Lecture 1. Protestant View of the Catholic Church

Purpose of Lectures
Fable of Man and Lion
Viewpoints of Country Gentleman and Young Lady
Testimony of Candid Protestants After Impartial Study
    Corruption in Middle Ages
Caricature—Russian View of British Constitution


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{1} THERE is a well-known fable, of which it is to my purpose to remind you, my Brothers of the Oratory, by way of introducing to you the subject of the Lectures which I am proposing to deliver. I am going to inquire why it is, that, in this intelligent nation, and in this rational nineteenth century, we Catholics are so despised and hated by our own countrymen, with whom we have lived all our lives, that they are prompt to believe any story, however extravagant, that is told to our disadvantage; as if beyond a doubt we were, every one of us, either brutishly deluded or preternaturally hypocritical, and they themselves, on the contrary were in comparison of us absolute specimens of sagacity, wisdom, uprightness, manly virtue, and enlightened Christianity. I am not inquiring why they are not Catholics themselves, but why they are so angry with those who are. Protestants differ amongst themselves, without calling each other fools and knaves. Nor, again, am I proposing to prove to you, or to myself, that knaves and fools we are not, not idolaters, not blasphemers, not men of blood, not profligates, not steeped in sin and seared in conscience; {2} for we know each other and ourselves. No, my Catholic friends whom I am addressing, I am neither attacking another's belief just now, nor defending myself: I am not engaging in controversy, though controversy is good in its place: I do but propose to investigate how Catholics came to be so trodden under foot, and spurned by a people which is endowed by nature with many great qualities, moral and intellectual; how it is that we are cried out against by the very stones, and bricks, and tiles, and chimney-pots of a populous busy place, such as this town which we inhabit. The clearer sense we have of our own honesty, of the singleness of our motives, and the purity of our aims—of the truth, the beauty, the power of our religion, its exhaustless fund of consolation for the weary, and its especial correspondence to the needs of the weak—so much the greater may well be our perplexity to find that its advocates for the most part do not even gain a hearing in this country; that facts, and logic, and justice, and good sense, and right, and virtue, are all supposed to lie in the opposite scale; and that it is bid be thankful and contented, if it is allowed to exist, if it is barely tolerated, in a free people. Such a state of things is not only a trial to flesh and blood, but a discomfort to the reason and imagination: it is a riddle which frets the mind from the difficulty of solving it.


Now then for my fable, which is not the worse because it is old. The Man once invited the Lion to be his guest, and received him with princely hospitality. The Lion had the run of a magnificent palace, in {3} which there were a vast many things to admire. There were large saloons and long corridors, richly furnished and decorated, and filled with a profusion of fine specimens of sculpture and painting, the works of the first masters in either art. The subjects represented were various; but the most prominent of them had an especial interest for the noble animal who stalked by them. It was that of the Lion himself; and as the owner of the mansion led him from one apartment into another, he did not fail to direct his attention to the indirect homage which these various groups and tableaux paid to the importance of the lion tribe.

There was, however, one remarkable feature in all of them, to which the host, silent as he was from politeness, seemed not at all insensible; that diverse as were these representations, in one point they all agreed, that the man was always victorious, and the lion was always overcome. The man had it all his own way, and the lion was but a fool, and served to make him sport. There were exquisite works in marble, of Samson rending the lion like a kid, and young David taking the lion by the beard and choking him. There was the man who ran his arm down the lion's throat, and held him fast by the tongue; and there was that other who, when carried off in his teeth, contrived to pull a penknife from his pocket, and lodge it in the monster's heart. Then there was a lion hunt, or what had been such, for the brute was rolling round in the agonies of death, and his conqueror on his bleeding horse was surveying these from a distance. There was a gladiator from the Roman amphitheatre in mortal struggle with his tawny foe, and it was plain {4} who was getting the mastery. There was a lion in a net; a lion in a trap; four lions, yoked in harness, were drawing the car of a Roman emperor; and elsewhere stood Hercules, clad in the lion's skin, and with the club which demolished him.

Nor was this all: the lion was not only triumphed over, mocked, spurned; but he was tortured into extravagant forms, as if he were not only the slave and creature, but the very creation of man. He became an artistic decoration, and an heraldic emblazonment. The feet of alabaster tables fell away into lions' paws. Lions' faces grinned on each side the shining mantel-piece; and lions' mouths held tight the handles of the doors. There were sphinxes, too, half lion half woman; there were lions rampant holding flags, lions couchant, lions passant, lions regardant; lions and unicorns; there were lions white, black and red: in short, there was no misconception or excess of indignity which was thought too great for the lord of the forest and the king of brutes. After he had gone over the mansion, his entertainer asked him what he thought of the splendours it contained; and he in reply did full justice to the riches of its owner and the skill of its decorators, but he added, "Lions would have fared better, had lions been the artists."

You see the application, Brothers of the Oratory, before I make it. There are two sides to everything; there is a Catholic side of the argument, and there is a Protestant. There is a story of two knights who met together on opposite sides of a monument: one of them praised the gold on the shield of the warrior sculptured upon it, and the other answered that it was not gold, but silver. On this issue they fought; and {5} in the course of the combat they changed places, and were flung, dismounted and wounded, each upon the ground occupied originally by his foe. Then they discovered that the shield was gold on one side, silver on the other, and that both of them were right, and both were wrong. Now, Catholic and Protestant are not both right and both wrong; there is but one truth, not two truths; and that one truth, we know, is in the Catholic Religion. However, without going on just now to the question where the truth lies (which is a further question not to my present purpose), still it is certain, though truth is one, that arguments are many, and there are always two sides in every dispute—I do not say both of them supported by arguments equally cogent and convincing, of course not; still, there is a Protestant side, and there is a Catholic side—and if you have heard but one of them, you will think nothing at all can be said on the other. If, then, a person listens only to Protestantism, and does not give fair play to the Catholic reply to it, of course he thinks Protestantism very rational and straightforward, and Catholics very absurd; because he takes for granted the Protestant facts, which are commonly fictions, and opens his mind to Protestant arguments, which are always fallacies. A case may be made out for any one or any thing; the veriest villain at the bar of justice is an injured man, a victim, a hero, in the defence made for him by his counsel. There are writers who dress up vice till it looks like virtue: Goethe, I believe, has invested adultery with a sentimental grace; and Schiller's drama of the "Robbers" is said to have sent the young Germans of his day upon the highway. The same has been reported of Gay's "Beggar's {6} Opera;" and in our own time a celebrated poet has thrown an interest over Cain, the first murderer. Anything will become plausible, if you read all that can be said in its favour, and exclude all that can be said against it.

Thus it comes to pass that, in a measure, every one (as I may say) has his own sphere of ideas and method of thought, in which he lives, and as to which he differs from every one else; and, unless he be a philosopher, he will be apt to consider his own view of things, his own principles, his own tastes, to be just and right, and to despise others altogether. He despises other men, and other modes of opinion and action, simply because he does not understand them. He is fixed in his own centre, refers everything to it, and never throws himself, perhaps cannot throw himself, into the minds of strangers, or into a state of things not familiar to him. So it is especially between country and country: the Englishman thinks his beef and pudding worth all the resources of the French cuisine; and the Frenchman thought for certain, until the peace, that he had gained the battle of Trafalgar. Taking men as they are commonly found, one man is not equal to the task of appreciating the circle of ideas and the atmosphere of thought which is the life of another; and yet he will commonly be forward in criticising and condemning it; condemning it, not as having heard what it has to say for itself, but simply and precisely for the very opposite reason, because he has not.

You know it is a favourite device with writers of fiction to introduce into their composition personages of very different characters taking their respective views of one and the same transaction, or describing {7} and criticising each other; the interest which such an exhibition creates in the reader lying in this, that each of the persons in question is living in his own world, and cannot enter into the world of another, and therefore paints that other in his own way, and presents us with a caricature instead of a likeness, though he does not intend it. I recollect an amusing passage of this kind, out of many which might be cited, in one of Sir Walter Scott's tales, [Note 1] which I hope it is not unbecoming to quote, since it is so much to the purpose.

A middle-aged country gentleman and his wife for a while have the care of a very young lady. The host is very matter-of-fact, and his youthful guest, on the other hand, is very romantic; and the humour of the narrative lies in the very opposite judgments passed respectively on the guest by the host, and on the host by the guest. The elderly man, with whom the shadows and illusions of human existence are over, and who estimates things not by their appearance, but by their weight, writing to the father of his young charge with a good deal of kind feeling towards her, and some good-humoured contempt of her flightiness, tells him that she "has much of a romantic turn" in her disposition, with a "little of the love of admiration;" that "she has a quick and lively imagination, and keen feelings, which are apt to exaggerate both the good and evil they find in life;" that "she is generous and romantic, and writes six sheets a week to a female correspondent." "You know," he says, "how I have jested with her about her soft melancholy, and lonely walks at morning before any one is {8} up, and in the moonlight, when all should be gone to bed, or set down to cards, which is the same thing." And he ends by speaking with some apprehension and dislike of a place of amusement near his grounds, which is "the resort of walking gentlemen of all descriptions, poets, players, painters, musicians, who come to rave and recite, and madden about this picturesque land of ours. It is paying some penalty for its beauties," he adds, "if they are the means of drawing this swarm of coxcombs together."

On the other hand, the young lady, writing to a school acquaintance of her own age, says, "If India be the land of magic, this is the country of romance. The scenery is such as nature brings together in her sublimest moods; all the wildness of Salvator here, and there the fairy scenes of Claude. I am at present the inmate of an old friend of my father. He is a different, quite a different being from my father, yet he amuses and endures me. He is fat and good-natured, gifted with strong, shrewd sense, and some powers of humour; and having been handsome, I suppose, in his youth, has still some pretension to be a beau garçon, as well as an enthusiastic agriculturist. I delight to make him scramble to the top of eminences, and to the foot of waterfalls; and am obliged in turn to admire his turnips, his lucerne, and his timothy-grass. He thinks me, I fancy, a simple, romantic miss; so he rallies, hands, and hobbles (for the dear creature has got the gout too), and tells old stories of high life, of which he has seen a good deal; and I listen, and smile, and look as pleasant and as simple as I can, and we do very well."

This is but a sample of what meets us in life on {9} every hand; the young have their own view of things, the old have theirs; high and low, trader and farmer, each has his own, by which he measures everything else, and which is proved to be but a view, and not a reality, because there are so many other views just as good as it is. What is true of individuals is true of nations; however plausible, however distinct, however complete the national view of this or that matter may be, it does not follow that it is not a mere illusion, if it has not been duly measured with other views of the same matter. No conclusion is trustworthy which has not been tried by enemy as well as friend; no traditions have a claim upon us which shrink from criticism, and dare not look a rival in the face. Now this is precisely the weak point of Protestantism in this country. It is jealous of being questioned; it resents argument; it flies to State protection; it is afraid of the sun; it forbids competition. How can you detect the sham, but by comparing it with the true? Your artificial flowers have the softness and brilliancy of nature, till you bring in the living article, fresh from the garden; you detect the counterfeit coin by ringing it with the genuine. So is it in religion. Protestantism is at best but a fine piece of wax-work, which does not look dead, only because it is not confronted by that Church which really breathes and lives. The living Church is the test and the confutation of all false churches; therefore get rid of her at all hazards; tread her down, gag her, dress her like a felon, starve her, bruise her features, if you would keep up your mumbo-jumbo in its place of pride. By no manner of means give her fair play: you dare not. The dazzling brightness of her glance, the {10} sanctity beaming from her countenance, the melody of her voice, the grace of her movements, will be too much for you. Blacken her; make her Cinderella in the ashes; do not hear a word she says. Do not look on her, but daub her in your own way; keep up the good old sign-post representation of her. Let her be a lion rampant, a griffin, a wivern, or a salamander. She shall be red or black; she shall be always absurd, always imbecile, always malicious, always tyrannical. The lion shall not draw the lion, but the man shall draw him. She shall be always worsted in the warfare with Protestantism; ever unhorsed and disarmed, ever running away, ever prostrated, ever smashed and pounded, ever dying, ever dead; and the only wonder is that she has to be killed so often, and the life so often to be trodden out of her, and her priests and doctors to be so often put down, and her monks and nuns to be exposed so often, and such vast sums to be subscribed by Protestants, and such great societies to be kept up, and such millions of tracts to be written, and such persecuting Acts to be passed in Parliament, in order thoroughly, and once for all, and for the very last time, and for ever and ever, to annihilate her once more. However, so it shall be; it is, forsooth, our received policy, as Englishmen, our traditionary view of things, to paint up the Pope and Papists in a certain style. We have a school of painting all our own. Every character or personage has its own familiar emblem; Justice has her balance, Hope her anchor, Britannia her trident. Again, history has its conventional properties; Richard the First was the lion-hearted, and Richard the Third was the crook-back; {11} Wil1iam the First was the Conqueror, and William the Third "the pious, glorious, and immortal." These are our first principles; they are unalterable; like the pillars of heaven, touch them, and you bring our firmament down. True or false is not the question; there they are. So it is with the view we take of Popery; its costume is fixed, like the wigs of our judges, or the mace of our mayors. Have not freeborn Britons a right to think as they please? We rule Popery to be what we say it is, not by history, but by Act of Parliament; not by sight or hearing, but by the national will. It is the will of the Legislature, it is the voice of the people, which gives facts their complexion, and logic its course, and ideas their definition.


Now I repeat, in order to obviate misconception, I am neither assuming, nor intending to prove, that the Catholic Church comes from above (though, of course, I should not have become, or be, one of her children, unless I firmly held and hold her to be the direct work of the Almighty); but here I am only investigating how it is she comes to be so despised and hated among us; since a Religion need not incur scorn and animosity simply because it is not recognized as true. And, I say, the reason is this, that reasons of State, political and national, prevent her from being heard in her defence. She is considered too absurd to be inquired into, and too corrupt to be defended, and too dangerous to be treated with equity and fair dealing. She is the victim of a prejudice which {12} perpetuates itself, and gives birth to what it feeds upon.

I will adduce two or three instances of what I mean. It happens every now and then that a Protestant, sometimes an Englishman, more commonly a foreigner, thinks it worth while to look into the matter himself, and his examination ends, not necessarily in his conversion (though this sometimes happens too), but, at least, in his confessing the absurdity of the outcry raised against the Catholic Church, and the beauty or the excellence, on the other hand, of those very facts and doctrines which are the alleged ground of it. What I propose to do, then, is simply to remind you of the popular feeling concerning two or three of the characteristics of her history and her teaching, and then to set against them the testimony of candid Protestants who have examined into them. This will be no proof that those candid Protestants are right, and the popular feeling wrong (though certainly it is more likely that they should be right who have impartially studied the matter, than those who have nothing whatever to say for their belief but that they have ever been taught it), but, at least, it will make it undeniable, that those who do not know there are two sides of the question (that is, the bulk of the English nation), are violent because they are ignorant, and that Catholics are treated with scorn and injustice simply because, though they have a good deal to say in their defence, they have never patiently been heard.

1. For instance, the simple notion of most people is, that Christianity was very pure in its beginning, was very corrupt in the middle age, and is very pure {13} in England now, though still corrupt everywhere else: that in the middle age, a tyrannical institution, called the Church, arose and swallowed up Christianity; and that that Church is alive still, and has not yet disgorged its prey, except, as aforesaid, in our own favoured country; but in the middle age, there was no Christianity anywhere at all, but all was dark and horrible, as bad as paganism, or rather much worse. No one knew anything about God, or whether there was a God or no, nor about Christ or His atonement; for the Blessed Virgin, and Saints, and the Pope, and images, were worshipped instead; and thus, so far from religion benefiting the generations of mankind who lived in that dreary time, it did them indefinitely more harm than good. Thus, the Homilies of the Church of England say, that "in the pit of damnable idolatry all the world, as it were, drowned, continued until our age" (that is, the Reformation), "by the space of above 800 years . . . so that laity and clergy, learned and unlearned, all ages, sects, and degrees of men, women, and children, of whole Christendom (an horrible and most dreadful thing to think), have been at once drowned in abominable idolatry, of all other vices most detested of God, and most damnable to man." Accordingly, it is usual to identify this period with that time of apostasy which is predicted in Scripture, the Pope being the man of sin, and the Church being the mother of abominations, mentioned in the Apocalypse. Thus Bishop Newton says, "In the same proportion as the power of the [Roman] empire decreased, the authority of the Church increased, the latter at the expense and ruin of the former; till at length the Pope grew up above {14} all, and 'the wicked one' was fully manifested and 'revealed,' or the 'lawless one,' as he may be called; for the Pope is declared again and again not to be bound by any law of God or man." "The tyrannical power, thus described by Daniel and St. Paul, and afterwards by St. John, is, both by ancients and moderns, generally denominated Antichrist, and the name is proper and expressive enough, as it may signify both the enemy of Christ, and the vicar of Christ." [Note 2] "The mind of Europe was prostrated at the feet of a priest," says a dissenting writer. "The stoutest hearts quailed at his frown. Seated on the throne of blasphemy, he 'spake great words against the Most High,' and 'thought to change times and laws.' Many hated him, but all stood in awe of his power. Like Simon Magus he 'bewitched the people.' Like Nebuchadnezzar, 'whom he would he slew.'" I need not give you the trouble of listening to more of such language, which you may buy by the yard at the first publisher's shop you fall in with. Thus it is the Man paints the Lion. Go into the first Protestant church or chapel or public meeting which comes in your way, you will hear it from the pulpit or the platform. The Church (who can doubt it?) is a sorceress, intoxicating the nations with a goblet of blood.

However, all are not satisfied to learn by rote what they are to affirm on matters so important, and to feed all their life long on the traditions of the nursery. They examine for themselves, and then forthwith we have another side of the question in dispute. For instance, I say, hear what that eminent Protestant {15} historian, M. Guizot, who was lately Prime Minister France, says of the Church in that period, in which she is reported by our popular writers to have been most darkened and corrupted. You will observe (what makes his remarks the stronger) that, being a Protestant, he does not believe the Church really to have been set up by Christ himself, as a Catholic does, but to have taken her present form in the middle age; and he contrasts, in the extract I am about to read, the pure Christianity of primitive times, with that later Christianity, as he considers it, which took an ecclesiastical shape.

"If the Church had not existed," he observes, "I know not what would have occurred during the decline of the Roman Empire. I confine myself to purely human considerations, I cast aside every element foreign to the natural consequence of natural facts, and I say that, if Christianity had only continued, as it was in the early ages,—a belief, a sentiment, an individual conviction,—it is probable it would have fallen amidst the dissolution of the empire, during the invasion of the barbarians . . . I do not think I say too much when I affirm, that, at the close of the fourth and the commencement of the fifth century, the Christian Church was the salvation of Christianity." [Note 3]

In like manner, Dr. Waddington, the present Protestant Dean of Durham, in his Ecclesiastical History [Note 4], observes to the same purport: "At this crisis," viz., when the Western Empire was overthrown, and occupied by unbelieving barbarians, "at this crisis it is not too much to assert, that the Church was the {16} instrument of Heaven for the preservation of the Religion. Christianity itself, unless miraculously sustained, would have been swept away from the surface of the West, had it not been rescued by an established body of ministers, or had that body been less zealous or less influential." And then he goes on to mention six special benefits which the Church of the middle ages conferred on the world; viz., first, she provided for the exercise of charity; secondly, she inculcated the moral duties by means of her penitential discipline; thirdly, she performed the office of legislation in an admirable way; fourthly, she unceasingly strove to correct the vices of the existing social system, setting herself especially against the abomination of slavery; fifthly, she laboured anxiously in the prevention of crime and of war; and lastly, she has preserved to these ages the literature of the ancient world.

Now, without entering into the controversy about idolatry, sorcery, and blasphemy, which concerns matters of opinion, are these Protestant testimonies, which relate to matters of fact, compatible with such imputations? Can blasphemy and idolatry be the salvation of Christianity? Can sorcery be the promoter of charity, morality, and social improvement? Yet, in spite of the fact of these contrary views of the subject,—in spite of the nursery and schoolroom authors being against us, and the manly and original thinkers being in our favour,—you will hear it commonly spoken of as notorious, that the Church in the middle ages was a witch, a liar, a profligate, a seducer, and a bloodthirsty tyrant; and we, who are her faithful children, are superstitious and slavish, because {17} we entertain some love and reverence for her, who, a certain number of her opponents confess, was then, as she is now, the mother of peace, and humanity and order.

2. So much for the middle ages; next I will take an instance of modern times. If there be any set of men in the whole world who are railed against as the pattern of all that is evil, it is the Jesuit body. It is vain to ask their slanderers what they know of them; did they ever see a Jesuit? can they say whether there are many or few? what do they know of their teaching? "Oh! it is quite notorious," they reply: "you might as well deny the sun in heaven; it is notorious that the Jesuits are a crafty, intriguing, unscrupulous, desperate, murderous, and exceedingly able body of men; a secret society, ever plotting against liberty, and government, and progress, and thought, and the prosperity of England. Nay, it is awful; they disguise themselves in a thousand shapes, as men of fashion, farmers, soldiers, labourers, butchers, and pedlars; they prowl about with handsome stocks, and stylish waistcoats, and gold chains about their persons, in fustian jackets, as the case may be; and they do not hesitate to shed the blood of any one whatever, prince or peasant, who stands in their way." Who can fathom the inanity of such statements?—which are made and therefore, I suppose, believed, not merely by the ignorant, but by educated men, who ought to know better, and will have to answer for their false witness. But all this is persisted in; and it is affirmed that they were found to be too bad even for Catholic countries, the governments of {18} which, it seems, in the course of the last century, forcibly obliged the Pope to put them down. Now I conceive that just one good witness, one person who has the means of knowing how things really stand, is worth a tribe of these pamphleteers, and journalists, and novelists, and preachers, and orators. So I will turn to a most impartial witness, and a very competent one; one who was born of Catholic parents, was educated a Catholic, lived in a Catholic country, was ordained a Catholic priest, and then, renouncing the Catholic religion, and coming to England, became the friend and protegé of the most distinguished Protestant prelates of the present day, and the most bitter enemy of the faith which he had once professed—I mean the late Rev. Joseph Blanco White. Now hear what he says about the Jesuits in Spain, his native country, at the time of their suppression.

"The Jesuits," he says [Note 5], "till the abolition of that order, had an almost unrivalled influence over the better classes of Spaniards. They had nearly monopolised the instruction of the Spanish youth, at which they toiled without pecuniary reward, and were equally zealous in promoting devotional feelings both among their pupils and the people at large . . . Wherever, as in France and Italy, literature was in high estimation, the Jesuits spared no trouble to raise among themselves men of eminence in that department. {19} In Spain their chief aim was to provide their houses with popular preachers, and zealous, yet prudent and gentle confessors. Pascal, and the Jansenist party, of which he was the organ, accused them of systematic laxity in their moral doctrines; but the charge, I believe, though plausible in theory, was perfectly groundless in practice . . . The influence of the Jesuits on Spanish morals, from everything I have learned, was undoubtedly favourable. Their kindness attracted the youth from their schools to their Company; and . . . they greatly contributed to the preservation of virtue in that slippery age, both by the ties of affection, and the gentle check of example. Their churches were crowded every Sunday with regular attendants, who came to confess and receive the sacrament . . . Their conduct was correct and their manners refined. They kept up a dignified intercourse with the middle and higher classes, and were always ready to help and instruct the poor, without descending to their level . . . Whatever we may think of the political delinquencies of their leaders, their bitterest enemies have never ventured to charge the Order of Jesuits with moral irregularities." Does this answer to the popular notion of a Jesuit? Will Exeter Hall be content with the testimony of one who does not speak from hereditary prejudice, but from actual knowledge? Certainly not; and in consequence it ignores all statements of the kind; they are to be uttered, and they are to be lost; and the received slander is to keep its place as part and parcel of the old stock in trade, and in the number of the heirlooms of Protestantism, the properties of its stage, the family pictures of its old {20} mansion, in the great controversy between the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the children of men.

3. Now I will go back to primitive times, which shall furnish me with a third instance of the subject I am illustrating. Protestants take it for granted, that the history of the monks is a sore point with us; that it is simply one of our difficulties; that it at once puts us on the defensive, and is, in consequence, a brilliant and effective weapon in controversy. They fancy that Catholics can do nothing when monks are mentioned, but evade, explain away, excuse, deny, urge difference of times, and at the utmost make them out not quite so bad as they are reported; They think monks are the very types and emblems of laziness, uselessness, ignorance, stupidity, fanaticism, and profligacy. They think it a paradox to say a word in their favour, and they have converted their name into a title of reproach. As a Jesuit means a knave, so a monk means a bigot. Here, again, things would show very differently, if Catholics had the painting; but I will be content with a Protestant artist, the very learned, and thoughtful, and celebrated German historian, who is lately dead, Dr. Neander. No one can accuse him of any tendencies towards Catholicism; nor does he set about to compose a panegyric. He is a deep-read student, a man facts, as a German should be; and as a narrator of facts, in his Life of St. Chrysostom, he writes thus:—

"It was by no means intended that the monks should lead a life of listless contemplation; on the contrary, manual labour was enjoined on them as a duty by their rational adherents, by Chrysostom, as {21} well as Augustine, although many fanatical mystics, advocates of an inactive life" (who, by the way, were not Catholics, but heretics) "rejected, under the cloak of sanctity, all connexion of a laborious with a contemplative life. Cassian relates, that not only the monasteries of Egypt, but that the districts of Libya, when suffering from famine, and also the unfortunate men who languished in the prisons of cities, were supported by the labour of the monks. Augustine relates that the monks of Syria and Egypt were enabled, by their labour and savings, to send ships laden with provisions to distressed districts. The monks of the East were remarkable for their hospitality, although their cells and cloisters were infinitely poorer than those of their more recent brethren of the West. The most rigid monks, who lived only on salt and bread, placed before their guests other food, and at times consented to lay aside their accustomed severity, in order to persuade them to partake of the refreshments which were set before them. A monk on the Euphrates collected together many blind beggars, built dwellings for them, taught them to sing Christian hymns with him, and induced a multitude of men, who sought him from all classes, to contribute to their support.

"Besides the promotion of love and charity, there was another object which induced the lawgivers of monachism to enjoin labour as an especial duty. They wished to keep the passions in subjection, and maintain a due balance between the spiritual and physical powers of human nature, because the latter, if unemployed and under no control, easily exercise a destructive influence over the former. {22}

"Among the rules of Basil, we find the following decision respecting the trades which formed the occupation of the monks. Those should be preferred, which did not interfere with a peaceable and tranquil life; which occasioned but little trouble in the provision of proper materials for the work, and in the sale of it when completed; which required not much useless or injurious intercourse with men, and did not gratify irrational desires and luxury; while those who followed the trades of weavers and shoemakers were permitted to labour so far as was required by the necessities, but by no means to administer to the vanities of life. Agriculture, the art of building, the trades of a carpenter and a smith, were in themselves good, and not to be rejected; but it was to be feared that they might lead to a loss of repose, and cause the monks to be much separated from each other. Otherwise, agricultural occupation was particularly to be recommended; and it was by agriculture that the monks, at a later period, so much contributed to the civilization of the rude nations of the West.

"The most venerated of the monks were visited by men of every class. A weighty word, one of those pithy sentiments, uttered by some great monk, of which so many have been handed down to us, proceeding from the mouth of a man universally respected, and supported by the impression which his holy life and venerable appearance had created, when spoken at a right moment, oftentimes effected more than the long and repeated harangues of other men. The children were sent to the monks from the cities to receive their blessings; and on these occasions their {23} minds were strewed with the seeds of Christian truth, which took deep root. Thus, Theodoret says of the Monk Peter: 'He often placed me on his knees and fed me with bread and grapes; for my mother, having had experience of his spiritual grace, sent me to him once every week to receive his blessing.'

"The duties of education were particularly recommended to the monks by Basil. They were enjoined to take upon themselves voluntarily the education of orphans; the education of other youths when entrusted to them by their parents. It was by no means necessary that these children should become monks; they were, if fitted for it, early instructed in some trade or art; and were afterwards at liberty to make a free choice of their vocation. The greatest care was bestowed on their religious and moral acquirements. Particular houses were appointed, in which they were to be brought up under the superintendence of one of the oldest and most experienced monks, known for his patience and benignity, that their faults might be corrected with paternal mildness and circumspect wisdom. Instead of the mythical tales, passages out of the Holy Scriptures, the history of the divine miracles, and maxims out of Solomon's Proverbs, were given them to learn by heart, that they might be taught in a manner at the same time instructive and entertaining.

"The monks of the East greatly contributed to the conversion of the heathen, both by their plain, sincere discourse, and by the veneration which their lives inspired: and their simple mode of living rendered it easy for them to establish themselves in any place." {24}

Now, the enemies of monks may call this an ex parte statement if they will,—though as coming from a Protestant, one does not see with what justice it can undergo such an imputation. But this is not the point. I am not imposing this view of the Monastic Institute on any one; men may call Neander's representation ex parte; they may doubt it, if they will; I only say there are evidently two sides to the question, and therefore that the Protestant public, which is quite ignorant of more sides than one, and fancies none but a knave or a fool can doubt the received Protestant tradition on the subject of monks, is, for the very reason of its ignorance, first furiously positive that it is right, and next singularly likely to be wrong.

Audi alteram partem, hear both sides, is generally an Englishman's maxim; but there is one subject on which he has intractable prejudices, and resolutely repudiates any view but that which is familiar to him from his childhood. Rome is his Nazareth; "Can any good come out of Nazareth?" settles the question with him; happy, rather, if he could be brought to imitate the earnest inquirer in the Gospel, who, after urging this objection, went on nevertheless to obey the invitation which it elicited, "Come and see!"


And here I might conclude my subject, which has proposed to itself nothing more than to suggest, to those whom it concerns, that they would have more reason to be confident in their view of the Catholic religion, if it ever had struck them that it needed {25} some proof, if there ever had occurred to their minds at least the possibility of truth being maligned, and Christ being called Beelzebub; but I am tempted, before concluding, to go on to try whether something of a monster indictment, similarly frightful and similarly fantastical to that which is got up against Catholicism, might not be framed against some other institution or power, of parallel greatness and excellence, in its degree and place, to the communion of Rome. For this purpose I will take the British Constitution, which is so specially the possession, and so deservedly the glory, of our own people; and in taking it I need hardly say, I take it for the very reason that it is so rightfully the object of our wonder and veneration. I should be but a fool for my pains, if I laboured to prove it otherwise; it is one of the greatest of human works, as admirable in its own line, to take the productions of genius in very various departments, as the Pyramids, as the wall of China, as the paintings of Raffaelle, as the Apollo Belvidere, as the plays of Shakespeare, as the Newtonian theory, and as the exploits of Napoleon. It soars, in its majesty, far above the opinions of men, and will be a marvel, almost a portent, to the end of time; but for that very reason it is more to my purpose, when I would show you how even it, the British Constitution, would fare, when submitted to the intellect of Exeter Hall, and handled by practitioners, whose highest effort at dissection is to chop and to mangle.

I will suppose, then, a speaker, and an audience too, who never saw England, never saw a member of parliament, a policeman, a queen, or a London mob; {26} who never read the English history, nor studied any one of our philosophers, jurists, moralists, or poets; but who has dipped into Blackstone and several English writers, and has picked up facts at third or fourth hand, and has got together a crude farrago of ideas, words, and instances, a little truth, a deal of falsehood, a deal of misrepresentation, a deal of nonsense, and a deal of invention. And most fortunately for my purpose, here is an account transmitted express by the private correspondent of a morning paper, of a great meeting held about a fortnight since at Moscow, under sanction of the Czar, on occasion of an attempt made by one or two Russian noblemen to spread British ideas in his capital. It seems the emperor thought it best, in the present state of men's minds, when secret societies are so rife, to put down the movement by argument rather than by a military force; and so he instructed the governor of Moscow to connive at the project of a great public meeting which should be opened to the small faction of Anglo-maniacs, or John-Bullists, as they are popularly termed, as well as to the mass of the population. As many as ten thousand men, as far as the writer could calculate, were gathered together in one of the largest places of the city; a number of spirited and impressive speeches were made, in all of which, however, was illustrated the fable of the "Lion and the Man," the man being the Russ, and the lion our old friend the British; but the most successful of all is said to have been the final harangue, by a member of a junior branch of the Potemkin family, once one of the imperial aides-de-camp, who has spent the last thirty years in the wars of the Caucasus. This distinguished {27} veteran, who has acquired the title of Blood-sucker, from his extraordinary gallantry in combat with the Circassian tribes, spoke at great length; and the express contains a portion of his highly inflammatory address, of which, and of certain consequences which followed it, the British minister is said already to have asked an explanation of the cabinet of St. Petersburg: I transcribe it as it may be supposed to stand in the morning print:

The Count began by observing that the events of every day, as it came, called on his countrymen more and more importunately to choose their side, and to make a firm stand against a perfidious power, which arrogantly proclaims that there is nothing like the British Constitution in the whole world, and that no country can prosper without it; which is yearly aggrandizing itself in East, West, and South, which is engaged in one enormous conspiracy against all States, and which was even aiming at modifying the old institutions of the North, and at dressing up the army, navy, legislature, and executive of his own country in the livery of Queen Victoria. "Insular in situation," he exclaimed, "and at the back gate of the world, what has John Bull to do with continental matters, or with the political traditions of our holy Russia?" And yet there were men in that very city who were so far the dupes of insidious propagandists and insolent traitors to their emperor, as to maintain that England had been a civilized country longer than Russia. On the contrary, he maintained, and he would shed the last drop of his blood in maintaining, that, as for its boasted Constitution, it was a {28} crazy, old-fashioned piece of furniture, and an eyesore in the nineteenth century, and would not last a dozen years. He had the best information for saying so. He could understand those who had never crossed out of their island, listening to the songs about "Rule Britannia," and "Rosbif," and "Poor Jack," and the "Old English Gentleman;" he understood and he pitied them, but that Russians, that the conquerors of Napoleon, that the heirs of a paternal government, should bow the knee, and kiss the hand, and walk backwards, and perform other antics before the face of a limited monarch, this was the incomprehensible foolery which certain Russians had viewed with so much tenderness. He repeated, there were in that city educated men, who had openly professed a reverence for the atheistical tenets and fiendish maxims of John-Bullism.

Here the speaker was interrupted by one or two murmurs of dissent, and a foreigner, supposed to be a partner in a Scotch firm, was observed in the extremity of the square, making earnest attempts to obtain a hearing. He was put down, however, amid enthusiastic cheering, and the Count proceeded with a warmth of feeling which increased the effect of the terrible invective which followed. He said he had used the words "atheistical" and "fiendish" most advisedly, and he would give his reasons for doing so. What was to be said to any political power which claimed the attribute of Divinity? Was any term too strong for such a usurpation? Now, no one would deny Antichrist would be such a power; an Antichrist was contemplated, was predicted in Scripture, it was to come in the last times, it was to grow slowly, it {29} was to manifest itself warily and craftily, and then to have a mouth speaking great things against the Divinity and against His attributes. This prediction was most literally and exactly fulfilled in the British Constitution. Antichrist was not only to usurp, but to profess to usurp the arms of heaven—he was to arrogate its titles. This was the special mark of the beast, and where was it fulfilled but in John-Bullism? "I hold in my hand," continued the speaker, "a book which I have obtained under very remarkable circumstances. It is not known to the British people, it is circulated only among the lawyers, merchants, and aristocracy, and its restrictive use is secured only by the most solemn oaths, the most fearful penalties, and the utmost vigilance of the police. I procured it after many years of anxious search by the activity of an agent, and the co-operation of an English bookseller, and it cost me an enormous sum to make it my own. It is called 'Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England,' and I am happy to make known to the universe its odious and shocking mysteries, known to few Britons, and certainly not known to the deluded persons whose vagaries have been the occasion of this meeting. I am sanguine in thinking that when they come to know the real tenets of John Bull, they will at once disown his doctrines with horror, and break off all connexion with his adherents.

"Now, I should say, gentlemen, that this book, while it is confined to certain classes, is of those classes, on the other hand, of judges, and lawyers, and privy councillors, and justices of the peace, and police magistrates, and clergy, and country gentlemen, {30} the guide, and I may say, the gospel. I open the book, gentlemen, and what are the first words which meet my eyes? 'The King can do no wrong.' I beg you to attend, gentlemen, to this most significant assertion; one was accustomed to think that no child of man had the gift of impeccability; one had imagined that, simply speaking, impeccability was a divine attribute; but this British Bible, as I may call it, distinctly ascribes an absolute sinlessness to the King of Great Britain and Ireland. Observe, I am using no words of my own, I am still but quoting what meets my eyes in this remarkable document. The words run thus: 'It is an axiom of the law of the land that the King himself can do no wrong.' Was I wrong, then, in speaking of the atheistical maxims of John Bullism? But this is far from all: the writer goes on actually to ascribe to the Sovereign (I tremble while I pronounce the words) absolute perfection; for he speaks thus: 'The law ascribes to the King in his political capacity ABSOLUTE PERFECTION; the King can do no wrong!'—(groans). One had thought that no human power could thus be described; but the British legislature, judicature, and jurisprudence, have had the unspeakable effrontery to impute to their crowned and sceptred idol, to their doll,"—here cries of "shame, shame," from the same individual who had distinguished himself in an earlier part of the speech—"to this doll, this puppet whom they have dressed up with a lion and a unicorn, the attribute of ABSOLUTE PERFECTION!" Here the individual who had several times interrupted the speaker sprung up, in spite of the efforts of persons about him to keep him down, and cried out, as far as {31} his words could be collected, "You cowardly liar, our dear good little Queen," when he was immediately saluted with a cry of "Turn him out," and soon made his exit from the meeting.

Order being restored, the Count continued: "Gentlemen, I could wish you would have suffered this emissary of a foreign potentate (immense cheering), who is insidiously aiming at forming a political party among us, to have heard to the end that black catalogue of charges against his Sovereign, which as yet I have barely commenced. Gentlemen, I was saying that the Queen of England challenges the divine attribute of ABSOLUTE PERFECTION! but, as if this were not enough this Blackstone continues, 'The King, moreover, is not only incapable of doing wrong, but even of thinking wrong!! he can never do an improper thing; in him is no FOLLY or WEAKNESS!!!'" (Shudders and cheers from the vast assemblage, which lasted alternately some minutes.) At the same time a respectably dressed gentleman below the platform begged permission to look at the book; it was immediately handed to him; after looking at the passages, he was observed to inspect carefully the title-page and binding; he then returned it without a word.

The Count, in resuming his speech, observed that he courted and challenged investigation, he should be happy to answer any question, and he hoped soon to publish, by subscription, a translation of the work, from which he had been quoting. Then, resuming the subject where he had left it, he made some most forcible and impressive reflections on the miserable state of those multitudes, who, in spite of their skill {32} in the mechanical arts, and their political energy, were in the leading-strings of so foul a superstition. The passage he had quoted was the first and mildest of a series of blasphemies so prodigious, that he really feared to proceed, not only from disgust at the necessity of uttering them, but lest he should be taxing the faith of his hearers beyond what appeared reasonable limits. Next, then, he drew attention to the point that the English Sovereign distinctly claimed, according to the same infamous work, to be the "fount of justice;" and, that there might be no mistake in the matter, the author declared, "that she is never bound in justice to do anything." What, then, is her method of acting? Unwilling as he was to defile his lips with so profane a statement, he must tell them that this abominable writer coolly declared that the Queen, a woman, only did acts of reparation and restitution as a matter of grace! He was not a theologian, he had spent his life in the field, but he knew enough of his religion to be able to say that grace was a word especially proper to the appointment and decrees of Divine Sovereignty. All hearers knew perfectly well that nature was one thing, grace another; and yet here was a poor child of clay claiming to be the fount, not only of justice, but of grace. She was making herself a first cause of not merely natural, but spiritual excellence, and doing nothing more or less than simply emancipating herself from her Maker. The Queen, it seemed, never obeyed the law on compulsion, according to Blackstone; that is, her Maker could not compel her. This was no mere deduction of his own, as directly would be seen. Let it be observed, the Apostle {33} called the predicted Antichrist "the wicked one," or as it might be more correctly translated, "the lawless," because he was to be the proud despiser of law; now, wonderful to say, this was the very assumption of the British Parliament. "The Power of Parliament," said Sir Edward Coke, "is so transcendent and absolute, that it cannot be confined within any bounds!! It has sovereign and uncontrollable authority!!" Moreover, the Judges had declared that "it is so high and mighty in its nature, that it may make law, and THAT WHICH IS LAW IT MAY MAKE NO LAW!" Here verily was the mouth speaking great things; but there was more behind, which, but for the atrocious sentiments he had already admitted into his mouth, he really should not have the courage, the endurance to utter. It was sickening to the soul, and intellect, and feelings of a Russ, to form the words on his tongue, and the ideas in his imagination. He would say what must be said as quickly as he could, and without comment. The gallant speaker then delivered the following passage from Blackstone's volume, in a very distinct and articulate whisper: "Some have not scrupled to call its power—the OMNIPOTENCE of Parliament!" No one can conceive the thrilling effect of these words; they were heard all over the immense assemblage; every man turned pale; a dead silence followed; one might have heard a pin drop. A pause of some minutes followed.

The speaker continued, evidently labouring under intense emotion:—"Have you not heard enough, my dear compatriots, of this hideous system of John-Bullism? was I wrong in using the words fiendish {34} and atheistical when I entered upon this subject? and need I proceed further with blasphemous details, which cannot really add to the monstrous bearing of the passages I have already read to you? If the Queen 'cannot do wrong,' if she 'cannot even think wrong,' if she is 'absolute perfection,' if she has 'no folly, no weakness,' if she is the 'fount of justice,' if she is 'the fount of grace,' if she is simply 'above law,' if she is 'omnipotent,' what wonder that the lawyers of John-Bullism should also call her 'sacred!' what wonder that they should speak of her as 'majesty!' what wonder that they should speak of her as a 'superior being!' Here again I am using the words of the book I hold in my hand. 'The people' (my blood runs cold while I repeat them) 'are led to consider their sovereign in the light of a SUPERIOR BEING.' 'Every one is under him,' says Bracton, 'and he is under no one.' Accordingly, the law books call him 'Vicarius Dei in terrâ,' 'the Vicar of God on earth;' a most astonishing fulfilment, you observe, of the prophecy, for Antichrist is a Greek word, which means 'Vicar of Christ.' What wonder under these circumstances, that Queen Elizabeth, assuming the attribute of the Creator, once said to one of her Bishops: 'Proud Prelate, I made you, and I can unmake you!' What wonder that James the First had the brazen assurance to say, that 'As it is atheism and blasphemy in a creature to dispute the Deity, so it is presumption and sedition in a subject to dispute a King in the height of his power!' Moreover, his subjects called him the 'breath of their nostrils;' and my Lord Clarendon, the present Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in his celebrated History of {35} the Rebellion, declares that the same haughty monarch actually on one occasion called himself 'a god;' and in his great legal digest, commonly called the 'Constitutions of Clarendon,' he gives us the whole account of the King's banishing the Archbishop, St. Thomas of Canterbury, for refusing to do him homage. Lord Bacon, too, went nearly as far when he called him 'Deaster quidam,' 'some sort of little god.' Alexander Pope, too, calls Queen Anne a goddess: and Addison, with a servility only equalled by his profaneness, cries out, 'Thee goddess, thee Britannia's isle adores.' Nay, even at this very time, when public attention has been drawn to the subject, Queen Victoria causes herself to be represented on her coins as the goddess of the seas, with a pagan trident in her hand.

"Gentlemen, can it surprise you to be told, after such an exposition of the blasphemies of England, that, astonishing to say, Queen Victoria is distinctly pointed out in the Book of Revelation as having the number of the beast! You may recollect that number is 666; now, she came to the throne in the year thirty-seven, at which date she was eighteen years old. Multiply then 37 by 18, and you have the very number 666, which is the mystical emblem of the lawless King!!!

"No wonder then, with such monstrous pretensions, and such awful auguries, that John-Bullism is, in act and deed, as savage and profligate, as in profession it is saintly and innocent. Its annals are marked with blood and corruption. The historian Hallam, though one of the ultra-bullist party, in his Constitutional History, admits that the English tribunals {36} are 'disgraced by the brutal manners and iniquitous partiality of the bench.' 'The general behaviour of the bench,' he says elsewhere, 'has covered it with infamy.' Soon after, he tells us that the dominant faction inflicted on the High Church Clergy 'the disgrace and remorse of perjury.' The English Kings have been the curse and shame of human nature. Richard the First boasted that the evil spirit was the father of his family; of Henry the Second St. Bernard said, 'From the devil he came, and to the devil he will go;' William the Second was killed by the enemy of man, to whom he had sold himself, while hunting in one of his forests; Henry the First died of eating lampreys; John died of eating peaches; Clarence, a king's brother, was drowned in a butt of malmsey wine; Richard the Third put to death his Sovereign, his Sovereign's son, his two brothers, his wife, two nephews, and half-a-dozen friends. Henry the Eighth successively married and murdered no less than six hundred women. I quote the words of the 'Edinburgh Review,' that, according to Hollinshed, no less than 70,000 persons died under the hand of the executioner in his reign. Sir John Fortescue tells us that in his day there were more persons executed for robbery in England in one year, than in France in seven. Four hundred persons a year were executed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Even so late as the last century, in spite of the continued protests of foreign nations, in the course of seven years there were 428 capital convictions in London alone. Burning of children, too, is a favourite punishment with John Bull, as may be seen in this same Blackstone, who notices the burning of a girl of thirteen given by Sir {37} Matthew Hale. The valets always assassinate their masters; lovers uniformly strangle their sweethearts; the farmers and the farmers' wives universally beat their apprentices to death; and their lawyers in the inns of court strip and starve their servants, as has appeared from remarkable investigations in the law courts during the last year. Husbands sell their wives by public auction with a rope round their necks. An intelligent Frenchman, M. Pellet, who visited London in 1815, deposes that he saw a number of sculls on each side of the river Thames, and he was told they were found especially thick at the landing-places among the watermen. But why multiply instances, when the names of those two-legged tigers, Rush, Thistlewood, Thurtell, the Mannings, Colonel Kirk, Claverhouse, Simon de Monteforte, Strafford, the Duke of Cumberland, Warren Hastings, and Judge Jeffreys, are household words all over the earth? John-Bullism, through a space of 800 years, is semper idem, unchangeable in evil. One hundred and sixty offences are punishable with death. It is death to live with gipsies for a month; and Lord Hale mentions thirteen persons as having, in his day, suffered death thereon at one assize. It is death to steal a sheep, death to rob a warren, death to steal a letter, death to steal a handkerchief, death to cut down a cherry-tree. And, after all, the excesses of John-Bullism at home are mere child's play to the oceans of blood it has shed abroad. It has been the origin of all the wars which have desolated Europe; it has fomented national jealousy, and the antipathy of castes in every part of the world; it has plunged flourishing states into the abyss of revolution. {38} The Crusades, the Sicilian Vespers, the wars of the Reformation, the Thirty Years' War, the War of Succession, the Seven Years' War, the American War, the French Revolution, all are simply owing to John-Bull ideas; and, to take one definite instance, in the course of the last war, the deaths of two millions of the human race lie at his door; for the Whigs themselves, from first to last, and down to this day, admit and proclaim, without any hesitation or limitation, that that war was simply and entirely the work of John-Bullism, and needed not, and would not have been, but for its influence, and its alone.

"Such is that 'absolute perfection, without folly and without weakness,' which, revelling in the blood of man, is still seeking out her victims, and scenting blood all over the earth. It is that woman Jezebel, who fulfils the prophetic vision, and incurs the prophetic denunciation. And, strange to say, a prophet of her own has not scrupled to apply to her that very appellation. Dead to good and evil, the children of Jezebel glory in the name; and ten years have not passed since, by a sort of infatuation, one of the very highest Tories in the land, a minister, too, of the established religion, hailed the blood-stained Monarchy under the very title of the mystical sorceress. Jezebel surely is her name, and Jezebel is her nature; for drunk with the spiritual wine-cup of wrath, and given over to believe a lie, at length she has ascended to heights which savour rather of madness than of pride; she babbles absurdities, and she thirsts for impossibilities. Gentlemen, I am speaking the words of sober seriousness; I can prove what I say to the letter; the extravagance is not in me but in the {39} object of my denunciation. Once more I appeal to the awful volume I hold in my hands. I appeal to it, I open it, I cast it from me. Listen, then, once again; it is a fact; Jezebel has declared her own omnipresence. 'A consequence of the royal prerogatives,' says the antichristian author, 'is the legal UBIQUITY of the King!' 'His Majesty is always present in all his courts: his judges are the mirror by which the King's image is reflected;' and further, 'From this ubiquity' (you see he is far from shrinking from the word), 'from this ubiquity it follows that the Sovereign can never be NONSUIT!!' Gentlemen, the sun would set before I told you one hundredth part of the enormity of this child of Moloch and Belial. Inebriated with the cup of insanity, and flung upon the stream of recklessness, she dashes down the cataract of nonsense, and whirls amid the pools of confusion. Like the Roman emperor, she actually has declared herself immortal! she has declared her eternity! Again, I am obliged to say it, these are no words of mine; the tremendous sentiment confronts me in black and crimson characters in this diabolical book. 'In the law,' says Blackstone, 'the Sovereign is said never to die!' Again, with still more hideous expressiveness, 'The law ascribes to the Sovereign an ABSOLUTE IMMORTALITY. THE KING NEVER DIES.'

"And now, gentlemen, your destiny is in your own hands. If you are willing to succumb to a power which has never been contented with what she was, but has been for centuries extending her conquests in both hemispheres, then the humble individual who has addressed you will submit to the necessary consequence; {40} will resume his military dress, and return to the Caucasus; but if, on the other hand, as I believe, you are resolved to resist unflinchingly this flood of satanical imposture and foul ambition, and force it back into the ocean; if, not from hatred to the English—far from it—from love to them (for a distinction must ever be drawn between the nation and its dominant John-Bullism); if, I say, from love to them as brothers, from a generous determination to fight their battles, from an intimate consciousness that they are in their secret hearts Russians, that they are champing the bit of their iron lot, and are longing for you as their deliverers; if, from these lofty notions as well as from a burning patriotism, you will form the high resolve to annihilate this dishonour of humanity; if you loathe its sophisms, 'De minimis non curat lex,' and 'Malitia supplet ætatem,' and 'Tres faciunt collegium,' and 'Impotentia excusat legem,' and 'Possession is nine parts of the law,' and 'The greater the truth, the greater the libel'—principles which sap the very foundations of morals; if you wage war to the knife with its blighting superstitions of primogeniture, gavelkind, mortmain, and contingent remainders; if you detest, abhor, and abjure the tortuous maxims and perfidious provisions of its habeas corpus, quare impedit, and qui tam (hear, hear); if you scorn the mummeries of its wigs, and bands, and coifs, and ermine (vehement cheering); if you trample and spit upon its accursed fee simple and fee tail, villanage, and free soccage, fiefs, heriots, seizins, feuds (a burst of cheers, the whole meeting in commotion); its shares, its premiums, its post-obits, its percentages, its tariffs, its broad and narrow gauge"—Here the cheers became frantic, and drowned the {41} speaker's voice, and a most extraordinary scene of enthusiasm followed. One half of the meeting was seen embracing the other half; till, as if by the force of a sudden resolution, they all poured out of the square, and proceeded to break the windows of all the British residents. They then formed into procession, and directing their course to the great square before the Kremlin, they dragged through the mud, and then solemnly burnt, an effigy of John Bull which had been provided beforehand by the managing committee, a lion and unicorn, and a Queen Victoria. These being fully consumed, they dispersed quietly; and by ten o'clock at night the streets were profoundly still, and the silver moon looked down in untroubled lustre on the city of the Czars.

Now, my Brothers of the Oratory, I protest to you my full conviction that I have not caricatured this parallel at all. Were I, indeed, skilled in legal matters, I could have made it far more natural, plausible, and complete; but, as for its extravagance, I say deliberately, and have means of knowing what I say, having once been a Protestant, and being now a Catholic—knowing what is said and thought of Catholics, on the one hand, and, on the other, knowing what they really are—I deliberately assert that no absurdities contained in the above sketch can equal—nay, that no conceivable absurdities can surpass—the absurdities which are firmly believed of by sensible, kind-hearted, well-intentioned Protestants. Such is the consequence of having looked at things all on one side, and shutting the eyes to the other.

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1. Guy Mannering.
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2. Dissert. 22.
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3. Europ. Civ., p. 56, Beckwith.
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4. Ch. xiii.
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5. I have omitted some clauses and sentences which either expressed the opinions of the author, as distinct from his testimony, or which at least are irrelevant to the matter in hand; which is simply to show, not what a Protestant can speak against (which no one can doubt), but what he can say in favour of, this calumniated body: however, to prevent misrepresentation, the entire passage shall be given at the end of the Volume.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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