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What Mr. Hastings's recollection of the matter may be, I know not, as I have not communicated with him upon the subject. I state my own decided conviction, in opposition to the impressions of the two gentlemen whose letters are before me, who manifested at Cleveland, as they seem to do now, an earnest desire to sustain a paper prepared and reported by them to the Committee. They may be right and I wrong; but if I am in error, I entirely misconceived the character of the amendment to the report, which was agreed upon, and which it was left with Dr. Allen to insert.
Upon one point Dr. Patterson's memory is sadly at fault; he says, “ Mr. Kendall will no doubt confirm my statement,” &c. The Committee bad but one meeting, and Mr. Kendall was not present; of anything that transpired at that time, he consequently can have no knowledge.
Truly yours, &c.,
Some of the Articles in this Number are longer than we expected, leaving us no room for Book Notices. We will endeavor to make up for this in our next Number.
CONTENTS OF NO. XXIII.
IV. THEORY OF PUBLIC WORSHIP, .
From the German of Professor Schöberlein.
ARTICLE I. 1. Petri Abaelardi Abbatis Rugensis Opera omnia. [Patro
logiae, Series secunda, Tom. CLXXVIII.] Accurante J.
P. MIGNE, fol. Paris. 1855. pp. 1895. 2. The History of the Lives of Abeillard and Heloisa, with
their genuine Letters, from the collection of Amboise. By Rev. JOSEPH BERINGTON. New edition. 2 vols. 12mo. Basil.
1793. 3. Abelard, sa vie, sa philosophie, et sa theologie. Par CHARLES
DE REMUSAT. New edition. 2 vols. 12mo. Paris. 1855. 4. The Romance of Abelard and Heloise. By 0. W. WIGHT.
12mo. New York. 1853. 5. Abailard et Héloïse, Essai historique. Par M. ET MME
Guizot. Suivé des Lettres d'Abailard et d'Héloïse, traduites sur les manuscrits de la bibliotheque royal. Par. M. ODDOUL. Nouvelle édition entièrement refondue. Paris. 1853.
THERE is something in the story and character of Abelard
which the world has agreed must not be forgotten. The opposite views which equally eminent critics have taken of his conduct and spirit have only increased men's interest in him. One of the best of French philosophers characterizes him as “a choice spirit in a barbarous age, a hero of romance in the Church, the chief of a school, and almost the martyr of an opinion;"* and yet many, whose criticism is entitled to equal respect, find nothing in his intelligence to admire, or in his character to esteem. Perhaps we should not be surprised at this diversity of sentiment. There were weaknesses and errors enough in him to suggest very various constructions of his motives, and unnatural relations produced by his strange position, to make his character inconceivable to those who do not comprehend them. His history is like a prism, whose peculiarities cannot be appreciated unless viewed from a precise angle.
We are not surprised to find an Englishman and a Frenchman disagreed on any subject, but, on most moral questions, we confess we usually go with the more sober Englishman, and on all relating to intellectual greatness and the heart, we sympathize most with the Frenchman. When judging of such characters as Jeanne d'Arc, Mary Stuart, Napoleon, and especially Abelard, we are willing that such an easy rule should be almost invariably decisive. Few memories are so popular in France as those of Abelard and Heloise. Until recently, when the history of the Middle Ages has there received a more than usual attention, scarcely a name was remembered beyond the age of Louis XIV. Troubadour, saint, and philosopher, had been consigned to oblivion. Even Abelard, very characteristically, was remembered only as a hero of romance, “eternally united” with Heloise.
No edition of Abelard's works or authentic history of his life was published until 1616, when the great work of Amboise made its appearance. This had been prepared but not published by its author, a great favorite in the court of Charles IX, and remarkable for his antiquarian and patient industry. His apologetic preface, in which Abelard is defended from
* Cousin's Hist. of Mod. Phil., translated by Wight, vol. i, pp. 21, 22.
every just or unjust assault, and is represented as the greatest and best of men, with Abelard's account of his own life and misfortunes, illustrated by Du Chesne's ample notes, has left very little to be added in the way of biography by subsequent writers. In the Romance of the Rose, and in other popular works of an earlier period, the History of Abelard and Heloisa had been inserted, but with so many embellishments that the original characters were nearly lost. This history has since been published in some form in every language of civilized nations. Almost every traveller in Europe has beheld the tomb of the lovers as the most prominent object in the loveliest cemetery in the world, and every reader of the English Pope or of the French Rousseau has wept over their misfortunes. And yet, with this universal renown, it has been the singular fate of these remarkable persons to be unknown. Few, even among our intelligent writers, have troubled themselves to learn the exact truth. They have been satisfied with the tale of romance, or the heartless story of selfish gallantry, into which the real history has been transformed.
The second work in our list, at the head of this Article, was the first attempt in English to do historical justice to the real characters, and still remains the only work of importance on this topic which our language possesses. The author was a Roman Catholic clergyman, near Birmingham, in England, but was not restrained by his ecclesiastical partialities from denouncing in the strongest terms the most prominent abuses of the papacy and the hierarchy of the Middle Ages. We are a little wearied by his unnecessary digressions into the civil and military history of the age, but with which his subject had nothing to do, we are surprised to find a partial credit given to some legendary gossip about saintly miracles and relics, and we would like to have had a more complete account of Abelard's philosophical and theological opinions, and of his influence upon subsequent periods, but, on the whole, we accept his volumes as a fine specimen of literary skill and industry, and of a fair and adequate appreciation of his subject. Unlike the writer of the other English work we have on our list, he is not perpetu