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everywhere increasing and that the Immaculate Conception is, after 1800 years, about to be declared an essential part of that religion whose proud privilege it is, in common with its Author, to be without variableness or shadow of turning. Could they, would they but have done with their skin-deep surveys, and look a little beneath the surface! No doubt the army of the Roman priesthood is under better, far better, discipline than it was: its various corps are concentrated: one watchword only passes through the camp, the Chair of Peter': it has been purged well nigh of all who scrupled at the orders to deny quarter to any milder form of Christian association or belief. In short, if we consent to judge of that body by the standard of a soldiery or a police alone, its state is one of the highest efficiency, its prospects are of the brightest colour. But how wide is here the deviation from ancient ideas! They indeed contemplated the church as an army amidst the world; but the modern view is of the clergy as an army amidst the people, the shepherds as an army amidst the flock. In its young vigour and its virgin purity, Christianity prospered not by propagating anti-social dogmas and winding up to the highest point the spirit of caste, but by cultivating and expanding while it sanctified the individual soul-by blending together the reverence for authority and the passion for freedom-by founding itself on the whole nature of man-by joining hands with every influence and every agent that could elevate him as a moral, a social, a responsible being by marching at the head of art, science, and education, and enlisting into its service every new form of knowledge as it came to light: in a word, by collectively and systematically following in all its breadth and depth that wondrous precept of St. Paul, who bids us individually embrace and make our own 'whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report.' (Phil. iv. 8.) Thus it was on man at large, and on society at large, that Christianity fixed its grasp. But can M. de Montalembert fail to see that the most fatal of all signs in regard to the future relation between mankind and the Gospel is a permanent and growing divergency between the general course of temper, thought, and action of Christian nations on the one side, and the spirit of the sacerdotal caste and its immediate adherents on the other? Has the Church of Rome done what justice and truth demanded towards averting this frightful evil, and is it not, has it not long been steadily on the increase? He has reasoned like the man who vigorously plies his skiff against a stream of irresistible rapidity and power: his
Catholic Interests in the Nineteenth Century.
eye is on the water, he sees it shoot away from him, and he thinks that he advances because it recedes: he lifts his gay streamer to the breeze, and exults in his success; but all the while the mighty mass is bearing him and it inevitably downwards, farther and farther from the haven of his hope.
Such is the case of Count Montalembert. No one will dispute the zeal and vigour either of himself or of those whom he represents; none will question the gigantic force of that current which we familiarly call the spirit of the age, and which not merely by its grosser elements, but by its bestreasoned and most deep-seated attributes, is in the sharpest conflict with the system of modern Rome. Well, he sees a good concordat with some ephemeral government here, a successful intrigue there, civil speeches from a man all whose words are mined under, some poor Madiai put in prison, more Jesuits, winking images of the Madonna, and great hopes of the Immaculate Conception for a new article of faith what successes, what glories, what assurances of final triumph! But all this time the slow divorce is being prepared; the severance of that union yet more slow in its formation, the union which it required some thirteen hundred years of the Church's incessant labour to consolidate, between Divine Revelation and human thought and action, between the invisible and the visible kingdoms of God, the dispensation of heaven and the dispensation of earth. And the more perfect the organisation of the Roman Catholic clergy shall become, the more rigid the proscription of variance in opinion, the more exact its military discipline, the more precise, elaborate, and perfect its manœuvring, the more glaring, on the other hand, to all except itself, will it be, that all the successes of that army are far more than counterbalanced by the simple fact, that it is an army and nothing else, a fortified camp in the midst of Christian society: the more evident will it become that for others and not for them, for others less equipped in high pretension but better grounded upon homely truth, is reserved the solution, or the best approach to solution, of the great and world-wide problem, how, under the multiplying demands and thickening difficulties of the time coming upon us, to maintain a true harmony between the Church of Christ and the nations it has swayed so long, to reconcile the changeful world and that unchanging faith on which all its undeceptive hopes are hung.
ART. VII.-1. Observations on the British Museum, National Gallery, and National Record Office, with Suggestions for their Improvement. By James Fergusson, M.R.B.A., &c. &c. 1849.
2. Handbook to the Antiquities in the British Museum; being a Description of the Remains of Greek, Assyrian, Egyptian, and Etruscan Art preserved there. By W. I. Vaux, M.A., F.S.A., Assistant in the Department of Antiquities. 3. COPY of all COMMUNICATIONS made by the Architect and Officers of the BRITISH MUSEUM to the Trustees, respecting the Enlargement of the Building, and of all Communications between the Trustees and the Treasury, subsequent to the period when the Commissioners upon the Constitution and Management of the British Museum presented their Report to HER MAJESTY. Ördered by the House of Commons to be printed, 30th June, 1852.
UR article of December, 1850, has sufficiently acquainted our readers with the variety of criticisms and hypercriticisms—the regrets and the complaints-of which the British Museum has been so long, and on the whole so undeservedly, the object. We are not about to go over that debated ground— all the most important points of which the 'Report of the Royal Commission' of 1848 has cleared and settled, much to the credit of the whole internal administration of the Museum, and more especially as to the management of the Library, which had been the object of the loudest, but, as it has turned out, the most groundless, the most ignorant, and we are sorry to be obliged to add, in some remarkable instances, the most malicious complaints. We shall hear no more, we presume-at least from any one who has read and weighed the evidence-of forcing the Trustees to attempt that physical impossibility, a general printed catalogue for current use a proposition so long and so pertinaciously urged by some, as a covert mode of personal censure on the officers of the library department, and by a few respectable persons who, with little practical experience of the manipulation of the library, were deluded by the ideal facilities of a printed catalogue-an object no doubt extremely captivating, and to which certainly we ourselves see but one objection-viz., that no power of men or money could ever complete one. The only really practicable proposition suggested in the Report for a printed catalogue would be of some class or period which could be considered as completed and closed—such as the collection of works connected with the Great Rebellion, or of the books possessed by the Museum printed in the fifteenth
fifteenth century: but of these the first would be of little general use, and hardly worth the cost; and the second, if now executed, would, we hope, very soon become imperfect. The only mode of carrying out this latter idea that could be considered as complete, should embrace not what any single library may happen to possess at the moment, but all the great libraries of Europe should be invited to contribute to a general catalogue of ALL books known to have been printed prior to 1501; and to each title might be affixed an initial to designate in what libraries the book might be found, as M. L.,' for Museum, London; 'B. O., Bodleian, Oxford; N. P.,' National, Paris; 'I. P.,' Institute, Paris, &c. So that, whenever any of these libraries became possessed of a work they had not before, the addition, by a hand-stamp, of this distinguishing mark would keep each catalogue and (by easy intercommunication) all the catalogues complete; and even individuals who might purchase a catalogue could keep their own complete by reference to that of the nearest public library. This would be a valuable addition to the literature of the world.
The Commission has also set at rest many other captious complaints against the Museum. We shall not be again insulted by injurious comparisons-bolstered up by evidence most scandalously deceptive-of our Museum with similar establishments abroad-of its inferiority in material riches, in scientific distribution, in general accessibility, and in the intelligence and personal courtesy of its officers and servants. The gross injustice of such imputations is now indisputable. It has been proved beyond all further question, that there is not in the world another collection so various, so rich, so promptly, so lucidly, and so extensively accessible.
The Edifice itself, it must be admitted, does not come quite so well out of the discussion. Mr. Fergusson's pamphlet contains a minute and merciless criticism on the whole and every part of it. We have no intention of entering on that proverbial inutility-a disputation on mere points of taste;but we are bound to say that we think Sir Robert Smirke has been treated, on matters both of taste and accommodation, with a degree of severity which the facts do not warrant. Our readers are aware that we ourselves are no great admirers of the edifice. It must, we fear, be admitted to be inferior to what its destination, its site, and, above all, its cost, might have led us to expect; but we cannot assent to Mr. Fergusson's sweeping and unconditional (but oddly worded) censure, that 'the Museum is as bad and as extravagant a building as could be well designed.' In truth, though we concur in two or three of his leading criticisms, we think that most of his ob
jections to the details are either altogether fanciful or much exaggerated; and we cannot but think that the criticisms of so ingenious a mind would have produced more effect on the public if they had been less indiscriminate.
We are glad, however, that, amidst so much censure, Mr. Fergusson does justice to Sir Robert Smirke's general reputation in that style of art which he has more peculiarly followed. He says
'I do not know of anything in the works of classic architecture on the Continent superior to Sir Robert Smirke's: I am certain it is not either the Berlin Museum, nor the Munich* Walhalla or Glyptothek, nor the Paris Madeleine or Bourse, which, considering the difficulties of the subject, either show more taste or more knowledge of the style.'-Ferg., p. 11.
And he even adds a kind of apology for Sir Robert Smirke, by laying, as he phrases it, the blame on the right shoulders'— viz. the Trustees-who, he intimates, had imposed not only the style of the edifice on Sir Robert under pain of not being employed, but even dictated to him some of the individual blemishes with which Mr. Fergusson is most offended. Now we know not whether the Trustees had any predilection (which Mr. Fergusson seems to consider a kind of insanity) for Greek architecture; we ourselves so far concur in his opinion that we should not have chosen that rigid and unaccommodating style for so complicated and diversified an object as a Museum; but we cannot therefore presume to censure persons of perhaps a purer taste, who preferred the Greek style for an edifice dedicated to the arts and literature of which Greece was the illustrious parent; and especially when some of the richest treasures of the collection were derived from the noblest remains of Grecian architecture. And when the Trustees made that, as we think, not unnatural, though perhaps unlucky, choice, they surely did well in selecting to execute it the architect whom Mr. Fergusson admits to have surpassed in that style all the architects of the Continent.
As to the apologetical insinuation that Sir Robert Smirke sacrificed his own opinions and taste-that is his duty-to the unreasonable suggestions of individual trustees—it is an excuse which we are satisfied that the integrity and spirit of Sir Robert Smirke's character would reject. We have no doubt that he accepts the whole responsibility of his work, and he may do so with honest pride; for we think, in spite of individual criti
Why does Mr. Fergusson place the Walhalla at Munich? It is near Ratisbon, above thirty miles from Munich. He perhaps had in his mind's eye another edifice of the Doric style at Munich, called the Ruhmeshalle.