« PreviousContinue »
rebellion that but a short time ago involved the length and breadth of the continent of Europe, the Protestant countries, generally, exhibited a wonderful lesson of moderation and reserve. What, on the contrary, was the state of Paris, Vienna, Pesth, Milan, and, worse than all, the very seat of Papal dominion—if that can be called a seat which is supported by French, Austrian, and Neapolitan bayonets?
If modern, or rather recent, instances are objected to as exceptional, we would appeal to the whole history of Roman Catholicism. Even as developed by Capefigue himself, it is but one continuous struggle, prolonged by the most powerful of all institutions--a succession of life kings or pontiffs, and carried on against every human liberty alike. Empires, monarchies, seigneuries, counties, magistracies, and popular confederacies, had alike to succumb before this new religious despotism, at least so far as they could be brought under its influence. The Greek Church, and the Churches of the East, except in the instance of a few converts, have never acknowledged the paramount authority of the Bishop of Rome; yet under the Greek and Syrian patriarchs rebellion is almost unknown. What is Ultramontanism itself? The exaltation, beyond the mountains or the dominion of the Pope, of the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church above that of temporal sovereigns. Ultramontanism appears
to have succeeded in our times to the ambition of popes individually, and to have replaced the claim of supremacy so long insisted upon by the popes, by a similar claim on the part of the Roman Catholic Church generally, and of France particularly. It is possible that popedom may last till it finds itself shorn of its highest glory by its own children. To assume the title of Protector of the Sanctuaries, is to assume the title as well as the reality of protectorship of popedom. The days of Charlemagne are for a moment revived, soon, probably, to be supplanted by those of a King Louis II. or an Emperor Henry IV., unless, as has generally been the case in the history of popedom, the power of the Pope has diminished as that of the bishop's has increased.
M. de Montalembert, the avowed advocate of Ultramontanism, is evidently more afraid in the present day of imperial ascendancy than of popular rebellion ; he would, in his anxiety to establish papal supremacy, even in part, put the middle ages out of the question, and found his argument on what he asserts to be a great fact--that Catholicism alone has profited by the crises in modern society. Arguing from this that liberty is in want of religion and religion of liberty, he does not, like most Ultramontanists, reject a constitutional or parliamentary government altogether, although he admits such as at present constituted to be the focus of all kinds of vices and, crimes. But he admits the occasional utility of a counterpoise to absolutism, as lately evidenced in England.
Where (he inquires) would be the Catholic cause in England in the present day, if, instead of having to do with a parliament where the Catholics and the truly liberal Protestants can speak in tones that must be listened to, it found itself in presence of the offended majesty of Queen Victoria, jealous to excess, as every one knows, of her spiritual prerogative ? No doubt we should have witnessed acts of violence analogous to those which consecrated that prerogative under Henry VIII. and Elizabeth, when the parliament was a mere court wherein to register the despotic will of royalty. In our times, on the contrary, all the fury of popular prejudices let loose against " the Church," encouraged by a licentious press, and by the guilty complicity of the Whig minister, what has it been able to give birth to ? Nothing, except that famous bill of Ecclesiastical Titles, the discussion of which was morally annibilated before it was promulgated; which the eloquent protestation of the Grahams and the Aberdeens had marked with the seal of reprobation, and which has remained to the present as a dead letter.
Granted, then, that even to the Ultramontanists some counterpoise to absolutism is wanted, what can be substituted in modern times to parliamentary and constitutional assemblies, so vicious in their nature, so criminal in their acts ? Capefigue, and others of the same school, would revive what they are pleased to designate “the strong guarantees, the solid and secular institutions of the middle ages ;” and even M. de Montalembert avers that all that constitutes the strength and durability of the representative system in England, is precisely that which it has preserved from the middle ages in its laws and in its manners. Others would replace “ the odious and despicable system of parliamentary guarantees" by an empire, a military dictatorship, or an absolute monarchy. This, it can be easily imagined, is totally opposed to Ultramontanism, which seeks solely for the supremacy of the Pope.
6. Such a hope,” says M. de Montalembert, "never will be accomplished, and never can be. It will not be, because ancient royalty is dead, dead as the feudal system which it triumphed over. It must not be, because nothing would be more fatal to the reviving ascendancy of the Catholic Church than the revival of the ancient monarchical system.” Others, again, advocate the provincial liberties."
66 Where are they ?” asks M. de Montalembert. "In the grave, and for ever. It may be regretted—no one regrets it more bitterly than I do; but we must be trebly blind to deny it. The departmental spirit has, according to the same writer, entirely replaced, in France, the provincial. What, then, is the system selected by M. de Montalembert to replace the odious parliamentary system, and to act as a counterpoise to the empire or to absolute monarchy? A Roman Catholic representation! That is to say, an assembly of cardinals, bishops, abbots, and inferior clergy-un régime représentatif au point de vue Catholique-and which would watch over public liberties as tenderly as it would over the supremacy of the Pope and the rights of the “Church!"
Thus it is, as it has ever been, Roman Catholicism openly proclaims universal dominion. It does not stop at the people; it repudiates all parliamentary and constitutional action. Its own advocates differ how that is to be replaced, some demanding an ecclesiastical synod, others the feudal system and the Inquisition, but all advocating religious despotism -the worst of all despotisms—and the humiliation of monarchy. The
power that every man enjoys in that society of which he constitutes a part is what is called liberty. Thus, there is religious liberty, which is itself composed of liberty of conscience and liberty of worship; civil liberty, which comprises liberty of the person, liberty of residence and property; political liberty, or the intervention of persons in the making the laws and disbursing the public funds; educational liberty, whether by writing or by books, by word or by example; administrative liberty, in the state, the county, the municipality, the parish, and the family; and,
lastly, liberty of association, liberty of speech, and liberty of the press. How many of these liberties, thus defined, would a papal supremacy and a firmly-established despotism of Romanist prelates, monks, and inquisitors leave to the world ? Not one ; nor, if it had its own way, the shadow of one. Ever since the claim of the Roman Catholic Church to supremacy and dominion over emperors and kings, over people and people's consciences, there has been one incessant struggle, renewed under various forms, between popes and emperors, cardinals and kings, the clergy and the people. That in Roman Catholic countries it is possible to propose seriously, in the present day, to return to the holy times of the Inquisition, and to supplant even imperial power (the representative power being dead in France) by ecclesiastical dominion, is barely comprehensible; but still less so is that the main argument, for such a retrogression is founded upon the assumed proximate conversion of Great Britain !
England has, no doubt, had its revolutions as well as France; but even in the instance of the Great Rebellion, the leaders of the constitutional party were men of marked piety. But what spectacle did Roman Catholic France—the country so especially of the only true faith—exhibit to the astounded world under similar circumstances ? Let us borrow from M. de Montalembert himself:
The whole of the episcopacy was in exile ; the clergy decimated by the guillotine and transportation ; the faithful ensnared and harassed, condemned to choose between apostacy or death, scarcely allowed to breathe, or to enjoy in silence the toleration begat by contempt.
Not a resource material or moral remained; the vast patrimony of the Church, accrued by love and the free gifts of forty generations, reduced to dost; the religions orders, after a thonsand years of glory and of good deeds, lying torn up and annibilated; three thousand monasteries of the two sexes abolished, and with them all the chapters, all the sanctuaries, all the asylums of penitence, retreat, study, and prayer!
Where in our own days is the Church less reverenced, its head more despised, and its clergy and monks more detested, than in the Papal States? Where is there less piety than in Roman Catholic countries ? Why, the unlettered Muhammedan, the prejudiced Brahmin, and the bigoted Buddhist, has more piety in him than is to be found in our times in a hundred followers of the infallible Church-the one without which there is no salvation.
What is there then to tempt Great Britain to a change? What can possibly be gained by placing the monarchy under the control of a Roman bishop, the constitution under the protection of Anglo-Romanist hierarchs, and individual liberty and freedom of conscience under priestly captains and monkish executioners? If the people under the yoke of the Roman Church exhibit everywhere an irritability and discomfort that leads them on to revolt and to rebellion, do the hierarchs and priests of Roman Catholic Ireland manifest that meekness and forbearance which would be best calculated to allay such tendencies, and which should, according to their own showing, characterise a true Christianity? The contrary is the case; the Roman Catholic pontiffs meet a just rebellion at home with foreign bayonets-abroad, as, for example, in Ireland, they goad a generous and impulsive people to revolt and rebellion, solely to
It stirs up
increase their own power. Such a “ Church” is a dangerous Church, and always has been so. It is opposed to the moral and intellectual progress of the human race: it is opposed to all freedom of conscience : it is opposed to all constitutional and liberal monarchical government : it is opposed to all individual happiness and domestic peace. discord in the palace and the hut : it eats up alike the profusion of the rich and the last fragment of the poor: it will neither let man live nor die but as it likes. The annals of the Roman Church herself pronounce her ample, emphatic, unqualified condemnation ; and England will not give up her religious freedom, her liberty of conscience, her constitution and her monarchy, at the bidding either of a few Irish blusterers, or of a handful of medieval Ultramontanists.
BY THE AUTHOR OF
SEVEN YEARS IN THE WEDDED LIFE OF A ROMAN
I. SOME half-dozen miles beyond the chief town of one of our midland counties, a traveller may observe a solitary farm-house rising in the midst of promising-looking lands. As it stands now, so it has stood for the last seventy years, and the aspect of the place in all that time has in no. wise changed. The house is dreary and comfortless-looking ; a tall, slender, red-brick building, straight and thin, and long and narrow, suggesting few ideas of cosy apartments within. Not a tree or a shrub is near it, not even a leaf of ivy; not a rose-bush outside, or a geranium in. The kitchen-garden might have caused a little set-off to its barren dreariness, but it was hidden from sight behind the house, being a strip of land long and narrow, like the house itself.
But in proportion as the house looked bare and comfortless, were the inhabitants of it industrious and thrifty; and that, perhaps, was the secret of its forlorn appearance, they having little time to bestow on outward embellishment. The tenant of it was an industrious, careful farmer. He was born in the house, and had succeeded his father in its occupancy. He was by no means of that class called “gentlemen-farmers ;” a thrifty, hard-working, careful man was Benjamin Lee. Only to look at the highly-cultivated lands, the well-kept fold-yard-in fact, at the condition of all appurtenances to the farm, was sufficient to proclaim that it had a never-tiring and experienced master. He had two daughters--we are now alluding to little less than twenty years ago-buxom, grown-up young women, persevering in toil as he was ; and there was another, whose delight it would have been to banish all work and its accompaniments out of sight and hearing.
Farmer Lee had been twice married. His first wife, a clever, active woman, was well suited to be the mistress of his farm, and to bring up her two daughters in her own industrious steps. But she died ; and the farmer married again. His second wife was a lady, and a Roman Catholic ; a very great lady in the eyes of the neighbourhood around, with her accomplished education, her gentle voice, and her delicate hands. She was from a distant place, and did not know, and perhaps little anticipated, the home of toil she was about to enter. It was a matter of surprise to many that she should marry Farmer Lee, homely-spoken, plain, honest Farmer Lee. But some hazarded an opinion that the lady, being already on the shady side of forty, deemed that to be the wife of Farmer Lee was better than being no wife at all. She struggled along for eight years, doing her best, poor lady, towards the occupations of her house, and that best was but trifling, for her frame was delicate and ailing ; and at the end of that period she died, leaving a little girl behind her, a lovely plaything The years
went on, and with it the work of the farm. From the 1st of January to the 31st of December, it could scarcely be said that one day, except in the change of its particular domestic duties, was marked by any event not common to all. The farmer was up at four, and out in the fields; his daughters, Joan and Judith, rose at five, churned the butter, made the cheese--on busy days had been known to assist in milking the cows, and prepared the breakfast, not only for the parlour but for the kitchen, no light matter, considering the number of labourers to partake of it. As to their occupations for the remainder of the day, the enumeration of them would but tire the reader. Not a moment, as they often said, did they get for themselves till bed-time; it was a continued scene of bustle, scuffle, and toil. Every Saturday Judith would mount their old bay mare, and ride to the county town to keep market. No fair country lass in the market-house was in more request than Miss Judith Lee; and with justice, for rarely were plump barn-door fowls so well fed as hers, never was butter sweeter, or cheese richer. Miss Judith, too, with her pink cap ribbons and smart cloth dress, half-habit, halfpelisse, was, in herself, an object of no mean attraction, especially to the young farmers around; for, as they would knowingly repeat to themselves, she “come of a good stock, and was possessed, no doubt, of substance as well as thrift."
But we must turn to Annie. Never was there seen a more lovely child ; and, if truth must be told, never one more wilful. A laughing, blue-eyed, romping little fairy, with delicate features and gold-shining hair. She grew up half-petted, half-snubbed by her sisters; sometimes indulged, sometimes punished. When she was of a sufficient age, they put her to work like they had been put, but it seemed that they might have spared themselves tħe trouble, for none would she do. Anything in the shape of work assigned to Annie was left untouched, or only halffinished, bringing, as Miss Joan would scoldingly observe, nothing to pass. In vain Farmer Lee remonstrated ; in vain Misses Joan and Judith slapped, boxed, and coaxed ; Annie could not and would not attend to household duties, and the house was kept in a perpetual ferment. In the midst of this, and when Annie was about fourteen, her mother's sister, a widow lady of the name of Henniker, who lived in the west of England, came to pay them a short visit, her chief purpose being to see her own niece, Annie. Ere she had been there a day, she was destined to hear innumerable complaints of Annie's idleness, interspersed with tearful declarations from herself, that she detested the work of a farm-house, and everything connected with it.
you dislike household work, child,” said Mrs. Henniker to her, or what do you like? You ought not to sit idle. Do
Do you like sewing?"