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collected, as we have said, by Father Rolin, who did not assume the office of her director until 1685. The slight existing notices of De la Colombière's doings in England are contained, so far as we know, in a few pages of meditations made during his spiritual retreats, and committed to paper-or, at all events
, to the press-after his decease. To piece these together, as they hảve been pieced, seems like the work of the arrangers' of the Iliad. And therefore, without imputing to the compilers of these scanty memoirs any design to defraud the ghost of Thomas Goodwin, of whom they had probably never heard, it seems evident that the loose and incoherent character of their workmanship precludes the omission from being employed as a serious argument against his claims to have originated the glories of the great · Devotion.'
Such is the conclusion to which a careful, and, as we believe, dispassionate examination of these strange and ambiguous records of a special inspiration, or of superstition, fanaticism, or trickery, must of necessity lead us. If Marie Alacoque was, as the Pope makes her, a divinely chosen vessel for the communication of His will to mankind in the same sense as the Apostles were of old, there is nothing further to be said. If she was not if she was a mere human agent—then the conjecture of M. Lemontey, and his anonymous English authorities, is probably the reasonable one. She was set in motion by Father de la Colombière, and the Father devised the shape and metaphorical language of the religious movement which he instituted under her name mainly from the volume of the Puritan Goodwin, with which, as we have seen, he had all the probabilities which juxtaposition can give of becoming familiar. In fact, his task (if this supposition be correct) was little more than to give the additional body colouring, which Romanism imparts and admits, to the vigorous but less definite outlines traced by the Calvinist. However this may be, the fact remains that the Devotion, thus questionably instituted, gains strength and popularity every day, and the grand manifestations of lofty religious eloquence the spirit of Pascal, and Bossuet, and Fénelon, and those who in their several tasks and several generations have endeavoured to establish a harmony between the truths revealed by God and the truths conquered by severe and pious application of the faculties of man--have grown pale before it. To this we have come at last. The fires of almost extinct belief, rekindled by M. de Maistre, and Montalembert, and Lamennais, and Lacordaire
- those thoughts which wandered through eternity,' clothed in language which to many a seeking soul seemed to approach more nearly to the inspired than any uttered by man not so favoured from above-all have burnt out. And we see what has arisen in place of them. It may be, as some think, the destiny of Catholicism to sicken and die under this baleful influence of recrudescent superstition: but do matters stand much better with its opponents ? Protestantism, in France, is very powerful just now, not so much from its numbers, as from the virtues, intelligence, and high training of its professors, and from the increasing influence of those who gradually find refuge within it from the puerilities and extravagances, both of fashionable and of vulgar Romanism. But French Protestantism is itself sick at heart, for the time at all events, of that inveterate division between orthodoxy and Liberalism which rends her synods asunder. And the other great rival of the day-Infidelity, or Voltairianism, or whatever she may be called-shows no sign of profiting by the extravagances of the one belief, or the divisions of the other. She brings forth no things new and old' from her exhausted stores. Her recent leaders either sink into a kind of hopeless and heartless Nihilism, or diverge into strange and lawless fanaticisms which are repudiated by society no less than by religion. It is a melancholy retrospect--a still more melancholy prospect: and not for France only, which, with whatever special differences of habits of mind and of genius, is an epitome of the civilised world. But those whose eyes look the most firmly and resolutely into the abyss believe that they discern, in the general and marked desire for religious convictions, such as seems everywhere to lie at the bottom of the conflicting currents which agitate the surface of serious thoughts, a guide, uncertain and tottering as its progress may as yet be, towards the other side of chaos.
Art. X.- Inaugural Address and Speeches of the Right Hon.
Benjamin Disraeli, M.P., Lord Rector of the University of
Glasgow, delivered November 1873. During the past autumn all the minor and some of the
major prophets have been exercising their vocation with that activity which in their case always signalises the period of leisure. Even the marsh of political stagnation is sometimes vocal; and this year, the party which inhabits that unsavoury swamp has croaked an unusual chorus of jubilation over the decline and fall of the Gladstone Administration : The vessel is among the breakers, and spectators are scarcely at the trouble to discuss whether she will founder; the only
question is how long the inevitable moment can be put off. • It is interesting to watch from the shore the desperate strug
gles of the gallant crew who have navigated her with so • much hardihood for so long . . . but everyone believes that she cannot get off, and that the time of the famous rover, whose depredations have been so audacious, and whose terror • has been so widespread, has come at last.'
So says a chief prophet, having consulted his Lucretius. Surely he could not have remembered the lines which follow those to which he referred; or, if he did remember them, he could hardly concur in the sentiment they express :
'Suave, mari magno turbantibus æquora ventis,
Sed, quibus ipse malis careas, quia cernere suare est.' * The feline pleasure of seeing other people in trouble has more to do with such attacks than the mere lazy satisfaction of being out of the mess oneself.
When a camel falls in the desert, so travellers inform us, first comes a flight of crows and other obscene scavengers from the neighbouring sandhills, keen to feast upon the carcass ; next the kites and ravens who sail and swoop in mid-air; and last of all the solitary tyrants of the upper sky, leaving their jealous and secluded’ watch, plunge eagerly down to bury beak and claw in the dainty and helpless victim. Much in the same way have acted the partisans of the Conservative
reaction.' The less conspicuous members of the party, writers and speakers, began the attack ; then came borough and county contributors to the debates of Parliament out of 6 session;' and last of all, the letter from Hughenden, and the speech, if nothing else, from Hatfield, meant, though perhaps not quite successfully, to complete the discomfiture of a moribund Ministry.
And then what volumes of counsel, and how friendly the advisers ! One piece of advice has been dinned into our ears with peculiar pertinacity. Dissolve Parliament without delay. The country expects it of you, and will reward you by a loss of fifty seats. How can you be so blind as not to see that
''Tis sweet, when winds meet waves in wild turmoil,
(Lucretius, Rerum Natura, ii. 1-4.)
this is the only way out of your difficulties? You will get rid of your embarrassing majority, and we will step into the
places you are so anxious to vacate. Don't wait for the end of another session, for by that time it may have been discovered that the Irish Church does not work so badly under its new conditions; that Irish land sells better than ever; that the Abolition of Purchase has not quite disorganised the army; and that the publicans are not altogether dissatisfied with a system under which they can carry on their business as prosperously as before, free from the dread of ever-new beer-shop competition-a dread which in old days sat like a nightmare on the breast of every Boniface—and not compelled to sit up every night of the week at the beck and call of the most disorderly and least profitable of their customers.
If it be urged in reply to these counsellors that the Parliament was only elected in 1868, and is therefore barely five years old, the rejoinder is ready on the instant: Yes, but it is an effete and limp assembly, originally composed, as was said at the time, of elderly soap-boilers, and now suffering from premature decrepitude. It is true that the interest is not now so keen, or the attendance so regular, as in 1869. But then, how exceptional was that interest, and how pertinacious that attendance! It was actually in contemplation to enlarge the dimensions and seat-room of the material House of Commons, so unusual were the crowds who night by night perched themselves behind the Treasury Bench. If, after five sessions, the audience becomes a little more select, it by no means follows that when the sixth comes, with so much promise of keen discussions and multiplied party-fights, there will be any lack of interest or any deficiency of attendance.
Much has been said of the alleged change of feeling in the working classes. It is asserted that they have only of late years discovered that they had interests of their own distinct from those of the middle class; that they have been up to this time working as the political jackals of those above them, and that now they mean to work for themselves.
Is this so? Was it for the sake of the middle class that agricultural labourers broke machinery and burnt wheat-stacks? Was it for the sake of the middle class that factory hands met peaceably at Peterloo, and miners marched in arms upon Newport ? Has it been the middle class alone which has profited by the legislation of the last thirty years, or have not the repeal of the Corn Laws, the repeal of the Navigation Laws, the imposition of the Income Tax, the gradual VOL. CXXXIX. NO. CCLXXXIII.
reduction, and in many cases the entire abolition, of taxes on consumable articles, the Sanitary Laws, the Improvement Acts, and the whole spirit and practice. of parliamentary enactments, benefited the poor as much as, nay more than, the class above them ? But this discovery, or pretended discovery, seems to show that some, at all events, of the shrewder wire-pullers of Toryism are beginning to find out that the Conservative working man' is, after all, nothing but a jacket and apron stretched on a pole and made to do duty as a scarecrow for weak and timid Liberals. As long as our opponents could hug the delusion they did so; now, however, ceasing to hope for help from this phantasmal alliance, they change their cry, and instead of claiming the working man as their friend, they adopt the next best theory and assert that he is their enemy's enemy. And why should a working man be conservative' in the sense which the Tory party put on the word ? . Is it his interest to keep things as they are and to act as skid-pan to the wheel of change, thereby fixing himself irrevocably at the bottom ? And why should he be the enemy of that party to whom he owes all that has made his life more endurable—untaxed food, cheap schooling, cheap newspapers, letters carried for almost nothing, and all that he possesses of political power ? for household suffrage without ballot would be a mockery, and household suffrage itself, carried by the Tories, is only a necessary sequence of previous Liberal measures. So long as class interests influence him, the working man sticks to his class. But he has no pride in his order, and at the very first moment he can do so he deserts it for the class above. The bold peasantry, the * nation's pride,' is not proud of itself, and only travels by the parliamentary train because it can't afford a first-class ticket.
But is it true that the working man, now discovered not to be a Conservative, is also not a Liberal, or, if a Liberal, one of an extreme and dangerous character, an enemy, not an ally, of the party generally known by that name? No one denies that differences exist in the Liberal party, more frequent perhaps, and more continuous, but not more destructive, than some which not long ago existed in a party so devoted to their captain, that, unless general rumour errs, they pledged his first lieutenant on the eve of a great division not to take office during the then existing Parliament, although that pledge had the direct effect of making the formation of a new Ministry absolutely impossible. But are the differences other than the differences which have always more or less prevailed, and are they incompatible with the efficiency, still more with