« PreviousContinue »
it under the old name of Otaheite, we silent. But it is perhaps better as it hope that some eternal mist, drawn is; for the subject of transportation is in a wide circle round the island, will so extensive, and so complicate, and shroud it from all future navigators. so inevitably introduces the whole reWere we some great mariner, and had view of what we call secondary pundiscovered such an island, and had ishments—of our penal code, in short eaten of the bread-fruit of the hospi- —that it were preferable to treat it table native, and reclined under their apart. It would be very unsatispeaceful trees, and seen their youths factory merely to state a string of and maidens crowned with green conclusions, without being able to boughs, sporting like fishes in their throw up any defences against those beautiful clear seas, no mermaid objections which, in a subject so full happier-we should know but of one of controversy, they would be sure to way to prove our gratitude—to close provoke. our lips for ever on the discovery we In fine, we trust to no ideals, no had made. If there exist in some theory or art of colonisation. Neither untraversed region of the ocean an do we make any extraordinary or other such spot, and if there are still novel demands on Government. A any genii, or jins, or whatever sea great work is going on, but it will be fairies may be called, left behind in best performed by simple means. the world, we beseech of them to pro- We ask from the Government that it tect it from all prying circumnavi- should survey and apportion the land, gators. Let them raise bewildering and secure its possession to the honest mists, or scare the helmsman with emigrant, and that it should delegate imaginary breakers, or sit cross to the new settlement such powers of legged upon the binnacle, and be- self-government as are necessary to its witch the compass—anyhow let them internal improvement. These, howprotect their charge. We could al- ever, are important duties, and emmost believe, from this moment, in brace much. The rest, with the exthe existence of such spirits or ception of such liberality as may be genii, having found so great a task for thought advisable, in addition to the them.
fund raised by the sale of waste land, We have no space to go back to for the despatch and outfit of the poor other graver topics connected with labourer or artisan-the rest must be colonisation which we have passed on left to the free spirit of Englishmen, our road. On one topic we had not, whether going single or in groups and certainly, intended to be altogether societies.
THE REACTION, OR FOREIGN CONSERVATISM.
Boston, February 1849.
the corrupting influences of the French It is the sage remark of Montes priesthood, as because they are no quieu, that, under a government of longer Gallican priests, but simply laws, liberty consists simply in the the emissaries of Ultramontanism. power of doing what we ought to There is no longer a French church. will, and in freedom from any con The Revolution made an end of that. straint to do what we ought not to When Napoleon, walking at Malmaiwill. The true conservative not only son, heard the bells of Ruel, he was accepts this maxim, but he gives it overpowered with a sense of the value completeness by prescribing a pure of such associations as they revived religion as the standard of what a in his own heart, and forthwith he people ought to will, and as the only opened the churches which had so long sober guide of conscience. And this been the sepulcbres of a nation's may be added as a corollary, that so faith, convinced that they served a long as a free people is substantially purpose in government, if only as a Christian, their conscience coinciding cheap police. He opened the churches, with absolute right, their liberty, so but he could not restore the church of far as affected by popular causes, will France. He could do no more than preserve itself from fatal disorders. enthrone surviving Ultramontanism Such a people, possessed of liberty, in her ancient seats, and that by a will know it and be content. But maneuvre, which made it a creature where the popular conscience is mor and a slave of his ambition. When bid, they may have liberty without it revolted, he talked of Gallican liknowing it. They will fancy that berties, but only for political purposes. they ought to will what they are not Nor did the Restoration do any better. permitted to will, and the most whole The church of St Louis was defunct. some restraints of wise laws will ap Gallican immunities were indeed pear tyrannical. For ch a people asserted on paper; but, in effect, the there can be no cure, till they are Jesuits gained the day. The Orleans restored to a healthy conscience. A usurpation carried things further ; despotism successfully established for the priesthood, severed from the over them, and then moderately main state, became more Ultramontane from tained, and benevolently administered, apparent necessity, and lost, accordis the only thing that can save them ingly, their feeble hold on the remainfrom self-destruction.
ing respect of the French people. I was not writing at random, then, Who was not startled, when the once my Basil, when I said in my last let devout Lamartine talked of “the new ter that the first want of France is a Christianity" of Liberty and Equality national conscience. As a nation, the over the ruins of the Orleans dynasty, French lack the moral sense. What and thus betrayed the irreligion into sign of moral life have they shown which he had been repelled by the for the last fifty years? The root of Christianity of French ecclesiastics ! bitterness in the body politic of Thus always uncongenial to the naFrance, is the astonishing infidelity of tional character, Ultramontanism has the people. Whatever be the causes, coated, like quicksilver, and eaten the fact is not to be denied : the land away those golden liberties which St whose crown was once, by courtesy, Louis consecrated his life to preserve, most Christian, must draw on cour and with which have perished the tesy and charity too, if it be now life and power of Christianity in called Christian at all. The spirit of France. unbelief is national. It is the spirit The history of France is emphatiof French literature-of the French cally à religious history. Every press-of the French academy-of the student must be struck with it. To French_senate ; I had almost added understand even the history of its of the French church ; and if I hesi- court, one must get at least an outtate, it is not so much because I doubt line of what is meant by Jansenism
and Molinism, and Ultramontanism, black spirits and white must have and the whole tissue of isms which maintained the proportion, and somethey have created. No historian thing of the appearance, of their corgives us an exemption from this responding ebony and ivory in the amount of polemical information. key-board of a pianoforte, and which The school of Michelet is as forward he had tuned to his liking by a series as that of de Maistre, in claiming a of preparatory exercises, he played, “ religious mission » for France as a grand finale, a most brilliant among the nations; and de Stael experimental quick-step, which satisand Chateaubriand are impressed fied him that every chord vibrated in with the same idea. Her publicists, harmony with his own sweet voice. as well as her statesmen, have been He was closing his instructions, and always, in their own way, theo- addressed his pupils, not as disciples, logians ; and, from Louis IX. to but as friends. His great object Louis XVI., the spirit of theology seems to have been to convince them was, in some form or other, the spirit of their own importance, as the illumiof every reign. Not only the Ma- nated school of a new gospel of which zarins, but the Pompadours also, have he is himself the dispenser, and made religion part of their craft; and through which, he promised them, religion became so entirely political they would become, with him, the under Louis XV., that irreligion was regenerators of the world. Having easily made political in its stead. In fully indoctrinated them with his new the court of France, in fact, theology Christianity, it was necessary to work has been the common trade; the them into fury against the old. He trade of Condé and of Guise, of had already established the unity of Huguenot and Papist, of Jansenist politics and religion; he had shown, and Jesuit, of philosopher and poet, very artfully, that Christianity had of harlots, and almost of lap-dogs. identified itself with Ultramontanism, Even Robespierre must legislate upon and that France must perish if it the " consoling principle of an Etre should triumph ; and he had only to Suprême, and Napoleon elevates convince them of danger from that himself into “the eldest son of the quarter, to influence the combustible church." “A peculiar characteristic spirits of his credulous hearers to the of this monarchy," says de Maistre, heat which his purpose required. " is that it possesses à certain theo. This he did by bellowing Reaction, cratic element, special to itself, which and anathematising Schlegel and de has given it fourteen centuries of Maistre. duration," This element has given You were mistaken then, my Basil, its colour to reigns and revolutions in supposing this word Reaction altoalike; and if one admit the neces- gether a bugbear, and in understandsity of religion to the perpetuity of a ing it with reference only to the counstate, it deserves our attention, in the ter-spirit in favour of legitimacy, light of whatever contending parties which has been generated by the rehave advanced upon the subject. volution of last year. You see it was
Let us begin with the revolution, the hobgoblin of a certain class of faists themselves. In the month of natics, long before Louis Philippe had June 1844, Monsieur Quinet, “ of received his notice to quit. _It was an the college of France,” stood in his “impassioned leaven” in French solecture-room, venting his little utmost ciety five years ago, in the heated against the “impassioned leaven of imagination, or else in the artful Reaction,” which he declared to be theory, of Quinet. What was really fermenting in French society. His the case ? There was, in his sober opiaudience was literally the youth of nion, as much danger from the reaction nations ; for, as I gather from his at that time as from the Great Turk, oratory, it embraced not only his and no more. He merely used it as countrymen, but, besides them, Poles, an academic man-of-straw to play at Russians, Italians, Germans, Hun- foils with. He held it up to congarians, Spaniards, Portuguese, and tempt as an exploded folly, and then a sprinkling of negroes. Upon pretended it was a living danger, only this interesting assembly, in which to increase his own reputation for
daring, and to quicken the develop- reason of Butler, and sufficiently counment of antagonist principles. He teracted by even the frigid apologies little dreamed the manikin would come of Watson, and the mechanical faith to life, and show fight for the Bour of Paley. But the passionate unbebons and legitimacy. He cried Wolf lief of the Encyclopædists produced for his own purposes, and the actual the unbalanced credulity of the reacbarking of the pack must be a terrible tion; and Diderot, d'Alembert, and retribution! The reaction of 1848 must Voltaire, have almost, by fatality, inhave come upon the professors like volved the noble spirits of their cordoomsday. I can conceive of him, at rectors in that wrongheaded habit of present, only as of Friar Bacon, when believing, which shows its vigorous he stumbled upon the discovery of weakness in the mild Ballanche and the gunpowder. A moment since, he stood wavering Lamennais, and develops in his laboratory compounding the all its weak vigour in de Maistre genuine elixir of life, and assuring his and de Bonald. Thus it happens gaping disciples of the success of his that Mons. Quinet gives to his pubexperiment; but there has been a lished lectures the title of Ultramonsudden detonation, and if the professor tanism; for he prefers to meet his anhas miraculously escaped, it is only to tagonists on the untenable field of their find chaos come again, his admiring superstition, and there to win a virauditors blown to atoms, and nothing tual victory over their philosophical remaining of his philosophical tritura. and political wisdom. His book has tion, except his smutty self, and a reached me through the translation of very bad smell. I speak of him as Mr Cocks,* who has kindly favoured the personification of his system. the literature of England with sePersonally, he has been a gainer by veral similar importations from “the the revolution. Guizot put him out College of France," and who seems of his place, and the Republic has put to be the chosen mouthpiece of the him back ; but the Reaction is upon benevolent author himself, in addresshim, and his theories are already re ing the besotted self-sufficiency of solved into their original gases. “ The John Bull. So far, indeed, as it discollege of France” may soon come to a cusses Ultramontanism in itself, the similar dissolution.
work may have its use. It shows, with Let us look for a while at foreign some force and more vociferation, that conservatism through Monsieur Qui- it has been the death of Spain, and of net's glasses. I have introduced you every state in which it has been alto de Maistre, and de Maistre is to lowed to work ; and that, moreover, him what the Pope was to Luther. it has been the persevering foe of law, Quinet is, in his own way, another re of science, and of morality. This is a former ; in fact, he announces his sys true bill; but of him, as of his master tem, in its relations to Protestantism, Michelet, it may be said with emphaas another noon risen upon mid-day. sis, Tout, jusqu' à la vérité, trompe dans The theological character of foreign ses écrits. It does not follow, as he politics is as prominent in his writings would argue, that political wisdom as in those of his antagonists. Thus, and Christian truth fall with Ultrato illustrate the character of the montanism; nor does he prove it be French Revolution, he takes us to the so, by proving that de Maistre and Council of Trent; and to demolish others have thought so. The school French Tories, he attacks Ultramon- of the Reaction are convicted of a mistanism. This is indeed philosophical, take, into which their masters in considering the actual history of Great Britain never fell. That is all Europe, and the affinities of its Con- that Quinet has gained, though he servative party. Action and reaction crows lustily for victory, and proceeds are always equal. The cold infidelity to construct his own political religion, of Great Britain was met by the cool as if Christianity were confessedly
* Ultramontanism ; or the Roman Church and Modern Society. By E. QUINET, of the College of France. Translated from the French. Third edition, with the author's approbation, by C. Cocks, B.L. London: John Chapman. 1845.
defunct. As to the style of the Profes- lost its hold on men's minds; had sor, so far as I can judge it from a made way for the ascendency of philotumid and verbose translation, it is sophy, and had tacitly yielded the not wanting in the hectic brilliancy of sceptre of her sway over the intellirhetoric raised to fever-heat, or of gence and the conscience to Rousseau French run mad. Even its argument, and Voltaire. Nor does the Professor I doubt not, sounded logical and admit that subsequent events have satisfactory, when its slender postulate restored that sceptre. On the conof truth was set off with oratorical trary, he appeals to his auditors in sophistry, enforced with professorial asserting that the_priesthood have shrugs of the shoulders, or driven home ceased to guide the French conscience. with conclusive raps upon the auxiliary His audience applauds, and the entabatière. But the inanimate logic, raptured Quinet catches up the reas it lies coffined in the version of Mrsponse like an auctioneer. He is Cocks, looks very revolting. In fact, charmed with his young friends. He stripped of its false ornament, all its is sure the reaction will never seduce practical part is simply the revolu- them into travelling to heaven by the tionism of the Chartists. Worse stuff old sterile roads. As for the réactionwas never declaimed to a subterra- naires, no language can convey his nean conclave of insurgent operatives contempt for them.“ After this naby a drunken Barabbas, with Tom tion,” says he," has been communing Paine for his text, and a faggot of with the spirit of the universe upon pikes for his rostrum. The results Sinai, conversing face to face with have been too immediate for even God, they propose to her to descend Mons. Quinet's ambition. From hear from her vast conceptions, and to ing sedition in the “College of France,” creep, crestfallen, into the spirit of his motley and party-coloured audi sect. Thus he contrasts the cathoence has broken up to enforce it be licity of Partheism with the cathohind the barricades. They turned licity of Romanism; and thus, with revolutionists against reaction in posse, the instinct of a bulldog, does he and reaction in esse is the very natu fasten upon the weak points of foreign ral consequence.
Conservatism, or hold it by the nose, Every nation, like every indivi- a baited victii, in spite of its massive dual, has received certain mission, sinews and its generous indignation. which it must fulfil. France exercises This plan is a cunning one. He sinks over Europe a real magistracy, which the Conservative principles of the cannot be denied, and she was at the Reaction, and gives prominence only head of its religious system.” So says to its Ultramontanism. He shows de Maistre, and so far his bitter that modern Ultramontanism is the enemy is agreed. But, says de Mais creature of the Council of Trent, and tre, "She has shamefully abused her reviews the history of Europe as conmission; and since she has used her nected with that Council. He proves influence to contradict her vocation, the pernicious results of that Council and to debauch the morals of Europe, in every state which has acknowit is not surprising that she is restored ledged it; shows that not preservation to herself by terrible remedies.” Here but ruin has been its inevitable effect speaks the spirit of Reaction, and upon national character; and so conQuinet immediately shows fight. In gratulates France for having broken his view she has but carried out her loose from it in the great Revolution. vocation. The Revolution was a glori. He then deprecates its attempted reous outbreak towards a new universal suscitation by Schlegel and de Maisprinciple. In the jargon of his own tre, and, falling back upon the “relisect, " it was a revolution differing gious vocation" of France, exhorts his from all preceding revolutions, ancient auditors to work it out in the spirit of or modern, precisely in this, that it his own evangel. This new gospel, was the deliverance of a nation from it is almost needless to add, is that the bonds and limits of her church, detestable impiety which was so sininto the spirit of universality.” The gularly religious in the revolution of spirit of the national church, be main- last February, profaning the name of tains, had become Ultramontane; had the Redeeiner to sanctify its brutal