Imágenes de páginas

restore her internal peace, or to take a strong hold upon

her affections. There are but two principles in French society, —the Catholic principle and the socialistic,—and no government can live, and perform the proper functions of government, that does not make its election, and conform strictly to the one or the other of these. The French government must be Catholic or socialist. Socialist it cannot be, for socialism is incompatible even with the existence of human society. It must, then, be Catholic; and if so frankly, if it take care to do nothing to wound the Catholic conscience, and make its appeal boldly to the Catholic principle, it will have but little difficulty, and may easily correct the defects of its present constitution, and secure the blessings of liberty and internal peace.

But men of the De Tocqueville stamp-who in politics are what Anglicans are in religion ; who have no decided religious belief or principle, but up to a certain extent pretend to patronize all religions; who are really infidels at heart, without the energy to avow it-are wholly unequal to the courage and wisdom of adopting that which is not, in fact, more injurious and offensive to Catholics than direct and open opposition. Their wisdom consists in attempting to hold the balance even between them and socialists, the maddest, or rather the silliest, policy imaginable. In attempting this policy they will destroy the republic, for it will leave them without a party. It is the policy to madden the socialists, and to disguist and alienate the Catholics, without whose cordial support no government in France can stand.

If Louis Napoleon himself approves the policy of the De Tocqueville portion of his ministry, he is far less of a statesman than we have supposed him, than we have been anxious to believe him. Fine speeches in praise of religion which mean nothing, and acts positively injurious to it, will not regenerate France. The government that admits the necessity of religion and morality, as the basis of social order, betrays its folly no less than its infidelity, if it begins by claiming authority over religion, instead of setting an example of submission to it. We can assure Prince Louis Napoleon, that the former liberal opposition will prove as impotent for good to France as the now defunct Nationals, who came into power with the revolution of February, have proved themselves; and if he wishes to prove that he is not a mere name, he will as far as depends on him, throw the

[ocr errors]

government into the hands of men who do not presume to sit in jndgment on Almighty God, and who have firin and fixed principles, religions as well as political. Away with your Odillon Barrots, your De Tocquevilles and Dufaures, and call to your aid, not a mongrel cabinet, but a cabinet of decided and uniform principles, composed entirely of such men as De Falloux, De Tracy, and the noble De Montalembert,—men who are not ashamed to avow themselves believers in God, and obedient and loving sons of his church. Heed not the clamor of infidels, and men who affect a homage for religion in general and despise all religion in particular. The Catholic portion is the only sound portion of the population of France, and is, as it was in the time of the first consul, the only portion on which any government that wishes to be strong and stable can rely for its support. If this policy is not pursued, we think the republic will be short-lived, and what will succeed we need not undertake to conjecture.


[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for January, 1849.]

We have no respect for the ordinary run of novels, whether written by Catholics, Protestants, or infidels; but we have never thought of opposing all works of fiction, nor, indeed, all works whose principal aim is to amuse. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Relaxation is one of the necessaries of life, and innocent amusement, moderately indulged, contributes to the health of the mind as well as to that of the body. We object to novels in general, because they are sentimental, and make the in. terest of their readers centre in a story of the rise, progress, and terinination of the affection or passion of love. Sentimental tales, whatever the natural sentiment they are intended to illustrate, are seldom unobjectionable ; for they alınost inevitably tend to destroy all vigor and robustness of character, and to render their readers weak and sickly. But even if intrusted with the censorship, we should never think of placing such works as Shandy M'Guire on the Index. We are, indeed, far from regarding it as faultless, either in style or matter, but we recognize in its author a robust and healthy mind, true manliness of thought and feeling, and genius of a high order. It is brilliant, full of wit and humor, and genuine tenderness and pathos. It is evidently the production of a scholar, a Catholic, and a patriot, and we trust is but the harbinger of many more works like it, which are to be welcomed from the same source. With his rare genins, uncommon abilities, rich cultivation, brilliant yet chaste imagination, warmth of heart, mirthfulness, poetic fancy, artistic skill, and drainatic power, the author cannot fail, if he chooses, to attain to the highest excellence in the species of literature he has selected.

* Shandy M'Guire, or Tricks upon Travellers : a Story of the North of Ireland. By Paul PEPPERGRASS, Esq. New York : 1848.

Shandy M'Guire is the production of an Irishman, and a genuine Irish story. None but an Irishman, and a Catholic Irishunan, could have written it. It is a tale, or rather a gallery of pictures, of the North of Ireland, in which the Irishuman is presented to us as he is and as he ought to be. It gives us a lively and correct view of the actual state of things in that part of the island, -of the actually existing relations between the Catholics and Protestants, the landlords and their tenantry,--the tyranny and intrigues practised by the former and their cold-blooded agents, and the oppressions, wrongs, and insults endured by the latter. It enables us to see all for ourselves, and to take nothing on mere hearsay. It sets us down in the county Donegal, and permits us to judge for ourselves. It makes us feel the insults heaped upon the unoffending and powerless people. We grow indignant at slandered innocence, as we see the poor and the virtuous oppressed, driven ont to perish of famine in the fields and highways, and we inwardly swear we will strike for Ireland, and never desist till the tyrant is hunbled and Irishmen have their rights again. This, no doubt, is the effect which the author has wished to produce on liis readers. His work is full of fun and frolic, but it has been written with a serious and a lofty purpose. The anthor lias wished to arouse his countryinen to the assertion of their rights and their national freedom. We honor him for this, and we are pleased to find that he aims to do it chiefly by appeals to their reverence for their religion, and to their sense of their rights and dignity as men. In a few


instances he is on the point of forgetting--perhaps does forget-the Christian and the man in the Irish-man; but, in general, he appeals to his countrymen as men and Christians, and places their cause on the broad ground of justice and humanity, on which men not Irishmen may take it up and defend it as their own. He is a true patriot, but he repels us by no morbid nationality of his own, and demands justice to his countrymen without demanding injustice to others. He does not merely excite pity for Ireland, but he makes us respect the Irish character; and we are sorry to add, that his is almost the only work of a recent Irish patriot that we have seen of which we can say this—almost the only work it will do to read, if one would think better of Ireland and the Irish. It is well adapted to place the Irish in a true light, and will go far to redeem their character with our countrymen from the ridicule and contempt thrown upon it by the injudicions attempts of ignorant and conceited editors, lecturers, and historians to exalt it.

Unhappily for Ireland, it has long been her fate to find her worst enemies in her own children, and to suffer more from those who would defend than from those who would traduce her. She has rarely, if ever, spoken for herself. Her best and soundest men have remained silent. Her character has been left to the mercy of her Protestant enemies, or, what is even worse, to her own conceited and moonstruck patriots. The work before us leads us to hope that a new era in her history is about to dawn; that the time has come when we may hear the genuine Irish voice, not the melodious wail of Moore, exciting compassion, but killing respect, -not the voice of bombastic orators and ignorant editors, turning even Irish virtue and nobility into ridicule,-but the voice of enlightened patriotism, of manly feeling, sound sense, and practical judgment. Now that the ill-judged attempt of Smith O'Brien and his Young Irelanders to get up an insurrection, which could only involve the country in all the horrors of civil war without gaining any thing for national freedom, has failed, men who are true Irishmen, who represent the sober sense, the enlightened judgment, the faith and piety, the reasonable hopes and practical tendencies of the Irish nation, may come forward and speak without having their voices drowned in the vociferations of a maddened crowd, wrought up to the verge of insanity by unprincipled demagogues and fiery agitators; and the moment they do come forward, the moment they are able to command attention and place themselves at the head of affairs, the world will change its judgment of Ireland, the nation will respond to them with heart and soul, and the more serious of her grievances will be speedily redressed. Ireland has such men,-large numbers of them, but they have hitherto stood back, and the world has judged her only by the forth-putting youths, or inflated patriots, whom they saw on every occasion taking the lead. What wonder, then, that the world, while it has pitied her misfortunes, and wept over the tale of her sufferings, has refused to respect her national character, or to believe her deserving any thing better than subjection to England ?

The Irish patriots, even those whom under many relations we love and honor, seem to us to have studied to make a favorable impression on their own countrymen rather than on Englishmen or Americans. The speeches of O'Connell, the political letters of several eminent prelates, and the bold and daring editorials of The Nation, as well fitted to operate upon the Irish mind, and really able and eloquent, as they unquestionably are, do not always move our Anglo-Saxon mind in the direction intended. They do not win our confidence, convince our reason, or enlist our feelings. We see their effect on the Irish mind and heart, and ask, why is it that they have so little effect on Englishmen and Anglo-Americans? Is it that Irish human nature is essentially diverse from Anglo-Saxon human nature? It cannot be ; for God has made of one blood all the nations of the earth. Is it that Anglo-Saxons have no human feelings, no sense of justice, no generosity, no chivalric sentiments? We scorn the insinuation. Is it that we have so long listened to the calumniators of Ireland that we cannot hear withont prejudice any thing in her favor? It is false, for the calumnies of her enemies often do more to awaken our sympathies for her than the enlogiums of her friends. There is nothing in Anglo-Americans, and we do not believe even in the great body of the English themselves, of that deep and inveterate prejudice against the Irish which some Irishmen imagine. "Burke was an Irishman, an Irish patriot, and yet we cannot read a page of his writings on Irish affairs without surrendering to him at discretion. He instantly enlists all our sympathies in favor of his countrymen, and we feel sure, as we read on, that the wrongs which England has inflicted on Ireland have not yet been told, and that the sufferings of the Irish people are greater than

« AnteriorContinuar »