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consolidate Christianity, and enable her, after trampling on the bloody fasces, to lean on the dove-topped sceptre of the empire, shall she be found in every quarter of the world, still carrying on the frightful system of pushing down foes, or supplanting rivals, merely to keep herself upon her feet? Shall the gatherer of such materials, for the history of Protestantism in the nineteenth century, have to track her in Ireland riding on her pale horse, over the mud-cabins of a Catholic population, bruising limbs, and breaking hearts, and desolating homes, with the brazen hoof of her courser? Shall he, on the Continent, see her twining herself, in a cold and withering embrace, round her whom she pretends to call a sister, and this only to suck the blood from her veins, and the marrow from her bones, by codes, calculated to weary the endurance, and to waste, in hectic decay, the religious feeling of entire provinces ? Or, if he cross the ocean to the islands of our antipodes, shall he find her in power over savages, whom she has civilized, but never elevated, and using that power through her emissaries, to persecute, with chains and hard labour, those who embrace the Catholic faith? And when he has seen these things, and set them, like a rich mosaic, in his storied page, shall he smile or weep, as he writes over it, “On the tolerant, unpersecuting principles of Protestantism, in the nineteenth century” !
We are not vain enough to think that these pages are likely to meet the eye of many of our fellow-religionists, in the country whereof they treat. And if they do, shall we presume to offer them counsel or consolation ? Most assuredly not; while there is One, “who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks,” that saith to them, “I know your works, and your labour, and your patience; and you have patience, and have borne for my name, and have not failed.” They will continue, we doubt not, as heretofore, to edify the Christian world by their unwearied endurance, at the same time that they adorn their religion by the numerous instances of noble and honourably applied talents, which, in spite of their humiliation, they have continued to present to mankind. Whatever the sympathy of brethren, who have suffered even more than they, can do, to comfort and encourage them; whatever of hope the marvellous work of their liberation, through peaceful and lawful means, may afford, they certainly will ever find in the Catholics of Great Britain and Ireland. Let us feel towards each other as friends and brethren, and let the bond of common suffering wind itself round the sacred links of a common faith. There is no uniter of hearts like the chain of persecution.
ART. VIII.-Sketches of English Literature, with Considerations
on the Spirit of the Times, Men, and Revolutions. By the
Visc. de Chateaubriand. 2 vols. 8vo. Colburn, London. 1836. THI: HIS title is, in its leading part, calculated to deceive; for
though we are supplied with some Sketches of English Literature, generally very incorrect, the greater part of the work is occupied by sombre political reflections, and personal anecdotes of the author, thrown together without any order. In his preface he says :
“ This view of English Literature, which is to precede my translation of Milton, consists of
“1. Some detached pieces of my early studies, corrected in style, rectified with regard to opinions, enlarged or condensed as relates to the text.
“2. Various extracts from my Memoirs; extracts which happened to be connected directly with the Work which I here submit to the public.
“3. Recent researches relative to the subject of these volumes.
“I have visited the United States; I have lived eight years an exile in England; after residing in London as an emigrant, I have returned thither as ambassador. I believe that I am as thoroughly acquainted with English, as a man can be with a language foreign to his own.” Preface, p. 1.
In one of Miss Edgeworth's novels, that lady admirably sketches the character of Frank Clay, who is always talking of his own adventures, and generally opens his stories with the introduction, 6 When I was abroad with the Princess Orbitella.” The Princess Orbitella of Chateaubriand is his Embassy to London: he has never written a book since, in which it is not referred to, whenever he can find, or make, an opportunity for its introduction. We have it here for example, in the very first page of the first volume :-amid the closing pages of the second, we find,
“In 1822, at the time of my embassy to London, the fashionable was expected to exhibit, at the first glance, an unhappy and unhealthy man; to have an air of negligence about his person, long nails, a beard neither entire nor shaven, but as if grown for a moment unawares, and forgotten during the preoccupations of wretchedness; hair in disorder; a sublime, wild, wicked eye; lips compressed in disdain of human nature; a Byronian heart, overwhelmed with weariness and disgust of life.”—Vol. ii. p. 303.
For the sake of the contrast, we are as continually reminded of the time of “my exile in England.” His critique upon Lord Byron is marked by that memorable epoch :
“ In the earliest compositions of Lord Byron, we meet with striking imitations of the Minstrel.' At the period of my exile in England, Lord Byron was at the school of Harrow, a village about ten miles from London.”_Vol. ii. p. 330.
In the very last page of the second volume, we have the same date :
“When at the beginning of my life, England afforded me an asylum, I translated some of Milton's verses, to supply the wants of the exile : now, having returned to my country, drawing near to the end of my career, I again have recourse to the poet of Eden.”—Vol. ii. p. 361.
The exile and the embassy haunt us from the beginning to the end of the Viscount's labours. He would find it impossible to write a treatise on the differential calculus, or to follow Ephraim Jenkison in his researches into cosmogony, without reminding us that he had been an emigrant, and an ambassador. It bursts forth on every occasion : but we shall trouble our readers with only one passage more:
“Political eloquence may be considered as constituting part of British Literature. I have had opportunities of forming my opinion upon it at two very different periods of my life.
“ The England of 1688 was, about the end of the last century, at the apogee' of its glory. As a poor emigrant in London from 1792 to 1800, I listened to the speeches of the Pitts, the Foxes, the Sheridans, the Wilberforces, the Grenvilles, the Whitbreads, the Lauderdales, the Erskines : as a magnificent ambassador in 1822, I cannot express how I was struck, when, instead of the great speakers whom I had formerly admired, I saw those who had been their seconds at the time of my first visit, the scholars, rise instead of the masters."— Vol. II. p. 274.
It would not be easy to find any logical connexion between the position of the Viscount de Chateaubriand, whether as a poor emigrant, or “a magnificent ambassador,” in 1822, (the date of that never to be forgotten period is always carefully noted) with the decline and fall of British oratory. Had the state of affairs been reversed, had he shone in all the lustre of diplomacy in 1792, and sought an asylum in poverty and exile, in 1822, we apprehend that, momentous as the event might seem to the Viscount, the tide of our senatorial eloquence would have ebbed and flowed as it has done, uninfluenced by any mutation of our author's fortunes.
It is, however, magnanimous in him to exalt the era of Pitt; for that statesman, it appears, was not instinctively, or rather prophetically, impressed with a sense of the future greatness of the Viscount. He actually passed him in St. James's Park without notice!
“ I frequently saw Pitt walking across St. James's Park, from his own house to the palace. On his part, George III. arrived from
Windsor, after drinking beer out of a pewter pot with the farmers of the neighbourhood; he drove through the mean courts of his mean habitation, in a grey chariot-followed by a few of the Horse Guards. This was the master of the kings of Europe, as five or six merchants of the city are the masters of India. Pitt, dressed in black, with a steel-hilted sword by his side, hat under his arm, ascended, taking two or three steps at a time. In his passage, he only met with three or four emigrants, who had nothing to do: casting on us a disdainful look, he turned up his nose and his pale face, and passed on.”—Vol. II. p. 277.
This was in 1792: but mark the change:
“ In the month of June 1822, Lord Liverpool took me to dine at his country house. As we crossed Putney Heath, he showed me the small house where the son of Lord Chatham, the statesman who had had Europe in his pay, and distributed with his own hand all the treasures of the world, died in poverty.”—Vol. II. p. 278.
The “ magnificent ambassador,” driving out to dine with the living prime minister of England, could afford to return the disdainful look, cast upon the poor emigrant by the dead premier, some thirty years before.
Let it not, however, be imagined that M. de Chateaubriand shines only as a diplomatist. He is also a Lord among wits, and in a comparison, which he institutes between himself and Lord Byron, fails not to draw our notice to the fact.
“ Some interest will, perhaps, be felt on remarking in future—if I am destined to have any future the coincidence presented by the two leaders of the new French and English schools, having one and the same fund of ideas, and destinies, if not manners, nearly similar: the one a peer of England, the other a peer of France; both travellers in the East, at no great distance of time from each other, but who never met. The only difference is, that the life of the English poet was not mixed up with such great events as mine.
“Lord Byron went to visit, after me, the ruins of Greece: in “Childe Harold" he seems to embellish with his own colours the descriptions of my "Travels.” At the commencement of my pilgrimage, I introduced the farewell of Sire de Joinville to his castle: Byron, in like manner, bids adieu to his Gothic habitation.”—p. 334.
The French peer certainly surpasses the British peer in one point. Lord Byron had no contemptible opinion of his own powers; but he never coolly wrote himself down as the leader of the existing school of his country. The Viscount, we see, has no such scruple.
But Byron is no favourite: on the contrary, he is to be regarded as a pilferer.
pilferer. After having whimsically described “ The Martyrs” and “ The Letter on the Campagna of Rome” as the true sources of his lordship's inspiration, our author adds, that “the bard of Childe Harold belongs to the family of Réné.” “ In the ‘Martyrs' Eudorus sets out from Messenia to proceed to Rome.-- Our voyage,' he says, 'was long. We saw all those promontories marked by temples or tombs.
We crossed the gulf of Megara. Before us was Ægina, on the right the Piræus, on the left Corinth. Those cities, of old so flourishing, exhibited only heaps of ruins. The very sailors appeared to be moved by this sight. The crowd, collected
upon the deck, kept silence : each fixed his eyes steadfastly on those ruins : each perhaps drew from them in secret a consolation in his misfortunes, by reflecting how trifling are our own afflictions compared with those calamities which befal whole nations, and which had stretched before our eyes the corpses of those cities . . . My young companions had never heard of any other metamorphoses than those of Jupiter, and could not account for the ruins before their eyes : I, for my part, had already seated myself with the prophet on the ruins of desolate cities, and Babylon taught me what had happened to Corinth.' “ Now turn to the fourth canto of Lord Byron's · Childe Harold:
• As my bark did skim
Along the prow, and saw all these unite
The Roman saw these tombs in his own age,
Sad wonder, and this yet surviving page
The moral lessou bears, drawn from such pilgrimage.'”-pp. 334-336. That the passages are coincident is true enough; but we hardly think that either Lord Byron or M. de Chateaubriand can claim their parentage. The Viscount hastily refers to the letter of Sulpicius to Cicero, where they will be found almost word for word; but he does not refer to the fact, that Lord Byron acknowledges the source in the lines immediately preceding those above-quoted, and cites the whole passage in a note :
“ Wandering in youth, I traced the path of him,
The Roman friend of Rome's least mortal mind,
The friend of Tully.” If his lordship had not read Sulpicius in the original, or in Dr. Middleton, he need not have gone farther than Tristram Shandy, where Mr. Shandy, the elder, quotes it with much philosophical pathos on the occasion of the death of his son Bobby.
One great question remains without a satisfactory explanation. We give it in M. de Chateaubriand's own words :
“ If it be true that Réné' had some influence upon the character of the single person brought forward under different names by the author of Childe Harold, Conrad, Lara, Manfred, the Giaour; if it so