Brownson's Views by Benziger Brothers

Brownson’s Views

1893, Benziger Brothers


I. Literature

American Literature


Much is said and written about American literature. Some make extravagant boasts of the excellence to which it has already attained; others make loud and long laments that it does not as yet even exist; others again are busy in devising ways and means of creating it, forcing its growth, or bringing it to maturity; and a very voluminous, if not a very respectable, national literature is growing up among us about the literature we are assumed to have or not to have and the means of obtaining or perfecting national literature. All this is very well; the American people are a very enlightened people, and their authors far in advance of those of any other nation, as it is patriotic to believe; but it seems to us that on this subject of national literature, as on literature in general, there is much loose thinking, if thinking it can be called, and no little want of clear and well-defined views. It is hard to say what is the precise meaning our countrymen attach to the word literature, in what they suppose its desirableness to consist, what ends it serves or ought to serve, or wherein it contributes to the glory of nations or of the race. These are important points, and on these, we are sorry to say, our authors leave us in the dark. We have consulted the best literary authorities of the country, but no light dawns to relieve our darkness, no clear, distinct, definite answers are obtained. This is bad, and makes us suspect that with us very few who talk of literature have any real meaning. It is easy to indulge in vague and general declamation; it is easy to seize upon a few loose and indefinite terms and to have the appearance of talking largely, eloquently, wisely, profoundly, when in fact we are saying nothing at all. Before anything more is said, it would be a real service to many persons, and to ourselves in particular, if our authors would define their terms, tell us precisely what they understand by literature, and for what it is necessary, useful, or desirable. (Works, vol. 19, p. 204.)

If we are not much mistaken, what the world means, or fancies it means, by literature is something which is independent of all moral, religious, or social doctrines, and may be read with equal pleasure and profit by all men, whatever their religion, their ethical code, or their political system. It is something which inculcates no doctrine, instructs man in no particular truth, and urges to the performance of no particular duty. Back and independent of all that relates to man’s belief and duties as a moral, religious, and social being, it is assumed that there is a broad and rich field for the man of letters, and the culture of that broad and rich field yields literature proper. But our difficulty is understanding what is meant by this arises from the fact that this supposed field is purely imaginary, an "airy nothing," to which even the poet, with "his eye in a fine frenzy rolling," cannot give "a local habitation and a name." A general literature which teaches nothing special is as unreal as man without men, the race without individuals. The genus, for us human beings at least, is real only in the species; what has no specific meaning has for us no meaning at all and is as if it were not. (Vol. 19, p. 205.)

American literary taste is in general very low and corrupt. Irving and Hawthorne have good taste, are unaffected, natural, simple, easy, and graceful, but deficient in dignity and strength; they are pleasant authors for the boudoir, or to read while resting one’s self on the sofa after dinner. No man who has any self-respect will read either of them in the morning. Prescott is gentlemanly, but monotonous, and occasionally jejune. Bancroft is gorgeous, glowing, but always straining after effect, always on stilts, never at his ease, never natural, never composed, never graceful or dignified. He has intellect, fancy, scholarship, all of a high order, but no taste, no literary good-breeding. He gesticulates furiously and speaks always from the top of his voice. In general, we may say of American literature that it is provincial, and its authors are uncertain of themselves, laboring, but laboring in vain, to catch the tone and manner of a distant metropolis. They have tolerable natural parts, often respectable scholarship, but they lack ease, dignity, repose. They do not speak as masters, but as forward pupils. They take too high a key for their voice, and are obliged, in order to get through, to sing in falsetto. You are never quite at your ease in listening to them; you are afraid they will break down, and that the lofty heights of oratory they promise you will turn out to be only specimens of the bathos. They fail to give one confidence in their strength, for they are always striving to be strong and laboring to be intense. (Vol. 19, pp. 367, 368.)

The American people have no simplicity, no natural ease, no repose. A pebble is a "rock," a leg or arm is a "limb," breeches or trousers are "unnamables," a petticoat is a "skirt," a shift is a chemise, the sun is the "solar orb," the moon the "lunar light." Nothing can be called simply by its proper name in our genuine old Anglo-Saxon tongue. We are always striving to be great, sublime; and simple natural expressions are counted tame, commonplace, or vulgar. We must be inflated, grandiloquent, or eccentric. Even in our business habits we strive after the strange, the singular, or the wonderful, and are never contented with old fashions, quiet and sure ways of prospering. We must make or lose a fortune at a dash. We have no repose- are always, from the moment we are breeched till wrapped in our grave-clothes, in a state of unnatural excitement, hurrying to and for, without asking or being able to say why or wherefore. We have no homesteads, no family, no fixtures, no sacred ties which bind us, no hearths or altars around which our affections cling and linger. We are all afloat upon a tumultuous ocean, and seem incapable of enjoying ourselves amid the wildness and fury of the storm. Our authors and orators, as was to be expected, partake of our national character and reproduce it in their works. (Vol. 19, pp. 377,378.)

Straining after Effect


Whoever would attain to excellence in anything must repose a generous confidence in himself. He must feel that he is equal to what he undertakes. He must proceed calmly and with a conscious strength to his task. If he doubts himself, if he feels that he must make an effort, he must strain, he will do nothing but betray his weakness. We Americans in literary matters, have had no self-confidence. There is no repose in our literature. There is ever a straining after effect, a labor to be eloquent, striking, or profound. This proceeds in great measure from the fact that we have found our model of excellence, not in our own minds and hearts nor in human nature generally, but in the literature of that land from which our forefathers came. Instead of studying man, we have studied English literature; instead of drawing our inspirations from the universal reason which glows within and agitates the American heart, not less than the English heart, we have sought them in the productions of the English muse. We have written and sung, or at least aimed to write and sing, for Englishmen, and to gain the applause or escape the censure of the English critic. Hence our minds have been crippled and our literature has been tame and servile.

But so long as we retain the memory of our colonial dependence on England, we shall not attain to literary excellence. We shall attain to freedom and literary originality and produce works worthy of admiration for their freshness and power not till we dare set up for ourselves; till we come to feel that American human nature is as rich as English human nature; that the emotions and the forms of speech natural to an American are as proper in themselves, as conformable to the laws of universal human nature, as those natural to an Englishman; and that Boston, New York, or Providence has as much right to decide authoritatively on matters of taste and composition as London. (Vol. 19, pp. 26,27.)

National Literature


But at present we are not in the condition to make any important contributions to this national literature. National literature is the expression of the national life and follows the formation of the national character. The Greek character preceded Greek literature, and the Roman character was fixed centuries before there was a Roman literature. Our national character is not yet formed. What we term our national character is merely provisional, and will disappear, or be essentially modified, when the mass of our people cease to be Protestants and infidels and place themselves in harmony with Christian civilization. The real American character is yet to be formed, and to be formed under Catholic influences. It is to Catholic America we are to look; for it alone is living and has the promise of the future, and Catholic America as yet hardly exists. Our Catholic population is not yet homogenous, has no common national character. It is Irish, French, German, and each division retains the national peculiarities of the country from which it has emigrated. There has been, as yet, no time to melt down the mass and combine its separate elements in a new national character, neither Irish, nor French, nor German, but composed of the real excellences of each. The portion descended from the early American settlers are themselves as far as either of the others from possessing what is to be, ultimately, the American character; for as to their social habits, literary tastes, their general culture, as to all, in fact, not strictly of faith, they are Protestant rather than Catholic. Now, till this fusion takes place, till national diversities and peculiarities lose themselves in one common national character, with common habits, tastes, and feelings, we have not the indispensable conditions of a national literature. The native American portion demand a literature which smacks of the provisional national character; the Irish require their national tastes and peculiarities to be addressed; and the French and Germans cannot be pleased to have theirs neglected. All this is natural and inevitable. It implies no reproach to one or to another. Nobody can blame the German because his affections cluster around his fatherland and his heart is moved by the songs of the Rhine as it cannot be by those of the Ohio and the Mississippi; the Irishman is not censurable because his heart turns to "the Green Isle of the Ocean"- all the dearer from the memory of her wrongs – and because no strains can touch him like those to which he listened in his childhood; nor any more the native American for finding dearest to him those accents which soothed him in the caresses of his mother. Cold is the heart that does not beat quicker at the mention of its native land, and that does not linger with its sweetest affections around its early home, the only home it ever finds in this wide world. Dear to us is that dear home of our childhood, and fresh are the breezes which come freely over the green hills which skirt it. No sky is so serene as that which bends over it; no air so pure as that we breathed when in it, before the wanderings, the turmoils and cares of life began. We love that mountain home; we love its very look, its tone, and its simple manners, and we find elsewhere nothing to compensate for their loss. We complain not that the emigrant turns fondly to his fatherland and clings to the life he received from it. No people ever becomes great which is not thoroughly national and which cannot more easily part with life than with its nationality. All we say or mean to say is that our Catholic population is collected from different nations, with diverse national characters; and while they are so, before they become homogenous in their character, we cannot find in them the public requisite for the creation and growth of a national literature. This, however, is only a temporary obstacle, and will soon disappear. But while it remains we cannot do much for a national literature, and must content ourselves with such works as address themselves to the intellect alone, or to those sentiments and affections which are common to all men, whatever the diversity of their national origin or breeding. (Vol. 19, pp. 131,132.)

A Standard of Criticism


There is or should be some recognized standard by which to judge in matters of poetry as well as in other matters. But, unhappily for us, we have in English no such standard and consequently no scientific criticism. Alison has given us a work of some merit "On Taste," Campbell says some good things in his "Philosophy of Rhetoric," and much just criticism may be found scattered through the English and American quarterly reviews and other periodical literature; but all is unscientific, empirical, founded on habit, prejudice, or fashion, varying every hour. We have no science or philosophy of art. Till we have such a science or philosophy we can have no good literary or artistic critics, and as long as we are mere sensists or psychologists we can never have it. Burke was a great man, but his "Essay on the Sublime and the Beautiful" is not worth naming, far less worth reading; for the author had a false system of metaphysics, and wrote his work on the supposition that the sublime and beautiful are mere subjective affections, or exist only in the order of conceptions and emotions, not in the order of reality, and are therefore psychological, not ontological. The Germans, indeed have what they call Aesthetic or Aethetics, but, as the word implies, they make the sublime and beautiful either sensations and emotions or simply objects of the sensibility. Or if they rise higher, they base their science of art on a defective and false conception of being, and give us nothing but scientific ignorance hardly superior, if indeed equal, to the practical good sense of English and American critics.

Art, according to the ancients, is imitative, and its aim is to give expression to the sublime and beautiful, or as we say nowadays, all simply to the beautiful. Being imitative, we have first to settle what it is that it does or should imitate. The answer usually is that art should imitate nature. This is correct if we understand by the nature to be imitated natura naturans, not the natura naturata of the schoolmen. Its province is to imitate nature in her creative energy, and to realize, or to clothe with its own forms, the beautiful which the soul of the artist beholds. The beautiful itself has an objective reality, and has been happily termed by an Italian, reviewing, in a French periodical, the works of Silvio Pellico, "the splendor of the true."…

The contemplation of the creative act in its relation to God gives us the conception of the highest degree of the beautiful, that is, the sublime. Thus Longinus gives as the best and fullest expression of the sublime the passage from Genesis, "And God said, Let there be light, and there was light." God spoke and it was, he commands and it stands fast. When contemplated in existences, which are the extrinsic form or terminus of the creative act, it gives rise to the conception of the beautiful in a lower form, to the beautiful proper, as distinguished from the sublime….

As art imitates the divine act in the first cycle…it will be higher or lower as it takes this act, so to speak, on the side of being or that of existences, and imitates the divine act in its primary revelation, or only as it is copied by existences in the order of second causes. In the former case art is sublime; in the latter case it is at best beautiful and usually only pretty. Here the ancients excelled the moderns. Modern artists, instead of copying or imitating, so to say, the divine act at first hand, take it only at second hand, in its pale reflex of the order of second causes, and really express or embody in their productions only the activity of creatures. Doubtless there is something of the divine activity in creatures themselves, for God is actively present in all his works, and no creature acts in its own sphere even except by the divine concurrence; but the activity thus seized is divine only in a participated sense. Hence it is that all modern art is feeble, wants grandeur of conception, freedom and boldness in execution, and is admirable only in petty details. (Vol. 19, pp. 419-423.)

At the head of what are called the liberal arts, as the highest species of art, we place poetry, not only because it surpasses all the others in expressing the sublime, but because it expresses the sublime and beautiful in the greatest variety of forms under the greatest variety of aspects. The other species of art address themselves chiefly to the senses, and do not of themselves interpret to the understanding the intelligible or ideal. Music, painting, sculpture, architecture, must be interpreted by the poet before their expression is complete. Left to themselves, their expression is vague, dreamy, confused, revealing the splendor, it may be, but not the resplendent. The poet addresses himself not only to sense and imagination, but also to the intellect and heart. He expresses the true and the good under the form of the sublime and beautiful, but so that the form, instead of concealing, reveals them – reveals them as clearly, as distinctly, as does the philosopher, but, as the philosopher does not, in their splendor, their grandeur, and their loveliness. Of all God’s gifts in the natural order, true poetical genius is the greatest; and it is surpassed only by his gift of heroic virtue in the supernatural order, expressed in the life of the saint. (Vol. 19, p. 424.)




The imagination is commonly regarded as a mixed faculty, partaking both of the rational nature and of the irrational, and in some sense as a union of the two, so to speak- of the soul and the body. But it is primarily and essentially rational, or intellectual, and moves as intellect before moving as sensibility; or, in other words, it is intellectual apprehension before it is sensual affection, as the life and activity of the body are from the soul, not the life and activity of the soul from the body. The beautiful, then, as the proper object of the imagination, must be really objective and intelligible, and therefore belong to the order of the true and the good, and be at the bottom identical with truth and goodness; for the true is, in reality, identical with the good. Consequently, imagination, therefore aesthetics, demands truth and goodness for the basis of its operations, as much as does Christian theology or Christian ethics.

This is undeniable if imagination is considered on its intellectual or rational side, and it is not less so if we consider it on its sensitive or irrational side. Undoubtedly, we may be and often are delighted, charmed, with what is neither true nor good, pleased with a literature or art which Christian doctrine and morals do and must repugn; but this is by virtue of the irrational and sensitive side of our nature, which, in consequence of original sin, is in an abnormal state. (Vol. 19, p. 319.)

There are two modes in which art may affect us on this side of our nature- one by exciting corrupt appetites and gratifying perverse tendencies, the other by allaying or tranquillizing the passions, and so diverting us from the sensitive affections as to prevent them from obscuring the understanding or enslaving the will. The art that operates in the first-mentioned mode is not unknown, nay, is quite common. It is the fashionable art of our age, especially if we speak of literature. Under its category we must place the principal part of the poetry of Byron, Moore, and Shelley, all the fashionable novels from Sir Walter Scott down to Georges Sand, and the light, with no small part of the grave, literature of the day, and which the young man or the young woman can no more read without being corrupted than one can touch pitch and not be defiled. But art of this sort is a counterfeit or false art; because just in proportion as we follow the sensitive nature, we run away from God, "the first good and the first fair," the supreme and absolute truth, and the supreme and absolute beauty, and tend towards the creature as final cause or ultimate end, therefore towards supreme and absolute falsehood, and consequently towards supreme and absolute nullity, since the creature separated from God is a nullity, and absolute nullity must needs be as far removed from the beautiful as it is from the true and the good.

The beautiful is not a human creation; men do not make it; it is real, and independent of the genius that discovers it or seeks to embody it in works of art, in poetry, eloquence, music, painting, sculpture, or architecture. It, then, like all reality, has its origin in God, and even as created beauty must be, though distinguishable, yet inseparable from God, and like every creature in its degree an image of God….

It is precisely in this image of God in which all things in their degree and according to their nature are created that reside the truth, goodness, and beauty of things. Whatever obscures this image, or leads us away from it, or substitutes for it the image of the creature, obscures the beautiful and leads us away from it into the deformed and inane, which is evidently the case with the art that takes for its object the pleasure or satisfaction of the inferior soul or the corrupt appetites and passions of our nature. Whence it follows that only the art that operates in the second mode we have defined, that is, to allay concupiscence, to tranquillize the passions, and enfeeble their force, can be true and genuine art, or the art that really and truly embodies the beautiful. This it can do only be elevating us into a region above the sphere of the sensitive soul, above the merely sensible world, into the intelligible world, by exciting in us noble thoughts, lofty aspirations, and so charming the rational soul, the intellect, and will with spiritual truth and goodness that the sensitive soul, so to speak, is for the time being overpowered and rendered unable to disturb us. This is what the church has always aimed at in her sacred art, whether manifested in her noble hymns, her grand cathedrals, her splendid ritual, or her solemn chants and soul-subduing music – not, as shallow, heretical, and infidel travelers would fain persuade us, the positive enlisting of the senses, the passions, and sensitive affections in her service. (Vol. 19, pp. 320,321.)

The test of imagination is not a florid style abounding in tropes and figures. Such a style indicates fancy, not imagination, and, in fact, it is the genral tendency of our countrymen, nay, of our age, to mistake fancy for imagination. Irving and Hawthorne have imagination, though not of the highest order; Bancroft has fancy, a rich and exuberant fancy, but very little imagination. To test the question whether a man has imagination or not, let him take up a dry and difficult subject, and if he can treat it so that without weariness, and even with interest, you can follow him through his discussion of it, although he uses the language appropriate to it and seems to employ only the pure intellect in developing it, you may be sure that he has a strong and fervid imagination, so strong and active as to impart life and motion to whatever he touches. (Vol. 19, pp. 370, 371.)

Frivolousness of Modern Literature


Men weak and inconstant in all else are often remarkably steady, persevering, and acute in all matters of business. Eminent saints, estimable for their genius and learning, had been dismissed in youth from school for their incapacity. The love of God became with them a ruling passion, made them strong, energetic, firm, constant, and then they showed to all men that they had no lack of intellect. The same thing is evinced by the fact that some men write and speak admirably under excitement who can hardly speak or write at all when unexcited. They do not want intellect, but they want the force of will to use it. Wherever there is a noble purpose, a firm will, a fixed resolution, genius and talent never fail.

The feebleness and frivolousness of modern literature are due to no deterioration of men’s intellectual powers, which are as great and as good now as ever they were, but to the want of force and constancy of will, which itself is owing to the neglect of severe studies, the want of true philosophical discipline, and of high and noble aims.

The great artist, if he is to aid religion, if he is to subserve her influence by removing the obstacles which the flesh interposes, subduing the passions, and setting the affections to the key-note of devotion, must, it is true, understand his religion well, and in some sense be himself eminently religious; he must also, if he would be great even as an artist, whatever the sphere or tendency of his art, be a man of genuine science; for art is the expression of the true under the form of the beautiful, and it is obvious that a man cannot express, under the form of the beautiful, or any other form, what he does not apprehend. Here, perhaps, is the secret of the present low state of art. There is no want of artistic aspiration, skill, or effort, yet throughout the world art languishes, and no great master makes his appearance; because the aspirants do not qualify themselves for success by genuine scientific culture, do not rise to the clear, distinct, and vivid apprehension of the higher order of truth, the eternal verities of things, and there obtain a noble and worthy ideal. The most that art in our days can do is to copy external nature, paint flowers or babble of brooks, woods, and green fields; for we have no science, no philosophy, and even our faith is languid when it is not wholly extinct, and seizes nothing firmly, vividly. Nevertheless, though the artist must be well instructed, be a great theologian philosopher, and moralist, his province is not to express truth under the form of science, but, as we have said, under that of the beautiful. In a degree, the province of the literature we are contemplating is and should be the same. (Vol. 19, pp. 303, 304.)

Professional Authors


We cannot give in to the cant so common about American authors and the propriety and necessity of giving them a special preference and encouragement. We have no respect for mere professional authors, whether American or not. An author class, whose vocation is simple authorship, has no normal functions in either the religious or the social hierarchy. Our Lord, in organizing his church, made no provision for professional authors, and in the original constitution of society they have no place assigned them. They have and can have no normal existence, for the simple reason that literature is never an end and can never be rightfully pursued save as a means. Authors we respect when they are authors only for the sake of discharging duties which devolve on them in some other capacity. Authors whose profession is authorship are the lineal descendants of the old sophists, and are not a whit more respectable than their pagan ancestors. We can respect Cicero, Caesar, Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, because authorship was not their profession, and was resorted to only as incidental to the main business of their lives; we can and do reverence the fathers of the church, for they wrote their immortal works not for the sake of writing them, but as subsidiary to the discharge of the solemn duties of their ministry; we also honor Calhoun or Webster when either publishes a speech, because it is intended to subserve the purposes of their vocation, and that vocation is not authorship. We call no man a professional author, though nearly his whole life be devoted to authorship, who merely uses authorship as a means of effecting the ends of a legitimate vocation; and in speaking against authorship, it is only against it as it is itself adopted as a vocation or a profession.

We say, very frankly, that we regard an author class, or a class of professional authors whose vocation is simply authorship, not only as not desirable, but as a positive nuisance. They constitute one of the greatest pests of modern society. Nothing can be conceived more ruinous to the state, more destructive of faith and manners, of all that constitutes the worth or glory of society or individuals, than a class of men of which your Bulwers, Byrons, Shelleys, Dickenses, Victor Hugos, Balzacs, Eugene Sues, Paul de Kocks, and, pardoning the bull, Georges Sands, not to mention a whole host of Germans and some Americans, are distinguished specimens. Such a class is moral excrescence on the body of society, and it would be well if some Christian Socrates would arise to treat its members as the pagan Socrates did the sophists of old. It is not for the intersest of our country, nor of any country, whether we speak of moral and social or of religious interest, to support or encourage such a class; and they who complain of the want of encouragement extend to professional authors hardly know what they do. Too much encouragement is already extended to them, as the multitude of our petty novels, Knickerbockers, Graham’s Magazines, Lady Books, Saturday Couriers, and Olive Branches can abundantly testify. Every dapper little fellow, every sentimental young lady, or not young, married unhappily, or despairing of getting married, who can scribble a few lines beginning with a capital letter, or dash off a murderous tale about love, or an amorous tale about murder, is encouraged to turn author by profession, and finds no lack of opportunity to aid in deluging the land with nonsense, obscenity, and blasphemy. For decency’s sake let us hear no more of professional authors, of the liberal provision which should be made for them, the indifference of the public, the timidity or penuriousness of booksellers. (Vol. 19, pp. 216, 217.)

Literature must have an Aim


The scholar must have an end to which his scholarship serves as a means. Mr. Emerson and his friends seem to forget this. Forgetfulness of this is the reigning vice of Goethe and Carlyle. They bid the scholar make all things subsidiary to himself. He must be an artist- his sole end is to produce a work of art. He must scorn to create for a purpose, to compel his genius to serve, to work for an end beyond the work itself. All this, which is designed to dignify art, is false and tends to render art impossible. Did Phidias create but for the purpose of creating a statue? Was he not haunted by a vision of beauty which his soul burned to realize? Had the old Italian masters no end apart from and above that of making pictures? Did Homer sing merely that he might hear the sound of his own voice? Did Herodotus and Thucydides write but for the sake of writing, and Demosthenes and Cicero speak but for the purpose of producing inimitable specimens of art? Never yet has there appeared a noble work of art which came not from the artist’s attempt to gain an end separate from that of producing a work of art. Always does the artist seek to affect the minds or the hearts of his like, to move, persuade, convince, please, instruct, or ennoble. To this end he chants a poem, composes a melody, laughs in a comedy, weeps in a tragedy, gives us an oration, a treatise, a picture, a statue, a temple. In all the masterpieces of ancient and modern literature, we see the artist has been in earnest, a real man, filled with an idea, wedded to some great cause, ambitious to gain some end. Always has he found his inspiration in his cause, and his success may always be measured by the magnitude of that cause and the ardor of his attachment to it. (Vol. 19, pp. 19, 20.)

Popular Errors should be Withstood


There are, and it is worse than idle to deny it, labors indispensable to the progress of mankind, under its moral, religious, intellectual, and social relations, which can be performed only by men who stand out, and are distinguished by their capacity, virtues, attainments, from the multitude. The most ordinary questions concerning man’s destiny or mere every-day ethics can be answered only by the light of a metaphysical and theological science, which the many do not, will not, and cannot be made to understand. Popular passions, popular prejudices, popular ignorance, popular errors and vices, are often to be withstood; but who will there be to withstand them if there me none among us who rise above the level of the mass? For who, not rising above the level of the mass, but must share them? Who among us, having only the wisdom and virtue common to all, for the sake of truth, justice, love, religion, country, humanity, will throw themselves before the popular car, and with their bodies seek to arrest its destructive career? (Vol. 19, p. 74.)

The notion, then, which scholars sometimes entertain, that their scholarship is a personal immunity, a sort of personal luxury, which they have the right to indulge for themselves alone, and that this is wherefore in God’s providence they have been blessed with the capacity and the means to be scholars, is false, mischievous; and whoso entertains it and acts on it will assuredly fail in discharging his mission as a scholar. Just in proportion as you rise above the level of the mass does your obligation to labor for their welfare enlarge and strengthen; and your true distinction, your true glory, is not that in ability or attainment you arise above them, but that you more successfully, and under more important relations, contribute to their real growth, than do any of your competitors. The scholarship that rests with the scholar, that seeks only the scholar’s own ease, pleasure, convenience, or renown, is worthy only of the unmitigated contempt of all men. Of all men, the scholar is he who needs most thoroughly to understand and practice the abnegation of self; who more than any other is to be laborious and self-sacrificing, feeling himself charged to work out a higher good for his brethren; and that wherever he is or whatever he does the infinite Eye rests upon him, and his honor as a man, as well as a scholar, is staked on the wisdom and fidelity with which he labors to execute his mission. (Vol. 19, p. 76.)

Literature should be Christian


In seeking to subject literature to the empire of religion, we are far from seeking to deprive it of any of its power, its variety, extent, delicacy, or grace. We are seeking to provide for these in a higher degree, to give to literature itself a higher order of excellence. Form may still be studied, and must be; and the more truly beautiful and appropriate it is rendered, all the better. Religion looks with no favor on the literary sloven. What is worth doing at all is worth doing well, and no man has the right to send out a literary production, great or small, without having made it as perfect in its kind as possible in his circumstances and with the other duties of his vocation. Crude and hasty productions on which the author bestows no thought and which he makes no effort to mature and perfect are reprehensible under a moral as well as under a literary point of view. Accomplished scholarship, wide and varied erudition, science in its deepest principles and minutest details, are never to be depreciated, but sought, though not for their own sake. The past may be explored, the present surveyed; all nature- moral, intellectual, social, physical- investigated, experimented, and its facts collected and classified; the boundless regions of fancy and imagination may be traversed and laid under contribution, and should be so far as requisite or useful to the improvement or perfection of the work on which we are engaged. No time, no labor, no patience, no research, is to be spared when requisite to the accomplishment, or better accomplishment, of the ends we have in view and which religion imposes or sanctions. Even the old classics, so far as they can aid in the improvement or perfection of the form is sought only for the purpose of subserving the cause of truth or virtue, by rendering our works better adapted to the ends for which they are designed, may be studied, and, no doubt, with profit; for under the relation of form they are unsurpassed and not to be surpassed. To the pure all things are pure. The only restriction laid on the scholar or the author is a restriction on his motives, for the sake of subserving the great and solemn purpose of existence. Religion, therefore, while it restricts the will, the intention, the motive, by the law of God, leaves as wide a margin for the display of the powers and capacities of the human mind, and for the production of a pure, free, rich, graceful, pleasing, influential, and soul-stirring literature, as the maddest of the modern worshippers of humanity can possibly wish. (Vol. 19, pp. 213, 214.)

Protestant and Catholic Literature


Protestantism and Catholicity are two separate worlds, and Catholic and Protestant literatures belong to two distinct and separate orders. Literature is nothing but the exponent of the life of a people, the expression of its sentiments, convictions, aims, and ideals. Such your people, such your literature. Catholic literature expresses the life of the Catholic people. Protestant literature of the Protestant people; and as the life of the one is essentially different from the life of the other, so must be the literature from the one from the literature of the other. Catholic literature may have its faults, be exceptionable in detail; but it is in general, in its generic character, Christian- pervaded by a Christian thought and imbued with the Christian spirit. It may or it may not borrow the forms of ancient classical literature; but whether it do or do not, its matter is always Christian. Protestant literature is essentially heathen – a reproduction, under varied forms, of the literature of pagan antiquity. Its form is sometimes Christian, and so are some of its details and embellishments; but its groundwork, its main substance, is heathen. This is the radical difference between the two literatures. The Catholic often accommodates the Christian thought to the classical form; the Protestant sometimes the heathen thought to the Christian form. Thus the Catholic theologian borrows the logic of the ancients, because logic is formal, applicable equally to all subjects on which can reason, and is necessarily the same, whatever the doctrines to be demonstrated or refuted; the Protestant theologian generally despises the logic, but borrows the doctrines of the ancients. (Vol. 19, p. 101.)

Catholic Literature Pervaded by a Catholic Spirit


We do not contend that Catholics should, on all occasions and in all companies, obtrude their faith and church. There is a time for all things. There are the common courtesies of civilized life; there are the reciprocal obligations and the kind offices of the good neighborhood – which, of course, are never to be neglected – a respect for the rights and the honorable feelings of others, which are always to be scrupulously observed. But what we urge is that we remember always that the church holds the first place in every Catholic’s affections, and that all in life is to be subordinated to the one great end of pleasing God and gaining heaven. This should always be present to our souls and influence or determine the spirit of all we do or say. In regard to literature, we do not ask that the Catholic always wield the tomahawk and battle-axe of controversy, that he be ever formally stating the claims of his church and denouncing all who are not within its pale. There is enough of all this in our literature as it is. But what we do want is the Catholic soul, the Catholic spirit, which shall unconsciously pervade all we write and inform every sentence and word, so that whoever takes up one of our works, at whatever page he opens, shall feel that its author could have been none other than a Catholic. (Vol. 19, p. 136.)


Harmony between Religion and Literature


The poet or novelist has no right to be anti-Christian, to be heretical or immoral in spirit or tendency; to run in anything counter to Catholic truth or virtue; but he is perfectly free to follow nature in all respects in which nature stands simply below grace without standing opposed to it. He is free to write a poem or novel which turns wholly on natural principles and affections and which displays only natural virtues, but he is not free to write a work which opposes his religion and contradicts Catholic morality. Though writing professedly as a literary man, he must still remember that he is a Christian and a gentleman. The law which binds his conscience in his devotions binds him equally in his poem or his novel; and he has no more right, in his own character, to be immoral, indecent, coarse, vulgar, rude, and uncivil, to curse, swear, to lie, to slander, calumniate, or excite impure thoughts or prurient fancies in his literary productions, than he has in well-bred Christian society. He may be natural, but natural only in the sense in which nature is not perverted; in the sense in which nature responds to grace or is in accordance with it…

The principles which should govern him in literature are precisely those which should govern him in every department of secular life- in politics, business, and amusement. In all these he is bound to be at least negatively Catholic. He who follows the evangelical counsels chooses the better part; but no one is bound to do absolutely more than to follow the evangelical precepts. All are not bound to withdraw from the world and to retire to the cloister. It is lawful for Christians to live in the world and to take part in its daily commerce; to love and to be loved; to marry and to be given in marriage; to laugh and to joke; to sing and to dance; to be glad and to be sorrowful- in a word, to do whatever is innocent, providing no positive duty is neglected. Undoubtedly, he who aims only at this secular life does not aim at the highest, and may be in danger, by aiming no higher, of falling short of the mark at which he aims. He certainly does not aim at perfection; but not all imperfection is sin, and no man is bound to be perfect. It is possible to inherit eternal life by keeping the precepts, without attaining to the perfection which comes from keeping the evangelical counsels. "If thou wouldst be perfect, sell what thou hast, give it to the poor, and come follow me." We envy those privileged souls who are called to the perfection of the religious state; but it will be much for us if we attain to that lower degree of virtue which, though it secures not that perfection, yet, through the mercy of God, may suffice to admit us in to heaven. We must be content if we can bring the majority of Christians to keep the commandments; and therefore we must be content to leave to literature all the latitude left to nature by the positive precepts of our religion, or all the liberty which the church concedes to the secular order in general. All secular life is free in so far as not hostile to supernatural faith and morals; and to the same extent our literary aspirants are free to follow their natural genius, taste, and tendencies. If they aim higher and voluntarily assume the counsels as their law, we applaud them; they do what is best; but if they are content with secular literature, we have no right to complain so long as they use their liberty without abusing it.

We dwell on this point because we are approaching the period when Catholics are to make large contributions to our American national literature, and it is of great importance that our literary aspirants should clearly understand their liberty and its restrictions and start on the right track. The danger to be apprehended is that they will take their models from the national literatures of the Old World. We Americans have asserted our political independence, are on the point of asserting our financial independence, and we ought to be instant in asserting our literary independence. We would not speak lightly of the popular national literatures of Europe; but we must be permitted to say that none of them are a suitable model for American literature. A national literature is the exponent of national civilization, and is truly national only in so far as it accords with the elements of its civil life. Our civil life, our civility, in the old sense of the word, is, though below, in strict accordance with Catholicity. Here, for the first time in the history of Christendom, have we found a civil order in harmony, as to its principles, with the church. Here, then, only that can be our national literature which accords with Catholic faith and morals. And here, for the first time since the founding of the Christian Church, has such a literature been possible. All the literatures of the Old World, aside from the literature of the church, of which we do not now speak, have been the exponents of a civilization which was pagan in many of its elements, and never in entire harmony with the teachings, the mind, and the wishes of the church. Those old national literatures which proceed from and speak to the popular heart in European nations are the product of a society never thoroughly converted, and they are every day growing more and more pagan, more and more incompatible with Catholicity. The popular national literature even of Catholic Europe is only partially Catholic, and if we take that as our point of departure and as our model, we shall not contribute to the creation of a literature in perfect harmony either with our church or with our American civil order. We shall retain and exaggerate the discrepancy, now so marked in Catholic Europe, between profane and sacred literature, and place our literature in hostility both to our religion and to our politics or civil polity.

It is a fact worthy of note that we have never, as yet, found in Catholic Europe that harmony between religion and popular literature which strikes us so forcibly in ancient Greece and Rome, or even in modern Protestant nations. On doubt a principal cause of this nearly perfect harmony between religion and literature in the non-Catholic world is that in the ancient pagan, as in the modern Protestant nations, literature and religion both proceed from the same source and have the same end. Both originate in perverted human nature, and give expression, under various aspects, to that nature in its fallen and unregenerated state. Catholicity, on the contrary, is from above, is supernatural, and expresses the divine wisdom, power, and love, and therefore stands opposed to perverted nature. But another reason is that the popular literature of Europe, as distinguished from that of the church, took its rise in a society not wholly converted from paganism, and has retained pagan elements and tendencies. Now, as we are, for the most part, trained in this old European literature, greatly deteriorated as to its principles and tendency by the later influences of Protestantism, humanism, and incredulity, we are predisposed to reproduce it, and we can avoid doing so only by being well instructed in the application of faith and theology, as well as in the nature and application of the principles of American civilization, and being constantly on our guard against the false principles and tendencies of our literary education. There is not a man in the country who has had in his youth a thorough literary training in strict accordance with our religion and civilization, or that has not been trained in a literature, if he has had any literary training at all, in many respects adverse to both. The nature that has predominated in his training in not nature simply in the sense in which it responds to revelation and grace, but a lawless and licentious nature; and the political principles which underlie and pervade it are either those which presuppose the absolutism of the one to the absolutism of the many. Our popular political doctrines, as expressed in such American literature as we have, are derived chiefly from European sources, and are incompatible either with liberty or with government. The democracy of our institutions is a very different thing from the democracy of our literature. The democracy of our literature is that of European radicals, red-republicans, revolutionists, social despots, and anarchists; for our literature is not yet American and has not yet been inspired by our own American institutions and life, but copied from the literatures of the Old World. In literature, we are, as yet, only a European colony, under the tutelage of the mother country, and unaware that we are of age and may set up for ourselves. Only Catholic Americans are in a position to assert and maintain American literary independence; for it is only they who have a religion that demands or that can aid in effecting such independence. We hope our young literary aspirants who are coming forward in such numbers will lay this to heart and prepare themselves for the work that awaits them, not only by prayer and meditation, which are never to be dispensed with, but also by a profound study of the philosophy, if we may so speak, of our religion and of our American institutions; so that they may give us a literature which shall respond to both. We do not ask them to aim at producing a literature for the cloister or one especially adapted to spiritual reading; for in that literature the Catholic world already abounds, and, moreover, that literature is Catholic, not national, and can be produced as well in one age or nation as another. What we ask them to aim at and prepare themselves for is a popular national literature which, though natural, is pure and innocent; though secular and free, is inoffensive to Catholic truth and virtue; and which, though not doing much directly to advance us in spiritual life, shall yet tend to cultivate, refine, and humanize barbarous nature, and to remove those obstacles to the introduction and progress of Catholic civilization which are interposed by ignorance, rude manners, rough feelings, wild and ferocious passions. The office of popular literature is not precisely to spiritualize, but to civilize a people; and as we look here for the highest development of modern civilization, we demand of our American Catholics the highest and purest secular literature. (Vol. 19, pp. 450-454.)

The Novel of Instruction


There are works which are sometimes, though not properly, called novels to which we do not object, nay, which we prize very highly. An author is not censurable for choosing the form of a fictitious narrative, and he may often do so with great propriety and effect. But the "novel of instruction," as it is called, designed to set forth a particular doctrine, or theory, whether sacred or profane, in an artistic point of view, is, in our judgment, always objectionable. The form of the novel is never proper in those works which are addressed specially to the understanding, and is allowable only in those designed rather to move and please than to enlighten and convince. The novel must always have a story, a plot of some sort, from which its interest arises and in which it centres. But the interest of a story is diverse from the interest excited by a logical discussion and not compatible with it. The one demands action, movement, is impatient of delay and hurries on to the end; the other demands quiet, repose, and suffers only the intellect to be active. It is impossible to combine them both in one and the same piece so as to produce unity of effect.

Especially is this true of what are called religious novels. The aim of these novels is to combine a story of profane love with an argument for religion. But the distance between the interest of such a story and that of a theological discussion is much greater than the distance between it and that of any secular or profane discussion. No two interests are more widely separated or less capable of coalescing than the interest of profane love and that of religion. Persons in love or taken up with love-tales are in the worst possible disposition to listen to an argument for religion or to appreciate the sublime and beautiful truths of the Gospel. Love is a partial frenzy, and lovers are always only just this side of madness. Reason is silenced and passion is mistress. The only religion lovers can understand or relish is the religion of the natural sentiments and affections, that is to say, no religion at all. Nothing is more absurd than for a novelist to mingle in his work a story of profane love and a story of religious conversion, two things which no more mix than oil and water.

Every subject should be allowed to speak in its own natural language. The natural language of the understanding, and therefore of all works primarily intended for it, is prose. The novel, though unrhymed, is not properly a prose composition; it belongs, according to the critics, to the department of poetry, and should therefore conform to the essential laws of poetry. The primary object of poetry is, not to instruct, but to move and please. It addresses the sentiments, affections, imagination, rather than the understanding. Whenever the author reverses this and seeks, under the poetical form, first of all to instruct, to bring out a theory, or to defend a doctrine, he ceases to be the genuine poet and becomes the doctor or philosopher, and fails to preserve the requisite congruity between the matter and the form of his work. Most readers, we apprehend, find even Dryden’s "Hind and Panther" a heavy book, notwithstanding its brilliant imagination, keen wit, various learning, sound and deep theology. No one can read "The Disowned," "Paul Clifford," "Rienzi," or "The Last of the Barons," by Bulwer, without feeling the author’s moralizing and philosophizing an annoyance, however much he may admire them in themselves considered. They retard the action of the piece and are usually skipped by the reader. An author may introduce variety, in the same piece, but never at random. He has no room for caprice. The diverse elements he addresses must be of the same general group and capable of coalescing and conspiring to unity of effect. He must follow the law and adhere to the relations which nature herself establishes. (Vol. 19, pp. 225-227.)

Religious novels


Most Catholic novels which have fallen under our notice are made up of two distinct and separable portions, the sentimental story and the grave religious discussion. The latter, which is the more important part, is in general what may be found in any of our elementary works intended for those disposed to inquire into the claims of our holy religion, and is often copied verbatim from them; and the sentimental portion, as far as it goes, is very much what is found in novels in general. Now, these works are designed for Catholics, for Protestants, or for both together. If for Catholics alone, this graver portion is hardly needed, for they know it already, and the novel will interest and attract them in so far as it is light and sentimental. If they are designed for Protestants, to instruct them in our faith, to remove their prejudices, and to induce them to examine into the claims of the church, they contain too little solid instruction, pass over too many important points, and dismiss in too summary a manner the difficulties to be solved. If for both together, they fail, in failing to meet the peculiar wants of either. They offer a certain quantity of light and sentimental reading, on condition that one consents, without a wry face, to take a certain dose of theology, which, if he is well, he does not need, and which, if he is sick, is not enough to do him any good. Moreover, it may be set down as a general rule that they who are seriously disposed would prefer taking the theology by itself, and those who are not so disposed will skip it. The one class will regard the light and sentimental as an impertinence, and the other the grave and religious as a bore. (Vol. 19, p. 144.)



The age in which we live is a sentimental age, and sentimentalism is the deadliest enemy to true piety and to all real strength or worth of character. It enervates the soul, subverts the judgment, and lays the heart open to every temptation. The staple literature of our times, the staple reading of our youth of both sexes, is sentimental novels and love-tales, and the effect is manifest in the diseased state of the public mind and in the growing effeminacy of character and deprivation of morals. Nature herself has made ample provision for the passion and the sentiment of love, and they cannot be excited to an unnatural activity by the charms of imagination and the magic of poetry without involving the most grave consequences. The early Christians chanted the praises of virginity and employed their imagination and poetry to win souls to God, not to madden two young persons with a blind and often a fatal passion for each other, and we do not well in departing from their example.

All books which seek the sources of their interests in the passion or sentiment of love are to be distrusted, and so indeed are all which, no matter in what degree, foster a sentimental tendency. The more delicate and refined the sentimentality and the more apparently innocent and pure it may be, the more really dangerous it is. Works which are grossly sensual disgust all in whom corruption has not already commenced; but works which studiously avoid every indelicate expression or allusion, which seem to breathe an atmosphere of purity itself, excite no alarm, are read by the innocent and confiding, insinuate a fatal poison before it is suspected, and create a tone and temper of mind and heart which pave the way for corruption. Corruption generally, if not always, begins in the sentiments, and in sentiments which in themselves are free from blame and which apparently cannot be too strong or active. The devil, when he would seduce us, comes usually disguised as an angel of light. If he came in his own shape, in his real character, we should at once recognize and resist him; but coming disguised under the appearance of something which is held to be innocent and worthy to be encouraged, he is able to destroy the equilibrium of the character, to produce a morbid state of the affections, and to take from us all power to resist in the hour of trial. (Vol. 19, p. 145.)

Amusement, relaxation, has its place, and may be innocent and salutary. But the sentimental is no relaxation, is no amusement. It kills amusement and substitutes the heart’s grief for the heart’s joy. Why not give us the heart’s laughter instead of its tears? Better, far better, to laugh than to sigh and mope. Old Chaucer, who belonged to England unreformed, to "Merry England," is too broad and by no means free from grave faults, but his faults flow from his exuberance of life and health, and his influence is a thousand times less immoral than that of your Bulwers, Disraelis, L. E. L.’s, Tennysons, and Nortons. There is always hope of the heart that can laugh out and overflow with mirth. It is the heart oppressed with sadness, overclouded with gloom, that starts back with horror from a little fun and frolic, that is to be dreaded, both for its own sake and that of others…

Catholic literature is robust and healthy, of a ruddy complexion, and full of life. It knows no sadness but sadness for sin, and it rejoices evermore. It eschews melancholy as the devil’s best friend on earth, abhors the morbid sentimentality which feeds upon itself and grows by what it feeds upon. It may be grave, but it never mopes; tender, affectionate, but never weak or sickly. It washes its face, anoints its head, puts on its festive robes, goes forth into the fresh air, the bright sunshine, and, when occasion requires, rings out the merry laugh that does one’s heart good to hear. England is sad enough today, and her people seem to sit in the region and shadow of death; but in good old Catholic times she was known the world over as "Merry England." It is on principle the Catholic approves such gladsome and smiling literature. It is only in the free and joyous spirit that religion can do her perfect work; for it is only such a spirit that has the self-possession, the strength, the energy requisite for the every-day duties of life. (Vol. 19, pp. 151, 152.)

Now, against this pagan gloom, doubt, despair, and this morbid sentimentality, not pagan, but of modern growth, the curse of the literature of the age, it is necessary to be on our guard, both as authors and readers. If we must have a literature for those who are not serious, for the weak and vain, let us have it, but let it be free, healthy, and joyous. Let it laugh out from the heart, the free, unconstrained laughter of innocence and gladness. Let it throw the sunlight over all the relations of life. If it will unveil the heart, let it be the heart’s mirth, not its grief; and if it will parade the merely human sentiments, let it deck them in gala robes and crown them with fresh-gathered flowers. Let it beat the tambour, sound the trumpets, ring out the merry peal, and go forth with fun and frolic, in the exuberance of joyous spirits, if it will; but let it, in the name of all that is sacred, never sigh, and mope, and talk sentiment. (Vol. 19, p. 153.)


The Catholic Press


The press may have its advantages, but it certainly has its disadvantages and is productive of serious evils. Its natural tendency is to bring literature down to the level of the tastes and attainments of the unreasoning, undisciplined, and conceited multitude, and to lessen the demand for patient thought, sound learning, and genuine science. Under its influence, the more light and superficial literature is, the more popular it becomes and the richer the reward of its authors. It must be adapted to the most numerous class of readers, and win them by appeals to their prejudices or their passions; and if profound, if it go to the bottom of things and treat its subjects scientifically, it will transcend the popular capacity, demand some mental discipline and application on the part of readers, and be rejected as heavy, uninteresting, and therefore worthless. There will be no demand for it in the market, and it will lie on the shelves of the bookseller.

At the same time, too, that the press, in the modern acceptation, tends to make literature light, shallow, and unprofitable, in order to meet the popular demand, it reacts on the public mind and unfits it for a literature of a more respectable character. A people accustomed to read only newspapers and the light trash of the day can relish nothing else. The stomach that has long fed only with the slops loses its power to bear solid food. We find every day that even newspapers of the more respectable class are too heavy and too learned for the people. It is but a small minority of their subscribers who read their more elaborate editorials. The majority can find time and patience only to glance the eye over the shorter paragraphs, catch a joke here and an item of news there. Nothing that cannot be read on the run and comprehended at a glance is looked upon as worth reading at all…

Moreover, the tendency of the press is to bring before an unprepared public questions that can be profitably discussed only before a professional audience. The people need and can receive the results of the most solid learning and the most profound and subtle philosophy, but they can neither perform nor appreciate the processes by which those results are obtained. Hodge and Goody Jones have little ability to follow the discussion of the higher metaphysical questions or of the more intricate points of theology. The great body of the people are not and cannot be scholars, philosophers, theologians, or statesmen. They must have teachers and masters, and are as helpless without them as a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Do what you will, they will follow leaders of some sort, and the modern attempt to make them their own teachers and masters results only in exposing them to a multitude of miserable pretenders, who lead them where there is no pasture and where the wolves congregate to devour them. You may call this aristocracy, priestcraft, want of respect for the people – what you will; it is a fact as plain as the nose on a man’s face, proved by all history and confirmed by daily experience. There is no use, no sense, no honesty, in attempting to deny or to disguise it. There never was a greater humbug than the modern schemes for introducing equality of education, whether by leveling upwards or by leveling downwards. The order of the world is – the few lead, the many are led; and whether you like it or not, you cannot make it otherwise, and every attempt to make it otherwise only makes the matter worse. (Vol. 19, pp. 269, 270.)

Assuming that the people must have leaders, that they cannot dispense with teachers, it is evident that there must be questions which are not proper to be brought before them- not precisely because of their sacredness, but because of their unintelligibleness to the unprepared intellect; because they involve principles which transcend the reach of the undisciplined mind, and require for the right understanding of them preliminary studies which the bulk of mankind do not and cannot make. The people need and may receive the full benefit of law, and yet they cannot all be lawyers; for the law demands a special study and a long and painful study in those who would be worthy legal practitioners. The same may be said of medicine, and with even more truth of theology. Theology requires a professional study, and men, whatever their genius, natural abilities, and general learning, can only blunder the moment they undertake to treat it, unless they have made it a special study, under able and accomplished professors. Theological science does not come, like Dogberry’s reading and writing, by nature, is not a natural instinct, your transcendental young ladies to the contrary notwithstanding. To bring it into the forum and to discuss it before the populace is only to divest it of all that transcends the popular understanding. (Vol. 19, pp. 271, 272.)

We know that the press cannot take its proper stand without loss of popularity, and that a press that wants popularity can receive but a feeble support. This is one of the evils to which the press is always exposed, and why it can never be so efficient an instrument for good as men suppose. The popularity of a paper is in inverse ratio to its worth. It is popular by virtue of appealing to popular passion and prejudice, by encouraging popular tendencies, falling in with the spirit of the people or the age – the very things it should resist. We know this very well; but still we believe that this evil is less among Catholics, or more easily overcome among them, than among others, for they have faith and conscience. And we also believe that there is already a body of Catholics in this country, of right feelings and views, numerous enough to sustain a truly Catholic press adapted to the real wants of the times. Catholics are not strangers to deeds of charity, and there are many who have means and who, we doubt not, have the will, to sustain a press beyond the subscription to a single copy for themselves individually. Let the journal take a high stand, be conducted with energy and ability on true Catholic principles, and we will not believe that Catholics will suffer it to languish. (Vol. 19, pp. 285, 286.)