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umes. We can only say, that they are full of just thought, of deep reflection, of sagacions remark, and of patriotic warning, clearly, freshly, and vigorously expressed, in a style/of rare purity and elegance. We must add, that they are sent out by the publishers in a casket not unworthy of the gems they contain. They are printed in a style of chaste beauty and elegance that we have never seen equalled by any productions of the American press.
We are happy also to learn from the publishers that the work meets a ready sale. This is encouraging, and indicates that, whatever the external appearances, the American people are still politically sound at the heart, and that it is yet too soon to de spair of the republic. We hope much from the younger educated men growing up in all parts of the country, while we trust they will avoid the rock on which the old Federalists split. We hope they will grow up wedded to genuine Americanism, ready to sacrifice themselves to defend it against all attacks, whether made from the side of democracy, from that of monarchy, or that of aristocracy. The destiny of our country is bound up with constitutional republicanism, in which the will of the people constitutionally expressed is law, and is endangered alike by efforts to convert it into a monarchy, an aristocracy, or a pure
CATHOLICS OF ENGLAND AND IRELAND.*
[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for January, 1853.]
As far as we can judge, at this distance and with
our very limited information, England is rapidly verifying the old saying, Quem Deus vult perdere, prius dementat. She received from God, with the Catholic religion, a most excellent political and civil constitution; but she seems to be resolved on doing her best to destroy it. The so-called reformation in the sixteenth century, which followed close upon the destruction of the old nobility in the wars of the Roses
, by uniting in the king both the temporal and spiritual sor.
* The Quarterly Revier. Art. VIII. Parliamentary Prospects. Loudon: October, 1852.
ereignty, disturbed the proper balance of the estates of the kingdom, and made once free and merry England, under the Tudors and the Stuarts; virtually an absolute monarchy; the rebellion in the seventeenth century, which beheaded Charles I., and the revolution which placed Dutch William on the throne, and more lately the elector of Hanover, unduly depressed the authority of the crown, threw too much power into the hands of the aristocracy, and converted the government into an oligarchy; the reform bill of 1832, and kindred measures which have since followed, have in turn broken the power of the aristocracy, given predominance to the commons, and subjected the government to the fluctuating interests and passions of the business population. A further change, which shall clear away both monarchy and aristocracy, and favor the British empire with a Jacobinical reign of terror, would seem to be only a question of time.
The reform bill established the supremacy of the commons, and introduced the elementary principle of democracy; the free trade policy, which Sir Robert Peel found himself unable to resist, places the nation under the control of the trading and manufacturing classes, to the serious detriment of the agricultural interests, and to the ruin or einigration of the rural population. To remedy the evils which necessarily follow, new political reforms are demanded, and these, if obtained, will demand others still, and thus on to the end of the chapter, because each new political reforin will only aggravate the evil it was intended to care. English statesmen have been applanded, and have applauded themselves, for the wisdom with which, during the convulsions of continental Europe, they have staved off revolution and civil war by well-timed concessions to popular demands; but concession to popular demands is a mere temporizing policy, and a temporizing policy seldom fails in the end to be ruinous to every government that adopts it. It deprives it of the moral strength which is derived from fixed and determinate principles, and reduces it to a mere creature of expediency. A struggle immediately commences between it and its subjects,they to get all they can, and it to concede as little as possible, in which they are sure to come off victorious at last. The fact that the government yields at all, is a concession that it holds its power rather by sufferance than right, and gives an air of justice to the popular demands against it.
The effects of the past policy of the British government may be seen in the uncertain movements of the
present nominally conservative ministry. It is a ministry without any mind of its own. It lacks morality, it lacks principle, and seems to have no other plan of government than to keep itself in place. It has no high and commanding policy, no comprehensive or far-seeing statesmanship; and, in fact, does not rise above the lowest forms of mere temporary expediency. It sinks to the common Whig level, and even below it, and stands on a par with our own Whig party, who seem long since to have abandoned all principle in order to be able to triumph over their Democratic opponents. It seems prepared to accept with hardly a wry face, the free trade policy of Sir Robert Peel, which its members, when out of power, denounced as ruinous to the country. Whether the ministry could do otherwise and retain its place, may be a question; but they ought to be aware, that the adoption of that policy commits the government to a series of measures wliich cannot fail to subvert the British constitution, and they should leave to others the sad privilege of consummating the revolution. It they accept that policy, they must go further, grant a new reform bill involving the principle of universal suffrage, and change the commons from an estate to the people, or give way to the accession to power of Messrs. Cobden, Bright & Co.; and in either case they can only prepare the way for a democratic revolution, and consequent anarchy and military despotism.
The ministry seem to us to be hastening on this deplorable result,—deplorable for England, and of no advantage to us, by their madness in renewing the old Protestant persecution of Catholics. Henry and his daughter Elizabeth, unhappily for their own country and the world, made England a Protestant state. The most shameful and barbarons persecution of Catholics preserved her as such down to 1829, when the Catholic relief bill, reluctantly conceded by Wellington and Peel, in order to avoid the horrors of a threatened civil war, changed her in principle from an exclusively Protestant state to a state professing no religion in particular, and leaving its subjects free to be of any religion they choose, providing it be nominally Christian. Great Britain then threw open the imperial parliament to Catholics, as she had already done to Dissenters, and recognized them as subjects and free citizens of the empire. In so doing, she made her Protestant church a monstrous anomaly in her constitution, and really committed herself to its annihilation as a state religion. A party resolutely opposed to it, strong enough in spite of its influence to recover their liberties as electors and senators, could have no disposition to sustain it, and could hardly prove unable, in the long run, to withdraw from it the support of the state. C'est le premier pas qui coûte. They could more easily, after having gained admission into parliament, go further, and overthrow the establishment, than they could gain that admission itself. They could not be expected to stop with that achievement. Logical consistency, if nothing else, would require them to go further, and eliminate the anomaly from the constitution. The necessity of logical consistency might not, indeed, be strongly felt by the adherents of the establishment, who generally contrive to dispense with logic, and to utter much solemn cant about via media, or the middle way between truth and falsehood; but the party opposed, and whom this solemn cant only insults and disgusts, could not be stayed by so feeble a barrier. They must have consistency; either the consistency of dissent with the non-conformist, or the consistency of truth with the Catholic. In opening her parliament to Dissenters, and in signing the Catholic relief bill, Great Britain, whether she intended it or not, gave the death-blow to the Anglican establishment. She committed herself to what was for her a new policy, and from which she cannot nenceforth retreat without shame and ruin. The Anglican establishment, or Church of England, it is well known, is a creature of the state. It was made by the crown and parliament; and now that the crown counts for little, and the royal prerogative yields to the majority of the house of commons, it is idle to suppose that a parliament in which Catholics and Dissenters have seats will not, sooner or later, exert its power to unmake it, especially since it is no longer in harmony with the other parts of the constitution.
The late ministry, probably for the purpose of breaking up the tenant league that was forming in Ireland and boding no good to Irish landlords, made a show, in its ecclesiastical titles bill, of reëstablishing Protestantism, and governing as if the state were still a Protestant state.
Its suo cess threw it from place, and secured it the contempt of the Christian world. The Derby ministry, seeing the embar rassment the English and Irish Catholics might canse them in carrying out such policy as they have, seem to be in earnest to restore deposed Protestantism, and to administer the government as if the Catholic relief bill had never been granted. This we regard as a proof of its madness. It is too late to threaten the disfranchisement of Catholics, or to hope any thing for the state from the persecution of the church. Statutes may be passed against Catholics of the most oppressive nature, the old penal codes of England and Ireland may be revived in all their satanic rigor, but all in vain. England can never become again an exclusively Protestant state. The Catholic element in both England and Ireland is stronger than it was in 1829, when it was strong enough to force Wellington and Peel to concede emancipation, and graver consequences would follow the repeal of the Catholic relief bill than were apprehended from a refusal to grant it. Neither English nor Irish Catholics are now the timid and depressed body they were then; they have a firmer and a bolder spirit, a higher and a more thoroughly Catholic tone; and are, in England at least, more numerous and better organized. They are cheered now with visible tokens of God's grace.
The Lord seems to have withdrawn the rod of chastisement for the present, and to permit his countenance once more to shine upon them. In the light of his countenance they rejoice and are strengthened. The day of their deliverance, and of his vengeance on their oppressors, is apparently nigh at hand. Persecution cannot now break their spirit; it will serve only to give them fresh courage and zeal, and to add daily to their numbers and influence; for the present seems to be one of those seasons when in the divine providence judgments are not delayed, and punishment follows close on the heels of the offence. This may be seen in the results of the late red-republican revolutions. They were got up and directed primarily against the church, the only solid basis of society, and they swept as a tornado over more than half of Europe. They have all failed, and their only notable result has been that of breaking the bonds with which infidel governments and paganized statesman had bound the church, and giving her a freedom and independence of action she has hardly enjoyed before since the breaking out of the Protestant reformation. Even the republic of France, with General Cavaiynac at its lead, found itself obliged to send its troops to restore the Holy Father, com