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Society could be identified with that of truth and virtue, and its sole objects were to disseminate religion and promote the best interests of mankind ? The indefinite nature of the Institute, and the facility with which it could unite to itself men of all orders and professions, laymen, ecclesiastics, bishops, popes, emperors, and kings, is considered as a premeditated artifice in order to augment its influence, and to lay the foundation of its increasing power on a firmer and more extended basis. It is moreover clearly shewn that the constitution of the Society is purely monarchical, or in other words an absolute despotism; unlimited obedience being in every case due to the General, in whose supreme person are vested the whole authority, the entire property, the government, and the conduct of the institution at large, and of all its members individually, The mode which the Society adopted, to induce the different sovereigns of Europe to range themselves under its banners, — namely, that of proposing to them the bait of a milder doctrine, a convenient and lax morality, and principles flattering to all the passions of the human heart, while at the same time it employed the most ignoble methods of making itself formidable to all who refused its yoke, encounters from the present author the severest animadversions; and such conduct is well exposed by a train of reasoning that is equally supported by its own solidity, and by the weight of those historical testimonies on which it rests.
It is time for us, however, to approach to a conclusion. The question, therefore, for determination is, as we stated at the outset of this article, what proportion have the benefits derived from the Jesuits borne to the injuries which mankind has received from them? Into this inquiry the author has not entered, for he seems to deny a part of the premises on which it is founded, viz. that any benefits have accrued from them : but we are not disposed to coincide with him entirely on this point, and are rather inclined to concede to the Society that to some merit it may be intitled, on the score of the encouragement which it has afforded to learning ; since many of the profoundest scholars, the ablest theologians, and the acutest metaphysicians, have been educated within the pale of the Institute, and have been indebted to it for the literary eminence which they have attained. In America, moreover, we are willing to believe that the efforts of the Jesuits (independently of all consideration of the motives which induced them to make those efforts) were productive of decided utility. Other systems of religious instruction, it is true, might very probably have proved more beneficial, and the professors of other creeds might have attained equal or greater success, in 13
reducing reducing the natives of a barbarous country to a state of civilization and refinement: but, if it cannot be shewn that Any such means of instruction were put in practice for the attainment of this beneficial end, the praise of having accomplished it must remain due to those by whose exertions it was effected. If better instruments might have been employed, the only questions are, why were they not? to whom are we to impute the crime of such negligence and delay? and to whom, on the other hand, must we ascribe the merit of zeal and earnestness in defending the cause which they had undertaken to advocate, and in so promptly executing the laborious work which they conceived it possible to accomplish? Such, and such only, is the limited portion of approbation which we are willing to concede to the Society, from a consideration of the benefits derived from it: but great and weighty will be the balance of evils to be placed in the opposite scale; so great, that an unprejudiced mind, we conceive, will find little difficulty in coming to a decision with respect to the claims of the Jesuits to the suffrages of mankind, either for their past exertions, or on the score of what is perhaps still more doubtful, the probability of future beneficial effects from their restoration.
That this question may be distinctly understood, we shall endeavour briefly to examine the merits of the Jesuits in a political and a moral point of view. If we consider them in the former light, the first idea, which presents itself to our minds, is founded on the danger of that notorious political evil, the imperium in imperio, the independent, self-constituted, and arbitrary authority which, though in their infancy unwilling to avow it, they at last claimed and exercised over all their followers. When we trace the
progress of the Society through the different nations of Europe, we are unable to discover any political benefit which it has produced : it was the author of no wise regulations, it effected no reformation of manners, it reconciled no great dissensions, it established no general tranquillity; -- on the contrary, after having for some time experienced and judged of its effects, the minds of far the greater portion of the European sovereigns were alienated from the Society, and those not merely of the Protestant party, but such as were zealously attached to the Roman Catholic church. The King of Portugal, conscious of the crimes which the Jesuits had committed within his dominions, shut up their schools, and banished them from his territories by public decrees. Genoa and Leghorn, imitating this example, refused them an asylum ; and the republic of Venice and the kingdom of Naples did
the same. The Empress of Austria closed the doors of the University of Vienna against them. Lastly, Henry the Fourth of France was so apprehensive of the pernicious influence which they exercised over the minds of his people, that he declared to the Duc de Sully that he must either admit them absolutely and without conditions, or reject them more absolutely than ever, and adopt every kind of severity towards them; “ in which case,” said he, “they will conspire against my life, and I shall be constantly exposed to the danger of being either poisoned or assassinated for these persons have an intelligence and a correspondence every where, and possess peculiar facility in influencing others to adopt their opinions. It will appear, then, that the Society has given offence where it professed to lend support, and has either abandoned the interests or militated against the views of those whom it promised to befriend. If such have been the evils which it has produced among its earliest favourites and associates, where might be the boundary of its noxious influence, if it were again admitted, among its adversaries ? Ought we not to consider it, moreover, as a corrupt branch of a corrupt tree; as the avowed enemy which it has hitherto been our glory to have defeated; as the offspring of a tyrant whose yoke we have boldly shaker off, and against whose arbitrary government we have successfully protested in the brightest periods of our history?
Reflecting, secondly, on the merits of the Society in a moral point of view, we cannot but fully agree with the author of this history that little would be gained, even if much were not lost, by any kind of coalition with an Institute of so equivocal and suspicious a character, whose steps have hitherto been so rarely marked by any thing but anarchy, corruption, and misery. An institute of human origin, purporting to be a friend to the cause of religion, and yet pretending (as it would seem) to set up its own views separate from those of Christianity, — its own interest as the object to which every other is to be sacrificed, - and its own regulations as of greater obligation than the laws of God and of truth, - can surely have but little claim to be ranked in the number of those salutary establishments which the wisdom of man has provided to controul the passions, to correct the errors, and to foster the virtues of his fellow-mortals.
On this point, our sentiments are so firmly fixed, that we are unwilling to widen the breach between ourselves and those who may differ from us in the above opinion by farther enlarging on it in this place; and we shall close our remarks with some general observations on the remaining portion of the volumes before us. It consists chiefly of an appendix to the reply to Mr. Dallas, and treats of the education of the
Roman Catholics, and of the decided objection entertained by all the bishops and clergy of the church of Rome against the reading of the sacred volume, without their own unscriptural comments and glosses, and then are subjoined • A few Extracts from the Report of the Committee of the House of Commons, printed in 1816,' containing the examination of
persons principally connected with the Roman Catholic schools in and about the metropolis: from which it appears to be a fundamental article of discipline in the church of Rome, that the Bible in the vulgar tongue should not be put into the hands of the absolutely unlearned; though it is the opinion of Mr. Butler, of Lincoln's Inn, that an arrangement might be made for teaching children select portions of Scripture, without committing to their own hands the entire volume of sacred truth.
After an impartial examination of this History, we cannot but consider it as very justly intitled to serious and attentive perusal. The matter is for the most part curious and interesting, and, although multifarious, by no means deficient in perspicuous arrangement. As we before intimated, the author has evidently bestowed on his volumes a considerable portion of accurate attention and deep research; he has been required to digest a great mass of evidence; and, though he has not always shewn sufficient discrimination in the selection of his testimonies, yet considerable ability as well as perseverarice are displayed in the general concoction of the materials. Regarded as an historical work, however, it may perhaps be judged to betray too much of the spirit of controversy to rank highly in that department of letters; and the author is too frequently found wandering from his path as an historian, in order to aim a more decisive blow at his opponent, as a polemic.
ART. V. Mr. Moore's Lalla Rookh, an Oriental Romance.
[Art. concluded from p. 201.] SUFF
UFFICIENT attention having been paid in our last Number
to the tale of the Veiled Prophet of Khorassan, we have now to take notice of the second story in this volume, called Paradise and the Peri, which thus commences:
One morn a Peri at the gate
Of Life within, like music flowing ;
Through the half-open portal glowing,
Such is the opening of this tale; and never did an introduction lead to a more enchanting and unclouded scene than that which follows. This, indeed, is a delightful summerstory; without even the threatening of a storm to obscure its beauties. We have here a fairy-tale, not only of exquisite elegance but of the purest and most benevolent moral effect; from the perusal of which no human being, of any heart or any imagination, can rise unamused or unimproved. We can discover, from beginning to end, scarcely a fault of any importance either of thought or language; and the versification, although of a lighter texture than that of the Veiled Prophet,' has its own continual and varied charm of music. In attempting less, it has performed more; and, if the bow of Ulysses has not here been drawn, the bow of Camdeo, strung with its appropriate bees, has “ dealt delicious death” around it in every quarter. - We hasten without farther criticism, or Fadladeenism, if the author pleases, to the best account that we can give of his aërial imaginations, and to the fairest display that we can make of his highly finished descriptions.
The Peris, as our Oriental readers well know, had lost their place in Paradise; and like those, their kindred, who have lost their places on earth, they roam about in a sort of middle state, between divinities and mortals, until they are enabled to rat to the best advantage. It is enacted in Paradise, however, or
'Tis written in the Book of Fate,
The Peri yet may be forgiven,
The Gift that is most dear to Heaven.' Our Peri, therefore, sets out on the search; and, after several most interesting adventures, she arrives at a field of battle, where a hero is shedding his last drop of blood in the cause of sacred liberty. With this precious drop she flies to Heaven: but alas ! the gift must be holier far' which gains her re-admission into that blessed place. Her next attempt is on the sigh of an expiring faithful betrothed bride, whose lover was dying of the plague at a distance from her, his only consolation : but who derived new and strong comfort from the idea that she was safe in that very distance. She, however, comes to his death-bed. Behold her arrival !
• But see, — who yonder comes by stealth,
This melancholy bower to seek,
With rosy gifts upon her cheek? .
He knew his own betrothed bride,