; and there’s Giebricht, the one-legged soldier, who can repeat the Scriptures until you sleep listening to him, says he killed nine men in battle and wounded twenty others. The Scriptures did not make him very peaceful. The loss of a leg had a more quieting effect on him than all his memorizing of the sacred books.”

“We did not get together,” said Werner, “to discuss that phase of the subject. It was well understood, and thereunto agreed a month ago, that the spread of the Scriptures was desirable; and to this end we met, that means wise and effective may be devised whereby we can supply every one with the word of God, that all may search therein for the correct and approved way of salvation.”

“So be it,” said Dusch the monk.

“Hear, hear!” said Schwartz.

“Let us agree like brethren,” said Braunn.

“We are subject to one spirit,” said Hartzwein the vintner, “and all moved by the same inspiration. Discord is unseemly. We must not dispute on the subject of drunkenness. Let us have the mature views of Brother Giestfacher, and his plans. The end is already clear if the means be of approved piety and really orthodox. In addition to the Scriptures, I would rejoice very much to see prayer more generally[95] practised. We ought to do nothing without prayer. Let us first of all consult the Lord. What says Brother Blum?”

Blum rose and said it was a purely business meeting. He had no doubt it ought to have been opened with prayer. It was an old and salutary practice that came down from the days of the apostles, and Paul recommended it. But as they were now in the midst of business, he thought it would be as wise and as conformable with ancient Christian and saintly practice to go on with their work, and rest satisfied with mental ejaculation, as to inaugurate a formal prayer-meeting.

Esch thought differently; he held that prayer was always in season.

Reudlehuber meekly said that the Scriptures showed there was a time for everything, whence it was plain that prayer might be out of place as well as penitential tears on some occasions. It would not look well for a man to rise up in the midst of a marriage feast and, beating his breast, cry out Mea culpa.

“We have too many prayers in the church,” said Giestfacher, “and not enough of Scripture; that is the trouble with us. Brethren must rise above the weaknesses of the mere pietist. Moses was no pietist; he was a great big, leonine character. We must be broad and liberal in our views; not given to fault-finding nor complaining. Pray whenever you feel like it, and drink when you have a mind to. Noah got drunk. I’d rather be the prodigal son, and indulge in a hearty natural appetite for awhile, than be his cautious, speculating, avaricious brother, who had not soul enough most likely to treat his acquaintances to a pint of wine once in his lifetime. Great men get tipsy. Great nations are bibulous. We are not here to make war on those who drink wine and cultivate the grape, nor are we authorized in making war on weavers because Dives was damned for wearing fine linen. It is our mission to spread the Scriptures. The world wants light. He is a benefactor of mankind who puts two rays where there was only one before.”

“Let us hear your plans, Brother Giestfacher,” cried out a number of voices simultaneously.

In response, Brother Giestfacher stated that there were no plans necessary. All that was to be done was to circulate the Scriptures. Let us get one hundred thousand sheets of vellum to begin with, and set a hundred scriveners to work transcribing copies of the Bible, and then distribute these copies among the people.

The plan was plain and simple and magnificent, Braunn thought, but there were not ten thousand sheets of vellum in the town nor in the whole district, and much of that would be required for civil uses; besides, the number of sheep in the neighborhood had been so reduced by the recent war that vellum would be scarce and costly for ten years to come.

Werner lamented the irremediable condition of the world when the free circulation of the word of God depended on the number of sheep, and the number of sheep was regulated by war, and war by the ambition, jealousy, or pride of princes.

“It is painfully true,” said Heuck, “that the world stands in sad need of reform, if souls are to be rescued from their spiritual perils only by the means proposed in the magnificent sheep-skin scheme of Brother[96] Giestfacher.” It was horrible to think that the immortal part of man was doomed to perish, to be snuffed out, as it were, in eternal darkness, because soldiers had an unholy appetite for mutton.

Braunn said the work could be started on three or four thousand hides, and ere they were used up a new supply might arrive from some unexpected quarter.

Esch said that they ought to have faith; the Hand that fed the patriarch in the desert would provide vellum if he was prayerfully besought for assistance. He would be willing to commence on one sheet, feeling convinced there would be more than enough in the end.

Blum did not take altogether so sanguine a view of things as Brother Esch. He was especially dubious about that vellum supply; not that he questioned the power of Providence at all, but it struck him that it would be just as well and as easy for the society to prayerfully ask for an ample supply of ready-made Bibles as to expect a miracle in prepared sheep-skin; and he was still further persuaded that if the books were absolutely necessary to one’s salvation, they would be miraculously given. But he did not put the movement on that ground. It is very easy for men, and particularly idiotic men, to convince themselves that God will answer all their whims and caprices by the performance of a miracle. We are going upon the theory that the work is good, just as it is good to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. We expect to find favor in heaven because we endeavor to do a work of charity according to our honest impression.

“How many persons,” inquired Heuck, “do you propose to supply with complete copies of the Scriptures?”

“Every one in the district,” replied Giestfacher.

“Brother Dusch,” continued Heuck, “how many heads of families are there in the district? Your abbot had the census taken a few month’s ago, while you were yet in grace and favor at the monastery.”

Brother Dusch said he heard there were twenty-two thousand from the Drachenfels to within six miles of Cologne, but all of them could not read.

“We will send out,” said Giestfacher enthusiastically, “an army of colporteurs, who will distribute and read at the same time.”

“I perceive,” said Blum, “that this discussion will never stop. New avenues of thought and new mountains of objection are coming to view at every advance in the debate. Let us do something first, and talk afterwards. To supply twenty-two thousand persons with expensive volumes will require considerably more than mere resolves and enthusiasm. I propose that we buy up all the vellum in the city to-day, and that we all go security for the payment. I propose also that we employ Brothers Braunn, Schwartz, Werner, and Reudlehuber to commence transcribing, and that we all go security for their pay. Unless we begin somewhere, we can never have anything done. What says Brother Giestfacher?”

Giestfacher said it did not become men of action, reformers who proposed to turn over the world and inaugurate a new era and a new life and a new law, to stop at trifles or to consider petty difficulties. The design that had been developed at that meeting contemplated a sweeping change. Instead of having[97] a few books, here and there, at every church, cathedral, monastery, and market-place, learnedly and laboriously expounded by saints of a thousand austerities and of penitential garb, every house would be supplied, and there should be no more destitution in the land. The prophecies and the gospels and the mysteries of revelation would be on the lips of sucking babes, and the people who stood at the street-corners and at the marts of trade, the tiller of the soil, the pedler, the sailor, the old soldier, and the liberated prisoner, together with the man who sold fish and the woman who sold buttermilk, would stand up and preach the Gospel and display a mission, schoolboys would discuss the contents of that book freely, and even the inmates of lunatic asylums would expound it with luminous aptitude and startling fancy. The proposition of Brother Blum met his entire approval. He would pledge everything he had, and risk even life itself, to start the new principle, so that the world might bask in sunshine and not in shadow. It was about time that men had their intellects brightened up some. Even in the days of the apostles those pious men did not do their whole duty. They labored with much assiduity and conscientiousness, but they neglected to adopt measures looking to the spread of the Scriptures. He had no doubt but they fell a long way short of their mission, and were now enduring the pangs of a peck of purgatorial coal for their remissness. There were good men who perhaps found heaven without interesting themselves in the multiplication of copies of the Bible. They were not called to that work; but what was to be thought of those who had the call, the power, the skill, and yet neglected to spread the word. He believed SS. Gregory Nazianzen, Athanasius, Jerome, Chrysostom, Augustine, and others of those early doctors of the church, had a fearful account to render for having neglected the Scriptures. S. Paul, too, was not free from censure. It was true he wrote a few things, but he took no thought of multiplying copies of his epistles.

“How many copies,” inquired Heuck, “do you think S. Paul ought to have written of his letters before you would consider him blameless?”

“He ought,” said Giestfacher, “to have written all the time instead of making tents. ‘How many copies’ is a professional question which I will leave the scriveners to answer. I may remark that it would evidently be unprofitable for us to enter on a minute and detailed discussion on that point here. It is our duty to supplement the shortcomings of those early workers in the field, and finish what they failed to accomplish. They were bound to give the new principle a fair start. The plan suggested was the best, simplest, and clearest, and he hoped every one of the brethren would give it a hearty and cordial support.”

The principle of communism, or the right of communities to govern themselves in certain affairs and to carry on free trade with certain other communities, had been granted the previous century, and Bonn was one of the towns that enjoyed the privilege; but the people still respected religion and did no trafficking on holydays. Giestfacher could not therefore purchase the vellum on Corpus Christi, but had to wait till next day, at which[98] time he could not conveniently find the other members of the new Bible society, and, fearing that news of their project would get abroad and raise the price of the article he wanted, he hastened to the various places where it was kept for sale, and bought all of it up in the course of two hours, paying his own money in part and giving his bond for the balance. The parchment was delivered to the four scriveners, who gathered their families about them, and all the assistants (journeymen) that could be found in the town, and proceeded with the transcribing of the Bible. At the next meeting each scrivener reported that he had about half a book ready, that the work was going rapidly and smoothly forward, and that the scribes were enthusiastic at the prospect of brisk business and good pay. The report was deemed very encouraging. It went to show that the society could have four Bibles every two weeks, or about one hundred a year, and that in the course of two hundred and twenty years every head of a family in the district could be provided with a Bible of his own. The scriveners stated, moreover, that they had neglected their profane business, for which they could have got cash, to proceed in the sacred work, and as there were several people depending on them for means of living, a little money would be absolutely necessary with the grace of God.

Giestfacher also stated that he spent all the money he had in part payment for the parchment, and pledged his property for the balance. His business was somewhat crippled already in consequence of the outlay, and he expected to have part of the burden assumed by every one of the society.

Werner said he had fifteen transcribers working for him, and each one agreed to let one-third of the market value of his work remain in the hands of the society as a subscription to the good work, but the other two-thirds would have to be paid weekly, as they could not live without means. They were all poor, and depending solely on their skill in transcribing for a living.

The debate was long, earnest, eloquent, and more or less pious.

Blum made a motion that the bishop of the diocese and the Pope be made honorary members of the society. Giestfacher opposed this with eloquent acrimony, saying it was a movement outside of all sorts of church patronage; that it was designed to supersede churches and preaching; for when every man had the Bible he would be a church unto himself, and would not need any more teaching. He also had a resolution adopted pledging each and every member to constitute himself a colporteur of the Bible, and to read and peddle it in sun and rain; and it was finally settled that a subscription should be taken up; that each member of the society be constituted a collector, and proceed at once to every man who loved the Lord and gloried in the Gospel to get his contribution.

At the next meeting the brethren were all present except Dusch, who was reported as an absconder with the funds he had collected, and was said to be at that moment in Cologne, drunk perhaps. Four complete Bibles were presented as the result of two weeks’ hard labor and pious effort and the aggregate production of forty-five writers. The financial reports on the whole were favorable; and the scriveners were provided with sufficient means and encouragement to begin another set[99] of four Bibles. Brother Giestfacher was partially secured in his venture for the parchment, while it was said that the article had doubled in price during the past fortnight, and very little of it could be got from Cologne, as there was a scarcity of it there also, coupled with an extraordinary demand. It was also stated that the monks at the monastery had to erase the works of Virgil in order to find material for making a copy of the homilies of S. John Chrysostom which was wanted for the Bishop of Metz. In like manner, it was decided to erase the histories of Labanius and Zozirnus, as being cheaper than procuring original parchment on which to transcribe a fine Greek copy of the whole Bible, to take the place of one destroyed by the late war. The heavy purchase that Brother Giestfacher had made created a panic in the vellum market that was already felt in the heart of Burgundy. The scriveners’ business had also experienced a revulsion. People of the world who wanted testamentary and legal documents, deeds, contracts, and the like properly engrossed, were offering fabulous sums to have the work done, as most of the professionals of that class were now engaged by the society, and had no time to do any other sort of writing. A debate sprung up as to the proper disposition to be made of the four Bibles on hand, and also as to the manner of beginning and conducting the distribution. In view of the demand for the written word, and of the scarcity of copies and the high price of parchment, it was suggested by Heuck to sell them, and divide the proceeds among the poor and the cripples left after the late war. Five hundred dollars each could be readily got for the books, he said, and it was extremely doubtful whether those who would get them as gifts from the society would resist the temptation of selling them to the first purchaser that came along. In addition to this heavy reason in favor of his line of policy, Heuck suggested the possibility of trouble arising when they should come to grapple with the huge difficulties of actual distribution; to give one of those volumes, he said, would be like giving an estate and making a man wealthy for life.

Giestfacher said it would be impracticable to make any private distribution among the destitute for some time. The guilds of coopers, tailors, shoemakers, armorers, fullers, tanners, masons, artificers, and others should be first supplied; and in addition to the Bible kept chained in the market-place for all who wished to read, he would have one placed at the town-pump and one at the town-house, so that the thirsty might also drink the waters of life, and those who were seeking justice at the court might ascertain the law of God before going in.

Blum said another collection would have to be raised to erect a shed over the Bibles that were proposed to be placed at the town-pump and at the town-house and to pay for suitable chains and clasps to secure them from the depredations of the pilfering.

Esch was of opinion that another subscription could not be successfully taken up until their work had produced manifest fruit for good. The people have much faith, but when they find salt mixed with their drink instead of honey, credulity is turned into disgust. A Bible chained to the town-pump will be a sad realization of their extravagant hopes. Every man[100] who subscribed five dollars expects to get a book worth five hundred, an illuminated Bible fit for a cathedral church. He warned them that they were getting into a labyrinth, and that they would have to resort to prayer yet to carry them through in safety. Werner thought it would be wisest to pursue a quiescent policy for some time, and to forego the indulgence of their anxious desire for palpable results until they should be in a condition to make an impression. He advocated the wisdom of delay. They also serve, he said, who only stand and wait, and it might prove an unwise proceeding to come out with their public exhibition just then. In a few months, when thirty or forty Bibles would be on hand, a larger number than could be found in any library in the world, they might hope, by the show of so much labor, to create enthusiasm.

“But still,” urged Heuck, “you will have the difficulty to contend with—who is to get them?”

“There will,” remarked Blum, “be a greater difficulty to contend with about that time: the settlement of obligations for parchment and the pay of the scriveners who are employed in transcribing. Our means at present, even if we pay the scriveners but one-third their wages, will not suffice to bring out twenty volumes. So we are just in this difficulty: in order to do something, we must have means, and in order to get means, we must do something. It is a sort of vicious circle projected from logic into finance. It will take the keen-edged genius of Brother Giestfacher to cut this knot.”

“The work,” said Giestfacher, “in which we are engaged is of such merit that it will stand of itself. I have no fears of ultimate triumph. If you all fail, God and I will carry it on. Heaven is in it. I am in it. It must succeed. I am a little oldish, I confess, but there is twenty years of work in me still. I feel my foot sufficiently sure to tread the perilous path of this adventure to the goal.”

“Let us,” interposed Schwartz, “stop this profitless debate, and give a cheer to Brother Giestfacher. He is the blood and the bone of this movement. We are in with him. We are all in the same boat. If we have discovered a pusillanimous simpleton among us, it is not too late to cast him out. I feel my gorge and my strength rise together, and I swear to you by S. Remigius, brethren, that I am prepared to sink or swim, and whoever attempts to scuttle the ship shall himself perish first.”

Two or three other brethren, feeling the peculiar inspiration of the moment, rose up and, stamping their feet on the floor, proclaimed their adherence to the principles of the society, and vowed to see it through to the end.

This meeting then adjourned.

There is no minute of any subsequent meeting to be found among the manuscripts that I have consulted, but I discovered a statement made by Heuck, dated six months later, who, being called before the municipal authorities to testify what he knew about certain transactions of a number of men that had banded themselves together secretly for the purpose of creating a panic in the vellum market, and of disturbing the business of the scriveners, said he was one of fourteen citizens interested in the promulgation of the Gospel free to the poor. That, after five or six meetings, he left the society in company with two others; that two of[101] the members became obnoxious, and were expelled—the one, Dusch, for embezzling money collected for Scripture-writing and Scripture-diffusing purposes, the other, Werner, for having retained one of their volumes, and disposed of it to the lord of Drachenfels for four hundred dollars; that they did not pursue and prosecute these delinquents for fear of bringing reproach on the project; and then he went on to state: “I left the society voluntarily and in disgust. We had fourteen Bibles on hand, but could not agree about their distribution. They were too valuable to give away for nothing, and it was discovered that they were all written in Latin, and not in the vernacular, and they would prove of as little value to the great mass of people for whom they were originally designed as if they had been written in Hebrew. In addition to this I found, for I understand the language perfectly, that no two of them were alike, and, in conjunction with scrivener Schwartz, I minutely examined one taken at random from the pile, and compared it with the volume at the Cathedral. We found fifteen hundred discrepancies. In some places whole sentences were left out. In others, words were made to express a different sense from the original. In others, letters were omitted or put in redundantly, in such a way as to change the meaning; and the grammatical structure was villanously bad. Seeing that the volumes were of no use as a representation of the word of God, and being conscientiously convinced that the books contained poison for the people instead of medicine, I made a motion in meeting to have them all burned. Schwartz opposed it on the ground that they were innoxious anyhow, there being none of the common people capable of understanding the language in which they were written, and, though they were a failure as Bibles, the vellum might be again used; and as the scriveners were not paid for their labor, they had a claim upon the volumes. The scriveners got the books, to which, in my opinion, they had no just claim, for the villanous, bad work they did on them deserved censure and not pay. I have heard since that some of those scriveners made wealth by selling the books to Englishmen for genuine and carefully prepared transcripts from authorized texts. The president and founder of the society, Giestfacher, is now in jail for debt, he having failed to meet his obligations for the vellum he purchased when he took it into his head to enlighten mankind—more especially that portion of it that dwells on the Rhine adjacent to the city of Bonn—by distributing corrupt copies of Latin Bibles to poor people who are not well able to read their own language. The ‘good work’ still occupies the brains and energies of three or four enthusiasts, who have already arrived at the conclusion that the apostles were in league with hell to keep the people ignorant, because they did not give every man a copy of the Bible. The founder sent me a letter two days ago, in which he complains of being deserted by his companions in his extremity. His creditors have seized on all his goods, and there is a considerable sum yet unpaid. He blames the Pope and the bishop in unmeasured terms for this; says it is a conspiracy to keep the Bible from the people. He sees no prospect of being released unless the members of the society come to his speedy relief. The principles, he[102] says, for which he suffers will yet triumph. The time will come when Bibles will be multiplied by some cheap and easy process. Until then, the common run of humanity must be satisfied to be damned, drawing what little consolation they may from the expectation that their descendants a few centuries hence will enjoy the slim privilege of reading Bibles prepared with as little regard to accuracy as these were. I am sorry to see such a noble intellect as Giestfacher undoubtedly possesses show signs of aberration. The entire failure of his project was more than he could bear. He had centred his hopes upon it. He indulged dreams of fame and greatness arising out of the triumph of his idea. Esch has become an atheist. He says the Christian’s God would not have given a book to be the guide and dependence of man for salvation, and yet allow nature, an inferior creation, to interpose insuperable barriers to its promulgation. Every time a sheep-skin is destroyed, says Esch, a community is damned. The dearness and scarcity of parchment keep the world in ignorance. Braunn says the world cannot be saved except by a special revelation to every individual, for there is hardly a copy of the Bible without errors, so that whether every human creature got one or not, they would be still unsafe. One of the common herd must learn Latin and Greek and Hebrew well, and then spend a lifetime tracing up, through all its changes, transcriptions, and corruptions of idiom, one chapter, or at most one book, and die before he be fully assured of the soundness of one text, a paragraph, a line, a word. In fact, says Braunn, there can be no certainty about anything. Language may have had altogether a different meaning twelve hundred years ago to what it has now. Braunn and Schwartz and myself wanted to have a committee of five of our number appointed to revise and correct the text of each book that was produced by comparing it with such Greek and Hebrew copies as were represented of sound and correct authority; but Giestfacher laughed at us, saying we knew nothing of Greek or Hebrew; that we would have to hire some monks to do the job for us, which would be going back again to the very places and principles and practices against which we had revolted and protested. Moreover, continued Giestfacher, we cannot tell whether the oldest, most original copies that can be found are true in every particular. How can we know from any sort of mere human testimony that this copy or that is in accordance with what the prophets and apostles wrote. The whole Bible may be wrong as far as our knowledge, as such, is able to testify. We are reduced to faith in this connection and must rest on that alone.

“I thought, and so did Schwartz, that the faith of Giestfacher must be peculiar when it could accept copies as good enough and true enough after we had discovered hundreds of palpable and grievous errors in them. A book of romance would do a person of Giestfacher’s temper as well as the Bible—faith being capable of making up for all deficiencies. I saw that an extravagance of credulity, called faith, on the part of Giestfacher, led to monomania; and a predominance of irrational reason on the part of Esch had led to utter negation. I did not covet either condition, and I concluded to remain safe at anchor where I had been before, rather than longer follow those adventurers[103] in a wild career after a fancied good—a mere phantom of their own creation. I lost twenty-five dollars by the temporary madness. That cannot be recalled. I rejoice that I lost no more, and I am grateful that the hallucination which lasted nearly a year has passed away without any permanent injury.”

The remainder of Heuck’s statement had partially faded from the parchment by time and dampness, and could not be accurately made out. Sufficient was left visible, however, to show that he expressed a desire to be held excusable for whatever injuries to souls might result from the grave errors that existed in the Bibles disseminated by the cupidity of the scriveners with the guilty knowledge of such errors.

I interested myself in rescuing from oblivion such parts of the record of those curious mediæval transactions as served to show to the people of later times what extraordinary mental and religious activity existed in those ages, when it was foolishly and stupidly thought there were but henchmen and slaves on the one side, and bloody mailed despots on the other. The arrogance of more favored epochs has characterized those days by the epithet of “dark.” Pride is apt to be blind. The characterization is unjust. All the lights of science could not come in one blaze. The people of those days looked back upon a period anterior to their own as “dark,” and those looked still further backward upon greater obscurity, as they thought. The universal boastfulness of man accounts for this increasing obscurity as we reach back into antiquity. Philosophers and poets and men of learning, thinking themselves, and wishing to have other people think them, above personal egotism, adopted the method of praising their age, and thus indirectly eulogizing, themselves; and as they could not compare their times with the future of which they knew nothing, they naturally fell into the unfilial crime of drawing disparaging comparisons with their fathers. There is an inclination, too, in the imperfection of human nature to belittle what is remote and magnify what is near at hand. Even now, men as enthusiastic and conscientious and religious as Heuck and Giestfacher and Schwartz find themselves surrounded by the same difficulties, and as deeply at a loss to advance a valid reason for their revolt and their protest.



In one of his bold Apologies[9] the great African writer Tertullian said to the rulers of the Roman Empire that “it was one and the same thing for the truth [of Christianity] to be announced to the world, and for the world to hate and persecute it.” This persecution of the church began on the very spot that was her birth-place; for soon after the ascension of our Lord the wicked Jews tried by every means to crush her. “From the days of the apostles,” wrote Tertullian in the IIId century, “the synagogue has been a source of persecutions.” At first the church was attacked by words only; but these were soon replaced by weapons, when Stephen was stoned, the apostles were thrown into prison and scourged, and all the East had risen in commotion against the Christians. The Gentiles soon followed the example of the Jews, and those persecutions which bore an official character throughout the Roman Empire, and lasted for three centuries, are commonly called the Ten General Persecutions. Besides these, there were partial persecutions at all times in some part or other of the empire. Nero, whose name is synonymous with cruelty, was the first emperor to begin a general persecution of the Christians; and Tertullian made a strong point in his favor when he cried out to the people (Apol. v.), saying, “That our troubles began at such a source, we glory; for whoever has studied his nature knows well that nothing but what is good and great was ever condemned by Nero.” This persecution began in the year 64, and lasted four years. Its pretext was the burning of Rome, the work of the emperor himself, who ambitiously desired, when he would have rebuilt the city and made it still more grand, to call it by his own name; but the plan not succeeding, he tried to avert the odium of the deed from his own person, and accused the Christians. Their extermination was decreed. The pagan historian Tacitus has mentioned, in his Annals (xv. 44), some of the principal torments inflicted on the Christians. He says that they were covered with the skins of wild beasts and torn to pieces by savage hounds, were crucified, were burned alive, and that some, being coated with resinous substances, were put up in the imperial garden at night to serve as human torches. The Roman Martyrology makes a special commemoration, on the 24th of June, of these martyrs for having all been disciples of the apostles and the firstlings of the Christian flock which the church in Rome presented to the Lord. In this persecution S. Peter was crucified with his head downwards; S. Paul was beheaded; and among the other more illustrious victims we find S. Mark the Evangelist, S. Thecla, the first martyr of her sex, SS. Gervase and Protase at Milan, S. Vitalis at Ravenna, and S. Polycetus at Saragossa in Spain. The number of the slain, and the hitherto unheard-of[105] cruelties practised upon them, moved to pity many of the heathen, and the sight of so much fortitude for a principle of religion was the means, through divine grace, of many conversions. After this, as after every succeeding persecution, the great truth spoken by Tertullian was exemplified: that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of Christians.

By a law of the empire, which was not revoked until nearly three hundred years afterwards, under Constantine, the profession of the Christian religion was made a capital offence. This law, it is true, was not enforced at all times, especially under benign or indifferent rulers; but it hung continually suspended over the heads of the Christians like a sword of Damocles.

The second persecution was that of Domitian, from 94 to 96. Tertullian calls him “a portion of Nero by his cruelty.” At first he only imposed heavy fines upon the wealthy Christians; but, thirsting for blood, he soon published more cruel edicts against them. Among his noblest victims were his cousin-german, Flavius Clemens, a man of consular dignity; John the Evangelist, who was thrown into a caldron of boiling oil (from which, however, he miraculously escaped unhurt); Andrew the Apostle, Dionysius the Areopagite, and Onesimus, S. Paul’s convert. Hegesippus, quoted by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History, has recorded a very interesting fact about the children of Jude, surnamed Thaddeus in the Gospel, telling us that, having confessed the faith under this reign, they were always honored in the church of Jerusalem, not alone as martyrs, but as relatives of Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

The third persecution was Trajan’s, from 97 to 116. In answer to a letter from his friend Pliny the Younger, who had command in Asia Minor, the emperor ordered that the Christians were not to be sought out, but that, if accused, and they remained obstinate in their faith, they were to be put to death. Under an appearance of mercy a large field was opened for the cruelty and exactions of Roman officials, which they were not slow to work. A single circumstance attests the severity of the persecution. This was that the Tiberian governor of Palestine wrote to the emperor complaining of the odious duty imposed upon him, since the Christians were forthcoming in greater numbers than he could, without tiring, have executed. The persecution was particularly severe in the East. Simeon, bishop of Jerusalem, Ignatius of Antioch, and the virgin Domitilla, who was related to three emperors, are among the more illustrious martyrs of the period.

Next came the persecution of Hadrian, lasting from 118 to about 129. We have the authority of S. Jerome for saying that it was very violent. This emperor was a coward and, perhaps as a consequence, intensely superstitious. One of his particular grievances against the Christians was that they professed a religion in which he had no share. Under him perished, with countless others, Pope Alexander I. and his priests, Eventius and Theodulus; Eustace, a celebrated general, with his wife and little children; Symphorosa and her seven sons; Zoe, with her husband and two children.

The fifth was the persecution of Marcus Aurelius. Although he was by nature well inclined, he was certainly the author of much innocent bloodshed, which may be in part ascribed to the powerful influence[106] of the so-called philosophers whose company and tone he affected. The persecution raged most severely among the Gauls; and elsewhere we find the illustrious names of Justin the great Apologist, Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, and Felicitas and her seven children.

Followed the persecution of Septimius Severus, which lasted from 200 to 211, and was so extremely violent that many Christians believed Antichrist had come. It reaped from the church such distinguished persons as Pope Victor at Rome; Leonidas, father of the great Origen, at Alexandria; Irenæus and companions at Lyons; Perpetua and Felicitas in Mauritania. Egypt was particularly rich in holy martyrs.

After this one came the persecution of Maximinus, from 235 to 237. It was in the beginning more especially directed against the sacred ministers of the church. Several popes were put to death; and among the inferior clergy we find the deacon Ambrose, who was the bosom friend of Origen and one of his principal assistants in his work on the Holy Scriptures.

The persecution of Decius lasted from 249 to 251. The Christians, in spite of all repressive measures, had steadily increased in numbers; but this emperor thought to do what his predecessors had failed in, and was hardly seated on the throne before he published most cruel edicts against them. Among the more celebrated names of this persecution are those of Popes Fabian and Cornelius; Saturninus, first bishop of Toulouse; Babylas, bishop of Antioch; the famous Christopher in Lycia, about whom there is a beautiful legend; and the noble virgin Agatha in Sicily. The great scholar Origen was put to the torture during this persecution, but escaped death. Like Maximinus, this emperor singled out the heads of the various local churches, the most active and learned ministers, the highest of both sexes in the social scale, aiming less at the death than the apostasy of Christians, hoping in this way to destroy the faith; whence S. Cyprian laments in one of his epistles that the Christians suffer atrocious torments without the final consolation of martyrdom. One effect of this persecution was of immense benefit to the church in the East; for S. Paul, surnamed First Hermit, took refuge from the storm in Upper Egypt, where he peopled by his example the region around Thebes with those holy anchorites since called the Fathers of the Desert.

The ninth persecution was that of Valerian, who, although at first favorable to the Christians, became one of their greatest opposers at the instigation of their sworn enemy, Marcian. At this date we find upon the list of martyrs the eminent names of Popes Stephen and Sixtus II., Lawrence the Roman deacon, and Cyprian, the great convert and bishop of Carthage.

The persecution of Diocletian was the last and the bloodiest of all. It raged from 303 to 310. Maximian, the emperor’s colleague, had already put to death many Christians, and among others, on the 22d of September, 286, Maurice and his Theban legion, before the persecution became general throughout the Roman Empire. It began in this form at Nicomedia on occasion of a fire that consumed a part of the imperial palace, and which was maliciously ascribed to the Christians; and it is remarkable[107] that the two extreme persecutions of the early church should both have begun with a false charge of incendiarism. Diocletian used to sit upon his throne at Nicomedia, watching the death-pangs of his Christian subjects who were being burned, not singly, but in great crowds. Many officers and servants of his household perished, and, to distinguish them from the rest, they were dropped into the sea with large stones fastened about their necks. A special object of the persecutors was to destroy the churches and tombs of earlier martyrs, to seize the vessels used in the Holy Sacrifice, and to burn the liturgical books and the Holy Scriptures. The Roman Martyrology makes a particular mention on the 2d of January of those who suffered death rather than deliver up these books to the tyrant. Although innumerable copies of the Scriptures perished, not a few were saved, and new copies multiplied either by favor of the less stringent executors of the law, or because the privilege was bought by the faithful at a great price. Some years ago the German Biblical critic Tischendorf discovered on Mount Sinai a Greek codex of extraordinary antiquity and only two removes from an original of Origen. It is connected with one of the celebrated martyrs of this persecution, and bears upon what we have just said of the Sacred Scriptures. In this codex, at the end of the Book of Esther, there is a note attesting that the copy was collated with a very ancient manuscript that had itself been corrected by the hand of the blessed martyr Pamphilus, priest of Cæsarea in Palestine, while in prison, assisted by Antoninus, his fellow-prisoner, who read for him from a copy of the Hexapla of Origen, which had been revised by that author himself. The touching spectacle of these two men, both of whom gave their blood for the faith, occupied, in the midst of the inconveniences, pain, and weariness of captivity, in transcribing good copies of the Bible, is one of the many instances, discovered in every age, showing the care that the church has had to multiply and guard from error the holy written Word of God.

Among the petty sources of annoyance during this persecution, was the difficulty of procuring food, drink, or raiment that had not been offered to idols; for the pagan priests had set up statues of their divinities in all the market-places, hostelries, and shops, and at the private and public fountains. They used also to go around city and country sprinkling with superstitious lustral water the gardens, vineyards, orchards, and fields, so as to put the Christians to the greatest straits to obtain anything that had not been polluted in this manner. We learn from the Acts of S. Theodotus, a Christian tradesman of Ancyra, the obstacles he had to surmount at this time to procure pure bread and wine to be used by the priests in the Mass. We can appreciate the intense severity of this persecution in many ways; but one of the most singular proofs of it is that pagans in Spain inscribed upon a marble monument, erected in Diocletian’s honor, that he had abolished the very name of Christian. This emperor had also the rare but unenviable privilege of giving his name to a new chronological period, called by the pagans, in compliment to his bloody zeal for their rites, the Era of Diocletian; but the Christians called it the Era of the Martyrs. It began[108] on the 29th of August, 284, and was long in use in Egypt and Abyssinia. Some of the more renowned victims of this persecution are Sebastian, an imperial officer; Agnes, a Roman virgin; Lucy, a virgin of Syracuse, and the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste.

It may be interesting to note briefly the chief causes of so much cruel bloodshed, even under princes of undoubted moderation in the general government of affairs, as were Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Antoninus the Pious, and a few others.

The most continual, if not the deepest, source of persecution were the passions of the populace. Calumny of the subtlest and most popular kind, and pressed at all times with patient effort, had so inflamed the minds of the brutal lower classes that only a word or a sign was required to set them upon the Christians. These were called disloyal to the empire, unfriendly to the princes, of a foreign religion, people who refused to fall into the ways of the majority, and enemies of the human race. From the remains of ancient histories, from the Acts of martyrs, from pagan inscriptions, and from other sources, more than fifty-seven different opprobrious qualifications, applied to the Christians as a body, have been counted up. But when particular calumnies became any way stale, the Christians could always be accused as the cause of every calamity that befell the state; so that, in the words of Tertullian (Apol. xl.), “If the Tiber exceeded its limits, if the Nile did not rise to irrigate the fields, if the rain failed to fall, if the earth quaked, if famine or pestilence scourged the land, at once the cry was raised, Christians to the lions!”

The next most constant source of trouble was the pernicious influence of the Philosophers—a set of men who pretended to be seekers after wisdom, and distinguished themselves from the vulgar by a certain style of dress. Puffed up as they were with their own knowledge, nothing irritated their pride so much as that men of the despised Christian class should presume to dispute their doctrines and teach that profane philosophy was naught, since man could not be made perfect by human wisdom, but only by the testimony of Christ who was crucified. Among the Christians, too, a special order of men whom we call Apologists, and among whom we count Justin, Tertullian, Tatian, Arnobius, Minutius Felix, Origen, Aristides, Quadratus, Athenagoras, and Miltiades the chief, exposed in their eloquent writings the vanity, contradictions, and vices of their opponents, succeeding sometimes in silencing false accusations, and even in arresting the course of persecution. Their apologies and memorials form one of the most instructive branches of early Christian literature, and are a considerable compensation for the loss of so many Acts of martyrs and other venerable documents destroyed by the pagans or which have otherwise perished.

The third great cause of persecution was found (to use a comparatively modern word) in the Erastianism of the Roman Empire. The emperor was, by right of the purple, high-pontiff, and no religion was recognized that did not profess its existence and authority dependent upon the state. Naturally, a religion whose followers would reply to every iniquitous command, “We ought to obey God rather than men,” could expect no mercy, but only continual war.


Sometimes the Christians were put to death in the same manner as the common malefactors, such as by decapitation, crucifixion, or scourging; sometimes in the manner reserved for particular classes of criminals, as being hurled down a precipice, drowned, devoured by wild beasts, left to starve. But sometimes, also, the exquisite cruelty of the persecutors delighted to feed upon the sufferings of its victims, and make dying as long and painful as possible. Thus, there are innumerable examples of Christians being flayed alive, the skin being neatly cut off in long strips, and pepper or vinegar rubbed into the raw flesh; or slowly crushed between two large stones; or having molten lead poured down the throat. Some Christians were tied to stakes in the ground and gored to death by wild bulls, or thinly smeared with honey and exposed under a broiling sun to the insects which would be attracted; some were tied to the tails of vicious horses and dragged to pieces some were sewed up in sacks with vipers, scorpions, or other venomous things, and thrown into the water; some had their members violently torn from the trunk of the body; some were tortured by fire in ways almost unknown to the most savage Indians of America; some were slowly scourged to death with whips made of several bronze chainlets, at the extremity of each of which was a jagged bullet; while jerking out of the teeth in slow succession; cutting off the nose, ears, lips, and breasts; tearing of the flesh with hot pincers; sticking sharp sticks up under the finger-nails; being held suspended, head downward, over a smoking fire; stretching upon a rack, and breaking upon the wheel, were some only of the commonest tortures that preceded the final death-stroke by sword or lance. Many instruments used in tormenting the martyrs have been found at different times, and are now carefully preserved in collections of Christian antiquities; and from these, from early-written descriptions, and from the rude representations on the tombs of martyrs in the Catacombs, it is known positively that over one hundred different modes of torture were used upon the Christians.

From the earliest period particular pains were taken by the pastors of the church to have the remains of the martyrs collected and some account of their sufferings consigned to letters; and Pope S. Clement, a disciple of the Apostle Peter, instituted a college of notaries, one for each of the seven ecclesiastical districts into which he had divided Rome, with the special charge of collecting with diligence all the information possible about the martyrs. They were not to pass over even the minutest circumstances of their confession of faith and death. This attendance on the last moments of the martyrs was often accompanied by great personal risk, or at least a heavy expense in the way of buying the good-will of venal officers; but it was a thing of the utmost importance, in view of the church’s doctrine concerning the veneration and invocation of saints, that nothing should be left undone which prudence would suggest to leave it beyond a doubt that the martyrs had confessed the true faith, and had suffered death for the faith. The pagans soon discovered the value that was set upon such documents, and very many of them were seized and destroyed. The fact that the Act[110] of the martyrs were objects of careful search is so well attested—as is also the other fact, that an immense number perished—that it is a wonder and a grace of divine Providence how any, however few comparatively, have come down to us. It has been calculated that at least five million Christians—men, women, and children—were put to death for the faith during the first three centuries of the church.

The French historian Ampère has very justly remarked that amidst the moral decay of the Roman Empire, when all else was lust and despotism, the Christians alone saved the dignity of human nature; and the Spaniard Balmes, when treating of the progress of individuality under the influence of Catholicity (European Civilization, ch. xxiii.), remarks that it was the martyrs who first gave the great example of proclaiming that “the individual should cease to acknowledge power when power exacts from him what he believes to be contrary to his conscience.” The patience of the martyrs rebuked the sensualism of the pagans; and their fearless assertions that matters of conscience are beyond the jurisdiction of any civil ruler proved them to be the best friends of human liberty; while their constancy and number during three hundred years of persecution, that only ceased with their triumph, is one of the solid arguments to prove that the Catholic Church has a divine origin, and a sustaining divinity within her.

“A milk-white Hind, immortal and unchang’d,
Fed on the lawns, and in the forest rang’d;
Without unspotted, innocent within,
She fear’d no danger, for she knew no sin:
Yet had she oft been chas’d with horns and hounds,
And Scythian shafts, and many wingèd wounds
Aim’d at her heart; was often forc’d to fly,
And doom’d to death, tho’ fated not to die.”


Unknown, beloved, thou whose shadow lies
Across the sunny threshold of my years;
Whom memory with never-resting eyes
Seeks thro’ the past, but cannot find for tears;
How bitter is the thought that I, thy child,
Remember not the touch, the look, the tone,
Which made my young life thrill—that I alone
Forget the face that o’er my cradle smil’d!
And yet I know that if a sudden light
Reveal’d thy living likeness, I should find
That my poor heart hath pictur’d thee aright.
So I will wait, nor think the lot unkind
That hides thee from me, till I know by sight
The perfect face thro’ love on earth divin’d.



Time and duration are usually considered synonymous, as no duration is perceived by us, except the duration of movement, or of such things as are subject to movement; and such duration is time. But, rigorously speaking, time and duration are not synonymous; for they are to one another in the same relation as place and space. As no place is possible without real absolute space, so no time is possible without real absolute duration; and as place consists of intervals in space, so time consists of intervals in duration. Yet there may be duration independently of time, just as there may be space independent of places; and for this reason the nature of duration must be determined apart from the nature of time. In treating of this subject we shall have to answer a series of questions altogether similar to those which we have answered in treating of space and place. Hence we shall follow the same order and method in our present treatise which we have followed in our articles on space, with this difference, however: that, to avoid useless repetitions, we will omit the development of some of those reasonings which the reader himself can easily transfer from space to duration.

Duration is commonly defined as “the permanence of a being in its actuality”—Permanentia rei in esse. The duration of a being which perseveres in existence without any intrinsic change is called “standing duration”—Duratio stans. The duration of a being which is actually subject to intrinsic mutations is called “flowing duration”—Duratio fluens.

Flowing duration evidently implies succession, and succession involves time; for succession is a relation between something which follows and something which precedes. On the other hand, time also involves succession; whence it would seem that neither time nor succession can be defined apart from one another, the definition of the latter presupposing that of the former, and that of the former presupposing the notion of the latter. Although we need not be anxious about this point (for time and succession really involve one another, and therefore may well be included under the same definition), we must observe that the notion of succession, though ordinarily applied to duration, extends to other things also whenever they follow one another in a certain order. Thus the crust of the earth is formed by a succession of strata, the Alps by a succession of mountains, the streets of the city by a succession of houses, etc. Hence the notion of succession is more general than the notion of time, and consequently there must be some means of defining it independently of the consideration of time.

Balmes explains succession, without mentioning time, in the following manner: “There are things which exclude one another from the same subject, and there are other things which do not exclude one another from the same subject. The existence of those things which exclude one another implies succession.[112] Take a line ABC. A body placed in A cannot pass over to the place B without ceasing to be in A, because the situation B excludes the situation A, and in a similar manner the situation C excludes the situation B. If, then, notwithstanding this mutual exclusion, the three places are really occupied by the same body, there is succession. This shows that succession is really nothing else than the existence of such things as exclude one another. Hence succession implies the existence of the thing that excludes, and the non-existence of the things that are excluded. All variations involve some such exclusion; hence all variations involve succession.… To perceive the existence of things which exclude one another is to perceive succession and time; to measure it is to measure time.” Thus far Balmes.[10]

But, if the flowing duration can be easily conceived as the existence of such things as exclude one another, the case is very different with regard to standing duration. For, since we measure all duration by time or by successive intervals, we can scarcely conceive that there may be duration without succession. Even the word “permanence” which we employ in the definition of duration, and which seems to exclude all notion of change, is always associated in our thought with succession and time. The difficulty we experience in forming a concept of standing duration is as great at least as that which we find in conceiving absolute space without formal extension and parts. In fact, formal extension is to absolute space what formal succession is to absolute standing duration. To get over this difficulty we shall have to show that there is a duration altogether independent of contingent changes, as there is a space altogether independent of existing bodies, and that the succession which we observe in the duration of created things is not to be found in the fundamental reason of its existence, as our imagination suggests, but only in the changes themselves which we witness in created things.

The following questions are to be answered: Is there any standing duration? and if so, is it an objective reality, or a mere negation of movement? Is standing duration anything created? What sort of reality is it? Is it modified by the existence of creatures? What is a term of duration? What is relative duration? What is an interval of duration, and how is it measured? These questions are all parallel to those which we have answered in our first and second articles on space, and they admit of a similar solution.

First question.—“Is there any duration absolutely standing?” Certainly. For if there is a being whose entity remains always the same without any intrinsic change, its duration will be absolutely standing. But there is such a being. For there is, as we have proved, an infinite reality absolutely immovable and unchangeable—that is, absolute space. Its permanence is therefore altogether exempt from succession; and consequently its duration is absolutely standing.

Again: As there is no movement in space without immovable space, so there is no flowing in duration without standing duration. For as a thing cannot change its ubication in space unless there be a field for real ubications between the initial and the final term of[113] the movement, so a thing cannot change its mode of being (the when) in duration, unless there be a field for real modes of being between the initial and the final term of its duration. Now, this real field, owing to the fact that it is, in both cases, prerequired for the possibility of the respective changes, is something necessarily anterior to, and independent of, any of such changes. Therefore, as the field of all local movements is anterior to all movements and excludes movement from itself, so also the field of all successive durations is anterior to all successivity and therefore excludes succession.

Although these two arguments suffice to establish our conclusion, what we have to say concerning the next question will furnish additional evidence in its support.

Second question.—“Is standing duration an objective reality or a mere abstract conception?” We answer that standing duration is an objective reality as much as absolute space. For, as movement cannot extend in space, if space is nothing real, so movement cannot extend in duration, if the field of its extension is nothing real. But we have just seen that the field through which the duration of movement extends is standing duration. Therefore standing duration is an objective reality.

Secondly, a mere nothing, or a mere fiction, cannot be the foundation of real relations. But standing duration is the foundation of all intervals of real succession, which are real relations. Therefore standing duration is not a fiction, but an objective reality. The major of this argument is well known. The minor is proved thus: In all real relations the terms must communicate with each other through one and the same reality; and therefore the foundation of a real relation must reach by one and the same reality the terms related. But the terms of successive duration are before and after. Therefore the foundation of their relation must reach both before and after with one and the same reality, and therefore it has neither before nor after in itself. Had it before and after in itself, its after would not be its before; and thus the reality by which it would reach the terms of succession would not be the same. It is therefore manifest that the foundation of all real intervals of succession is a reality whose duration ranges above succession.

This proof may be presented more concisely as follows: Succession is a relation between two terms, as past and present. Its foundation must therefore reach all the past as it reaches the present. But what reaches the past as well as the present, is always present; for if it were past, it would be no more, and thus it could not reach the past and the present. Therefore the foundation of succession has no past, but only an invariable present. Therefore there is a real standing duration, a real field, over which successive duration extends.

Thirdly, in all intervals of succession the before is connected with the after through real duration. But this real duration has in itself neither before nor after. For if it had before and after, it would fall under the very genus of relation of which it is the foundation; which is evidently impossible, because it would then be the foundation of its own entity. It is therefore plain that the real connection between the before and the after is made by a reality which transcends all before and all after, and which is nothing[114] else than absolute standing duration.

Fourthly, if standing duration were not an objective reality, but a mere fiction or a mere negation of movement, there would be no real length of duration. For the terms of successive duration are indivisible, and consequently they cannot give rise to any continuous quantity of duration, unless something lies between them which affords a real ground for continuous extension. That the terms of successive duration are indivisible is evident, because the same term cannot be before itself nor after itself, but is wholly confined to an indivisible instant. Now, that according to which an interval of successive duration can be extended from one of these terms to another, is nothing but absolute and standing duration. For, if it were flowing, it would pass away with the passing terms, and thus it would not lie between them, as is necessary in order to supply a ground for the extension of the interval intercepted. In the same manner, therefore, as there cannot be distance between two ubicated points without real absolute space, there cannot be an interval between two terms in succession without real absolute duration.

A fifth proof of the same truth may be drawn from the reality of the past. Historical facts are real facts, although they are all past. There really was a man called Solomon, who really reigned in Jerusalem; there really was a philosopher called Plato, whose sublime doctrines deserved for him the surname of Divine; there really was a man called Attila, surnamed the Scourge of God. These men existed in different intervals of duration, and they are no more; but their past existence and their distinct duration constitute three distinct facts, which are real facts even to the present day, and such will remain for ever. Now, how can we admit that what has wholly ceased to exist in successive duration is still a real and indelible fact, unless we admit that there is an absolute duration which is, even now, as truly united with the past as it is with the present, and to which the past is not past, but perpetually present? If there is no such duration, then all the past must have been obliterated and buried in absolute nothingness; for if the succession of past things extended upon itself alone, without any distinct ground upon which its flowing could be registered, none of past things could have left behind a real mark of their existence.

Against this conclusion some will object that the relation between before and after may be explained by a mere negation of simultaneous existence. But the objection is futile. For the intervals of successive duration can be greater or less, whilst no negation can be greater or less; which shows that the negation of simultaneous existence must not be confounded with the intervals of succession.

The following objection is more plausible. The duration of movement suffices to fill up the whole interval of succession and to measure its extent; and therefore the reality which connects the before with the after is movement itself, not standing duration. To this we answer that the duration of movement is essentially successive and relative; and therefore it requires a real foundation in something standing and absolute. In fact, although every movement formally extends and measures its own duration,[115] nevertheless it does not extend it upon itself, but upon a field extrinsic to itself; and this field is permanently the same. It is plain that the beginning and the end of movement cannot be connected in mutual relation through movement alone, because movement is always in fieri, and when it passes through one term of its duration it loses the actuality it had in the preceding term; so that, when it reaches its last term, it has nothing left of what it possessed in its initial term or in any other subsequent term. This suffices to show that, although the duration of the movement fills up the whole interval, yet, owing to its very successivity, it cannot be assumed as the ground of the relation intervening between its successive terms.

Third question.—“Is absolute and standing duration a created or an uncreated reality?” This question is easily answered; for, in the first place, standing duration is the duration of a being altogether unchangeable; and nothing unchangeable is created. Hence standing duration is an uncreated reality. On the other hand, all that is created is changeable and constantly subject to movement; hence all created (that is, contingent) duration implies succession. Therefore standing duration is not to be found among created realities. Lastly, standing duration, as involving in itself all conceivable past and all possible future, is infinite, and, as forming the ground of all contingent actualities, is nothing less than the formal possibility of infinite terms of real successive duration. But such a possibility can be found in God alone. Therefore the reality of standing duration is in God alone; and we need not add that it must be uncreated.

Fourth question.—“What reality, then, is absolute standing duration?” We answer that this duration is the infinite virtuality or extrinsic terminability of God’s eternity. For nowhere but in God’s eternity can we find the reason of the possibility of infinite terms and intervals of duration. Of course, God’s eternity, considered absolutely ad intra, is nothing else than the immobility of God’s existence; but its virtual comprehension of all possible terms of successive duration constitutes the absolute duration of God’s existence, inasmuch as the word “duration” expresses a virtual extent corresponding to all possible contingent duration; for God’s duration, though formally simultaneous, virtually extends beyond all imaginable terms and intervals of contingent duration. Hence standing duration is the duration of God’s eternity, the first and fundamental ground of flowing duration, the infinite range through which the duration of changeable things extend. In other words, the infinite virtuality of God’s eternity, as equivalent to an infinite length of time, is duration; and as excluding from itself all intrinsic change, is standing duration. This virtuality of God’s eternity is really nothing else than its extrinsic terminability; for eternity is conceived to correspond to all possible differences of time only inasmuch as it can be compared with the contingent terms by which it can be extrinsically terminated.

Secondly, if nothing had been created, there would have been no extrinsic terms capable of extending successive duration; but, since God would have remained in his eternity, there would have remained the reality in which all extrinsic terms of duration have their virtual[116] being; and thus there would have remained, eminently and without formal succession, in God himself the duration of all the beings possible outside of God. For he would certainly not have ceased to exist in all the instants of duration in which creatures have existed; the only change would have been this: that those instants, owing to a total absence of creatures, would have lacked their formal denomination of instants, and their formal successivity. Hence, if nothing had been created, there would have remained infinite real duration without succession, simply because the virtuality of God’s eternity would have remained in all its perfection. It is therefore this virtuality that formally constitutes standing duration.

From this the reader will easily understand that in the concept of standing duration two notions are involved, viz.: that of eternity, as expressing the standing, and that of its virtuality, as connoting virtual extent. In fact, God’s eternity, absolutely considered, is simply the actuality of God’s substance, and, as such, does not connote duration; for God’s substance is not said to endure, but simply to be. The formal reason of duration is derived from the extrinsic terminability of God’s eternity; for the word “duration” conveys the idea of continuation, and continuation implies succession. Hence it is on account of its extrinsic terminability to successive terms of duration that God’s eternity is conceived as equivalent to infinite succession; for what virtually contains in itself all possible terms and intervals of succession virtually contains in itself all succession, and can co exist, without intrinsic change, with all the changes of contingent duration. Balmes, after defining succession as the existence of such things as exclude one another, very properly remarks: “If there were a being which neither excluded any other being nor were excluded by any of them, that being would co-exist with all beings. Now, one such being exists, viz.: God, and God alone. Hence theologians do but express a great and profound truth when they say (though not all, perhaps, fully understand what they say) that God is present to all times; that to him there is no succession, no before or after; that to him everything is present, is Now.”[11]

We conclude that standing duration is infinite, all-simultaneous, independent of all contingent things, indivisible, immovable, formally simple and unextended, but equivalent to infinite intervals of successive duration, and virtually extending through infinite lengths. This duration is absolute.

Fifth question.—“Does the creation of a contingent being in absolute duration cause any intrinsic change in standing duration?” The answer is not doubtful; for we have already seen that standing duration is incapable of intrinsic modifications. Nevertheless, it will not be superfluous to remark, for the better understanding of this answer, that the “when” (the quando) of a contingent being has the same relation to the virtuality of God’s eternity as has its “where” (the ubi) to the virtuality of God’s immensity. For, as the “where” of every possible creature is virtually precontained in absolute space, so is the “when” of all creatures virtually precontained in absolute duration. Hence the creation of any number of contingent[117] beings in duration implies nothing but the extrinsic termination of absolute duration, which accordingly remains altogether unaffected by the existence in it of any number of extrinsic terms. The “when” of a contingent being, as contained in absolute duration, is virtual; it does not become formal except in the contingent being itself—that is, by extrinsic termination. Thus the subject of the contingent “when” is not the virtuality of God’s eternity any more than the subject of the contingent “where” is the virtuality of God’s immensity.

This shows that the formal “when” of a contingent being is a mere relativity, or a respectus. The formal reason, or the foundation, of this relativity is the reality through which the contingent being communicates with absolute standing duration, viz.: the real instant (quando) which is common to both, although not in the same manner; for it is virtual in standing duration, whilst it is formal in the extrinsic term. Hence a contingent being, inasmuch as it has existence in standing duration, is nothing but a term related by its “when” to divine eternity as existing in a more perfect manner in the same “when.” But, since the contingent “when” of the creature exclusively belongs to the creature itself, God’s standing duration receives nothing from it except a relative extrinsic denomination.

The relation resulting from the existence of a created term in standing duration consists in this: that the created term by its formal “when” really imitates the eminent mode of being of God himself in the same “when.” This relation is called simultaneousness.

Simultaneousness is often confounded with presence and with co-existence. But these three notions, rigorously speaking, differ from one another. Presence refers to terms in space; simultaneousness to terms in duration; co-existence to terms both present and simultaneous. Thus presence and simultaneousness are the constituents of co-existence. Presence is to be considered as the material constituent, because it depends on the “where,” which belongs to the thing on account of its matter or potency; simultaneousness must be considered as the formal constituent, because it depends on the “when,” which belongs to the thing on account of its act or of its resulting actuality.

Before we proceed further, we must yet remark that in the same manner as the infinite virtuality of divine immensity receives distinct extrinsic denominations from the contingent terms existing in space, and is thus said to imply distinct virtualities, so also the infinite virtuality of God’s eternity can be said to imply distinct virtualities, owing to the distinct denominations it receives from distinct terms of contingent duration. It is for this reason that we can speak of virtualities of eternity in the plural. Thus when we point out the first instant of any movement as distinct from any following instant, we consider the flowing of the contingent “when” from before to after as a passage from one to another virtuality of standing duration. These virtualities, however, are not distinct as to their absolute beings, but only as to their extrinsic termination and denomination; and therefore they are really but one infinite virtuality. As all that we have said of the virtualities of absolute space in one of our past articles equally applies to the virtualities[118] of absolute duration, we need not dwell here any longer on this point.

Sixth question.—“In what does the ‘when’ of a contingent being precisely consist?” From the preceding considerations it is evident that the “when” of a contingent being may be understood in two manners, viz., either objectively or subjectively. Objectively considered, the “when” is nothing else than a simple and indivisible term in duration formally marked out in it by the actuality of the contingent being. We say a simple and indivisible term, because the actuality of the contingent being by which it is determined involves neither past nor future, neither before nor after, but only its present existence, which, as such, is confined to an indivisible Now. Hence we do not agree with those philosophers who confound the quando with the tempus—that is, the “when” with the extent of flowing duration. We admit with these philosophers that the “when” of contingent things extends through movement from before to after, and draws, so to say, a continuous line in duration; but we must remind them that the before and the after are distinct modes of being in duration, and that every term of duration designable between them is a distinct “when” independent of every other “when,” either preceding or following; which shows that the tempus implies an uninterrupted series of distinct “whens,” and therefore cannot be considered as synonymous with quando.

If the “when” is considered subjectively—that is, as an appurtenance of the subject of which it is predicated—it may be defined as the mode of being of a contingent thing in duration. This mode consists of a mere relativity; for it results from the extrinsic termination of absolute duration, as already explained. Hence the “when” is not received in the subject of which it is predicated, and does not inhere in it, but, like all other relativities and connotations, simply connects it with its correlative, and intervenes or lies between the one and the other.

But, although it consists of a mere relativity, the “when” still admits of being divided into absolute and relative, according as it is conceived absolutely as something real in nature, or compared with some other “when”; for, as we have already explained when treating of ubications, relative entities may be considered both as to what they are in themselves, and as to what they are to one another.

If the “when” is considered simply as a termination of standing duration, without regard for anything else, it is called absolute, and is defined as the mode of being of a thing in absolute duration. This absolute “when” is an essential mode of the contingent being no less than its dependence from the first cause, and is altogether immutable so long as the contingent being exists; for, on the one hand, the contingent being cannot exist but within the domain of divine eternity, and, on the other, it cannot have different modes of being with regard to it, as the standing duration of eternity is all uniform in its infinite virtual extension, and the contingent being, however much we may try to vary its place in duration, must always be in the very middle of eternity. Hence the absolute “when” is altogether unchangeable.

If the “when” of a contingent being is compared with that of another contingent being in order[119] to ascertain their mutual relation, then the “when” is called relative, and, as such, it may be defined as the mode of terminating a relation in duration. This “when” is changeable, not in its intrinsic entity, but in its relative formality; and it is only under this formality that the “when” (quando) can be ranked among the predicamental accidents; for this changeable formality is the only thing in it which bears the stamp of an accidental entity.

The before and the after of the same contingent being are considered as two distinct relative terms, because the being to which they refer, when existing in the after, excludes the before; though the absolute “when” of one and the same being is one term only. But of this we shall treat more fully in the sequel.

Seventh question.—“What is relative duration?” Here we meet again the same difficulty which we have encountered in explaining relative space; for in the same manner as relations in space are usually confounded with space itself, so are the intervals in duration confounded with the duration which is the ground of their extension. But, as the reasonings by which we have established the precise notion of relative space can be easily brought to bear on the present subject by the reader himself, we think we must confine ourselves to a brief and clear statement of the conclusions drawn from those reasonings, as applied to duration.

Relative duration is the duration through which any movement extends; that is, the duration through which the “when” of anything in movement glides from before to after, and by which the before and the after are linked in mutual relation. Now, the duration through which movement extends is not exactly the duration of the movement itself, but the ground upon which the movement extends its own duration; because movement has nothing actual but a flowing instant, and therefore it has no duration within itself except by reference to an extrinsic ground through which it successively extends. This ground, as we have already shown, is standing duration. And therefore relative duration is nothing else than standing duration as extrinsically terminated by distinct terms, or, what amounts to the same terminated by one term which, owing to any kind of movement, acquires distinct and opposite formalities. This conclusion is based on the principle that the foundation of all relations between before and after must be something absolute, having in itself neither before nor after, and therefore absolutely standing. This principle is obviously true. The popular notion, on the contrary, that relative duration is the duration of movement, is based on the assumption that movement itself engenders duration—which assumption is false; for we cannot even conceive movement without presupposing the absolute duration upon which the movement has to trace the line of its flowing existence.

Thus relative duration is called relative, not because it is itself related, but because it is the ground through which the extrinsic terms are related. It is actively, not passively, relative; it is the ratio, not the rationatum, the foundation, not the result, of the relativities. In other terms, relative duration is absolute as to its entity, and relative as to the extrinsic denomination derived from the relations of which[120] it is the formal reason. Duration, as absolute, may be styled “the region of all possible whens,” just as absolute space is styled “the region of all possible ubications”; and, as relative, it may be styled “the region of all possible succession,” just as relative space is styled “the region of all local movements.” Absolute standing duration and absolute space are the ground of the here and now as statical terms. Relative standing duration and relative space are the ground of the here and now as gliding—that is, as dynamically considered.

Eighth question.—“What is an interval of duration?” It is a relation existing between two opposite terms of succession—that is, between before and after. An interval of duration is commonly considered as a continuous extension; yet it is primarily a simple relation by which the extension of the flowing from before to after is formally determined. Nevertheless, since the “when” cannot acquire the opposite formalities, before and after, without continuous movement, all interval of duration implies movement, and therefore may be considered also as a continuous quantity. Under this last aspect, the interval of duration is nothing else than the duration of the movement from before to after.

We have already noticed that the duration of movement, or the interval of duration, is not to be confounded with the duration through which the movement extends. But as, in the popular language, the one as well as the other is termed “relative duration,” we would suggest that the duration through which the movement extends might be called fundamental relative duration, whilst the relation which constitutes an interval between before and after might be called resultant relative duration.

The philosophical necessity of this distinction is obvious, first, because the standing duration, through which movement extends, must not be confounded with the flowing duration of movement; secondly, because the relation and its foundation are not the same thing, and, as we have explained at length when treating of relative space, to confound the one with the other leads to Pantheism. Intervals of relation are not parts of absolute duration, though they are so conceived by many, but they are mere relations, as we have stated. Absolute duration is all standing, it has no parts, and it cannot be divided into parts. What is called an interval of duration should rather be called an interval in duration; for it is not a portion of standing duration, but an extrinsic result; it is not a length of absolute duration, but the length of the movement extending through that duration; it is not a divisible extension, but the ground on which movement acquires its divisible extension from before to after. In the smallest conceivable interval of duration there is God, with all his eternity. To affirm that intervals of duration are distinct durations would be to cut God’s eternity to pieces by giving it a distinct being in really distinct intervals. Hence it is necessary to concede that, whilst the intervals are distinct, the duration on which they have their foundation is one and the same. The only duration which can be safely confounded with those intervals is the flowing duration of the movement by which they are measured. This is the duration which can be considered as a continuous quantity divisible[121] into parts; and this is the duration which we should style “resultant relative duration,” to avoid all danger of error or equivocation.

The objections which can be made against this manner of viewing things do not much differ from those which we have solved in our second article on space; and therefore we do not think it necessary to make a new answer to them. The reader himself will be able to see what the objections are, and how they can be solved, by simply substituting the words “eternity,” “duration,” etc., for the words “immensity,” “space,” etc., in the article referred to.

Yet a special objection can be made against the preceding doctrine about the duration of movement, independently of those which regard relations in space. It may be presented under this form. “The foundation of the relation between before and after is nothing else than movement itself. It is therefore unnecessary and unphilosophical to trace the duration of movement to the virtuality of God’s eternity as its extrinsic foundation.” The antecedent of this argument may be proved thus: “That thing is the foundation of the relation which gives to its terms their relative being—that is, in our case, their opposite formalities, before and after. But movement alone gives to the when these opposite formalities. Therefore movement alone is the foundation of successive duration.”

We answer that the antecedent of the first argument is absolutely false. As to the syllogism which comes next, we concede the major, but we deny the minor. For it is plain that movement cannot give to the absolute when the relative formalities before and after, except by flowing through absolute duration, without which it is impossible for the movement to have its successive duration. And surely, if the movement has no duration but that which it borrows from the absolute duration through which it extends, the foundation of its duration from before to after can be nothing else than the same absolute duration through which the movement acquires its before and after. Now, this absolute duration is the virtuality of God’s eternity, as we have proved. It is therefore both philosophical and necessary to trace the duration of movement to the virtuality of God’s eternity, as its extrinsic foundation. That movement is also necessary to constitute the relation between before and after, we fully admit; for there cannot be before and after without movement. But it does not follow from this that movement is the foundation of the relation; it merely follows that movement is a condition necessary to give to the absolute when two distinct actualities, according to which it may be compared with itself on the ground of standing duration. For, as every relation demands two opposite terms, the same absolute when must acquire two opposite formalities, that it may be related to itself.

The only other objection which may perhaps be made against our conclusions is the following: The foundation of a real relation is that reality through which the terms related communicate with one another. Now, evidently, the before and the after, which are the terms of the relation in question, communicate with one another through the same absolute when; for they are the same absolute when under two opposite formalities. Hence it follows that the foundation of[122] the relation between before and after is nothing else than the absolute when of a moving being.

To this we answer that the foundation of the relation is not all reality through which the terms related communicate with one another, but only that reality by the common termination of which they become formally related to one another. Hence, since the before and the after do not receive their relative formalities from the absolute when, it is idle to pretend that the absolute when is the foundation of the interval of duration. The before and the after communicate with the same absolute when not as a formal, but as a material, cause of their existence—that is, inasmuch as the same when is the subject, not the reason, of both formalities. The only relation to which the absolute when can give a foundation is one of identity with itself in all the extent of its flowing duration. But such a relation presupposes, instead of constituting, an interval in duration. And therefore it is manifest that the absolute when is not the foundation of the relation between before and after.

Having thus answered the questions proposed, and given the solution of the few difficulties objected, we must now say a few words about the division and measurement of relative duration, whether fundamental or resultant.

Fundamental or standing duration is divided into real and imaginary. This division cannot regard the entity of standing duration, which is unquestionably real, as we have proved. It regards the reality or the unreality of the extrinsic terms conceived as having a relation in duration. The true notion of real, contrasted with imaginary, duration, is the following: Standing duration is called real when it is really relative, viz., when it is extrinsically terminated by real terms between which it founds a real relation; on the contrary, it is called imaginary when the extrinsic terms do not exist in nature, but only in our imagination; for, in such a case, standing duration is not really terminated and does not found real relations, but both the terminations and the relations are simply a figment of our imagination. Thus standing duration, as containing none but imaginary relations, may justly be called “imaginary,” though in an absolute sense it is intrinsically real. Accordingly, the indefinite duration which we imagine when we carry our thought beyond the creation of the world, and which is also called “imaginary,” is not absolute but relative duration, and is not imaginary in itself, but only as to its denomination of relative, because, in the absence of all real terms, there can be none but imaginary relations.

It is therefore unphilosophical to confound imaginary and indefinite duration with absolute and infinite duration. This latter is not an object of imagination, but of the intellect alone. Imagination cannot conceive duration, except in connection with some movement from before to after; hence absolute and infinite duration, which has no before and no after, is altogether beyond the reach of imagination. Indeed, our intellectual conception of infinite standing duration is always accompanied in our minds by a representation of indefinite time; but this depends, as we have stated in speaking of space, on the well-known connection of our imaginative and intellectual operations, inasmuch as our imagination strives to follow the intellect, and[123] to represent after its own manner what the intellect conceives in a totally different manner. It was by confounding the objective notion of duration with our subjective manner of imagining it that Kant came to the conclusion that duration was nothing but a subjective form or a subjective condition, under which all intuitions are possible in us. This conclusion is evidently false; but its refutation, to be successful, must be based on the objectivity of absolute standing duration, without which, as we have shown, there can be no field for real and objective succession.

Resultant relative duration—that is, an interval of flowing duration—admits of the same division into real and imaginary. It is real when a real continuous flowing connects the before with the after; in all other suppositions it will be imaginary. It may be remarked that the “real continuous flowing” may be either intrinsic or extrinsic. Thus, if God had created nothing but a simple angel, there would have been no other flowing duration than a continuous succession of intellectual operations connecting the before with the after in the angel himself, and thus his duration would have been measured by a series of intrinsic changes. It is evident that in this case one absolute when suffices to extend the interval of duration; for by its gliding from before to after it acquires opposite formalities through which it can be relatively opposed to itself as the subject and the term of the relation. If, on the contrary, we consider the interval of duration between two distinct beings—say Cæsar and Napoleon—then the real continuous flowing by which such an interval is measured is extrinsic to the terms compared; for the when of Cæsar is distinct from, and does not reach, that of Napoleon; which shows that their respective whens have no intrinsic connection, and that the succession comprised between those whens must have consisted of a series of changes extrinsic to the terms compared. It may seem difficult to conceive how an interval of continuous succession can result between two terms of which the one does not attain to the other; for, as a line in space must be drawn by the movement of a single point, so it seems that a length in duration must be extended by the flowing of a single when from before to after. The truth is that the interval between the whens of two distinct beings is not obtained by comparing the when of the one with that of the other, but by resorting to the when of some other being which has extended its continuous succession from the one to the other. Thus, when Cæsar died, the earth was revolving on its axis, and it continued to revolve without interruption up to the existence of Napoleon, thus extending the duration of its movement from a when corresponding to Cæsar’s death to a when corresponding to Napoleon’s birth; and this duration, wholly extrinsic to Cæsar and Napoleon, measures the interval between them.

As all intervals of duration extend from before to after, there can be no interval between co-existent beings, as is evident. In the same manner as two beings whose ubications coincide cannot be distant in space, so two beings whose whens are simultaneous cannot form an interval of duration.

All real intervals of duration regard the past; for in the past alone can we find a real before and a real after. The present gives no interval,[124] as we have just stated, but only simultaneousness. The future is real only potentially—that is, it will be real, but it is not yet. What has never been, and never will be, is merely imaginary. To this last class belong all the intervals of duration corresponding to those conditional events which did not happen, owing to the non-fulfilment of the conditions on which their reality depended.

As to the measurement of flowing duration a few words will suffice. The when considered absolutely is incapable of measuring an interval of duration, for the reason that the when is unextended, and therefore unproportionate to the mensuration of a continuous interval; for the measure must be of the same kind with the thing to be measured. Just as a continuous line cannot be made up of unextended points, so cannot a continuous interval be made up of indivisible instants; hence, as a line is divisible only into smaller and smaller lines, by which it can be measured, so also an interval of duration is divisible only into smaller and smaller intervals, and is measured by the same. These smaller intervals, being continuous, are themselves divisible and mensurable by other intervals of less duration, and these other intervals are again divisible and mensurable; so that, from the nature of the thing, it is impossible to reach an absolute measure of duration, and we must rest satisfied with a relative one, just as in the case of a line and of any other continuous quantity. The smallest unit or measure of duration commonly used is the second, or sixtieth part of a minute.

But, since continuous quantities are divisible in infinitum, it may be asked, what prevents us from considering a finite interval of duration as containing an infinite multitude of infinitesimal units of duration? If nothing prevents us, then in the infinitesimal unit we shall have the true and absolute measure of duration. We answer that nothing prevents such a conception; but the mensuration of a finite interval by infinitesimal units would never supply us the means of determining the relative lengths of two intervals of duration. For, if every interval is a sum of infinite terms, and is so represented, how can we decide which of those intervals is the greater, since we cannot count the infinite?

Mathematicians, in all dynamical questions, express the conditions of the movement in terms of infinitesimal quantities, and consider every actual instant which connects the before with the after as an infinitesimal interval of duration in the same manner as they consider every shifting ubication as an infinitesimal interval of space. But when they pass from infinitesimal to finite quantities by integration between determinate limits, they do not express the finite intervals in infinitesimal terms, but in terms of a finite unit, viz., a second of time; and this shows that, even in high mathematics, the infinitesimal is not taken as the measure of the finite.

Since infinitesimals are considered as evanescent quantities, the question may be asked whether they are still conceivable as quantities. We have no intention of discussing here the philosophical grounds of infinitesimal calculus, as we may have hereafter a better opportunity of examining such an interesting subject; but, so far as infinitesimals of duration are concerned, we answer that they are still quantities, though they bear no[125] comparison with finite duration. What mathematicians call an infinitesimal of time is nothing else rigorously than the flowing of an actual “when” from before to after. The “when” as such is no quantity, but its flowing is. However narrow the compass within which it may be reduced, the flowing implies a relation between before and after; hence every instant of successive duration, inasmuch as it actually links its immediate before with its immediate after, partakes of the nature of successive duration, and therefore of continuous quantity. Nor does it matter that infinitesimals are called evanescent quantities. They indeed vanish, as compared with finite quantities; but the very fact of their vanishing proves that they are still something when they are in the act of vanishing. Sir Isaac Newton, after saying in his Principia that he intends to reduce the demonstration of a series of propositions to the first and last sums and ratios of nascent and evanescent quantities, propounds and solves this very difficulty as follows: “Perhaps it may be objected that there is no ultimate proportion of evanescent quantities; because the proportion, before the quantities have vanished, is not the ultimate, and, when they are vanished, is none. But by the same argument it may be alleged that a body arriving at a certain place, and there stopping, has no ultimate velocity; because the velocity, before the body comes to the place, is not its ultimate velocity; when it has arrived, is none. But the answer is easy; for by the ultimate velocity is meant that with which the body is moved, neither before it arrives at its last place and the motion ceases, nor after, but at the very instant it arrives; that is, the velocity with which the body arrives at its last place, and with which the motion ceases. And in like manner, by the ultimate ratio of evanescent quantities is to be understood the ratio of the quantities, not before they vanish, not afterwards, but with which they vanish. In like manner, the first ratio of nascent quantities is that with which they begin to be.” From this answer, which is so clear and so deep, it is manifest that infinitesimals are real quantities. Whence we infer that every instant of duration which actually flows from before to after marks out a real infinitesimal interval of duration that might serve as a unit of measure for the mensuration of all finite intervals of succession, were it not that we cannot reckon up to infinity. Nevertheless, it does not follow that an infinitesimal duration is an absolute unit of duration; for it is still continuous, even in its infinite smallness; and accordingly it is still divisible and mensurable by other units of a lower standard. Thus it is clear that the measurement of flowing duration, and indeed of all other continuous quantity, cannot be made except by some arbitrary and conventional unit.



As I gaze in silent wonder
On the countless stars of night,
Looking down in mystic stillness
With their soft and magic light
Seem they from my eyes retreating
With their vast and bright array,
Till they into endless distance
Almost seem to fade away.
And my thoughts are carried with them
To their far-off realms of light;
Yet they seem retreating ever,
Ever into endless night.
Whither leads that silent army,
With its noiseless tread and slow?
And those glittering bands, who are they?
Thus my thoughts essay to know.
But my heart the secret telleth
That to thee, my God, they guide;
That they are thy gleaming watchmen,
Guarding round thy palace wide.
Then, when shall those gates be opened
To receive my yearning soul,
Where its home shall be for ever,
While the countless ages roll?
Thou alone, O God! canst know it:
Till then doth my spirit pine.
Father! keep thy child from falling,
Till for ever I am thine.



Brunnen, the “fort of Schwytz,” standing at that angle of the lake of Lucerne where it turns abruptly towards the very heart of the Alps, has always been a central halting-place for travellers; but since the erection of its large hotel the attraction has greatly increased. We found the Waldstätterhof full to overflowing, and rejoiced that, as usual, we had wisely ordered our rooms beforehand. Our surprise was great, as we threaded the mazes of the table-d’hôte room, to see Herr H—— come forward and greet us cordially. We expected, it is true, to meet him here, but not until the eve of the feast at Einsiedeln, whither he had promised to accompany us. An unforeseen event, however, had brought him up the lake sooner, and he therefore came on to Brunnen, in the hope of finding us. A few minutes sufficed to make him quit his place at the centre table and join us at a small one, where supper had been prepared for our party, and allow us to begin a description of our wanderings since we parted from him on the quay at Lucerne. Yes, “begin” is the proper word; for before long the harmony was marred by George, who, with his usual impetuosity, and in spite of Caroline’s warning frowns and Anna’s and my appealing looks, betrayed our disappointment at having missed the Hermitage at Ranft, and the reproaches we had heaped on Herr H——’s head for having mismanaged the programme in that particular. The cheery little man, whose eyes had just begun to glisten with delight, grew troubled.

“I am so sorry!” he exclaimed. “But the ladies were not so enthusiastic about Blessed Nicholas when I saw them. And as for you, Mr. George, I never could have dreamt you would have cared for the Hermit.”

“Oh! but he is a real historical character, you see, about whom there can be no doubt—very unlike your sun-god, your mythical hero, William Tell!” replied George.

“Take care! take care! young gentleman,” said Herr H——, laughing. “Remember you are now in Tell’s territory, and he may make you rue the consequences of deriding him! Don’t imagine, either, that your modern historical critics have left even Blessed Nicholas alone! Oh! dear, no.”

“But he is vouched for by documents,” retorted George.“No one can doubt them.”

“Your critics of this age would turn and twist and doubt anything,” said Herr H——. “They cannot deny his existence nor the main features of his life; yet some have gone so far as to pretend to doubt the most authentic fact in it—his presence at the Diet of Stanz—saying that probably he never went there, but only wrote a letter to the deputies. So much for their criticism and researches! After that specimen you need not wonder that I have no respect for them. But I am in an unusually patriotic mood to-day; for I have[128] just come from a meeting at Beckenried, on the opposite shore, in Unterwalden. It was that which brought me here before my appointment with you. It was a meeting of one of our Catholic societies in these cantons, which assembled to protest against the revision of the constitution contemplated next spring. Before separating it was suggested that they should call a larger one at the Rütli, to evoke the memories of the past and conform themselves to the pattern of our forefathers.”

“Why do you so much object to a revision?” inquired Mr. C——. “Surely reform must sometimes be necessary.”

“Sometimes, of course, but not at present, my dear sir. ‘Revision’ nowadays simply means radicalism and the suppression of our religion and our religious rights and privileges. It is a word which, for that reason alone, is at all times distasteful to these cantons. Moreover, it savors too much of French ideas and doctrines, thoroughly antagonistic to all our principles and feelings. Everything French is loathed in these parts, especially in Unterwalden, in spite of—or I should perhaps rather say in consequence of—all they suffered from that nation in 1798.”

“I can understand that,” said Mr. C——, “with the memory of the massacre in the church at Stanz always in their minds.”

“Well, yes; but that was only one act in the tragedy. The desolation they caused in that part of the country was fearful. Above all, their total want of religion at that period can never be forgotten.”

“As for myself,” remarked Mr. C——, “though not a Catholic, I confess that I should much rather rely on the upright instincts of this pious population than on the crooked teachings of our modern philosophers. I have always noticed in every great political crisis that the instincts of the pure and simple-minded have something of an inspiration about them; they go straight to the true principles where a Macchiavelli is often at fault.” Herr H—— completely agreed with him, and the conversation soon became a deep and serious discussion on the tendencies of modern politics in general, so that it was late that evening before our party separated.

The first sound that fell upon my ear next morning was the splashing of a steamer hard by. It had been so dark upon our arrival the night before that we had not altogether realized the close proximity of the hotel to the lake, and it was an unexpected pleasure to find my balcony almost directly over the water, like the stern gallery of a ship of war. A small steamer certainly was approaching from the upper end of the lake, with a time-honored old diligence in the bows and a few travellers, tired-looking and dust-stained, scattered on the deck, very unlike the brilliant throngs that pass to and fro during the late hours of the day. But this early morning performance was one of real business, and the magical words “Post” and “St. Gothard,” which stood out in large letters on the yellow panels of the diligence, told at once of more than mere pleasure-seeking. What joy or grief, happiness or despair, might not this old-fashioned vehicle be at this moment conveying to unknown thousands! It was an abrupt transition, too, to be thus brought from pastoral Sarnen and Sachslen into immediate contact with the mighty Alps. Of[129] their grandeur, however, nothing could be seen; for, without rain or wind, a thick cloud lay low upon the lake, more like a large flat ceiling than aught else. Yet, for us, it had its own peculiar interest, being nothing more nor less than the great, heavy, soft mass which we had noticed hanging over the lake every morning when looking down from Kaltbad, whilst we, revelling in sunshine and brightness above, were pitying the poor inhabitants along the shore beneath. There was a kind of superiority, therefore, in knowing what it meant, and in feeling confident that it would not last long. And, as we expected, it did clear away whilst we sat at our little breakfast-table in the window, revealing in all its magnificence the glorious view from this point up the Bay of Uri, which we have elsewhere described. Huge mountains seemed to rise vertically up out of the green waters; verdant patches were dotted here and there on their rugged sides; and, overtopping all, shone the glacier of the Urirothstock, more dazzlingly white and transparent than we had ever yet beheld it.

“Now, ladies!” exclaimed Herr H——, “I hope you have your Schiller ready; for the Rütli is yonder, though you will see it better by and by.”

“Why, I thought you disapproved of Schiller,” retorted the irrepressibly argumentative George.

“To a certain degree, no doubt,” replied Herr H——. “But nothing can be finer than his William Tell as a whole. My quarrel with it is that the real William Tell would have fared much better were it not for this play, and especially for the opera. They have both made the subject so common—so banale, as the French say—that the world has grown tired of it, and for this reason alone is predisposed to reject our hero. Besides, the real history of the Revolution is so fine that I prefer it in its simplicity. Schiller is certainly true to its spirit, but details are frequently different. For instance, the taking of the Castle of the Rossberg, which you passed on the lake of Alpnach: Schiller has converted that into a most sensational scene, whereas the true story is far more characteristic. That was the place where a young girl admitted her betrothed and his twelve Confederate friends by a rope-ladder at night, which enabled them to seize the castle and imprison the garrison “without shedding a drop of blood or injuring the property of the Habsburgs,” in exact conformity with their oath on the Rütli. You will often read of the loves of Jägeli and Ameli in Swiss poetry. They are great favorites, and, in my opinion, far more beautiful than the fictitious romance of Rudenz and Bertha. And so in many other cases. But every one does not object to Schiller as I do; for in 1859, when his centenary was celebrated in Germany, the Swiss held a festival here on the Rütli, and subsequently erected a tablet on that large natural pyramidal rock you see at the corner opposite. It is called the Wytenstein, and you can read the large gilt words with a glass. It is laconic enough, too; see: ‘To Frederick Schiller—The Singer of Tell—The Urcantone.’ The original cantons! Miss Caroline! let me congratulate you on being at last in the ‘Urschweiz’—the cradle of Switzerland,” continued Herr H——, as we sauntered out on the quay, pointing at the same time to some bad frescos of Swen and Suiter on a[130] warehouse close by. Stauffacher, Fürst, and Van der Halden also figured on the walls—the presiding geniuses of this region. “Brunnen is in no way to be despised, I assure you, ladies; you are treading on venerated soil. This is the very spot that witnessed the foundation of the Confederacy, where the oath was taken by the representatives of Uri, Schwytz, and Unterwalden the day after the battle of Morgarten. They swore ‘to die, each for all and all for each’—the oath which made Switzerland renowned, and gave the name of ‘Ridsgenossen,’ or ‘oath-participators,’ to its inhabitants. The document is still kept in the archives at Schwytz, with another dated August 1, 1291. Aloys von Reding raised his standard against the French here in 1798; and he was quite right in beginning his resistance to them at Brunnen. It is full of memories to us Swiss, and is a most central point, as you may see, between all these cantons. The increase in the hotels tells what a favorite region it also is with tourists.”

On this point Mr. and Mrs. C——’s astonishment was unbounded. They had passed a fortnight at Brunnen in 1861, at a small inn with scanty accommodation, now replaced by the large and comfortable Waldstätterhof, situated in one of the most lovely spots imaginable, at the angle of the lake, one side fronting the Bay of Uri and the other looking up towards Mount Pilatus. The pension of Seelisberg existed on the heights opposite even then—only, however, as a small house, instead of the present extensive establishment, with its pretty woods and walks; but Axenstein and the second large hotel now building near it, with the splendid road leading up to them, had not been thought of. The only communication by land between Schwytz and Fluelen, in those days, was a mule-path along the hills, precipitous and dangerous in many parts. The now famed Axenstrasse was not undertaken until 1862; and is said to have been suggested by the French war in Italy. With the old Swiss dread of the French still at heart, the Federal government took alarm at that first military undertaking on the part of Napoleon III., and, seeing the evil of having no communication between these cantons in case of attack, at once took the matter seriously in hand. This great engineering achievement was opened to the public in 1868. It looked most inviting to-day, and we quickly decided to make use of it by driving along it to Fluelen, and thence to Altorf, returning in the evening by the steamer. Some were anxious to visit the Rütli; but Mr. and Mrs. C—— had been there before, and knew that it was more than an hour’s expedition by boat, so that the two excursions on the same day would be quite impossible; consequently, we chose the longer one.

It was just ten o’clock when we started; Mrs. C——, Caroline, Herr H——, and myself in one carriage, with George on the box, the others following us in a second vehicle. We had not proceeded far when Herr H—— made us halt to look at the Rütli, on the shore right opposite. We distinctly saw that it was a small meadow, formed by earth fallen from above on a ledge of rock under the precipitous heights of Seelisberg, and now enclosed by some fine chestnut and walnut trees. Truly, it was a spot fitted for the famous scene. So unapproachable is it, except by water,[131] that even that most enterprising race—Swiss hotel-keepers—have hitherto failed to destroy it. Some years ago, however, it narrowly escaped this fate; for Herr Müller, of Seelisberg, is said to have been on the point of building a pension on the great meadow. But no sooner did this become known than a national subscription was at once raised, the government purchased it, and now it has become inalienable national property for ever.

“You may well be proud of your country, Herr H——,” exclaimed Mr. C—— from the other carriage. “I always look on that tiny spot with deep reverence as the true cradle of freedom. Look at it well, George! It witnessed that wonderful oath by which these mountaineers bound themselves ‘to be faithful to each other, just and merciful to their oppressors’—the only known example of men—and these men peasants, too—binding themselves, in the excitement of revolt, not to take revenge on their oppressors.”

“Quite sublime!” ejaculated George.

“Well, it has borne good fruit,” returned Herr H—— in gleeful tones; “for here we are still free! Except on the one occasion of the French in ’98, no foreign troops have ever invaded this part of Switzerland since those days. Yes, there are three springs at the Rütli, supposed to have jutted forth where the three heroes stood; but I do not pledge my word for that,” he answered smilingly to Caroline, “nor for the legend which says that their spirits sleep in the rocky vale under Seelisberg, ready to come forth and lead the people in moments of danger.”

“I hope their slumbers may never be disturbed,” she replied; “but I wish some one would prevent these cattle from frightening the horses,” as a large drove swept past our carriages, making our steeds nervous. Splendid animals they were, with beautiful heads, straight backs, light limbs, and of a grayish mouse color.

“All of the celebrated Schwytz breed,” said Herr H——. “This part of the country is renowned for its cattle. Each of these probably cost from five to six hundred francs. The Italians take great advantage of this new road, and come in numbers to buy them at this season, when the cattle are returning from the mountains. These are going across the St. Gothard to Lombardy. Those of Einsiedeln are still considered the best. Do you remember, Miss Caroline, that the first mention of German authority in this land was occasioned by a dispute between the shepherds of Schwytz and the abbots of Einsiedeln about their pasturage—the emperor having given a grant of land to the abbey, while the Schwytzers had never heard of his existence even, and refused to obey his majesty’s orders?”

“Ah! what historical animals: that quite reconciles me to them,” she answered, as we drove on again amongst a group that seemed very uneasy under their new masters, whose sweet language George averred had no power over them.

Who can describe the exquisite beauty of our drive?—winding in and out, sometimes through a tunnel; at others along the edge of the high precipice from which a low parapet alone separated us; at another passing through the village of Sisikon, which years ago suffered severely from a fragment of rock fallen from the Frohnalp above. Time flew rapidly, and one hour[132] and a half had glided by, without our perceiving it, when we drew up before the beautiful little inn of “Tell’s Platte.”

“But there is no Platform here,” cried George. “We are hundreds of feet above the lake. The critics are right, Herr H——, decidedly right! I knew it from the beginning. How can you deny it?”

“Wait, my young friend! Don’t be so impatient. Just come into the inn first—I should like you to see the lovely view from it; and then we can look for the Platform.” Saying which, he led us upstairs, on through the salon to its balcony on the first floor. This is one of the smaller inns of that olden type which boast the enthusiastic attachment of regular customers, and display with pride that old institution—the “strangers’ book”—which has completely vanished from the monster hotels. It lay open on the table as we passed, and every one instinctively stopped to examine it.

“The dear old books!” exclaimed Mrs. C——. “How they used to amuse me in Switzerland! I have missed them so much this time. Their running fire of notes, their polyglot verses—a sort of album and scrap-book combined, full, too, of praise or abuse of the last hotel, as the humor might be.”

“Yes,” said Mr. C——, “I shall never forget the preface to one—an imprecation on whoever might be tempted to let his pen go beyond bounds. I learned it by rote:

“May the mountain spirits disturb his slumbers;
May his limbs be weary, and his feet sore;
May the innkeepers give him tough mutton and
Sour wine, and charge him for it as though he were
Lord Sir John, M.P.!”

“How very amusing!—a perfect gem in its way,” cried Anna. “Lord Sir John, M.P., must have been the model of large-pursed Britons in his time.” Here, however, everything seemed to be couleur de rose. The book’s only fault was its monotony of praise. Two sisters keep the hotel, and “nowhere,” said its devoted friends, “could one find better fare, better attendance, and greater happiness than at Tell’s Platform.” The testimony of a young couple confessedly on their bridal tour had no weight. We know how, at that moment, a barren rock transforms itself into a paradise for them; but three maiden ladies had passed six weeks of unalloyed enjoyment here once upon a time, and had returned often since; English clergymen and their families found no words of praise too strong; while German students and professors indulged in rhapsodical language not to be equalled out of fatherland.

Duchesses, princesses, and Lords Sir John, M.P., were alone wanting amongst the present guests. “But they come,” said Herr H——, “by the mid-day steamers, dine and rest here awhile, and return in the evenings to the larger hotels in other places.”

And standing on the balcony of the salon, facing all the grand mountains, with the green lake beneath, it truly seemed a spot made for brides and bridegrooms, for love and friendship. So absorbed were we in admiration of the enchanting view that we did not at first notice two little maidens sitting at the far end. They were pretty children, of nine and thirteen, daughters of an English family stopping here, and their countenances brightened as they heard our exclamation of delight; for Tell’s Platte was to them a paradise. Like true Britons, however, they said nothing until George and Caroline commenced[133] disputing about the scenery. Comment then was irresistible. “No,” said the youngest, “that is the Isenthal,” pointing to a valley beneath the hills opposite; “and that the Urirothstock, with its glacier above, and the Gütschen. Those straight walls of rock below are the Teufel’s-Münster.”

“Don’t you remember where Schiller says:

‘The blast, rebounding from the Devil’s Minster,
Has driven them back on the great Axenberg’?

That is it, and this here is the Axenberg,” said Emily, the elder girl.

“But I see no Platform here,” remarked George with mischief in his eye, as he quickly detected the young girl’s faith in the hero.

“It would be impossible to see it,” she rejoined, “as it is three hundred feet below this house.”

“But we can show you the way, if you will come,” continued the younger child, taking George’s hand, who, partly from surprise and partly amusement, allowed himself to be led like a lamb across the road and through the garden to the pathway winding down the cliff, followed by us, under guidance of the elder sister, Emily.

“Yes,” the children answered, “they had spent the last two years in France and Germany.” And certainly they spoke both languages like natives. Emily was even translating William Tell into English blank verse. “Heigho!” sighed Mr. C——, “for this precocious age.” But the lake of the Forest Cantons was dearer to them than all else. They had climbed one thousand feet up the side of the Frohnalpstock that very morning with their father; knew every peak and valley, far and near, with all their legends and histories; even the ranz des vaches and the differences between them—the shepherds’ calls to the cows and the goats. Annie, our smaller friend, entertained George with all their varieties, as she tripped daintily along, like a little fairy, with her tiny alpenstock. Very different was she from continental children, who rarely, if ever, take interest in either pastoral or literary matters. She knew the way to the platform well; for did she not go up and down it many times a day? A difficult descent it was, too—almost perpendicular—notwithstanding the well-kept pathway; but not dangerous until we reached the bottom, when each one in turn had to jump on to a jutting piece of rock, in order to get round the corner into the chapel. Most truly it stands on a small ledge, with no inch of room for aught but the small building raised over it. The water close up to the shore is said to be eight hundred feet deep, and it made one shudder to hear Herr H——’s story of an artist who a few years ago fell into the lake while sketching on the cliffs above. Poor man! forgetful of the precipice, he had thoughtlessly stepped back a few steps to look at his painting, fell over, and was never seen again. His easel and painting alone remained to give pathetic warning to other rash spirits.

The chapel, open on the side next the water, is covered with faded frescos of Tell’s history, which our little friends quaintly described; and it contains, besides, an altar and a small pulpit. Here Mass is said once a year on the Friday after the Ascension, when all the people of the neighborhood come hither, and from their boats, grouped outside, hear Mass and the sermon preached to them from the railing in front. This was the[134] feast which my Weggis guide so much desired to see. It is unique in every particular, and Herr H—— was eloquent on the beauty and impressiveness of the scene, at which he had once been present, and which it was easy to understand amidst these magnificent surroundings. Nor is it a common gathering of peasants, but a solemn celebration, to which the authorities of Uri come in state with the standard of Uri—the renowned Uri ox—floating at the bows. As may be supposed, the sermon is always national, touching on all those points of faith, honor, and dignity which constitute true patriotism. Mr. C—— had Murray’s guide-book in his hand, and would not allow us to say another word until he read aloud Sir James Macintosh’s remarks on this portion of the lake, which there occur as follows:

“The combination of what is grandest in nature with whatever is pure and sublime in human conduct affected me in this passage (along the lake) more powerfully than any scene which I had ever seen. Perhaps neither Greece nor Rome would have had such power over me. They are dead. The present inhabitants are a new race, who regard with little or no feeling the memorials of former ages. This is, perhaps, the only place on the globe where deeds of pure virtue, ancient enough to be venerable, are consecrated by the religion of the people, and continue to command interest and reverence. No local superstition so beautiful and so moral anywhere exists. The inhabitants of Thermopylæ or Marathon know no more of these famous spots than that they are so many square feet of earth. England is too extensive a country to make Runnymede an object of national affection. In countries of industry and wealth the stream of events sweeps away these old remembrances. The solitude of the Alps is a sanctuary destined for the monuments of ancient virtue; Grütli and Tell’s chapel are as much reverenced by the Alpine peasants as Mecca by a devout Mussulman; and the deputies of the three ancient cantons met, so late as the year 1715, to renew their allegiance and their oaths of eternal union.”

“All very well,” said George, “if there really had been a Tell; but this seems to me a body without a soul. Why, this very chapel is in the Italian style, and never could have been founded by the one hundred and twenty contemporaries who are said to have known Tell and to have been present at its consecration.”

“I never heard that any one insisted on this being the original building,” said Herr H——. “It is probably an improvement on it; but it was not the fashion in those times—for people were not then incredulous—to put up tablets recording changes and renovations, as nowadays at Kaltbad and Klösterle, for instance. But speaking dispassionately, Mr. George, it seems to me quite impossible that the introduction of any legend from Denmark or elsewhere could have taken such strong hold of a people like these mountaineers without some solid foundation, especially here, where every inhabitant is known to the other, and the same families have lived on in the same spots for centuries. Why is it not just as likely that the same sort of event should have occurred in more than one place? And as to its not being mentioned in the local documents, that is not conclusive either; for we all know how careless in these respects were the men of the middle ages, above all in a rude mountain canton of this kind. Transmission by word of mouth and by religious celebrations is much more in character with those times. I go heart and hand with your own Buckle,[135] who places so much reliance on local traditions. The main argument used against the truth of the story is, you know, that it was first related in detail by an old chronicler called Ægidius Tschudi, a couple of hundred years after the event. But I see nothing singular in that; for most probably he merely committed to writing, with all the freshness of simplicity, the story which, for the previous two hundred years, had been in the hearts and on the lips of the peasants of this region. No invention of any writer could have founded chapels or have become ingrained in the hearts of the locality itself in the manner this story has done. It was never doubted until the end of the last century, when a Prof. Freudenberger, of Bern, wrote a pamphlet entitled William Tell: a Danish Fable.”

“Yes,” broke in little Emily, latest translator of Schiller, and who had been listening attentively to our discussion, “and the people of the forest cantons were so indignant that the authorities of Uri had the pamphlet burned by the common hangman, and then they solemnly proclaimed its author an outlaw.”

“I told you, Mr. George, that you were on dangerous ground here,” said Herr H——, laughing.

“I must make him kiss this earth before he leaves,” said Mrs. C——, “as I read lately of a mother making her little son do when passing here early in this century, regarding it as a spot sacred to liberty. She little thought a sceptic like you would so soon follow.”

“Well! I am almost converted,” he answered, smiling, “but I wish Miss Emily would tell us the story of Tell’s jumping on shore here,” trying to draw out the enthusiastic little prodigy.

“Oh! don’t you remember that magnificent passage in Schiller where, after the scene of shooting at the apple, Gessler asked Tell why he put the second arrow into his quiver, and then, promising to spare his life if he revealed its object, evades his promise the instant he hears that it was destined to kill him if Tell had struck his son instead of the apple? He then ordered him to be bound and taken on board his vessel at Fluelen. The boat had no sooner left Fluelen than one of those sudden storms sprang up so common hereabouts. There was one two days ago. Annie and I tried to come down here, but it was impossible—the wind and waves were so high we could not venture, so we sat on the pathway and read out Schiller. Oh! he is a great genius. He never was in Switzerland. Yes! just fancy that; and yet he describes everything to perfection. Well! Tell was as good a pilot as a marksman, and Gessler, in his fright, again promised to take off his fetters if he would steer the vessel safely. He did, but steered them straight towards this ledge of rock, sprang out upon it, climbed up the cliff, and, rushing through the country, arrived at the Hohle-Gasse near Küssnacht before the tyrant had reached it.”

“Schiller decidedly has his merit, it must be confessed, when he can get such ardent admirers as these pretty children,” said Herr H—— when we bade farewell to our dear little friends.

“Yes,” answered the incorrigible George from the box seat, “poetry, poetry!—an excellent mode of transmitting traditions, making them indelible on young minds; but I am so far converted, Herr H——,” continued he, laughing, “that I am[136] sorry the doubts were ever raised about the Tell history. It is in wonderful keeping with the place and people, and it will be a great pity if they give it up. ‘Se non è vero, è ben trovato,’[12] at least.”

Hence onwards to Fluelen is the finest portion of the Axenstrasse, and the opening views of the valley of the Reuss and the Bristenstock, through the arches of the galleries or tunnels, every minute increased in beauty. Several of us got out the better to enjoy them, sending the carriages on ahead. The Schwytz cattle had quite escaped our memories, when suddenly a bell sounded round a sharp angle of the road and a large drove instantly followed.

A panic seized us ladies. The cliff rose vertically on the inner side, without allowing us the possibility of a clamber, and in our fright, before the gentlemen could prevent us, we leaped over a low railing, which there served as a parapet, on to a ledge of rock, a few yards square, rising straight up from the lake hundreds of feet below. All recollection of their historical interest vanished from our minds; for, as the cattle danced along, they looked as scared and wild as ourselves, and it was not until they had passed without noticing us, and that their dark-eyed masters had spoken some soft Italian words to us, that we fully realized the extent of our imprudence. Had any one of these animals jumped up over the railing, as we afterwards heard they have sometimes done, who can say what might not have happened? Fortunately, no harm ensued beyond a flutter of nerves, which betrayed itself by Anna’s turning round to a set of handsome goats that soon followed the cattle, crying out to them in her own peculiar German: “Nix kommen! nix kommen!”

Fluelen has nothing to show beyond the picturesqueness of a village situated in such scenery and a collection of lumbering diligences and countless carriages, awaiting the hourly arrival of the steamers from Lucerne. The knell of these old diligences, however, has tolled, for the St. Gothard Railway tunnel has been commenced near Arnsty, and though it may require years to finish it, its “opening day” will surely come. Half an hour’s drive up the lovely valley brought us to Altorf, at the foot of the Grünwald, which, in accord with its name, is clothed with a virgin forest, now called the “Bann forest,” because so useful is it in protecting the town from avalanches and landslips that the Uri government never permits it to be touched. Altorf, like so many of the capitals in these forest cantons, has a small population, 2,700 inhabitants only, but it has many good houses, for it was burnt down in 1799 and rebuilt in a better manner. Tell’s story forms its chief interest, and certainly did so in our eyes. We rushed at once to the square, where one fountain is said to mark the spot where Tell took aim, and another that upon which his boy stood. Tradition says that the latter one replaced the lime-tree against which the son leant, portions of which existed until 1567. A paltry plaster statue of the hero is in the same square, but the most remarkable relic of antiquity is an old tower close by, which Herr H—— assured us is proved by documents to have been built before 1307, the date of Tell’s history.[137] Had the young friends we left at “Tell’s Platform” accompanied us hither, Emily might have quoted Schiller to us at length. But George, having recently bought a Tauchnitz edition of Freeman’s Growth of the English Constitution, which opens with a fine description of the annual elections of this canton, he earnestly pleaded a prolongation of our drive to the spot where this takes place, three miles further inland. Accordingly, after ordering dinner to be ready on our return at a hotel which was filled with Tell pictures, and an excellent one of the festival at the Platform, we left the town and proceeded up the valley. Soon we crossed a stream, the same, Herr H—— told us, in which Tell is said to have been drowned while endeavoring to save a child who had fallen into it. He also pointed out to us Bürglen, his home, and an old tower believed to have been his house, attached to which there is now a small ivy-clad chapel. It stands at the opening of the Schächen valley, celebrated to this day for its fine race of men—likewise corresponding in this respect with the old tradition. But more modern interest attaches to this valley, for it was along its craggy sides and precipices that Suwarow’s army made its way across the Kinzig-Kulm to the Muotta. The whole of this region was the scene of fearful fighting—first between the French and the Austrians, who were assisted by the natives of Uri, in 1799, and then, a month later, between the Russians coming up from Lombardy and the French.

“That was the age of real fighting,” said Herr H——, “hand-to-hand fighting, without mitrailleuses or long ranges. But the misery it brought this quarter was not recovered from for years after. Altorf was burnt down at that time, and everything laid waste. The memory of the trouble lingers about here even yet. What wonder! Certainly, in all Europe no more difficult fighting ground could have been found. In the end, the French General Lecourbe was all but cut off, for he had destroyed every boat on the lake; in those days a most serious matter, as neither steamers nor Axenstrasse existed. When he therefore wished to pursue the Russians, who by going up this Schächen valley intended to join their own corps, supposed to be at Zürich, he too was obliged to make a bold manœuvre. And then it was that he led his army by torchlight along the dangerous mule-path on the Axenberg! Sad and dreadful times they were for these poor cantons.”

Herr H—— showed us Attinghausen, the birth-place of Walter Fürst, and the ruins of a castle near, which is the locality of a fine scene in Schiller, but the last owner of which died in 1357, and is known to have been buried in his helmet and spurs. Shortly after, about three miles from Altorf, we reached the noted field, and George, opening Freeman, read us the following passage aloud:

“Year by year, on certain spots among the dales and the mountain-sides of Switzerland, the traveller who is daring enough to wander out of beaten tracks and to make his journey at unusual seasons, may look on a sight such as no other corner of the earth can any longer set before him. He may there gaze and feel, what none can feel but those who have seen with their own eyes, what none can feel in its fulness more than once in a lifetime—the thrill of looking for the first time face to face on freedom in its purest and most ancient form. He is there in a land where the oldest institutions of our race—institutions which[138] may be traced up to the earliest times of which history or legend gives us any glimmering—still live on in their primeval freshness. He is in a land where an immemorial freedom, a freedom only less eternal than the rocks that guard it, puts to shame the boasted antiquity of kingly dynasties, which, by its side, seem but as innovations of yesterday. There, year by year, on some bright morning of the springtide, the sovereign people, not entrusting its rights to a few of its own number, but discharging them itself in the majesty of its corporate person, meets, in the open market-place or in the green meadow at the mountain’s foot, to frame the laws to which it yields obedience as its own work, to choose the rulers whom it can afford to greet with reverence as drawing their commission from itself. Such a sight there are but few Englishmen who have seen; to be among these few I reckon among the highest privileges of my life. Let me ask you to follow me in spirit to the very home and birth-place of freedom, to the land where we need not myth and fable to add aught to the fresh and gladdening feeling with which we for the first time tread the soil and drink in the air of the immemorial democracy of Uri. It is one of the opening days of May; it is the morning of Sunday; for men there deem that the better the day the better the deed; they deem that the Creator cannot be more truly honored than in using in his fear and in his presence the highest of the gifts which he has bestowed on man. But deem not that, because the day of Christian worship is chosen for the great yearly assembly of a Christian commonwealth, the more directly sacred duties of the day are forgotten. Before we, in our luxurious island, have lifted ourselves from our beds, the men of the mountains, Catholics and Protestants alike, have already paid the morning’s worship in God’s temple. They have heard the Mass of the priest or they have listened to the sermon of the pastor, before some of us have awakened to the fact that the morn of the holy day has come. And when I saw men thronging the crowded church, or kneeling, for want of space within, on the bare ground beside the open door, when I saw them marching thence to do the highest duties of men and citizens, I could hardly forbear thinking of the saying of Holy Writ, that ‘where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.’ From the market-place of Altorf, the little capital of the canton, the procession makes its way to the place of meeting at Bözlingen. First marches the little army of the canton, an army whose weapons never can be used save to drive back an invader from their land. Over their heads floats the banner, the bull’s-head of Uri, the ensign which led men to victory on the fields of Sempach and Morgarten. And before them all, on the shoulders of men clad in a garb of ages past, are borne the famous horns, the spoils of the wild bull of ancient days, the very horns whose blast struck such dread into the fearless heart of Charles of Burgundy. Then, with their lictors before them, come the magistrates of the commonwealth on horseback, the chief-magistrate, the Landamman, with his sword by his side. The people follow the chiefs whom they have chosen to the place of meeting, a circle in a green meadow, with a pine forest rising above their heads, and a mighty spur of the mountain range facing them on the other side of the valley. The multitude of freemen take their seats around the chief ruler of the commonwealth, whose term of office comes that day to an end. The assembly opens; a short space is given to prayer—silent prayer offered up by each man in the temple of God’s own rearing. Then comes the business of the day. If changes in the law are demanded, they are then laid before the vote of the assembly, in which each citizen of full age has an equal vote and an equal right of speech. The yearly magistrates have now discharged all their duties; their term of office is at an end; the trust that has been placed in their hands falls back into the hands of those by whom it was given—into the hands of the sovereign people. The chief of the commonwealth, now such no longer, leaves his seat of office, and takes his place as a simple citizen in the ranks of his fellows. It rests with the free-will of the assembly to call him back to his chair of office, or to set another there in his stead. Men who have neither looked into the history of the past, nor yet troubled themselves to learn what happens year by year in their own age, are fond of declaiming against the caprice and ingratitude of the people, and of telling us that under a democratic government neither men nor measures can remain for an hour[139] unchanged. The witness alike of the present and of the past is an answer to baseless theories like these. The spirit which made democratic Athens year by year bestow her highest offices on the patrician Pericles and the reactionary Phocion, still lives in the democracies of Switzerland, alike in the Landesgemeinde of Uri and in the Federal Assembly at Bern. The ministers of kings, whether despotic or constitutional, may vainly envy the sure tenure of office which falls to the lot of those who are chosen to rule by the voice of the people. Alike in the whole confederation and in the single canton, re-election is the rule; the rejection of the outgoing magistrate is the rare exception. The Landamman of Uri, whom his countrymen have raised to the seat of honor, and who has done nothing to lose their confidence, need not fear that when he has gone to the place of meeting in the pomp of office, his place in the march homeward will be transferred to another against his will.”

The grand forms of the Windgälle, the Bristenstock, and the other mighty mountains, surrounded us as we stood in deep silence on this high green meadow, profoundly impressed by this eloquent tribute to a devout and liberty-loving people, all the more remarkable as coming from a Protestant writer. There was little to add to it, for Herr H——’s experience could only confirm it in every point. Dinner had to be got through rapidly on our return to Altorf, as we wished to catch the steamer leaving Fluelen at five o’clock. Like all these vessels, it touched at the landing-place beside Tell’s Platform, whence our young friends of the morning, who had been watching for our return, waved us a greeting. Thence we sat on deck, tracing Lecourbe’s mule-path march of torch-light memory along the Axenberg precipices, and finally reached the Waldstätterhof at Brunnen in time to see the sun sink behind Mont Pilatus, and leave the varied outlines clearly defined against a deep-red sky.


O Mary, Mother Mary! our tears are flowing fast,
For mighty Rome, S. Philip’s home, is desolate and waste:
There are wild beasts in her palaces, far fiercer and more bold
Than those that licked the martyrs’ feet in heathen days of old.
O Mary, Mother Mary! that dear city was thine own,
And brightly once a thousand lamps before thine altars shone;
At the corners of the streets thy Child’s sweet face and thine
Charmed evil out of many hearts and darkness out of mine.
By Peter’s cross and Paul’s sharp sword, dear Mother Mary, pray!
By the dungeon deep where thy S. Luke in weary durance lay;
And by the church thou know’st so well, beside the Latin Gate,
For love of John, dear Mother, stay the hapless city’s fate.
For the exiled Pontiffs sake, our Father and our Lord,
O Mother! bid the angel sheathe his keen avenging sword;
For the Vicar of thy Son, poor exile though he be,
Is busied with thy honor now by that sweet southern sea.
Oh! by the joy thou hadst in Rome, when every street and square
Burned with the fire of holy love that Philip kindled there,
And by that throbbing heart of his, which thou didst keep at Rome,
Let not the spoiler waste dear Father Philip’s Home!
Oh! by the dread basilicas, the pilgrim’s gates to heaven,
By all the shrines and relics God to Christian Rome hath given,
By the countless Ave Marias that have rung from out its towers,
By Peter’s threshold, Mother! save this pilgrim land of ours.
By all the words of peace and power that from S. Peter’s chair
Have stilled the angry world so oft, this glorious city spare!
By the lowliness of Him whose gentle-hearted sway
A thousand lands are blessing now, dear Mother Mary, pray.
By the pageants bright, whose golden light hath flashed through street and square,
And by the long processions that have borne thy Jesus there;
By the glories of the saints; by the honors that were thine;
By all the worship God hath got from many a blazing shrine;
By all heroic deeds of saints that Rome hath ever seen;
By all the times her multitudes have crowned thee for their queen;
By all the glory God hath gained from out that wondrous place,
O Mary, Mother Mary! pray thy strongest prayer for grace.
O Mary, Mother Mary! thou wilt pray for Philip’s Home,
Thou wilt turn the heart of him who turned S. Peter back to Rome.
Oh! thou wilt pray thy prayer, and the battle will be won,
And the Saviour’s sinless Mother save the city of her Son.



The Troubles of Our Catholic Forefathers, related by Themselves. Second Series. Edited by John Morris, S. J. London: Burns & Oates. 1875. (New York: Sold by The Catholic Publication Society.)

Whilst our ears are deafened and our feelings shocked by the calumnies and lying vituperation heaped upon all that is most worthy of love and veneration upon earth by the Satanic societies which the Popes have smitten with repeated excommunications, it is consoling to be supplied—by limners, too, who are themselves no mean exemplars of the noble development which the Church can give to virtue when it follows her counsels—with lifelike portraits of Christian athletes in times gone by. We do not know how soon our courage, patience, and charity may be put to a similar test. Multitudes of our fellow-Catholics are already subjected to every suffering but the martyrdom of death; and this seed of the Church our enemies, more wily than the sanguinary heretics of the age of Elizabeth, seem to be unwilling to sow. But they will not long be able to restrain their passion. The word of persecution has gone forth; and so bitter is the hatred of the very name of Christ, that before very long nothing but the blood of Christians will satiate its instincts.

The persecution of the Church in England in the time of Elizabeth resembled the persecution which is now raging against it, in the political complexion given to it. But there were far stronger grounds for it then than now. The superior claims of Mary to the throne, her virtues, and her surpassing beauty, were a just subject of jealousy and uneasiness to Elizabeth, and she might very naturally suppose that her Catholic subjects were not likely to regard with any fondness the usurpation of an illegitimate daughter of her apostate and tyrannical father.

In the present persecutions there is no political pretext, but one is made under cover of which to extirpate from among mankind the religion and very name of Christ.

This volume is the second of a series which promises to supply us with a whole gallery of Christian heroes, which we of this age of worldliness, cowardice, and self-seeking will do well to study attentively. As is often the case, it is to the untiring zeal of the Society of Jesus we owe so interesting as well as edifying a work. Father Morris, formerly Secretary to Cardinal Wiseman, but who joined the Society after the death of that eminent prelate, is its author, and he appears to us to have executed his task with rare judgment. By allowing his characters to speak in great part for themselves, the biographies and relations he presents us with have a dramatic interest which is greatly increased by the quaint and nervous style of the time in which they express themselves. We feel, too, that it is the very innermost soul and mind of the individual that is being revealed to us; and certainly in most of them the revelation is so beautiful that we should possibly have ascribed something of this to the partiality of a panegyrist, or to his descriptive skill, if the picture had been sketched by the pen of any other biographer than themselves. It is, indeed, the mean opinion they evidently have of themselves, and the naïve and modest manner in which they relate incidents evoking heroic virtue, their absolute unconsciousness of aught more than the most ordinary qualities, which fascinate us. It bears an impress of genuineness impossible to any description by the most impartial of historians. They express a beauty which could no more be communicated in any other way than can the odor of the flower or the music of the streams be conveyed by any touch, how ever magic, of the painter.

The present volume of the series contains the “Life of Father William Weston, S.J.,” and “The Fall of Anthony Tyrrell,” by Father Persons; for “our wish is,” says Father Morris, “to learn[142] not only what was done by the strong and brave, but also by the weak and cowardly.”

We are much struck in this history with the resemblance between those times and the present in the unsparing calumny of which the purest and the holiest men were made the victims.

For confirmation of these remarks, we refer the reader to the book itself. But we cannot refrain from quoting, in spite of its length, the following incident related by Father Weston. It is a remarkable example of the salutary effect of the Sacrament of Penance:

“For there lay in a certain heretical house a Catholic who, with the consent of his keeper, had come to London for the completion of some urgent business. He had been committed to a prison in the country, a good way out of London. He was seized, however, and overpowered by a long sickness which brought him near to death. The woman who nursed him, being a Catholic, had diligently searched the whole city through to find a priest, but in vain. She then sent word to me of the peril of that person, and entreated me, if it could be contrived, to come to his assistance, as he was almost giving up the ghost. I went to him when the little piece of gold obtained for me the liberty to do so. I explained that I was a priest, for I was dressed like a layman, and that I had come to hear his confession. ‘If that is the reason why you have come, it is in vain,’ he said; ‘the time for it is passed away.’ I said to him: ‘What! are you not a Catholic? If you are, you know what you have to do. This hour, which seems to be your last, has been given you that by making a good and sincere confession you may, while there is time, wash away the stains of your past life, whatever they are.’ He answered: ‘I tell you that you have come too late: that time has gone by. The judgment is decided; the sentence has been pronounced; I am condemned, and given up to the enemy. I cannot hope for pardon.’ ‘That is false,’ I answered, ‘and it is a most fearful error to imagine that a man still in life can assert that he is already deprived of God’s goodness and abandoned by his grace, in such a way that even when he desires and implores mercy it should be denied him. Since your faith teaches you that God is infinitely merciful, you are to believe with all certitude that there is no bond so straitly fastened but the grace of God can unloose it, no obstacle but grace has power to surmount it.’ ‘But do you not see,’ he asked me, ‘how full of evil spirits this place is where we are? There is no corner or crevice in the walls where there are not more than a thousand of the most dark and frightful demons, who, with their fierce faces, horrid looks, and atrocious words threaten perpetually that they are just going to carry me into the abyss of misery. Why, even my very body and entrails are filled with these hateful guests, who are lacerating my body and torturing my soul with such dreadful cruelty and anguish that it seems as if I were not so much on the point merely of going there, as that I am already devoted and made over to the flames and agonies of hell. Wherefore, it is clear that God has abandoned me for ever, and has cast me away from all hope of pardon.’

“When I had listened in trembling to all these things, and to much more of a similar kind, and saw at the same time that death was coming fast upon him, and that he would not admit of any advice or persuasion, I began to think within myself, in silence and anxiety, what would be the wisest course to choose. There entered into my mind, through the inspiration, doubtless, of God, the following most useful plan and method of dealing with him: ‘Well, then,’ I said, ‘if you are going to be lost, I do not require a confession from you; nevertheless, recollect yourself just for a moment, and, with a quiet mind, answer me, in a few words, either yes or no to the questions that I put to you; I ask for nothing else, and put upon you no other burden.’ Then I began to question him, and to follow the order of the Commandments. First, whether he had denied his faith. ‘See,’ I said, ‘do not worry yourself; say just those simple words, yes or no.’ As soon as he had finished either affirming or denying anything, I proceeded through four or five Commandments—whether he had killed any one, stolen anything, etc. When he had answered with tolerable calmness, I said to him, ‘What are the devils doing now? What do you feel or suffer from them?’ He replied: ‘They are quieter with me; they do not seem to be so furious as they were before.’ ‘Lift up your soul to God,’ I said, ‘and let us go on to the rest.’ In the same fashion and order I continued to question[143] him about other things. Then I enquired again, saying, ‘How is it now?’ He replied; ‘Within I am not tormented. The devils stand at a distance; they throw stones; they make dreadful faces at me, and threaten me horribly. I do not think that I shall escape.’ Going forward as before, I allured and encouraged the man by degrees, till every moment he became more reasonable, and at last made an entire confession of all his sins, after which I gave him absolution, and asked him what he was suffering from his cruel and harassing enemies. ‘Nothing,’ he said; ‘they have all vanished. There is not a trace of them, thanks be to God.’ Then I went away, after strengthening him by a few words, and encouraging him beforehand against temptations which might return. I promised, at the same time, that I would be with him on the morrow, and meant to bring the most Sacred Body of Christ with me, and warned him to prepare himself diligently for the receiving of so excellent a banquet. The whole following night he passed without molestation from the enemy, and on the next day he received with great tranquillity of mind the most Holy Sacrament, after which, at an interval of a few hours without disturbance, he breathed forth his soul, and quietly gave it up to God. Before he died, I asked the man what cause had driven him into such desperation of mind. He answered me thus: ‘I was detained in prison many years for the Catholic faith. Nevertheless, I did not cease to sin, and to conceal my sins from my confessor, being persuaded by the devil that pardon must be sought for from God, rather by penances and severity of life, than by confession. Hence I either neglected my confessions altogether, or else made insincere ones; and so I fell into that melancholy of mind and that state of tribulation which has been my punishment.’”

Light leading unto Light: A Series of Sonnets and Poems. By John Charles Earle, B.A. London: Burns & Oates. 1875.

Mr. Earle has undoubtedly a facility in writing sonnets; and a good sonnet has been well called “a whole poem in itself.” It is also, we think, peculiarly suitable for didactic poetry. The present sonnets are in advance, we consider, of those we first saw from Mr. Earle’s pen. But we still observe faults, both of diction and of verse, which he should have learnt to avoid. His model seems to be Wordsworth—the greatest sonneteer in our language; but, like him, he has too much of the prosaic and the artificial.

We wish we could bestow unqualified praise upon the ideas throughout these sonnets. And were there nothing for criticism but what may be called poetic subtleties—such as the German notion of an “ether body,” developed during life, and hatched at death, for our intermediate state of being—we should have no quarrel with Mr. Earle. But when we meet two sonnets (XLVIII. and XLIX.) headed “Matter Non-Existent,” and “Matter Non-Substantial,” we have a philosophical error serious in its consequences, and are not surprised to find the two following sonnets teach Pantheism. In Sonnet XLVIII. the author’s excellent intention is to refute materialism:

“‘Thought is,’ you say, ‘a function of the brain,
And matter all that we can ever know;
“‘From it we came; to it at last we go,
And all beyond it is a phantom vain,’ etc.
“I answer: ‘Matter is a form of mind,
So far as it is aught. It has no base,
Save in the self-existent.’”

Sonnet L. is headed, “As the Soul in the Body, so is God in the Universe.” Surely, this is the old “Anima Mundi” theory! Then, in Sonnet LI., the poet says of nature, and addressing God:

“She cannot live detached from thee. Her heart
Is beating with thy pulse. I cannot tell
How far she is or is not of thee part;
How far in her thou dost or dost not dwell;
That thou her only base and substance art,
This—this at least—I know and feel full well.”

Now, of course, Mr. Earle is unconscious that this is rank Pantheism. He has a way of explaining it to himself which makes it sound perfectly orthodox. But we do call such a blunder inexcusable in a Catholic writer of Mr. Earle’s pretensions. The title of his volume, “Light leading unto Light,” has little to do with the contents, as far as we can see; and, certainly, there are passages which would more fitly be headed “Darkness leading unto Darkness.”

We are sorry to have had to make these strictures. The great bulk of the sonnets, together with the remaining poems, are very pleasant reading, and cannot fail to do good.


First Annual Report of the Rev. Theodore Noethen, First Catholic Chaplain of the Albany Penitentiary, to the Inspectors. April 6, 1875. Albany: J. Munsell. 1875.

Thirteen Sermons preached in the Albany County Penitentiary. By the Rev. Theodore Noethen. Published under the auspices of the Society of S. Vincent de Paul. Albany: Van Benthuysen Printing House. 1875.

We are glad to see Father Noethen’s familiar hand thus charitably and characteristically engaged. These are the first documents of the kind we have observed under the improving state of things in this country, in which the priest of the Church is seen occupied in one of his most important duties—reclaiming the erring; and in doing this the means which he employs will doubtless be found more efficacious than any the state has at its command. Did the state fully appreciate its highest interest as well as duty, it would afford the Church every facility, not only in reclaiming such of her children as have fallen into the temptations by which they are surrounded, but also in the use of those preventive measures involved in parish schools, which would save multitudes from penitentiaries and houses of correction. Our over-zealous Protestant friends throw every obstacle in the way of the adequate moral and religious training of the class most exposed to the temptations arising from poverty and lack of employment, and then blame the Church for the result. We heartily welcome these signs of a better time coming.

An Exposition of the Epistles of S. Paul and of the Catholic Epistles; consisting of an Introduction to each Epistle, an Analysis of each Chapter, a Paraphrase of the Sacred Text, and a Commentary, embracing Notes, Critical, Explanatory, and Dogmatical, interspersed with Moral Reflections. By the Rt. Rev. John MacEvilly, D.D., Bishop of Galway. Third edition, enlarged. Dublin: W. B. Kelly. 1875. (New York: Sold by The Catholic Publication Society.)

After quoting this full, descriptive title-page, it will suffice to say that the notes which form the commentary have in the present edition been considerably enlarged. The work was originally published under the approbation of the Holy Father, the late Cardinals Barnabo and Wiseman, and the present venerable Archbishop of Tuam.


From Scribner, Armstrong & Co., New York: Personal Reminiscences. By O’Keefe, Kelly, and Taylor. Edited by R. H. Stoddard (Bric-à-Brac Series, No. VIII)

From the Author: An Address on Woman’s Work in the Church before the Presbytery of New Albany. By Geo. C. Heckman, D.D. Paper, 8vo, pp. 28.

From Wm. Dennis, G.W.S.: Journal of Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Session of the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia. Paper, 8vo, pp. 73.

From the Author: The Battle of Life: An Address. By D. S. Troy, Montgomery, Alabama. Paper, 8vo, pp. 14.

From Ginn Brothers, Boston: Latin Composition: An Elementary Guide to Writing in Latin. Part I.—Constructions. By J. H. Allen and J. B. Greenough. 12mo, pp. vi., 117.


VOL. XXII., No. 128.—NOVEMBER, 1875.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by Rev. I. T. Hecker, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.


The saints have all, whilst yet in the flesh, foretastes of heavenly bliss. But in these the closing days of time all the elect have a presentiment of coming judgment. And that presentiment is strong in proportion to their faith; stronger still in proportion to their charity. Let our readers be assured at the outset. We are not about to imitate the irreverence of the Scotch Presbyterian minister who, some few years ago, pretended that he had discovered in the prophetic visions of S. John the year in which will come to pass that event of stupendous awfulness, of which He, before whom all mankind will then be judged, said: “Of that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”

One fearful catastrophe, however, to befall mankind before the general judgment is insisted on so often and with such solemn emphasis by the Holy Spirit that the love of God seems to be, as it were, trembling for his redeemed creature, and longing to reveal to him more than is consistent with his own designs in the trial of his faith. For it must be remembered that faith is a merit, and the absolutely indispensable condition of our receiving the benefits of the divine atonement. Although the gift of God, it is the part we ourselves, by co-operating with the gift, contribute towards our own salvation. And what we are required to believe is so beautiful and ennobling to the moral sense, and so satisfying to the reason, that, supported as it is by the historical evidence of the divinity of Christ and of his church, no one can refuse to believe but those who deliberately choose darkness rather than light, sin rather than virtue, Satan rather than God.

Yet so formidable was to be that last trial of the faith of Christians, so crucial that conclusive test of their charity, which was to “deceive,[146] if it were possible, even the very elect,”[15] that the Spirit of Love, yearning for the safety of his regenerate ones, and compassionating the weakness of human nature, revealed its marks and signs in the fullest and most circumstantial detail; so that, warned of the danger, and recognizing it when it arrived, they might pass through it unhurt, whilst those who succumbed to it might be without excuse before the divine justice. It is the yearning of the heart of Christ towards his children, whom he foresees will fail by thousands in that decisive trial, which prompts the ejaculation that sounds almost like a lament over his own inability to put any pressure on their free-will: “When the Son of man cometh, will he find faith on the earth?” It is his anxiety, as it were, about the fate of his elect amidst the seductions of that appalling apostasy, which urged him, after he had indicated the signs that would accompany it, to be on the perpetual, sleepless lookout for them. “Be ever on the alert. Lo! I have foretold you all.”[16]

“Be ever on the alert, watch and pray. For you do not know when the time may be.”[17]

“Watch, then, lest when he (the head of the family) shall have come on a sudden, you be found sleeping.”[18]

“Moreover, what I say to you I say to all: Watch!”[19]

Throughout all the ages that have elapsed since those words of solemn import fell from the lips of Jesus Christ it has been the plain duty of all Christians—nay, of all to whose knowledge they were brought—to narrowly scrutinize events, to keep their attention fixed upon them, watching for the signs he foretold, lest they should appear unheeded, and they be seduced from the faith; or be the cause, through their indifference, of others being carried away in the great misleading.

But who now can be insensible to the predicted portents? So notorious are they, and so exactly do they answer to the description of them handed down to us from the beginning, that they rudely arouse us from sleep; that they force our attention, however indifferent to them we may be, however dull our faith or cold our charity. And when we see a vast organization advancing its forces in one united movement throughout the entire globe in an avowed attack, as insidious as it is formidable, upon altars, thrones, social order, Christianity, Christ, and God himself, where is the heart that can be insensible to the touching evidence of loving solicitude which urged Him whom surging multitudes of his false creatures were deliberately to reject in favor of a fouler being than Barabbas, to iterate so often the warning admonition, “Be ever on the watch”?

To study, therefore, the signs of the times, cannot be without profit to all, but especially to us who have but scant respect for the spirit of the age, who are not sufficiently enlightened by it to look upon Christ as nothing more than a remarkable man, the sublime morality he taught and set an example of as a nuisance, and his church as the enemy of mankind, to be extirpated from their midst, because it forbids their enjoying the illumination of[147] the dagger-guarded secrets of the craft of Freemasonry.

To fix the date of the Dies iræ is completely out of our power. It is irreverent, if not blasphemous, to attempt it. It is of the counsels of God that it should come with the swiftness of “lightning” and the unexpectedness of “a thief in the night”; and that expressly that we may be ever on the watch. But the signs of its approach are given to us in order to help those who do not abandon “watching” in indifference, to escape the great delusion—the imposition of Antichrist—which is to immediately precede it. It is these signs we propose to study in the following pages.

The predictions of Christ himself on this subject are far more obscure than those subsequently given to us by his apostles. But this has always been God’s way of revelation to his creature. To Moses alone, in the mount, he revealed the moral law and that wondrous theocratic polity which remained even after the perversity of his people had given it a monarchical form; and Moses communicated it to the people. To the people Christ spoke in parables, “and without a parable spake he not unto them. But when he was alone with them, he explained all to his disciples.”[20] “To you,” he said, “it is given to have known the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those without everything is a parable.”[21] The apostles themselves, who were to declare the revelation, in order to increase the merit of their faith, were not fully illuminated before the coming down of the Holy Spirit. “You do not know this parable?” he said; “and how are you going to understand all parables?”[22] To their utterances, therefore, it is we shall confine ourselves, as shedding as much light as it has seemed good to the Holy Ghost to disclose to us upon the profounder and more oracular predictions of God himself in the flesh.

Besides SS. Peter, Paul, and John, S. Jude is the only other apostle, we believe, who has bequeathed to the church predictions of the terrible apostasy of Antichrist which is to consummate the trial of the faith of the saints under the very shadow of the coming judgment. We will take them in the order in which they occur. The first is in a letter of S. Paul to the church at Thessalonica, where, exhorting them not to “be terrified as if the day of the Lord were at hand,” he assures them that it will not come “before there shall have first happened an apostasy, and the man of sin shall have been revealed, the son of perdition—he who opposes himself to, and raises himself above, all that is called God, or that is held in honor, so that he may sit in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God.… And you know what now is hindering his being revealed in his own time. For the mystery of iniquity is already working; only so that he who is now keeping it in check will keep it in check until he be moved out of its way. And then will the lawless one be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will slay with the breath of his mouth, and destroy with the illumination of his coming; whose coming is after the[148] manner of working of Satan, with all strength and symbols, and lying absurdities, and in every enticement of iniquity in those who perish; for the reason that they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved. So God will send them the working of error, that they may believe falsehood; that all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.”[23]

In a letter to Timothy, Bishop of Ephesus, S. Paul writes: “Now, the Spirit says expressly that, in the last times, some shall apostatize from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error and to doctrines of demons, speaking falsehood in hypocrisy, and having their own conscience seared.”[24]

In a second letter to the same bishop he writes: “Know this, moreover: that in the last days there will be a pressure of perilous times; men will be self-lovers, covetous, lifted up, proud, blasphemous, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, malicious, without affection, discontented, calumniators, incontinent, hard, unamiable, traitors, froward, fearful, and lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having indeed a form of piety, but denying its power.”[25] S. Peter writes that “there will come in the last days mockers in deception, walking according to their own lusts.”[26]

S. Jude describes them as “mockers, walking in impieties according to their own desires. These are they who separate themselves—animals, not having the Spirit.”[27]

It would seem from the expressions of S. John-who of all the apostles appears to have had most pre-eminently the gift of prophecy—as well as from the manner in which the last days of Jerusalem and the last days of the world appear to be mingled together in the fore-announcement of Christ, that powerful manifestations of Antichrist were to precede both events; although the apostasy was to be far more extensive and destructive before the latter. “Little children,” writes the favorite apostle, “it is the last time; and as you have heard that Antichrist comes, so now many have become Antichrists; whence we know that it is the last time.… He is Antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.”[28]

“Every spirit who abolishes Jesus is not of God. And he is Antichrist about whom we have heard[149] that he is coming, and is even now in the world.”[29]

We believe that these are the only passages wherein the Holy Ghost has vouchsafed to give us distinct and definite information as to the marks and evidences by which we are to know that there is amongst us that Antichrist whose disastrous although short-lived triumph is to precede by only a short space the end of time and the eternal enfranchisement of good from evil.

The prophetic utterances on this subject in the revelations of S. John are veiled in such exceedingly obscure imagery that we do not propose to attempt any investigation of their meaning in this article. It is our object to influence the minds of such Protestants as believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and of Catholics whose faith is so dull and whose charity is so cold that they can listen to the blasphemies of Antichrist without emotion.

We may remark here, however, that if we succeed in supplying solid reasons for believing that Antichrist is already amongst us, and that his dismal career of desolating victory has already begun, the duty of studying those utterances of the Holy Ghost, so darkly veiled that the faith of those who stand firm may have more merit in the trial of that great tribulation, will have assumed a position of importance impossible to be overrated. That they are to be understood, the Holy Ghost himself implies. He intimates that their meaning is accessible to the spiritually minded, and would even seem to make dulness of apprehension of it a reproach, a lack of spiritual discernment. “If any one has the ear, let him hear,”[30] he writes. And again: “This is wisdom. Let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast.”[31]

It is not necessary to the object we have in view that we should identify “the beast” of the Apocalypse, seven-headed and having ten horns crowned with diadems, with Antichrist. The question we propose to answer is simply, “Are there under our eyes at this moment evidences of a present Antichrist, or of his being close at hand?” In other words, “Is what is called ‘the spirit of the age’ the spirit of Antichrist?”

For us, that we may be on our guard against his wiles, and armed to the teeth to fight against him to the death, it is comparatively unimportant whether we decide him to be actually amongst us or only just about to appear. His marks and characteristics, his badges or decorations—these are all we require.

If the Antichrist of the prophecies is a single, separate impersonation of the demoniac attributes described by the Holy Ghost—if, in short, he is an individual man, then he has not yet been revealed. In that case, our identification of Antichrist will only have exposed that temper and spirit with which “the red dragon”—“the devil”—“Satan”—“the ancient serpent”—has possessed such vast multitudes of the human race throughout the entire globe as to afford ground for calling it “the spirit of the age,” and which is to culminate in some terrible personal embodiment—a typical personage, as men speak. But if the prophecies do not designate an individual man, but only the[150] impersonation of a multitude of individuals organized into a unity and animated with the same spirit, then we think we shall be able to point the finger of horror and loathing at the very Antichrist at present amongst us, and in the midst of victory, as decisively and as clearly as the prophet of penance pointed the finger of adoring love towards the Lamb of God.

We incline, and strongly, to the latter view. We must withhold our reasons, partly because, as we have said, our object is equally subserved by either view; but more because to do so would leave us too little space for treating the main subject. We will content ourselves with stating that those reasons are founded on the internal evidence supplied by the several predictions; and also on our aversion to admit the possibility of a more depraved individual impersonation of evil than that unhappy man whom God in human flesh pronounced a devil!

Whether, however, Antichrist be or not an individual man, one thing is certain: that if we can point out an immense army of men, co-extensive with the globe, highly organized, animated with the same spirit, and acting with as much unity of purpose as if their movements were directed by one head, who exhibit precisely those marks and characteristics described in the predictions of Antichrist, we may expect even on the supposition that they are to have a visible head, an individual leader, who has yet to make his appearance; and that they are his hosts, who have already achieved a great part of his victories.

What is first noticeable is that the stigma which is to be deeply branded on the front of the Antichristian manifestation which is to precede the close of time is “Apostasy”.

The day of the Lord will not come, “nisi venerit discessio primum; Spiritus dicit quia in novissimis temporibus quidam a fide discedunt.”

There can be no need of dwelling on this. It is sufficiently obvious that the great apostasy inaugurated by Luther was the first outbreak of Antichristian victory. The success of that movement assured the spirit of error of a career of victory. He was lurking in the fold, watching for his opportunity, and snatching away stray souls, as S. John tells us, in the time of the apostles. For a millennium and a half has he been preparing his manifestation. He inspired Julian, he inspired the Arians, he inspired all the heresies against which the definitions of the faith were decreed. But when he had seduced men away from the church, whole nations at a time, “dominationem contemnentes” (2 S. Peter ii. 10), and captivated them to the irrational opinion that there is no higher authority for the obligatory dogmas of the Christian Church than the conviction of every individual, solvere Jesum, and then God, was merely a matter of time. What human passion had begun human reason would complete. The life of faith could not be annihilated at a blow. It has taken three centuries for the sap of charity to wither away in the cut-off branches. But sooner or later the green wood could not but become dry; and reason, void of charity, would be forced to acknowledge that if the Bible has no definite meaning other than what appears to be its meaning to every individual, practically it has no definite meaning at all; that God[151] cannot have revealed any truth at all, if we have no means of ascertaining what it is beyond our own private opinions; that a book the text of which admits of as many interpretations as there are sects cannot, without an authoritative living expositor, reveal truths which it is necessary to believe in order to escape eternal punishment. The claim of the Catholic Church to this authority having been pronounced an usurpation, the progress, although slow, was sure and easy towards pronouncing Christianity itself an usurpation. God himself cannot survive Christianity. And we have now literally “progressed” to so triumphant a manifestation of Antichrist that the work of persecution of God’s Church has set in with a vengeance, and men hear on all sides of them the existence of God denied without horror, even without surprise.

The first mark of a present Antichrist we propose to signalize is that distinctly assigned to him by S. Paul—ὁ ἄνομος. This epithet is but feebly rendered by the Latin ille iniquus, or the English “that wicked one.” “The lawless one” better conveys the force of the Greek. For the root νόμος includes in its meaning not only enacted law of all kinds, but whatever has become, as it were, a law by custom; or a law of nature, as it were, by the universal observance of mankind.

The first marked sequel of the apostasy, the first outbreak of success of Antichrist in the political order, was the first French Revolution, during which a harlot was placed for worship upon the altar of Notre Dame.

That fearful outbreak may have sat for its portrait to S. Peter in the following description of the members of the Antichrist of the “last times”: “Who walk after the flesh in the lust of concupiscence, and despise authority; … irrational beasts, following only their own brute impulses, made only to be caught and slain; … having eyes full of adultery and of ceaseless sin; … speaking proud things of vanity, enticing, through the desires of the luxury of the flesh, those who by degrees go away from the truth, who become habituated to error; promising them liberty, whereas they themselves are the slaves of corruption” (2 Pet. ii. 10, 12, 14, 18, 19).

That saturnalia of lawlessness, which Freemason writers have ever since dared to approve, was the work of the “craft” of Freemasonry, to whose organization and plan of action does indeed, in an especial sense, apply S. Paul’s designation of τὸ μυστήριον τῆς ανομίας “the mystery of lawlessness.” Mirabeau, Sieyès, Grégoire, Robespierre, Condorcet, Fauchet, Guillotine, Bonneville, Volney, “Philippe Egalité,” etc., had all been initiated into the higher grades.

Louis Blanc, himself a Freemason, writes thus: “It is necessary to conduct the reader to the opening of the subterranean mine laid at that time beneath thrones and altars by revolutionists, differing greatly, both in their theory and their practice, from the Encyclopedists. An association had been formed of men of every land, every religion, and every class, bound together by mysterious signs agreed upon amongst themselves, pledged by a solemn oath to observe inviolable secrecy as to the existence of this hidden bond, and tested by proofs of a terrible description.… Thus we find Freemasonry to have been widely diffused immediately[152] before the outbreak of the Revolution. Spreading over the whole face of Europe, it poisoned the thinking minds of Germany, and secretly stirred up rebellion in France, showing itself everywhere in the light of an association resting upon principles diametrically opposed to those which govern civil society.… The ordinances of Freemasonry did indeed make great outward display of obedience to law, of respect to the outward forms and usages of profane society, and of reverence towards rulers; at their banquets the Masons did indeed drink the health of kings in the days of monarchy, and of presidents in the time of republics, such prudent circumspection being indispensable on the part of an association which threatened the existence of the very governments under whose eyes it was compelled to work, and whose suspicion it had already aroused. This, nevertheless, did not suffice to counteract the radically revolutionary influence continually exercised by the craft, even while it professed nothing but peaceful intentions.”[32]

In the work from which the above and the greater part of our materials in this article are borrowed, we read as follows: “It was precisely these revolutionary designs of the secret society which induced its Provincial Grand Master, the Prussian Minister Count von Haugwitz, to leave it. In the memorial presented by him to the Congress of Monarchs at Verona, in 1830, he bids the rulers of Europe to be on their guard against the hydra. ‘I feel at this moment firmly persuaded,’ writes the ex-grand master, ‘that the French Revolution, which had its first commencement in 1788, and broke out soon after, attended with all the horrors of regicide, existed heaven knows how long before, having been planned, and having had the way prepared for it, by associations and secret oaths.’”[33]

And the following:

“After the events of February, 1848, the ‘craft’ sang songs of triumph at the open success of its secret endeavors. A Belgian brother, Van der Heym, spoke thus: ‘On the day following the revolution of February a whole nation rose as one man, overturned the throne, and wrote over the frontal of the royal palace the words Liberty, Fraternity, Equality, all the citizens having adopted as their own this fundamental principle of Freemasonry. The combatants had not to battle long before the victory over their oppressors was gained—that freedom won which for centuries had formed the theme of Masonic discourses. We, the apostles of fraternity, aid the foundation-stone of the Republic.’”[34]

And another master of the Freemasons, one Peigné, said about the same time: “In our glorious Revolution of 1792 the Lodge of the Nine Sisters gave to the world such men as Garat, Brissot, Bailly, Camille Desmoulins, Condorcet, Champfort, Petion; the Lodge of the Iron Mouth gave to it Fauchet, Goupil de Prefeln, Sieyès; the Lodge of Candor, Custine, the two Lameths, and Lafayette.”

The horrors of that Revolution occasioned a temporary reaction and checked the triumphs of the Freemasons. But well they know how to repair their broken fortunes, bide their time, and reappear with renewed force.


Barruel, who was an eye-witness of the events of the period, and also himself intimately acquainted with many Freemasons in Paris, relates that the brethren, considering that the time had come when they were free to publish the secret they had sworn to keep, shouted aloud: “At last our goal is reached; from this day France will be one vast lodge, and all Frenchmen Freemasons.”

A strong reaction of disgust and terror at the satanic orgies of Freemasonry in the ascendant, moderated for a while this shout of triumph. But in the disasters inflicted on France by the conquering Germans, the “craft” thought to find a recurring opportunity. If the Communist attempt at Paris in 1871 was not originally planned by the Freemasons, they openly and officially joined it. “A procession composed of at least five thousand persons, in which members of all the grades took part, wearing their insignia, and in which one hundred and fifty lodges of France were represented, wended its way to the town hall of Paris. Maillet, bearing the red flag as a token of universal peace, headed the band, and openly proclaimed, in a speech which met with the approval of all present, that the new Commune was the antitype of Solomon’s temple and the corner-stone of the social fabric about to be raised by the efforts of the craft. The negotiations carried on with the government of Versailles on behalf of the socialists, and the way in which they planted the banners of the craft on the walls of the capital, accompanying this action with a threat of instantly joining the ranks of the combatants if a single shot were fired at one of those banners (of which a graphic account appeared in the Figaro at the time), was all of a piece with the sentiments they expressed” (The Secret Warfare of Freemasonry, p. 172).

Figaro closed its account of these strange events with the following reflections: “But when posterity shall be informed that in the middle of the XIXth century, in the midst of an unbelieving generation, which openly denied God and his Christ, under the very guns of an enemy in possession of all the French fortresses, hostilities were all at once suspended, and the course of a portentous and calamitous civil war interrupted because, forsooth, Brother Thirifoque, accompanied by two Knights Kadosch, went to offer to M. Thiers’ acceptance the golden mallet of supreme command (in the craft)—when, I say, this story is told to those who come after us, it will sound in their ears as a nursery tale, utterly unworthy of credence.”[35]

In Révélations d’un Franc-maçon[154] au lit de mort, pièce authentique, publicé, par M. de Hallet (Courtrai, 1826, p. 10), we find the following: “We must restore man to his primeval rights, no longer recognizing rank and dignity—two things the mere sight of which offends the eye of man and wounds his self-love. Obedience is a mere chimera, and has no place in the wise plans of Providence.”

In the Astræa, Taschenbuch für Freimaurer, von Bruder Sydow (1845), an orator thus speaks: “That which is destined to destruction must in the course of things be destroyed; and if human powers resist this law, at the behest of fate, a stronger power will appear upon the scene to carry out the eternal decrees of Providence. The Reformation of the church, as well as the French Revolution, proves the existence of this law.… Revolution is a crisis necessary to development.”

The Révélations says: “The poison must be neutralized by means of its antidote, revolution must succeed to obedience, vengeance follow upon effeminacy, power must grapple with power, and the reign of superstition yield before that of the one true natural religion.”

Barruel, who had been a master Mason, states that the oath administered to him was: “My brother, are you prepared to execute every command you may receive from the Grand Master, even should contrary orders be laid on you by king or emperor, or any other ruler whatever?”

“The grade of Kadosch”—the thirtieth grade—writes Barruel (p. 222), “is the soul of Freemasonry, and the final object of its plots is the reintroduction of absolute liberty and equality through the destruction of all royalty and the abrogation of all religious worship.”

“Socialism, Freemasonry, and communism have, after all, a common origin” (The Latomia—an organ of the craft—vol. xii. p. 237).

Le Libertaire, a Masonic journal published in this city, had the following in 1858: “The Libertaire knows no country but that which is common to all. He is a sworn foe to restraints of every kind. He hates the boundaries of countries; he hates the boundaries of fields, houses, workshops; he hates the boundaries of family.”

Is it within the power of the human mind to conceive of any possible individual or spiritual incarnation more deeply, vividly, and distinctly branded with the note-mark or sign of Antichrist, given to us by the Holy Spirit some two thousand years ago, by which we might recognize him when he appeared—“the lawless one,” “spurning authority”—ὁ ἄνομος, qui contemnunt dominationem?

And when we add to this, the one special and most wicked and lawless characteristic of the “craft”—its portentous mystery—to our thinking, they must willingly, and of set purpose, close their eyes who fail to detect in it the very Antichrist whom the apostle declares shall be manifested in the last days, after the apostasy, and whom he designates by the epithet τὸ μυστήριον τῆς ἀνομίας—“the mystery of lawlessness”—which he tells us had even then, at the very cradle of the church, begun to put in movement its long conspiracy against the salvation of mankind: τὸ γὰρ μυστηριον ἢδη ενεργεῖται τῆς ἀνομίας—“for the mystery of lawlessness is even now already working.”

No sooner was Christ born than[155] his infant life was sought; no sooner did he begin to teach than “the ancient serpent” sought his ruin; just before the triumph of his resurrection the enemy of mankind seemed to have finally and completely triumphed in his crucifixion; no sooner had his church, brought to life by his resurrection, begun her work of saving mankind than the devil was at work with his “mystery of lawlessness” for her destruction. All along it is Antichrist dogging the steps of Christ; before the second coming of Christ there is to be the second coming of Antichrist; before the final triumph over evil and revelation of the sons of God, Antichrist is to have that his last open and avowed manifestation—ἀποκάλυψις—and success, which the craft of Freemasonry is already so far on the road to compassing.

Whether or no he is to receive a serious check before that terrific triumph over all but the few remaining elect we know not. But so unmistakable is his present manifestation that it is woe to those who blink their eyes and follow in his wake! Woe to those whose judicial blindness causes them to “believe a lie”! Woe to those who are caught napping!

The next of the indications given us by the Holy Spirit of the Antichrist is his modus operandi—his method—the way in which he will effect his purposes, “whose coming is according to the way of working of Satan”—cujus est adventus secundum operationem Satanæ.

The beast with seven heads and ten horns crowned with diadems described in the Apocalypse is, we are there told, fully commissioned with his own power by the red dragon, whom we are distinctly informed is the old serpent, who is called the devil (διάβολος, or slanderer), “Satan, who deceives the whole world.”

Now, Satan is designated as “the prince of darkness” in opposition to Christ, “who is the true light, enlightening every one that cometh into the world”; he is the father of those who “hate the light because their deeds are evil.” When he would destroy Christ, “night was his hour and the power of darkness.” But in taking a survey of the craft of Freemasonry, what first seizes our attention? Is it not the profound darkness in which all its operations are veiled? Those terrible oaths of secrecy, made under the assured menace of assassination, attended with all that sanguinary gibberish, the lie involved in which is not known until the “seared conscience” is already in the chains of hell—surely, if anything is, these are “secundum operationem Satanæ.”

In the Vienna Freemason’s Journal, MSS. for circulation in the craft, second year of issue, No. 1, p. 66, is the following: “We wander amidst our adversaries, shrouded in threefold darkness. Their passions serve as wires, whereby, unknown to themselves, we set them in motion and compel them unwittingly to work in union with us.”

In a work written in High-German, the authorship of which is ascribed to a Prof. Hoffman of Vienna, the contents of which are supported by documentary evidence, and of which a Dutch translation was published in Amsterdam in 1792, which was reprinted at the Hague in 1826, the method of working of this “mystery of lawlessness” is thus summed up:

“2. To effect this, a literary association[156] must be formed to promote the circulation of our writings, and suppress, as far as possible, those of our opponents.

“3. For this end we must contrive to have in our pay the publishers of the leading literary journals of the day, in order that they may turn into ridicule and heap contempt on everything written in a contrary interest to our own.

“4. ‘He that is not with us is against us.’ Therefore we may persecute, calumniate, and tread down such an one without scruple; individuals like this are noxious insects which one shakes from the blossoming tree and crushes beneath one’s foot.

“5. Very few can bear to be made to look ridiculous; let ridicule, therefore, be the weapon employed against persons who, though by no means devoid of sense, show themselves hostile to our schemes.

“6. In order the more quickly to attain our end, the middle classes of society must be thoroughly imbued with our principles; the lower orders and the mass of the population are of little importance, as they may easily be moulded to our will. The middle classes are the principal supporters of the government; to gain them we must work on their passions, and, above all, bring up the rising generation in our ideas, as in a few years they will be in their turn masters of the situation.

“7. License in morals will be the best means of enabling us to provide ourselves with patrons at court—persons who are nevertheless totally ignorant of the importance of our cause. It will suffice for our purpose if we make them absolutely indifferent to the Christian religion. They are for the most part careless enough without us.

“8. If our aims are to be pursued with vigor, it is of absolute necessity to regard as enemies of enlightenment and of philosophy all those who cling in any way to religious or civil prejudices, and exhibit this attachment in their writings. They must be viewed as beings whose influence is highly prejudicial to the human race, and a great obstacle to its well-being and progress. On this account it becomes the duty of each one of us to impede their action in all matters of consequence, and to seize the first suitable opportunity which may present itself of putting them entirely hors du combat.

“9. We must ever be on the watch to make all changes in the state serve our own ends; political parties, cabals, brotherhoods, and unions—in short, everything that affords an opportunity of creating disturbances must be an instrument in our hands. For it is only on the ruins of society as it exists at present that we can hope to erect a solid structure on the natural system, and ensure to the worshippers of nature the free exercise of their rights.”

If this method of working, operatio, is not secundum adventum Satanæ, we should be glad to know what is. Herein we find every feature of Antichrist and his hosts which the Holy Ghost has drawn for our warning. They are heaped together in such hideous combination throughout this summary as scarcely to need particularizing. Our readers may not, however, be unwilling that we should single them out one by one as they appear more or less prominently in the several paragraphs; premising that throughout one characteristic reigns and prevails, and, indeed, lends its color to all the rest, that special attribute[157] of “the father of lies”—falsehood!

We will take the paragraphs in order, and photograph their most prominent Antichristian features.

The first.—Spurning authority. Giving ear to spirits of error and doctrines of demons.

Speaking lies in hypocrisy, having a conscience seared.


Mockers, walking according to their own desires; animals, not having the Spirit.

Mockers in deception, walking according to their own lusts.

The second and third.—Lovers of themselves, lawless, proud, malicious, traitors, froward, discourteous, fearful, mockers in deception.

The fourth.—Calumniators, cruel, traitors.

The fifth.—Mockers in deception.

The sixth.—Traitors, without affection, without peace.

The seventh.—Traitors, walking in impieties, walking according to their own lusts, incontinent.

The eighth.—Having their conscience seared, without peace, cruel.

The ninth.—Spurning authority, traitors, lawless, without peace.

It must be borne in mind, moreover, that these are not merely repulsive infirmities of individuals, but the essential and inevitable characteristics deliberately adopted by the craft of Freemasons, and which it cannot be without, if they are the brand which the finger of God has marked upon the loathsome brow of the Antichrist of “the last time.”[36]

In illustration of the former of these we quote the words of Brother Gotthold Salomon, D.Ph., preacher at the new Synagogue at Hamburg, member of the lodge entitled “The Dawn in the East,” in Frankfort-on-Main, who thus writes in his Stimmen aus Osten, MSS. for the brethren: “Why is there not a trace of anything appertaining to the Christian Church to be found in the whole ritual of Freemasonry? Why is not the name of Jesus once mentioned, either in the oath administered, or in the prayers on the opening of the lodges, or at the Masonic banquets? Why do Masons reckon time, not from the birth of Christ, but from the creation[158] of the world, as do the Jews? Why does not Freemasonry make use of a single Christian symbol? Why have we the compasses, the triangle, the hydrometer, instead of the cross and other emblems of the Passion? Why have wisdom, beauty, and strength superseded the Christian triad of faith, hope, and charity?”[37]

Brother Jochmus Müller, president of the late German-Catholic Church at Berlin, says in his Kirchenreform (vol. iii. p. 228): “We have more in common with a free-thinking, honest paganism than with a narrow-minded Christianity.”[38]

In the Waarscherwing (vol. xi. Nos. 2 and 8) we find the following:

“The laws of the Mosaic and Christian religions are the contemptible inventions of petty minds bent on deceiving others; they are the most extravagant aberrations of the human intellect.

“The selfishness of priests and the despotism of the great have for centuries upheld this system (Christianity), since it enabled them to rule mankind with a rod of iron by means of its rigid code of morality, and to confirm their power over weak minds by means of certain oracular utterances, in reality the product of their own invention, but palmed off on the world as the words of revelation.”[39]

In a review of Kirchenlehre and Ketzerglaube by Dr. A. Drechsler in vol. iv. of the Latomia, we find: “The last efforts made to uphold ecclesiastical Christianity occasioned its complete expulsion from the realm of reason; for they proved but too plainly that all negotiations for peace must result in failure. Human reason became aware of the irreconcilable enmity existing between its own teachings and the dogmas of the church.”

At a congress of Masons held at a villa near Locarno, in the district of Novara, preparatory to a socialistic demonstration to be held in the Colosseum at Rome, in answer to the sapient question, “What new form of worship is to supersede Catholicism?” the equally sapient answer was returned, “Communist principles with a new religious ideal.”

From a document published, the author of Secret Warfare of Freemasonry tells us,[40] by the Orient of Brussels, “to the greater glory of the Supreme Architect of the world, in the year of true light 5838” (1838), we quote the following:

“1. That at the head of every document issued by the brethren, in an individual or corporate capacity, should stand a profession of faith in our lawgiver Jesus, the son of Mary Amram (the Josue of the Old Testament), the invariable formula to be employed being, ‘To the glory of the Great Architect of the Universe,’ … to expose and oppose the errors of pope and priest, who commence everything in the name of their Trinity.

“3. That in remembrance of the Last Supper or Christian love-feast of Jesus, the Son of Mary Amram, an account of which is given in the Arabic traditions and in the Koran, a solemn festival should be held, accompanied by a distribution of bread, in commemoration of an ancient custom observed by the slaves of eating bread together, and of their deliverance by means of the liberator (Josue). The distribution is to be accompanied by these memorable words: ‘This is the bread of misery and oppression[159] which our fathers were forced to eat under the Pharaos, the priests of Juda; whosoever hungers, let him come and eat; this is the Paschal sacrifice; come unto us, all you who are oppressed; yet this one year more in Babylon, and the next year shall see us free men!’ This instructive, and at the same time commemorative, supper of the Rosicrucians is the counterpart of the Supper of the Papists.”

Dr. Dupuy, indeed, informs us of the corrupt portion of the Order of Templars, that “Receptores dicebant illis quos recipiebant, Christum non esse verum Deum, et ipsum fuisse falsum, non fuisse passum pro redemptione humani generis, sed pro sceleribus suis”—“They who received said to those whom they received that Christ was not really God; that he was himself false, and did not suffer for the redemption of the human race, but for his own crimes.”

In harmony with all this was the offensively blasphemous utterance of Mr. Frothingham at the Masonic hall in this city some weeks ago, at which the New York Tablet expressed a just indignation—an indignation which must have been shared by all who believe, in any way or form, in Jesus Christ, Redeemer of the world: “Tom Paine has keyed my moral being up to a higher note than the Jesus of Nazareth.”

The argument we have advanced seems to us to be convincing enough as it stands. Could we have taken a historical survey of the μυστήριον τῆς ανομίας in the two hemispheres from the “apostasy” up to the present time, but especially during the last fifteen years, it would have acquired the force of a logical demonstration. The limits to which we are necessarily restrained in a monthly periodical put this completely out of our power. Whoever he may be who has intelligently appreciated the political events of the latter period will be able to supply the deficiency for himself. Merely hinting, therefore, at the impossibility of getting anti-Freemason appreciations of contemporary events before the public—well known to all whose position has invited them to that duty—as an illustration of the plan of action laid down in the second clause of the above summary; at the recent unconcealed advocacy of the “craft” by the New York Herald, and the more cautious conversion of the London Times,[41] of that in the third; at the ribaldry of the press under Freemason influence directed against the bishops, clergy, and prominent laymen, as well as against the Pope; the nicknames they are for ever coining, such as “clericals,” “ultramontanes,” “retrogrades,” “reactionists”; their blasphemous travesties of the solemnities of religion in theatres and places of public resort, and so on, of that in the fourth and fifth; at the world-wide effort to induce states to exclude religious influences from the education of youth, of that of the sixth; at Victor Emanuel, the Prince of Wales, etc., of that of the seventh; at the assassination of Count Rossi at the beginning of the present Pope’s reign, the quite recent assassination of the President of Ecuador, the repeated attempts at assassination of Napoleon III., the deposition of so many sovereigns, even of the Pope himself—so far as it was in their power to depose him—of that[160] of the eighth; and at the whole area of Europe strewn with the wreck of revolution, of that of the ninth; we pass on to the last two marks of Antichrist with which we brand the Freemason confraternity—Qui solvit Jesum (Who abolishes Christ) and Qui adversatur et extollitur supra omne quod dicitur Deus, aut quod colitur, ita ut in templo Dei sedeat ostendens se tanquam sit Deus (Who opposes himself to, and raises himself above, all that is called God, or is worshipped, so that he may sit in the temple of God, making himself out to be, as it were, God).

Barruel, who was completely versed in Freemasonry, and who had been himself a Mason, states (p. 222) that “the grade of Kadosch is the soul of Freemasonry, and the final object of its plots is the reintroduction of absolute liberty and equality through the destruction of all royalty and the abrogation of all religious worship.” And he backs this statement by a tragic incident in the history of a friend of his, who, because he was a Rosicrucian, fancied himself to be “in possession of the entire secret of Freemasonry.” It is too long to admit of our quoting it. The reader anxious for information we refer to The Secret Warfare of Freemasonry (pp. 142-144).

Le Libertaire, a New York paper, in the interests of Freemasonry, about the year 1858 had the following: “As far as religion is concerned, the Libertaire has none at all; he protests against every creed; he is an atheist and materialist, openly denying the existence of God and of the soul.”

In 1793 belief in God was a crime prohibited in France under pain of death.

Those of our readers who have some acquaintance with modern philosophy we need here only remind of the natura naturans and natura naturata of Spinoza, born a Jew, but expelled from the synagogue for his advocacy of these principles of Freemasonry: “The desire to find truth is a noble impulse, the search after it a sacred avocation; and ample field for this is offered by both the mysterious rites peculiar to the craft and those of the Goddess Isis, adored in our temples as the wisest and fairest of deities.”—Vienna Freemason’s Journal (3d year, No. 4, p. 78 et seq.)

In the Rappel, a French organ of Freemasonry, was the following passage a few weeks ago: “God is nothing but a creation of the human mind. In a word, God is the ideal. If I am accused of being an atheist, I should reply I prefer to be an atheist, and have of God an idea worthy of him, to being a spiritualist and make of God a being impossible and absurd.”

In short, the craft is so far advanced in its course of triumph as to have at length succeeded in familiarizing the public ear with the denial of the existence of a God; so that it is now admitted as one amongst the “open questions” of philosophy.

Our illustration of the crowning indications of the satanic mark of Antichrist afforded by the Freemasons—the sitting in the temple of God, so as to make himself out to be, as it were, God—will be short but decisive.

The well-known passage in the last work of the late Dr. Strauss, to the effect that any worship paid to a supposed divine being is an outrage on the dignity of human nature, goes far enough, we should have thought, in this direction; but they go beyond even this.


A Dutch Mason, N. J. Mouthan, in a work entitled Naa een werknur in’t Middenvertrek Losse Bladzijde; Zaarboekje voor Nederlandsche Vrijmetselaren (5872, p. 187 et seq.), says: “The spirit which animates us is an eternal spirit; it knows no division of time or individual existence. A sacred unity pervades the wide firmament of heaven; it is our one calling, our one duty, our one God. Yes, we are God! We ourselves are God!”

In the Freemasons’ periodical “for circulation amongst the brethren” (Altenberg, 1823, vol. i., No. 1) is the following: “The idea of religion indirectly includes all men as men; but in order to comprehend this aright, a certain degree of education is necessary, and unfortunately the overweening egoism of the educated classes prevents their taking in so sublime a conception of mankind. For this reason our temples consecrated to the worship of humanity can as yet be opened only to a few.[42] We should, indeed, expose ourselves to a charge of idolatry, were we to attempt to personify the moral idea of humanity in the way in which divinity is usually personified.… On this account, therefore, it is advisable not to reveal the cultus of humanity to the eyes of the uninitiated, until at length the time shall come when, from east to west, this lofty conception of humanity shall find a place in every breast, this worship shall alone prevail, and all mankind shall be gathered into one fold and one family.”

The principles of this united family, “seated in the temple of God,” the Masonic philosopher Helvetius expounds to us; from whom we learn that “whatever is beneficial to all in general may be called virtue; what is prejudicial, vice and sin. Here the voice of interest has alone to speak.… Passions are only the intensified expression of self-interest in the individual; witness the Dutch people, who, when hatred and revenge urged them to action, achieved great triumphs, and made their country a powerful and glorious name. And as sensual love is universally acknowledged to afford happiness, purity must be condemned as pernicious, the marriage bond done away with, and children declared to be the property of the state.”[43] The father of such a “one fold and one family” no one not himself signed with the “mark of the beast” could hesitate to point out. The consummation above anticipated we are bid to expect. Nor is it now far off. They who are not “deceived” have, however, the consoling assurance that our Lord will “slay him with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy him with the illumination of his coming.”





“You understand, M. de Soria,” said Wolsey to one of his secretaries, in whom he placed the greatest confidence. “As soon as you see him, present yourself before him, give the usual password, and then conduct him through the subterranean passage that leads to the banks of the Thames. Bring him here by the secret stairway. He will be dressed in a cloak and suit of brown clothes, wearing a black felt hat tied round with a red ribbon.”

“My lord, you may feel perfectly satisfied,” replied the secretary with a self-sufficient air, “that all your orders will be punctually executed. But he cannot possibly arrive for an hour yet; I will vouch for that, my lord.”

“Go, however, sir,” replied the minister, impatiently; “I fear being taken by surprise. Have less confidence in your own calculations, sir, and be more prompt in your actions.” And saying this he made a sign for him to go at once.

The door had scarcely closed on Soria, when the cardinal, who sat writing in silence, heard in the court of the chancellor’s palace an unusual noise. For some time he continued his work; but the tumult increasing, and hearing loud bursts of laughter, he arose, opened the window and went out on a high balcony, whence he had a view of all that was passing in the principal court.

There a crowd of servants had assembled, and formed a circle around an old woman who was apparently the object of their ridicule. Her large felt hat, around which was tied a band of red ribbon, had fallen to the ground leaving uncovered, not the head of an old woman, as they had supposed, but one thickly covered with short hair, black and curling.

On seeing this head-dress the crowd redoubled their cries, and one of them advancing suddenly, raised the mask concealing the features. What was their surprise to find under that disguise a great rubicund face, the nose and cheeks of which were reddened with the glow that wine and strong drink alone produce, and giving sufficient evidence of the sex to which it belonged. The man, seeing he was discovered, defended himself with vigor, and, dealing sharp blows with his feet and hands, endeavored to escape from his tormentors; but he was unable to resist their superior numbers. They threw themselves upon him, tearing off his brown cloak, and one of his blue cotton petticoats. The wretched creature cried out vociferously, loudly threatening them with the indignation of the cardinal; but the valets heard nothing, vain were all his efforts to escape them. Nevertheless, being exceedingly robust, he at length succeeded in overthrowing[163] two of his antagonists, and then, dashing across the courtyard, he sprang quickly into the second court, where, finding a ladder placed at the window of a granary, he clambered up with all the dexterity of a frightened cat, and hid himself under a quantity of straw which had been stored there. In the meantime, the cardinal had recognized from his elevated position on the balcony the red ribbon that announced the messenger for whom he awaited with so much anxiety. Greatly enraged at the scene before him, and forgetting his dignity, he hurried from the balcony, rushing through the apartments that led from his own room (in which were seated the numerous secretaries of state, engaged in the work of the government). Without addressing a word to them, he descended the stairs so rapidly that in another instant he stood in the midst of his servants, who were stupefied at finding themselves in the presence of their master, all out of breath, bareheaded, and almost suffocated with indignation. He commanded them in the most emphatic terms to get out of his sight, which they did without waiting for a repetition of the order. From every direction the pages and secretaries had assembled, among them being M. de Soria, who was in great trepidation, fearing some accident had happened to the individual whom he had been instructed to introduce with such great secrecy into the palace. His fears were more than realized on seeing the cardinal, who cast on him a glance of intense anger, and in a loud voice exclaimed: “Go, sir, to the assistance of this unfortunate man who is being subjected to such outrages in my own house. Not a few of those who have attempted to drive him off shall themselves be sent away!” Then the cardinal, giving an authoritative signal, those around him understood that their presence was no longer desired, and immediately ascended the stairs and returned to their work.

Wolsey himself quickly followed them; and M. de Soria, greatly confused, in a short time appeared and ushered into the minister’s cabinet the messenger, who was still suffering from the effects of the contest in which he had been compelled to engage.

“Your letters! your letters!” said Wolsey eagerly, as soon as they were alone. “All is right, Wilson. I am satisfied. I see that you are no coward, and all that you have just now suffered will be turned to your advantage. Nevertheless, it is quite fortunate that I came to your rescue when I did, for I really do not know what those knaves might have done to you.”

“They would have thrown me into the water, I believe, like a dog,” said Wilson, laughing. “Oh! that was nothing though. I have been through worse than that in my life. All I was afraid of was, that they might discover the package of letters and the money.”

As he said this, the courier proceeded to unfasten the buckles of an undervest, made of chamois leather, that he wore closely strapped around his body. After he had taken off the vest he unfastened a number of bands of woollen cloth which were crossed on his breast. In each one of these bands was folded a great number of letters, of different forms and sizes. Then he unstrapped from his waist and laid on the table a belt that contained quite a large sum of money in gold coin, that Francis I. had sent to the minister.[164] The avarice of Wolsey was so well understood by the different princes and sovereigns of Europe that they were accustomed to send him valuable presents, or to confer on him rich annuities, whenever they wished to gain him over to their interests. Wolsey had for a long time been engaged in a correspondence with France. He carried it on with the utmost secrecy, for he well understood if discovered by Henry he would never be pardoned. His apprehensions were still greater, now that he was endeavoring to direct the influence of his political schemes, and that of the paid agents whom he had at the different courts of Europe, towards bringing about a reconciliation between the Emperor Charles V. and the King of France; hoping by such an alliance to prevent the marriage of the king with Anne Boleyn, and thus to destroy the hopes of that ambitious family. He saw with intense satisfaction his intrigues succeeding far beyond his most sanguine expectations.

Francis I. anxiously entreated him to use his influence with the King of England, in order to dispose him favorably toward the treaty of peace which he was determined to make with Charles V. “I assure you,” he wrote, “that I have so great a desire to see my children, held so long now as hostages, that I would without hesitation willingly give the half of my kingdom to ensure that happiness. If you will aid me in removing the obstacles that Henry may interpose to the accomplishment of this purpose, you may count on my gratitude. The place of meeting is already arranged; we have chosen the city of Cambrai; and I have felt great pleasure in the assurance that you prefer, above all other places, that the conference should be held in that city.” Charmed with his success, the cardinal sent immediately in quest of Cromwell, whom he found every day becoming more and more indispensable to him, and to whom he wished to communicate the happiness he experienced in receiving this joyful intelligence; but, at the same time, closely concealing the manner in which he had obtained the information.

On a terrace of Windsor Castle a tent had been erected of heavy Persian cloth interwoven with silk and gold. Voluminous curtains of royal purple, artistically looped on each side with heavy silk cords, descended in innumerable folds of most graceful drapery. Rare flowers embalmed the air in every direction with exquisite perfumes, which penetrated into an apartment of the royal palace, through the open windows of which were seen the richness and elegance of the interior.

In this apartment were seated three persons apparently engaged in an animated conversation.

“So there is yet another difficulty!” cried a young girl, a charming and beautiful blonde, who seemed at this moment in an extremely impatient and excited mood. “But what say you?” she added presently, addressing herself with vivacity to a gentleman seated immediately in front of her; “speak now, Sir Cromwell; say, what would you do in this desperate situation? Is there no way in which we can prevent this treaty from being concluded?”

“Well truly, madam,” he replied, “it will be useless to attempt it. The Duchess of Angoulême has at this moment, perhaps, already arrived at[165] Cambrai, for the purpose of signing the treaty; and we cannot reasonably hope that the Archduchess Margaret, who accompanies her, will not agree with her on every point, since the preliminaries have already been secretly concluded between the Emperor and the King of France.”

“Well, my dear Cromwell,” she replied, in a familiar and angry tone, “what shall we do then?”

“If I have any counsel to give you, madam,” answered Cromwell, with an air of importance, “it is to begin by preventing the king from consenting to the departure of Cardinal Wolsey; because his greatest desire now is to be sent as envoy to the congress at Cambrai, and you may be well assured, if he wishes to go there, it is certainly not with the intention of being useful to you, but, on the contrary, to injure you.”

“Do you think so?” replied Lady Anne. “Then I shall most certainly endeavor to prevent him from making his appearance there. But has he told you nothing about the letter I wrote him the other day?”

“Excuse me, madam,” replied Cromwell, “he has shown me the letter; in fact, he conceals nothing from me.”

“Well! and did it not give him pleasure? It seemed to me it ought to please him, for I made protestations of friendship sufficient to reassure him, and remove all apprehensions he may have felt that I would injure him in the estimation of the king.”

“He has said nothing to me on the subject,” replied Cromwell, “but I remarked that he read the letter over several times, and when he handed it to me it was with a very ominous shake of the head. Understanding so well his every gesture and thought, I comprehended perfectly he was but little convinced of what you had written, and that he has no confidence in it. Moreover, madam, it is necessary that you should know that Wolsey has been most active in his endeavors to forward the divorce so long as he believed the king would espouse a princess of the house of France; but since he knows it is you he has chosen, his mind is entirely changed, and he tries in every possible manner to retard the decision and render success impossible.”

“It is clear as day, my dear sister!” exclaimed Lord Rochford, earnestly interrupting Cromwell. “You know nothing about the affairs you are trying to manage; therefore you will never be able to rid yourself of this imperious minister. I have already told you that all your efforts to flatter or appease him will be in vain. He believes you fear him, and he likes you no better on that account. What Cromwell says is but too true, and is verified by the fact that nothing advances in this affair. Every day some new formalities are introduced, or advantages claimed, or they wait for new instructions and powers. They tell us constantly that Campeggio is inflexible; that nothing will induce him to deviate from his instructions and the usages of the court of Rome. But whom has he chosen—with whom has he conferred? Is it not Wolsey? And he has certainly prevented us from obtaining anything but what he himself designed to accomplish.”

“You are right, brother!” cried Anne Boleyn, with a sudden gesture of displeasure. “It is necessary to have this haughty and jealous[166] minister removed. Henceforth all my efforts shall be directed to this end. It may, perhaps, be less difficult than we suppose. The king has been violently opposed to this treaty, which Wolsey has so earnestly labored to bring about—or at least the king suspects him of it—and he told me yesterday that it was vain for the king of France to address him as ‘his good brother and perpetual ally,’ for he regarded as enemies all who presumed to oppose his will. ‘Because,’ he added, ‘I understand very well, beforehand, what their terms will be. Once become the ally of Charles V., Francis will use all his efforts to prevent the repudiation of his aunt; but nothing under heaven shall divert me from my purpose. I will resist all the counsels he may give me!’”

“He is much disappointed,” said Lord Rochford, “that the Pope should have been raised, as it were, from the dead. His death would have greatly lessened these difficulties; for he holds firmly to his opinions. I am much deceived, or the commission of legates will pass all their time, and a very long time too, without coming to any decision.”

As Lord Rochford made this remark, his wife, the sister-in-law of Anne Boleyn, entered the apartment, accompanied by the young wife of Lord Dacre. Now, as Lady Rochford belonged entirely to the queen’s adherents, and Lady Anne was very much in fear of her, the tone of conversation was immediately changed, becoming at once general and indifferent.

“The Bishop of Rochester has returned to London,” carelessly remarked Anne Boleyn, as she stooped to pick up a little embroidered glove.

“Yes, madam,” replied Cromwell. “I have seen him, and I find him looking quite old and feeble.”

“Ah! I am truly sorry to hear it,” replied Lady Anne; “the king is very much attached to him. I have often heard him say he regarded him as the most learned and remarkable man in England, and that he congratulated himself on possessing in his kingdom a prelate so wise, virtuous, and accomplished.”

“What would you wish, madam?” replied Cromwell, who never could suffer any one to be eulogized in his presence; “all these old men should give place to us—it is but just; they have had their time.”

“Ah! Sir Cromwell,” replied Lady Boleyn, smiling, “you have no desire, I am sure, to be made bishop; therefore, the place he will leave vacant will not be the one for you.”

“You have decided that question very hastily, madam. Who knows? I may one day, perhaps, be a curate. It has been predicted of me.”

“Oh! that would indeed be a very strange sight,” she replied, laughing aloud. “You certainly have neither the turn nor the taste for the office. How would you ever manage to leave off the habit of frequenting our drawing-rooms? Truly we could not afford to lose you, and would certainly get up a general revolt, opposing your ordination, rather than be deprived of your invaluable society.”

“You are very kind, madam,” said Cromwell; “but I should perhaps not be so ridiculous as you imagine. I should wear a grave and severe countenance and an air of the greatest austerity.”

“Oh! I understand you now,” she replied; “you would not be[167] converted; you would only become a hypocrite!”

“I have a horror of hypocrites!” said Cromwell scornfully.

“I wonder what you are, then?” thought Lady Rochford.

“And I also,” replied Lady Anne. “I have a perfect detestation of hypocrites; it is better to be bad out and out!”

“Is it true there has been a riot in the city?” asked Lady Rochford.

“Yes, madam,” replied Cromwell; “but it was suppressed on the spot. It was only a hundred wool-spinners, carders, and drapers, who declared they were no longer able to live since the market of the Netherlands has been closed, and that they would soon starve if their old communications were not re-established. The most mutinous were arrested, the others were frightened and quickly dispersed.”

“Oh!” said Lord Rochford, “there is nothing to fear from such a rabble as that; they are too much afraid of their necks. Let them clamor, and let us give ourselves no uneasiness on the subject. I met Sir Thomas More this morning going to the king with a petition which they had addressed to him yesterday.”

“Why was he charged with the commission?” asked young Lady Dacre.

“In virtue of his office as sheriff of the city,” replied Cromwell.

“He constitutes, then, part of our city council?” she replied. “He is a man I have the greatest desire to know; they say such marvellous things of him, and I find his poetry full of charming and noble thoughts.”

“I see,” replied Cromwell, “you have not read the spirited satire just written by Germain de Brie? It points out the perfectly prodigious faults of More’s productions. It is certainly an anti-Morus!”

“I am inclined to think your opinion is prompted by a spirit of jealousy, Sir Cromwell,” answered Lady Rochford, sharply. “Read, madam,” she continued, addressing young Lady Sophia Dacre, “his History of Richard III.; I suppose Sir Cromwell will, at least, accord some merit to that work?”

“Entirely too light, and superficial indeed, madam,” said Cromwell; “the author has confined himself wholly to a recital of the crimes which conducted the prince to the throne. The style of that history is very negligent, but, at the same time, very far above that of his other works, and particularly of his Utopia, which is a work so extravagant, a political system so impracticable, that I regard the book simply as a wonderful fable, agreeable enough to listen to, but at which one is obliged to laugh afterwards when thinking of the absurdities it contains.”

“Your judgment is as invidious as it is false!” exclaimed Lady Rochford, who always expressed her opinions bluntly, and without dissimulation. “If it is true,” she continued, “that this philosophical dream can never be realized, yet it is nevertheless impossible not to admire the wise and virtuous maxims it contains. Above all others there is one I have found so just, and so beautifully conceived, I could wish every young girl capable of teaching it to her future husband. ‘How can it be supposed,’ says the author, ‘that any man of honor and refinement could resolve to abandon a virtuous woman, who had been the companion of his bosom, and in whose society he had passed so many days of happiness;[168] only because time, at whose touch all things fade, had laid his destroying hand upon the lovely features of that gentle wife, once so cherished and adored? Because age, which has been the first and most incurable of all the infirmities she has been compelled to drag after her, had forcibly despoiled her of the charming freshness of her youth? Has that husband not enjoyed the flower of her beauty and garnered in the most beautiful days of her life, and will he forsake his wife now because she has become feeble, delicate, and suffering? Shall he become inconstant and perjured at the very moment when her sad condition demands of him a thousand sacrifices, and claims a return to the faithful devotion and vows of his early youth? Ah! into such a depth of unworthiness and degradation we will not presume it possible for any man to descend! It was thus the people of the Utopian Isle reasoned, declaring it would be the height of injustice and barbarity to abandon one whom we had loved and cherished, and who had been so devoted to us, at the moment when suffering and affliction demanded of us renewed sympathy and a generous increase of our tenderest care and consolations!’[44] And now, my dear sister,” she added, fixing her eyes steadfastly on Lady Boleyn, “what do you think of that passage? Are you not forcibly struck by the truth and justice of the sentiment? Let me advise you when you marry to be well satisfied beforehand that your husband entertains the same opinions.”

As she heard these last words the beautiful face of Anne Boleyn became suddenly suffused with a deep crimson, and for some moments not a word was uttered by any one around her. They understood perfectly well that Lady Rochford’s remarks were intended to condemn in the most pointed manner the king’s conduct towards the queen, whose failing health was entirely attributable to the mortification and suffering she endured on account of her husband’s ingratitude and ill-treatment.

In the meantime, the silence becoming every moment more and more embarrassing, Anne Boleyn, forcibly assuming an air of gayety, declared her sister was disposed to look very far into the future; “but,” she added, “happily, my dear sister, neither you nor I are in a condition to demand all those tender cares due to age and infirmity.”

“Come, ladies, let us go,” said Cromwell in a jesting tone, hoping to render himself agreeable to Lady Anne by relieving the embarrassment the conversation had caused her. “I am unable to express my admiration for Lady Rochford. She understands too well the practice of the Utopian laws not to wish for the position of Dean of the Doctors of the University of Oxford.”

“You are very complimentary and jocose, sir,” replied Lady Rochford; “and if you wish it, I will introduce you to one who will be personally necessary if you should ever aspire to fill a position in that kingdom. You must know, however, that their wise law-giver, Utopia, while he accorded to each one liberty of conscience, confined that liberty within legitimate and righteous bounds, in order to prevent the promulgation of the pernicious doctrines of pretended philosophers, who endeavor to debase the dignity of our exalted human[169] nature; he also severely condemned every opinion tending to degenerate into pure materialism, or, what is more deplorable still, veritable atheism. The Utopians were taught to believe in the reality of a future state, and in future rewards and punishments. They detested and denounced all who presumed to deny these truths, and, far from admitting them to the rank of citizens, they refused even to class among men those who debased themselves to the abject condition of vile animals. ‘What,’ they asked, ‘can be done with a creature devoid of principle and without faith, whose only restraint is fear of punishment, who without that fear would violate every law and trample under foot those wise rules and regulations which alone constitute the bulwark of social order and happiness? What confidence can be reposed in an individual purely sensual, living without morals and without hope, recognizing no obligation but to himself alone; who limits his happiness to the present moment; whose God is his body; whose law, his own pleasures and passions, in the gratification of which he is at all times ready to proceed to the extremity of crime, provided he can find means of escaping the vigilant eye of justice, and be a villain with impunity? Such infamous characters are of course excluded from all participation in municipal affairs, and all positions of honor and public trust; they are veritable automatons, abandoned to the “error of their ways,” wretched, wandering “cumberers of the earth” on which they live!’ You perceive, Sir Cromwell,” continued Lady Rochford ironically, “that my profound knowledge and retentive memory may prove very useful to you, should you ever arrive at the Utopian Isle, for you must be convinced that your own opinions would meet with very little favor in that country.”

Cromwell, humiliated to the last degree, vainly endeavored to reply with his usual audacity and spirit. Finding all efforts to recover his self-possession impossible, he stammered forth a few incoherent words, and hastily took his leave.

The desire of winning the approbation of Anne Boleyn at the expense of her sister-in-law had caused him to commit a great blunder, and he received nothing in return to remove the caustic arrows from his humiliated and deeply wounded spirit. Extremely brilliant and animated in conversation, Lady Rochford was accustomed to “having the laugh entirely on her own side,” which, knowing so very well, Anne had pretended not to understand the conversation, although the remarks had been so very piquant.

As soon as he had retired Cromwell became the subject of conversation, and Anne timidly, and with no little hesitation, ventured to remonstrate with her sister-in-law, expressing her regret that the conversation should have been made so personal, as she liked Cromwell very much.

“And that is just what you are wrong in doing,” replied Lady Rochford; “for he is a deceitful and dangerous man! He pretends to be extremely devoted to you, but it is only because he believes he can make you useful to himself; and he is full of avarice and ambition. This you will discover when it is perhaps too late, and I advise you to reflect seriously on the subject. It is so cruel to be mistaken in the choice of a friend that, truly, the surer and better way[170] would seem to be, to form no friendships at all! There are so few, so very few, whose affections are pure and disinterested, that they scarcely ever withstand the ordeal of misfortune, or the loss of those extraneous advantages with which they found us surrounded.”

“You speak like a book, my dear sister,” cried Lady Boleyn, laughing aloud; “just like a book that has been sent me from France, with such beautiful silver clasps.”

Saying this, she ran to fetch the book, which she had opened that evening in the middle, not having sufficient curiosity to examine the title or inquire the name of the author of the volume. She opened it naturally at the same place, and read what follows, which was, as far as could be discovered, the fragment of a letter:

“You ask me for the definition of a friend! In reply, I am compelled to declare that the term has become so vague and so obscure, it has been used in so many senses, and applied to so many persons, I shall first be obliged to give you a description of what is called a friend in the world—a title equivalent, in my estimation, to the most complete indifference, intermingled at the same time with no insignificant degree of envy and jealousy. For instance, I hear M. de Clèves speaking of his friend M. Joyeuse, and he remarks simply: ‘I know more about him than anybody else; I have been his most intimate friend for a great many years; he is meanly avaricious—I have reproached him for it a hundred times.’ A little further on, and I hear the great Prof. de Chaumont exclaim, ‘Valentino d’Alsinois is a most charming woman; everybody is devoted to her. But this popularity cannot last long—she is full of vanity; intolerably conceited and silly; it really amuses me!’ I go on still further, and meet a friend who takes me enthusiastically by both hands: ‘Oh! I expected a visit from you yesterday, and was quite in despair that you did not come! You know how delighted I always am to see you, and how highly I appreciate your visits!’ But I happen to have very keen eyes, and an ear extremely acute and delicate; and I distinctly heard her whisper to her friend as I approached them, ‘How fortunate I have been to escape this visit!’ What a change! I did not think it could last long. Well, with friends like these you will find the world crowded; they will obstruct, so to speak, every hour of your life; but it is rare indeed to encounter one who is true and loyal, a friend of the heart! A man truly virtuous: and sincerely religious is alone capable of comprehending and loving with pure and exalted friendship. A man of the world, on the contrary, accustomed to refer everything to himself, and consulting his own desires, becomes his own idol, and on the altar of self offers up the only sincere worship of which his sordid soul is capable. And you will find he will always end by sacrificing to his own interests and passions the dearest interests of the being who confided in his friendship.

“But with the sincere and earnest friend, love and gratitude are necessities of his nature; they constitute the unbroken chain which links all pure and reasonable friendship. He will assist his friend in all emergencies, for he has assumed in a manner even his responsibilities. He will never flatter; his counsel and advice, on the contrary, may be severely administered, because it is impossible to be happy without being[171] virtuous, and the happiness of his friend is as dear to him as his own. He is ready to sacrifice his own interests to those of his friend, and none would dare attack his friend’s reputation in his presence; for they know he will defend and sustain him under all circumstances, sympathizing in his misfortunes, mingling tears with his tears—in a word, that it is another self whom they would presume to attack.

“Death itself cannot dissolve the ties of such an affection—the soul, nearer to God, will continue to implore unceasingly for him the divine benediction. Oh! what joy, what happiness, to participate in a friendship so pure and exalted! He who can claim one such friend possesses a source of unbounded joy, and an inexhaustible consolation of which cruel adversity can never deprive him. If prosperity dazzles him with its dangerous splendor, if sorrow pierce him with her dart, if melancholy annihilate the life of his soul, then ever near him abides this friend, like a precious gift which God alone had power to bestow!”

Queen Catherine was walking in that portion of the vast grounds of Greenwich called the Queen’s Garden, which in happier days had often been her favorite retreat. Jets of limpid water (conveyed by means of pipes through the grounds) burst in every direction, and then fell in silvery showers among the lovely parterres of flowers, and covered the green velvet turf with a glittering veil of diamond-like spray. On the bosom of the murmuring waters floated myriads of leaves and flowers, flung with gentle hand by the wooing breeze, while thousands of gold fishes sported amid their crystal depths. The eye of the stranger was at once arrested and ravished by these marvels of nature and art, admiring the power and riches thus united; but the queen, with slow and painful steps, only sought this solitude for liberty there to indulge her tears in silence and oblivion.

At no great distance Mary, full of joy, engaged in the sportive plays of the ladies of the queen. A golden insect or a brilliant butterfly was the only conquest to which she aspired. Gaily flitting from place to place, with step so light that her little feet scarcely impressed the delicate white sand covering the walks, her shouts of expectation and happiness were still powerless to rejoice the maternal heart.

Catherine hastily withdrew from the scene. Fatigued and worn with suffering, she regarded with painful indifference all that surrounded her.

In the meantime one of the gardeners advanced towards her and presented a bouquet.

“Give it,” said she, “to one of my ladies.” And she turned away; but the gardener would not withdraw. “The queen does not recognize me,” he said at length in a low voice.

“Ah! More,” exclaimed Catherine, greatly agitated. “Friend always faithful! But why expose yourself thus to serve me? Go on. I will follow!” And Catherine continued her walk until she reached a wide and extended avenue planted with venerable old lindens.

“More,” she exclaimed, trembling with fear, yet still indulging a slight hope, “what have you to tell me? Speak, oh! speak quickly! I fear we may be observed; every step of mine is watched.”


“Madam,” cried More, “a general peace has been concluded. The emperor’s difficulty with the Holy See is ended; he consents to surrender all the conquered territory originally belonging to the Ecclesiastical States. He binds himself to re-establish the dominion of the Medici in Florence; he abandons Sforza, leaving the Pope absolute master of the destiny of that prince and the sovereignty of the Milanese. Urged on by these concessions, the two princesses cut short their negotiations, and the treaty between France and Austria was concluded immediately. Your appeal and protestation have been despatched, and conveyed safely out of the kingdom. The messenger to whom they were entrusted was most rigorously searched, but the papers were so securely and adroitly concealed they were not discovered. They were carried to Antwerp by Peter Gilles, the ‘friend of my heart,’ and from thence he despatched them to Rome. Hope, therefore hope; let us all hope!”

“Ah! More,” replied the queen, who had listened with deep anxiety, “would that I were able to acknowledge your services as I appreciate them. Your friendship has been my only consolation. But I know not why it is, hope every day grows more and more faint in my heart. And so utterly insensible to joy have I become that it seems now I am incapable of aught but suffering, and that for me I fear greater sorrow is to be added.”

“What do you say, madam?” replied More. “How sadly discouraging and painful to your servants to hear such reflections from you at the very moment when everything becomes favorable to your cause. The emperor will use his influence at the court of Rome, and Francis, between the two allies, will at least be forced to remain neutral.”

“What were the conditions of the Treaty of Cambrai?” asked the queen.

“They were very hard and exacting,” replied More. “The king of France entirely renounces his pretensions to Burgundy and Italy; thus nine years of war, the battle of Pavia, and a humiliating captivity, become of no avail. He sacrifices all, even his allies. Fearing to add to these harsh conditions the reconciliation of their interests, he abandoned to the mercy of the emperor, without the slightest stipulation, the Venetians, the Florentines, the Duke of Ferrara, and the Neapolitan barons who were attached to his arms.”

“What a cruel error!” exclaimed the queen. “The prince has surely forgotten that even in political and state affairs, he who once sacrifices his friends cannot hope to recall them ever again to his support. It is very evident that he has not more prudent nor wise counsellors in his cabinet than skilful and accomplished generals in the field. Who now among them all can be compared with Pescaire, Anthony de Lêve, or the Prince of Orange?”

“He might have had them, madam, if his own negligence and the wickedness of his courtiers had not alienated and driven them away. The Constable of Bourbon, Moran, and Doria would have powerfully counterbalanced the talents and influence of the chiefs you have just named, had the king of France engaged them in his own cause, instead of having to encounter them in the ranks of his enemies. His undaunted courage and personal[173] valor, however, have alone caused the unequal and hopeless contest to be so long continued.”

“And what does your king say of these affairs?” asked the queen, anxiously.

“Alas! madam, he seems but little satisfied,” responded More, hesitating.

“That is just as I suspected,” replied the queen. “Yes, it is because he foresees new obstacles to the unjust divorce he is prosecuting with so much ardor. O More!” she continued, bursting into tears, “what have I done to merit such cruel treatment? When I look back on the happy years of my youth, the years when he loved me so tenderly; when I recall the devoted and affectionate demonstrations of those days, and compare them with the actual rudeness and severity of the present, my bleeding heart is crushed by this sorrow! What have I done, More, to lose thus so suddenly and entirely my husband’s affection? It is true, the freshness of my early youth has faded, but was it to such ephemeral advantages alone I owed his devotion? Can a marriage be contracted by a man with the intention of dissolving it as soon as the personal attractions, the youthful charms, of his wife have faded? Oh! it seems to me it should be just the contrary, and that the hour of affliction should only call forth deeper proofs of affection. No, More, no! neither you nor any other of my friends will be able to accomplish anything for me. I feel that my life is rapidly ebbing away; that my spirit is crushed and broken for ever. For admitting, even, that Henry will not be successful in his attempt to sever the sacred bonds of our union, what happiness could I ever hope to enjoy near one to whom I had become an object of aversion—who would behold in me only an invincible obstacle to his will and the gratification of his criminal and disorderly passions?”

“Alas! madam,” replied More, “we are all grieved at the contemplation of the great affliction by which you are overwhelmed, and how much do we wish the expression of our sympathy and devotion had power to relieve you. But remember the Princess of Wales—you will surely never cease to defend her rights.”

“Never, never!” exclaimed the queen passionately. “That is the sole inducement I have once more to arouse myself—it sustains my courage and animates my resolution, when health and spirits both fail. O More! could you but know all that passes in the depths of my soul; could you but realize, for one moment, the anguish and agony, the deep interior humiliation, into which I am plunged! Oh! fatal and for ever unfortunate day when I left my country and the royal house of my father! Why was I not born in obscurity? Would not my life then have passed quietly and without regret? Far from the tumult of the world and the éclat of thrones, I should have been extremely happy. Now I am dying broken-hearted and unknown.”

“Is it really yourself, madam,” answered More, “who thus gives way to such weakness? Truly, it is unworthy of your rank, and still more of your virtues. When adversity overtakes us, we should summon all our courage and resolution. You are our queen, and you should remember your daughter is born sovereign of this realm, beneath whose soil our buried forefathers sleep. No, no! Heaven will never permit the blood of such a race to be sullied[174] by that of an ambitious and degraded woman. That noble race will triumph, be assured of it; and in that triumph the honor of our country will shine forth with renewed glory and splendor. I swear it by my head, and hope it in my heart!” As he said these words, footsteps were heard, and Catherine perceived the king coming towards them. She turned instantly pale, but, remaining calm in the dangerous crisis, made a sign for More to withdraw. The king immediately approached her, and, observing with heartless indifference the traces of recent tears on her cheek, exclaimed:

“Always in tears!” Then, assuming a playful manner, he continued: “Come, Kate, you must confess that you are always singularly sad and depressed, and the walls of a convent would suit you much better than this beautiful garden. You have in your hand a fine bouquet; I see at least you still love flowers.”

“I do indeed,” replied the queen, with a deep sigh.

“Well,” said Henry, “I do not mean to reproach you, but it would be advisable not to hold those roses so close to your cheek; the contrast might be unfavorable—is it not so, my old Kate? Have you seen the falcons just sent me from Scotland? They are of a very rare species, and trained to perfection. I am going out now to try them.”

“I wish your majesty a pleasant morning,” answered the queen.

“Adieu, Kate,” he continued, proceeding on his way, and giving in the exuberance of his spirits a flourish with his trumpet. Very soon the notes of the hunting-horns announced his arrival in the outer courtyard. He found there assembled a crowd of lords and pages, followed by falconers, carrying the new birds on their wrists. These birds were fettered, and wore on their heads little leathern hoods, which were to be removed at the moment they mounted in the air in search of their accustomed prey.

In a very short time the party rode off, and Catherine thoughtfully entered the palace, thinking it was a long time since the king had shown himself so indulgent and gracious towards her.

“Are you well assured of the truth of these statements?” said the king, returning Cromwell a letter he had just read. “No! I will not believe it,” he cried, stamping his foot violently on the richly-tessellated floor of his cabinet. “I certainly hoped to have gained the legate over.”

“But your majesty may no longer indulge in this illusion,” replied Cromwell, who stood before the king in an attitude the most humble and servile possible to assume. “You are furnished with incontrovertible proof; Campeggio, in order to escape your imperious commands, urges the Pope to evoke the trial to his own tribunal. Of this there is no doubt, for this copy of his letter I received from the hand of his confidential secretary.”

“You are very adroit, sir,” replied the king, haughtily. “Later, I will consider the manner of rewarding you. But I declare to you your patron is on the brink of ruin. I shall never pardon him for permitting that protest and appeal of the queen to reach Rome.”

“That was truly an unfortunate affair,” replied Cromwell; “but it was perhaps not the fault of my lord, Cardinal Wolsey.”

“Whose fault was it then?” demanded Henry in the imperious[175] tone he used to disconcert this spy whenever his reports displeased him.

“The queen has friends,” replied Cromwell, whilst on his thin, colorless lips hovered a false and treacherous smile, worthy of the wicked instinct that prompted and directed all his suspicions, and made him foresee the surest plan of injuring those whom he envied or destroying those whose reputation he intended to attack.

“And who are they?” demanded the king, his ill-humor increasing with the reflection. “Why do you not name them, sir?”

“Well, for instance, Sir Thomas More, whom your Majesty loads with favors and distinctions, the Bishop of Rochester, the Duke of Norfolk, and the.…”

“You will soon accuse my entire court, and each one of my servants in particular,” cried the king; “and in order still more to exasperate and astound me, you have taken particular pains to select and name those whom I most esteem, and who have always given me the sincerest proofs of their devoted affection. Go!” he suddenly cried in a furious tone; and he fell into one of those wild transports of rage that frequently attacked him when his will clashed against obstacles which he foresaw he could neither surmount nor destroy. He often passed entire days absorbed in these moods of violence, shut up in his own apartments, suffering none to speak to or approach him nor on any account to attempt to divert him.

Abashed and alarmed, Cromwell hastily withdrew, stammering the most humble apologies, none of which, however, reached the ear of Henry VIII., who, on returning to his chamber, raving in a demoniacal manner, exclaimed:

“Vile slaves! you shall be taught to know and to respect my power. I will make you sorely repent the hour you have dared to oppose me!”

Just as he had uttered this threatening exclamation, Cardinal Wolsey appeared. He could not have chosen a more inauspicious moment. The instant he beheld him, the king, glaring on him with flashing eyes, cried out:

“Traitor! what has brought you here? Do you know the ambassadors of Charles and Ferdinand, fortified by the queen’s appeal and protest, have overthrown all I had accomplished at Rome with so much precaution and difficulty? Why have you not foreseen these contingencies, and known that the Pope would prove inflexible? Why have you not advised me against undertaking an almost impossible thing, which will sully the honor of my name and obscure for all time the glory of my reign.”

“Stop, sire,” replied Wolsey; “I do not deserve these cruel reproaches. You can readily recall how earnestly I endeavored to dissuade you from your purpose, but all my efforts were vain.”

“It is false!” cried the king, giving vent to his rage in the most shocking and violent expressions he could command, to inflict upon his minister. “And now,” he continued, “remember well, if you fail to extort from your legate such a decision as I require, you shall speedily be taught what it is to deride my commands.”

The sun had scarcely risen above the horizon when already Cardinal Campeggio (whose age and infirmities had not changed the long habits of an austere and laborious life) was silently kneeling in the[176] midst of the choir of the palace chapel.

The velvet cushions of his prie-dieu protected him from the cold marble of the sacred pavement, while the rays of the rising sun, descending in luminous jets through the arches of the antique windows, fell on the head of the venerable old man, giving him the appearance of being surrounded by a halo of celestial light. His eyes were cast down, and he seemed to be entirely absorbed in pious and profound meditation.

Other thoughts, however, intruded on his agitated mind, and filled him with anxious apprehension. “The hour rapidly approaches,” he mentally exclaimed—“the hour when it will be essential to come to a decision. I have still hoped to receive a reply—it has not yet arrived. I alone am made responsible, and doubtless the wrath of the king will burst upon my head. His vengeance will be terrible. More than once already he has taken occasion to manifest it. What cruel incertitude! What dreadful suspense! Yet what shall be done? Speak! O my conscience!” he exclaimed, “let me listen, and be guided by thy voice alone!”

“Despise the power of the king who demands of thee an injustice,” immediately replied that faithful monitor whose stern and inflexible voice will be summoned to testify against us at the last judgment. “Sayest thou, thou art afraid? Then thou hast forgotten that the last even of those gray hairs still remaining to thee cannot fall without the permission of him who created the universe. Know that the anger of man is but as a vain report—a sound that vanishes in space; and that God permits thee not to hesitate for one instant, O judge! when the cause of the feeble and the innocent claims all the strength of thy protection.”

Irrevocably decided, Campeggio continued his prayer, and waited without further apprehension the decisive moment, so rapidly approaching.

In the meantime, another cardinal, Wolsey, in great anguish of mind, contemplated with terror the approaching day when he would be compelled to decide the fate of the queen. Weary after passing a sleepless night, spent in reflecting on the punishment threatening him if the will of the king was not accomplished, he had scarcely closed his eyes when a troop of valets entered the chamber to assist at his toilet. They brought his richest vestments, with all the insignia of his elevated rank. Wolsey regarded them with a feeling of terror. And when they presented him the ivory rod which the high-chancellor is alone empowered to carry, he seized it with convulsive eagerness, grasping it in his hand, as though he feared they would tear it from him; and with that fear the reflection overshadowed his soul that yesterday he had made a last effort to ascertain and influence the decision of the legate, without being able to succeed!

Followed by his pages and gentlemen, and still harassed by these misgivings, he arrived at Blackfriars, where the court awaited him. The assembly of cardinals arose deferentially as he entered, though all remarked with astonishment the pallor of his countenance and his extreme embarrassment of manner, so invariably composed and assured. A portion of this visible restraint was communicated to the assembly, on learning that the king[177] himself had arrived, and was resolved to sit in the adjoining apartment, where he could see and hear the entire proceedings.

Dr. Bell, his advocate, after a long preamble, began a discourse, and during its delivery hurried exclamations and hasty comments were constantly indulged in by the excited assembly, so different in their hopes, desires, and opinions.

“O Rochester,” cried More, invested with the grand official robes of the king’s exchequer, “do you think this man will succeed with his arguments in carrying the crown by storm?”

“No, no,” replied Rochester, “and especially as he wishes to place it upon such a head.”

“But listen, listen!” exclaimed More, “he declares the brief of dispensation to have been a fraud.”

“Ah! what notorious bad faith!” murmured the bishop.

“What answer can they make to that?” said Viscount Rochford, in another part of the hall, addressing the lords belonging to Anne Boleyn’s party. “It is certainly encouraging; we cannot doubt of our success now.”

But at length the arguments, principally dictated by Henry himself, were closed; his advocate demanding, in the most haughty and authoritative manner, that a decision should at once be rendered, and that it should be as favorable as it was prompt. The king during this time, in a state of great excitement, paced to and fro before the entrance of the hall, the door being left open by every one in passing, as if he were afraid to close it behind him. He surveyed from time to time, with a glance of stern, penetrating scrutiny, the assembly before him, each member of which tried to conceal his true sentiments—some because they were secretly attached to the queen, others through fear that the cause of Anne Boleyn might ultimately triumph. When the advocate had finished his discourse, each one sat in breathless suspense anxiously waiting the queen’s reply; but not recognizing the authority or legality of the tribunal, she had refused to accept counsel, and no one consequently appeared to defend her. Profound silence reigned throughout the assembly, and all eyes were turned toward Campeggio, who arose and stood ready to speak. The venerable old man, calm and dignified, in a mild but firm and decided tone began:

“You ask, or rather you demand,” he said, “that we pronounce a decision which it would be impossible for us in justice to render.” Here, on seeing the king turn abruptly around and confront him, he paused, looking steadily at him. “Knowing that the defendant hath challenged this court, and refused to recognize in our persons loyal and disinterested judges, I have considered it my duty, in order to avoid error, to submit every part of the proceedings of this council to the tribunal of the Sovereign Pontiff; and we shall be compelled to await his decision before rendering judgment or proceeding further. For myself individually, I will furthermore affirm, that I am here to render justice—strict, entire, and impartial justice, and no earthly power can induce me to deviate from the course I have adopted or the resolutions I have taken; and I boldly declare that I am too old, too feeble, and too ill to desire the favor or fear the resentment of any living being.” Here he sat down, visibly agitated.

Had a thunderbolt fallen in the[178] midst of the assembly, the tumult and astonishment could not have been greater. Anger, joy, fear, hope—all hearts were agitated by the most contradictory emotions; while nothing was heard but the deep murmur of voices, the noise of unintelligible words, as they crossed and clashed in an endless diversity of tones. The Duke of Suffolk, brother-in-law of the king, cried out, beating his fists violently on the table before him, with the gross impetuosity of an upstart soldier, that the old adage had again been verified; “Never did a cardinal do any good in England.” And with flashing eyes and furious gestures he pointed to Cardinal Wolsey. The cardinal at once comprehended his danger, but found it impossible not to resent the insult. He arose, pale with anger, and with forced calmness replied that the duke, of all living men, had the least cause to depreciate cardinals. For, notwithstanding he had himself been a very insignificant cardinal, yet, if he had not held the office, the Duke of Suffolk would not this day actually carry his head on big shoulders. “And you would not now,” he added, “be here to exhibit the ostentatious disdain you have manifested toward those who have never given you cause of offence. If you were, my lord, an ambassador of the king to some foreign power, you would surely not venture to decide important questions without first consulting your sovereign. We also are commissioners, and we have no power to pronounce judgment, without first consulting those from whom we derive our authority; we can do neither more nor less than our commissions permit. Calm yourself, then, my lord, and no more address, in this insulting manner, your best friend. You very well know all I have done for you, and you must also acknowledge that on no occasion have I ever referred to your obligations before.”

But the Duke of Suffolk heard nothing of the last words uttered by Wolsey. Exasperated beyond measure, he abruptly turned his back on the cardinal and went to join the king in the next apartment. He found the latter in the act of retiring, being no longer able to restrain his wrath within bounds; and as his courtiers entered and stood regarding him with a look of hesitation he went out, commanding them in a fierce tone and with an imperious gesture to follow him immediately.

Meanwhile, in the council chamber the utmost confusion prevailed. “God be praised!” cried Sir Thomas More, who in the simplicity of his heart and the excess of his joy was incapable of dissimulation or concealment. “God be praised! Our queen is still queen; and may she ever triumph thus over all her enemies!”

Ensconced in the deep embrasure of a window stood Cromwell, a silent observer of the scene; not permitting a word to escape him, but gathering up every sentence with keen avidity, and cherishing it in his envious and malicious memory. He found himself, nevertheless, in a precarious and embarrassing situation. Foreseeing the downfall and disgrace of Wolsey, he had sought to make friends by betraying his benefactor. But the king treated him with indignant scorn, Viscount Rochford with supreme contempt, and he strongly suspected he had prejudiced his sister, Anne Boleyn, also against him.

Anxious and alarmed, he at once[179] determined to begin weaving a new web of intrigue, and instantly cast about him to discover what hope remained, or what results the future might possibly bring forth from the discord and difficulties reigning in the present.

When selfish, corrupt creatures like Cromwell find themselves surrounded by great and important events, they at once assume to become identified with the dearest interests of the community in which they live, without however in reality being in the slightest degree affected, unless through their own interests—seeking always themselves, and themselves alone. Thus this heartless man, this shameful leprosy of the social body that had nurtured him, regarding the whole world entirely with reference to his own selfish designs, coolly speculated upon his premeditated crimes, revolving in his mind a thousand projects of aggrandizement, which he ultimately succeeded in bringing to a culpable but thoroughly successful termination.

The night had already come, yet all were in a state of commotion in the household of the French ambassador, in consequence of William du Bellay, his brother, having at a late hour received a few hasty lines from the bishop, written in the midst of the assembly at Blackfriars, commanding him to hold himself in readiness to depart.

The young envoy, at once obeying orders, assumed his travelling costume, and had scarcely more than attended to the last instructions of his brother when the latter made his appearance.

“Well, brother,” he exclaimed on entering the chamber, “all is over. Are you ready to set out?” he continued, hurriedly surveying his brother’s travelling attire. “The king is furiously enraged—first against the legate, then against Wolsey. But Campeggio has displayed an extraordinary degree of firmness and courage. After he had refused to pronounce the decision, and just as the king was retiring, the expected courier arrived with instructions from Rome. The queen’s protestation has been received, and the Pope, dissolving the council, revokes the commissioners’ authority, and requires the case to be brought before his own tribunal. The adherents of Catherine, as you may suppose, are wild with delight—the people throng the streets, shouting ‘Long live the queen!’ Our gracious king, Francis I., will be in despair.”

“Well,” replied William, “I am satisfied, for I am in favor of the queen. And now, between ourselves, my dear brother, laying all diplomacy aside—for we are alone, and these walls have no ears—I know as well as you that it matters not to our king whether the wife of Henry VIII. be named Anne or Catherine.

“And yet, after all, it may be the name of this new Helen will become the signal for war,” replied the bishop. “You forget that in marrying Anne Boleyn Henry will be compelled to seek an alliance with France, in order to resist the opposition of the Emperor Charles V.; and as for ourselves, we have use for the five thousand crowns he has promised to assist us in paying the ransom of the children of France. This family quarrel can be arranged so entirely to our advantage that it would really be a misfortune should it come to a sudden termination. I hope, however, such may not be the result.”

“You are right, brother,” said[180] Du Bellay, laughing. “I see I have too much heart to make a skilful diplomatist. I have already let myself become ensnared, you perceive, and drawn over to the cause of this Queen Catherine. But it is nevertheless a veritable fact, while families are engaged in disputing among themselves, they generally leave their neighbors in peace. It would seem, however, the king must have become a madman or a fool, thus to ignore kindred, allies, fortune, and kingdom—all for this Lady Anne.”

“Yes, much more than a madman,” replied his brother, phlegmatically; “after he has married her, he will be cured of his insanity. But come, now, let us leave Lady Anne and her affairs. You must know that immediately after the adjournment of the cardinals, the king sent for me. I found him terribly excited, walking rapidly up and down the great hall formerly used as a chapter-room by the monks. Wolsey alone was with him, standing near the abbot’s great arm-chair, and wearing an air of consternation. The instant he saw me approaching, he cried out, ‘Come, come, my lord, the king wishes to have your advice on the subject we are now discussing.’ And I at once perceived my presence was a great relief to him.

“The king spoke immediately, while his eyes flashed fire. ‘M. du Bellay,’ he exclaimed, ‘Campeggio shall be punished!—yes, punished! Parliament shall bring him to trial! I will never submit to defeat in this matter. I will show the Pope that he has underrated both my will and my power.’

“‘Sire,’ I answered, ‘after mature reflection, it seems to me it would be a mistaken policy in your majesty to resort to such violent measures. Nothing has yet been decided, and the case is by no means hopeless; the wisest course would therefore be to restrain all manifestation of displeasure toward Campeggio. What advantage could you possibly gain by insulting or ill-treating an old man whom you have invited into your kingdom, or how could you then expect to obtain a favorable decision from the Holy See?’

“Delighted to hear me express such opinions, Wolsey eagerly caught at my words, declaring he agreed with me entirely. He also advised that the doctors of the French and German universities should be consulted, opinions favorable to the divorce obtained from them, and afterwards this high authority brought to bear upon the decision of the court of Rome.

“‘What do you think of that?’ demanded the king of me. ‘As for His Eminence Monseigneur Wolsey,’ he added, in a tone of cruel contempt, his counsels have already led me into so many difficulties, or proved so worthless, I shall not trouble him for any further advice.’ And he abruptly turned his back on the cardinal.

“A tear rolled slowly down Wolsey’s hollow cheek, but he made no reply. I at once assured the king that I thought, on the contrary, the cardinal’s advice was most excellent, and doubted not our king, and his honored mother, Madame Louise, might be induced to use their influence in order to secure him the suffrages of the University of Paris. Whereupon he appeared very much pleased with me, and bowed me out in the most gracious manner imaginable.

“Report all these things faithfully to your master; tell him I fear the downfall of Wolsey is inevitable;[181] he is equally disliked by the queen’s adherents and those of Anne Boleyn, and I have every reason for believing he will never again be reinstated in the king’s favor. You will also say to him he need not be astonished that I so often send him despatches by express, as Cardinal Wolsey informs me confidentially that the Duke of Suffolk has his emissaries bribed to open all packages of letters sent by post, and that one addressed to me has been miscarried; which circumstance troubles me very much.”

“I will also inform my master,” replied William, “that the Picardy routes are so badly managed, the gentlemen and couriers he sends are constantly detained and kept a considerable time on the journey. I have complained recently to the authorities themselves, who assure me that their salaries are not paid, and consequently they are unable to keep the routes in better condition.”

The sun descended toward the horizon. Sir Thomas More, seated on a terrace of his mansion at Chelsea, sought temporary quiet and repose from the oppressive burdens of a life every hour of which was devoted to the service of his king and country. His young children formed a joyous group around him, their flaxen heads crowned with blades of wheat and wild flowers they had gathered in the fields, for it was the golden time of harvest. Margaret, assisted by William Roper, directed their games, and was now trying to teach them a Scotch dance, marking the wild, fantastical rhythm with the notes of her sweet, melodious voice. Sir Thomas himself had joined in their play, when suddenly the king made his appearance. He had many times already honored them with such visits since Sir Thomas became a member of the council, having apparently conceived a great affection for him, and every day seeming to become more and more pleased with his conversation.

“I know not why it is,” he would often say, “but when I have been for any length of time in conversation with More I experience a singular tranquillity of soul, and indeed feel almost happy. His presence has the magical effect of lulling my cares to sleep and calming my anxieties.”

On seeing the king, More immediately advanced with great deference to receive him, while the children at once left off their sports.

“Why, what is this?” he exclaimed; “I did not come to interrupt your amusements, but on the contrary to enjoy them with you.” But the wild mirth and abandon of the children had fled at the approach of royalty, and, in spite of these kind assurances, they withdrew in rapid succession, too glad to recover their liberty, and their father was thus left alone with the king.

“Who is the young man I see here?” inquired the sovereign.

“He is the affianced husband of my daughter, sire; his name is William Roper,” answered More.

“What! is she affianced already?” said the king.

“Yes, sire; the family of Roper has for many years been united to ours by the sincerest ties of friendship, and, strengthening these by ties of blood, we hope greatly to increase our mutual happiness.”

“That is so,” replied the king. “And they will doubtless be happy. In your families you preserve liberty of choice, while we princes, born to thrones, sacrifice our interior happiness to those political combinations[182] demanded by the interests of our subjects.”

“But,” replied Sir Thomas—who understood at once the king’s intention was to introduce the subject of his divorce, a topic he especially wished to avoid—“I believe that happiness depends on ourselves, on our dispositions, and the manner in which we conduct our affairs, a great deal more than on circumstances, or the social position in which we chance to be born. There are some who, possessing every advantage in life, are still unable to enjoy it. We would suppose them to be perfectly happy, and they really should be so; but true happiness consists alone in tranquillity of soul, which is attained by always doing good to others, and suffering with patient submission the trials and afflictions with which life is inevitably beset. Such, it seems to me, is the circumscribed circle in which man is confined; it is well with him so long as he accommodates himself to its legitimate limits, but all is lost the moment he endeavors to venture beyond it.”

“I am every day more entirely convinced that this figure of the circle is a painful reality,” replied the king, with ill-concealed impatience. “I have always hoped to find happiness in the pursuit of pleasure—in the gratification of every desire—and believed it might thus be attained, but never yet have I been able to grasp it.”

“Which means, your majesty expected to pass through the world without trials—a thing utterly impossible,” added More, smiling.

“It is that which makes me despair, my dear Thomas. Reflecting on the bitter disappointments I have experienced, I am often almost transported with rage. No, More, you can never understand me. You are always equally calm and joyous. Your desires are so happily directed that you can feel well assured of a peaceful, quiet future awaiting you.”

“Your majesty is entirely mistaken,” replied More, “if you believe I have never entertained other desires than those I have been able to accomplish. The only secret I possess, in that respect, is, I compel my inclinations to obey me, instead of making my will subservient to them. Nevertheless, they oftentimes rebel and contend bitterly for supremacy, but then, it is only necessary to command silence, and not be disturbed by their cries and lamentations. Ultimately, they become like refractory children, who, constantly punished and severely beaten, at last are made to tremble at the very thought of the chastisement, and no longer dare to revolt.”

“This explanation of your system of self-government is very ingenious,” replied the king; “and hearing you speak in this quiet manner one would be induced to believe it were the easiest thing imaginable to accomplish, rather than the most difficult. Ah!” he continued with a deep sigh, “I understand but too well how difficult.”

“It is true,” replied More with earnest simplicity, “and I would not deny that, far from being agreeable, it is often, on the contrary, exceedingly painful and difficult for a man to impose these violent restraints upon his inclinations. But if he who hesitates on all occasions in the practice of virtue to do this necessary violence to himself and remain faithful to the requirements of duty, would reflect but for a single instant, he will find that although at first he may escape suffering and privation by voluntarily abandoning himself to his[183] passions, yet, later, he will inevitably be made to endure a far more bitter humiliation in the torturing reproaches of conscience; the shame he will suffer in the loss of self-respect and the respect of others; and, in the inevitable course of events, he will at last discover that his passions have carried him far beyond the power of self-control or reformation!”

“Let us banish these reflections, my dear More,” exclaimed the king in a petulant tone, passing his hand across his forehead; “they distress me, and I prefer a change of subject.” Saying this he arose, and, putting his arm around Sir Thomas’ neck, they walked on together toward the extremity of the garden, which terminated in an extensive and beautiful terrace, at the foot of which flowed the waters of the Thames.

The view was an extended one, and the king amused himself watching the rapid movements of the little boats, filled with fishermen, rowing in every direction, drawing in the nets, which had been spread to dry on the reeds covering the banks of the river. Quantities of water-lilies, blue flowers, floating on their large brilliant green leaves, intermingled with the dark bending heads of the reeds, presenting to the distant observer the appearance of a beautiful variegated carpet of flowers. “What a charming scene!” said the king, gazing at the prospect, and pointing to a boat just approaching the opposite side of the river to land a troop of young villagers, who with their bright steel sickles in hand were returning from the harvest fields.

“And the graceful spire of your Chelsea belfry, gleaming in the distance through the light silvery clouds, completes this charming landscape,” he added.

“Would it were possible to transport this view to the end of one of my drives in St. James’ Park,” continued the king.

“Will it be very soon completed?” asked Sir Thomas, at a loss what to say to his royal visitor.

“I hope so,” replied Henry languidly, “but these architects are so very slow. Before going to Grafton, I gave them numerous orders on the subject.”

“Your majesty has been quite pleased with your journey, I believe,” replied Sir Thomas, instantly reflecting what he should say next.

“I should have been extremely well pleased,” he answered, with a sudden impatience of manner, “had Wolsey not persisted so obstinately in following me. I have been much too indulgent,” he continued sharply, “infinitely too indulgent towards him, and am now well convinced of the mistake I have made in retaining the slightest affection for a man who has so miserably deceived me. What would you think, More,” he continued, his manner suddenly changing, “if I appointed you in his place as lord chancellor?” And, turning towards Sir Thomas, he gazed fixedly in his eyes, as if to read the inmost emotions of his soul.

“What would I think?” answered More, calmly—then adding with a careless smile, “I should think your majesty had done a very wrong thing, and made a very bad choice.”

“Well, I believe I could not possibly make a better,” said the king, emphasizing the last words. “But I have not come here to discuss business matters; rather, on the contrary, to get rid of them. Come, then, entertain me with something more agreeable.” But the words designedly[184] (though with seeming unconcern) uttered by the king cast a sudden gloom over the spirit of Sir Thomas he vainly endeavored to dispel.

“Sire, your majesty is greatly mistaken in entertaining such an idea,” he said, stammering and confused; for, with his sincere and truthful nature, More under all circumstances resolutely looked to the end of everything in which he suspected the least dissimulation.

The king whirled round on his heel, pretending not to hear him. “This is a beautiful rose,” he said, stooping down, “a very beautiful variety—come from the seed, no doubt? Are you a gardener? I am very fond of flowers. Oh! my garden will be superb.”

“Sire,” said More, still pursuing his subject.

“I must have a cutting of that rose—do you hear me, More?” As he ran on in this manner, to prevent Sir Thomas from speaking, the silvery notes of a bell were heard, filling the air with a sweet and prolonged vibrating sound.

“What bell is that?” asked the king.

“The bell of our chapel, sire,” replied More, “summoning us to evening prayers, which we usually prefer saying all together. But to-day, your majesty having honored us with a visit, there will be no obligation to answer the call.”

“By all means,” replied Henry. “Let me interfere with nothing. It is almost night: come. We will return, and I will join in your devotions.”

Sir Thomas conducted him through the shrubbery towards the chapel, a venerable structure in the Anglo-Saxon style of architecture. A thick undergrowth of briers, brambles, and wild shrubbery was matted and interlaced around the foundation of the building; running vines clambered over the heavy arches of the antique windows, and fell back in waving garlands upon the climbing branches from which they had sprung. The walls, of rough unhewn stone, were thickly covered with moss and ivy, giving the little structure an appearance of such antiquity that the most scrupulous antiquarian would have unhesitatingly referred its foundation to the time of King Athelstan or his brother Edmund. The interior was adorned with extreme care and taste. A bronze lamp, suspended before the altar, illuminated a statue of the Holy Virgin placed above it. The children of Sir Thomas, with the servants of his household, were ranged in respectful silence behind the arm-chair of his aged father. Margaret knelt beside him with her prayer-book, waiting to begin the devotions.

The touching voice of this young girl as she slowly repeated the sublime words—“Our Father who art in heaven”—those words which men may so joyfully pronounce, which teach us the exalted dignity of our being, the grandeur of our origin and destiny—those sublime words penetrated the soul of the king with a profound and singular emotion.

“What a happy family!” he exclaimed, mentally. “Nothing disturbs their harmony; day after day passes without leaving a regret behind it. Why can I not join in this sweet prayer—why, O my soul, hast thou banished and forgotten it?” He turned from the contemplation of these youthful heads bowed before the Mother of God, and a wave of bitter remorse swept once again over his hardened, hypocritical soul.


After the king had returned to his royal palace and the evening repast was ended, William Roper approached Sir Thomas and said:

“You must consider yourself most fortunate, my dear father, in enjoying so intimately the favor of his majesty—why, even Cardinal Wolsey cannot boast of being honored with such a degree of friendship and familiarity.”

With a sad smile More, taking the young man’s hand, replied:

“Know, my son, I can never be elated by it. If this head, around which he passed his royal arm so affectionately this evening, could in falling pay the price of but one single inch of French territory, he would, without a moment’s hesitation, deliver it up to the executioner.”

“What acknowledgments do I not owe you, madam,” said Sir Thomas Cheney to Lady Anne Boleyn, “for the services you have rendered me. But dare I hope for a full pardon from the king?”

“Feel perfectly secure on that point,” replied Lady Anne. “He is convinced that Wolsey had you banished from court because of your disagreement with Cardinal Campeggio, and he considers you now one of his most faithful adherents.”

“And I hope, madam, to have the happiness of proving to you that I am none the less faithfully your servant,” replied Sir Thomas Cheney.

“You must admit now,” said Lady Anne, addressing her father and brother, the Earl of Wiltshire and the Viscount Rochford, who were both present, “that I succeed in doing what I undertake.”

“You succeed in what you undertake,” replied her father humorously, “but you are a long time in deciding what to do. For instance, Cardinal Wolsey finds himself to-day occupying a position in which he has no right to be.”

“Ah! well, he will not remain in it very long,” replied Anne Boleyn, petulantly. “This morning the king told me the ladies would attend the chase to see the new falcons the king of France has sent him by Monsieur de Sansac. I will talk to him, and insist on his having nothing more to do with this horrid cardinal, or I shall at once quit the court. But,” she added, pausing suddenly with an expression of extreme embarrassment, “how should I answer were he to demand what his eminence Monseigneur Wolsey had ever done to me?”

“Here, sister, here is your answer,” replied Viscount Rochford, taking a large manuscript book from his father’s portfolio. “Take it and read for yourself; you will find here all you would need for a reply.”

“That great book!” cried Anne, strongly opposed to this new commission, and pouting like a spoilt child. Taking the book, she read—skipping a great deal, however—a minutely detailed statement, formally accusing Wolsey of having engaged in a secret correspondence with France, and with the most adroit malice misrepresenting every act of his administration as well as of his private life.

“What! can all this be true?” cried Anne Boleyn, closing the book.

“Certainly true,” replied Rochford. “And furthermore, you should know, the cardinal, in order to reward Campeggio for the good services he has rendered you, has persuaded the king to send[186] him home loaded with rich presents, to conciliate the Pope, he says, by his filial submission and pious dispositions, and incline him to a favorable decision. That is the way he manages,” continued Rochford, shrugging his shoulders, “and keeps you in the most humiliating position ever occupied by a woman.”

Hearing her brother speak thus, the beautiful face of Anne Boleyn became instantly suffused with a deep crimson.

“Oh! that odious man,” she cried passionately. “I shall no longer submit to it. It is to insult me he makes such gracious acknowledgments to that old cardinal. I will complain to the king. Oh! how annoying all this is, though,” and she turned the book over and over in her white hands.

“But see, it is time to start,” she added, pointing to a great clock standing in one corner of the apartment. “Good-by; I must go!” And Anne, attired in an elegant riding-habit, abruptly turning to a mirror, proceeded to adjust her black velvet riding-cap, when, observing a small plume in her hat that was not arranged to her taste, she exclaimed, violently stamping her little foot:

“How many contradictions shall I meet this day? I cannot endure it! All those horrid affairs to think of, to talk about and explain; all your recommendations to follow in the midst of a delightful hunting party; and then, after all, this hat which so provokes me! No; I can never fix it.” And she hurried away to find a woman skilled in the arts of the toilet. But after making her sew and rip out again, bend the plume and straighten it, place it forward and then back, she did not succeed in fixing it to suit the fancy of Anne Boleyn, who, seeing the time flying rapidly, ended by cutting off the plume with the scissors, throwing it angrily on the floor and stamping it, putting the offending cap on her head without a plume; then mounting her horse she rode off, accompanied by Sir Thomas Cheney, who escorted her, knowing she was to join the king on the road.

“How impulsive and thoughtless your sister is,” said Earl Wiltshire to his son, after Anne had left them, looking gloomily at the plume, still lying on the floor where she had thrown it. “She wants to be queen! Do you understand how much is comprised in that word? Well, she would accept a crown and fix it on her head with the same eager interest that she would order a new bonnet from her milliner. Yet I firmly believe, before accepting it, she would have to be well assured by her mirror that it was becoming to her style of beauty.”

“I cannot comprehend her,” responded Rochford. “Her good sense and judgment sometimes astonish me; then suddenly a ball, a dress, a new fashion has sufficed to make her forget the most important matter that might be under discussion. I am oftentimes led to wonder whence comes this singular mixture of frivolity and good sense in women. Is it a peculiarity of their nature or the result of education?”

“It is entirely the fault of education, my son, and not of their weakness. From infancy they are taught to look upon ribbons, laces, frivolities, and fashions as the most precious and desirable things. In fact, they attach to these miserable trifles the same value that young men place on a brilliant armor or the success of a glorious action.”


“It may be so,” replied Rochford, “but I think they are generally found as incompetent for business as incapable of managing affairs of state.”

“While very young, perhaps not,” answered Wiltshire; “proud and impulsive, they are neither capable of nor inclined to dissimulation; but later in life they develop a subtle ingenuity and an extreme degree of penetration, that enable them to succeed most admirably.”

“Ah! well, if the truth might be frankly expressed, I greatly fear that all this will turn out badly. Should we not succeed in espousing my sister to the king, she will be irretrievably compromised; and then you will deeply regret having broken off her marriage with Lord Percy.”

“You talk like an idiot,” replied the Earl of Wiltshire. “Your sister shall reign, or I perish. Why should my house not give a queen to the throne of England? Would it not be far better if our kings should select wives from the nobility of their country instead of marrying foreign princesses—strangers alike to the manners and customs as well as to the interests of the people over whom they are destined to reign?”

“You would probably be right,” replied Viscount Rochford, “if the king were not already married; but the clergy will always oppose this second marriage. They do not dare to express themselves openly because they fear the king, but in the end they will certainly preserve the nation in this sentiment. I fear that Anne will yet be very unhappy, and I am truly sorry now she cannot be made Countess of Northumberland.”

“Hold your tongue, my son,” cried Wiltshire, frantic with rage; “will you repeat these things to your sister, and renew her imaginary regrets also? As to these churchmen over whom you make so great an ado,” he continued with a menacing gesture, “I hope soon we shall be able to relieve them of the fortunes with which they are encumbered, and compel them to disgorge in our favor. You say that women are weak and fickle! If so, you certainly resemble them in both respects—the least difficulty frightens you into changing your opinions, and you hesitate in the midst of an undertaking that has been planned with the greatest ability, and which, without you, I confidently believe I shall be able to accomplish.”




The claim put forth by the Episcopal Church—or, to use her full and legal title, The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United Slates of America—of being the Holy Catholic Church—Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic—and the acceptance of her theory by a small portion of the Christian world, makes her and her theory, for a little time, worthy our attention.

She is accustomed to use the formula, “I believe in the Holy Catholic Church.” It is but natural to infer that she considers herself to be at least an integral part of that church. We have examined the question, and thus present our convictions as to her status.

We note, in the first place, that her bishops possess no power. They are bishops but in name. There is not one of them, no matter how eminent he may be, who can say to a clergyman in his diocese: “Here is an important parish vacant; occupy it.” He would be met with the polite remark from some member of the parish, “We are very much obliged to you, bishop, but you have nothing to say about it. Mr. M. is the warden.”

Mr. M., the warden, may be, and in many instances is, a man who cares so little about the church that he has never yet been baptized, much less is he a communicant. He and his brother vestrymen, whether baptized or not, may, if the bishop claims an authority by virtue of his office, meet him at the church door, and tell him he cannot come in unless he will pledge himself to do as they wish; and the bishop may write a note of protest, and leave it behind him for them to tear up, as was done in Chicago with Bishop Whitehouse. Some local regulations have occasionally varied the above, but in the majority of parishes the authority is vested as we have stated.

The bishop’s power of appointing extends to none but feeble missionary stations; and even these put on, at their earliest convenience, the airs of full-grown parishes.

We note an instance where a bishop wrote to a lady in a remote missionary station, and asked regarding some funds which had been placed in her hands by parties interested in the growth of the church in that place. It had been specified that the money was to be used for whatever purpose was deemed most necessary. The bishop requested that the money be paid to the missionary toward his salary. The lady declined on the ground that she did not like the missionary. Another request in courteous language, as was befitting a bishop. He also stated his intention of visiting the place shortly in his official character.

The lady’s reply equalled his own in courteous phraseology; but the money was refused and the bishop informed that he “need not trouble himself about making a visitation, as there was no class to be confirmed; besides, the church had been closed for repairs, and would[189] not be open for some months, at least not until a new minister was settled.”

To the bishop’s positive knowledge, no repairs were needed; but he deemed it wise to stay away, and no further steps were taken.

With the clergy in his diocese the case is not very different.

If a presbyter of any diocese chooses for any reason to go from one parish to another for the purpose of taking up a permanent abode, he can do so with or without consulting his bishop. In fact, the bishop has nothing to do with it. Should the presbyter desire to remove to another diocese, it is requisite that he obtain letters dimissory from the bishop, and the bishop is obliged to give them. So also is the bishop in the diocese to which he goes obliged to receive them, unless they contain grave criminal charges.

There is, in reality, but one thing the bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church can do, and that is make an appointment once in three years to confirm. So insignificant is his power in any other direction that certain persons, ill-natured or otherwise, have fastened upon him, whether deserved or undeserved, the name of “confirming machine.” Certain it is that, were the power of confirming in any degree vested in the “priests” of the church, the office of bishop might easily be dispensed with. He would appear only as the ornamental portion of a few occasional services. For he cannot authoritatively visit any parish, vacant or otherwise, except on a confirmation tour; and should this be too frequent in the estimation of the vestry, the doors of the church could be shut against him on any plea the vestry should choose to advance.

2. He cannot increase the number of his clergy, except as parishes choose.

3. He cannot prevent a man fixing himself in the diocese if a congregation choose to “call” him, no matter how worthy or unworthy the man may be.

4. He cannot call a clergyman into his diocese, though every parish were empty.

5. He cannot officiate in any church without invitation.

6. He has no church of his own, except as he officiates as rector; and unless invited to some place, he is forced, although a bishop, to sit in the congregation as a layman, if he do not stay at home.

And, lastly, he cannot on any account visit a parish unless the vestry of that parish is willing.

We sum up: That so far as the bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America are concerned, they are simply figure-heads, ornaments possessing the minimum of authority—in point of fact, no authority at all.

Their own convention addresses are a virtual confession of the condition of affairs as above laid down. To every one who has ever heard an Episcopal bishop’s address, as delivered before the annual convention of clergymen and laymen, the following sample will not appear as in the least overdrawn:

July 10.—Visited the parish of S. John, Oakdale, and confirmed three.

July 17.—Visited the parish of Longwood, and preached and confirmed one.

July 24.—Visited S. Paul’s, and preached and confirmed two in the forenoon. Preached also in the afternoon.

This is a very large and thriving parish.


July 26.—At Montrose I visited and confirmed one at the evening service.

July 29.—Took a private conveyance to Hillstown, and preached in the evening; confirmed one. The rector of this parish is very energetic.

Aug. 2.—Attended the burial of a dear friend.

Aug. 7.—Attended the consecration of S. Mark’s Church in Hyde Park. It is hoped that the difficulties in this parish are settled. The Rev. John Waters has resigned and gone to Omaha. Mr. William Steuben is the senior warden. May the Lord prosper him and his estimable lady!

[To continue the list would cause a tear, and we do not wish to weep.]

The address each year of a Protestant Episcopal bishop is thoroughly exemplified in the foregoing specimen. It is the same endless list of enteuthen exelauneis, varied only by the number of parasangas. To the lazy grammar-boy it is a most fascinating chapter of ancient history when he reaches the enteuthen section in the Anabasis. There is an immense list of them, and the lesson for that day is easy. When the first phrase is mastered, he knows all the rest, except the occasional figures.

We once saw a reporter for a prominent Daily making a short-hand report of an address before an illustrious diocesan gathering. Having had some experience in the matter, he came to the meeting with his tablets prepared. They were as follows:

_______________ _____ _________
_______________ _____ _________
_______________ _____ _________

Three-quarters of the address was thus prepared beforehand, it only being necessary to leave the lines sufficiently far apart to permit the insertion of occasional notes.

By his extra care he was enabled to present the most complete report of any paper in the city.

The specimen we have given is a fair average. In future generations, when a classical student is given a bishop’s address to read, his labor for that day will be easy.

Almost any bishop’s address will substantiate the statements we have made. We refer to them freely, without wasting time in selection.

We begin a new paragraph: The system of the Protestant Episcopal Church is eminently congregational.

If a parish chooses to “call” a given man, he is “called.”

Should the bishop “interfere” and recommend him, the recommendation, without an exception that has ever come to our knowledge, militates against the proposed “call.”

Should a parish desire to get rid of a pastor, it does so with or without the consent of the bishop, as happens, in the estimation of the wardens, to be most convenient. The officers may consult the bishop, and, if he agree with them, well and good. The words of the diocesan are quoted from Dan to Beersheba, and the pastor is made to feel the lack of sympathy—“Even his bishop is against him,” is whispered by young and old.

If the bishop does not agree with them, they do not consult him again. They proceed to accomplish what they desire as if he had no existence, and—they always succeed.

There is a farcical canon of the Protestant Episcopal Church which says, if a parish dismiss its rector[191] without concurrence, it shall not be admitted into convention until it has apologized.

It is a very easy thing for the wardens and vestrymen to address the convention, after they have accomplished their ends, with “Your honorable body thinks we have done wrong, and—we are sorry for it,” or something else equally ambiguous and absurd. The officers of the parish and the laymen of the congregation have done what they wished, and are content. As the convention is composed principally of laymen, the sympathy is naturally with the laymen’s side of the question. The rector is hurriedly passed over, his clerical brethren looking helplessly on.

To get a new parish the dismissed rector must “candidate”—a feature of clerical life most revolting to any man with a spark of manhood in him.

We note, in the next place, an utter want of unity in the Protestant Episcopal Church.

There are High-Church and Low-Church bookstores, where the publications of the one are discarded by the other. There are High-Church and Low-Church seminaries, where a man, to graduate from the one, will be looked upon inimically, at least with suspicion, by the other. There is a High-Church “Society for the Increase of the Ministry,” where the principal thing accomplished is the maintenance of the secretary of the said society in a large brick house in a fashionable city, while he claims to support a few students on two meals a day; and a Low-Church Evangelical Society, where they require the beneficiary to subscribe to certain articles of Low-Churchism before they will receive him.

The one society is thoroughly hostile to the other, and, in point of fact, the latter was created in opposition to the former.

There is but one thing in common between the two, and that is cold-shoulderism.

There are High-Church and Low-Church newspapers, in which the epithets used by the one toward the other do not indicate even respect.

Some of the “church’s” ministers would no more enter a “denominational” place of worship than they would put their hand in the fire. Others will fraternize with everything and everybody, and when Sunday comes will close their eyes—sometimes they roll them upward—and pray publicly: “From heresy and schism good Lord deliver us.”

It may be necessary that there should be wranglings and bickerings within her fold, in order to constitute her the church militant; but we cannot forgive hypocrisy.

With some of her ministers the grand object of existence seems to be to prove “Popery” an emanation from hell. With others the effort is equally great to prove the Episcopal Church as a “co-ordinate” branch with the Roman Church, and entitled to the same consideration as is paid by the devotees of Rome to its hierarchy. In both instances—viz., High Church and Low Church—history records failure.

We notice next the relation which the Protestant Episcopal Church holds to the Church of England.

The English Church evidently regards the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America as a weaker sister, and not to be admitted to doubtful disputations. She is courteous toward her, and accepts her present of a gold[192] alms-basin from an unrobed representative with a certain amount of ceremony. She invites her bishops to the Lambeth Conference, and they pay their own fare across the Atlantic; but they confer about nothing. It is true the Protestant Episcopal Church approved the action of the English Church in condemning Colenso; but this was a safe thing for the English Church to present. It would have been hardly complimentary to have their guests go home without doing something, especially as they were not to be invited into Westminster Abbey, and were to have nothing to do with the coming Bible revision.

The bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America were invited to the English conference very much as country cousins are invited to tea, and that was all.

By way of asserting her right to a recognition as an equal with the Church of England, she—the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America—has established, or rather individuals have established and the act has received the sanction of the General Convention, certain rival congregations in a few foreign cities where the English service was already established. If she be of the same Catholic mould as the Church of England, why does she thus in a foreign city attempt to maintain an opposition service? The variations in the Prayer-Book are no answer to the question. If the English Church be Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic, and the Protestant Episcopal Church be Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic, the two are therefore one; for they both claim that there is but one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic church.

She is in this case unmistakably uncatholic, or else the English Church is. In either case she falls to the ground.

Our attention is directed again to the many laws enacted against her bishops as compared with the laws enacted against the other members of the church. If Mosheim were to be restored to the flesh, and were to write the history of the Episcopal Church, and used as an authority the Digest of Canons, as he has been accustomed in his Ecclesiastical History to use ecclesiastical documents generally, he would style the bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church a set of criminals of the deepest dye, and the priests and deacons not much better. The laity would be regarded as all that could be desired in lofty integrity and spotless morality. For why? A glance at their vade-mecum of law—the Digest of Canons—shows an immense bulk of its space to be devoted “to the trial of a bishop.” The laity go scot-free.

We question the propriety, as well as the Catholicity, of covering the higher clergy with laws till they are helpless, while the laity revel in a freedom that amounts, when they choose, to mob-license; but it is done, and the Episcopal Church is degraded to a level lower than any of the denominations around her.

With other bodies who call themselves Christian there is a certain amount of consistency. Their rulers are from among their own members. With the church under consideration, her rulers, in many cases, are any unbaptized heathen who may choose to work themselves into a temporary favor with the pew-holders. It is not necessary that they should even have ever attended church. We note an instance where the chief man of a small parish was a druggist, and kept in the rear of his drug-store a[193] low drinking-room; and this man was elected treasurer year after year by a handful of interested parties, and, when elected, he managed all the finances of the parish according to his own notions of propriety. It was his habit to go to the church near the close of the sermon, and go away immediately after the collection.

We note another instance where a warden visited the rector of his parish, and threatened, with a polite oath, to give him something hotter than a section of the day of judgment if he did not ask his (the warden’s) advice a little more on parish matters. The parish grew so warm that at the end of three weeks the rector was candidating for another.

We note another instance where a warden was so overjoyed at having settled a rector according to his own liking that, on the arrival of the new incumbent, he not only did not go to hear him preach, but stayed at home with certain friends, and enjoyed, to use his own expression, a “dooced big drunk.” Out of consideration for the feelings of his family we use the word “dooced” instead of his stronger expression.

The rector of this happily-ruled parish was imprudent enough to incur the displeasure of his warden after a few months of arduous labor. He received a note while sitting at the bedside of his sick wife, saying that after the following Sunday his services would be dispensed with; that if he attempted to stay, the church would be closed for repairs.

We are well acquainted with a parish where a congregation wished to displace both the senior and junior wardens. These two gentlemen had been shrewd enough to foresee the event. They succeeded, by calculating management, in having vested in themselves the right of selling pews. When Easter Monday came, they sold for a dollar a pew to loafers on the streets, and swarmed the election with men who never had entered the place before. The laws of the parish were such that there was no redress. As a matter of course, the rector was soon candidating.

During the earliest portion of the official life of one of the oldest and most eminent bishops, he was called on to officiate at the institution of a Low-Church rector. At the morning service the bishop took occasion to congratulate the congregation on the assumed fact that they had now “an altar, a priest, and a sacrifice,” and went on to enlarge on that idea. In the evening of the same day the instituted minister, in addressing the congregation, said: “My brethren, so help me God! if the doctrines you heard this morning are the doctrines of the Protestant Episcopal Church, then I am no Protestant Episcopalian; but they are not such”—and essayed substantiating the assertion. All that came of the affair was the publication, on the part of each, of their respective discourses. On the supposition of the bishop’s having any foundation for his ecclesiastical character and for the doctrines he taught, would that have been the end of the matter?

Can it be that the Episcopal Church is Catholic? Is it possible that she is part of the grand structure portrayed by prophets and sung in the matchless words of inspiration as that against which the gates of hell shall not prevail? Rather, we are forced to class her as a “sister” among the very “heretics” from whom in her litany she prays, “Good Lord deliver us.”




Alarming Symptoms.

November had come, and was gathering up the last tints and blossoms of autumn. One by one the garden lights were being put out; the tall archangel lilies drooped their snow and gold cups languidly; the jasmine, that only the other day twinkled its silver stars amidst the purple bells of the clematis, now trailed wearily down the trellis of the porch; the hardy geraniums made a stand for it yet, but their petals dropped off at every puff of wind, and powdered the gravel with a scarlet ring round their six big red pots that flanked the walk from the gate to the cottage door; the red roses held out like a forlorn hope, defying the approach of the conqueror, and staying to say a last good-by to sweet Mother Summer, ere she passed away.

It was too chilly to sit out of doors late of afternoons now, and night fell quickly. M. de la Bourbonais had collapsed into his brown den; but the window stood open, and let the faint incense of the garden steal in to him, as he bent over his desk with his shaded lamp beside him.

Franceline had found it cold, and had slipt away, without saying why, to her own room upstairs. She was sitting on the floor with her hands in her lap, and her head pressed against the latticed window, watching the scarlet geraniums as they shivered in the evening breeze and dropped into their moist autumn tomb. A large crystal moon was rising above the woods beyond the river, and a few stars were coming out. She counted them, and listened to the wood-pigeon cooing in the park, and to the solitary note of an owl that answered from some distant grove. But the voices of wood and field were not to her now what they once had been. There was something in her that responded to them still, but not in the old way; she had drifted somewhere beyond their reach; she was hearkening for other voices, since one had touched her with a power these had never possessed, and whose echoing sweetness had converted the sounds that had till then been her only music into a blank and aching silence. Other pulses had been stirred, other chords struck within her, so strong and deep, and unlike the old childish ones, that these had become to her what the memory of the joys of childhood are to the full-grown man—a sweet shadow that lingers when the substance has fled; part of a life that has been lived, that can never be quickened again, but is enshrined in memory.

She was very pale, almost like a shadow herself, as she sat there in the silver gloom. Mothers who met her in her walks about the neighborhood looked wistfully after the gentle young face, and said with a sigh: “What a pity! And so young too!” Yet Franceline was not ill; not even ailing; she never[195] complained even of fatigue, and when her father tapped the pale cheek and asked how his Clair-de-lune was, she would answer brightly that she had never been better in her life, and as she had no cough, he believed her. A cough was Raymond’s single diagnosis of disease and death; he had a vague but deep-seated belief that nobody, no young person certainly, ever died a natural death without this fatal premonitory symptom. And yet he could not help following Franceline with an anxious eye as he saw her walking listlessly about the garden, or sitting with a book in her hand that she let drop every now and then to look dreamily out of the window, and only resumed with an evident effort. Sometimes she would go and lean her arms on the rail at the end of the garden, and stand there for an hour together gazing at the familiar landscape as if she were discovering some new feature in it, or straining her eyes to see some distant object. He could not lay his finger on any particular symptom that justified anxiety, and still he was anxious; a change of some sort had come over the child; she grew more and more like her mother, and it was not until Armengarde was several years older than Franceline that the disease which had been germinating in her system from childhood developed itself and proved fatal.

M. de la Bourbonais never alluded to Franceline’s refusal of Sir Ponsonby Anwyll, but he had not forgotten it. In his dreamy mind he cogitated on the possibility of the offer being renewed, and her accepting it. As to Clide de Winton, he had quite ceased to think of him, and never for an instant coupled him in his thoughts with Franceline. It did not strike him as significant that Sir Simon had avoided mentioning the young man since his return. After the conversation that Clide had once been the subject of between them, this reticence was natural enough. The failure of his wild, affectionate scheme placed him in a somewhat ridiculous position towards Raymond, and it was no wonder that he shrank from alluding to it.

Sir Ponsonby had left Rydal immediately after the eventful ride we know of. He could not remain in Franceline’s neighborhood without seeing her, and he had sense enough to feel that he would injure rather than serve his cause by forcing his society on her after what had passed. This is as good as admitting that he did not look upon his cause as lost. What man in love for the first time would give up after one refusal, if his love was worth the name? Ponsonby was not one of the faint-hearted tribe. He combined real modesty as to his own worth and pretensions with unbounded faith in the power of his love and its ultimate success. The infallibility of hope and perseverance was an essential part of his lover’s creed. He did not apply the tenet with any special sense of its fitness to Franceline in particular. He was no analyzer of character; he did not discriminate nicely between the wants and attributes of one woman and another; he blended them all in a theoretical worship, and included all womankind in his notions as to how they were individually to be wooed and won. He would let them have their own way, allow them unlimited pin-money, cover them with trinkets, and gratify all their little whims. If a girl were ever so beautiful and ever so good, no man could do more for her than this; and any man who[196] was able and willing to do it, ought to be able to win her. Ponsonby took heart, and trusted to his uniform good luck not to miss the prize he had set his heart on. He would rejoin his regiment for the present, and see what a month’s absence would do for him. He had one certain ground of hope: Franceline did not dislike him, and, as far as he could learn or guess, she cared for no one else. Sir Simon was his ally, and would keep a sharp lookout for him, and keep the little spark alive—if spark there were—by singing his praises judiciously in the ear of the cruel fair one.

She, meanwhile, went on in her usual quiet routine, tending the sick, teaching some little children, and working with her father, who grew daily more enamored of her tender and intelligent co-operation. Lady Anwyll called soon after Ponsonby’s departure, and was just as kind and unconstrained as if nothing had happened. She did not press Franceline to go and stay at Rydal, but hoped she would ride over there occasionally with Sir Simon to lunch. Her duties as secretary to Raymond made the sacrifice of a whole afternoon repugnant to her; but she did go once, just to show the old lady that she retained the same kind feeling towards her as before anything had occurred to make a break in their intimacy. It was delightful when she came home to find that her father had been utterly at sea without her, mooning about in a helpless way amongst the notes and papers that under her management had passed from confusion and chaos into order and sequence. While everything was in confusion he could find his way through the maze, but he had no key to this new order of things. Franceline declared she must never leave him so long again; he had put everything topsy-turvy, he was not to be trusted. The discovery of his dependence on her in a sphere where she had till lately been as useless to him as Angélique or Miss Merrywig was a source of infinite enjoyment to her, and she threw herself into her daily task with an energy that lightened the labor immensely to her father, without, as far as Franceline could say, fatiguing herself. But fatigue for being unconscious is sometimes none the less real. It may be that this sustained application was straining a system already severely tried by mental pressure. She was one day writing away as usual, while Raymond, with a bookful of notes in his hand, stood on the hearth-rug dictating. Suddenly she was seized with a fit of coughing, and, putting her handkerchief quickly to her mouth, she drew it away stained with crimson. She stifled a cry of terror that rose to her lips, and hurried out of the room. Her father had seen nothing, but her abrupt departure startled him; he hastened after her, and found her in the kitchen holding the handkerchief up to Angélique, who was looking at the fatal stain with a face rather stupefied than terrified.

“My God, have pity upon me! My child! My child!” he cried, clasping his hands and abandoning himself to his distress with the impassioned demonstrativeness of a Frenchman.

Woman, it is said truly, is more courageous at bearing physical pain than man; it is true also that she has more self-command in controlling the expression of mental pain. Her instinct is surer too in guiding her how to save others from suffering;[197] let her be ever so untutored, she will prove herself shrewder than the cleverest man on occasions like the present. Angélique’s womanly instinct told her at once that it was essential not to frighten Franceline: that the nervous shock would infallibly aggravate the evil, wherever the cause lay, and that the best thing to do now was to soothe and allay her fears.

“Bless me! what is there to make a row about?” she cried with an angry chuckle, crushing the handkerchief in her fingers and darting a look on her master which, if eyes could knock down, must have laid him prostrate on the spot; “the child has an indigestion and has thrown up a mouthful of bread from her stomach. Hein!”

“How do you know it is from the stomach and not from the lungs?” he asked, already reassured by her confidence, and still more by her incivility.

“How do I know? Am I a fool? Would it be that color if it was from the lungs? I say it is from the stomach, and it is a good business. But we must not have too much of it. It would weaken the child; we must stop it.”

“I will run for the doctor at once!” exclaimed M. de la Bourbonais, still trembling and excited. “Or stay!—no!—I will fly to the Court and they will despatch a man on horseback!” He was hurrying away when Angélique literally shouted at him:

“Wilt thou be quiet with thy doctor and thy man on horseback! I tell thee it is from the stomach; I know what I am about. I want neither man nor horse. It is from the stomach! Dost thou take me for a fool at this time of my life?”

Raymond stood still like a chidden child while the old servant poured this volley at him. Franceline stared at her aghast. In her angry excitement the grenadier had broken through not only all barriers of rank, but all the common rules of civility—she who was such a strict observer of both that they seemed a very part of herself. This ought to have opened their eyes, if nothing else did; but Franceline was only bewildered, Raymond was cowed and perplexed.

“If thou art indeed quite sure,” he said, falling into the familiar “thee and thou” by which she addressed him, and which on her deferential lips sounded so outrageous and unnatural—“if thou art indeed certain I will be satisfied; but, my good Angélique, would it not be a wise precaution to have a medical man?—only just, as thou sayest well, to prevent its going too far.”

“Well, well, if Monsieur le Comte wishes, let it be; let the doctor come; for me, I care not for him; they are an ignorant lot, pulling long faces to make long bills; but if it pleases Monsieur le Comte, let him have one to see the child.” She nodded her flaps at him, as if to say, “Be off then at once and leave us in peace!”

He was leaving the room, when, turning round suddenly, he came close up to Franceline. “Dost thou feel a pain, my child?” he said, peering anxiously into her face.

“No, father, not the least pain. I am sure Angélique is right; I feel nothing here,” putting her hand to her chest.

“God is good! God is good!” muttered the father half audibly, and, stroking her cheek gently, he went.

“Let not Monsieur le Comte go rushing off himself; let him send one of those thirty-six lackeys at[198] the Court!” cried Angélique, calling after him through the kitchen window.

In her heart and soul Angélique was terrified. She had thrown out quite at random, with the instinct of desperation, that confident assurance as to the color of the stain. Her first impulse was to save Franceline from the shock, but it had fallen full upon herself. This accident sounded like the first stroke of the death-knell. No one would have supposed it to look at her. She set her arms akimbo and laughed till she shook at her own impudence to M. le Comte, and how meekly M. le Comte had borne it, and how scared his face was, and what a joke the business was altogether. To see him stand there wringing his hands, and making such a wailing about nothing! But when Franceline was going to answer and reproach her old bonne with this inopportune mirth, she laid her hand on the young girl’s mouth and bade her peremptorily be silent.

“If you go talking and scolding, child, there is no knowing what mischief you may do. Come and lie down, and keep perfectly quiet.”

Franceline obeyed willingly enough. She was weak and tired, and glad to be alone awhile.

Angélique placed a cold, wet cloth on her chest, and made her some cold lemonade to drink. It was making a fuss about nothing, to be sure; but it would please M. le Comte. He was never happier than when people were making a fuss over his Clair-de-lune.

It was not long before the count returned, accompanied by Sir Simon. Angélique saw at a glance that the baronet understood how things were. He talked very big about his confidence that Angélique was right; that it was an accident of no serious import whatever; but he exchanged a furtive glance with the old woman that sufficiently belied all this confident talk. He was for going up to see Franceline with M. de la Bourbonais, but Angélique would not allow this. M. le Comte might go, if he liked, provided he did not make her speak; but nobody else must go; the room was too small, and it would excite the child to see people about her. So Raymond went up alone. As soon as his back was turned, Angélique threw up her hands with a gesture too significant for any words. Sir Simon closed the door gently.

“I am not duped any more than you,” he said. “It is sure to be very serious, even if it is not fatal. Tell me what you really think.”

“I saw her mother go through it all. It began like this. Only Madame la Comtesse had a cough; the petite has never had one. That is the only thing that gives me a bit of hope; the petite has never coughed. O Monsieur Simon! it is terrible. It will kill us all three; I know it will.”

“Tut, tut! don’t give up in this way, Angélique,” said the baronet kindly, and turning aside; “that will mend nothing; it is the very worst thing you could do. I agree with you that it is very serious; not so much the accident itself, perhaps—we know nothing about that yet—but on account of the hereditary taint in the constitution. However, there has been no cough undermining it so far, and with care—I promise you she shall have the best—there is every reason to hope the child will weather it. At her age one weathers everything,” he added, cheerfully. “Come now, don’t despond; a[199] great deal depends on your keeping a cheerful countenance.”

“I know it, monsieur, and I will do my best. But I hear steps! Could it be the doctor already? For goodness’ sake run out and meet him, and tell him, as he hopes to save us all, not to let Monsieur le Comte know there is any danger! It is all up with us if he does. Monsieur le Comte could no more hide it than a baby could hide a pin in its clothes.”

She opened the door and almost pushed Sir Simon out, in her terror lest the doctor should walk in without being warned.

Sir Simon met him at the back of the cottage. A few words were exchanged, and they came in together. Raymond met them on the stairs. The medical man preferred seeing his patient alone; the nurse might be present, but he could have no one else. In a very few minutes he came down, and a glance at his face set the father’s heart almost completely at rest.

“Dear me, Sir Simon, you would never do for a sick nurse. You prepared me for a very dangerous case by your message; it is a mere trifle; hardly worth the hard ride I’ve had to perform in twenty minutes.”

“Then there is nothing amiss with the lungs?”

“Would you like to sound them yourself, count? Pray do! It will be more satisfactory to you.” And he handed his stethoscope to M. de la Bourbonais—not mockingly, but quite gravely and kindly.

That provincial doctor missed his vocation. He ought to have been a diplomatist.

Instead of the proffered stethoscope, M. de la Bourbonais grasped his hand. His heart was too full for speech. The reaction of security after the brief interval of agony and suspense unnerved him. He sat down without speaking, and wiped the great drops from his forehead. The medical man addressed himself to Sir Simon and Angélique. There was nothing whatever to be alarmed at; but there was occasion for care and certain preventive measures. The young lady must have perfect rest and quiet; there must be no talking for some time; no excitement of any sort. He gave sundry directions about diet, etc., and wrote a prescription which was to be sent to the chemist at once. M. de la Bourbonais accompanied him to the door with a lightened heart, and bade him au revoir with a warm pressure of the hand.

“Now, let me hear the truth,” said Sir Simon, as soon as they entered the park.

“You have heard the truth—though only in a negative form. If you noticed, we did not commit ourselves to any opinion of the case; we only prescribed for it. This was the only way in which we could honestly follow your instructions,” observed the doctor, who always used the royal “we” of authorship when speaking professionally.

“You showed great tact and prudence; but there is no need for either now. Tell me exactly what you think.”

“It will be more to the purpose to tell you what we know,” rejoined the medical man. “There is a blood-vessel broken; not a large one, happily, and if the hemorrhage does not increase and continue, it may prove of no really serious consequence. But then we must remember the question of inheritance. That is what makes a symptom in itself trifling assume a[200] grave—we refrain from saying fatal—character.”

“You are convinced that this is but the beginning of the end—am I to understand that?” asked Sir Simon. He was used to the doctor’s pompous way, and knew him to be both clever and conscientious, at least towards his patients.

“It would be precipitating an opinion to say so much. We are on the whole inclined to take a more sanguine view. We consider the hitherto unimpaired health of the patient, and her extreme youth, fair grounds for hope. But great care must be taken; all excitement must be avoided.”

“You may count on your orders being strictly carried out,” said Sir Simon.

They walked on a few yards without further speech. Sir Simon was busy with anxious and affectionate thoughts.

“I should fancy a warm climate would be the best cure for a case of this kind,” he observed, answering his own reflections, rather than speaking to his companion.

“No doubt, no doubt,” assented Dr. Blink, “if the patient was in a position to authorize her medical attendant in ordering such a measure.”

“Monsieur de la Bourbonais is in that position,” replied Sir Simon, quietly.

“Ah! I am glad to know it. I may act on the information one of these days. The young lady could not bear the fatigue of a journey to the south just now; the general health is a good deal below par; the nervous system wants toning; it is unstrung.”

Sir Simon made no comment—not at least in words—but it set his mind on painful conjecture. Perhaps the electric chain passed from him to his companion, for the latter said irrelevantly but with a significant expression, as he turned his glance full upon Sir Simon:

“We medical men are trusted with many secrets—secrets of the heart as well as of the body. We ask you frankly, as a friend of our patient, is there any moral cause at work—any disappointed affection that may have preyed on the mind and fostered the inherited germs of disease?”

“I cannot answer that question,” replied the baronet after a moment’s hesitation.

“You cannot, or you will not? Excuse my pertinacity; it is professional and necessary.”

Sir Simon hesitated again before he answered.

“I cannot even give a decided answer to that. I had some time ago feared there existed something of the sort, but of late those apprehensions had entirely disappeared. If you had put the question to me yesterday, I should have said emphatically there is nothing to fear on that score; the child is perfectly happy and quite heart-whole.”

“And to-day you are not prepared to say as much,” persisted Dr. Blink. “Something has occurred to modify this change of opinion?”

“Nothing, except the accident that you know of and your question now. These suggest to me that I may have been right in the first instance.”

“Is it in your power or within the power of circumstances to set the wrong right—to remove the cause of anxiety—assuming that it actually exists?”

“No, it is not; nothing can remove it.”

“And she is aware of this?”

“I fear not.”


“Say rather that you hope not. In such cases hope is the best physician; let nothing be done, as far as you can prevent it, to destroy this hope in the patient’s mind; I would even venture to urge that you should do anything in your power to feed and stimulate it.”

“That is impossible; quite impossible,” said Sir Simon emphatically. The doctor’s words fell on him like a sting, and this very feeling increased to conviction what had, at the beginning of the conversation, been only a vague misgiving.

Franceline rallied quickly, and with her returning strength Sir Simon’s fears were allayed. He had not been able to follow the doctor’s advice as to keeping alive any soothing delusions that might exist in her mind, but he succeeded, by dint of continually dinning it into his ears that there was no danger, in convincing her father that there was not; and the cheerfulness and security that radiated from him acted beneficially on her, and proved of great help to the medical treatment. And was Dr. Blink right in his surmise that a moral cause had been at work and contributed to the bursting of the blood-vessel? If Franceline had been asked she would have denied it; if any one had said to her that the accident had been brought on by mental suffering, or insinuated that she was still at heart pining for a lost love, she would have answered with proud sincerity: “It is false; I am not pining. I have ceased to think of Clide de Winton; I have ceased to love him.”

But which of us can answer truly for our own hearts? We do not want to idealize Franceline. We wish to describe her as she was, the good with the evil; the struggle and the victory as they alternated in her life; her heart fluctuating, but never consciously disloyal. There must be flaws in every picture taken from life. Perfection is not to be found in nature, except when seen through a poet’s eyes. Perhaps it was true that Franceline had ceased to love Clide. When our will is firmly set upon self-conquest we are apt to fancy it achieved. But conquest does not of necessity bring joy, or even peace. Nothing is so terrible as a victory, except a defeat, was a great captain’s cry on surveying the bloody field of yesterday’s battle. The frantic effort, the bleeding trophies may inflict a death-wound on the conqueror as fatal, in one sense, as defeat. We see the “good fight” every day leading to such issues. Brave souls fight and carry the day, and then go to reap their laurels where “beyond these voices there is peace.” Franceline had gained a victory, but there was no rejoicing in the triumph. Her heart plained still of its wounds; if she did not hear it, it was because she would not; it still bemoaned its hard fate, its broken cup of happiness.

She rose up from this illness, however, happier than she had been for months. It was difficult to believe that the period which had worked such changes to her inward life counted only a few months; it seemed like years, like a lifetime, since she had first met Clide de Winton. She resumed her calmly busy little life as before the break had come that suspended its active routine. By Dr. Blink’s desire the teaching class was suppressed, and the necessity of guarding against cold prevented her doing much amongst the sick; but[202] this extra leisure in one way enabled her to increase her work in another; she devoted it to writing with her father; this never tired her, she affirmed—it only interested and amused her.

The advisability of a trip to some southern spot in France or Italy had been suggested by Dr. Blink; but the proposal was rejected by his patient in such a strenuous and excited manner that he forebore to press it. He noticed also an expression of sudden pain on M. de la Bourbonais’ countenance, accompanied by an involuntary deep-drawn sigh, that led him to believe there must be pecuniary impediments in the way of the scheme, notwithstanding Sir Simon’s assurance to the contrary. The émigré was universally looked upon as a poor man. Who else would live as he did? Still Sir Simon must have known what he was saying. However, as it happened, the cold weather, which was now setting in pretty sharp, was by no means favorable to travelling, so the doctor consented willingly enough to abide by the patient’s circumstances and wishes. A long journey in winter is always a high price for an invalid to pay for the benefit of a warm climate.

In the first days of December, Sir Simon took flight from Dullerton to Nice. Lady Rebecca was spending the winter at Cannes, and as Mr. Simpson reported that “her ladyship’s health had declined visibly within the last month,” it was natural that her dutiful step-son should desire to be within call in case of any painful eventuality. If the climate of the sunny Mediterranean town happened to be a very congenial winter residence to him, so much the better. It is only fair that a man should have some compensation for doing his duty.

The day before he started Sir Simon came down to The Lilies.

“Raymond,” he said, “you have sustained a loss lately; you must be in want of money; now is the time to prove yourself a Christian, and let others do unto you as you would do unto them. You offered me money once when I did not want it; I offer it to you now that you do.” And he pressed a bundle of notes into the count’s hands.

But Raymond crushed them back into his. “Mon cher Simon! I do not thank you. That would be ungrateful; it would look as if I were surprised, whereas I have long since come to take brotherly kindness as a matter of course from you. But in truth I do not want this money; I give you my word I don’t!”

“If you pledge your word, I must believe you, I suppose,” returned the baronet; “but promise me one thing—if you should want it, you will let me know?”

“I promise you I will.”

Sir Simon with a sigh, which Raymond took for reluctance, but which was really one of relief, replaced the notes in his waistcoat pocket. “I had better leave you a blank check all the same,” he said; “you might happen to want it, and not be able to get a letter to me at once. There is no knowing where the vagabond spirit may lead me, once I am on the move. Give me a pen.” And he seated himself at the desk.

Raymond protested; but it was no use, Sir Simon would have his own way; he wrote the blank check and saw it locked up in the count’s private drawer. M. de la Bourbonais argued from this reckless committal of his signature that the baronet’s finances were in a flourishing condition, and was[203] greatly rejoiced. Alas! if the truth were known, they had never been in a sorrier plight. He had offered the bank-notes in all sincerity, but if Raymond had accepted it, Sir Simon would have been at his wit’s end to find the ready money for his journey. But he kept this dark, and rather led his friend to suppose him flush of money; it was the only chance of getting him to accept his generosity.

“Mind you keep me constantly informed how Franceline gets on,” were his parting words; and M. de la Bourbonais promised.

She got on in pretty much the same way for some time. Languid and pale, but not suffering; and she had no cough, and no return of the symptoms that had alarmed them all so much. Angélique watched her as a cat watches a mouse, but even her practised eye could detect no definite cause for anxiety.

One morning, about a fortnight after Sir Simon’s departure, Franceline was alone in the little sitting-room—her father had gone to do some shopping for her in the town, as it was too cold for her to venture out—when Sir Ponsonby Anwyll called. The moment she saw him she flushed up, partly with surprise, partly with pleasure. A casual observer would have concluded this to be a good sign for the visitor; a male friend would have unhesitatingly pronounced him a lucky dog. Ponsonby himself felt slightly elated.

“I heard you were ill,” he said, “and as I am at home on leave for a few days, I could not resist coming to inquire for you. You are not displeased with me for coming?”

“No, indeed; it is very kind of you. I am glad to see you,” Franceline replied with bright, grateful eyes.

Hope bounded up high in Ponsonby.

“They told me you had been very ill. I hope it is not true. You don’t look it,” he said anxiously.

“I have been frightening them a little more than it was worth; but I am quite well now. How is Lady Anwyll?”

“Thank you, she’s just as usual; in very good health and a tremendous bustle. You know I always put the house topsy-turvy when I come down. Not that I mean to do it; it seems to come of itself as a natural consequence of my being there,” he explained, laughing. “Is M. de la Bourbonais quite well?”

“Quite well. He will be in presently; he is only gone to make a few purchases for me.”

“How anxious he must have been while you were ill!”

“Dear papa! yes he was.”

“Do you ride much now?”

“Not at all. I am forbidden to take any violent exercise for the present.”

All obvious subjects being now exhausted, there ensued a pause. Ponsonby was the first to break it.

“Have you forgiven me, Franceline?” he said, looking at her tenderly, and with a sort of sheepish timidity.

“Indeed I have; forgiven and forgotten,” she replied; and then blushing very red, and correcting herself quickly: “I mean there was nothing to forgive.”

“That’s not the sort of forgiveness I want,” said Ponsonby, growing courageous in proportion as she grew embarrassed. “Franceline, why can you not like me a little? I love you so much; no one will ever love you better, or as well!”


She shook her head, but said nothing, only rose and went to the window. He followed her.

“You are angry with me again!” he exclaimed, and was going to break out in entreaties to be forgiven; when stooping forward he caught sight of her face. It was streaming with tears!

“There, the very mention of it sets you crying! Why do you hate me so?”

“I do not hate you. I never hated you! I wish with all my heart I could love you! But I cannot, I cannot! And you would not have me marry you if I did not love you? It would be false and selfish to accept your love, with all it would bring me, and give so little in return?” She turned her dark eyes on him, still full of tears, but unabashed and innocent, as if he had been a brother asking her to do something unreasonable.

“So little!” he cried, and seizing her hand he pressed it to his lips; “if you knew how thankful I would be for that little! What am I but an awkward lout at best! But I will make you happy, Franceline; I swear to you I will! And your father too. I will be as good as a son to him.”

She made no answer but the same negative movement of her head. She looked out over the winter fields with a dreamy expression, as if she only half heard him, while her hand lay passively in his.

“Say you will be my wife! Accept me, Franceline!” pleaded the young man, and he passed his arm around her.

The action roused her; she snatched away her hand and started from him. It was not aversion or antipathy, it was terror that dictated the movement. Something within her cried out and forbade her to listen. She could no more control the sudden recoil than she could control the tears that gushed out afresh, this time with loud sobs that shook her from head to foot.

“Good heavens! what have I done?” exclaimed Ponsonby, helpless and dismayed. “Shall I go away? shall I leave you?”

“Oh! it is nothing. It is over now,” said Franceline, her agitation quieted instantaneously by the sight of his. She dashed the tears from her cheeks impatiently; she was vexed with herself for giving way so before him. “Sit down; you are trembling all over,” said the young man; and he gently forced her into a chair. “I am sorry I said anything; I will never mention the subject again without your permission. Shall I go away?”

“It would be very ungracious to say ‘yes,’” she replied, trying to smile through the tears that hung like raindrops on her long lashes; “but you see how weak and foolish I am.”

“My poor darling! I will go and leave you. I have been too much for you. Only tell me, may I come soon again—just to ask how you are?”

She hesitated. To say yes would be tacitly to accept him; yet it was odious to turn him off like this without a word of kindly explanation to soften the pang. Ponsonby could not read these thoughts, so he construed her hesitation according to the immemorial logic of lovers.

“Well, never mind answering now,” he said; “I won’t bother you any more to-day. You will present my respects to the count, and say how sorry I was not to see him.”

He held out his hand for good-by.


“You will meet him on the road, I dare say,” said Franceline, extending hers. “You will not tell him how I have misbehaved to you?”

The shy smile that accompanied the request emboldened Ponsonby to raise the soft, white hand to his lips. Then turning away he overturned a little wicker flower-stand, happily with no injury to the sturdy green plant, but with considerable damage to the dignity of his exit.

Perhaps you will say that Mlle. de la Bourbonais behaved like a flirt in parting with a discarded lover in this fashion. It is easy for you to say so. It is not so easy for a woman with a heart to inflict unmitigated pain on a man who loves her, and whose love she at least requites with gratitude, esteem, and sisterly regard.

Sir Ponsonby met the count on the road; he made sure of the encounter by walking his horse up and down the green lane which commanded the road from Dullerton to The Lilies. What passed between them remained the secret of themselves and the winter thrush that perched on the brown hedge close by and sang out lustily to the trees and fields while they conversed.

M. de la Bourbonais made no comment on his daughter’s tear-stained cheeks when he came home; but taking her face between his hands, as he was fond of doing, he gave one wistful look, kissed it, and let it go.

“How long you have been away, petit père! Shall we go to our writing now?” she inquired cheerfully.

“Art thou not tired, my child?”

“Tired! What have I done to tire me?”

She sat down at his desk, and nothing was said of Sir Ponsonby Anwyll’s visit.

The excitement of that day’s interview told, nevertheless, on Franceline. It left her nervous, and weaker than she had been since her recovery. These symptoms escaped her father’s notice, and they would have escaped Angélique’s, owing to Franceline’s strenuous efforts to conceal them, if a slight cough had not come to put her on the qui vive more than ever. It was very slight indeed, only attacking her in the morning when she awoke, and quite ceasing by the time she was dressed and down-stairs. Franceline’s room was at one end of the cottage; Angélique slept next to her; and at the other end, with the stairs intervening, was the count’s room. He was thus out of ear-shot of the sound, which, however rare and seemingly unimportant, would have filled him with alarm. Franceline treated it as a trifle not worth mentioning; but when her old bonne insisted on taking her discreetly to Dr. Blink and having his opinion about it, she gave in to humor her. The doctor once more applied his stethoscope, and then, smiling that grim, satisfied smile of his that was so reassuring to patients till they had seen it practised on others and found out it was a fallacy, remarked:

“We are glad to be able to assure you again that there is nothing to be frightened at; no mischief that cannot be forestalled by care, and docility to our instructions,” he added emphatically. “We must order you some tonics, and you must take them regularly. How is the appetite?” turning to Angélique, who stood by devouring the oracle’s words and watching every line of his features with a shrewd, almost[206] vicious expression of mistrust on her brown face.

“Ah! the appetite. She will not be eating many; she will be wanting dainty plates which I cannot make,” explained the Frenchwoman, sticking pertinaciously to the future tense, as usual when she spoke English.

“Invalids are liable to those caprices of the palate,” remarked Dr. Blink blandly; “but Miss Franceline will be brave and overcome them. Dainty dishes are not always the most nourishing, and nourishment is necessary for her; it is essential.”

“That is what I will be telling mamselle,” assented Angélique; “but she will not be believing me. I will be telling her every day the strength is in the bouillon; but she will be making a grimace and saying ‘Pshaw!’”

The last word was uttered with a grimace so expressive that Franceline burst out laughing, and the pompous little doctor joined in it in spite of his dignity. She promised to do her best to obey him and overcome her dislike to the bouillon, Angélique’s native panacea, and to other substantial food.

But she found it very hard to keep the promise. It required something savory to tempt her weak appetite. Angélique saw she was doing her best, and never pressed the poor child needlessly; but she would groan over the plate as she removed it, sometimes untouched. “I used to think myself a ‘blue ribbon’ until now,” she said once to Franceline, with an impatient sigh; “but I am at the end of my talent; I can do nothing to please mamselle.” And then she would long for Sir Simon to come home. It happened unluckily that the professed artist who presided over the kitchen at the Court was taking a holiday during his master’s absence. Angélique would have scorned to invoke the skill of the subaltern who replaced him, but she had a profound admiration for the chef himself, and, though an Englishman, she bowed unreservedly to his superior talents. The belief was current that Sir Simon would spend the Christmas at Dullerton; he always did when not at too great a distance at that time. It was the right thing for an English gentleman to do, and his bitterest foe would not accuse the baronet of failing to act up to that standard.

This year, however, it was not possible. The weather was glorious at Nice and it was anything but that at Dullerton, and the long journey in the cold was not attractive. He wrote home desiring the usual festivities to be arranged according to the old custom of the place; coals and clothing were to be distributed ad libitum; the fatted calf was to be killed for the tenantry, and everybody was enjoined to eat, drink, and be merry in spite of the host’s absence. They conscientiously followed these hospitable injunctions, but it was a grievous disappointment that Sir Simon was not in their midst to stimulate the conviviality by his kindly and genial presence. Pretty presents came to The Lilies, but they did not bring strength to Franceline. She grew more transparent, more fragile-looking, as the days went on. Angélique held private conferences with Miss Merrywig, and that lady suggested that any of the large houses in the neighborhood would be only too delighted to be of any use in sending jellies flavored with good strong wine. There was nothing so nourishing[207] for an invalid; Miss Merrywig would speak to one where there was a capital cook. But Angélique would not hear of it. No, no! Much as she longed for the jelly she dared not get it in this way. M. le Comte would never forgive her. “He will be so proud, M. le Comte! He will be a Scotchman! He will not be confessing even to me that he wants nothing. But Monsieur Simon will be coming; he will be coming soon, and then he will be making little plates for mamselle every day.” Meantime she and Franceline did their best to hide from Raymond this particular reason for desiring their friend’s return. But he noticed that she ate next to nothing, and that she often signed to Angélique to remove her plate on which the food remained untasted. Once he could not forbear exclaiming: “Ah! if we were in Paris I could get some friandise to tempt thee!”

In the middle of January one morning a letter came from Sir Simon, bearing the London postmark.

He had been obliged to come to England on pressing business of a harassing nature.

“Is Sir Simon coming home, petit père?” inquired Franceline eagerly, as her father opened the letter.

“Yes; but only for a day. He will be here after to-morrow, and fly away to Nice the next day.”

“How tiresome of him! But it is better to see him for a day than not at all. Does he say what hour he arrives? We will go and meet him.”

“It will be too late for thee to be out, my child. He comes by the late afternoon train, just in time to dress for dinner and receive us all. He has invited several friends in the neighborhood to dine.”

“What a funny idea! And he is only coming for the day?”

“Only for the day.”

Raymond’s eyebrows closed like a horseshoe over his meditative eyes as he folded the baronet’s letter and laid it aside. There was more in it than he communicated to Franceline. It was the old story; money tight, bills falling due, and no means of meeting them. Lady Rebecca had taken a fresh start, thanks to an Italian quack who had been up from Naples and worked wonders with some diabolical elixir—diabolical beyond a doubt, for nothing but the black-art could explain the sudden and extraordinary rally; she was all but dead when the quack arrived—so Mr. Simpson heard from one of her ladyship’s attendants. Simpson himself was terribly put out by the news; it overturned all his immediate plans; he saw no possibility of any longer avoiding extremities. Extremities meant that the principal creditor, a Jew who had lent a sum of thirty thousand pounds on Sir Simon’s life-interest in Dullerton, at the rate of twenty per cent, was now determined to wait no longer for his arrears of twenty per cent, but turn the baronet out of possession and sell his life-interest in the estate. This sword of Damocles had been hanging over his debtor’s head for the last ten years. It was to meet this usurious interest periodically that Sir Simon was driven to such close quarters. He had up to this time contrived to answer the demand—Heaven and Mr. Simpson alone knew at what sacrifices. But now he had come to a point beyond which even he declared he could not possibly carry his client. He had tried to negotiate post-obit bills on Lady Rebecca’s fifty thousand pounds, but[208] the Jews were too sharp for that. Lady Rebecca was sole master of her fifty thousand pounds, and might leave it to whom she liked. She had made her will bequeathing it to her step-son, and he was morally as certain of ultimately possessing the money as if it were entailed; but moral security is no security at all to a money-lender. The money was not entailed; Lady Rebecca might take it into her head to alter her will; she might leave it to a quack doctor, or to some clever sycophant of an attendant. There is no saying what an old lady of seventy-five may not do with fifty thousand pounds. Sir Simon pshawed and pooh-poohed contemptuously when Simpson enumerated these arguments against the negotiation of the much-needed P. O. bills; but it was no use. Israel was inexorable. And now one particular member of the tribe called Moses to witness that if he were not paid his “twenty per shent” on the first of February, he would seize upon the life-interest of Dullerton Court and make its present owner a bankrupt. He could sell nothing, either in the house or on the estate; the plate and pictures and furniture were entailed. If this were not the case, things need not have come to this with Sir Simon. Two of those Raphaels in the great gallery would have paid the Jew principal and interest together; but not a spoon or a hearth-brush in the Court could be touched; everything belonged to the heir. No mention has hitherto been made of that important person, because he in no way concerns this story, except by the fact of his existence. He was a distant kinsman of the present baronet, who had never seen him. He was in diplomacy, and so lived always abroad. People are said to dislike their heirs.

If Sir Simon disliked any human being, it was his. He did not dislike Lady Rebecca; he was only out of patience with her; she certainly was an aggravating old woman—living on to no purpose, that he could see, except to frustrate and harass him. Yet he had kindly thoughts of her; he had only cold aversion towards the man who was waiting for his own death to come and rule in his stead. He had never spoken of him to M. de la Bourbonais except to inform him that he existed, and that he stood in his way on many occasions. In the letter of this morning he spoke of him once more. The letter was a long one, and calmer than any previous effusion of the kind that Raymond remembered. There was very little vituperation of the duns, or even of the chief scoundrel who was about to tear away the veil that had hitherto concealed the sores and flaws in the popular landlord’s life. This was what he felt most deeply in it all; the disgrace of being shown up as a sham—a man who had lived like a prince while he had been in reality a beggar, in debt up to his ears, and who was now about to be made a bankrupt. Raymond had never before understood the real nature of his friend’s embarrassment; he was shocked and distressed more than he could express. It was not the moment to judge him; to remember the reckless extravagance, the criminal want of prudence, of conscience, that had brought him to this pass. He only thought of the friend of his youth, the kind, faithful, delightful companion who had never failed in friendship, whatever his other sins may have been. And now he was ruined, disgraced before[209] the world, going to be driven forth from his ancestral home branded as a life-long sham. Raymond could have wept for pity. Then it occurred to him with a strange pang that he was to dine with Sir Simon the next day; the head cook had been telegraphed for to prepare the dinner; there was to be a jovial gathering of friends to “cheer him up.” What a mystery it was, this craving for being cheered up, as if the process were a substantial remedy that in some way helped to pay debts, or postpone payment! The count was too sad at heart to smile. He rose from the breakfast-table with a sigh, and was leaving the room when Franceline linked her hands on his arm, and said, looking up with an anxious face:

“It is a long letter, petit père; is there any bad news?”

“There is hardly any news at all,” he replied evasively. In truth there was not.

“Then why do you look so sad?”

“Why dost thou look so pale?” was the reply. And he smiled tenderly and sighed again as he kissed her forehead.



A sea-cliff carved into a bas-relief!
Art, rough from Nature’s hand; by brooding Nature
Wrought out in spasms to shapes of Titan stature;
Emblems of Fate, and Change, Revenge, and Grief,
And Death, and Life; in giant hieroglyph
Confronting still with thunder-blasted frieze
All stress of years, and winds, and wasting seas—
The stranger nears it in his western skiff,
And hides his eyes. Few, few shall dare, great Bard,
Thy watery portals! Entering, fewer yet
Shall pierce thy music’s meaning, deep and hard!
But these shall owe to thee an endless debt;
The Eleusinian caverns they shall tread
That wind beneath man’s heart; and wisdom learn with dread.
Aubrey de Vere.



The merchants and missionaries who were the first travellers and ambassadors of Christian times little thought, absorbed as they were in the object of their quest, how large a share of interest in the eyes of posterity would centre in the quaint observations, descriptions, and drawings which they were able incidentally to gather or make. Marco Polo’s name, and even those of his father and uncle, Niccolo and Matteo Polo, are well known, and are associated with all that barbaric magnificence the memory of which had a great share in keeping alive the perseverance of subsequent explorers. It was fitting that traders in jewels should reach the more civilized and splendid Tartars, and no doubt their store of rich presents, and their garments of ample dimensions as well as fine texture, would prove a passport through tribes so passionately acquisitive as the Tartars seem to have been. Nomads are not always simple-minded or unambitious. The Franciscan whose travels come just between the expedition of the elder Polo and the more famous Marco—Friar William Rubruquis—did not have the good-luck to see the wonders his successor described; but he mentions repeatedly that his entertainers made reiterated and minute inquiries as to the abundance of flocks and herds in the country he came from, and that they wondered—rather contemptuously—at the presents of sweet wine, dried fruits, and delicate cakes which were all he had to offer their great princes.

Rubruquis was traveller, missionary, and ambassador, but in the two pursuits denoted by the last-mentioned titles his success was but small. As a traveller, however, he was hardy, persevering, and observant. Though not bred a horseman, he often rode thirty leagues a day, and half the time at full gallop, he says. His companions, monks like himself, could not stand the fatigue, and both, at different intervals, parted company from him. But Rubruquis was young and strong, though, as he himself says, corpulent and heavy; and, above all, he was enterprising. He was not more than five-and-twenty when he started on his quest of the Christian monarch whom all the rulers of Europe firmly believed in, and whose name has come down to us as Prester John.

Born in 1230, he devoted himself early to the church, and during the Fourth Crusade went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. His real name was Ruysbroek, but, according to the unpatriotic fashion of the times, he Latinized it into Rubruquis. S. Louis, King of France, eager for the Christian alliance which the supposed Prester John would be able to enter into with him, had once already sent an embassy of monks to seek him; but they had failed to perform a sixth part of the journey set down for them, and had heard no tidings of a monarch answering to the description. The king, nothing daunted, determined to send another embassy on a voyage of discovery[211] Vague news of a Christian Tartar chief, by name Sartach, had come to him; probably the toleration extended by the Tartars to Christians—a contrast to the behavior of most Saracenic chiefs—led to this obstinate belief in a remote Christian empire of the East.

William de Rubruquis, Bartholomew of Cremona, and a companion named Andrew, all Franciscan friars, were chosen for this new expedition. On the 7th of May, 1253 (says his narrative, though it has since been calculated that, as S. Louis was a captive at the time, the date 1255 is more likely to be correct), the travellers, having crossed the Black Sea from Constantinople, landed at Soldaia, near Cherson. The king, somewhat unwisely as it proved, had told his envoy to represent himself as a private individual travelling on his own account. But the Tartars were acute and jealous of foreigners; they knew that travelling entailed too much fatigue and danger to be undertaken simply for pleasure, and they had small regard for any stranger, unless the representative of a prince. They guessed his mission, and taxed him with it, till he was obliged to acknowledge that he was the bearer of letters from the Christian King of France to the mighty khan, Sartach. But though the people do not seem to have taken him for a private person, they were puzzled by the poverty of his dress and the scantiness of the presents he offered them. Even small dignitaries expected to be royally propitiated. He explained his vow of poverty to them, but this did not impress the Tartars as favorably as he wished. Still, he met with nothing but civility and hospitality.

Rubruquis says that Soldaia was a great mart for furs, which the Russians exchanged with the merchants of Constantinople for silks, cotton, spices, etc. The third day after his departure he met a wandering tribe, “among whom being entered,” he says, “methought I was come into a new world.”

He goes on to describe their houses on wheels, no despicable or narrow habitations, even according to modern ideas:

“Their houses, in which they sleep, they raise upon a round foundation of wickers artificially wrought and compacted together, the roof consisting of wickers also meeting above in one little roundel, out of which there rises upwards a neck like a chimney, which they cover with white felt; and often they lay mortar or white earth upon the felt with the powder of bones, that it may shine and look white; sometimes, also, they cover their houses with black felt. This cupola … they adorn with a variety of pictures. Before the door they hang a felt curiously painted over; for they spend all their colored felt in painting vines, trees, birds, and beasts thereupon. These houses they make so large that they contain thirty feet in breadth; for, measuring once the breadth between the wheel-ruts, … I found it to be twenty feet over, and when the house was upon the cart it stretched over the wheels on each side five feet at least. I told two-and-twenty oxen in one draught, drawing an house upon a cart, and eleven more on the other side. (Two rows, one in front of the other, we suppose.) … A fellow stood in the door of the house, driving the oxen.”

Sometimes a woman drove, or walked at the head of the leaders to guide them. “One woman will guide twenty or thirty carts at once;[212] for their country is very flat, and they fasten the carts with camels or oxen one behind another. A girl sits in the foremost cart, driving the oxen, and all the rest of themselves follow at a like pace. When they come to a place which is a bad passage, they loose them, and guide them one by one.…”

The baggage was so arranged as to be taken through the smaller rivers of Asia without being injured or wetted. It consisted of square chests of wicker-work, with a hollow lid or cover of the same, “covered with black felt, rubbed over with tallow or sheep’s milk to keep the rain from soaking through, which they also adorn with painting or white feathers.” These were placed on carts with very high wheels, and drawn by camels instead of oxen. The encampment was like a large village, well defended by palisades formed of the carts off which the houses had been taken, and which were drawn up in two compact lines, one in front and one in the rear of the dwellings, “as it were between two walls,” says our traveller. A rich Tartar commonly had one hundred, or even two hundred, such cart-houses. Each house had several small houses belonging to it, placed behind it, serving as closets, store-rooms, and sleeping chambers, and often as many as two hundred chests and their necessary carts. This made immense numbers of camels and oxen for draught necessary; and, besides, there were the animals for food and milk, and the horses for the men. They had cow’s milk and mare’s milk, two species of food which they used very differently, and even made of social and religious importance. Only the men were allowed to milk the mares, while the women attended to the cows; and any interchange of these offices would have been deemed, in a man, unpardonable effeminacy, and in a woman indelicacy. At the door of the houses stood two tutelary deities, monsters of both sexes. The cow’s milk served for the food of women and children, while the mare’s milk was made into a fermented liquor called cosmos. This was supposed to make a heathen of the man who drank it; for the Nestorian Christians found among them, “who keep their own laws very strictly, will not drink thereof; they account themselves no Christians after they have once drunk of it; and their priests reconcile them to the church as if they had renounced the Christian faith.”

This cosmos was made thus: The milk was poured into a large skin bag, and the bag beaten with a wooden club until the milk began to ferment and turn sour. The bag was then shaken and cudgelled again until most of it turned to butter; after which the liquid was supposed to be fit for drinking. Rubruquis evidently liked it; says it was exhilarating to the spirits, and even intoxicating to weak heads; pungent to the taste, “like raspberry wine,” but left a flavor on the palate “like almond-milk.” Cara-cosmos, a rarer quality of the same, and reserved for the chiefs only, was produced by prolonging the beating of the bag until the coagulated portions subsided to the bottom. These drinks were received as tribute or taxes. Baatu, a chief with sixteen wives, received the produce of three thousand mares daily, besides a quantity of common cosmos, a bowl of which almost always stood on the threshold of every rich man’s house. The Tartars often drank of it to excess, and their banquets were relieved by music.


At these feasts, in which both sexes participated, the guests clapped their hands and danced to the music, the men before their host, the women before his principal wife. The host always drank first. The moment he put his lips to the bowl of cosmos, his cup-bearer cried aloud “Ha!” and the musicians struck up. This almost sounds like a mediæval Twelfth-night banquet, when all the guests rose and shouted, “The king drinks!” and then drained their goblets in imitation of the monarch of the night. The Tartars respectfully waited till the lord of the feast had finished his draught, when the cup-bearer again cried “Ha!” and the music ceased. After a pause, the guests, male and female, drank round in turns, each one to the sound of music, with a pause and silence before the next person took up the cup. This fashion of drinking continued unchanged for many centuries, and later travellers, amid the increased pomp of the court of the Tartar emperors of China, found it still in force—music, cries, pauses, and all. We have also seen, not many years ago, on the occasion of the marriage of the late young emperor of China, illustrations of the wedding procession, representing immensely wide carts, drawn by eleven oxen abreast, laden with costly state furniture; and if we take away the pomp and gilding, the picture is not unlike that of the Tartar camp-carts seen by our traveller. Rubruquis hints that the Tartars were not a temperate people; they drank much and not cleanly, and the way of “inviting” a person to drink was to seize his ears and pull them forcibly. The sweet wine, of which the monk had a small supply, pleased them very well, but they thought him not lavish enough in his hospitality; for once, on his offering the master of the house one flagon of this wine, the man gravely drained it and asked for another, saying that “a man does not go into a house with one foot.” In return, however, they did not give him much to eat; but perhaps he suffered hunger rather from his prejudice to the meat they ate than from their niggardliness in giving. He at last learned to eat horse-flesh, but was disgusted at his friends’ eating the bodies of animals that had died of disease. The Tartars were honest enough, and, never even took things by force; but they begged for everything that took their fancy as unblushingly as some of Paul Du Chaillu’s negroes in Africa. It surprised them to be refused anything—knives, gloves, purses, etc.—and, when gratified, never thought it necessary to thank their guests.

After a while Rubruquis met the carts of Zagatai, one of the chieftains, to whom he brought a letter from the Emperor of Constantinople. Here the Tartars asked “what we had in our carts—whether it were gold, or silver, or rich garments”; and both Zagatai and his interpreter were haughtily discontented at finding that at least some garment of value was not forthcoming. This is not wonderful, considering the wealth of their own great khans, of whom a later one, Kooblai, so celebrated in Marco Polo’s travels, gave his twelve lords, twelve times in the year, robes of gold-colored silk, embroidered with gold and precious stones. Zagatai, however, received the ambassador graciously. “He sat on his bed,”[45] says Rubruquis, “holding a musical[214] instrument in his hand, and his wife sat by him, who, in my opinion, had cut and pared her nose between the eyes, that she might seem to be more flat-nosed; for she had left herself no nose at all in that place, having anointed the very scar with black ointment, as she also did her eyebrows, which sight seemed to me most ugly.… I besought him that he would accept this small gift at our hands, excusing myself that I was a monk, and that it was against our profession to possess gold, silver, or precious garments, and therefore that I had not any such thing to give him, unless he would receive some part of our victuals instead of a blessing.” The Tartars were always eager to receive a blessing over and above any present. He was constantly asked to make over them the sign of the cross; but it is to be feared that they looked upon it as a charm, and of charms they couldn’t have too many. From Zagatai, Rubruquis went to Sartach, who said he had no power of treating with him, and sent him on to his father-in-law, Baatu, the patriarch with sixteen wives and several hundred houses. Losing his ox-wagons and baggage on the way—for the independent tribes did not scruple to exact tribute from a traveller, even if he was a friend of their neighbors—he never lost his courage and his determination to sow the seeds of truth in Tartary. He did not know the language at first, and only learnt it very imperfectly at the last. Here and there a captive Christian, mostly Hungarians, or a Tartar who had learnt the rudiments of Christianity during an invasion of his tribe into Europe, acted as interpreter. All were uniformly kind to him. One of them, who understood Latin and psalmody, was in great request at all the funerals of his neighborhood; but the “Christianity” of the natives was but a shred of Nestorianism worked into a web of paganism, so that, the farther he advanced, the farther the great, powerful, united Christian community headed by Prester John seemed to recede. The people took kindly to Christian usages, and had some respect for the forms and ceremonies which the monk and his companions endeavored to keep up; but when it came to doctrine and morality, they grew impatient and unresponsive. One of Rubruquis’ interpreters often refused to do his office. “And thus,” says the traveller, “it caused me great chagrin when I wished to address to them a few words of edification; for he would say to me, ‘You shall not make me preach to-day; I understand nothing of all you tell me.’ … And then he spoke the truth; for afterwards, as I began to understand a little of their tongue, I perceived that when I told him one thing he repeated another, just according to his fancy. Therefore, seeing it was no use to talk or preach, I held my tongue.”

Hard riding was not the only thing that distressed the ambassador of the King of France. His companions gave him meat that was less than half-cooked, and sometimes positively raw. Then the cold began to be severe, and still there were at least four months’ travel before him. The Tartars were kind to him in their rough way, and gave him some of their thick sheepskins and hide shoes. He had insisted on journeying most of the time in his Franciscan sandals, and, full of ardor for his rule, had constantly refused gifts of costly garments. This the Tartars[215] never quite understood, but they respected the principle which caused him to make so many sacrifices for the sake and furtherance of his religion. Wherever he passed, he and his companions endeared themselves to the inhabitants by many little services (doubtless also by cures wrought by simple remedies), and generally by their gentle, unselfish conduct towards all men. Rubruquis observed everything minutely as he passed. The manners and customs of the people interested him, and perhaps he did not consider them quite such barbarians as we of later days are apt to do. When we read the accounts of domestic life among the majority of people in mediæval times, and see that refinement of manner was less thought of than costliness of apparel and wealth of plate and cattle, the difference between such manners and those of the Tartars is not appreciable. Few in those days were learned, and learning it is that has always made the real difference between a gentleman and a boor. The marauding chieftains of feudal times were only romantic and titled highwaymen after all. So were the wandering Tartars. The difference that has since sprung up between the descendants of the marauding barons and those of the Tartar chiefs is mainly one of race. The former are of an enterprising, improving race, the latter of a stagnant one; and while the European nations that then trembled before the invading hordes of Jengis-Khan have now developed into intellectual superiority over every other race in the world, the Tartar is still, socially and intellectually, on the same old level, and his political advantages have vanished with his rude warlike superiority before the diplomacy and the military organization of his former victims.

Rubruquis noticed that among the superstitions common in Tartary was a belief that it was unlucky for a visitor to touch the threshold of a Tartar’s door. Modern travellers assert the same of the Chinese. Whenever our envoy paid a visit, he deferred to this belief by carefully stepping across the threshold of the house or tent, without letting any part of his person or dress come in contact with it. Their dress, on festive occasions, was rich; for they traded with China, Persia, and other southern and eastern countries for “stuffs of silk, cloths of gold, and cotton cloths, which they wear in time of summer; but out of Russia, Bulgaria, Hungaria, and out of Chersis (all which are northern regions and full of woods), … the inhabitants bring them rich and costly skins and furs of divers sorts, which I never saw in our countries, wherewithal they are clad in winter.” The rough sheepskin coats had their place also in their toilet, and a material made of two-thirds wool and one-third horsehair furnished them with caps, saddle-cloths, and felt for covering their wagons.

The women’s dress was distinguished from the men’s simply by its greater length, and they often rode, like the men, astride their horses, their faces protected by a white veil, crossing the nose just below the eyes and descending to the breast. Immense size and flat noses were the great desiderata among them. Marriage was a mere bargain, and daughters were generally sold to the highest bidder. Though expert hunters, the Tartars were scarcely what we should call sportsmen. They hunted on the battue system, spreading[216] themselves in a wide circle, and gradually contracting this as they drove the game before them, until the unfortunate animals being penned in in a small space, they were easily shot down by wholesale. Hawking was also in vogue among the Tartars, and was reduced as much to a science as in Europe. They strenuously punished great crimes with death, as, for instance, murder, theft, adultery, and even minor offences against chastity. This, however, was less the consequence of a regard for virtue per se than of a vivid perception of the rights of property. No code but the Jewish and the Christian ever protected the honor of women for its own sake. In mourning for the dead it is strange that violent howling and lamentation, even on the part of those not personally concerned, should be a form common to almost all nations, not only of different religions, but of various and widely-separated races. The Tartars, as well as the Celts, practised it. Rubruquis mentions that they made various monuments over the graves of their dead, sometimes mere mounds or barrows of earth, or towers of brick and even of stone—though no stone was to be found near the spot—and sometimes large open spaces, paved with stone, with four large stones placed upright at the corners, always facing the four cardinal points.

It was during winter that the envoy arrived at the court or encampment of Mandchu-Khan. He says that it was at the distance of twenty days’ journey from Cataya, or Cathay (China), but it is difficult to say exactly where that was. Here Rubruquis found a number of Nestorian priests peacefully living under the khan’s protection, and among them one who had only arrived a month before the Franciscan friar, and said he had come, in consequence of a vision, to convert the khan and his people. He was an Armenian from the Holy Land. Our missionary describes him thus in his terse, direct way, which has this advantage over the long-winded and minute descriptions of our day, that we seem to see the man before us: “He was a monk, somewhat black and lean, clad with a rough hair-coat to the knees, having over it a black cloak of bristles, furred with spotted skins, girt with iron under his hair-cloth.” Mandchu-Khan was tolerant and liberal, and rather well disposed than otherwise to the Christian religion. His favorite wife, whom he had lately lost, had been a Christian, and so was his first secretary, but both Nestorian Christians. The khan, or his servants—who doubtless expected to be propitiated with the usual gifts if they could only succeed in wearying out the patience of the new-comers—made the envoy wait nine days for an audience. The Tartars thought it strange that a king’s ambassador should come to court bare-foot; but a boy, a Hungarian captive, again gave the required and often-repeated explanation. Before entering the large hall, whose entrance was closed by curtains of gayly-painted felt, the monks were searched, to see if they carried any concealed arms; and then the procession formed, the Christian missionaries entering the khan’s presence singing the hymn A Solis ortus cardine. The khan, like the lesser chieftains Rubruquis had already met, was seated on a “bed” or divan, dressed “in a spotted skin or fur, bright and shining.” The multitudinous bowings and prostrations in use at the Chinese court were very likely[217] exacted, though the envoy says in general terms that “he had to bend the knee.” Such simplicity is, however, very far from the ceremonious Oriental ideal of homage, and it was not then, as it is now, esteemed an honor to receive Frankish envoys in the Frankish manner. Mandchu first offered his guests a drink of fermented milk, of which they partook sparingly, not to offend him; but the interpreter soon made himself unfit for his office by his indulgence in his favorite beverage. Rubruquis stated his mission with modest simplicity. In his quality of ambassador he might have resented the delay in receiving him; he might have complained of the familiarity and want of respect with which he had been often treated, and of the advantage taken of his gentleness and ignorance of the language to plunder him; but he was more than a king’s messenger. He was intent upon preaching the “good tidings” to the Tartars, and only used human means to compass a divine end. He acknowledged that he had no rich presents nor temporal goods to offer, but only spiritual benefits to impart. His practice certainly did not belie his theory. The people never disbelieved him, nor suspected him of being a political emissary. But still, he was unsuccessful. He soon perceived that his interpreter was blundering, and says: “I easily found he was drunk, and Mandchu-Khan himself was drunk also, as I thought.” All he could obtain was leave to remain in the country during the cold season. Inquiries met him on all sides as to the wealth and state of Europe; but of religion, beyond the few forms that pleased their eye, the people did not seem to think. They looked down with lofty indifference on the faith of those various adventurers whom their sovereign kindly sheltered, and ranked the Christian priests they already knew in the same category with conjurers and quack doctors. The Christianity of these Nestorians was even more imperfect than that of the Abyssinians at the time of the late English invasion of the unlucky King Theodore’s dominions. Rubruquis was horrified to find in these priests mere superstitious mountebanks. They mingled Tartar rites with corrupt ceremonies of the Catholic Church, and practised all manner of deceptions, mixing rhubarb with holy water as a medicinal drink, and carrying to the bedside of the sick lances and swords half-drawn from their sheaths along with the crucifix. Upon these grounds they pretended to the power of working miracles and curing the sick by spiritual means alone. The Franciscan zealously tried to reform these abuses and to convert the Nestorians before he undertook to preach to the Tartars; but here again he was unsuccessful. The self-interest of these debased men was in question, and truth was little to them in comparison with the comfort and consideration they enjoyed as leeches.

A curious scene occurred while at this encampment of the khan. There were many Mahometans in the country, and the sovereign, with impartial tolerance, protected them and their commerce as he did the person and property of other refugees. They, the Christians, and some representative Tartars were all assembled one day, by order of Mandchu, to discuss in public the merits of their respective faiths. But even on this occasion no bitterness was evinced, and the meeting, though it turned out useless in[218] a spiritual sense, ended in a friendly banquet. Rubruquis did his best to improve this opportunity of teaching the truth; but the hour of successful evangelization had not yet struck, and much of the indifference of the Tartars is to be attributed to the culpable practices of the Nestorians, whose behavior was enough to discredit the religion they pretended to profess. But if the missionary, notwithstanding all his zeal, was unable to convert the heathens, he at least comforted and strengthened many captive Christians. We have already mentioned a few of these, and in Mandchu’s camp he met with another, a woman from Metz in Lorraine, who had been taken prisoner in Hungary, and been carried back into their own country by the invaders. She had at first suffered many hardships, but ended by marrying a young Russian, a captive like herself, who was skilful in the art of building wooden houses. The Tartars prized this kind of knowledge, and were kind to the young couple, who were now leading a tolerably comfortable life, and had a family of three children. To fancy their joy at seeing a genuine Christian missionary is almost out of our power in these days of swift communication, when nothing is any longer a marvel; but if we could put ourselves in their place, we might paint a wonderful picture of thankfulness, surprise, and simple, rock-like faith. The latter part of Lent was spent in travelling, as the khan broke up his encampment, and went on across a chain of mountains to a great city, Karakorum, or Karakûm, on the river Orchon. Every vestige of such a city has disappeared centuries ago, but Marco Polo mentions it and describes its streets, situation, defences, etc. He arrived there nearly twenty years later, and noticed that it was surrounded by a strong rampart of earth, there being no good supply of stone in those parts.

The passage of the Changai Mountains was a terrible undertaking; the cold was intense and the weather stormy, and the khan, with his usual bland eclecticism, begged Rubruquis to “pray to God in his own fashion” for milder weather, chiefly for the sake of the cattle. On Palm Sunday the envoy blessed the willow-boughs he saw on his way, though he says there were no buds on them yet; but they were near the city now, and the weather had become more promising. Rubruquis had his eyes wide open as he came to the first organized city of the Tartars, as Marco Polo affirms this to have been. It had scarcely been built twenty years when our monk visited it, and owed its origin to the son and successor of Jengis-Khan. “There were two grand streets in it,” says Rubruquis, “one of the Saracens, where the fairs are kept (held), and many merchants resort thither, and one other street of the Cathayans (Chinese), who are all artificers.” Many of the latter were captives, or at least subjects, of the khan; for the Tartars had already conquered the greater part of Northern China. The khan lived in a castle or palace outside the earthen rampart. In Karakorum, again, the monk found many Christians, Armenian, Georgian, Hungarian, and even of Western European origin. Among others he mentions an Englishman—whom he calls Basilicus, and who had been born in Hungary—and a few Germans. But the most important personage of foreign birth was a French goldsmith, William Bouchier, whose wife was a Hungarian,[219] but of Mahometan parentage. This Benvenuto Cellini of the East was rich and liberal, an excellent interpreter, thoroughly at home in the Tartar dialects, a skilful artist, and in high favor at court. He had just finished a masterpiece of mechanism and beauty which Rubruquis thus minutely describes: “In the khan’s palace, because it was unseemly to carry about bottles of milk and other drinks there, Master William made him a great silver tree, at the root whereof were four silver lions, having each one pipe, through which flowed pure cow’s milk; and four other pipes were conveyed within the body of the tree unto the top thereof, and the tops spread back again downwards, and upon every one of them was a golden serpent, whose tails twined about the body of the tree. And one of these pipes ran with wine, another with cara-cosmos, another with ball—a drink made of honey—and another with a drink made of rice. Between the pipes, at the top of the tree, he made an angel holding a trumpet, and under the tree a hollow vault, wherein a man might be hid; and a pipe ascended from this vault through the tree to the angel. He first made bellows, but they gave not wind enough. Without the palace walls there was a chamber wherein the several drinks were brought; and there were servants there ready to pour them out when they heard the angel sounding his trumpet. And the boughs of the tree were of silver, and the leaves and the fruit. When, therefore, they want drink, the master-butler crieth to the angel that he sound the trumpet. Then he hearing (who is hid in the vault), bloweth the pipe, which goeth to the angel, and the angel sets his trumpet to his mouth, and the trumpet soundeth very shrill. Then the servants which are in the chamber hearing, each of them poureth forth his drink into its proper pipe, and all the pipes pour them forth from above, and they are received below in vessels prepared for that purpose.”

This elaborate piece of plate makes one think rather of the XVIth century banquets of the Medici and the Este than of feastings given by a nomad Tartar in the wilds of Central Asia. The goldsmith was not unknown to fame even in Europe, where he was called William of Paris. Several old chroniclers speak of him, and his brother Roger was well known as a goldsmith “living upon the great bridge at Paris.” This clever artist very nearly fell a victim to the quackery of a Nestorian monk, whereupon Rubruquis significantly comments thus: “He entreated him to proceed either as an apostle doing miracles indeed, by virtue of prayer, or to administer his potion as a physician, according to the art of medicine.” Besides the Tartars and their Christian captives, Rubruquis had opportunities of observing the numerous Chinese, or Cathayans, as they were called, who have been mentioned as the artificers of the town. There were also knots of Siberians, Kamtchatkans, and even inhabitants of the islands between the extremities of Asia and America, where at times the sea was frozen over. Rubruquis picked up a good deal of miscellaneous information, chiefly about the Chinese. He mentions their paper currency—a fact which Marco Polo subsequently verified—and their mode of writing; i.e., with small paint-brushes, and each character or figure signifying a whole word. The standard of value of[220] the Russians, he says, consisted in spotted furs—a currency which still exists in the remoter parts of Siberia.

It was not without good reason, no doubt, that the monk-envoy made up his mind to leave the country he had hoped either to evangelize or to find already as orthodox as his own, and ruled by a great Christian potentate. Such perseverance as he showed throughout his journey was not likely to be daunted by slight obstacles; but finding the object of his mission as far from attainment as when he first entered Tartary, he at last reluctantly left the field. Only one European besides himself had ventured so far—Friar Bartholomew of Cremona; but even he shrank before a renewal of the hardships of mountain and desert travel, and chose rather to stay behind with Master William, the hospitable goldsmith, till some more convenient opportunity should present itself of returning to his own country. Rubruquis accordingly started alone, with a servant, an interpreter, and a guide; but though he had asked for leave to go on Whitsunday, the permission was delayed till the festival of S. John Baptist, the 24th of June. The khan made him a few trifling presents, and gave him a complimentary letter to the King of France; but no definite results were obtained. The homeward journey was long and tedious, and the only provision made for the sustenance of the party was a permission from the khan to take a sheep “once in four days, wherever they could find it.” Sometimes they had nothing to eat for three days together, and only a little cosmos to drink, and more than once, having missed the stations of the wandering tribes whom they had reckoned on meeting, even the supply of cosmos was exhausted. About two months after his departure from Karakorum, Rubruquis met Sartach, the great chief who had sheltered him for some time on his way to the river Don. Some belongings of the mission having been left in Sartach’s care, the envoy asked him to return them, but was told they were in charge of Baatu, Rubruquis’ other friend and protector. Sartach was on his way to join Mandchu-Khan, and was of course surrounded by the two hundred houses and innumerable chests which belonged to the establishment of a Tartar patriarch. If this was not exactly civilization, it was companionship, and the envoy must have been glad of a meeting which replenished his exhausted stores and suggested domestic comfort and abundance. More rough travelling on horseback, more experiences of hunger and cold (for the autumn was already coming on), more fording of rivers, and the monk found himself at Baatu’s court. It was the 16th of September—a year after he had left the chieftain to push on to the court of the Grand-Khan. Here he was joyfully and courteously received, and recovered nearly all his property; but as the Tartars had concluded that the whole embassy must have perished long ago, they had allowed some Nestorian priest, a wanderer under the protection now of Sartach, now of Baatu and other khans, to appropriate various Psalters, books, and ecclesiastical vestments. Three young men, Europeans, whom Rubruquis had left behind, had nearly been reduced to bondage under the same pretext, but they had not suffered personal ill-treatment. The kind offices of some influential[221] Armenians had staved off the evil day, and the timely arrival of the long-missing envoy secured them their freedom. Rubruquis now joined Baatu’s court, which was journeying westward to a town called Sarai, on the eastern bank of the Volga; but the progress of the encumbered Tartars was so slow that he left them after a month’s companionship, and pushed on with his party, till he reached Sarai on the feast of All Saints. After this the country was almost an unbroken desert; but our traveller once more fell in with one of his Tartar friends, a son of Sartach, who was out upon a hawking expedition, and gave him a guard to protect him from various fierce Mahometan tribes that infested the neighborhood.

Here ended his travels in Tartary proper; but his hardships were far from ended yet. Through Armenia and the territories of Turkish and Koordish princes he journeyed slowly and uncomfortably, in dread of the violence of his own guides and guards, as well as of the insults of the populations whose country he traversed. He says these delays “arose in part from the difficulty of procuring horses, but chiefly because the guide chose to stop, often for three days together, in one place, for his own business; and, though much dissatisfied, I durst not complain, as he might have slain me and those with me, or sold us all for slaves, and there was none to hinder it.”

Journeying across Asia Minor and over Mount Taurus, he took ship at last for Cyprus. Here he learnt that S. Louis, who had been in the Holy Land at the time of his departure, had gone back to France. He would very much have wished to deliver his letters and presents of silk pelisses and furs to the king in person; but this was not granted him. The provincial of his order, whom he met at Cyprus, desired him to write his account and send his gifts to the king; and as in those days there was creeping in among the monks a habit of restless wandering, his superior, who was, it seems, a reformer and strict disciplinarian, tried the obedience and humility of the famous traveller by sending him to his convent at Acre, whence, by the king’s order, he had started. Rubruquis stood the test, but could not forbear imploring the king, by writing, to use his influence with the provincial to allow him a short stay in France and one audience of his royal master. Little is known of the great traveller and pioneer after this; and whether he ever got leave to see the king is doubtful. He fell back into obscurity, and it is presumed that Marco Polo did not even know of his previous travels over the same ground as the Polos explored. No record of his embassy remained but the Latin letter addressed to S. Louis, and even in France his fame was unknown for many centuries. It was not till after the invention of printing that his adventures became fairly known to the literary world, although Roger Bacon, one of his own order, had given a spirited abstract of his travels in one of his works. This, too, was in Latin, and after a time became a sealed book to the vulgar; so that it was not at least till the year 1600 that the old traveller’s name was again known. Hakluyt’s Collection of Voyages and Travels contains an English translation of Rubruquis’ letter, and twenty-five years later Purchas reproduced it in toto from a copy found in a college library at Cambridge.[222] Bergeron, a French priest, put it into French, not from the original, but from Purchas’ English version. Since then Rubruquis has taken his place among the few famous voyagers of olden times; but from the vagueness of his language, the lack of geographical science in his day, and perhaps also the mistakes of careless copyists, it is not easy to trace his course upon the map. One fact, however, he ascertained and insisted upon, which a geographical society, had it existed in his time, would have been glad to register, together with an honorable mention of the discoverer—i.e., the nature of the great lake called the Caspian Sea. The old Greeks had correctly called it an inland sea, but an idea had since prevailed that it possessed some communication with the Northern Ocean. Rubruquis proved the contrary, but no attention was paid to his single assertion, and books of geography, compiled at home from ancient maps and MSS., without a reference, however distant, to the facts recorded by adventurous men who had seen foreign shores with their eyes, calmly continued to propagate the old error.


Οὐκ ἔθανες, Πρώτη, κ. τ. λ.—Greek Anthology.

Protê, thou didst not die,
But thou didst fly,
When we saw thee no more, to a sunnier clime;
In the isles of the blest,
In the golden west,
Where thy spirit let loose springs joyous and light
O’er the verdurous floor,
That is strewn evermore
With blossoms that fade not, nor droop from their prime.
Thou hast made thee a home
Where no sorrow shall come,
No cloud overshadow thy noon of delight;
Cold or heat shall not vex thee,
Nor sickness perplex thee,
Nor hunger, nor thirst; no touch of regret
For the things thou hast cherished,
The forms that have perished,
For lover or kindred, thy fancy shall fret;
But thy joy hath no stain,
Thy remembrance no pain,
And the heights that we guess at thy sunshine makes plain.




“There are laws for the society of ants and of bees; how could any one suppose that there are none for human society, and that it is left to the chance of inventing them?”—De Bonald.


Never before was liberty so much talked about; never before was the very idea of it so utterly lost. Tyrants have been destroyed, it is said. This is a false assertion it may be (or rather, is it not certain?) that it has become more difficult for a sovereign to govern tyrannically, but tyranny is not dead—quite the contrary.

All unlimited power is, of its own nature, tyrannical. Now, it is such a power that the modern state desires to wield. The state is held up to us as the supreme arbiter of good and evil; and, if we believe its defenders, it cannot err, its laws being in every case, and at all times, binding.

People have banished God from the government of human society; but they have made to themselves a new god, despotic and blind, without hearing and without voice, whose power knows how to reach its slaves as well in the temple as in the public places, as well in the palace as in the humblest cot.

What is there, indeed, more divine than not to do wrong? God alone, speaking to the human conscience, either directly or by his representatives, is the infallible judge of good and evil. No human power whatsoever can declare all that emanates from it to be necessarily right without usurping the place of God, and declaring itself the sovereign master of the soul as well as of the body. The last refuge of the slaves of antiquity—the human conscience—would no longer exist for the people of modern times, if it were true that every law is binding from the mere fact of its promulgation. Hence the modern state, but lately so boastful, has begun to waver and to doubt its own powers. It encounters two principal obstacles, as unlike in their form as in their origin.

On one hand it beholds Catholics, sustained by their knowledge of law, its origin and its essence, resisting passively, and preparing themselves to submit to persecutions without even shrinking. On the other it meets, in these our days, the most formidable insurrections. There are multitudes, blind as the state representatives—but excusable, inasmuch as their rebellion is against an authority which owes its sway only to caprice or theory—who reply thus to power: “We are as good as you; you have no right over us other than that of brute force; we will endeavor to oppose you with a strength equal to yours; and when we shall have gained the victory, we will make new laws and new constitutions, wherein all that you call lawful shall be called unlawful,[224] and all that you consider crime shall be deemed virtue.”

If it were true that law could spring only from the human will, these madmen would be reasonable in the extreme. Thus the state is powerless against them. It drags on an uncertain existence, constantly threatened with the most terrible social wars, and enjoying a momentary peace only on condition of never laying down arms. Modern armies are standing ones; the modern police have become veritable armies, and they sleep neither day nor night. At this price do our states exist, trade, grow rich, and become satisfied with themselves.

These constant commotions are not alone the vengeance of the living God disowned and outraged; they are also the inevitable consequence of that extremity of pride and folly which has induced human assemblies to believe that it belongs to them to decide finally between right and wrong.

In truth, “if God is not the author of law, there is no law really binding.” We may, for the love of God, obey existing powers, even though they be illegitimate; but this submission has its limits. It must cease the moment that the human law prescribes anything contrary to the law of God. As for people without faith, we would in vain seek for a motive powerful enough to induce them to submit to anything displeasing to them.


The people of our generation consider themselves more free, more unrestrained, than those who have gone before them. It is not to our generation, however, that the glory accrues of having first thrown off the yoke. Our moderns themselves acknowledge that they have had predecessors, and they agree with us in declaring that “the new spirit” made its appearance in the world about the XVIth century.[46]

In truth, the only yoke which has been cast off since then is that of God, which seemed too heavy. All at once thought pronounced itself freed from the shackles of ecclesiastical authority; but, at the outset, it was far from intended to deny the idea of a divine right superior to all human right.

Despite the historical falsehoods which have found utterance in our day, it was chiefly princes who propagated Protestantism; and, most often, they attained their end only by violence. When successful, they added to their temporal title a religious one; they made themselves bishops or popes, and thus became all the more powerful over their subjects. There was no longer any refuge from the abuse of power of the rulers of this world; for it was the interest of these despots to call themselves the representatives of God. By means of this title they secularized dioceses, convents, the goods of the church, and even the ministers of their new religion. This term was then used to express in polite language an idea of spoliation and of hypocritical and uncurbed tyranny.

The moderns have gone farther: they have attempted to secularize law itself. This time, again, the word hides a thought which, if it were openly expressed, would shock; the law has become atheistical,[225] and not all the opposition which the harshness of this statement has aroused can prevent it from still expressing a truth. The inexorable logic of facts leads directly from the Reformation to the Revolution. Princes themselves sowed the seeds of revolt which will yet despoil them of their power and their thrones; while as for the people, they have gained nothing. They are constantly tyrannized over; but their real masters are unknown, and their only resource against the encroachments or the abuse of power is an appeal to arms.

It is not, then, true that liberty finds greater space in the modern world than in the ancient Christian world. To prove this, I need but a single fact which has direct relation with my subject.

While Europe was still enveloped in “the darkness of the Middle Ages,” Catholic theologians freely taught, from all their chairs, that “an unjust law is no law”—“Lex injusta non est lex.” Now, are there, at the present day, many pulpits from which this principle, the safeguard of all liberty and of all independence, the protector of all rights, and the defence of the helpless, might be proclaimed with impunity? Do we not see the prohibitions, the lawsuits, the appels comme d’abus which the boldness of such a maxim would call forth?

Human governments have changed in form, but their tyranny has not ceased to grow; and the free men of the olden society have become the slaves in a new order of things—they have even reached a point at which they know not even in what liberty consists.


I know, and I hear beforehand, the response which the doctors of modern rights will here give me “Yes,” say they, “it is very true that the Catholic Church has always claimed the right of judging laws and of refusing obedience to such as displeased her; but in this is precisely the worst abuse. That which would domineer over human reason, the sovereign of the world, is tyranny par excellence; this, in truth, is the special mark of Catholicity, and it is this which has ever made it the religion of the ignorant and the cowardly.”

Is, then, the maxim I have just recalled the invention of Catholic theologians? Is it true that the teachers of the ultramontane doctrine alone have contended that the intrinsic worth of a law must be sought beyond and above them, beyond and above the human power which proclaims it? Not only has this elementary principle not been devised by our theologians, but even the pagan philosophers themselves had reached it. Cicero but summed up the teaching universally received by philosophers worthy of the name, when he said that the science of law should not be sought in the edicts of the pretor, nor even in the laws of the twelve tables; and that the most profound philosophy alone could aid in judging laws and teaching us their value.[47]

This is not to degrade reason, which this same Cicero has defined, or rather described, in admirable language. He found therein something grand, something sublime; he declared that it is more fit to command than to obey; that it values little what is merely human; that it is gifted with a peculiar elevation[226] which nothing daunts, which yields to no one, and which is unconquerable.[48]

But remark, it is only with regard to human powers and allurements that reason shows itself so exalted and haughty. It requires something greater than man to make it submit; and it obeys only God or his delegates. “Stranger,” said Plato to Clinias the Cretan, “whom do you consider the first author of your laws? Is it a god? Is it a man?

“Stranger,” replied Clinias, “it is a god; we could not rightly accord this title to any other.”[49]

So, also, tradition tells us that Minos went, every ninth day, to consult Jupiter, his father, whose replies he committed to writing. Lycurgus wished to have his laws confirmed by the Delphian Apollo, and this god replied that he would dictate them himself. At Rome the nymph Egeria played the same rôle with Numa. Everywhere is felt the necessity of seeking above man the title in virtue of which he may command his fellow-men.

If we turn now from the fabulous traditions of the ancient world, we still find an absolute truth proclaimed by its sages; one that affirms the existence of an eternal law—quiddam æternum—which was called the natural law, and which serves as a criterion whereby to judge the worth of the laws promulgated by man.

Cicero declares it absurd to consider right everything set down in the constitutions or the laws.[50] And he is careful to add that neither is public opinion any more competent to determine the right.[51]

The sovereign law, therefore—that which no human law may violate without the penalty of becoming void—has God himself for its author.

The laws of states may be unjust and abominable, and, by consequence, bind no one. There is, on the other hand, a natural law, the source and measure of other laws, originating before all ages, before any law had been written or any city built.[52]

This doctrine, to support which I have designedly cited only pagan authors, is also that of Catholic theologians; for example, S. Thomas and Suarez. But the philosophical school of the last century has so perverted the meaning of the term nature—law of nature, that certain Catholic authors (M. de Bonald, for instance) have scrupled to use the consecrated term. It is necessary, then, to explain its true sense.


The nature of a being is that which constitutes its fitness to attain its end. The idea, therefore, which a person has of the nature of man, by consequence determines that which he will have of his end, and hence of the rule which should govern his actions.

The materialists, for example, who deny the immortality of the soul, and whose horizon is bounded by the limits of the present life, are able to teach only a purely epicurean or utilitarian morality. They cannot consistently plead a[227] motive higher than an immediate, or at least a proximate, well-being; for, what is more uncertain than the duration of our life? In the strikingly anti-philosophic language of the XVIIIth century, the state of nature was a hypothetical state, at once innocent and barbarous, anterior to all society. It is to society that this theory attributes the disorders of man and the loss of certain primitive and inalienable rights which the sect of pseudo-philosophers boasted of having regained, and by the conquest whereof the corrupted and doting France of 1789 was prostrated.

The philosophers of antiquity, on the contrary, notwithstanding their numerous errors, and despite the polytheism which they exteriorly professed, had arrived at so profound a knowledge of man and his nature that the fathers and doctors of the church have often spoken of the discoveries of their intellect as a kind of natural revelation made to them by God.[53]

We have already heard Cicero say that the natural law is eternal, and superior to all human laws. I shall continue to quote him, because of his clearness, and because he admirably sums up the teaching of the philosophers who preceded him.[54]

The sound philosophy which should guide us—according to him, the science of law—teaches us that it is far more sublime to submit to the divine mind, to the all-powerful God, than to the emperors and mighty ones of this earth; for it is a kind of partnership between God and man. Right reason (ratio recta) is the same for the one and the other; and law being nothing else than right reason, it may be said that one same law links us with the gods. Now, the common law is also the common right, and when people have a common right they belong, in some manner, to the same country. We must, then, consider this world as a country common to the gods and to men. Man is, in truth, like to God. And for what end has God created and gifted man like to himself? That he may arrive at justice.

Human society is bound by one same right, and law is the same for all. This law is the just motive (the right reason, ratio recta) of all precepts and prohibitions; he who is ignorant of it, whether written or not, knows not justice. If uprightness consisted in submission to the written laws and constitutions of nations, and if, as some pretend, utility could be the measure of good, he who expected to profit thereby would be justified in neglecting or violating the laws.

This remark is peculiarly applicable to the present time. It is precisely utility and the increase of wealth or of comforts—in a word, material interests—which the greater number of modern legislators have had chiefly in view; the result is that society scarcely has the right to feel indignant against those who may deem it to their advantage to disturb it. Religion, say they, has nothing in common with politics; the state, inasmuch as it is a state, need not trouble itself about God; the things of this world should be regulated with regard to this world, and without reference to the supernatural. Suppose it so; but then, in virtue of what authority will you impose your laws? There is no human[228] power able to bend or to conquer one human will which does not acknowledge it.[55]

The basis of right is the natural love of our fellow-beings which nature has planted within us. Nature also commands us to honor God. It is not fear which renders worship necessary; it is the bond which exists between God and man. If popular or royal decrees could determine right, a whim of the multitude might render lawful theft, adultery, or forgery. If it be true that a proclamation dictated by fools can change the order of nature, why may not evil become, one day, good? But the sages teach that the human mind did not invent law; it has its birth-place in the bosom of God, and is co-eternal with him; it is nothing else than the unerring reason of Jupiter himself; it is reflected in the mind of the wise man; it can never be repealed.

This “right reason which comes to us from the gods” (recta et a numine deorum tracta ratio) is what is usually termed the natural law; and the beautiful language of Cicero recalls this magnificent verse of the IVth Psalm: “Quis ostendit nobis bona? Signatum est super nos lumen vultus tui, Domine.”


Pagan teaching, how elevated soever it may be, is always incomplete; and this is evident even from the words of Cicero.

Since law comes from God, it is very clear that it will be known more or less correctly according as our idea of God is more or less correct. This it is that gives so great a superiority, first, to the law of Moses, before the coming of Jesus Christ, and to all Christian legislation since.

The Jews had not merely a vague knowledge of the precepts of the divine law. This law, in its principal provisions, had been directly revealed to them. Christians have something better still, since the Eternal Word was made man, and the Word is precisely “the true light which enlighteneth every man coming into this world.”[56] The philosophers of antiquity saw this light from afar off; we have beheld that of which they merely affirmed the existence; the Jews contemplated it as through a veil, and awaited its coming. It was made flesh; it brought us life; “it shone in the darkness, but the darkness did not comprehend it.”[57]

It is not the fault of the Word or of his manifestation, says S. Thomas on this subject, if there are minds who see not this light. There is here, not darkness, but closed eyes.[58]

It is God himself, therefore, whom man refuses to acknowledge when he rejects the fundamental law, which alone deserves the name of law. Human pride and insolence go beyond forgetfulness or simple negation when they have the audacity to put a human law in the place of and above the divine law; which last crime is nothing less than the deification of man. This philosophic consequence of the secularization of the law was inevitable, and is openly displayed in modern doctrines. Atheists, properly so called, are rare; but the present generation is infected with Pantheism. Now, Pantheism proclaims, without disguise[229] and without shame, the divinity of man.

Let us add that this error is the only foundation upon which man may logically rest to defend modern rights. It produces, with regard to constitutions and laws, two principal effects, which it suffices but to indicate, that every honest mind may at once recognize their existence and their lamentable consequences.

Pantheism, firstly, destroys individualities, or, as the Germans call them, subjectivities; it sweeps them away, and causes them to disappear in the Great Whole. Do we not likewise see personality, simple or associated—that is to say, individual liberty, associations, and corporations—little by little reduced to annihilation by the modern idea of the state? Does not modern theory make also of the state another grand whole, beside which nothing private can exist?

To reach this result, they represent the state as expressing the aggregate of all the particular wills, and they seek, in a pretended “general will,” the supreme and infallible source of law. But even were this will as general as theory desires, it would not be the less human, or, by consequence, the less subject to error. Whence comes it, then, that they make it the sovereign arbiter of good and evil, of truth and falsehood, of justice and injustice? The Pantheists reply that “God is in man and in the world; that he is one and the same thing with the world; that he is identical with the nature of things, and consequently subject to change.” The general will, the expression of the universal conscience, is then a manifestation of the divine will; and this would allow it to change without ever erring.

This answers all, in truth; but it may lead us too far. If, as says Hegel, God is subjective—that is to say, if He is in man, or, more exactly still, if He is man himself and the substance of nature—neither right, nor law, nor justice could remain objective. In other words, if man is God, there is no longer any possible distinction between good and evil. And this conclusion has been drawn by the learned German socialist, Lassalle. He denies the notion of an immutable right; he is unwilling that we should any longer speak of the family, property, justice, etc., in absolute terms. According to him, these are but abstract and unreal generalities. There have been, on all these subjects, Greek, Roman, German, etc., ideas; but these are only historical recollections. Ideas change, some even disappear; and if, some day, the universal conscience should decide that the idea of proprietorship has had its day, then would commence a new era in history, during which there could be no longer either property or proprietors without incurring the guilt of injustice.[59] From the stand-point of Pantheism, this reasoning is irrefutable; and, on the other hand, we have just seen that Pantheism alone could justify the modern theory of the general will, the supreme arbiter of law.


I have just quoted a socialist whose works, though little known in France, are of extreme importance. Ferdinand Lassalle, a Jew by birth, by nationality a Prussian, is possessed of extensive knowledge, critical genius of the highest order, and unsparing logic. We[230] have seen him draw the theoretical consequences of Pantheism applied to law; and it will not be without interest to know how he judges the practical results of the modern theory of rights, as shown in the French Revolution. The socialists have a special authority for speaking of “immortal principles”; for they admit them without hesitation, and their teaching proved that they comprehend them wonderfully.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man is the most authentic summing up of these famous principles; and it is therein that the modern theory of law will be found most clearly stated. “Law,” says Art. 6, “is the expression of the general will. Every citizen has the right of co-operating in its formation, either personally or by his representatives.”

It would seem, from this solemn proclamation, that since then, or at least in the first fervor of this “glorious” revolution, the majority of the “sovereign people” should have been called to “form the laws.” This has been said; it has even been supported at the mouth of the cannon—for, as has been wittily remarked by M. de Maistre, “the masters of these poor people have had recourse even to artillery while deriding them. They said to them: ‘You think you do not will this law; but, be assured, you do will it. If you dare to refuse it, we will pour upon you a shower of shot, to punish you for not willing what you do will.’ And it was done.”[60]

What then took place, and how did it happen that the general will, which had undertaken to make fundamental and irrevocable laws, should have accepted, in the first five years of its freedom, three different constitutions and a régime like that of the Reign of Terror?

Lassalle replies that it is not at all the people who made the revolution, and that the general will was not even asked to manifest itself. He recalls the famous pamphlet of Sieyès, and corrects its title. It is not true, says he, that the Tiers État was then nothing; the increase of personal property has, since then, brought about a révolution économique, thanks to which the tiers état was, in truth, all. But legally it was nothing, which was not much to its liking; for the former ranks of society still existed by right, although their real strength was not in keeping with their legal condition. The work of the French Revolution was, therefore, to give to the tiers état a legal position suitable to its actual importance.

Now, the tiers, first and foremost, assumed itself to be the equivalent of the entire people. “It considered that its cause was the cause of humanity.” Thus the attraction was real and powerful. The voices raised to protest were unable to make themselves heard. Our author cites, on this subject, a curious instance of clear-sightedness. An anti-revolutionary journal, The Friend of the King, exclaimed, “Who shall say whether or not the despotism of the bourgeoisie shall not succeed the pretended aristocracy of the nobility?”

It is this, indeed, which has come to pass, continues Lassalle; the tiers état has become, in its turn, the privileged class. The proof is that the wealth of the citizen became immediately the legal condition of power in the state.

Since 1791, in the constitution of Sept. 3 we find (chap. i., sects. 1 and 2) a distinction established between active citizens and passive[231] citizens. The former are those who pay a certain quota of direct contribution; and they alone possess the right of voting. Moreover, all hired laborers were declared not active; and this excluded workmen from the right of voting. It matters little that the tax was small; the principle was laid down requiring some amount of fortune in order to exercise a political right. “The wealth of the citizen had become the condition necessary for obtaining power in the state, as nobility or landed property had been in the Middle Ages.”

The principle of the vote-tax held sway until the recent introduction of universal suffrage.

Our socialist, proceeding directly to the question of taxes, proves that the bourgeoisie moderne, without inventing indirect taxation, has nevertheless made it the basis of an entire system, and has settled upon it all the expenses of state. Now, indirect taxes are such as are levied beforehand upon all necessaries, as salt, corn, beer, meat, fuel, or, still more, upon what we need for our protection—the expenses of the administration of justice, stamped paper, etc. Generally, in making a purchase, the buyer pays the tax, without perceiving that it is that which increases the price. Now, it is clear that because an individual is twenty, fifty, or a hundred times richer, it does not follow that he will, on that account, consume twenty, fifty, or a hundred times more salt, bread, meat, etc., than a workman or a person of humble condition. Thus it happens that the great body of indirect taxes is paid by the poorest classes (from the single fact that they are the most numerous). Thus is it brought about, in a hidden way, that the tiers état pay relatively less taxes than the quatrième état.

Concerning the instruction of adults, Lassalle says that, instead of being left to the clergy as heretofore, it now in fact belongs to the daily press. But securities, stamps, and advertisements give to journalism another privilege of capital.[61]

This sketch suffices; and I deem it needless to add that I am far from concluding with the socialists. I am so much the more free to disagree with them as I do not by any means admit the “immortal principles,” but it seems to me to follow evidently from the preceding observations that it is not true, in fact, that the general will has made the laws since 1789.


Has the introduction of universal suffrage modified, in any great degree, this state of things? Is it any more certain since 1848, than before, that the nation is governed by the general will? We may content ourselves here by appealing to the testimony of honest men. If the general will were truly the master of all the powers in France, our country, which to-day, so it is said, has only the government that it desires, would be a model of union and concord; there could be in the opposition party only an exceedingly small minority (otherwise the term general would be unjustifiable), and we would follow peacefully the ways most pleasing to us.

This would not be saying—mark it well!—that those ways are good. That is another question, to which we will return; but now we are dealing with the question, Are our laws to-day formed or not formed[232] by the general will, according to the formula which I have quoted from the Declaration of the Rights of Man?

Notwithstanding the evidence for the negative, I think it well here to analyze hastily that which M. Taine has just given in a little pamphlet containing many truths.[62] M. Taine, being a free-thinker and a man of the times, cannot be suspected of taking an ultramontane or clerical view of the case.

M. Taine is far from demanding the abolition of universal suffrage. He believes it in conformity with justice; for he does not admit that his money can be demanded or he himself sent to the frontier without his own consent, either expressed or tacit. His only wish is that the right of suffrage be not illusory, and that the electoral law be adapted “to the French of 1791, to the peasant, the workman, etc.,” be he “stupid, ignorant, or ill-informed.” From this M. Taine proves at the outset that the ballot-roll is a humbug; and I believe that no person of sense will contest the point. He immediately enters upon a statistical examination of the composition of the elective world in France; and he arrives at the following result: “Of twenty voters, ten are peasants, four workmen, three demi-bourgeois, three educated men, comfortable or rich. Now, the electoral law, as all law, should have regard to the majority, to the first fourteen.” It behooves us, then, to know who these fourteen are who are called to frame the law; that is to say, to decide, by their representatives it is true, but sovereignly, on good and evil, justice and injustice, and, necessarily, the fate of the country.

M. Taine, in this connection, makes some new calculations which may be thus summed up: The rural population embraces seventy out of one hundred of the entire population, hence fourteen voters out of twenty. Now, in France, there are thirty-nine illiterate out of every hundred males, almost all belonging to the classes which M. Taine numbers among the rural population; which enables him to find that seven out of every fourteen rural voters cannot even read. I may observe, in passing, that a peasant who cannot read, but who knows his catechism, may be of a much sounder morality than M. Taine himself; but I willingly proclaim that the seven electors in question could and should have a mediocre political intelligence.

This agreeable writer recounts, in a spicy way, a number of anecdotes which prove “the ignorance and credulity” of the rural populations on similar matters; and he thence concludes that the peasants “are still subjects, but under a nameless master.” This is precisely what I said at the beginning, not only of peasants, but of all modern people in general. Be there a king on the throne or not, somebody decrees this, somebody decrees that; and the subject depends, in a hundred ways, on this abstract and undetermined somebody—“Through the collector, through the mayor, through the sub-inspector of forests, through the commissary of police, through the field-keeper, through the clerks of justice, for making a door, for felling a tree, building a shed, opening a stall, transporting a cask of wine, etc., etc.”

All this expresses well and depicts admirably the ways of modern liberty; and I cannot refrain[233] from citing this last sketch, equally amusing and true: “The mayor knows that in town, in an elegant apartment, is a worthy gentleman, attired in broidered gown, who receives him two or three times a year, speaks to him with authority and condescension, and often puts to him embarrassing questions. But when this gentleman goes away, another takes his place quite similar and in the same garb, and the mayor, on his return home, says with satisfaction: ‘Monsieur the prefect always preserves his good will towards me, although he has been changed many times.’”

The plébiscite, the appeal to the people, the invitation to vote on the form of government, addressed to this kind of electors—is it not all a cunning trick? M. Taine thinks so, and many others with him; but he supposes that this same elector will be, at least, capable of “choosing the particular man in whom he has most confidence.” It is with him, says he, in the choice of one who shall make the laws, as in the choice of the physician or the lawyer whom one may prefer. Although it is not my intention to discuss here the opinions of this author, I beg him to remark that his comparison is strikingly faulty; we cannot choose whom we please for our physician or for our lawyer. The former is obliged to go through a course of studies in order to merit his diploma; the latter must fulfil the conditions necessary to be admitted to the bar. To frame the laws is another thing; not the slightest preparation is exacted from those eligible to this duty. Apparently it is not considered worth the trouble.

The ballot-roll and plébiscite being disposed of, M. Taine returns to figures, to study what transpires when the electors are called upon to choose a deputy by district. This gives, says he, one deputy for twenty thousand voters spread over a surface of one thousand kilometres square, etc. Of the twenty thousand voters, how many will have a definite opinion of the candidate presented to them? Scarcely one in ten beyond the outskirts of the town; scarcely one in four or five in the whole district. There remains the resource of advice; but “the spirit of equality is all-powerful, and the hierarchy is wanting.”

We touch here the most sorrowful wound of our social state; and this term even, is it not misapplied?—for we have no longer any order, or, by consequence, any social state. “As a general rule,” continues M. Taine, “the country people receive counsel only from their equals.” Therefore it is easy to employ evil means. These evil means may be summed up, according to the same author, in the abuse of governmental influence, and in a corruption whose form varies, but which makes the affair of an election an affair of money.

There should be, and I have alluded to it in passing, many exceptions made with regard to what M. Taine says concerning the rural population. He believes them manifestly less able to vote than the city populations, while I am of quite the contrary opinion; but it still remains true that direct universal suffrage, such as we have, does not allow a person to choose from a knowledge of the case, and that, in reality, the general will has not, up to the present day, been able to find its true expression.

This is all that I need prove for the present.



This is a still higher question, and one which we must now approach. Admitting that the general will could make itself known, is it an authority competent to make laws?

But before starting let us lay down a first principle which, quite elementary as it is, seems to be as much forgotten as the others: if the natural law exist not anteriorly to enjoin respect for human laws, human power would have no other ground of existence, no other support than force. Without a divine lawgiver, there is, in truth, no moral obligation.[63] The hypothesis of a previous agreement among the members of society would not resolve the difficulty; for an agreement would not be able to bind any one, at least if there were no higher authority to secure it.[64]

Whatever may be the immediate origin of law—be it promulgated by a sovereign, enacted by an assembly, or directly willed by the multitude—it would still be unable to rule, if we do not suppose a law anterior and, as Cicero says, eternal, which, in the first place, prescribes obedience to subjects, and, in the second, fidelity to reciprocal engagements, promises, and oaths. This superior law being the natural law, it is always, and in every case, impossible to suppress or to elude it.

Meanwhile, what is understood by the general will? Is it the unanimity of wills? No one, so far as I know, has ever exacted this condition. The question is, then, taking things at their best, of the will of the majority. People grant this, and often give to our modern governments the name of governments of the majority. They deduce then from this principle, that in a population of thirty millions of men, for example, it is lawful that the will of the twenty millions should rule over that of the remaining ten millions. If the constitution of a kingdom, says Burke, is an arithmetical problem, the calculation is just; but if the minority refuse to submit, the majority will be able to govern only by the aid of la lanterne.[65]

Scaffolds, shootings, exile, prison—such are, in truth, the institutions which have chiefly flourished since the famous Declaration of the Rights of Man.

In the eyes of a man who knows how to reason, continues the English orator, this opinion is ridiculous.

It could not be justified, unless it were well proved that the majority of men are enlightened, virtuous, wise, self-sacrificing, and incapable of preferring their own interest to that of others. No one has ever dared to say that legislators should make laws for the sake of making them, and without troubling themselves concerning the welfare of those for whom the laws are made. Now, the laws being made for all, the majority, if it had the qualities necessary for legislating, should concern itself still more about the minority than about itself.

The Comte de la Marck[66] relates that when Mirabeau became too much excited concerning the rights and privileges of man, it happened sometimes that he amused himself by curtailing his accounts. He cut off first women, children, the ignorant, the vicious, etc. Once, the nation being thus reduced to the little portion whose moral qualities[235] it became necessary to estimate, “I began,” says he, “to deduct those who lack reason, those who have false notions, those who value their own interests above everything, those who lack education and knowledge matured by reflection; and I then asked him if the men who merit to be spoken of with dignity and respect would not find themselves reduced to a number infinitely small. Now, according to my principle, I maintained that the government should act for the people, and not by them—that is to say, not by the opinion of the multitude; and I proved, by historical extracts and by examples which we had unfortunately under our eyes, that reason and good sense fly from men in proportion as they are gathered together in greater numbers.”

Mirabeau contented himself with replying that one must flatter the people in order to govern them, which amounts to saying that one must cheat them.

For the rest, this same Mirabeau acknowledged that equality, in the revolutionary sense, is absurd, and the passion which some have for it he called a violent paroxysm. It is he who best characterized the true result of the destruction of all social order. He called it “vanity’s upsetting.” He could not have spoken better; and the vanity which goes so low could have no other result than that which we behold—the premeditated absence or suppression of all true superiority.

This episode on equality is not a digression, for the system of majorities supposes it. Now, it is absolutely anti-natural. According to the beautiful idea of Aristotle:[67] there is in man himself a soul and a body; the one predominating and made to command, the other to obey; the equality or the shifting of power between these two elements would be equally fatal to them. It is the same between man and the other animals, between tame animals and wild. The harmony of sex is analogous, and we even find some traces of this principle in inanimate objects; as, for example, in the harmony of sounds. Therefore S. Augustine defines order thus: “Such a disposition of things similar and dissimilar as shall give to each what is proper to it”—Ordo est parium dispariumque rerum sua cuique tribuens dispositio;[68] and S. Thomas hence concludes that order supposes inequality: Nomen ordinis inæqualitatem importat.[69]

But the “immortal principles” have changed all that, according to Sganarelle; so their work, in its final analysis, results in a disorder without name.

The external disorder is visible and pretty generally acknowledged; but the moral disorder passes unperceived. By means of equality on the one hand, and of the secularization of the law on the other, they arrive at this frightful result: for example, that regicide and parricide are, in justice, but ordinary crimes; if, moreover, regicide profits the people, it is worthy of eulogy. Sacrilege is nothing more than a superstitious fiction. In fine, respect being no longer possible nor even reasonable, according to the prediction of Burke,[70] “the laws have no other guardian than terror, … and in perspective, from our point of view, we see but scaffolds,” or courts-martial, which amount to the same thing.



How often do we not hear it said that almost all our misfortunes, and, above all, our inability to repair our losses, come from the little respect we have for the law! This statement, which has become almost trite, indicates most frequently a strange wandering. After having destroyed respect for persons, is it not absurd to claim it for their works? But they have done more: they have denied the mission of a legislator. The secularization of the law—that is to say, the denial of a divine sanction applied to law—has no other meaning. Legislators being no longer the mandataries of God, or not wishing to be such, now speak only in virtue of their own lights, and have no real commission. By what title, then, would you have us respect them? Every one is at liberty to prefer his own lights and to believe that he would have done better.

I hear the reply: “It is to the interest of all that order should reign, were it but materially, and the law is the principal means of maintaining order.” You may hence conclude that it would be more advantageous to see the laws obeyed; but a motive of interest is not a motive of respect, and there is a certain class of individuals who may gain by the disorder. No, you will have the right to claim respect for the law only when you shall have rendered the law truly respectable; and to do this you must prove that you have the mission to make the law, even were you the élite of our statesmen and doctors of the law, and much more if you are but a collection of the most uncultivated tax-payers in the world.

Knowledge is something; it is something also to represent real and considerable interests; and I do not deny the relative importance of the elements of which legislative bodies are composed. But nothing of all this can supply the place of a commission; and you will have that only when you shall have consented, as legislators, to acknowledge the existence of God, to submit yourselves to his laws, and to conform your own thereto.

People have but a very inadequate idea of the disastrous consequences which, one day or other, may ensue from the secularization of law. Until now the only danger of which they have dreamed is that with which extreme revolution menaces us.

This is a danger so imminent, so undisguised, that every one sees it; and some have ended by understanding that without a return to God society is destined to fall. Nay, more, the Assembly now sitting at Versailles has made an act of faith by ordering public prayers; and this first step has caused hope to revive in the hearts of men of good-will. But it is not, perhaps, inopportune to draw the attention of serious men to another phase of the question.

What would happen if modern law should go so far as to enjoin a crime upon Christians? The hypothesis is not purely imaginary; and although, happily, thanks to Heaven, it has not yet come to pass, there is a whole party which threatens to reach this extreme. In other countries there has been something like a beginning of its realization. I would like to speak of the school law and the avowed project of imposing a compulsory and lay education. We know what is meant by lay in such a case; and experience proves that the state schools[237] are often entrusted to men whose avowed intention is to bring up the children in infidelity. What would happen if such a law were passed, which supposes that everywhere, at the same time, parents would be compelled to put their children in imminent danger of losing their faith? The Catholic Church is very explicit in her doctrine on the obligation of obeying even a bad government; she orders that useless, unjust, and even culpable laws be borne with, so long as this can be done without exposing one’s self to commit a sin. Neither plunder nor the danger of death excuses revolt in her eyes. But in this case do we understand to what we would be reduced? To resist passively, and to allow one’s self to be punished by fines, by prison, by torture, or by death, would not remedy the evil; the soul of the child remains without defence, and the father is responsible for it. This kind of persecution is, then, more serious in its consequences, and may lead to deeper troubles, than even the direct persecution, which might consist, for example, in exacting apostasy from adults. In this last case the martyr bears all, and the first Christians have shown us the way; but here the torments of the parents cannot save the children, and the parents cannot abandon them; whatever becomes of the body, the soul must be guarded until death.

It belongs not to me to decide; for in this case, as in all those of a similar kind, the line of conduct to be followed ought to be traced by the only competent authority; but the problem is worth proposing, and by it alone it is already easy to throw great light on the abysses to which the atheism of the law is leading the people by rapid strides.


It remains to explain in a few words the great principles which should form the basis of law, and which were never completely ignored until these days of aberration and wretchedness. I could not expect to give here, in these few pages, a course of natural law, nor even to trace its outline; but there are some perfectly incontestable truths which it is very necessary to recall since people have forgotten them. When one has no personal authority, he feels a certain timidity in broaching so grave a subject, and in speaking of it as if he aspired to enlighten his kind; and meanwhile error is insinuated, preached, disseminated, commanded, with a skill so infernal and a success so great that ignorance of truth is almost unbounded. Of such elementary rules we often find influential persons, and sometimes persons of real merit, totally ignorant. In other days they would have known them on leaving school, or even from their catechism.

Let us go back, then, to the definition of the word nature, and it will serve as a starting-point from which to treat of what the laws destined to govern man should be.

The nature of a being is that which renders it capable of attaining its end. This is true of a plant or an animal as well as of man; but there are two kinds of ends subordinate one to the other. The end for which God created the world could be no other than God himself.[71] The Creator could only propose to himself an end worthy of himself, and, he alone being perfect, he could not find outside himself an end proportioned to his[238] greatness. God is, then, the last end of all creatures. But there are particular ends; and it is in their subordination that the order of the world consists. The primary ends are, in a certain sense, but a means for arriving at the last end.

But God being unable to add anything to his infinite perfection, the end which he proposed to himself could not be to render himself more perfect; hence he could seek only an exterior glory, which consists in manifesting himself to his creatures. For this it was necessary that some of these creatures should be capable of knowing him. These reasonable creatures are superior to the others and are their primary end; therefore it is that theologians call man a microcosm, a compendium of the universe, and king of the world.

Man is placed in creation to admire it, and by means of it to render homage to God; for, in his quality of a creature gifted with reason, he knows his end, which is God, and the essential characteristic of his nature is the ability to attain this end. He is, moreover, endowed with an admirable prerogative—liberty, or free-will; that is to say, he is called on to will this end; and God, in his infinite bounty, will recompense him for having willed his own good. But man has need of an effort to will good; for his primitive nature has been corrupted by the original fall. He has, therefore, an inclination to evil, against which he must incessantly struggle; and the greatest number of political and social errors have their source in ignorance or forgetfulness of this perversion of human nature.

This granted, the natural law comprises the obligations imposed on man in order that he may reach his end, together with the prohibition of all that could turn him away from it. This law obliges all men, even those who have no knowledge of the positive divine law—that is to say, the revealed law.

Behold how Gerson has defined it:

“The natural law is a sign imprinted upon the heart of every man enjoying the right use of reason, and which makes known to him the divine will, in virtue of which the human creature is required to do certain things and to avoid certain others, in order to reach his end.” Among the precepts which God has engraved upon the hearts of all men is found, in the first rank, that which obliges them to refer themselves to God as to their last end.

From this it follows that every law which tends to hinder or prevent the progress of men toward God is a law against nature, and consequently null (lex injusta non est lex); for no human law can change or abrogate the natural law.


The considerations of the preceding chapter have reference to man considered abstractly from society. But man cannot exist alone. For life and subsistence, during his early childhood, he has need of his kind; so that, from the first moment of his existence, he forms part of a domestic society—the family.

The family being certainly of divine institution, and the duties which it imposes being of the number of those which the natural law commands, we find therein the first elements of all society: authority, hierarchy, consequently inequality, mutual love, and protection—in a word, varied and reciprocal duties.[239] But the family suffices not for man’s social cravings. Man naturally longs after his like; he possesses the marvellous gift of speech for communication with his fellows; he bears engraven on his heart the first precept of his duty towards them: “Do unto others that which you would have others do unto you; and do not unto them that which you would not that they do to you.” The existence of society is, therefore, still a law of nature.

Once formed, society itself has its duties; it has its proper end, which not only should not be opposed to the end of man considered singly, but should moreover contribute to facilitate the attainment of that end. The end of man being God, and this end being attainable only by virtue, the principal end of society will necessarily be to aid men in the practice of virtue; and, that I may not be accused of depending exclusively on theology, I will adduce what Aristotle has said on this subject: “The most perfect state is evidently that in which each citizen, whoever he may be, may, by favor of the laws, best practise virtue and be most secure of happiness.”[72] And what is happiness, according to Aristotle? “We consider it a point perfectly established that happiness is always in proportion to wisdom; … [for] the soul, speaking absolutely and even relatively to us, is more precious than wealth and the body.… Following the laws of nature, all exterior goods are desirable only insomuch as they serve the soul, and wise men should not desire them except for this end; whereas the soul should never be placed in comparison with them.”[73]

We are assuredly far off from this pagan, and he goes still further even than the foregoing; for he lays down as incontestable a principle which is the formal condemnation of the secularization of the law. “The elements of happiness,” says he, “are the same for the individual and for the city.”[74] We have just seen what he understands by happiness; but he adds, in order that he may be the better comprehended, that if the felicity of the individual consisted in wealth, it would be the same for the city. According to Aristotle, therefore, the moral law obliges society as it does the individual. Now, it is precisely this which the partisans of atheistical or merely secular law deny.


I have designedly quoted the ancient philosophers, because certain diseased minds who shrink from the authority of the sacred books accept more willingly that of the learned; but I believe that from what precedes one could easily infer the true rule of the relations between church and state. I will not undertake it now; nevertheless, as I address myself, by preference, to those who profess the same faith as myself, I will take the liberty to point out to them some inevitable corollaries of the principles I have just recalled.

The natural law, properly so called, has been confirmed and completed by revelation. Although the precepts whose observance is indispensable to man to reach his end are engraven in the depths of his heart, the blindness and the evil propensities which are the consequences of his fall render him but too forgetful of his duties. Besides,[240] God, having resolved to save man, chose to himself a privileged people, that from it he might cause the Messias to be born; and for the accomplishment of his merciful designs he guided this people and made it the guardian of his law, even to the day on which the promises were fulfilled.

To this end God charged Moses with the promulgation of a positive divine law which contained moral precepts—precepts relating to the ceremonies of the ancient worship—and political precepts; that is to say, precepts relating to the civil government of the Jewish people. The last two classes of precepts no longer oblige; but those which concern morals—that is to say, those of the Decalogue—retain all their force, because they are the precepts of the natural law.

But it is no longer by virtue of the promulgation of Moses that we are bound by the moral obligations contained in the old law. He who is our Judge, our Legislator, our King,[75] has come himself to give us a more perfect law: “Mandatum novum do vobis” (Joan. 13). According to the expression of Suarez, Jesus Christ has made known more perfectly the natural law in completing it by new precepts. Jesus Christ has done still more: he has founded a new kingdom—the church, the mystical body, of which he is the head. He has, therefore, appointed interpreters and guardians of his law, who have the mission to proclaim it to those who know it not; to pardon in his name those who, having violated it, confess and repent; and, finally, to distribute the numberless succors of divine grace—all which have for their object to help us to observe the law as perfectly as possible, and consequently to enable us ourselves to approach perfection. The new precepts added by Christ to those of the natural law are those which enjoin upon us the use of the sacraments and which determine their form; these articles of the new law—if we may be allowed so to term them—are all as obligatory as those of the natural law, because they have God himself for their author. Behold how S. Thomas sums up the whole of the new law, or the law of grace, which Christ came to bring us: “It comprises,” says he, “the precepts of the natural law, the articles of faith, and the sacraments of grace.”

One of the most remarkable characteristics of the Christian law is that it was not written. Jesus Christ spoke his commandments, and, his word being divine, it engraved them upon the hearts of his apostles and disciples;[76] but the Incarnate Word had nothing written during the time he spent upon earth. The first Gospel appeared at least eight years after the death of Jesus Christ. If to this observation we add the common belief of theologians, according to which it was only from the coming of the Holy Ghost—that is to say, from the day of Pentecost and after the Ascension—that the law of Christ became obligatory, we arrive at this conclusion: that the means of oral teaching was expressly chosen by the Word for the transmission of his law and his will.

Nothing throws greater light upon the sovereign importance of the church and its hierarchy; nothing manifests better the extreme necessity of a permanent infallibility residing somewhere in the mystical[241] body of Christ. The Council of the Vatican, conformably to the tradition of all Christian ages, has defined that “the Roman Pontiff enjoys the plenitude of that infallibility with which it was necessary for the church to be provided in defining doctrine touching faith or morals.”

These last words show that the Pope is the unfailing interpreter of the natural law, and the judge, from whom there is no appeal of its violations.

The decisions given by the Sovereign Pontiff upon human laws are not recognized at the present day by the powers of the earth. But neither is God recognized; and thus it is that, little by little violence has overrun the world and law has vanished. Europe is returning to a worse than primitive barbarism; and Catholics are no longer alone in saying it.

At the epoch at which the bishops were gathered together at Rome for the last council, a publicist of great merit, an Englishman and a Protestant, speaking in the name of his co-religionists, addressed an appeal to the Pope entreating him to labor for the re-establishment of the rights of the people.

The rights of the people, or the law of nature, said Mr. Urquhart, is the Ten Commandments applied to society. After having cited Lord Mansfield, who says that this right “is considered to form part of the English law,” and that “the acts of the government cannot alter it,” Mr. Urquhart fears not to add “that it is against their governments that nations should protect this right.” And why did this Protestant appeal to Rome? Because, in sight of the unjust wars which ravage Europe, he hoped that the Ecumenical Council “would lay down a rule enabling Catholics to distinguish the just from the unjust; so that the Pope might afterwards exercise juridical power over communities, nations, and their sovereigns.”[77]

The rule exists; for the natural or divine law engraven by God from the beginning upon the hearts of all men, and more expressly revealed in the Decalogue, was the subject of the teaching of Christ. The juridical power and the tribunal from which there is no appeal equally exist; but the voice of the judge is no longer listened to by those who govern human society. But it is not this which is important, and Mr. Urquhart is right—it is the nations which should invoke against their new tyrants the only efficacious protection; it is the people who should first bend before the beneficent authority of the infallible master of the moral law; there would then be no further need of the consent of governments.


I said, in beginning the last paragraph, that it was addressed to Catholics by right of corollary from the preceding considerations. It is certain, indeed, that if all Catholics were truly instructed and well convinced of the truths that I have endeavored to set forth as briefly and clearly as I could, a great step in the right path would already have been taken.

But there is a much-used, widely-spread, and very convenient objection which many excellent men fail not to proffer in such a case. “It is true,” say they, “that if human discussions and quarrels could be referred to the highest moral authority on earth, it would afford[242] great advantages; but this is not practicable. Times have changed, and it is impossible to hope that this authority can ever recover the influence it would require in order to act efficaciously.”

If good men adhere to the fatal habit they have acquired of renouncing beforehand all effort, for fear it will not be successful, nothing can be done; and there remains to us nothing but to veil our faces while awaiting the destruction of our country and of all organized society. But even were we reduced to despair, we never have the right of renouncing our convictions nor of ceasing to act personally according to the prescriptions of our faith. Before concerning ourselves about the doings of others, and without needing to count on success, we must begin by conforming ourselves to the teachings of truth, which is by its nature unchangeable; for there is no progress or civilization which can alter one iota of the divine laws.

Moreover, he is very bold who would dare to predict what Europe will or will not be several years hence. Either it is condemned—and then, for his own peace of mind, a man should allow himself to be guided by his conscience with the full certainty of not doing wrong—or God wills to save Europe still another time; and this can never be, save by truth.

With regard to practical means, of which they make so much at the present day, I see no one who proposes them inspiring any confidence. Every one hesitates, gropes, and most often acknowledges that he can only invent. The present hour is favorable to good, in this sense: that the greater number of practical errors no longer exercise the same seduction as at the beginning of the century.

Evil presses us on all sides, and, according to the expression of one of our most distinguished publicists, “1789 has failed.”[78] After 1789 there is no middle way between social war and the return to good. We meet at every step upright minds who break their idols; there are too many who know not yet with what to replace them, but it is still much to have seen one’s error.

Furthermore, there are untiring seekers, some of whom have found the whole truth, and others who find but the fragments; all help to prepare the way for the reconstruction of the social edifice. He to whom I have dedicated this work[79] will pardon me, I hope, if I quote from him. I do not believe that there is another example of an equal influence so rapidly exercised by a book so serious, so grave in matter, so little attractive to the frivolous reader, as that which he has written upon Social Reform. To rediscover social truth by the method of observation and analysis was already a phenomenon which I consider unique of its kind; to cause it to be adopted by so great a number of minds biassed and filled with hostile prejudices, and most frequently badly prepared by their previous studies, is a fact still more astonishing. Thus, as I said in my dedicatory epistle, it is impossible for me not to see herein one of the most consoling signs of our age. The scientific processes of M. Le Play were, perhaps, the only ones which would find favor with a generation so dialectical and so enamored with the exact sciences as ours.

Notwithstanding the sorrows which oppress us, we must not despair;[243] and, above all, we must not trouble ourselves too much concerning the errors of what people agree to call public opinion.

The errors regarding the general will reproduce themselves, under another form, in the uneasiness which this self-styled queen of the world instils into the minds of men of good-will. If we consider closely what the elements of opinion are, we very quickly perceive that, in general, it merits the name of public only because it proclaims itself very loudly and makes itself known in all the public squares. In reality, a party much less considerable than we suppose announces to the world, and imagines, most frequently in good faith, that it alone is enlightened. Its boldness inspires awe, and by degrees those who compose it succeed in persuading the multitude, and in persuading themselves that they represent the only opinion worthy of note. And who are these? Financiers and journalists who carry on business in common; loud-voiced lawyers; professors much tainted themselves; officers occupying a position, and others wishing to obtain one from them; the idle pleasure-seeking men and women. Is it, then, true that these represent the nation?

Eager for their own interest or for that of others, these pretended echoes of public opinion are wont to say “The people believe, the people wish, the people will never consent, it does not suit the people, etc. What a pity! The people are nothing in revolutions in which they are but passive instruments. France no longer ardently desires anything except repose. At first sight this proposition would seem true—the previous consent of the French is necessary for the re-establishment of the monarchy. Nothing is more false. The multitude never obtains what it wills; it always accepts, it never chooses. We may even notice an affectation of Providence (if I may be allowed the expression), inasmuch as the efforts of the people to attain an object are the very means which it makes use of to withdraw them from it.

“In the French Revolution the people were constantly chained, outraged, ruined, torn by factions; and the factions, in their turn, the sport of one another, constantly drifted (notwithstanding all their efforts), only to be dashed against the rock which awaited them.… In the establishment and the overthrow of sovereignties … the mass of the people enter only as the wood and the cord employed by a machinist. Their chiefs even are such only to strangers; in reality, they are led as they lead the people. When the proper moment shall arrive, the Supreme Ruler of empires will chase away these noisy insects. Then we shall be astonished at the profound nothingness of these men.

“Do people imagine that the political world goes on by chance, and that it is not organized, directed, animated, by the same wisdom which shines in the physical world? Great malefactors who overthrow the state necessarily produce melancholy, internal dismemberments … but when man labors to re-establish order, he associates himself with the Author of order, he is favored by nature—that is to say, by the aggregate of secondary causes which are the instruments of the Divinity. His action has something divine; it is at once gentle and powerful; it forces nothing and nothing resists it.”[80]

These beautiful words are as true to-day as in 1797.




All change implies succession. Hence the duration of contingent beings, inasmuch as they are subject to actual change, involves succession. The duration of the changes brought about by purely spiritual operations transcends our experience; for we are not pure spirits. Hence we have no means of measuring such changes by their intrinsic measure. But the duration of the changes which occur in the material world through local movements lies within the range of our apprehensive faculty, and can be measured by us; for we find in nature many movements which, by their constant recurrence and their uniformity, are calculated to serve as terms of comparison for measuring the length of successive duration.

Definitions of time.—The duration of local movement, which we measure by a given standard, is called “time.” And therefore time may be properly and adequately defined as the duration of local movement: Duratio motus. From this definition it immediately follows that where there is no movement there can be no time. Accordingly, there was no time before creation, as there was no movement. It follows also that the duration of created things, inasmuch as it expresses the permanence of those things in their own being, is not time; for it is of the essence of time to be successive, and there is no succession where there is no change, and no change without movement. Hence, when we say that contingent beings exist in time, we do not refer to their essence or substance as such, but to their successive modes of being, by which their duration acquires its accidental successivity. Were the whole world reduced to perfect stillness by impeding or suspending the actions and movements of all creatures, time would at the same instant cease to flow; for time is not the duration of things, but the duration of movement.

Time may be considered either as a relation or as a quantity. In fact, intervals of successive duration are, like distances, real relations; but when we think of the greater or less extent of space which can be measured with a given velocity between two correlated terms of time, these same intervals exhibit themselves under the form of continuous quantities.

Time, as a relation, is defined by S. Thomas and by all the ancients as Ratio prioris et posterioris motus—that is, as the link between the “before” and the “after” of any movement; and, as a quantity, it is defined as Numerus motus—that is, as a number arising from the mensuration of the movement. This movement is always local, as we have already intimated; for we cannot measure successive duration by any other kind of movement. Hence it is that the duration which is predicated of spiritual substances and of their operations differs in kind from our time. For, since such substances are not subjected to[245] local movements, their duration cannot be measured in terms of space and velocity, as our time, but only in terms of intellectual movements, which have nothing common with the periodical revolutions from which we desume the measure of our days, years, and centuries. When we say that angels have existed for centuries, we measure the duration of their existence by a measure which is altogether extrinsic to them; and in the same manner we measure the duration of our own intellectual operations by a measure extrinsic to them—that is, by comparing it with the duration of some movement occurring in our bodies or in the surrounding world.

Since time is the duration of movement, it is plain that when we perceive movement we immediately perceive time; and since movement implies a continuous change, it is plain also that the greater the number of changes we can distinctly perceive in a given succession, the better we realize the flowing of time. It is for this reason that time seems longer in sickness or in a sleepless night than in good health and in a pleasurable occupation; for gladness and amusement distract our minds, and do not allow us to reflect enough on what is going on around us; whilst anything which affects us painfully calls our attention to ourselves and to our sensations, and thus causes us to reflect on a great number of movements to which in other circumstances we would pay no attention at all. It is for this reason, also, that when we are fast asleep we have no perception of the flowing of time. The moment one falls asleep he ceases to perceive the succession of changes, both interior and exterior, from the consideration of which time should be estimated; hence, when he awakes, he instinctively unites the present now with that in which he fell asleep, as if there had been no intermediate time. Thus, in the same manner as there is no time without movement, there is no actual perception of time without the actual perception of movement.

Measure of time.—We have said that time, as a quantity, is measured by movement. The sense of this proposition is that a body moving with uniform velocity describes spaces proportional to the times employed; and therefore, if we assume as a unit of measure the time employed in describing a certain unit of space with a given velocity, the duration of the movement will contain as many units of time as there are units of space measured by that velocity. Thus, if the revolution of the earth around its axis is taken as the unit of movement, and its duration, or the day, as the unit of time, the number of days will increase at the same rate as the number of revolutions. Speaking in general, if the time employed in describing uniformly a space v be taken as a unit of time, and t be the time employed in describing uniformly a space s with the same constant velocity, we have the proportion—


The unit of time is necessarily arbitrary or conventional. For there is no natural unit of measure in continuous quantities whose divisibility has no end, as we have explained in a preceding article.

The space v uniformly described in the unit of time represents the velocity of the movement; and therefore the duration of the movement comprises as many units of time as there are units in the ratio of the space to the constant velocity[246] with which it is measured. In other terms, time is the ratio of the space described to the velocity with which it is described.

We often hear it said that as time is measured by movement, so also movement is measured by time. But this needs explanation. When we say that time is measured by movement, we mean that time is represented by the ratio of the space to the velocity with which it is described, or by the ratio of the material extension to the formal extending of the movement; for the proportion above deduced gives

t = s/v,

where s represents the length of the movement in space (which length is its material constituent) and v represents its intensity (which is its formal constituent). On the other hand, when we say that movement is measured by time, we either mean that the ratio of the space to the velocity is represented by the time employed in the movement, and thus we merely interchange the members of our equation, by which no new conclusion can be reached; or we mean that the length and the velocity of the movement are measured by time. But this cannot be; for our equation gives for the length of the movement

s = vt;

and this shows that time alone cannot measure the length of the space described. On the other hand, the same equation gives for the velocity

v = s/t;

and this shows that time is not the measure of velocity, as the one diminishes when the other increases.

This suffices to show that the phrase “movement is measured by time” must be interpreted in a very limited sense, as simply meaning that between movement and time there is a necessary connection, and that, all other things remaining equal, the length of the movement is proportional to the length of the time employed. Yet this does not mean that the length of the movement depends entirely on the time employed, for the same length may be described in different times; but it means that the time employed depends on the material and formal extent of the movement, as above explained; for, according as we take different velocities, different lengths will be described in equal time, and equal lengths in different times. It is not the time that extends the movement, but it is the movement that by its extension extends its own time.

The true measure of movement is its velocity; for the measure of any given quantity is a unit of the same kind, and velocity is the unit of movement. Time, as measured by us, is a number which arises from the mensuration of the movement by its velocity; and therefore time results from the movement as already measured. This shows again that time is not the measure of the extent of the movement. We have seen, also, that time is not the measure of the intensity of the movement. It follows, therefore, that the quantity of movement is not measured by time.

Time, being the ratio of two quantities mathematically homogeneous, is represented by an abstract number. Yet the same time may be expressed by different numbers, according as we measure it by different units, as days, hours, minutes, etc. These numbers, however, are only virtually discrete, as time cannot be discontinued.


Balmes from the equation

v = s/t

deduces the consequence that “the velocity is essentially a relation; for it cannot be otherwise expressed than by the ratio of the space to the time.”[81] We think that this conclusion is faulty. Space and time are not homogeneous quantities; hence the mathematical ratio of space to time is not an abstract but a concrete number, and therefore it represents an absolute quantity. Space divided by time is a length divided into equal parts; hence the quotient—viz., the velocity—represents the length of the movement made in the unit of time. And since Balmes admits that the length of the movement is a quantity having a determinate value, we do not see how he can escape the consequence that velocity, too, is a quantity of the same kind, and not a mere relation. “In the expression of velocity,” says Balmes, “two terms enter—space and time. Viewing the former in the real order, abstraction made of that of phenomena, we more easily come to regard it as something fixed; and we comprehend it in a given case without any relation. A foot is at all times a foot, and a yard a yard. These are quantities existing in reality, and if we refer them to other quantities it is only to make sure that they are so, not because their reality depends upon the relation. A cubic foot of water is not a cubic foot because the measure so says, but, on the contrary, the measure so says because there is a cubic foot. The measure itself is also an absolute quantity; and in general all extensions are absolute, for otherwise we should be obliged to seek measure of measure, and so on to infinity” (loc. cit.) This passage shows that a length described in space is, according to Balmes, an absolute quantity. And since the mathematical value of velocity represents a length described in space, as we have just proved, it follows that velocity has an absolute value.

But leaving aside all mathematical considerations, we may show that velocity has an absolute value by reference to metaphysical data. What is velocity but the development in extension of the intensity of the momentum impressed on a material point? Now, the intensity of the momentum is an absolute quantity, equal to the quantity of the action by which it is produced. Hence it is evident that, as the action has an absolute value, greater or less, according to circumstances, so also the momentum impressed has an absolute value; and consequently the velocity also, which is nothing else than the momentum itself as developing its intensity into extension, has an absolute value, and is an absolute quantity.

Balmes thought the contrary, for the following reason: “If the denominator, in the expression of velocity, were a quantity of the same kind as space—that is, having determinate values, existing and conceivable by themselves alone—the velocity, although still a relation might also have determinate values, not indeed wholly absolute, but only in the supposition that the two terms s and t, having fixed values, are compared.… But from the difficulties which we have, on the one hand, seen presented to the consideration of time as an absolute thing, and from the fact that, on the other hand, no solid proof can be adduced[248] to show such a property to have any foundation, it follows that we know not how to consider velocity as absolute, even in the sense above explained” (loc. cit.)

This reason proves the contrary of what the author intends to establish. In fact, if the denominator were of the same kind as the numerator, the quotient would be an abstract number, as we know from mathematics; and such a number would exhibit nothing more than the relation of the two homogeneous terms—that is, how many times the one is contained in the other. It is precisely because the denominator is not of the same kind as the numerator that the quotient must be of the same kind as the numerator. And since the numerator represents space, which, according to Balmes, is an absolute quantity, it follows that the quotient—that is, the number by which we express the velocity—exhibits a quantity of the same nature: a conclusion in which all mathematicians agree. When a man walks a mile, with the velocity of one yard per second, he measures the whole mile yard by yard, with his velocity. If the velocity were not a quantity of the same kind with the space measured, how could it measure it?

True it is that velocity, when considered in its metaphysical aspect, is not a length of space, but the intensity of the act by which matter is carried through such a length. Yet, since Balmes argues here from a mathematical equation, we must surmise or presume that he considers velocity as a length measured in space in the unit of time, as mathematicians consider it; for he cannot argue from mathematical expressions with logical consistency, if he puts upon them construction of an unmathematical character. After all, it remains true that the velocity or intensity of the movement is always to be measured by the extension of the movement in the unit of time; and thus it is necessary to admit that velocity exhibits an absolute intensive quantity measured by the extension which it evolves.

We therefore “know how to consider velocity as absolute,” though its mathematical expression is drawn from a relation of space to time. The measure of any quantity is always found by comparing the quantity with some unit of measure; hence all quantity, inasmuch as measured, exhibits itself under a relative form as ratio mensurati ad suam mensuram; and it is only under such a form that it can be expressed in numbers. But this relativity does not constitute the nature of quantity, because it presupposes it, and has the whole reason of its being in the process of mensuration.

We have insisted on this point because the confusion of the absolute value of velocity with its relative mathematical expression would lead us into a labyrinth of difficulties with regard to time. Balmes, having overlooked the distinction between the mathematical expression and the metaphysical character of velocity, comes to the striking consequence that “if the whole machine of the universe, not excluding the operations of our soul, were accelerated or retarded, an impossibility would be realized; for the relation of the terms would have to be changed without undergoing any change. If the velocity be only the relation of space to time, and time only the relation of spaces traversed, it is the same thing to change them all in the[249] same proportion, and not to change them at all. It is to leave every thing as it is” (loc. cit.) The author is quite mistaken. The very equation

t = s/v,

on which he grounds his argument, suffices to show that if the velocity increases, the time employed in measuring the space s diminishes; and if the velocity diminishes, the time increases. This being the case, it is evident that an acceleration of the movements in the whole machine of the universe would be a real acceleration, since the same movements would be performed in less time; and a retardation would be a real retardation, since the same movements would require more time. We are therefore far from realizing an impossibility when we admit that, in the hypothesis of the author, time would vary in the inverse ratio of the velocity of the universal movement.

Division of time.—Philosophers divide time into real and imaginary. We have already explained this division when speaking of flowing duration. The reality of time evidently depends on the reality of movement; hence any time to which no real movement corresponds is imaginary. Thus if you dream that you are running, the time of your running is imaginary, because your running, too, is imaginary. In such a case the real time corresponds to your real movements—say, to your breathing, pulse, etc.—while the dream continues.

Imaginary time is often called also ideal time, but this last epithet is not correct; for, as time is the duration of local movement, it is in the nature of time to be an object of the imagination. And for this reason the duration of the intellectual movements and operations of pure spirits is called time only by analogy, as we have above stated. However, we are wont to think of such a duration as if it were homogeneous with our own time; for we cannot measure it except by reference to the duration of the movements we witness in the material world.

Time is also divided into past, present, and future. The past corresponds to a movement already made, the future to a movement which will be made, and the present to a movement which is actually going on. But some will ask: Is there really any present time? Does not the now, to which the present is confined, exclude all before and all after, and therefore all succession, without which it is impossible to conceive time? We concede that the now, as such—that is, considered in its absolute reality—is not time, just as a point is not a line; for, as the point has no length, so the now has no extension. Yet, as a point in motion describes a line, so also the now, by its flowing from before to after, extends time. Hence, although the now, as such, is not time, its flowing from before to after is time. If, then, we consider the present as the link of the immediate past with the immediate future—that is, if we consider the now not statically, but dynamically—we shall see at once that its actual flowing from before to after implies succession, and constitutes an infinitesimal interval of time.

This may also be shown by reference to the nature of uniform local movement. When a material point describes a line with uniform velocity, its movement being continuous, its duration is continuous; and therefore every flowing instant of[250] its duration is continuous, as no discontinuous parts can ever be reached in the division of continuum. Hence every flowing instant has still the nature of time. This conclusion is mathematically evident from the equation

t = s/v,

for, v being supposed constant, we cannot assume t = 0 unless we also assume s = 0. But this latter assumption would imply rest instead of movement, and therefore it is out of the question. Accordingly, at no instant of the movement can we assume t = 0; or, which is the same, every flowing instant partakes the nature of time.

The same conclusion can be established, even more evidently, by the consideration of accelerated or retarded movements. When a stone is thrown upwards, the velocity of its ascent suffers a continuous diminution till at last it becomes = 0; and at the very instant it becomes = 0 an opposite velocity begins to urge the stone down, and increases continually so long as the stone does not reach the ground or any other obstacle. Now, a continuous increase or decrease of the velocity means that there are not two consecutive moments of time in which the stone moves at exactly the same rate; and hence nothing but an instant corresponds to each successive degree of velocity. But since the duration of the movement is made up of nothing but such instants, it is clear that the succession of such instants constitutes time; and consequently, as time is continuous, those instants, though infinitesimal, are themselves continuous; and thus every flowing instant is really time.

From this it is plain, first, that although the now, as such, is not time, yet its actual flowing is time.

Secondly, it follows that infinitesimals of time, as employed in dynamics, are not mathematical figments, but realities, for time flows only through infinitesimal instants; and therefore to deny the reality of such infinitesimals would be to deny the reality of time.

Thirdly, we gather that the absolute now differs from an actual infinitesimal of time; because the former, as such, is only a term of time, whereas the latter is the flowing of that term from its immediate before to its immediate after. Hence an infinitesimal of time is infinitely less than any designable duration. In fact, its before and its after are so immediately connected with the same absolute now that there is no room for any designable length of duration between them.

Fourthly, whilst the absolute now is no quantity, the infinitesimal of time is a real quantity; for it implies real succession. This quantity, however, is nascent, or in fieri only; for the now, which alone is intercepted between the immediate before and the immediate after, has no formal extension.

Fifthly, the infinitesimal of time corresponds to a movement by which an infinitesimal of space is described. And thus infinitesimals of space, as considered in dynamics, are real quantities. To deny that such infinitesimals are real quantities would be the same, in fact, as to deny the real extension of local movement; for this movement flows and acquires its extension through such infinitesimals only. And the same is true of the infinitesimal actions by which the rate of local movement is continually modified. These latter infinitesimals are evidently real quantities, though[251] infinitely less than any designable quantity. They have an infinitesimal intensity, and they cause an infinitesimal change in the rate of the movement in an infinitesimal of time.

Evolution of time.—The preceding considerations lead us to understand how it is that in any interval of time there is but one absolute now always the same secundum rem, but changing, and therefore manifold secundum rationem. S. Thomas, in his opuscule De Instantibus, c. ii., explains this truth in the following words: “As a point to the line, so is the now to the time. If we imagine a point at rest, we shall not be able to find in it the causality of any line; but if we imagine that point to be in movement, then, although it has no dimensions, and consequently no divisibility in itself, it will nevertheless, from the nature of its movement, mark out a divisible line.… The point, however, does in no way belong to the essence of the line; for one and the same real term, absolutely indivisible, cannot be at the same time in different parts of the same permanent continuum.… Hence the mathematical point which by its movement draws a line is neither the line nor any part of the line; but, remaining one and the same in itself, it acquires different modes of being. These different modes of being, which must be traced to its movement, are really in the line, whilst the point, as such, has no place in it. In the same manner, an instant, which is the measure of a thing movable, and adheres to it permanently, is one and the same as to its absolute reality so long as the substance of the thing remains unimpaired, for the instant is the inseparable measure of its being; but the same instant becomes manifold inasmuch as it is diversified by its modes of being; and it is this its diversity that constitutes the essence of time.”[82]

From this explanation we may infer that, as each point, or primitive element, of matter has its own now, one in its absolute reality, but manifold in its mode of being, there are in nature as many nows describing distinct lines of time as there are material points in movement. Accordingly, there are as many particular times as there are elements moving in space. The proposition that in time there is only unum instans in re is, therefore, to be limited to the particular time of one and the same subject of motion. S. Thomas did not think of this limitation, because he believed, according to the old astronomical theory, that the movement of the primum mobile—that is, of the supreme sphere—was the natural measure of time; and for this reason he thought that, as the first movement was one, time also was one, and constituted the common measure of all simultaneous movements.[83] But the truth is that there must be as many distinct particular times as there are things actually[252] moving. This is a manifest consequence of the doctrine which assimilates a flowing now to a point describing a line. For as every point in movement describes a distinct line in space, so also must the absolute now of every distinct being describe by its flowing a distinct line of time.

The general time, which we regard as one successive duration, is the duration of the movement from the beginning of the world to our day, conceived in the abstract—that is, without reference to the particular beings concerned in the movement. Time, when thus conceived, is a mere abstraction; whereas the particular times of particular movements are concrete in their continuous extension, notwithstanding their being represented by abstract numbers. If we knew of any special body created and put in movement before any other body, we might regard it as primum mobile, and take its movement, if uniform, as the natural measure or standard of general time; but as we know of no such particular body, and as we have reason to believe that the creation of all matter was made in one and the same moment, we are led to admit an exceedingly great multitude of prima mobilia, every one of which was from the beginning of time the subject of duration. It is clear that we cannot reduce their distinct durations to one general duration, except by making abstraction of all particular subjects, and considering movement in the abstract.

Nevertheless, as we inhabit the earth, we usually restrict our consideration of time to those periodical intervals of duration which correspond to the periodical movements we witness in, or from, our planet; and thus we take the duration of the diurnal or of the orbital movement of the earth as our standard for the measure of time. If other planets are inhabited by rational beings, it is obvious that their time will be measured by other standards, as their diurnal and orbital movements differ from those of our earth.

To the doctrine that time is evolved by the flowing of a single instant, S. Thomas adds an important remark to the effect that the now of contingent things should not be confounded with the now of eternity. He proposes to himself the following objection: “To stand and to move are not essential differences, but only different manners of being. But the now of eternity is standing, and the now of time is moving. The one, therefore, seems to differ from the other in nothing but in the manner of being. Hence the now of time would be substantially the same as the now of eternity, which is absurd.”[84]

S. Thomas replies: “This cannot be true, according to our doctrine; for we have seen that eternity and time differ essentially. Moreover, when of two things the one depends on the other as an effect from a cause, the two things essentially differ; but the now of eternity (which does not really differ from eternity itself) is the cause of time and of the now of time; therefore the now of time and the now of eternity are essentially different. Furthermore, the now of time unites the past with the future, which the now of eternity does not do; for in eternity there is no past and no future, because eternity is[253] all together. Nor has the objection any force. That to stand and to move do not constitute an essential difference is true of those things which are liable both to stand and to move; but that which always stands without possibility of moving differs essentially from that which always moves without the possibility of standing. And this is the case with the now of eternity on the one hand, and the now of time on the other.”[85]

Beginning of time.—Here the question arises whether time must have had a beginning. Those who believe that the world could have been created ab æterno will answer that time could have existed without a beginning. But we are convinced that the world could not be created ab æterno; and therefore we maintain that time must have begun.

Our argument is drawn from the contingency of all things created.

The duration of a contingent being cannot be without a beginning; for the contingent being itself must have had a beginning. In fact, as that cannot be annihilated which has never been in existence, so that cannot be educed from nothing which has never been nothing. It is therefore necessary to admit that every creature had a beginning of its existence, and consequently of its duration also; for nothing endures but inasmuch as it exists.

Nor can this argument be evaded by saying that a contingent being may have initium naturæ, without having initium temporis. This distinction, though suggested and employed by S. Thomas, has no foundation, because the beginning of the created nature is the beginning also of its duration; and he who concedes that there must be an initium naturæ cannot consistently deny the initium temporis. In fact, no contingent being can be said to have been created, if there was no instant in which it was created; in other terms, every creature must be traced to the now of its creation. But the now of its creation is the beginning of its duration no less than of its existence. Surely, whatever has a first now has a beginning of duration; but every creature has its first now—viz., the now of its creation; therefore every creature has a beginning of duration. That the now of creation is the first now is self-evident; for the now of creation is that point of duration in which the passage is made from not being to being; and therefore it marks the beginning of the existence of the created being. And since we cannot say that the duration of the created being preceded its existence, we are bound to conclude that the now of its creation is the beginning of its duration as well as of its existence.

Some will object that we assume what is to be proved—viz., the very now of creation. For, if the world had been created ab æterno, no now of creation could be pointed out. To this we answer that the now of creation, whether we can point it out determinately or not, must always be admitted. To suppress[254] it, is to suppress creation. For, if we assume that a thing had no now of creation, we are compelled to deny that such a thing has ever been created. In other terms, if anything has no beginning of duration, it was always in act, it never lacked actual existence, and it never passed from non-existence to actual existence—that is, it is no creature at all; for to be a creature is to have passed from non-existence to actual existence. And thus we must conclude that to create is to make a beginning of time.

The impossibility of a world created ab æterno has also been argued from the impossibility of an infinite ascending series. The force of this proof does not, however, lie in the absurdity of an infinite series—for such an absurdity, as S. Thomas remarks, has never been demonstrated—but it lies in the necessity of granting a beginning to every term of the series itself; for, if every term of the series has a beginning, the whole series must have a beginning. S. Thomas, as we have just stated, teaches that an infinite ascending series is not to be judged impossible, “even if it were a series of efficient causes,” provided it depend on an extrinsic cause: In infinitum procedere in causis agentibus non reputatur impossibile.[86] This doctrine is universally rejected, and was fiercely attacked even in the time of the holy doctor; but he persisted in maintaining it against all, and wrote a special treatise to defend it contra murmurantes. The reason why S. Thomas embraced this doctrine seems to have been that the creation of the world in the beginning of time was an article of faith; and the saint believed that articles of faith are proved only by authority, and not by natural reason. He was therefore obliged to maintain that the beginning of time could not be demonstrated by reason alone. “The newness of the world,” says he, “cannot be demonstrated from the consideration of the world itself, because the principle of demonstration is the quiddity of things. Now, things, when considered as to their quiddity or species, do not involve the hic et nunc; and for this reason the universals are said to be everywhere and in all time. Hence it cannot be demonstrated that man or any other thing did not always exist.”[87]

To this argument we respectfully reply that, when the necessary conditions of a contingent fact are to be demonstrated, the principle of demonstration is not the abstract quiddity, or intelligible essence, of the things, but the contingency of their actual existence. But it is evident that whatever exists contingently has been educed out of nothing. It is therefore necessary to conclude that all contingent things have had a first moment of existence and of duration.

The Angelic Doctor refers also to a similitude by which some philosophers mentioned by S. Augustine undertook to explain the creation ab æterno. If a foot had been ab æterno pressed on the dust, the impression made by it would be ab æterno. In the same manner the world might have been ab æterno: for God, its maker, is eternal.[88] But[255] we humbly reply that the impression of the foot on the dust cannot be ab æterno if it is contingent. For, if it is contingent, it has necessarily a beginning of its existence, and therefore of its duration also, as we have already shown. Whatever is made has a beginning of duration. Hence the fathers of the church, to prove that the divine Word was not made, thought it sufficient to point out the fact that he was ab æterno like his Father.

S. Thomas, after stating his conclusion that the temporal beginning of the world is not demonstrable, but simply credible, remarks as follows: “And this should be kept in mind, lest, by presuming to demonstrate what is matter of faith by insufficient proofs, we be laughed at by the infidels, who may think that on the strength of such proofs we believe our articles of faith.”[89] This advice is good. But we need not tell our readers that what we hold as of faith we hold on divine authority, irrespective of our philosophical reasons.

Perpetuity of time.—That time may go on without end is an evident truth. But will it go on for ever, or will it cease at last? To this question we answer that time will for ever continue. As long as there will be movement there will be time. There will ever be movement; therefore there will ever be time. The major of this syllogism needs no explanation; for time is nothing but the duration of movement. The minor is quite certain. For not only the rational creatures, but the earth itself and other corporeal things, will last for ever, as is the common doctrine of philosophers, who hold that God will never destroy what he has created. These material things will therefore continue to celebrate God’s glory for ever—that is, will continue to exert their motive power and to bring about divers movements; for such is their nature, and such their manner of chanting the praises of their Creator. Moreover, we know by faith that we shall rise from death and live for ever, and that the glorious bodies of the saints will possess, besides other privileges, the gift of agility, which would evidently be of no use if there were to be no local movement and no succession of time. Hence it follows that time will last for ever.

And let no one say that the Sacred Scriptures teach the contrary. For wherever the Sacred Scriptures mention the end of time, they speak, not absolutely and universally, but only with reference to certain particular periods or epochs of time characterized by some special events or manifestation of divine Providence. Thus we read in the Apocalypse that “there will be time no more”—Tempus non erit amplius—and yet we find that after the end of that time there will be a thousand years; which shows that the phrase “there will be time no more” refers to the time of mercy and conversion. Thus also we read in Daniel that “time has its end”—Quoniam habet tempus finem suum—but we see by the context that he speaks there of the Antichristian epoch, which of course must have an end. And the like is to be said of other similar passages.

The most we can admit in regard to the cessation of time is that, owing to the great catastrophe and the wonderful changes which the consummation of the present epoch shall bring about, the diurnal and[256] the annual revolutions, which serve now as measures of time, may be so modified as to give rise to a new order of things, in which time shall be measured by a different standard. This seems to be the opinion of many interpreters of the Sacred Scriptures; though some of them speak as if after the consummation of the present things there were to be time no more, but only eternity. This manner of speaking, however, is no proof against the continuance of time; for the word “eternity,” when applied to the duration of creatures, means nothing else than sempiternity—that is, time without end, according to the scriptural phrase: Annos æternos in mente habui. We learn from S. Thomas that the word “eternity” is used in three different senses: First, we call eternity the measure of the duration of a thing which is always invariably the same, which acquires nothing from the future, and loses nothing from the past. And this is the most proper meaning of the word “eternity.” Secondly, we call eternity the measure of the duration of a thing which has a fixed and perpetual being, which, however, is subject to accidental changes in its operations. Eternity, when thus interpreted, means what we should call ævum properly; for the ævum is the measure of those things whose being lasts for ever, but which admit of succession in their operations, as is the case with pure intelligences. Thirdly, we call eternity the measure of a successive duration, which has before and after without beginning and without end, or simply without end, though it have a beginning; and in this sense the world has been said to be eternal, although it is really temporal. This is the most improper meaning of the word “eternity”; for the true concept of eternity excludes before and after.[90] Thus far S. Thomas.

We may be allowed to remark on this passage that, according to the principles which we have established in our articles on Substantial Generations,[91] not only the pure intelligences, but all primitive and elementary substances are substantially incorruptible, and have a fixed and permanent being. Hence the distinction made by the holy doctor between ævum and endless time ceases to have a foundation, and the whole difference between the endless duration of spiritual and of material changes will be reduced to this: that the movements of spiritual substances are intellectual, whereas those of the material elements are local.

The phrase “before creation.”—We often hear of such expressions as these: “Before creation there was God alone,” “Before creation there was no time,” etc.; and since such expressions seem to involve a contradiction in terms, we think it will not be superfluous to give their rational explanation. Of course, if the words “before creation” be understood absolutely—that is, excluding any creation either made or imagined—those words will be contradictory. For the preposition[257] before is relative, and implies succession; and it is contradictory to suppose succession without anything capable of succession. When no creature existed there could be nothing flowing from before to after, because there was no movement, there being nothing movable.

Nor can it be said that the now of divine eternity gives us a sufficient ground for imagining any before and after without referring to something exterior to God himself. The now of eternity has in itself neither before nor after; and when we say that it is equivalent to all imaginable time, we do not affirm that it implies succession, but only acknowledge that it is the supreme reason of the possibility of succession in created things. Hence, when we use the phrase “Before creation” in an absolute sense, we in fact take away all real before and all real after; and thus the words “Before creation,” taken absolutely, involve a contradiction. They affirm explicitly what they implicitly deny.

The truth is that, when we use the phrase in question, we express what is in our imagination, and not in our intellect. We imagine that before time there was eternity because we cannot picture to ourselves eternity, except by the phantasm of infinite time. It is for this reason that in speaking of eternity we use the terms by which we are accustomed to express the relations of time. The words “Before creation” are therefore to be understood of a time which was possible in connection with some possible anterior creation, but which has never existed. This amounts to saying that the before which we conceive has no existence except in our imagination.

S. Thomas proposes to himself the question whether, when we say that God was before the world, the term “before” is to be interpreted of a priority of nature or of a priority of duration. It might seem, says he, that neither interpretation is admissible. For if God is before the world only by priority of nature, then it follows that, since God is ab æterno, the world too is ab æterno. If, on the contrary, God is before the world by priority of duration, then, since priority and posteriority of duration constitute time, it follows that there was time before the creation of the world; which is impossible.[92]

In answer to this difficulty the holy doctor says that God is before the world by priority of duration, but that the preposition “before” designates here the priority, not of time, but of eternity. Or else we must answer, he adds, that the word “before” designates a priority, not of real, but of imaginary, time, just as the word “above” in the phrase “above the heavens there is nothing” designates an imaginary space which we may conceive by thinking of some imaginary dimensions superadded to the dimensions of the heavens.[93]

It strikes us that the first of these two answers does not really solve the difficulty. For the priority of eternity cannot mean but a priority of nature and of pre-eminence, by which God’s permanent[258] duration infinitely excels, rather than precedes, all duration of creatures. In accordance with this, the objector might still urge on his conclusion that, if God does not precede the world, the world is ab æterno like God himself. The second answer agrees with what we ourselves have hitherto said. But as regards the objection proposed, it leaves the difficulty entire. For, if God was before the world by a priority, not of real, but of imaginary time, that “before” is imaginary, and not real. And the consequence will be that God was not really “before” the world, but we imagine him to have been so.

We must own that with our imperfect language, mostly fashioned by imagination, it is not easy to give a clear and popular solution of the objection. Perhaps the most summary manner of dealing with it would be to deny the inference in the first horn of the dilemma—viz., that if God is before the world by priority of nature only, then the world will be ab æterno as much as God himself. This inference, we say, is to be denied; for it involves the false supposition that a thing is ab æterno if there is no time before it; whereas that only is ab æterno which has no beginning of duration.

Thus there is no need of saying that God precedes the world in duration; for it suffices to admit that he was before the world by priority of nature and of causality. The duration of eternity has no “before” and no “after,” though we depict it to ourselves as extending into indefinite time. Even the verb was should not be predicated of God; for God, strictly speaking, neither was, nor will be, but permanently is. Hence it seems to us that it would be a contradiction to affirm that God was before the world by the duration of his eternity, while we acknowledge that in his eternity there is no “before.” But enough about this question.

The duration of rest.—Supposing that a body, or an element of matter, is perfectly at rest, it may be asked how the duration of this rest can be ascertained and measured. Shall we answer that it is measured by time? But if so, our reader will immediately conclude that time is not merely the duration of movement, as we have defined it, but also the duration of rest. On the other hand, how can we deny that rest is measured by time, when we often speak of the rest of a few minutes or of a few hours?

We might evade the question by answering that nothing in creation lies in absolute rest, but everything is acting and acted upon without interruption, so that its movement is never suspended. But we answer directly that, if there were absolute rest anywhere in the world, the duration of that rest should be measured by the duration of exterior movements. In fact, rest has no before and after in itself, because it is immovable, but only outside of itself. It cannot therefore have an intrinsic measure of its duration, but it must borrow it from the before and after of exterior movement. In other words, the thing which is in perfect rest draws no line of time; it has only a statical now which is a mere term of duration; and if everything in the world were in absolute rest, time would cease altogether. Hence what we call the duration of rest is simply the duration of a movement exterior to the thing which is at rest.

This will be easily understood by considering that between a flowing[259] and a standing now there is the same relation as between a moving and a standing point.

Now, to change the relation of distance between two points in space, it suffices that one of them move while the other stands still. This change of distance is measured by the movement of the first point; and thus the point which is at rest undergoes, without moving, a continuous change in its relation to the moving point. In a similar manner, two nows being given, the one flowing and the other standing, the time extended by the flowing of the first measures the change of its relation to the second, and consequently, also, the change of the relation of the second to the first. This shows that the time by which we measure the duration of rest is nothing but the duration of the movement extrinsic to the thing at rest.

But, as we have said, nothing in creation is in absolute rest; and therefore what we consider as resting has really some movement imperceptible to our senses—as, v.g., molecular vibrations—by which the duration of its supposed rest is intrinsically measured. In God’s eternity alone there is perfect immobility; but its duration cannot be measured by time, even as an extrinsic measure, because the standing duration of eternity has nothing common with the flowing duration of creatures. As local movement cannot measure divine immensity, so flowing duration cannot measure divine eternity; because, as the ubi of a creature never changes its relation to God’s immensity, so the quando of a creature never changes its relation to God’s eternity.

Continuity of time.—We will conclude with a few remarks on the continuity of time. That time is essentially continuous is evident; but the question has been proposed: What if God were to annihilate all existing creatures, and to make a new creation? Would the instant of annihilation be immediately followed by the instant of the new creation, or could there be an interval of time between them?

The right answer to this question is that between the annihilation and the new creation there would be no time: because there cannot be time without succession, and no succession without creatures. Yet, it would not follow that the instant of the annihilation should be immediately united with the instant of the new creation; in other words, the duration of the new world would not be a continuation of the duration of the world annihilated. The reason of this is that there cannot be a continuation of time, unless the same now continues to flow. For when one flowing now ceases to be, and another begins, the line of time drawn by the first comes to an end, and another line, altogether distinct, begins, and this latter cannot be a continuation of the former. If the English mail, for instance, reaches New York at a given instant, and the French mail at the same instant starts from Paris, no one will say that the movement of the French mail is a continuation of the movement of the English mail. Hence the duration of the movement of the one is not the continuation of that of the other.

Moreover, from what we have seen about the distinct lines of time described by distinct subjects of flowing duration, it is plain that even the durations of simultaneous movements are always distinct from one another, as belonging to distinct subjects; and accordingly,[260] when one of the said movements ceases, the continuation of the others cannot be looked upon as its continuation. Hence, if the present world were annihilated, its duration would cease altogether; and the duration of a newly-created world would draw a new line of time quite distinct from that of the present world, though between the end of the one and the beginning of the other there would be no time. “The two worlds in question,” as Balmes remarks, “would have no mutual relation; consequently there would be neither distance nor immediateness between them.”[94]

Time is formally continuous. Formal continuity we call that of which all the constituent elements have their own formal and distinct existence in nature. In time such elements are those flowing instants which unite the immediate past with the immediate future. This continuity is essentially successive. It is owing to its successivity that time, as well as movement, can be, and is, formally continuous. For no formal continuum can be simultaneous, as we have shown where we refuted the hypothesis of continuous matter.[95] But let this suffice about time.


The close of the XVIIIth century found the good people of these United States in a most amiable mood. The consciousness of all they had achieved, by sustaining their Declaration of Independence in the face of overwhelming difficulties, produced a glow of national self-complacency that has thrown its glamour over the first page of our public annals, which—as history counts her pages by centuries—we are only now preparing to turn. Not until we were drawing near its close was the light of that agreeable illusion obscured by the shadow of a question whether the “glorious Fourth” was not like to prove, after all, a most inglorious failure.

Self-complacency is never an elevating sentiment, and seldom sustained by the merits upon the assumed possession of which it is based. But our people had many substantial virtues, sufficient to atone abundantly for their indulgence in a pleasant foible. Among these was the principle of gratitude, to which none but truly noble natures are subject. That they possessed it was proved by their promptness in hastening to relieve and comfort the French refugees whom the Reign of Terror had driven to our shores when it was devastating that fair realm across the Atlantic which had been the first to extend assistance and sympathy to us in the hour of need.

We have vivid recollections of sitting for hours—patchwork in hand—at the feet of a dear relative in the pleasant home of our childhood, listening to thrilling tales of those times, many of them connected with the French emigrants—of[261] the cordial hospitality with which all the homes of her native city of Hartford, Conn., were thrown open to receive these interesting exiles; of the shifts the inhabitants devised and the discomforts they endured in order to provide comfortable shelter and sustenance for so many from means already impoverished by the drain of the conflict through which we ourselves had but just passed.

Now, this dear relative was the possessor of a small gold locket of antique fashion and exquisite workmanship, which was an object of unceasing admiration to our childish fancy. In form it was an oblong octagon. The border was a graceful tiny pattern in mosaic-gold inlaid with amethyst and pearl. In the centre were two miniatures painted on glass with marvellous distinctness and accuracy: the one a likeness of that most unfortunate queen, Marie Antoinette, the other of her beloved sister-in-law, the amiable Princess Elizabeth. A heavy pebble crystal, perfectly transparent, covered the pictures without in the least obscuring their delicate tints. In the back of the locket was an open space, within which, our relative said, was once laid, upon the ground of dark satin that still remained, a knot formed by two small locks of glossy, silken hair, one a light rose-tinged auburn, the other flaxen with a golden sheen. A glass covered these also.

After much persuasion our relative related to us the following


My father was an officer in the Continental army, and, soon after the war of our Revolution closed, returned to his former home in the city of Hartford, Conn., where he accepted an office of high municipal trust. He was moved by the generous impulses of his nature to a life of active benevolence; and when, in 1792-3, the Revolution in France drove thousands of her citizens to take refuge in our republic, none were more zealous and untiring than he in seeking out and providing for the unfortunate strangers. Every apartment in our spacious house was soon filled. Rooms were prepared in the carriage-house and barns for my brothers and the domestics of the household, while my sisters and myself took possession of a small room in the attic which had been a repository for the spare bedding, now called into use.

Among our guests was one lady who was distinguished by having a spacious room set apart for her sole use, and who seldom left it or mingled with her companions in misfortune and exile. Upon the rare occasions when she did appear briefly in their circle, it was striking to observe the ceremonious deference, amounting almost to veneration, with which she was received. Where or how my father found her I never knew; but his manner towards her was so profoundly respectful as to impress us all with feelings akin to fear in her presence. Yet these impressions were produced by the demeanor of others only; for on her own part there was not the slightest self-assertion or assumption of stateliness. Simple and unobtrusive as a child in her manners, she was indescribably affable to all; but her countenance wore an expression which, when once seen, could never be forgotten. More forcibly and clearly than words did it convey the story that some overwhelming deluge of calamity had swept from her life every vestige of earthly hope and joy. By no outward token did[262] she parade her griefs. Her dress, plain, even severe, in its perfect neatness and simplicity, displayed no mourning-badge, but her very smile was an intimate revelation of sorrow.

She was known by the title of “Madame,” though some of our guests would now and then add, when speaking of her in an undertone—not lost upon a small listener like myself—“la Comtesse.” Her waiting-maid, Celeste, was entirely devoted to her, and always served her slight and simple meals to her in her own room.

Soon after her arrival I was sent on some errand to madame’s apartment, and her agitation upon seeing me was a thing to be remembered for a lifetime. She drew me to her bosom, caressing me with many tears, suppressed sobs, and rapid exclamations in her own language. I learned afterwards from Celeste that I was of the same age and bore a striking resemblance in form and face to her daughter, who had been torn from her in the storm and turmoil of their escape. They had been rescued by a faithful servant, and hurried off, more dead than alive, in the fright, confusion, and uproar of a terrible outbreak in Paris, and had discovered, when too late, that her daughter had been separated from them and was missing. Their deliverer promised to make every possible effort to find the child, but Celeste had little hope; for she had heard from the servant of another lady, who escaped later—but had never told her mistress—that one of the women who daily watched the carts which conveyed the victims to the guillotine had averred that she was sure she saw the child among their number.

From the first I was a welcome visitor in the lady’s room. She encouraged me to pass all the time with her which could be spared from household duties; for in those days every child was required to perform a portion of these. The schools in Hartford were, for the most part, closed during that period, that the buildings might be devoted to the accommodation of the strangers, who requited the kindness by teaching the children of each household where they were entertained, daily. I was the chosen pupil of madame. She soon imparted sufficient knowledge of the French to give her instructions in her own language. Never was child blest with a more gentle and painstaking teacher! To a thorough course in the simple branches of study she added many delicate accomplishments then unknown in our country, and the most patient training in all matters connected with dress and deportment. After lessons she would hold long conversations with me, more profitable than the lessons themselves, awakening interest by suggestions and inquiries tending to form habits of thinking, as well as of acquiring knowledge. Then such wonderful fairy tales as she would relate! I used to listen perfectly entranced. Never have I heard in English any fairy lore that would compare with it. Translations we may have, but the fairy charm of the original is lost.

At that time the spirit of infidelity and atheism which laid the train for the horrors of the French Revolution prevailed widely in our own country. When too young to comprehend their import, I had often listened to warm discussions between my father, who was strongly tinctured with those opinions—while in politics he was an ultra-democrat—and my maternal grandfather, a[263] High-Churchman and Tory. The latter always insisted—and it was all I understood of their conversations—that it was impossible for a government founded upon popular unbelief and insubordination to stand. He was utterly hopeless for ours, not because it was democratic in form, but because the people no longer reverenced authority, had ceased to be imbued with the first principle of loyalty to God as Supreme Ruler, and to the “powers that be” as his appointed instruments. These subjects were themes of constant debate, and were treated with a warmth that commanded even the notice of children.

Some of our guests affected a gay and careless indifference to the claims of God and man that amounted to a rejection of both; others vehemently denounced all religion as a figment of priest-craft; while still another class met such questions with the solemnity arising from a conviction of the tremendous temporal and eternal interests which they involved.

It was refreshing to steal away from these evening debates in the drawing-room to the peaceful atmosphere of madame’s apartment. I frequently found her saying her beads, of which I knew nothing, only that they were exceedingly beautiful to the sight, and composed of very costly materials. I used to enter her room very quietly, and take my accustomed seat in silence, until her devotions were closed. Of her religion I knew no more than the name; but its evident influence upon every action of her life left an indelible impression upon my mind that it was a power above and beyond any of the prevailing forms around us. She never spoke expressly of her religion to me, but the purely Christian tone of her instructions upon all the duties of life, social and domestic, exemplified by her own conduct, proved abundantly that it was more than a mere sentiment or a name. I was too young at that time to reason upon these things, but, as I have said, they left an indelible impression, and, as life advanced, furnished food for many reveries which at length ripened into serious thought.

How the weary months must have dragged along for those exiled unfortunates! Yet the cheerfulness, even gayety, with which they endured their misfortunes and the torturing suspense of their position, was a matter of constant marvel to their New England friends. They watched the arrival of every ship from France with intense anxiety, and a renewal of grief and mourning was sure to follow the tidings it brought. Yet the polite amenities and courtesies of their daily life, which seemed a part of their nature, were never for a moment abated, and in the wildest storm of grief even the women never lost that exquisite sense of propriety which distinguishes their nation.

And so the time wore on until a certain memorable night in September, 1794. My father’s residence was situated upon an elevated street which commanded a wide view of the city and its environs. How well I remember standing with my sisters by the window of our attic dormitory, looking out upon the quiet city sleeping under the calm light of the harvest moon, on that never-to-be-forgotten night! The contemplation of the scene was too pleasant to be easily relinquished, and it was late before we could turn away from its fascinations to our rest. We were scarcely lost in sleep when we were awakened[264] suddenly by a thrilling shout in the street, accompanied by the wild huzzahs of an excited multitude. We hastened to the lower rooms, where we found the strangers gathered around the open windows, from which they were waving handkerchiefs, hats, and scarfs, and mingling their shouts with those of the throng outside.

In the street the city crier moved along in advance of the crowd, mounted on a tall white horse, and waving an immense banner. At every crossing he would pause and shout through a speaking-trumpet, “Rejoice! rejoice! Robespierre, the tyrant, has fallen! has fallen!” Then followed the jubilant cheers of the rapidly-increasing crowd. And so they passed on through every street in the city.

I sought madame’s apartment, and found her kneeling in the same reverent attitude of humble devotion with which I had so long been familiar. Strange to say, my first thought upon hearing the news so joyful to others was one of dismal apprehension, and my first emotion one of ineffable sadness! Quick as thought came the painful assurance to my heart that this was the signal for my final separation from the loving friend, the gentle teacher, to whom I had become inexpressibly attached. As she arose and extended her arms towards me, I threw myself into them, and, hiding my face in her bosom, gave way to a burst of uncontrollable grief. Words were not necessary to explain its cause. Understanding it at a glance, she caressed and soothed me with assurances of her undying love, and that she could never forget or cease to pray for the child whom heaven had appointed to be her dearest consolation under her great afflictions.

My apprehensions proved well founded. The same ship which brought tidings of the tyrant’s fall brought letters also to madame from faithful friends, urging her immediate return to France.

My father accompanied her to Boston, in order to make needful preparation for her departure on the next outward-bound vessel. I was thrown into such an agony of grief at the thought of parting with her that madame begged I might be permitted to go with them, urging that the change of scene and a visit to relatives in Boston might divert my thoughts and soothe the bitter anguish of my young heart. He consented, and, when we reached the city, he left us at the house of his sister, where I found my cousins all engaged preparing for an examination and exhibition which was to take place the next day to close the term of the school they were attending, on the same street and near by.

They insisted that I should go with them, and madame dressed me in a white muslin with a blue sash. She then hung the locket you so much admire, suspended from a delicate gold chain, around my neck, and I set off with my cousins.

We found the girls grouped together in great glee, awaiting the opening exercises. In the centre of the group was a fair and graceful girl, near my own age and size, with a large basket containing bouquets of flowers arranged with admirable taste, which the girls were purchasing for themselves and to decorate the school-room.

My cousins replied to my questions about the young stranger: “Oh! we call her the little flower girl. She lives with a farmer just out of the city. The family are very fond of her, and he gives her[265] a little place in the garden to cultivate flowers, and lets her come with him on market days to sell them for herself in the city. She heard of what was going on here, and thought this would be a good market for her bouquets; and so it has been, for she has sold them all.”

For some reason I could not turn my eyes from the child. There seemed to be a mutual fascination which drew us together, and I observed she was looking intently and with much emotion at the locket I wore. I asked her why she was so much interested in it. She answered with a slight French accent: “My mamma had such a locket, and all the ladies of the queen’s household wore them.”

“And where is your mamma?” I inquired.

“Alas! I do not know if she is living. I lost her in a great crowd in the streets of Paris, and was so frightened at the horrors around me that I remember nothing until I found myself on board the ship which brought me here. How I came there I never knew. The kind-hearted farmer with whom I live was on the wharf when we landed, and, in great pity for my bewildering loneliness and grief, took me to his home, where I have since received every attention and sympathy.”

Almost sinking under agitation, I turned to my cousins, who had been too much occupied with their own affairs to notice us, and faintly gasped: “She is, she must be, the daughter for whom madame mourns!”

At the bare suggestion all else was forgotten! There was an impetuous huddling of our electrified companions around the bewildered little stranger, and a petition that the school exercises might be delayed until they could escort her to my aunt and learn whether my conjecture was true. So great was their excitement that it was useless to deny the request, and we led our heroine off with hasty steps.

On the way we decided that my aunt should break the matter gently to madame, and introduce the child to her in her room.

There was no need of an introduction! The moment their eyes met the exclamations “Antoinette!” “Mamma!” burst from their lips, and my aunt left them locked in a close embrace. The scene was too sacred for intrusion!

The news flew with the speed of the wind, and there were great rejoicings far and near over the timely discovery brought about by means of the locket, which madame bestowed upon me (after removing the knot of hair, too precious, as a relic of her lamented queen and the Princess Elizabeth, to be relinquished) in memory of this joyful event, and as a souvenir of the beloved friend and teacher with whom I had passed so many happy and profitable hours.

Soon after the reunion of the mother and child they sailed for France, and I returned with my father to a home which was now bereft of a charm that could never be replaced or restored. But my sympathy with their joy was too sincere to be chilled by selfish regrets.

During my father’s stay in Boston he made some final arrangements connected with a large territory of wild lands which he had received from the government in partial requital of his services in the army.

To that distant wilderness he removed his family immediately after our return. The absence of mail[266] communication with such remote districts, in those days, was doubtless the reason why we never received further tidings from one who had placed us among the favored few that “have entertained angels unawares.”

In the loneliness of my forest home, and through a long life marked by many changes and sorrows, I have cherished grateful memories of the early lessons I received from her lips, and they have proved, through their influence upon my religious and moral being, a legacy far more precious than a thousand caskets of gold and precious stones.


The present sacrilegious invaders of Rome have done much to change the religious aspect of the city, and obliterate every trace of the influence of the popes upon the charities once so liberally thrown open to the people of every clime and color. In the true spirit of modern “progress,” philanthropy has usurped the place of charity, and the state, taking possession of institutions founded and hitherto directed in many points by the church, banishes her as far from them as possible. It may be interesting to pass in review some of those magnificent charities which sprang up and flourished so long under pontifical protection, but which have lately either been violently suppressed or are fast disappearing under the difficulties of the political situation. We will write of these charities as they existed in 1869, which was the last year during the whole of which the papal government had control of them. In that year an English Protestant writer, long resident in Rome, was obliged by the clearness of facts to tell his readers that “few cities in Europe are so distinguished for their institutions of public charity as Rome, and in none are the hospitals more magnificently lodged or endowed with more princely liberality. The annual endowments of these establishments are no less than 258,390 scudi, derived from lands and houses, from grants, and from the papal treasury.”

When S. Peter entered Rome for the first time, and looked upon the miserable condition of those to whom the favors of fortune were denied, he recalled to mind the words addressed to his forefathers about to enter into the promised land: “There shall be no poor nor beggar among you: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in the land which he giveth thee to possess” (Deut. xv. 4), and saw before him one of the greatest obstacles to be overcome—involving a change of what was second nature to the Romans (hardness of heart), they being, as S. Paul wrote (Rom. i. 31), “without affection, without mercy”—but knowing that it was also said in the same holy text “Poor will not be wanting in the land: therefore I command thee to open thy hand to thy needy and poor brother,” and having heard the blessed Lord Jesus[267] say of the new dispensation, “The poor ye have always with you,” he understood that God’s object was not to forbid mendicity, but to leave no room for it. Therefore to the rich and powerful, when brought by grace to his apostolic feet, he enjoined: “Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the needy and the harborless into thy house” (Isaias lviii. 7). The faith of the Roman Christians was illustrious throughout the world, and so was their charity. From the days of S. Peter it had been customary to take up collections on Sundays in all the congregations of the city for the relief of the confessors condemned to labor in the public mines and other works, or languishing in prison, or wandering in exile; and Eusebius has preserved in his Ecclesiastical History (lib. iv. cap. 23) the testimony of Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth (161-192), in favor of the long-established charitable institutions of the Romans, and in praise, at the same time, of the piety of his contemporary, Pope S. Soter, who not only retained these customs of his people, but surpassed them in sending money to the Christians of other parts of the world, and in receiving, as though they were his own children, all faithful pilgrims to Rome. In the year 236 Pope S. Fabian gave charge of the poor of Rome to seven deacons each of whom superintended two of the fourteen civil divisions or regions, whence they were called regionary deacons. A memorial of their occupation still remains in the dalmatic, or deacon’s vestment, the wide sleeves of which served originally for pockets; and Pope Innocent III., in his treatise on the Mass, remarks that this kind of dress is attributed to deacons because, in the first institution of their order, the distribution of alms was assigned to them. A council of the IVth century, held under Pope Sylvester, decreed that one-fourth part of the church revenues should be set apart for the poor. S. Jerome attests in one of his letters that a noble matron named Fabiola erected a hospital in the year 400; and about the same time S. Gallicanus, a man of consular dignity, who had also been honored with a triumph, becoming a Christian, founded a similar institution at the mouth of the Tiber for the accommodation of pilgrims and of the sick. He waited upon them in person. In 1869 Rome had a population of about 220,000 inhabitants, and, although the climate is not unhealthy, it is hardly one of the most salubrious in the world. The low land upon which a great part of the modern city is built; the turbid Tiber, which, passing through it in a winding course, is apt to overflow its banks; the open position of the city, which is exposed, according to the season, either to the sultry African wind or to the piercing blasts from the neighboring mountains; and the large floating population, which is everywhere a likely subject of disease, combine to make it desirable that Rome should be well provided with institutions of succor and relief. While under papal rule, she was not wanting in this respect, but was even abundantly and excellently supplied.

Man, being composed of spirit and matter, having consequently a soul and a body to look after, has wants of two kinds, corresponding to the twofold claims of his nature. We should therefore divide the charities man is capable of receiving into two classes. He received them in Rome with a generous[268] hand. The first class comprehended relief to the indigent, the sick, the destitute, the insane, the convalescent; possessed hospitals and asylums, brought aid into private families, opened nocturnal retreats, offered work to the honest needy, gave marriage portions to the nubile, shielded widows, protected orphans, advanced money on the easiest terms. These were charities of subsistence. The second class embraced poor schools and other establishments for gratuitous education in trades, arts, and sciences, conservatories for the exposed, hospices for the reformed, and made provision for the legal defence of the weak. These were called charities of education.

There were two institutions in Rome that assisted the poor before they had fallen into misery or become destitute. These were the Monte di Pietà and the savings-bank. The first was a bank of loan and deposit. The idea of such an institution was suggested by a pious and shrewd Franciscan, named Barnabas of Terni, who was painfully struck, during a mission he was giving in Perugia in the year 1462, by the enormous usury (a crime then practised almost exclusively by Jews) which the poor were forced to pay for any advance of money they might need. This practical friar prevailed upon several wealthy persons to mass sums of money into one fund, out of which to lend to the poor at a reasonable (and in some cases merely nominal) rate of interest. Hence the distinctive name of Monte di Pietà, which means literally mountain of mercy. The Roman Monte was the third institution of the sort that was opened. This was in the year 1539. It was to lend money up to a certain amount without taking interest; above this amount for a very small interest. It was to take articles on pawn, and give the appraised value, less one-third. Over $100,000 used, under the papal government, to be annually loaned out on pawns or otherwise without one cent of interest. This establishment occupied a superb public building, and was under the control of the Minister of Finance. Honest visitors were freely admitted into every part of it; and we have heard many (even hard-fisted) English and Americans express themselves surprised, if not satisfied, with this reasonable and conscientious manner of saving the poor from the gripe of usurers and pawn-brokers, while imposing enough restraint to discourage improvidence. No hope was held out of indiscriminate relief. Looking at the Monte in an antiquarian light, it was a perfect museum of modern life, and to go through it was as good as visiting a hundred consolidated old curiosity-shops. Its administration employed, including a detachment of the Swiss Guard, one hundred persons. The capital, which consisted of every kind of property that at various periods and from many benefactors had come to it, was about three million dollars. The most orthodox political economists acknowledge that institutions of this sort were devised only as a lesser evil; and consequently the Roman government was glad to see the business of the Monte fall away considerably after the opening of the savings-bank in 1836. This was a charitable institution, because it was governed gratuitously by an administration of eleven honest and intelligent men, among whom were some of the first nobility, who thus gave a portion of their time and[269] talents to the poor. The cashier, Prince Borghese, gave, besides his services, a part of his magnificent palace to be turned into offices for the business transactions of the bank.

The Apostolic Almonry in the Vatican next claimed our attention in the quiet days of the Pope. From the earliest period the vicars of Christ have made it a practice to visit in person the poor, and distribute alms with their own hands, in love and imitation of Him who “went about doing good.” As the wealth of the church in Rome increased, it was found necessary for the better ordering of things to have some administrative assistance in the distribution of these private charities. S. Conon I., in the VIIth century, employed the arch-priest Paschal to dispense the bounty of the privy purse; and in the year 1271 Blessed Gregory X. created the perpetual office of grand almoner in the papal court. This officer is always an archbishop in partibus, and lives under the same roof as the Holy Father, in order to be ready at all times to receive his commands. Besides the many standing largitions issued from the Grand Almonry, there were occasional ones, such as the largess of $300 which was distributed in the great court-yard of Belvidere on each anniversary of the Pope’s coronation. This sum was doubled the first year. On each of the following civil or religious festivals, Christmas, Easter, and Coronation day, $165 were divided among a certain number of the best-behaved prisoners confined in Rome. About $650 a month were paid out either at the word of the sovereign or on his order; while a sum of $2,000 was annually divided among one hundred poor families. Besides this, the Grand Almonry supported a number of free schools, dispensed food and medicines, and performed many acts of more secret charity. A memorial of the earlier personal distribution of alms by the popes is retained in the Succinctorium, which they wear in solemn pontificals. It is an ornament of silk of the color of the feast, fringed with gold, and suspended down the left side from the girdle. On Good Friday the succinctory is not worn, in execration of the evil use Judas Iscariot made of the purse when he betrayed our Lord for thirty pieces of silver.

Another of the great charities of Rome was the Commission of Subsidies established by Pope Leo XII., in 1826, to give assistance and employment to poor but honest people, willing to help themselves if they could find the opportunity. The whole tendency of Roman charities under the popes was to frown upon sloth and vagrancy, and encourage self-reliance and mutual support; for S. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians (2, iii. 10): “If any man will not work, neither let him eat.” The commission received a yearly subsidy from government of $88,500. In each of the fourteen rioni or wards of the city a physician, surgeon, pharmacist, and midwife rendered gratuitous services under its control. It was by the judicious employment of such men, thrown on the hands of the commission, that within the last thirty years so much was done in making excavations in and about Rome in search of antiquities and in studying its ancient topography. We have sometimes heard English and American sight-seers make brutal remarks about “those dirty, lazy Romans,” as they would stop a moment to look at some party of these poor[270] fellows taking their work so easily in the Forum, on the Palatine, or elsewhere; but we should rather applaud the paternal government that refrained from calling poverty a crime or driving the poor and weak to their work like galley-slaves; and while contributing a generous support, gave them enough to do to save their self-respect.

No such thing as work-houses, in the English sense, have ever been maintained where Catholic influences have predominated; and for this we may thank God.

Another category of Roman charities comprised the confraternities. These associations for purposes of piety and mutual help convey in their name the idea of brotherliness and union. There were no fewer than ninety-one confraternities in Rome under the popes. The oldest and most famous of these was the Annunciation, which was founded in 1460 by the Dominican Cardinal John Torquemada, in Santa Maria-in-Minerva, the head church of his order in Rome.[96] Its particular object was to give portions to poor but virtuous young females, that they might either marry or enter a religious house if they had a vocation. On the 25th of March, Lady-day, the pope, cardinals, and prelates, with the rest of the court, used to assist at Mass in that church, and preside at the distribution of dowers which followed immediately. The girls were always dressed in plain white; such as had signified their choice of the heavenly Spouse being distinguished by a wreath on the head. On this occasion the pontiff gave one hundred golden scudi, and each cardinal present gave one, to the funds of the confraternity. There were fourteen other confraternities that had the same object, although carried out with less solemnity. In this way $42,000 used to be expended annually.

The Confraternity of the Twelve Apostles made it a special point to find out and relieve in a delicate manner those who, having known better days, were fallen into reduced circumstances. The Confraternity of Prayer and Death buried the dead; and if an accident in or about Rome was reported in which life was lost, a party was detailed to go and bring the body in decently for Christian burial. Sometimes a poor herdsman on the Campagna had been gored by an ox, or some fellow had been swept away and drowned in the Tiber, or perhaps a reaper been prostrated by the heat; at whatever hour of the day or night, and at all seasons, a band of this confraternity went out, and returned carrying the unfortunate person on a stretcher upon their shoulders. It must be remarked in this connection that the members of the confraternity always observed the laws concerning deaths of this kind, not interfering with, but merely placing themselves at the disposal of, the officers of justice, to give a body burial at their own expense and in consecrated ground. The Confraternity of Pity for Prisoners was founded in 1575 by Father John Tallier, a French Jesuit. It provided religious instruction for prisoners, distributed objects of piety among them, looked after their families if destitute, and assisted them to pay their debts and fines if they had any. The Confraternity of S. John Baptist was composed exclusively of Florentines and the[271] descendants of Florentines. Its object was to comfort and assist to the last, criminals condemned to death. As decapitation was the mode of judicial punishment, S. John Baptist, who was slain by Herod, was their patron, and his head on a charger the arms of the confraternity. Although there were so many confraternities and other pious associations in Rome, connected by their object with institutions of every kind, sanitary, corrective, etc., they were very careful never to interfere with the regulations of such establishments; and consequently, by minding their own business, they were not in the way of the officials, but, on the contrary, were looked upon as valuable assistants. The Society of S. Vincent of Paul was started in Rome in 1842 by the late venerable Father de Ravignan, S.J. It counted twenty-eight conferences and one thousand active members, clergy and laymen, titled folks and trades-people all working harmoniously together. About $2,100 was annually dispensed by the society. The Congregation of Ladies was founded in 1853 by Monsignor—now Cardinal—Borromeo to give work, especially needle-work, to young women out of employment. A great many ecclesiastical vestments were thus made under the direction of the ladies, and either sent as presents to poor missions, or sold, for what they would bring, at the annual fair held for the purpose of disposing of them.

There were seven public hospitals in Rome, under the immediate direction of a general board of administration composed of twelve members, of whom three belonged to the clergy and the rest to the laity. The oldest, largest, and best-appointed institution of this kind was Santo Spirito, situated in the Leonine quarter of the city, on the border of the Tiber. Its site has been occupied by a charitable institution ever since A.D. 728; the earliest building having been founded there for his countrymen by Ina, King of Wessex. For this reason the whole pile of buildings is called Santo Spirito in Saxiai.e., in the quarter of the (West) Saxons. There are three distinct establishments under the administration of Santo Spirito—viz., the hospital itself, the Foundling Hospital, and the Lunatic Asylum. The first was founded by Pope Innocent III. in 1198, the Saxons having abandoned this locality for a more central position—the present S. Thomas-of-the-English. It has received since then many additions, until it has assumed the enormous proportions that we now admire. Every improvement was made to keep pace with the advance of hygienic knowledge. This hospital was for men only. It had 1,616 beds and an annual average of 14,000 patients. The wards were twelve in number, in which the cleanliness was refreshing, the ventilation excellent, and the water-supply pure and abundant. The principal parts of the exterior, and some of the interior parts of the building, were by distinguished architects; while some of the wards had their ceilings and upper walls painted in fresco with scenes from Sacred Scripture, such as the sufferings of Job and the miraculous cures made by our Lord. Not only the eye but the ear too of the poor patients was pleased; for three times a week they were entertained with organ music from a lofty choir erected at one end of the largest wards. The spiritual care of the sick was perfect; it was impossible for any one to die without the rites[272] of the church. In the centre of every ward there was a fixed altar, upon which Mass was said daily. The Confraternity of Santo Spirito, composed of clergy and laymen, assisted the regular ministers of religion in attendance day and night. These volunteers brought flowers to the patients, read to them, prepared them for confession and other sacraments, and disposed them to die a good death, besides performing for them the most menial services.

We remember to have read a letter addressed to the New York Post by an eminent Protestant clergyman of New York, in which, after describing this institution (then under papal rule), he said that he could not speak too highly of the excellent attendance the patients received from the kind-hearted religious who were stationed there, and added that if ever he had to come to a hospital, he hoped it would be Santo Spirito. The Foundling Hospital was opened by Pope Innocent III.; and the Lunatic Asylum, for both sexes, was founded in 1548 by three Spaniards, a priest and two laymen. It was called the House of Our Lady of Mercy. A fine garden on the Janiculum Hill was attached to it for the recreation of the patients. We do not know how it is conducted since it has changed hands, but formerly it was managed on the system of kindness towards even the fiercest madmen, using only so much restraint as was positively necessary. It was then under the care of religious. The Hospital of the Santissimo Salvatore, near St. John of Lateran, was founded in 1236 by a Cardinal Colonna. It was for women only. Another Cardinal Colonna founded the Hospital of S. James, for incurables, in 1339. Our Lady of Consolation was a fine hospital near the Forum for the maimed and wounded; while San Gallicano, on the other side of the river, was for fevers and skin-diseases. San Rocco was a small lying-in hospital, with accommodation for 26 women. It was founded at the beginning of the XVIIth century by a Cardinal Salviati. The most delicate precautions were always used there to save any sense of honor that might still cling to a victim of frailty. Guilt could at least blush unnoticed. The Santissima Trinità was founded by S. Philip Neri for convalescents of both sexes and for poor pilgrims. It could lodge 488 patients, had beds for 500 pilgrims, and table-room for 900. In the great refectory of this building the members of the confraternity came on every Holy Thursday evening to wash the feet of the pilgrims and wait on them at table. Of course the two sexes were in different parts of the building, and each was attended by its own. We remember the delightful ardor with which the late Cardinal Barnabo on such occasions would turn up his sleeves, twitch his apron, and, going down on his knees, give some poor man’s feet a better washing than they had had before in a year. There was much raising of soap-suds in that wooden tub, and a real, earnest kiss on one foot when the washing was over. The Hospital of S. John Calabyta was so called from a Spaniard, the founder of the Brothers of Charity (commonly called the Benfratelli), who attended it. It was opened in 1581, on the island of the Tiber; and by a coincidence then perhaps unknown, but since fully brought to light, it stood on the very site of an asclepium which the priests of Esculapius kept near their god’s temple two thousand years ago. The Hospital[273] of Santa Galla was founded in 1650 by the princely Odescalchi family. It gave a night asylum to homeless men. There were 224 beds, distributed through nine dormitories. Another night refuge, called S. Aloysius, was founded about the year 1730 by Father Galluzzi, a Florentine Jesuit. It is for women. We can get some idea of the great charity such refuges are when we know that during the year ending December, 1869, no less than 135,000 persons sought a resting-place at night in the station-houses of New York. Besides these public hospitals, almost every Catholic country had a private national one. One of the picturesque and not least of the Roman charities used to be the daily distribution of food at the gates of monasteries, convents, and nunneries, the portals of palaces, and the doors of seminaries, colleges, and boarding-schools.

With all this liberality, there was still some room for hand-alms. There used to be beggars in Rome; assassins have taken their place. Under the papal government a limit was put to beggary, and we have never seen the sturdy beggar who figures so maliciously in some Protestant books about Rome. Beggary may become an evil; it is not a crime. We confess to liking beggars if they are not too numerous and importunate. Few scenes have seemed to us more venerable, picturesque, and Christian than the double row of beggars, with their sores and crippled limbs, their sticks and battered hats and outstretched hands, imploring per è amore di Dio, as we pass between them to the church or cemetery or other holy place on feast-day afternoons in Rome.

The Hospice of San Michele was founded in 1686 by a Cardinal Odescalchi. In this asylum nearly 800 persons used to be received. They were divided into four classes—old men, old women, boys, and girls. The institution had an annual endowment of $52,000; but some years ago the aged of both sexes were removed elsewhere, and their part of the building was converted into a house of correction for women and juvenile offenders. The hospice, in its strict sense, now consists of a House of Industry for children of both sexes, and a gratuitous school of the industrial and fine arts. The carping author of Murray’s Hand-book (1869), although he acknowledges that this school of arts has produced some eminent men, says that “the education of the boys might be turned, perhaps, to more practically useful objects!” As if, forsooth, it were a lesser charity, in the great home of the arts that Rome is, to help a poor lad of talent to become an architect, for instance, than to make him a tailor! The orphan asylum of Saint Mary of the Angels was near the Baths of Diocletian. The boys numbered 450, under the care of male religious, and the girls 500, under that of female religious. The institution received annually $38,000 from the Commission of Subsidies. In the same quarter of the city is the Deaf and Dumb Asylum. It was opened in 1794 by Father Silvestri, who had been sent to Paris by Pope Pius VI. to receive instruction from the celebrated Abbé de l’Epée in the art of teaching this class of unfortunates. Visitors to the house are made welcome, and are often invited to test the knowledge of the pupils by asking them questions on the blackboard. The first time we called there was in 1862, and, having asked one of the boys, taken at hazard,[274] who was the first President of the United States, we were a little surprised (having thought to puzzle him) to have the correct answer at once. The House of Converts was an establishment where persons who wished to become Catholics were received for a time and instructed in the faith. It was founded in 1600 by a priest of the Oratory. Other interesting hospices were the Widows’ Home and the House for Aged Priests, where the veterans of the Roman clergy could end their days in honorable comfort. A peculiar class of Roman charities were the conservatories. They were twenty-three in number. Some of them were for penance, others for change of life, and others again to shield unprotected virtue. The Infant Asylum was a flourishing institution directed by female religious. Even fashion was made to do something for it, since a noble lady years ago suggested that the members of good society in Rome should dispense with their mutual New Year visits on condition of giving three pauls (a small sum of money) to the asylum, and having their names published in the official journal.

The Society for the Propagation of the Faith was established at Rome in 1834. No city of the size and population of Rome was better supplied with free schools of every description. The night-schools were first opened in 1819. In connection with studies we should mention the liberal presents of books, vestments, and liturgical articles made to young missionaries by the Propaganda, and the books on learned subjects, which, being printed at government expense, were sold at a reduced price to students of every nation on showing a certificate from one of their professors.

It is written (Matthew iv. 4), “Man liveth not by bread alone”; and consequently Rome multiplied those pious houses of retreat in which the soul could rest for a time from the cares of life. There were five such establishments in the city. Another great Roman charity was the missions preached by the Jesuits and Franciscans in and around the city, thus bringing the truths of the Gospel constantly before the people. We have given but a brief sketch of our subject. It has been treated in a complete manner by Cardinal Morichini in a new and revised edition of his interesting work entitled Degl’ Istituti di Pubblica Carità ed istruzione primaria e delle prigioni in Roma.



When in the long and lonely night
That brings no slumber to mine eyes,
Through dark returns the vision bright,
The face and form that day denies,
And, like a solitary star
Revealed above a stormy sea,
Thy spirit soothes me from afar,
I mourn thee not, nor weep for thee.
And when I watch the dawn afar
Awake her sleeping sister night,
And overhead the dying star
Return into her parent light,
And in the breaking day discern
The glimmer of eternity,
The goal, the peace, for which I yearn,
I mourn thee not, nor weep for thee.
And when the melancholy eve
Brings back the hour akin to tears,
And through the twilight I perceive
The settled, strong, abiding spheres,
And gently on my heart opprest
Like dew descending silently,
There falls a portion of thy rest,
I mourn thee not, nor weep for thee.
But when once more the stir of life
Makes all these busy highways loud,
And fretted by the jarring strife,
The noisy humors of the crowd,
The subtle, sweet suggestions born
Of silence fail, and memory
Consoles no more, I mourn, I mourn
That thou art not, and weep for thee.



“How do you like your new minister, Mrs. B.?”

“Very much indeed! He is progressive—is not fixed in any of the old grooves. His mind does not run in those ancient ruts that forbid advance and baffle modern thought.”

How strangely this colloquy between a Methodist and Congregationalist fell upon the Catholic ear of their mutual friend! Comment, however, was discreetly forborne. That friend had learned in the very infancy of a Catholic life, beginning at the mature age of thirty-five by the register, the futility of controversy, and that the pearls of truth are too precious to be carelessly thrown away. Strangely enough these expressions affected one whose habits of thought and conduct had been silently forming in accordance with that life for twenty-five years!

“Old grooves” indeed! Lucifer found them utterly irreconcilable with his “advanced ideas” in heaven. Confessedly, the success of his progressive enterprise was not encouraging; but the battle and its results established his unquestionable claim as captain and leader of the sons and daughters of progress for all time.

“Modern thought!” So far as we can discover, the best it has done for its disciples is to prove to them beyond a doubt that their dear grandpapa of eld was an ape, and that they, when they shake off this mortal coil, will be gathered to their ancestors in common with their brethren, the modern monkeys!

We, who believe the authentic history of the past, can see in this boasted new railroad, upon which the freight of modern science and advanced civilization is borne, a pathway as old as the time when our dear, credulous old grandmamma received a morning call in Eden from the oldest brother of these scientific gentlemen, who convinced her in the course of their pleasant chat that poor deluded Adam and herself were fastened in the most irrational rut—a perfect outrage upon common sense—and that a very slight repast upon “advanced ideas” would lift them out of it, emancipate thought, and make them as “gods knowing good and evil.”

We all know how well they succeeded in their first step on the highway of progress. They lost a beautiful garden, it is true, of limited dimensions, but they gained a world of boundless space, and a freedom of thought and action which was first successfully and completely illustrated by their first-born son when he murmured, “Why?” and killed his brother, who was evidently attached to grooves.

They left the heritage thus gained to a large proportion of their descendants. A minority of them, it is true, prefer to “seek out the old paths” of obedience to the commands of God, “and walk therein”—to shun the “broad road” along which modern civilization is rolling its countless throngs, and to “enter in at the strait gate” which leadeth to life eternal, to the great disgust of the disciples[277] of modern thought, who spare no effort to prove their exceeding liberality by persecuting such with derision, calumny, chains, imprisonment, and death!

Thank God this is all they can do! Rage they never so furiously, He that sitteth in the heavens laughs them to scorn. He will defend and preserve his anointed against all the combined hosts of Bismarcks, kaisers, and robber princes, who illustrate the liberal ideas that govern the march of modern civilization.


It has been said of our energetic republic that it had no infancy; that it sprang into a vigorous and complete existence at a bound. However true this may be with respect to its material structure in the hands of the remarkable men who first planted colonies on American soil, there is another view of the picture which presents widely different features.

To the eye of the Christian philosopher the religious and moral aspects of our country to this day afford subjects for anything but satisfactory reflection.

The pioneers of civilization along the northeastern borders of our territory were—whatever their professions to the contrary may have been—worshippers of material prosperity. The worship of God and the claims of religion were indeed important and proper in their place for a portion of the seventh part of each week, but the moment they came in conflict with Mammon there was little question which should yield. It was not to be expected that the saints whom the Lord had specially chosen, and unto whom “He had given the earth,” should be diverted from their pursuit of the great “main chance” by precepts which were applicable only to ordinary and less favored mortals.

Whatever progress the church has yet achieved in this region is the result of appalling labors and sacrifices. The foundation was laid in sufferings, fatigues, and perils, from the contemplation of which the self-indulgent Christians of our day would shrink aghast; laid long before the so-called Pilgrim fathers landed at Plymouth, while the savage still roamed through the unbroken forests of New England, and disputed dominion with wild beasts hardly more dangerous than himself to the messengers of the Gospel of peace. Amid the wonderful beauty and variety of the panorama which her mountains, lakes, and valleys unfold to the tourists and pleasure-seekers of to-day, there is scarcely a scene that has not been traversed in weariness, in hunger, and cold by those dauntless servants of God who first proclaimed the tidings of salvation to the wild children of the forest.

Futile, and even foolish, as the toils of these early fathers may appear to the materialist and utilitarian of this day, because of their tardy and apparently inadequate fruits, the designs of Heaven have[278] not been frustrated, and its light reveals a very different history. We read therein how He who causes “the weak and foolish things of this world to confound the wise” and to proclaim his praise, sent his ministering angels to hover over the pathway moistened with the tears and blood of his servants, to note each footprint through the dreary wilderness, to gather the incense of each prayer, and to mark each pain and peril of their sacrificial march for record in the archives of eternity, as an earnest for future good to those regions, and as enduring testimony before the high court of heaven to their fitness for the crown—far surpassing in glory all earthly crowns—which they won by their burning zeal and unwavering patience.

Nor were their efforts in the field of their earthly labors so vain as some of our modern historians would have us suppose. Prayer and exertion in the service of God are never fruitless. If it is true—as the great Champlain was wont to say—“that one soul gained for heaven was of more value than the conquest of an empire for France,” they gained from the roving tribes of the desert many sincere and steadfast adherents to the faith—whose names are recorded in the book of life—and scattered benedictions along their painful pathway which have shed their beneficent influences over the scenes they traversed down to the present day. We hope to illustrate and sustain this assertion in the following sketch, drawn from our memory, of traditions—preserved among the Indians of St. Regis—to which we listened many years ago.

Scattered along the southern shores of the St. Lawrence, from the foot of Lake Ontario to the village of St. Regis—while St. Lawrence County, N.Y., was yet for the most part covered with primitive forests—were many encampments of these Indians. That whole region abounded in game and furnished favorite hunting-grounds, to which they claimed a right in connection with their special reservation in the more immediate neighborhood of St. Regis. At each of these encampments an aged Indian was sure to be found, who, without the title of chief, was a kind of patriarch among his younger brethren, exercised great influence in their affairs, and was treated with profound respect by them. He was their umpire in all disputes, their adviser in doubtful matters, and the “leader of prayer” in his lodge—always the largest and most commodious of the wigwams, and the one in which they assembled for their devotions.

One of the oldest of these sages—called “Captain Simon”—must have been much more than a hundred years of age, judging from the dates of events of which he retained a distinct remembrance as an eye-witness, and which occurred in the course of the French and Indian wars, over a century previous to the time when we listened to his recital. His head was an inexhaustible store-house of traditions and legends, many of them relating to the discovery and settlement of Canada and the labors of the first missionaries. He was very fond of young people, and, gathering the children of the white settlers around him, he would hold them spell-bound for hours while he related stories of those early days in his peculiarly impressive and figurative language. He claimed that his grandfather was one of the party who accompanied Champlain[279] on his first voyage through the lake which bears his name, and that he afterwards acted as guide and interpreter to the first priest who visited the valley of Lake Champlain. When he heard that we were from Vermont, he asked for a piece of chalk, and, marking on the floor an outline of the lake and the course of the Richelieu River, he proceeded to narrate the voyage of Champlain and his party in the summer of 1609.

Embosomed within the placid waters of Lake Champlain, near its northern extremity, is a lovely island, of which Vermonters boast as the “Gem of the Lake,” so remarkable is it for beauty and fertility. Here the party landed, and Champlain, erecting a cross, claimed the lake—to which he gave his own name—its islands and shores, for France and for Christianity. Half a century later one La Motte built a fort upon this island, which he named St. Anne, giving the island his own name; and it is called the Isle La Motte to this day.

Champlain explored the lake as far as Crown Point, where they encountered and defeated a band of Iroquois Indians; but not deeming it wise to adventure further at that time so near such powerful foes, they returned down the lake without delay. This encounter was the first act of that savage drama which so long desolated New France, and threatened it with entire destruction.

Six years later, in the summer of 1615, another party landed on the Isle La Motte. It was made up of a missionary of the Recollect Order and his escort of Indians in two bark canoes. The grandfather of our narrator was one of these. They remained a day or two on the island, and the missionary offered the Christian sacrifice for the first time within the territory now embraced by the State of Vermont.[97]

The object of his journey was to visit scattered bands of hunters who were encamped along the eastern shore of the lake and its vicinity, at different points in the valley of Lake Champlain.

Leaving the Isle La Motte, they steered for the mouth of the Missisque River, which they navigated up to the first falls, where the village of Swanton now stands. Here they found a flourishing encampment, and remained some days for the purpose of instructing the Indians in the truths of Christianity. The missionary found that some dim reports of the Christian teachers had preceded him, and prepared the way for his work, the success of which encouraged and consoled him.

From that place they proceeded on foot for some miles to the base of a line of hills, sketched by the narrator, and corresponding to those east of St. Alban’s. Here they also remained several days, the reverend father toiling early and late in the duties of his vocation. He was now surrounded by a crowd of eager listeners; for not only did his former audience accompany him, but a goodly number from the surrounding hills and from Bellamaqueau and Maquam Bays—distant three and five miles respectively—flocked to hear his instructions and to be taught “The Prayer” revealed to them by the Great Spirit through his servant.

Here they brought to him also[280] the beautiful Indian maiden, of whom her race cherish the legend that her declining health led her people to bring her to these hills, hoping the change from the low lands and damp atmosphere of her home to the bracing mountain air might prove beneficial. Instead of finding relief, she only declined the more rapidly, so that she was soon unable to be carried back. She, too, had heard whispers of holy men who had come to teach her race the path of heaven, and wistfully she had sighed daily, as she repeated the yearning aspiration: “Oh! if the Great Spirit would but let me see and listen to his messenger, I could die in peace!”

The Indians, to this day, tell with what joy she listened to his words; how eagerly she prayed that she might receive the regenerating waters; how, when they were poured upon her head, her countenance became bright with the light of heaven; and how her departure soon after was full of joy and peace. Her burial-place was made on one of those eastern hills. It was the first Christian burial for one of her race in Vermont, and her people thought her intercessions would not fail to bring down blessings upon all that region.

Pursuing their journey by the trail of those who had preceded them through the dense wilderness—for our aborigines were skilled in tracing lines of communication between their different camps with extreme directness by aid of their close observations of nature—the party arrived at another camp on the bank of a river discovered by Champlain, and named by him the Lamoille.

At this place an Indian youth came to the missionary in great distress. His young squaw was lying at the point of death, and the medicine men and women could do nothing more for her. Would not “The Prayer” restore her? Oh! if it would give her back to him, he, with all his family, would gratefully embrace it! The reverend father went to her, and, when he found she desired it, baptized her and her new-born infant in preparation for the death which seemed inevitable. Contrary to all expectation, she recovered. Her husband and his family, together with her father’s family, afterwards became joyful believers.

After some days the Indians of that place accompanied the party in canoes to the lake and along its shores to the mouth of the Winooski River, which they ascended as far as the first falls. Here they remained many days, during which time the missionary visited the present site of Burlington, and held two missions there—one at a camp on the summit of a hill overlooking the valley of the Winooski as it approaches the lake, and one near the lake shore.

If Vermonters who are familiar with the magnificent scenery which surrounds the “queen city” of their State never visit the place without being filled with new admiration at the infinite variety and beauty of the pictures it unfolds from every changing point of view, we may imagine how strangers must be impressed who gaze upon them for the first time. Not less picturesque, and if possible even more striking, were its features when, crowned by luxuriant native forests and fanned by gentle breezes from the lake, it reposed within the embrace of that glorious amphitheatre of hills, in the undisturbed tranquillity of nature. It was not strange that the natives were drawn[281] by its unparalleled attractions to congregate there in such numbers as to require from their reverend visitor a longer time than he gave to any other place in this series of missions.

In the course of three months the party had traversed the eastern border of the lake to the last encampment near its southern extremity. This was merely a summer camp, as the vicinity of the Iroquois made it unsafe to remain there longer than through that portion of the season when the Mohawks and their confederates were too busy with their own pursuits among the hills of the Adirondacks to give much heed to their neighbors. At the close of the mission this camp was broken up for that season, and its occupants joined the reverend father and his party in canoes as far as the mouth of the Winooski River, whence men were sent to convey them to the starting-point at Swanton, where their own canoes were left.

On their way thither they lingered for some days on Grand Isle, then, as now, a vision of loveliness to all admirers of the beautiful, and a favorite annual resort of the natives for the period during which they were safe from the attacks of their merciless foes.

At every mission thus opened the missionary promised to return himself, or send one of his associates, to renew his instructions and minister to the spiritual wants of his converts. This promise was fulfilled as far as the limited number of laborers in this vineyard permitted. The brave and untiring sons of Loyola afterwards entered the field, and proved worthy successors of the zealous Recollects who first announced the Gospel message in those wilds.

Our Indian narrator, when he had finished his recital of missionary labors in this and other regions, would always add with marked emphasis: “And it is firmly believed by our people, among all their tribes, that upon every spot where the Christian sacrifice was first offered a Catholic church will one day be placed.”

There seemed to his Protestant listeners but slight probability of this prediction ever being fulfilled in Vermont—settled for the most part by the straitest sect of the Puritans—as there was not then, or until twenty years from that time, a Catholic priest or church in the State. Yet at this writing—and the fact has presented itself before us with startling effect while tracing these imperfect reminiscences—there is at every point indicated in his narrative a fine church, and in many places flourishing Catholic schools.

The labors of an eminent servant of God—to whom Vermont cannot be too grateful—have been particularly blessed on the Isle La Motte, where the banner of the cross was first unfurled within her territory. A beautiful church has been erected there with a thriving congregation and school.

Much as remains to be accomplished in this field, when we reflect upon all that has been done since the first quarter of this XIXth century, we can see great cause for encouragement and gratitude to Almighty God, who has not withheld his blessing from the work of his servants of the earliest and the latest times. “Going on their way, they went and wept, scattering the seed,” the fruits of which we are now gathering into sheaves with great joy.



The present age is pre-eminently one of discovery. In spite of the wise man’s saying, “Nothing under the sun is new,” mankind, wiser in its own conceit than the wise man, insists upon the newness of its every production. In Rome a different spirit prevails. While the new is not entirely neglected, the great delight of many Romans is to find something old—the older the better. They live so much in the past that they follow with an eager interest the various steps taken to enlighten them on the lives and deeds of the men of old, their ancestors on the soil and in the faith which they profess.

Foremost in the pursuit and discovery of Christian antiquities stands the Commendatore de Rossi. It has been said that poets are born, not made: De Rossi’s ability as a Christian archæologist seems to be more the gift of nature than the result of study. With unwearied industry, with profound knowledge, with an almost unerring judgment, he finds out and illustrates the remains of Christian antiquity scattered around Rome—not on the surface, but in the deeps of the earth. The latest and one of the most important discoveries he has made forms the subject of the present paper.

Tor Marancia is a name not much known out of Rome, yet it designates a place which was of some importance in its day. The traveller who contemplates the works of ancient art collected in the Vatican Museum cannot fail to be interested in two very beautiful black and white mosaics which form the floor of the gallery known as the Braccio Nuovo. Mythological fables and Homeric legends are represented in these pavements, and they come from Tor Marancia. In the Gallery of the Candelabra, and in the library of the same museum, a collection of frescos, busts, statues, and mosaics of excellent workmanship and of great interest, likewise discovered at Tor Marancia, are exhibited. All these objects were found at that place in the course of excavations made there in the reign of Pope Pius VI. In ancient times a villa stood at Tor Marancia, of which these formed the decorations.

At this spot also is found the entrance to a very extensive catacomb which contains three floors, and diverges in long, winding ways under the soil of the Campagna. The catacomb has been called by the name of S. Domitilla, on evidence found during the excavations made there. This lady was a member of the Flavian family, which gave three occupants to the imperial throne—Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. It is a well-known fact that those early Christians who were blessed with wealth were in the habit of interring the bodies of their brethren, of saints, and of martyrs within the enclosure of their villas. Such villas were situated outside the limits of the city; and hence we find the entrance to every catacomb beyond the city walls, with the solitary exception of the catacomb or grottos of the Vatican, and the entrances to all of them are found in sites ascertained to have been the property of Christians.[283] It might be easy to multiply instances of this, taking the facts from the Acts of the Martyrs, wherein the places of sepulture are indicated, and the names of those who bestowed the last rites upon the dead recorded.

Domitilla, or Flavia Domitilla, as she is sometimes termed, was a niece of the consul Flavius Clemens, who was cousin of the Emperor Domitian. She was a Christian, having been baptized by S. Peter; and, after a life spent in charitable works, amongst which was the burial of the martyrs “in a catacomb near the Ardeatine Way,” the same of which we write, she also suffered martyrdom. Her two servants, Nereus and Achilleus, were put to death previously, and their bodies were placed in this catacomb by Domitilla.

In 1854, while De Rossi was pursuing his researches in the catacomb of S. Domitilla, he came upon the foundations of a building which pierced the second floor of the subterranean cemetery. This was a most unusual occurrence, and the eminent archæologist eagerly followed up his discovery. He found a marble slab which recorded the giving up of a space for burial “Ex indulgentia Flaviæ Domitillæ”—a confirmation of the proprietorship of the place.

De Rossi naturally concluded that the building thus incorporated in the Christian cemetery was of great importance. The loculi, or resting-places of the dead, were very large, which indicates great antiquity; the inscriptions likewise were of a very early date; and sarcophagi adorned with lions’ heads, marble columns overturned, and other signs, led the discoverer to the conclusion that he had come upon the foundations of a church constructed within this cemetery. In the course of his excavations he had penetrated into the open air, and found himself in a hollow depression formed by the falling in of the surface. Amongst other objects discovered were four marble slabs containing epitaphs furnished with consular dates of the years 335, 380, 399, and 406; and also a form of contract by which the right of burial in the edifice was sold. The proprietor of the land above the cemetery opposed the continuance of the excavations, and the discoverer, obliged to withdraw, covered up the materials already found with earth, and turned his attention to other recently-discovered objects in another place.

Twenty years after, in 1874, Monsignor de Merode purchased the land overlying the catacomb and church, and the excavations were again undertaken under most favorable circumstances. In vain did the Commission of Sacred Archæology, under De Rossi’s guidance, seek for the four marble columns and the two beautiful sarcophagi that had been seen there twenty years before. The proprietor is supposed to have carried them away. But they found instead the floor of the church or basilica, with its three naves, the bases of the four columns, the apse, the place where the altar stood, and the space occupied by the episcopal chair behind the altar. The basilica is as large as that of San Lorenzo beyond the walls. The left aisle is sixty feet long by thirteen broad; the central nave is twenty-four feet broad; and the right aisle, which is not yet entirely unearthed, is considered to be of the same breadth as the first mentioned; the greatest depth of the apse is fifteen feet. “The church,” says De Rossi, “is of[284] gigantic proportions for an edifice constructed in the bowels of the earth and at the deep level of the second floor of a subterranean cemetery.”

Here, then, was a basilica or church discovered in the midst of a catacomb. That the latter belonged to Flavia Domitilla was well known; and yet another proof, which illustrates archæological difficulties and the method of overcoming them, was found here. It was a broken slab of marble containing a portion of an inscription:


and having the image of an anchor at the point(*). It was concluded that the anchor was placed at an equal distance from both ends of the inscription, and the discoverer, with the knowledge he already has of the place, supplied the letters which he considered wanting to the completion of the inscription, and thus produced the words,


(sepulchre of the Flavii). This reading is very probably the right one, and its probability is greatly strengthened by the position of the anchor, since the full inscription, as here shown, leaves that sign still in the centre.

But to find the name borne by these ruins when the building of which they are the sole remnants was fresh and new presented a task to their discoverer. It was necessary to seek in ancient works—pontifical books and codices—for some account of a basilica on the Ardeatine Way. In the life of S. Gregory the Great it is related that this pontiff delivered one of his homilies “in the cemetery of S. Domitilla on the Ardeatine Way, at the Church of S. Petronilla.” The pontifical books and codices, although they differ in details—some saying in the cemetery of Domitilla, and others in that of Nereus and Archilleus, which is the same place under another name—agree in the principal fact. On the small remnant of plaster remaining on the wall of the apse an unskilled hand had traced a graffito, or drawing scratched on the plaster with a pointed instrument, somewhat resembling those found on the walls of Pompeii. This graffito represents a bishop, vested in episcopal robes, seated in a chair, in the act of delivering a discourse. This rude sketch of a bishop so occupied, taken in conjunction with the fact that S. Gregory did here deliver one of his homilies, is a link in the chain of evidence which identifies the ruin with the ancient basilica of S. Petronilla.

But a still more convincing testimony was forthcoming. A large fragment of marble, containing a portion of what appeared to have been a long inscription, was found in the apse. There were but few complete words in this fragment, and these were chiefly the termination of lines in what seemed to have been a metrical composition. Odd words, selected at random from a poem, standing alone, devoid of preceding or succeeding words, might not seem to furnish very rich materials even to an archæologist. These wandering words were, however, recognized to be the terminal words of a poem or eulogium written by Pope Damasus in honor of the martyrs Nereus and Achilleus. Now the connection between this metrical eulogium and the basilica was to be sought for. In the Einsiedeln Codex the place where this poem was to be seen is stated to[285] have been the sepulchre of SS. Nereus and Achilleus, on the Appian Way, at S. Petronilla. The poem, or rather this fragment of it, being found at this sepulchre, it was natural to conclude that the church was that of S. Petronilla. The Appian Way is the great high-road from which the Ardeatine Way branches off near this spot.

Again, the basilica of S. Petronilla was frequented by pilgrims from many nations in the VIIth century. Among these were Gauls, Germans, and Britons. In their itineraries of the martyrs’ sepulchres in Rome, and in the collection of the metrical epigraphs written at these places, it is proved that the original name of this church was that of S. Petronilla. “Near the Ardeatine Way is the Church of S. Petronilla,” say these old documents, and they likewise inform us that S. Nereus and S. Achilleus and S. Petronilla herself are buried there: “Juxta viam Ardeatinam ecclesia est S. Petronillæ; ibi quoque S. Nereus et S. Achilleus sunt et ipsa Petronilla sepulti.”

A second fragment of the slab containing the metrical composition of Pope Damasus has since been found, and this goes to confirm the testimony furnished by the former fragment. In the following copy of the inscription the capital letters on the right-hand side are those on the fragment first discovered; those on the left belong to the recently-discovered portion:

Nereus et Achilleus Martyres.
“Militiæ nomen dederant sævumQ gerebant
Officium pariter spectantes jussA TYRanni
Præceptis pulsante metu serviRE PARati
Mira fides rerum subito posueRE FVRORem
COnversi fugiunt ducis impia castrA RELINQVVNT
PROiiciunt clypeos faleras telAQ. CRVENTA
CONFEssi gaudent Christi portaRE TRIVMFOS
CREDITe per Damasum possit quid GLORIA

The date of the church was likewise ascertained. It is known that Pope Damasus, the great preserver of the martyrs’ graves, would never allow the Christian cemeteries to be disturbed for the purpose of building a church therein; and although he himself strongly desired that his remains should repose in one of these sacred places by the side of his predecessors, he abandoned this desire rather than remove the sacred ashes of the dead. It may naturally be concluded, then, that this church was built after his day—he died in 384—as were the churches of S. Agnes, S. Lawrence, and S. Alexander, all of which are beyond the city walls and built in catacombs. The catacombs under the Church of S. Petronilla showed an inscription bearing the date of 390, and in the church itself a monumental slab with the date of 395 has been found. It is thus almost certain that between the highest date found under, and the lowest date found in, the church—that is, between the years 390 and 395—the basilica of S. Petronilla was constructed.

For about three centuries and a half this church was well frequented. We have records of gifts sent to it, precious vestments, etc., by Pope Gregory III., who reigned from 715 to 741. But in 755 the Longobards came down upon Rome; they desecrated the churches and cemeteries around the city, and then began the siege of Rome. After peace was made, the pontiff of the period, Paul I., transferred the relics and remains of the saints to safer custody, and the Church of S. Petronilla became deserted. From unmistakable signs it seems that this desertion was conducted in a most regular manner, and that it was closed and despoiled of its precious[286] objects. The door which entered the left aisle was found walled up; the altar, the seats of the choir, the episcopal chair, and the ambons or marble pulpits ware all removed and transported elsewhere. The floor of the church, so far below the level of the surrounding soil, formed a resting-place for the water which drained through the neighboring lands after rains had fallen, and this undoubtedly formed the strongest reason for the abandonment of S. Petronilla. Nothing was left in it but sarcophagi and sepulchres, the pavements with their marble epitaphs—so valuable to-day in revealing history—some columns with their beautifully-carved capitals, which time or an earthquake has overturned and hidden within the dark bosom of the earth for more than a thousand years.

The hundred pilgrims who came from America, with a hundred new-found friends, assembled on the 14th of June, 1874, to pray in that disentombed old church. They had come from a world unknown and undreamt of by the pilgrims who had formerly knelt within these walls; and as they looked around on the wide and desolate Campagna, and on the monument of Cecilia Metella shining in the distance white and perfect, in spite of the nineteen centuries that have passed away since it received its inmate, and at the blue, changeless sky overhead, and then turned their eyes upon the church, decorated that morning with festoons of green branches and gay flowers, the same as it may have been on other festive occasions a thousand years ago, they may have felt that time has effected almost as little change in the works of man as in those of nature, and that all things in Rome partake of Rome’s eternity.


Le Culte Catholique ou Exposition de la Foi de l’Eglise Romaine sur le Culte du aux Saints et a leurs Reliques, a la bienheureuse Vierge Marie, aux Images, etc., en réponse aux objections du Protestantisme, suivie d’une dissertation historique et critique sur le celibat du clergé. Par l’Abbé Louis-Nazaire Bégin, Docteur en Théologie, Professor à la Faculté de Théologie de l’Université Laval. Quebec: Typographie d’Augustin Cote et Cie. 1875.

Le Culte Catholique is another valuable addition to controversial literature, by the author of The Bible and the Rule of Faith.

It is true that the days of controversy seem to be drawing to a close. The Greek schism still holds itself aloof in sullen isolation; but the controversy is exhausted, and all that is left of a church has become the mere unfruitful appanage of a northern despotism.

As to Protestantism, it never had any positive existence as a confession. Three hundred years have exhausted its theological pretensions. As a religion it has ceased to exist, and it lies buried beneath the weight of its own negations. The only formidable enemies of the church now are the disowners both of Christ and God, and they seek her destruction because they know that she alone offers an insuperable obstacle to the universal atheism which they hope to bring about.

Under such circumstances works like Dr. Bégin’s are chiefly useful for the information of Catholics, and for the support they render to their faith.

Le Culte Catholique is, the writer tells us, “an exposition of the faith of the Roman Church in the matters of the worship of the saints and of their relics, of the blessed[287] Virgin Mary, of images, etc., in reply to the objections of Protestantism, followed by a historical and critical dissertation on the celibacy of the clergy.” On these trite subjects little that is new can be said. But the work before us is a terse and lucid summary of Catholic teaching on the above points.

It is the object of the society of Freemasons to effect the universal deification, the rejection, that is, of the belief in any existence higher than the human being, and in any superiority of one man over another. For this they find it convenient to support the foolish Protestant objection to a splendid ritual and costly churches, on the ground that “God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Dr. Bégin quotes the following telling passage from a contemporary writer in answer to this frivolous objection:

“I know the old tirades about the temple of nature. No doubt the starry vault of heaven is a sublime dome; but no worship exists which is celebrated in the open air. A special place of meeting is required for collective adoration, because our religious sociability urges us to gather together for prayer, as it were to make a common stock of our joys and griefs. Besides, should the time come when we shall have nothing but the cupola of heaven to shelter our religious assemblies, it would require a considerable amount of courage to betake ourselves thither, especially in winter. And the philosophers who find our cathedrals so damp would not be the most intrepid against the inclemency of the sanctuary of nature. Thus do great errors touch on the ridiculous. Reasoning begins their refutation; a smile ends it.”

The second chapter is an admirable exposition of the special worship (hyperdulia) paid to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the course of which he shows triumphantly that the definition of her Immaculate Conception was no new doctrine, but a mere definite and dogmatic statement of a doctrine which had been all along held implicitly in the church. The following simile, illustrative of this argument, appears to us to be worth quoting: “Modern science, which is daily making such extraordinary progress, discovers, ever and anon, fresh stars, which seem to float in the most distant depths of space, which become more bright as they are more attentively observed, and which end by becoming stars of continually-increasing splendor. These stars are not of recent date; they are not new; they are only perceived. Something analogous takes place in the heavens of the church on the subject of certain truths of our faith. Their light reveals itself and develops by degrees. Sometimes the shock of controversy illuminates them. Then comes a definition to invest them with fresh splendor. But in receiving this supplement of light, destined to make them better understood by the faithful, they lose nothing of their proper nature; their essence is not in the slightest degree changed; only our minds appropriate them with more facility.”

Flowers from the Garden of the Visitation; or, Lives of Several Religious of that Order. Translated from the French. Baltimore: Kelly, Piet & Co. 1875.

To those who have attempted to form an adequate conception of the charitable and ascetic spirit, the simple record of these saintly lives must have a wonderful fascination. To those, even, who are wholly absorbed in a life of pleasure it will at least possess the merit of a new sensation, if they can forget the silent reproof which such examples convey.

It affords matter of encouragement in these days of combined luxury and destitution to look over the history of those—many of whom were delicately reared—who left all for God, content to do whatsoever he appointed them to do, and to submit to extraordinary mortifications for his sake. The work embraces six brief biographies of Visitation Nuns eminent for their self-sacrificing labors for the moral and intellectual education of their charges, and in other good and charitable offices. Their names, even, may be quite new to English-speaking readers, but that fact is all the more in keeping with their hidden lives. We have said enough to indicate the general character of the volume.

John Dorrien: A novel. By Julia Kavanagh. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1875.

The writer succeeds, in the very opening chapter, in so portraying the character of a child as to make it a living breathing reality to the reader. The story of his humble life in childhood and his struggles and trials in later years is told without any attempt at fine writing—indeed, all the characters are simply and[288] well drawn, and retain their individuality to the end. The heroine, neglected in childhood, and without any guide in matters of faith, is easily persuaded by a suitor that religion is contrary to reason; and thus, left to her own unaided judgment, and notwithstanding her innate love of truth, soon finds herself entangled in a web of deceit and hypocrisy. She only escapes the unhappiness which such a course entails by forsaking it.

The moral of the tale (if that is not an obsolete term) is what the reader would naturally infer—the necessity of early religious instruction, and the advantage, even in this life, of a belief in revealed truth. We are glad to note the absence of the faults which disfigure much of the imaginative literature of the day, not excepting, we are sorry to say, that which emanates from the writer’s own sex. We see no attempt to give false views of life, or to undermine the moral and religious principles of the reader; on the contrary, there is reason to infer much that is positively good, though not so definitely stated as we should have liked.

The Bible and the Rule of Faith. By the Abbé Louis-Nazaire Bégin, Doctor of Theology, Theological Professor in the University of Laval. Translated from the French by G. M. Ward [Mrs. Pennée].

Protestantism is well-nigh defunct. It is in its last throes. It has not sufficient vitality left to care for its own doctrines, such as they are. As a religion it has almost ceased to exist. Disobedience to the faith has been succeeded by indifference; indifference by the hatred of Christ. Its rickety old doctrines, whose folly has been exposed over and over again thousands of times, have quietly tumbled out of existence. Protestants themselves have almost forgotten them, and certainly do not care enough about them to defend them. Paganism has returned—paganism in its last stage of sceptical development. We have to contend now for the divinity of Christ and the existence of a God. The Bible and the rule of faith are up amongst the lumber.

Yet it may be—as the writer of this work asserts; we much doubt it, however—that there are still “many poor souls in the bosom of Protestantism a prey to the anguish of doubt.” To such the Abbé Bégin’s treatise on the rule of faith may be of the utmost service. The argument is extremely terse and lucid. In short, were the minds of Protestant fanatics open to reason, it could not fail to convince them of the unreasoning folly of their notions about the Bible being the one only rule of faith.

The first part of this work treats of the rule of faith in general, and proves, amongst other things, that such a rule must be sure, efficient, and perpetual to put an end to controversies.

The second part exhibits the logical impossibility of the Protestant rule of faith, remote and proximate. That is to say, that it is impossible for the unexplained text of the Bible to be a sure, efficient, and perpetual rule of faith, and for an immediate inspiration of its meaning to individuals by the Holy Ghost to be its means of explanation.

The third part proves very exhaustively that the Catholic rule of faith is the only possible sure, efficient, and perpetual one; namely, Holy Scripture, the remote rule, and the teaching church, the proximate one.

To any souls “in the bosom of Protestism” who are “a prey to the anguish of doubt,” if indeed there be such, we cordially recommend this treatise. Its tone is kind and gentle, its reasoning irresistible, and, with the blessing of God, is able to put an end to all their doubts on the fundamental question as to the true rule of faith.

Personal Reminiscences. By Cornelia Knight and Thomas Raikes. New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co. 1875.

This is another of the pleasant “Bric-à-Brac series,” edited by Richard Henry Stoddard. Miss Knight was that nondescript kind of being known as a “lady companion” to the Princess Charlotte of Wales. Her position gave her peculiar facilities for enjoying the privilege, so dear to certain hearts, of a peep behind the scenes of a royal household. Never having been married, she had plenty of time for jotting down her notes and observations on men, women, and things. Many of the men and women she met were famous in their way and in their time. As might be expected, there is much nonsense in her observations, mingled with pleasant glimpses of a kind of life that has now passed away. Mr. Raikes’ journal is similar in character to that of Miss Knight, with the advantage or disadvantage, as may be considered, of having been written by a man.


VOL. XXII., No. 129.—DECEMBER, 1875.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by Rev. I. T. Hecker, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.


It was supposed that Mr. Gladstone had been so triumphantly refuted, as a polemic, that he would take a prudent refuge in silence. At a moment when neighboring nations were rent with religious dissensions, and when England needed repose from, rather than fuel added to, her internal agitations, a statesman and ex-premier of the British Empire assumes the rôle of a religious agitator and accuser, and startles, as well as offends, the public sense of appropriateness by his useless and baseless indictment against the Catholic Church, to which England owes all that is glorious in her constitution and in her history; against English Catholics in particular, his fellow-subjects, who of all others, by their loyalty and Christian faith and virtues, can preserve the liberties and the institutions of their country, now threatened alike by infidel corruption, Protestant indifference, and communistic malice; and against that saintly and illustrious pontiff whose hand is only raised to bless, whose lips breathe unfaltering prayer, and whose voice and pen have never ceased to announce and defend the eternal truths of religion, to uphold morality, and to refute the crying errors and evils of our times. The unanswerable refutations which Mr. Gladstone’s attacks elicited from Cardinal Manning, Bishops Ullathorne and Vaughan, Drs. Newman and Capel, and Canon Neville, not to speak of the Italian work of Mgr. Nardi and the rebukes administered by the periodical press, had, it was believed, even by impartial Protestants, effectually driven this new champion of the old No-popery party in England from the field of polemics. But, like all new recruits, the ex-premier seems incapable of realizing defeat, or perhaps is anxious, at least, to retire with the honors of war.

Not content with the serial publication of his three tracts, he has just now republished them in one volume, with a Preface, under the title of Rome and the Newest Fashions in Religion—a title as unbecoming the gravity of his subjects as it is unsupported by the contents of[290] the work. The preface to the republication not only reiterates his accusations on all points, but the author, not satisfied with his new part as theologian, essays the rôle of historical critic, and thus gives prominence to a historical question of deep interest and of especial importance to the Catholics of this country.

The same animus which inspired Mr. Gladstone’s attacks against the church, against his Catholic fellow-countrymen, and against the most august and venerable personage in Christendom, has also induced him to deny to the Catholic founders of Maryland the honorable renown, accorded to them heretofore by historians with singular unanimity, of having, when in power, practised religious toleration towards all Christian sects, and secured freedom of conscience, not only by their unwavering action and practice, but also by giving it the stability and sanctions of statute law. This is certainly the only phase in this celebrated controversy upon which it remains for Mr. Gladstone to be answered.

His Eminence Cardinal Manning, in The Vatican Decrees in their bearing on Civil Allegiance, at page 88 (New York edition), writes:

“For the same reasons I deplore the haste, I must say the passion, which carried away so large a mind to affirm or to imply that the church of this day would, if she could, use torture, and force, and coercion in matters of religious belief.… In the year 1830 the Catholics of Belgium were in a vast majority, but they did not use their political power to constrain the faith or conscience of any man. The ‘Four Liberties’ of Belgium were the work of Catholics. This is the most recent example of what Catholics would do if they were in possession of power. But there is one more ancient and more homely for us Englishmen. It is found at a date when the old traditions of the Catholic Church were still vigorous in the minds of men.… If the modern spirit had any share in producing the constitution of Belgium, it certainly had no share in producing the constitution of Maryland. Lord Baltimore, who had been Secretary of State under James I., in 1633 emigrated to the American plantations, where, through Lord Stafford’s influence, he had obtained a grant of land.… They named their new country Maryland, and there they settled. The oath of the governor was in these terms: ‘I will not, by myself or any other, directly or indirectly, molest any person professing to believe in Jesus Christ, for or in respect of religion.’ Lord Baltimore invited the Puritans of Massachusetts—who, like himself, had renounced their country for conscience’ sake—to come into Maryland. In 1649, when active persecution had sprung up again in England, the Council of Maryland, on the 21st of April, passed this statute; ‘And whereas the forcing of the conscience in matters of religion hath frequently fallen out to be of dangerous consequence in the commonwealth where it has been practised, and for the more quiet and peaceable government of the province, and the better to preserve mutual love and amity among the inhabitants, no person within the province professing to believe in Jesus Christ shall be anyways troubled, molested, or discountenanced for his or her religion, or in the free exercise thereof.’ The Episcopalians and Protestants fled from Virginia into Maryland. Such was the commonwealth founded by a Catholic upon the broad moral law I have here laid down—that faith is an act of the will, and that to force men to profess what they do not believe is contrary to the law of God, and that to generate faith by force is morally impossible.”

Mr. Gladstone, in his Vaticanism, page 96, replies to the above as follows:

“It appears to me that Archbishop Manning has completely misapprehended the history of the settlement of Maryland and the establishment of toleration there for all believers in the Holy Trinity. It was a wise measure, for which the two Lords Baltimore, father and son, deserve the highest honor. But the measure was really defensive; and its main[291] and very legitimate purpose plainly was to secure the free exercise of the Roman Catholic religion. Immigration into the colony was by the charter free; and only by this and other popular provisions could the territory have been extricated from the grasp of its neighbors in Virginia, who claimed it as their own. It was apprehended that the Puritans would flood it, as they did; and it seemed certain that but for this excellent provision the handful of Roman Catholic founders would have been unable to hold their ground. The facts are given in Bancroft’s History of the United States, vol. i., chap. vii.”

Again, in his Preface to Rome and the Newest Fashions in Religion, page viii., Mr. Gladstone writes:

“It has long been customary to quote the case of Maryland in proof that, more than two centuries ago, the Roman Catholic Church, where power was in its hands, could use it for the purposes of toleration. Archbishop Manning has repeated the boast, and with very large exaggeration.

“I have already shown from Bancroft’s History that in the case of Maryland there was no question of a merciful use of power towards others, but simply of a wise and defensive prudence with respect to themselves—that is to say, so far as the tolerant legislation of the colony was the work of Roman Catholics. But it does not appear to have been their work. By the fourth article of the charter we find that no church could be consecrated there except according to the laws of the church at home. The tenth article guaranteed to the colonists generally ‘all privileges, franchises, and liberties of this our kingdom of England.’ It was in 1649 that the Maryland Act of Toleration was passed, which, however, prescribed the punishment of death for any one who denied the Trinity. Of the small legislative body which passed it, two-thirds appear to have been Protestant, the recorded numbers being sixteen and eight respectively. The colony was open to the immigration of Puritans and all Protestants, and any permanent and successful oppression by a handful of Roman Catholics was altogether impossible. But the colonial act seems to have been an echo of the order of the House of Commons at home, on the 27th of October, 1645, that the inhabitants of the Summer Islands, and such others as shall join themselves to them, ‘shall without any molestation or trouble have and enjoy the liberty of their consciences in matters of God’s worship’; and of a British ordinance of 1647.

“Upon the whole, then, the picture of Maryland legislation is a gratifying one; but the historic theory which assigns the credit of it to the Roman Church has little foundation in fact.”

Let us first test Mr. Gladstone’s accuracy and consistency as a historical critic. He begins by alleging that the Maryland Toleration Act was a measure of defensive prudence in the interests of the Catholics themselves, and that “its main and very legitimate purpose plainly was to secure the free exercise of the Roman Catholic religion.” He then asserts that this act of toleration was not the work of the Catholics at all, but of a Protestant majority in the legislature which passed it. We have, then, here presented the extraordinary picture of an alleged Protestant legislature passing a law which was really intended to protect Catholics against Protestant ascendency and apprehended Protestant persecution, and whose “main and very legitimate purpose was to secure the free exercise of the Roman Catholic religion.” Surely, the Protestants of that day were liberal and generous, especially as it was an age of persecution, when not only were Catholics hunted down both in England and her Virginia and New England colonies, but even Protestants of different sects were relentlessly persecuting each other. And in what proper sense can they be said to have been Protestants with whom it was “a very legitimate purpose” to legislate in the express interests of Roman Catholics?

Mr. Gladstone also states that the Toleration Act was passed in[292] the apprehension of an influx of Puritans, and to protect the colony “from the grasp of its neighbors in Virginia”; whereas his favorite author, Mr. Bancroft, informs Mr. Gladstone that Lord Baltimore invited both the Episcopalians of Virginia and the Puritans of New England into his domains, offering a gift of lands as an inducement; and it is a historical fact that numbers of them accepted the invitation.

Again, Mr. Gladstone, while apparently treating the Toleration Act as a Catholic measure, animadverts with evident disapproval on that feature in it which “prescribed the punishment of death for any one who denied the Trinity,” and then immediately he claims that the legislature which passed the act was a Protestant body—“two-thirds,” he writes, “appear to have been Protestants”—thus imposing upon his Protestant friends the odium of inflicting death for the exercise of conscience and religious belief; and that, too, not upon Papists, as they were not included in the punishment.

Mr. Gladstone, in The Vatican Decrees in their bearing on Civil Allegiance (page 83), expressing no doubt the common sentiments of Protestants since the time of Luther and Henry VIII., uses these irreverent words in regard to the Blessed Virgin Mary, that peerless and immaculate Lady whom four-fifths of the Christian world venerate as the Mother of God:

“The sinlessness of the Virgin Mary and the personal infallibility of the Pope are the characteristic dogmas of modern Romanism.… Both rest on pious fiction and fraud; both present a refined idolatry by clothing a pure humble woman and a mortal sinful man with divine attributes. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which exempts the Virgin Mary from sin and guilt, perverts Christianism into Marianism.… The worship of a woman is virtually substituted for the worship of Christ.”

And yet with such sentiments, in which doubtless the Protestants of Maryland in 1649 concurred, he attributes to, and claims for, those Protestants who, he says, constituted two-thirds of the Maryland Colonial Legislature in 1649, the passage of a law which enacted “that whosoever shall use or utter any reproachful words or speeches concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Saviour, … shall for the first offence forfeit five pounds sterling, or, if not able to pay, be publicly whipped and imprisoned during pleasure, etc.; for the second offence, ten pounds, etc.; and for the third shall forfeit all his lands and goods, and be banished from the province.”

The following anecdote, related by the Protestant Bozman,[98] is quite pertinent to our subject and to our cause:

“And in the time of the Long Parliament when the differences between the Lord Baltimore and Colonell Samuel Matthews, as agent for the colony of Virginia, were depending before a committee of that parliament for the navy, that clause in the sayd law, concerning the Virgin Mary, was at that committee objected as an exception against his lordship; whereupon a worthy member of the sayd committee stood up and sayd, that he wondered that any such exception should be taken against his lordship; for (says hee) doth not the Scripture say, that all generations shall call her blessed? (The author here cites in the margin, ‘Lu. i. 48.’) And the committee insisted no more on that exception.”

The authorities relied upon by Mr. Gladstone, besides Bancroft, whom we shall presently refer to, are Maryland Toleration, by the[293] Rev. Ethan Allen, and Maryland not a Catholic Colony, by E. D. N. The former is a pamphlet of sixty-four pages addressed by the author, a Protestant minister, to his brethren in the ministry in 1855, is purely a sectarian tract, hostile to every Catholic view and interest, and partisan in spirit and in matter. The latter is a few pages of printed matter, consisting of three newspaper articles published last year in the Daily Pioneer of St. Paul, Minnesota, and recently reprinted in the North-Western Chronicle of the same place, the editor of which states that the author of the letters is the Rev. Edward D. Neill, also a Protestant minister, and president of Macalester College. The letters of “E. D. N.” were sharply and ably replied to by Mr. William Markoe, formerly an Episcopal minister, now a member of the Catholic Church. The letters of “E. D. N.” are more sectarian than historical, and cannot be quoted in a controversy in which such names as Chalmers, Bancroft, McSherry, Bozman, etc., figure. The attack of “E. D. N.” on the personal character of Lord Baltimore is enough to condemn his effort.

But Mr. Gladstone’s principal author is Bancroft, from whose pages he claims to have shown that “in the case of Maryland there was no question of a merciful use of power towards others, but simply of a wise and defensive prudence with respect to themselves.” Motives of self-interest are thus substituted for those of benevolence and mercy. If this were correctly stated, why does Mr. Gladstone state that the Act of Toleration was a measure “for which the two Lords Baltimore, father and son, deserve the highest honor”? But our task is now to inquire how far his author sustains Mr. Gladstone in denying to the Catholics of Maryland, who enacted religious toleration, all motives of benevolence and mercy.

Mr. Bancroft, on the contrary, asserts that the “new government [of Maryland] was erected on a foundation as extraordinary as its results were benevolent.”[99] In speaking of Lord Baltimore, the founder of Maryland, its chief statesman and law-giver, he extols his moderation, sincerity of character, and disinterestedness,[100] and proceeds to say:

“Calvert deserves to be ranked among the most wise and benevolent law-givers of all ages. He was the first in the history of the Christian world to seek for religious security and peace by the practice of justice, and not by the exercise of power; to plan the establishment of popular institutions with the enjoyment of liberty of conscience; to advance the career of civilization by recognizing the rightful equality of all Christian sects. The asylum of Papists was the spot where, in a remote corner of the world, on the banks of rivers which, as yet, had hardly been explored, the mild forbearance of a proprietary adopted religious freedom as the basis of the state.”[101]

Referring to the act of taking possession of their new homes in Maryland by the Catholic pilgrims, the same author says, thereby “religious liberty obtained a home, its only home in the wide world, at the humble village which bore the name of St. Mary’s.”[102] And speaking of the progress of the colony, he further says: “Under the mild institutions and munificence of Baltimore the dreary wilderness soon bloomed with swarming life and activity of prosperous settlements; the Roman Catholics who were oppressed by the laws of England were sure[294] to find a peaceful asylum in the quiet harbors of the Chesapeake; and there, too, Protestants were sheltered against Protestant intolerance.”[103] Such, in fine, is the repeated language of an author whom Mr. Gladstone refers to in proof of his assertion that toleration in Maryland was simply a measure of self-defence.

Chalmers bears the following testimony to the same point: “He” (Lord Baltimore) “laid the foundation of his province upon the broad basis of security to property and of freedom of religion, granting, in absolute fee, fifty acres of land to every emigrant; establishing Christianity according to the old common law, of which it is a part, without allowing pre-eminence to any particular sect. The wisdom of his choice soon converted a dreary wilderness into a prosperous colony.”[104]

And Judge Story, with the history of the colony from its beginning and the charter before him, adds the weight of judicial approval in the following words: “It is certainly very honorable to the liberality and public spirit of the proprietary that he should have introduced into his fundamental policy the doctrine of general toleration and equality among Christian sects (for he does not appear to have gone further), and have thus given the earliest example of a legislator inviting his subjects to the free indulgence of religious opinion. This was anterior to the settlement of Rhode Island, and therefore merits the enviable rank of being the first recognition among the colonists of the glorious and indefeasible rights of conscience.”[105]

But there is another view, clearly sustained by an important and certain chain of facts, which has never occurred to the historical writers on Maryland toleration, at least in this connection, though they give the facts upon which the view is based, and which wholly destroys the theory of Mr. Gladstone and his authorities. The latter may dispute in regard to the merits and motives of the statute of 1649, but they do not touch the real question. It is an incontestable fact that the religious toleration which historians have so much extolled in the Catholic colonists and founders of Maryland did not originate with, or derive its existence from, that law of 1649, but, on the contrary, it existed long anterior to, and independent of, it. This great feature in the Catholic government of Maryland had been established by the Catholic lord-proprietary, his lieutenant-governor, agents, and colonists, and faithfully practised for fifteen years prior to the Toleration Act of 1649. From 1634 to 1649 it had been enforced with unwavering firmness and protected with exalted benevolence. This important fact is utterly ignored by Mr. Gladstone and his authors, the Rev. Ethan Allen and the Rev. Edward D. Neill, but the facts related by Bancroft, and indeed by all historians, prove it beyond a question. Bancroft records that the very “foundations” of the colony were laid upon the “basis” of religious toleration, and throughout the eulogiums pronounced by him on the religious toleration of Maryland, which we have quoted above, refers entirely to the period of the fifteen years preceding the passage of the act of 1649. The Toleration Act was nothing else than the declaration of the existing state of[295] things and of the long and cherished policy and practice of the colony—a formal sanction and statutory enactment of the existing common law of the province.

Before proceeding to demonstrate this fact, we will briefly examine how far Mr. Bancroft sustains the theory or views of Mr. Gladstone in regard to the act itself. After extolling the motives and conduct of the Catholics of Maryland in establishing religious toleration, as we have remarked above, during the fifteen years preceding the passage of the act, Mr. Bancroft refers to that statute in terms of highest praise. He barely hints at the possibility that a foresight, on the part of the colonists, of impending dangers to themselves from threatened or apprehended Protestant ascendency and persecution, might have entered among the motives which induced them to pass that act; but he nowhere asserts the fact, nor does he allege anything beyond conjecture for the possibility of the motive. Indeed, his mode of expressing himself indicates that, though he thought it possible, his own impression was that such motive did not suggest in part even the passage of the act; for he writes: “As if, with a foresight of impending danger and an earnest desire to stay its approach, the Roman Catholics of Maryland, with the earnest concurrence of their governor and of the proprietary, determined to place upon their statute-book an act for the religious freedom which had ever been sacred on their soil.” Compare this with the language of Mr. Gladstone, who excludes every motive but that of self-interest, and refers to Bancroft in support of his view, but does not quote his language. Mr. Bancroft, on the other hand, after quoting from the statute, exclaims, such was “its sublime tenor.”

Mr. Griffith does not agree with the suggestion that a sense of fear or apprehension entered into the motives of the Maryland lawgivers, and says: “That this liberty did not proceed from fear of others, on the one hand, or licentious dispositions in the government, on the other, is sufficiently evident from the penalties prescribed against blasphemy, swearing, drunkenness, and Sabbath-breaking, by the preceding sections of the act, and proviso, at the end, that such exercise of religion did not molest or conspire against the proprietary or his government.”[106]

Let us now proceed to examine still further whether Maryland was a Catholic colony, whether it was by Catholics that religious toleration was established there, and whether it had its origin in the act of 1649 or in the long previous practice and persistent generosity and mercy of the Catholic rulers of the province. It is true that while the territory afterwards granted to Lord Baltimore was subject to the Virginia charter, a settlement of Episcopalians was made on Kent Island; but they were very few in numbers, always adhered to Virginia rather than to Maryland in their sympathies, were so turbulent and disloyal that Governor Calvert had to reduce them by force of arms, and no one has ever pretended that they founded a State. We will show what relation they had in point of numbers and political influence to the colony, and that they did not form even the slightest element of power in the founding of the province.

Maryland was founded alone by[296] the Catholic Lord Baltimore and his colonists. Such is the voice of history. It is rather disingenuous in the reverend authors of the pamphlets mentioned by Mr. Gladstone that upon so flimsy a circumstance they assert that Maryland was not settled first by Catholics. Their voices are drowned by the concurrent voice of tradition and of history. It is only the reassertion of the pretensions of these zealous sectarians by so respectable a person as Mr. Gladstone, and that, too, in one of the most remarkable controversies of the age, that renders a recurrence to the historical authorities and their results at all desirable or necessary.

The colony of Maryland was conceived in the spirit of liberty. It was the flight of English Catholics from Protestant persecution in their native country. The state of the penal laws in England against Catholics at this period is too well known. The zealous Protestant Bozman writes that they “contained severities enough to keep them [the Catholics] in all due subjection.”

It was at this hour of their extremest suffering that the Catholics of England found a friend and leader in Sir George Calvert, who held important trusts under the governments of James and Charles, and enjoyed the confidence of his sovereigns and of his country. “In an age when religious controversy still continued to be active, when increasing divisions among Protestants were spreading a general alarm, his mind sought relief from controversy in the bosom of the Roman Catholic Church, and, preferring the avowal of his opinions to the emoluments of office, he resigned his place and openly professed his conversion.”[107] Even after this he was advanced to the peerage under the title of Lord Baltimore—an Irish title—and was appointed one of the principal secretaries under James I. His positions in the government gave him not only an acquaintance with American colonization, but an official connection with it. Of these he now availed himself to provide an asylum abroad for his fellow-Catholics from the relentless persecution they were suffering at home. His first effort was to found a Catholic colony on the shores of Newfoundland. A settlement was begun. Avalon was the name it received, and twice did Lord Baltimore cross the ocean to visit his cherished cradle of liberty. Baffled by political difficulties, the severity of the climate, and an ungenerous soil, he abandoned the endeavor. That his motive all along was to found a place of refuge for Catholics from persecution is certain from the time and circumstances under which the enterprise was undertaken, as well as from the testimony of historians. Oldmixon says: “This gentleman [Lord Baltimore], being of the Romish religion, was uneasy at home, and had the same reason to leave the kingdom as those gentlemen had who went to New England, to enjoy the liberty of his conscience.”[108] Bozman writes that “by their [the Puritans’] clamors for a vigorous execution of the laws against Papists, it became now necessary for them [the Catholics] also to look about for a place of refuge.”[109] The same writer also refers to a MS. in the British Museum, written by Lord Baltimore[297] himself, in which this motive is mentioned. Driven from Avalon by the hardness of the climate, he visited Virginia with the same view; but hence again he was driven by religious bigotry and the presentation of an anti-popery oath from a colony “from which the careful exclusion of Roman Catholics had been originally avowed as a special object.” His mind, filled with the thought of founding a place of refuge for Catholics, next turned to the country beyond the Potomac, which had been embraced originally in the Virginia charter, but which, upon the cancellation of that charter, had reverted to the crown. He obtained a grant and charter from the king, so liberal in its terms that, Griffith says, it became the model for future grants. The name was changed from Crescentia to that of Maryland, in honor of the Catholic queen of Charles; but the devout Catholics of the expedition, in their piety, extended the term Terra Mariæ, the Land of Mary, into an act of devotion and honor to Mary, the Queen of Heaven.

The first Lord Baltimore did not live to see his project carried into effect; he died on the 25th of April, 1632, was succeeded by his son Cecilius, second Lord Baltimore, who, as Bancroft says, was the heir of his intentions no less than of his fortunes; to him was issued the charter negotiated by his father, bearing date the 15th of June, 1632.

Founded by a Catholic, designed as an asylum for persecuted Catholics, is it to be supposed that Lord Baltimore and his brother, Governor Leonard Calvert, who organized and led forth the pilgrims, would be so inconsistent at this moment of their success as to lose sight of the main object of the movement, and carry Protestant colonists with whom to found a Catholic colony? If, as Rev. Edward D. Neill, author of Maryland not a Catholic Colony, says, there were only twenty Catholic gentlemen in the ship, and three hundred servants, mostly Protestants, would it have been deemed necessary to carry two Catholic priests and their assistants along to administer to the souls of so small a number? In point of fact, the Protestants were so few that they brought no minister with them, and it was several years before their entire numbers justified their having either a minister or a place of worship. The voyage on the Ark and Dove was more like a Catholic pilgrimage than a secular expedition. The principal parts of the ship (the Ark), says Father White in his Narrative, were committed to the protection of God especially, and to his Most Holy Mother, and S. Ignatius, and all the guardian angels of Maryland. The vessel was a floating chapel, an ocean shrine of Catholic faith and devotion, consecrated by the unbloody sacrifice, and resounding with Latin litanies; its safety from many a threatened disaster was attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin and the saints, whose mediation was propitiated by votive offerings promised and promptly rendered after their safe arrival at St. Mary’s. The festivals of the saints were faithfully observed throughout the voyage, the feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin was selected for landing, and the solemn act of taking possession was according to the Catholic form. Father White thus describes the scene:

“On the day of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Virgin Mary (March 25), in[298] the year 1634, we celebrated the Mass for the first time on this island [St. Clement’s]. This had never been done before in this part of the world. After we had completed the sacrifice, we took upon our shoulders a great cross which we had hewn out of a tree, and advancing in order to the appointed place, with the assistance of the governor and his associates, and the other Catholics, we erected a trophy to Christ the Saviour, humbly reciting on our bended knees the Litanies of the Sacred Cross with great emotion.”[110]

They founded a city, the capital of the colony, and called it St. Mary’s. A Catholic chapel was subsequently erected there; and this too was dedicated to S. Mary. The city has passed away, but the little chapel still stands, preserved alike by Catholic and Protestant hands, as a monument of the faith and zeal of the Catholic pilgrims of Maryland. Mr. Griffith, the historian, uniting his voice to that of Bancroft and other writers, speaking of the object which inspired the settlement from its inception by Lord Baltimore in England, says: “Out of respect for their religion they planted the cross, and, after fortifying themselves, plainly and openly set about to obtain, by the fairest means in their power, other property and homes, where they should escape the persecutions of the religious and political reformers of their native country at that time.”[111]

The church and parish of S. Mary were for many years the headquarters of the Jesuit missions of Maryland. During the succeeding years prior to 1649 there was a steady influx of Catholics into the colony from England, as is evident by the land records and other official documents, and by the fact that the number of Catholic priests required for the settlement increased from two in 1634 to four priests and one coadjutor prior to 1644. The Catholic strength was also increased by numerous conversions, as is shown by Father White’s Narrative, in which, at page 56, he relates that, “among the Protestants, nearly all who came over from England, in this year 1638, and many others, have been converted to the faith, together with four servants … and five mechanics whom we … have in the meantime won to God.” So numerous were these conversions, and they created so great a sensation in England, that measures were taken there to check them.

That the colony was Catholic in its origin, and so continued until after the year 1649, when the Toleration Act was passed, has never been denied, according to our researches, except by Mr. Gladstone and the two Protestant ministers whom he quotes. Bancroft, writing of the religious toleration which prevailed in Maryland during this period, always speaks of it as the work of Catholics. In referring to the original colonists he adds, “most of them Roman Catholic gentlemen and their servants.” Even so unfriendly a writer as Bozman says: “The most, if not all, of them were Catholics.” Chancellor Kent speaks of the colony as “the Catholic planters of Maryland,” and Judge Story says they were “chiefly Roman Catholics.” Father White, in his Narrative, speaks of the few Protestants on board the Ark as individuals, and not as a class. Bozman, alluding to the year 1639, and to “those in whose hands the government of the province was,” says: “A majority of whom were, without doubt,[299] Catholics, as well as much the greater number of the colonists.” Mr. Davis, a Protestant, who drew his information from the official documents of the colony and State, gives unanswerable proofs of the fact for which we are contending. We give a single passage from his work on this point:

“St. Mary’s was the home—the chosen home—of the disciples of the Roman Church. The fact has been generally received. It is sustained by the tradition of two hundred years and by volumes of unwritten testimony; by the records of the courts; by the proceedings of the privy council; by the trial of law-cases; by the wills and inventories; by the land-records and rent-rolls; and by the very names originally given to the towns and hundreds, to the creeks and rivulets, to the tracts and manors of the county. The state itself bears the name of a Roman Catholic queen. Of the six hundreds of this small county, in 1650, five had the prefix of St. Sixty tracts and manors, most of them taken up at a very early period, bear the same Roman Catholic mark. The creeks and villages, to this day, attest the widespread prevalence of the same tastes, sentiments, and sympathies. Not long after the passage of the act relating to ‘religion,’ the Protestants, it is admitted, outgrew their Roman Catholic brethren, and in 1689 succeeded very easily in their attempt to overthrow the proprietary. But judging from the composition of the juries in 1655, we see no reason to believe that they then had a majority.”