« PreviousContinue »
all woven into one piece ; and, at the same time, exercise a sound and fearless judgement as to the workings of such an influence on the happiness, the dignity of mankind. He must have the industry for accumulating an appalling mass of materials, yet be gifted with that subtle and almost intuitive discrimination which will appreciate the value and the amount of truth contained in documents, here furnished by friends who have been dazzled into blindness by the most fanatic zealthere by enemies who have been darkened into blindness, no less profound, by that intense hatred, which even beyond all other religious orders or bodies of men it has been the fate of the Jesuits to provoke. He must be armed with a love of truth which can trample down, on all sides, the thick jungle of prejudice which environs the whole subject; he must be superior to the temptation of indulging either the eloquence of panegyric or the eloquence of satire: endowed with a commanding judgement, in short, which, after rigid investigation, shall not only determine in what proportions and with what deductions the charges entertained by a large part of the best and most intelligent of mankind against the order are well-grounded, but at the same time account for their general acceptance; that acceptance marked sufficiently by the one clear fact that Jesuitism and kindred words have become part of the common language of Roman Catholic, as well as of Protestant countries.
The work of M. Crétineau Joly is too incoherent and fragmentary, too much wanting in dignity and solidity, for a history; it is too heavy and prolix for an apology. It is a loose assemblage of materials, wrought in as they have occurred, as they have been furnished by the gradually increasing confidence of the Jesuits themselves, or have struck the author in the course of rambling and multifarious reading—of passages pressed into the service from all quarters, especially from Protestant writers, who may have deviated through candour, love of paradox, or the display of eloquence, into praises of the Jesuits; of long lists of illustrious names, which have never transpired beyond the archives of the Order-interminable
lists in which the more distinguished among the foreign missionaries and martyrs, and the few who have achieved lasting fame as theologians or pulpit orators, historians, men of letters, or men of science, are lost, and can only be detected by patient examination; of elaborate vindications of all the acts of the whole Order, and almost every individual member of it, with charges of ignorance, calumny, heresy, Jansenism, Gallicanism, Protestantism, Rationalism, Atheism, against all their adversaries. The History of the Company of Jesus' does not appear to us superior to the general mediocrity of those countless ultramontanist histories, biographies, hagiographies, and treatises which have been teeming from the Parisian, and even the provincial, press of France for the last few years, scarcely one of which, notwithstanding their mutual collaudations, has forced its way into the high places of French literature.
Under these impressions, we might not have been disposed to linger long over this seventh or supplementary volume of Jesuit history from the same pen; but the following paragraph, in one of the earliest pages (p. 7), seized upon us like a spell :
Nevertheless, when my labours were ended, I was appalled at my own work; for high above all those names which were conflicting against each other to their mutual shame and dishonour, there was one preeminent, which the Apostolic throne seemed to shield with its inviolability. The highest dignitaries of the Church, to whom I have long vowed affectionate respect, entreated me not to rend the veil which concealed such a Pontificate from the eyes of men. The General of the Company of Jesus, who for so many and such powerful motives could not but take a deep interest in the disclosures which I was about to make, added his urgent remonstrances to those of some of the Cardinals. In the name of his Order, and in that of the Holy See, he implored me, with tears in his eyes, to renounce the publication of this history. They persuaded even the sovereign pontiff, Pius the Ninth, to interpose his wishes and his authority in support of their counsels and their remonstrances.
The good Catholic must have yielded, but the author was inexorable. In vain Cardinals implored; vain were the bursting tears of the General of the Company ; vain was the judge
ment of Infallibility itself. The stern sense of justice, the rigid love of truth in an historian of the Jesuits, admitted no compromise, disdained all timid prudence, inflexibly rejected prayers, tears, commands. The hesitating printers were ordered to proceed—the irrevocable work went on. Shall we betray our want of charity if we suggest a further motive for this lofty determination ? To us Reviewers, unhappily its most pitiable victims, and therefore endowed with a peculiar acuteness in discerning its workings, a new passion seems to have taken possession of the human heart, and to vie with those old and vulgar incentives, the love of fame, money, power, and plea
It partakes, to a certain degree, of some of these, but it surpasses them all in its intensity-we mean the love of bookmaking and of publishing books. Men have sacrificed their children, their sons and their daughters; men have abandoned their country at the call of duty, have given up place, have vacated seats in Parliament, have neglected profitable investments of capital; but who has ever suppressed a book which he expected to make a noise in the world?
The dreadful epilogue, then, has issued from the press ; but we must ingenuously acknowledge, that if any unconscious antipapal prepossession disturbed the native candour of our mind, it has by no means found full gratification. We have not been shocked so much as we hoped by our author's disclosures. We cannot think that the fears of the Cardinals will be altogether realized. The devoted heroism of the General of the Jesuits, who would sacrifice the interests, and even the revenge of his Order against a hostile pontiff, rather than expose the questionable proceedings of a holy conclave, and the weakness, at least, if not worse, attributed to a Pope-even the natural solicitude of good Pius IX. for the unsullied fame of all his predecessors—all these, we suspect, have been called forth without quite adequate cause. The Papacy has undergone more perilous trials—recovered from more tal blows. We can, in short, hold out no hopes to Exeter Hall that their denunciations against the Lady in bright attire are hastening
to their accomplishment—that Antichrist is about to fall by a parricidal hand--that M. Crétineau Joly's is the little book of the Revelations which is to enable them to pronounce the hour of the fall of Babylon.
To the high ultramontane theory it may indeed be difficult to reconcile these revelations. We cannot be surprised that the historian of the Jesuits should have some serious misgivings when about to immolate a pope to the fame of the suppressed order—to display (as he thinks he displays) a pontiff, raised to his infallibility by unworthy covenants, at least bordering on simony; afterwards endeavouring by every subterfuge to avoid the payment of the price for which he had sold himself; and at length on compulsion only fulfilling the terms which he had signed, issuing with a cruel pang the fatal bull which he himself knew to be full of falsehood and iniquity, and dying literally of remorse.
Such is the pious scope of M. Crétineau Joly's tome.” We who have nothing to do with the delicate question of papal infallibility, cannot think that our author has made out his case against Clement XIV. Ganganelli, we still think, was a good and an enlightened man; whose end was calamitous because he wanted the decision and inflexibility absolutely necessary for carrying out the policy which he had fearfully, perhaps reluctantly undertaken. It required the energy of a Hildebrand either boldly to confront Europe, which was trembling in its allegiance, not merely to the Papacy, but to Christianity itself; or to break with the past, and endeavour by wise and welltimed alterations to rule the future. Ganganelli was unequal - but who would have been equal to the crisis ? Count St.
; M. Crétineau Joly supposes a tacit confederacy of Jansenism, Protestantism, Philosophism, Rationalism, Atheism, to hunt the Jesuits, the sole safeguard of Christianity, from the earth; and a regularly organized conspiracy of the ministers Choiseul, Florida Blanca, and Pombal, to expel them from the dominions of France, Spain, and Portugal. The former allegation is true enough, if it means only that a fervid hatred of the Jesuits was common to some of the most religious and many of the most irreligious of mankind, though none protested against the bad usage they met with more strenuously than Voltaire, D'Alembert, and Frederick II. The conspiracy of Choiseul and Co. is a dream.
Priest, in his recent work, has related the Fall of the Jesuits; their expulsion-sudden, unresisted, almost unregretted, at least not attended or followed by any strong popular movement in their favour--from Portugal, from Spain, from France, and even from some of the states of Italy. The “Chute des Jésuites' has been translated into English. It is written with spirit and eloquence; and, on the whole, with truth and justice. Though it is described by M. Crétineau Joly as little trustworthy (peu véridique), we do not discover much difference in the facts, as they appear in the two accounts; nor, where these differ, do we think the advantage is with the later writer. But though this preliminary history is necessary, at least in its outline, to the understanding of Clement XIV. and the Jesuits,' the fall—the inevitable fall of the Order may be traced, and briefly, to a much higher origin.
The Jesuits, soon after their foundation, had achieved an extraordinary victory. After the first burst of the Reformation they arrested the tide of progress. The hand on the dial had gone back at their command. They had sternly, unscrupulously, remorselessly—in many parts of Europe triumphantlyfought their battle. Where the mighty revolution could only, in all human probability, have ended in anarchy, their triumph was followed with beneficial results; where, as in England, there were materials for the construction of a better system, by God's good providence they were frustrated in their designs. They had terrified the sovereigns of Europe by the regicidal doctrines of some of their more daring writers. These doctrines had been carried into effect by some mad fanatics, and the like attempted by more.
Peace was restored ; and from that period the Roman Catholic kings of Europe were for the most part under the dominion of the Jesuits. Through them, and by them, monarchs ruled. The Jesuit director was a secret, irresponsible, first minister of the crown, whom no court intrigue could supplant, no national
• In Murray's Home and Colonial Library.