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Bancroft's History of the United States

Brownson's Quarterly Review, October, 1852

A Review of George Bancroft's History of the United States, from the Discovery of the American Continent

The first three volumes of Mr. Bancroft's work, comprising the History of the Colonization of the United States, have been for several years before the public, and, it is unnecessary to add, have obtained for their author a very high reputation both at home and abroad. The continuation of the work has been looked for with a good deal of impatience, especially by the author's own countrymen. The fourth volume, issued recently, and devoted to the first epoch of the American Revolution, or the period of its gestation, extending from 1748 to 1763, has therefore been very cordially welcomed. As far as we can judge, it has generally satisfied public expectation, and we doubt not that it will fully sustain, and even enhance, the reputation already acquired by the author.

Whatever may be thought of Mr. Bancroft as a politician or a diplomatist, he is unquestionably one of our most distinguished men. he is an accomplished scholar, a man of a high order of intellect, and a brilliant and fascinating writer. He is a hard student, enthusiastic in the cause he espouses, devoted to his principles, and ready to sacrifice himself with the zeal of the missionary for their dissemination. But, although he has studied the history of the United States with praiseworthy care and diligence, and although the discriminating reader may obtain much true history from his learned and brilliant volumes, we are not prepared to assign him the highest rank among genuine historians. Properly speaking, he does not write history, nor even commentaries on history; he simply uses history for the purpose of setting forth, illustrating, confirming, and disseminating his speculative theories on God, man, and society. The history he writes is not written for an historical end, and the facts he relates are grouped and colored in subserviency to his unhistorical purposes.

History is not a speculative science; it deals exclusively with facts, and is simply a record of events which have succeeded one another in time. No doubt, facts or events are not isolated; no doubt, they have their causes, their relations, and their meaning, which are the proper subject of historical investigation; no doubt, the historian with regard to these may have a theory, and arrange and explain his facts in accordance with it. Every historian, who would rise above the dry annalist or bald chronicler of events, docs and must so arrange and explain them. But this theory must be historical, not speculative; that is, it must be a theory for the explanation of the purely historical, not the metaphysical, origin, causes, relations, and meaning of facts, it must be itself within the order of facts, and, like all inductive theories, a mere generalization or classification of facts in their own order. That all historical facts have a speculative origin, causes, relations,— a meaning in the world which transcends the world of space and time,—is of course true; but in this sense they are eternal, have no succession, and therefore no history. In this sense they transcend the province of the historian, as such, and pertain solely to that of the metaphysician or theologian. The science which takes cognizance of thorn is what we ourselves call theology, natural or supernatural, and what Aristotle calls science (sapientia), or philosophy proper, not history, which is confined by its own nature to the record of facts or events.

The modern school of history, especially in France and Germany, overlook this important distinction between history and theology,— historical science and speculative science,— and confound the historical with the theological origin, relations, and significance of facts. They form to themselves, from their own fancies, caprices, or prejudices, prior to all study of history, certain theories of the universe, of God, man, and society,— metaphysical, ethical, and political theories, from which they infer what, is and must be in history. They then proceed to apply their theories to the explanation of historical facts, which they adapt to the illustration and support of their previous speculations. Facts encountered which contradict their theories fire passed over in silence, denied, distorted, or explained away; facts which are needed to explain and establish them, if not encountered, are invented; and facts which have no apparent bearing on them one way or the other are discarded as unimportant and without historical significance. Herder, Kant, Hegel, Guizot, Cousin, Michelet, and even Carlyle and Macaulay, are instances in point, as all who are familiar with their writings need not to be informed. None of them give us genuine history, or even their own views of history; they merely give us their speculations on what is not history, and what according to those speculations ought to be history.

It is the common error of the modern school of so-called philosophical historians, and to which school Mr. Bancroft belongs, though he is not by any means the worst of the school, to suppose that history may be reduced to the terms of a speculative science, and be written, as it were, a priori. Give me the geographical position of a people, says the brilliant and eloquent Cousin, and I will give you its history. Has the geography of Memphis, of Babylon, Nineveh, Tyre, Sidon, Jerusalem, Carthage, Sparta, Athens, Rome, changed from what it was in remote antiquity? Has their history remained at all epochs the same? Herder finds in all history only his ideas of human progress; Kant finds nothing but his categories; Hegel finds the significance and end of all history, the operations of Divine Providence, of all mankind, and of all nature, to have been the establishment of the Prussian monarchy; Mr. Bancroft finds that the original purpose of creation, of God and the universe, is fulfilled in the establishment of American democracy. No doubt, history has a transcendental plan, and a purpose which it is fulfilling; no doubt, God has a plan in all he does, and is fulfilling a fixed and scientific purpose in every historical event, however great or however small it may seem to us. But the science of this plan and of this purpose is God's science, not man's, and can be shared by us only as he pleases to make it known to us by his revelation. It is not the historian as such who possesses it, and can unroll it before us. It is only a Bossuet, a Christian bishop, in possession of divine revelation, and speaking from the height of the episcopal chair, that can give, to history something of the character of a speculative science, or furnish a philosophy of history; and that philosophy of history is a divine, not a human philosophy. That philosophy is not historical, and can be obtained by no induction from historical or even psychological fads, for induction can never give us causes or principles; and hence the Baconian universe, as has often been remarked, is a universe of effects without causes, — a manifest contradiction in terms. Certainly there is a logic in history, if we could see it from the point of view of the. Divine Intelligence; but in relation to our science, from the point of view of the human intellect, the events of history do not all follow logically from a given antecedent. To us the antecedents are many, and include the natural and supernatural providence of God and the free-will of man; and the free-will of man, too, in a fallen and abnormal state, as well as in a supernatural state, to which he is elevated by the grace of Christ. These perpetually interrupt to our apprehension the series of logical sequences, and no human science can determine what new series of sequences may at any moment be introduced by the operations of free-will, either on the part of God or on the part of man. Moreover, with freedom in the antecedent, the conclusion cannot be logically deduced; for logic can deduce only necessary conclusions. To the historian history is never a series of logical sequences, for if it were it would not be history, as there would then be no chronological sequence, or succession in time. To him much must always appear anomalous, arbitrary, inexplicable, the result of chance; although in point of fact there is no chance, and though there is freedom, there is nothing arbitrary, or without a sufficient reason. All the so-called philosophies of history, or attempts to reduce history to the form of a speculative human science, proceed on a pantheistic assumption, — are founded on the denial of creation and providence, the freewill of God, and consequently the free-will and moral accountability of man. They all assume virtually that the universe is purely phenomenal, and is to be regarded only as the necessary expression of an inherent principle of Life, which evolves, moves, and agitates the whole by an intrinsic law of necessity. They all assume and inculcate the doctrine of absolute and universal fatalism, which binds alike in the same chain of invincible necessity God, man, and nature.

Undoubtedly, he who proposes to pass other than purely historical judgments on historical facts must have a general theological doctrine, of some sort. But no theological doctrine is historical, or historically attainable. It does not belong to the historian as such; it belongs to the theologian, and to be worth any thing is obtainable only as supernaturally supplied by God himself; for he alone can reveal to us his plan, and disclose the purpose he is fulfilling. He who has not been supplied, immediately or mediately, with such doctrine by God himself, and has not infallible assurance that he has been so supplied, must either not write history at all, or else restrict himself to purely historical judgments of the events he relates. If he has borrowed from fallible sources, or has concocted for himself a theory of the universe and the purpose God is fulfilling in universal or particular history, he should either keep it to himself, or avowedly bring it. out as theology or metaphysics, he has no right, 1o make history the vehicle of insinuating it into the minds of unsuspicious readers, who are reading for the facts he professes to narrate, not for the speculative notions he may entertain, or philosophical crotchets he may have in his head. He does not deal fairly or honestly with us, when, under pretence of giving us history, he only gives us his speculative theories.

Of all the devices for disseminating falsehood, corrupting youth, and destroying all true intellectual and moral life, this of making history the vehicle of communicating the theological, metaphysical, ethical, and political theories of the author is the most ingenious and the most effective. The novel or romance did very well, but it was in bad odor with the graver part of the community, and often went no farther than to corrupt the heart and disturb the senses. More could be accomplished under the grave mask of the historian than under the light and fantastic mask of the novelist or romancer. Hence our histories are nearly all written with a view of inculcating, often without the design being suspected, some crude and in general mischievous theory on religion, philosophy, or polities. The author professes to give you facts, and along with what he gives you for facts, so interwoven with them that none but a disciplined mind can separate them, he insinuates into the ingenuous and unsuspecting reader his false and pernicious speculative theories. Facts are never to be feared, for they can never come into conflict with religion. We wish to conceal the real facts of history neither from ourselves nor from our children. We wish our children to know the history of their own country; we put into their hands Mr. Bancroft's volumes, and before we know it, they have a wholly false view of that history, and have imbibed, with the facts they have learned, speculative theories which are one day to become active in making them false both to their God and to their country. They see not well how they can question the doctrines without; denying the facts; and the facts alleged, under some aspect, may be undeniable. The doctrines are imbibed as simply historical doctrines; their reach is neither seen nor suspected, and their hostility to faith becomes apparent only in after years, when they have taken too firm a hold of the mind, and entered too deeply into its habits, to be rejected without extraordinary grace. Thus is generation alter generation corrupted, and ruined for time and eternity. This, too, we must presume, is the precise design of the authors of our modern philosophies of history. Dow often has Mr. Bancroft, for instance, said to himself and to his confidential friends, on hearing his book commended in certain quarters, "They little suspect my design in writing it, or the ultimate bearing of its doctrines." No one who knows the popular theories of the day can doubt that the work is written for a far different purpose than that of presenting a true and faithful history of the United States. The author's speculative purpose is visible to the disciplined eye on almost, every page. Even its very style wants frankness and sincerity. The statement of facts, the selection of facts to be stated, the choice of words, and the turn given to the expression, all bear witness that the work is written, not for the sake of history, but to propagate the author's own metaphysical, ethical, political, and socialistic theories, and theories which, though plausible to the young and untrained, are unsound and in the last degree dangerous.

We wish to speak with all due respect of Mr. Bancroft as a man, and the more especially because time has been when he treated us as a friend and laid us under many personal obligations which we have not forgotten, and cannot forget. He has many traits of character which we love and honor. We have no interest in disparaging his merits, for he holds a distinguished place in the affections of our countrymen, and enjoys a wide and in many respects merited popularity. Enemies, certainly, he has, who would delight to see him attacked, but those enemies are not our friends, have no sympathy with us, and can find nothing to gratify them in the objections we bring against his writings. Most of them sympathize with him on the very points on which we dissent from him. But we have long since learned to yield neither private nor public honor to the man, however great or distinguished, who abuses his gifts and opportunities to corrupt the public mind, and to inculcate doctrines which strike at the foundation of religion, morality, government, and even society itself. Mr. Bancroft's method of writing history is manifestly a disingenuous method, defensible on the score neither of morals nor of art, and it were credulity, not charity, to presume that even he would attempt to defend it on any other than the false ground, that the end justifies the means.

Let it not be said that, we are hostile to science and opposed to the progress of intelligence. We are not opposed to science or intellectual progress; quite the contrary; but we do not consider that science properly so called consists in being acquainted with the delusive theories men may take it into their heads to concoct, nor do we believe intellectual progress is promoted by feeding the mind with the ravings of insanity, the dreams of the morbid, or the unsubstantial speculations of radical projectors and socialistic reformers. The mind in feeding on these necessarily contracts disease, becomes enfeebled, loses its light, and goes out in darkness. Give Us facts and true principles, write books that teach truth, that introduce the reader to reality, and not simply to the miserable crotchets and fancies of your own brains, and we are ready to commend you with all our heart. Be honest, avow openly your real doctrines and purposes, label your pictures truly, so that one may know beforehand what to expect, and we will bring no other objections than such as simply bear against the statements you make, or the doctrines yon. advance. But let there be an end to this enormous abuse of history, which has become so common of late, and which is poisoning the whole reading community.

Mr. Bancroft is a democrat, in the modern sense of that word, a philosophical democrat, — not merely a plain, old-fashioned republican, which we claim to be ourselves, — a progressive democrat, who holds that democracy is not only the best, but the only legitimate form of government. The popular will is for him the supreme law, and the popular instincts and tendencies are the infallible criterion of truth, beauty, and goodness. The people are to him the infallible church, and humanity is his God. There is at least no God for man but the God in humanity, who speaks only in and through popular instincts and tendencies. Hence the author defines elsewhere democracy to be "eternal justice ruling through the people." The race is progressive, and the progress of society is constantly towards the realization of democracy as thus defined. Here, in a word, is the general theory which he writes his History of the United States to establish and disseminate. To this end nearly all in his volumes, if we except the first volume, which is more historical and less speculative than the others, is made directly or indirectly subservient, and to accomplish it he omits, misrepresents, miscolors, or invents facts, as he finds it necessary or convenient. He may not do this consciously, with "malice aforethought," but; his theory blinds him, unsteadies or distorts his vision, so that he seems to himself to see all the facts he wants, and only such as he wants, for his theory.

It is not our intention, nor have we either the leisure or the knowledge necessary if it were, to follow the author step by step through his volumes, and sustain our charges by minute criticism. It is not, indeed, necessary. Reference to some three or four matters pretty well known will sufficiently justify us. Those who have read in his second volume the history of the colonization of Carolina, and the constitution framed for its government by Locke and Shaftesbury, will recollect how adroitly he obtains an argument from the failure of that constitution, in favor of his democracy and deification of the people. He brings the failure of that constitution forward as a proof of the superior wisdom of the common people, the illiterate and simple, to that of philosophers and statesmen. This is to misrepresent the whole case. That failure says nothing in favor of the superiority of ignorance over science; it simply proves, what De Maistre so much insists on, that the constitution of a state must be generated, not made, and grow up out of the circumstances of a people with them, instead of being arbitrarily constructed and imposed upon them. The Carolinians, in rejecting that constitution, the work of philosophers, which had no root in their interior life, in their habits, manners, customs, or circumstances, did not invent a new form of government, create a now constitution for themselves; they simply fell back on that portion of the constitution of England which they brought with them, and which had never ceased to be theirs, and simply modified it to their peculiar circumstances and condition. The lesson of the occurrence is neither in favor of democracy nor against, it; it is merely that it is madness to attempt to change radically the constitution inherent in the life of a people, and to impose upon them one made to order in the closet of a philosopher, — a lesson worth reading to Mr. 'Bancroft's friends, the European Revolutionists, and perhaps also one which he might himself study to some advantage.

The author furnishes us another instance to our purpose in his account of "Salem Witchcraft," — a delusion not confined to Salem, or the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, but which about the time was common to most Protestant countries, and attended with the most deplorable results, especially among the Puritans of England and Scotland. Mr. Bancroft, of course, does not believe in the reality of witchcraft; but as he holds the people to be infallible, and popular instincts to be the sure test of truth, it will not answer for him to concede that the people ever shared the delusion. So he makes Salem witchcraft all the work of the colonial aristocracy, the ministers and magistrates, and, in the face and eyes of the undeniable facts in the case, represents the people all along as free from it, as opposed to it, and as finally succeeding, by their good sense, humane feelings, and influence, in putting an end to it. This is all pure theory. The people of New England are even yet to a very great extent believers in witchcraft, and more than one poor old woman have we known to be denounced, avoided, and abandoned to wretchedness and want, as a witch. The belief may not be as common now as it was in the days of our boyhood, or rather it has changed its form. The so-called "spiritual knocking," now so prevalent, erected as it were into a religion, with its places of worship, its priests, priestesses, and journals, is at bottom only a revival of Salem witchcraft under another name. The people, who, according to Mr. Bancroft, opposed the severities exercised toward the individuals held to be bewitched, were certain loose livers, libertines, freethinkers, scoffers, who believed very little either in God or the Devil.

The elaborate account of Quakerism and the people called Quakers, in the same volume, chapter sixteenth, is another instance in which the author is led by his theory to depart from strict historical fidelity. He makes a hero of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, exaggerates his merits even more than Macaulay disparages them, and makes Quakerism the exponent of the inspirations of the Impersonal Reason, whatever that may mean. He had his religious or theological theory to bring out, and he makes Quakerism its vehicle. In order to do so, he gives us for Quakerism, we will not say what Quakerism may not practically lead to, but assuredly what never entered the heads of its founders, George Fox, Robert Barclay, and William Penn. The essential element of Quakerism is its assertion of the universality and sufficiency of the indwelling Christ independent of Christ teaching through historical records or chosen messengers, and bringing us into union with himself in the Church through the Sacraments. But the genuine Quaker never intentionally denied the Incarnation, and never confounded the indwelling Christ, '• the light within," with natural reason, personal or impersonal. The Christ in whom he professed to believe was "the Word," the " Son of God," "the true light which enlighteneth every man coming into this world." He held him to be not only, as the Eternal Son of God by whom all things were made, the natural light of reason or the light of the natural order, but also, as the Incarnate Son or Word, the supernatural light, or the light of the supernatural order of grace, and in both orders he distinguished him from the soul and its faculties, as in external vision the light by which we see is distinguishable from the visual organ and even the visual faculty. The error of the Quaker does not lie in the assertion of the indwelling Christ in the regenerate, for he does dwell in them, and they in him; but in supposing him to dwell equally in the unregenerate, or in supposing that the effect of the incarnation was to place every man actually in the order of grace, and Christ as an indwelling Saviour in the heart of every one; whence he was led to deny the Sacraments, the Church, the priesthood, and the means by which the sinner receives the application of the Atonement, is brought into union with Christ, and preserved therein. A serious error enough, no doubt, but not an error favoring the doctrine held by Mr. Bancroft, and for which he eulogizes him. Mr. Bancroft thinks he has in this Quaker doctrine of the indwelling Christ, or inward light, his own doctrine of the sufficiency and infallibility of reason as an attribute of humanity, on which he founds his doctrine of popular sovereignty and the infallibility of the people. He thus, to the utter astonishment of Obadiah, makes the (Quaker a modern Transcendentalist, and a witness bearing his testimony in favor of " progressive democracy." In this he is an unfaithful historian, a bad philosopher, and a worse theologian.

A more important instance of Mr. Bancroft's infidelity as an historian may be found in the opening chapter of the volume before us. This volume professes, as we have said, to give us the history of the first epoch of the American Revolution, and the author seeks to show that this revolution was conceived and brought forth in the design of introducing a new political and social order into the history of the world, and that it was only a link in that series of revolutions which have convulsed the European continent for sixty or seventy years with vain efforts to introduce into its old monarchical states "la Republique democratique et sociale." The kings united with the commons in the fifteenth century and suppressed the barons; the commons, uniting with the princes in the sixteenth century, suppressed the Church. Thus emancipated from the nobility and the hierarchy, the commons in England in the seventeenth century deposed the king and beheaded monarchy at Whitehall in the person of Charles Stuart. Defeated for the moment by the Restoration, the commons fled to these Western wilds, where, concealed in the depths of the forest, they grew and prepared themselves by the middle of the eighteenth century to renew and continue their struggles against monarchy, and in favor of republicanism, the sovereignty of the people, — progressive democracy. Hence Mr. Bancroft's theory of the American movement in behalf of national independence is, that it was only the continuation or resumption of the movement of the English republicans in the seventeenth century, as that was itself only the continuation of the movement in the previous two centuries of the kings and commons against the feudal aristocracy and the Church. His purpose in this is, on the one hand, to adduce historical evidence of his theory of the continuous progress of society, and, on the other, to obtain the authority of the American patriots, justly of great weight with all loyal Americans, for the progressive or social democracy to which he is wedded, — at least in theory, — and which he wishes to see established throughout the world, if need be by Red Republican revolutions, and all the blood, and carnage, and horrors of both civil and international war. These remarks will help the reader to understand the following extract from the commencement of the volume before us.

"In the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty-eight, Montesquieu, wisest in his age of the reflecting statesmen of France, apprised the cultivated world, that a free, prosperous, and great people was forming in the forests of America, which Eng-land had sent forth her sons to inhabit. The hereditary dynasties of Europe, all unconscious of the rapid growth of the rising power which was soon to involve them in its new and prevailing influence, were negotiating treaties among themselves to bring their last war of personal ambition definitively to an end. The great maritime powers, weary of hopes of conquest and ignorant of coming reform, desired repose. To restore possessions as they had been, or were to have been, was accepted as the condition of peace; and guaranties were devised to keep them safe against vicissitude. But the eternal flow of existence never rests, bearing the human race onwards through continuous change. Principles grow into life by informing the public mind, and in their maturity gain the mastery over events; following each other as they are bidden, and ruling without a pause. No sooner do the agitated waves begin to subside, than, amidst the formless tossing of the billows, a new messenger from the Infinite Spirit moves over the waters; and the ship of Destiny, freighted with the fortunes of mankind, yields to the gentle breath as it first whispers among the shrouds, even while the beholders still doubt if the breeze is springing, and whence it conies, and whither it will go.

"The hour of revolution was at hand, promising; freedom to conscience and dominion to intelligence. History, escaping from the dictates of authority and the jars of insulated interests, enters upon new and unthought-of domains of culture and equality, the happier society where power springs freshly from ever-renewed consent; the life and activity of a connected world.

"For Europe, the crisis forehoded the struggles of generations. The strong bonds of faith and affection, which once united the separate classes of its civil hierarchy, had lost their vigor. In the impending chaos of states, the ancient forms of society, after convulsive agonies, were doomed to he broken in pieces; and the fragments to become distinct, and seemingly lifeless, like the dust; ready to be whirled in clouds by the tempest of public rage, with a force as deadly as that of the sand-storm in the Libyan desert. The voice of reform, as it passed over the desolation, would inspire animation afresh; but in the classes whose power was crushed, as well as in the oppressed who knew not that they were redeemed, it might also awaken wild desires, which the ruins of a former world could not satiate. In America, the influences of time were moulded by the creative force of reason, sentiment, and nature. Its political edifice rose in lovely proportions, as if to the melodies of the lyre. Peacefully and without crime, humanity was to make for itself a new existence.

"A few men of Anglo-Saxon descent, chiefly farmers, planters, and mechanics, with their wives and children, had crossed the Atlantic in search of freedom and fortune. They brought the civilization which the past had bequeathed to Great Britain; they were followed by the slave-ship and the African; their happiness invited emigrants from every lineage of Central and Western Europe; the mercantile system, to which they were subjected, prevailed in the councils of all metropolitan states, and extended its restrictions to every continent that allured to conquest, commerce, or colonization. The accomplishment of their independence would agitate the globe, would assert the freedom of the oceans as commercial highways, vindicate power in the commonwealth for the united judgment of its people, and assure to them the right to a self-directing vitality.

"The authors of the American Revolution avowed for their object the welfare of mankind, and believed that they were in the service of their own and of all future generations. Their faith was just; for the world of mankind does not exist in fragments, nor can a country have an insulated existence. All men are brothers; and all are bondsmen for one another. All nations, too, are brothers, and each is responsible for that federative humanity which puts the ban of exclusion on none. New principles of government could not assert themselves in one hemisphere without affecting the other. The very idea of the progress of an individual people, in its relation to universal history, springs from the acknowledged unity of the race.

"From the dawn of social being, there has appeared a tendency towards commerce and intercourse between the scattered inhabitants of the earth. That mankind have ever earnestly desired this connection, appears from their willing homage to the adventurers and to every people, who have greatly enlarged the boundaries of the world, as known to civilization. The traditions of remotest antiquity celebrate the half-divine wanderer who raised pillars on the shores of the Atlantic; and record, as a visitant from the skies, the first traveler from Europe to the central rivers of Asia. It is the glory of Greece, that, when she had gathered on her islands and among her hills the scattered beams of human intelligence, her numerous colonies carried the accumulated light to the neighborhood of the ocean and to the shores of the Euxine. Her wisdom and her arms connected continents.

"When civilization intrenched herself within the beautiful promontory of Italy, and Rome led the van of European reform, the same movement continued, with still vaster results; for, though the military republic bounded the expansive spirit of independence by giving dominion to property, and extended her own influence by the sword, yet, heaping up conquests, adding island to continent, crushing nationalities, offering a shrine to strange gods, and citizenship to every vanquished people, she extended over a larger empire the benefits of fixed principles of law, and a cosmopolitan polytheism prevailed as the religion of the world.

" To have asserted clearly the unity of mankind was the distinctive glory of the Christian religion. No more were the nations to be severed by the worship of exclusive deities. The world was instructed that all men are of one blood; that for all there is but one divine nature and but one moral law; and the renovating faith taught the singleness of the race, of which it embodied the aspirations and guided the advancement.

"The tribes of Northern Europe, emerging freshly from the wild nurseries of nations, opened new regions to culture, commerce, and refinement. The beams of the majestic temple, which antiquity had reared to its many gods, were already falling in; the roving invaders, taking to their hearts the regenerating creed, became its intrepid messengers, and bore its symbols even to Iceland and Siberia.

"Still nearer were the relations of the connected world, when an enthusiast reformer, glowing with selfish ambition, and angry at the hollow forms of Eastern superstition, caught life in the deserts of Arabia, and founded a system, whose emissaries hurried lightly on the camel's back beyond pathless sands, and, never diverging far from the warmer zone, conducted armies from Mecca to the (Ganges and the Ebro. How did the two systems animate all the continents of the Old World to combat for the sepulchre of Christ, till Europe, from Spain to Scandinavia, came into conflict and intercourse with the South and East, from Morocco to Hindostan!

" In due time appeared the mariner from Genoa. To Columbus Clod gave the keys that unlock the barriers of the ocean; so that he filled Christendom with his glory. The voice of the world had whispered to him that the world is one; and as he went forth towards the west, ploughing a wave which no European keel had entered, it was his high purpose not merely to open new paths to islands or to continents, but to bring together the ends of the earth, and join all nations in commerce and spiritual life.

"While the world of mankind is accomplishing its nearer connection, it is also advancing in the power of its intelligence. The possession of reason is the engagement for that progress of which history keeps the record. The faculties of each individual mind are limited in their development; the reason of the whole strives for perfection, has been restlessly forming itself from the first moment of human existence, and has never met bounds to its capacity for improvement. The generations of men are not like the leaves on the trees, which fall and renew themselves without melioration or change; individuals disappear like the foliage and the flowers; the existence of our kind is continuous, and its ages are reciprocally dependent. Were it not so, there would be no great truths inspiring action, no laws regulating human achievements; the movement of the living world would be as the ebb and flow of the ocean; and the mind would no more be touched by the visible agency of Providence in human affairs. In the lower creation, instinct is always equal to itself; the beaver builds his hut, the bee his cell, without an acquisition of thought, or an increase of skill. 'By a particular prerogative,' as Pascal has written, ' not only each man advances daily in the sciences, but all men unitedly make a never-ceasing progress in them, as the universe grows older; so that the whole succession of human beings, during the course of so many ages, ought to be considered as one identical man, who subsists always, and who learns without end.'

"It is this idea of continuity which gives vitality to history. No period of time has a separate being; no public opinion can escape the influence of previous intelligence. We are cheered by rays from former centuries, and live in the sunny reflection of all their light. What though thought is invisible, and, even when effective, seems as transient as the wind that raised the cloud? It is yet free and indestructible; can as little be bound in chains as the aspiring flame; and, when once generated, takes eternity for its guardian. We are the children and the heirs of the past, with which, as with the future, we are indissolubly linked together; and he that truly has sympathy with every thing belonging to man will, with his toils for posterity, blend affection for the times that are gone by, and seek to live in the vast life of the ages. It is by thankfully recognizing those ages as a part of the great existence in which we share, that history wins power to move the soul. She comes to us with tidings of that which for us still lives, of that which has become the life of our life. She embalms and preserves for us the life-blood, not of master-spirits only, but of generations of the race.

"And because the idea of improvement belongs to that of continuous being, history is, of all pursuits, the most cheering. It throws a halo of delight and hope even over the sorrows of humanity, and finds promises of joy among the ruins of empires and the graves of nations. It sees the footsteps of Providential Intelligence everywhere; and hears the gentle tones of his voice in the hour of tranquillity;

'Nor God alone in the still calm we find;
He mounts the storm and walks upon the wind.'

Institutions may crumble and governments fall, but it is only that they may renew a better youth, and mount upwards like the eagle. The petals of the flower wither, that fruit may form. The desire of perfection, springing always from moral power, rules even the sword, and escapes unharmed from the field of carnage; giving to battles all that they can have of luster, and to warriors their only glory; surviving martyrdoms, and safe amid the wreck of states. On the banks of the stream of time, not a monument has been raised to a hero or a nation, but tells the tale and renews the hope of improvement. Each people that has disappeared, every institution that has passed away, has been but a step in the ladder by which humanity ascends towards the perfecting of its nature.

"And how has it always been advancing; to the just judgments of the past, adding the discoveries of successive ages! The generations that hand the torch of truth along the lines of time, themselves become dust and ashes; but the light still increases its ever-burning flame, and is fed more and more plenteously with consecrated oil. How is progress manifest in religion, from the gross symbols of the East to the sublime philosophy of Greece, from the Fetichism of the savage to the Polytheism of Rome; from the multiplied forms of ancient superstition and the lovely representations of deities in stone, to the clear conception of the unity of divine power, and the idea of the presence of God in the soul! How has mind, in its inquisitive freedom, taught man to employ the elements as mechanics do their tools, and already, in part, at least, made him the master and possessor of nature! How has knowledge not only been increased, but diffused! How has morality been constantly tending to subdue the supremacy of brute force, to refine passion, to enrich literature with the varied forms of pure thought and delicate feeling! How has social life been improved, and every variety of toil in the field and in the workshop been ennobled by the willing industry of freemen! How has humanity been growing conscious of its unity and watchful of its own development, till public opinion, bursting the bonds of nationality, knows itself to be the spirit of the world, in its movement on the tide of thought from generation to generation!

"From the intelligence that had been slowly ripening in the mind of cultivated humanity sprung the American Revolution, which was designed to organize social union through the establishment of personal freedom, and thus emancipate the nations from all authority not (lowing from themselves. In the old civilization of Europe, power moved from a superior to inferiors and subjects; a priesthood transmitted a common faith, from which it would tolerate no dissent; the government esteemed itself, by compact or by divine right, invested with sovereignty, dispensing protection and demanding allegiance. But a new principle, far mightier than the church and state of the Middle Ages, was forcing itself into power. Successions of increasing culture and heroes in the world of thought had conquered for mankind the idea of the freedom of the individual; the creative but long latent energy that resides in the collective reason was next to be revealed. From this the state was to emerge, like the fabled spirit of beauty and love, out of the foam of the ever-troubled ocean. It was the office of America to substitute for hereditary privilege the natural equality of man; for the irresponsible authority of a sovereign, a dependent government emanating from the concord of opinion; and as she moved forward in her high career, the multitudes of every clime gazed towards her example with hopes of untold happiness, and all the nations of the earth sighed to be renewed.

"The American Revolution, of which I write the history, essaying to unfold the principles which organized its events, and bound to keep faith with the ashes of its heroes, was most radical in its character, yet achieved with such benign tranquillity, that even conservatism hesitated to censure. A civil war armed men of the same ancestry against each other, yet for the advancement of the principles of everlasting peace and universal brotherhood. A new plebeian democracy took its place by the side of the proudest empires. Religion was disenthralled from civil institutions. Thought obtained for itself free utterance by speech and by the press. Industry was commissioned to follow the bent of its own genius. The system of commercial restrictions between states was reprobated, and shattered; and the oceans were enfranchised for every peaceful keel. International law was humanized and softened; and a now, milder, and more just maritime code was concerted and enforced. The trade in slaves was branded and restrained. The home of the language of Bacon and Milton, of Chatham and Washington, became so diffused, that in every zone, and almost in every longitude, childhood lisps the English as its mother tongue. The equality of all men was declared; personal freedom secured in its complete individuality; and common consent recognized as the only just origin of fundamental laws, so that the people in thirteen separate states, with ample territory for creating more, each formed its own political institutions. By the side of the principle of the freedom of the individual and the freedom of the separate states, the noblest work of human intellect was consummated in a federative union. And that union put away every motive to its destruction, by insuring to each successive generation the right to better its constitution, according to the increasing intelligence of the living people."— pp. 3- 13.

A fastidious critic might say something of the style of this extract, which is a fair specimen of the author's style in general. He perhaps would object that it wants repose, sedateness, case, flexibility, and dignity; that it is too picturesque, too florid, and too high-wrought for the gravity of history. But we have more important matters in hand than mere literary criticism. We should, indeed, prefer for ourselves a simpler and less ambitious, a more grave and a less ornate style; but this is a small mailer, and, after all, every reader must be struck with the felicity of the author's diction, and his remarkable propriety and delicacy in the choice of single words. His fancy is exuberant, and he clothes his thoughts with a mass of luxuriant foliage, which serves as often to obscure as to adorn them, and which diverts the reader without instructing him. This is no doubt a grave fault, and one perhaps not wholly undesigned; for it is most obvious when the thoughts are of a character to be hinted rather than expressed, and such as it would be hazardous to set forth in their nakedness. Writers of Mr. Bancroft's school not unfrequently find it convenient to regard language as a contrivance for concealing rather than expressing thought. We do not defend this, but we let it pass.

The careful and intelligent reader cannot fail here to remark the admirable dexterity with which the author falsifies history without absolutely misstating facts, and the consummate skill with which he substitutes his theory or his gloss for the historical fact itself. "The authors of the American Revolution avowed for their object the welfare of mankind, and believed that they were in the service of their own and of all future generations." Nothing more true in the sense of those authors themselves; nothing more false in the sense in which Mr. Bancroft wishes us to understand it. "Their faith was just; for the world of mankind does not exist in fragments, nor can a country have an insulated existence. All, men are brothers; and all are bondsmen for one another.'' Here is asserted the solidarity of the human race, as taught by that arch-socialist, Pierre Leroux. "All nations, too, are brothers, and each is responsible for that, federative humanity which puts the ban of exclusion on none." Here is Mazzini's and Kossuth's doctrine of "the solidarity of peoples," the old Jacobinical doctrine of "the fraternity of nations," on which is founded the pretended right of revolutionists in all countries to conspire together, and to rush to the assistance of each other in any particular country where their aid may be necessary to overthrow the existing government. Is it true that the author, some years since, was one of the Illuminati, or Carbonari, and that he was engaged in a revolution in Naples, and there taken prisoner, and released only with difficulty? We have heard from a Neapolitan source; such a report, though we cannot vouch for either its truth or its falsity. But to have been so engaged when a student at a German university would be less incredible than that, at the age of fifty and over, and after having represented his country at one, of the first courts in Europe, he should gravely set forth in a History of 1he United States the. principles which would fully justify such conduct. The, adventure, if real, might be excused by charging it to the inconsiderateness and impetuosity of youth; the deliberate justification of similar conduct by asserting principles which not only authorize it, but in some sense make it a moral duty in every man, by a scholar and a statesman past middle age, is not easily excused on any ground.

" New principles of government could not assert themselves in one hemisphere without affecting the other." Very possibly, but with this we have nothing to do. Mr. Bancroft has here stealthily advanced to the point he was aiming at, namely, that the faith of the authors of the American Revolution that they were laboring in the service of their own and all future generations was just, because, they were laboring to introduce, and did introduce, new principles of government, which could not but react upon the eastern hemisphere. It is evident, from the general tenor of what follows, that he understands by these new principles the democratic, Jacobinical, or socialistic principles, which since the latter part of the last century have been struggling for the mastery in Europe. Thus he connects the American movement with the European revolutions which followed it, and makes the American patriots fellow-laborers with Mazzini, Kossufh, Ledru-Rollin, and the other chiefs of European Red-Republicanism. This the author suggests, and means that we shall all take to be historically true, and yet he nowhere, says it in just. so many words. He cloaks his historical unveracity, and puts what he means we shall receive as historical truth in the form of abstract propositions, which may or may not be true. This is what we mean by his falsifying history without any express misstatement of facts.

But, whether express or not, there is here a real falsification of history. The authors of the American Revolution neither avowed nor believed themselves the discoverers of new principles of government, and certain it is that they introduced no new principles into political science. They may have indulged now and then in a few rhetorical flourishes, always to be expected from ardent patriots, and to be understood with liberal allowance; but nothing is more certain than that they were moved by no thought of founding a new social and political order for the world. They made the revolution simply to recover their rights as British subjects, of which the mother country had deprived them, and to establish national independence for themselves. They never, as a body, whatever may have been the case with here and there an individual, entertained the views and intentions subsequently proclaimed by the French Jacobins and European Radicals; they never for one moment contemplated a revolution of society, or of the political order of the world. They were, for the most part, republicans, opposed to monarchy; but very few of them, if any, were democrats in Mr. Bancroft's sense of the word. They did not make the revolution because they wanted a republic even, far less because they wanted a democracy; they made it because they believed themselves oppressed,— because they despaired of justice from the British crown, — because they wanted national independence, and the liberty to manage their own affairs in their own way, without being dictated to or interfered with by another country three thousand miles off; and when by their firmness, their self-sacrifice, and heroic deeds they had achieved their independence, they wisely established the republican form of government, because no other form under the circumstances was practicable or desirable, and because the colonists had been from the first, and still were, republican in their tastes, convictions, manners, habits, and domestic institutions.

For the colonists to establish a republican government, was not to change their principles, to introduce a new order, but was simply to continue what they had always in reality been. .But to establish a monarchy would have required a fundamental change in all their habits and interior as well as exterior forms of life, — a social as well as a political revolution, analogous to the one subsequently required, to introduce a republican government into France. Such a revolution, we need not say, was foreign to all their purposes. They were patriots and statesmen, not revolutionists; republicans certainly, but not Jacobins. They no doubt believed that, in asserting and maintaining their independence, they were promoting the welfare of mankind, inasmuch as it is always for the welfare of mankind that right be maintained against wrong; and they no doubt also believed that they would be serving their own and all future generations of their countrymen, by establishing and transmitting national independence and popular institutions. All this is most certainly true; but they were wise, practical, and patriotic men, and never could have entertained the wild, visionary, and destructive radicalism the author so gratuitously ascribes to them. We boast our descent from them, not from those who in the hour of trial deserted their country, and we hold their memory too dear and venerable, to suffer them to be ranked with the modern revolutionists of Europe, those infuriated enemies of God and man, those firebrands of hell, without entering our stern and indignant protest.

These instances, taken almost at random, show clearly enough the spirit and untrustworthiness of Mr. Bancroft's History, and a careful analysis of the passage we have extracted will sustain all the charges we have preferred against it. It would be difficult to find elsewhere in our language so much false doctrine and false history compressed within so small a space. "The hour of revolution was at hand, promising freedom to conscience and dominion to intelligence. History, escaping from the dictates of authority and the jars of insulated interests, enters upon new and unthought-of domains of culture and equality, the happier society where power springs freshly from ever-renewed consent; the life and activity of a connected world." (p. 4.) This is said of the opening of the first epoch of the American Revolution, in 1748, a little over one hundred years ago, and its sense evidently is, that then commenced, or was about to commence, a movement that was to secure freedom to conscience; substitute the dominion of intelligence for that of physical force; abolish all authority claiming a divine origin; effect the fraternity of nations; advance civilization; bring about equality; introduce and establish the purely democratic order, in which no power is recognized but such as springs from the assent of the governed, and from that assent only as ever freshly renewed. Thus much is here implied as historical truth; and yet nothing of all this will bear the test of a moment's investigation, and it would be difficult to find in the whole; history of the last thousand years a period in which less of what is here intended was secured and enjoyed than the period dating from 1748.

"The hour of revolution was at hand." But, if Mr. Bancroft may be believed, the revolution that was about to break out was only a continuation of the English revolution of the seventeenth century, as that itself was only the continuation of the revolution in the sixteenth and fifteenth centuries by the king and commons against feudalism and the Church. Nay, according to his own doctrine, laid down on the same page, revolution is ever going on, not only in society, but throughout the entire universe of God. " The eternal How of existence never rests, bearing the human race onwards through continuous change...... No sooner do the agitated waves begin to subside, than, amidst the formless tossing of the billows, a new messenger from the Infinite Spirit moves over the waters; and the ship of Destiny, freighted with the fortunes of mankind, yields to the gentle breath as it. first whispers among the, shrouds, even while the beholders still doubt if the breeze is springing, and whence; it conies, and whither it will go." This, if it means any thing, means that, whatever are the appearances, revolution never ceases, but goes on continuously. Why, then, say of 1718 especially, "The hour of revolution was at hand"? No doubt it was at hand, but on the author's doctrine revolution is the normal order of the universe, nay, of existence, of eternal existence, and therefore of God himself, who never rests, and in reality, then, no more at hand at one epoch than at another. But let this pass.

"Promising freedom to conscience." The author will not resort to the subterfuge of saying that the revolution that was about to burst forth merely promised, but did not secure, freedom to conscience, or at least secured it only in the United States, He is speaking generally, and means, if any thing, that the revolution was to introduce and establish freedom of conscience, in the Old World as well as in the New. The author does not look upon our revolution as an isolated fact; he couples it with the European revolutions which have followed it, and the revolution which he says was at hand is to be understood to mean, not the American alone, but the European also, — all the revolutions, in fact, which have been going on in the civilized world since 1718. Now will Mr. Bancroft assert as a matter of fact, that freedom of conscience had never been recognized and secured prior to that period, or that it has been recognized and secured since in any greater degree than before? Freedom of conscience means simply freedom to worship God according to the law which God himself has established, without any let or hindrance from the state or any human power whatever. But there is no period of equal duration since the time of the Pagan and Arian Emperors of Rome when this freedom of conscience was more insecure, or more frequently or more cruelly violated, especially in those European countries which were the chief seats of the revolution, than from 1748 to 1848. Never did Pagan Emperor of Rome wage a more cruel persecution against Christians, than that waged by the revolutionary party in France, and scarcely an Arian Emperor went farther in his edicts against the freedom of worship than did Joseph the Second, Emperor of Germany. Indeed, the latter half of the eighteenth century was almost exclusively characterized by hostility to freedom of conscience and bitter and unrelenting persecution of Christians, it was the epoch of the triumph of infidelity, of Voltaire, Rousseau, Hume, and the Convention. Joseph the Second suppressed religious houses, assumed wellnigh plenary authority in religious matters, and prohibited all communication of the bishops and clergy of his empire with the Holy See, save through the minister of state, and his infamous laws, in direct violation of the freedom of worship and freedom of conscience, remained in force till since the accession to the throne of the present pious and spirited young Emperor of Austria. In France; the revolution abolished Christianity, prohibited by law its free exercise, beheaded the king because he proposed to restore the freedom of worship, stripped the Church of her goods, desecrated her temples, overthrew her altars, massacred her priests and religious in thousands, and even sent its armies to drag the venerable Chief of Christendom from his throne, and exiled him to Valence, where he died a martyr to the freedom of conscience. Talk of freedom of conscience;! Where in all Europe, was there freedom of conscience under your boasted revolution,— a revolution whose primary object, as you well know, was the suppression of religious freedom, and the establishment of the reign of philosophism, that is, infidelity and atheism, which the world justly calls the Reign of Terror?

Do not say the rights of conscience were secured, because none but Catholics were persecuted, and because heresy and infidelity were freer, or because men had gained the power to deny and blaspheme religion, to enslave the Church, and to drown, behead, or exile her priests and devout adherents. Freedom to deny and blaspheme (!od and his worship is not in any sense freedom of conscience, for conscience never yet required any man to deny or blaspheme his Maker or his worship. There is no conscience where God is denied, for conscience is nothing but a man's own judgment of what the law of God commands or forbids him to do, accompanied by a sense of his moral accountability to God for whatever he does or omits to do. The freedom the revolutionary party may have acquired to vent their denials and blasphemies, and to oppress and persecute Catholics for their fidelity to their Church, no intellectual alchemy can transmute into freedom of conscience; and, to say the very least, the prohibition of Catholic worship and the persecution of Catholics are as much a violation of the rights of conscience as is the prohibition of any other form of religion, or persecution of its adherents. We are well aware that unbelievers and misbelievers of all sorts and degrees are very apt to forget that Catholics have rights of conscience, and that to prohibit their worship, confiscate their goods, deprive them of all civil franchises, fine, imprison, exile, massacre, or hang and quarter them for professing and practising their religion, is persecution, or any thing incompatible with religious liberty; but in this they are mistaken. We have at the least equal rights, and if freedom of conscience can be violated at all, it certainly can be violated in the persons of Catholics, and is violated whenever the freedom of their religion in any degree is denied, or in any manner interfered with, either by the state or the mob. So long as the free exercise of the Catholic religion meets with any obstacles, or finds any let or hindrance in any country, however free may be the sects and unbelievers, freedom of conscience is not secured, and the liberty of religion is not recognized and maintained.

Everywhere, it is well known, the revolution of which Mr. Bancroft speaks has been directed against the Catholic religion, and is so directed even to-day. All the changes it has sought or introduced have had, and still have, for their primary object the destruction of the Catholic Church. The education of youth is a religious function, the right and the duty of the clergy, and yet everywhere, and in most countries with complete success, during the last hundred years, it has been wrested from religion, and placed under the supreme control of the state. The state may, undoubtedly, provide the funds for the maintenance of schools, and, with some limitations, regulate their prudential affairs; but when it undertakes to educate, to determine what the education shall be, and to appoint or dismiss teachers, it usurps the rights of parents and of religion, and thus directly infringes the rights of conscience. This sort of violation of the rights of conscience is practiced to no inconsiderable extent, and, in the persevering attempt of our modern philanthropists to obtain laws making it compulsory on our people who are unable to educate their children in private schools to send their children to the state schools, threatens to be practiced to a much greater extent, even in our own country. There is no Protestant, and scarcely a professedly Catholic country, on the face of the globe, where the Catholic religion is perfectly free. In Great Britain and Ireland, some years since, a Catholic Relief Bill was passed, removing some of the disabilities Catholics labored under; but it fell far short of securing to Catholics complete religious liberty. It repealed the chief penalties the laws had previously imposed on the persons, but not the penalties it had imposed on the property, of Catholics. But even the partial freedom secured by this bill has been restricted, and no longer ago than last year a law was enacted, which, if it means any thing, declares the practice of the Catholic religion illegal in the United Kingdom, and renders null in the civil courts every Catholic marriage. Even while we are writing, the Queen has issued a proclamation denying in the plainest terms the freedom of the Catholic religion. In Prussia, but a few years since, we saw the venerable Archbishops of Posen and Cologne imprisoned by order of the government, for no other offence than that of fidelity to their consciences as Catholics; in Denmark and Sweden it is a heinous crime, punishable with confiscation of goods and banishment from the kingdom, to abandon the state religion and to become reconciled to the Catholic Church; in Holland, where nearly one half of the population are Catholics, Catholicity has no legal rights, but is merely connived at, not even legally tolerated. Our present Holy Father was driven by the revolutionists into exile, and the saintly prelates of the sees of Geneva and Lausanne, Turin, and Cagliari have been banished by the same party, and are even now languishing in foreign lands, forbidden to return and exercise their spiritual functions in the midst of their flocks. The revolution, as in the last century, so in this, is notoriously directed against the rights of conscience, as is evident from the expulsion of the Jesuits and other religious orders from Switzerland on the triumph of the Radical party, and of the Redemptorists from Vienna on the success of the Red Republicans in 1848. Idle, then, is it to speak of the revolution that was at hand in 1748 as promising freedom to conscience, and Mr. Bancroft only perverts history when he speaks of it as having secured the rights of conscience as one of its results. He would have been far nearer the truth, if he had said, "The hour of revolution was at hand, promising to infidelity freedom to trample on the sacred rights of conscience "; and this he would have said, if he had not meant, by freedom of conscience, freedom from conscience, or the freedom, not of religion, but of irreligion.

"Promising dominion to intelligence." The revolution, the author must mean, was to be in favor of intelligence, and has substituted for the governing power in society intellectual or moral power as distinguished from mere physical force. Yet he has studied the history of the last hundred years to little purpose, if he does not know the fact is precisely the reverse of what he insinuates. We know no period since Europe began to recover from the shock received from the irruption of the Northern Barbarians, in which society was less under the control of intelligence, or more under that of physical force, combined with ignorance and brutality, than during the period from 1748 to 1848. The French Revolution subjected society to the Reign of Terror, which is that of physical force, and every government on the continent of Europe maintains, and is forced to maintain, itself at this moment only by means of its immense standing armies, kept up on a war footing even in time of peace. Let the European states disband their armies and trust society to the power of intelligence and to the moral force of law, and social order would not be preserved for a single week. Society itself, in by far the greater part of the civilized world, is sustained now only by sheer physical force, by the bayonet or sabre. And what farther from the truth than to pretend that the revolution has given dominion to intelligence? Bankers, stockbrokers, and generals are now the only governors and conservators of society, and these the author will hardly contend represent moral and intellectual power as distinguished from physical force.

"History, escaping from the dictates of authority and the jars of insulated interests, enters upon new and un-thought-of domains of culture." By history the author here means the subject of which history treats, that is, the human race, or the several nations of mankind. More specially, perhaps, he means the general tendency and policy of modern nations. That the tendency of modern nations has been to reject the maxims of ancient wisdom, to reject the authority of law, and to rush into unbounded license, we are not disposed to deny. This is necessarily the case with a revolutionary epoch. "And the jars of insulated interests." If there are any fewer jars of insulated interests than for a brief period prior to 1748, it is not owing to any advance in fraternal affection, but to the universal prevalence of the credit system, which enslaves each particular nation to the money power of all, which is stronger than each individually and than all put together. The wars growing out of the revolution involved all European nations in debt; and the necessity of keeping up large standing armies for the maintenance of social order, peace within and peace without, induces an annual expense beyond the public revenues, which tends to increase annually the national indebtedness and administrative dependence on bankers and brokers. This itself is a far greater evil, and more fatal to the morals and real welfare of modern nations, than any state of isolation and of independent interests known to modern history.

"Enters upon new and unthought-of domains of culture and equality." "We are not quite certain what this means, but we suppose it means that the effect of the revolution has been to throw off the authority of the old monarchical and hierarchical governments, to give a new impulse to intellectual progress, and to introduce an equality of political rights and social conditions hitherto unthought of. This may have been the result aimed at by the revolution, it may be what revolutionists have promised, but we need not tell Mr. Bancroft that it is not the result obtained. It is hardly allowable to treat the fantastic dreams and wild and visionary projects of reformers and radicals, or even their seductive promises, as historical facts. The old authorities are all yet standing, or supplied by others equally offensive to the revolutionists; and intellect, as the physical frame, has rather deteriorated than otherwise during the last hundred years. Superficial instruction may be more diffused than it was in 1748, and a larger proportion of the people may be able to read, but it is ridiculous to pretend that the intellectual culture of the eighteenth or nineteenth century can begin to compare even with that of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The century dating from 1748 is probably the most superficial age of which we retain any record. Equality of political rights or franchises has been sought, but has made little or no progress. We have gained national independence, but under the head of equal rights we have gained nothing. France has had her sixty years of revolution and her nearly thirty years of war, and has fewer guaranties for equal rights than under Louis Quatorze. Absolute power has increased in Russia, Austria, and in the larger German states, and the freedom of the subject has received a severe blow in the destruction of the fueros in Spain, and in the British empire through the Reform Bill and the abolition of the forty-shillings-freehold suffrage. As to equality of conditions, we have less than we had in 1748, and the disparity of conditions, we say not of ranks, has increased in Great Britain. Her proletarian population in 1748 was about one third of her whole population; it is now five sevenths. In France there may have been an increased equality of conditions, mainly, however, by the general impoverishment of the kingdom, impoverishing the wealthy without enriching the poor, and even there the equality is not greater than was ever before thought of, nor so great as among our North American savages.

"Enters upon the happier society where power springs freshly from ever-renewed consent." That is, the revolution has destroyed all government but such government as springs freshly from the ever-renewed consent of the governed, and has and claims no foundation in historical right. This Mr. Bancroft and his friends may have dreamed of, but history has as yet entered upon no such "happier society," for no such society exists on the face of the globe, — not even in this country; for even here the government plants itself on historical right, no less than in Austria or Russia, and the people, as distinguished from the government, have not one particle of political power but as prescribed by law, which it is treason to conspire permanently to resist. Democracy of the most pure, and therefore the most anarchical sort, may be aimed at by revolutionists and political dreamers, but it has as yet no foothold on the earth, and it does not answer to treat their dreams as realities.

We have no space to continue our analysis, but we have said enough to show that the author asserts as historical fact, not what really is so, but simply what his theory requires should be. Yet it is unpardonable in a man like Mr. Bancroft to allow himself to make such loose and incorrect statements, — statements so obviously unfounded, that, with a slight degree of reflection, the most ordinary reader need not fail to detect their falsity. As to the doctrine which underlies these statements, we have at present little to say. We can pardon boys, and even rhetoricians, for admiring a state of society in which there is no authority founded in historical right, and no power but the unrestrained will of the multitude, but we cannot pardon so great simplicity in a grave historian or a practical statesman.

"To have asserted clearly the unity of mankind," says the author, "was the distinctive glory of the Christian religion." If this means that no religion but the Christian has ever clearly asserted the unity of the human race, it is true, if we consider that all other religions derive whatever of truth they may have from the Christian; but if it be intended to insinuate, as we suspect, that it is the chief and distinguishing glory of the Christian religion that it has asserted this unity, it proves that the author's conceptions of Christianity are very low, and that he aims to disparage while seeming to praise it. Certainly the Christian finds something more in his religion than its assertion of the unity of the human race, true and important as that assertion undeniably is. But let us proceed. "The world was instructed that all men are of one blood." Good, very good; we are glad to find that Mr. Bancroft does not fall into the impious absurdity of denying, with Agassiz and other infidel pretenders to science, the unity of the human race. "That for all there is but one divine nature, and but one moral law." "But one divine nature." "What does that mean? That for all there is but one God to be adored? No; for that has already been insinuated in the sentence, "No more were the nations to be severed by the worship of exclusive deities." What then does it mean? That all men have but one and the same nature, and that this one nature is divine? We had supposed that the nature of man was human nature, not divine nature. But here breaks out the author's pantheism, the. divinity of humanity, the identity of the human and divine, on which he bases his democracy. He here teaches us that Christianity instructed the world that human nature is divine, that man is God. But this is a mistake. It was not Christianity that taught this; it was Satan, when, in the form of a serpent, he said to our first parents, "Ye shall be as gods."

"The renovating faith [Christianity] taught the singleness of the race, of which it embodied the aspirations and guided the advancement." So the office of Christianity is not to reveal the will of God, to make redemption for sin, to give spiritual life to men and elevate them to God and celestial beatitude as their ultimate end, but to embody the aspirations and to guide the advancement of the race! The Christian religion is the expression of human nature, and the Christian teacher does only ascertain and embody in a creed what springs up spontaneously in man, and guide, not the soul in its efforts after salvation, but the race, the species, in its advancement in civilization, — "culture, commerce, and refinement"! What more in fact could be asked of him, since human nature is divine nature? Whence but from the human race should the Christian teacher receive his inspirations, or what better could he do than to embody the aspirations of a divine nature, supposing that aspirations can be predicated of a divine nature, that is, of God, which indeed some may imagine to be absurd and blasphemous. This is enough to show us what we ought to think of the author's Christianity and the compliments which he affects now and then to pay it.

Christianity taught the unity of the race; the Northern Barbarians were called in to reduce the doctrine to practice. " The roving invaders [of the Roman empire], taking to their hearts the regenerating creed, became its intrepid messengers, and bore its symbols even to Iceland and Siberia." This was something, and did somewhat towards bringing nations together in a common bond of brotherhood. But "still nearer were the relations of the connected world, when an enthusiast reformer, glowing with selfish ambition, and angry at the hollow forms of Eastern superstition, caught life in the deserts of Arabia, and founded a system, whose emissaries hurried lightly on the camel's back beyond pathless sands, and, never diverging far from the warmer zone, conducted armies from Mecca to the Ganges and the Ebro." Does the author mean by this, that, although the Christian religion claims the glory of having first clearly taught the unity of the race, yet the higher glory of reducing it to practice is due to Mahomet and his followers? "Would he have us regard Islamism as a development of Christianity, — a step forward in the progress of the species, — and teach us that it is more glorious to be a Turk than a Christian? If not, we are unable to perceive the appositeness of his reference to the Arabian impostor in this connection.

But enough. It is evident from what we have said, that Mr. Bancroft writes to be read and believed, not to be criticized. He does not appear to have foreseen the troublesome questions that might be asked him, and probably flattered, himself that his readers would swallow down his speculations without inquiring into their wholesomeness or unwholesomeness. Yet we do not wish to single him out as the grossest offender among contemporary authors. His writings are offensive, deeply offensive, to the sincere and intelligent Christian, but he offends only in common with the whole modern humanist or humanitarian school, The worship of humanity has taken, in the uncatholic world, the place of the worship of God, and become the dominant idolatry or superstition of the age. It is to be feared that this superstition is soon to lapse into demon-worship, if indeed in Mesmerism and spiritual knockings it has not already so lapsed. Men cannot abandon the worship of God for that of humanity, without sooner or later falling below humanity into the worship of the Devil. The author repeats and insists on those absurd doctrines, the progress of the species and the divinity of humanity, so prevalent a few years ago, but which have now become only a disgusting cant, avoided by every man, we had supposed, of good taste, and a tolerable stomach. We are sorry to find Mr. Bancroft — a man of real ability and much solid learning—so far behind the times, if we may so speak, as to insist on theories which the revolutions of 1848 have for ever stamped with imbecility and disgrace, and which can henceforth be tolerated only in unfledged radicals and beardless Fourth-of-July orators. We are sorry to see him repeating the cant of modern sciolists and misnamed liberalists as solid truth and unquestioned fact, when, if he would but open his eyes and use the judgment Almighty God has given him, he could not fail to detect its unreality and ridiculousness. We hope he will revise the volumes he has already published, purge them of his humanitarian errors and superstition, and henceforth confine himself to the legitimate province of a Christian historian. Let him do so, and he will find his account in it, both for his conscience and his fame.

Some of our Catholic friends, finding Mr. Bancroft apparently praising the early Jesuit missionaries among the Indians, and extolling Lord Baltimore, the founder of the Colony of Maryland, have been disposed to think favorably of his History, and to suppose it a work they might conscientiously patronize. They can never have taken the pains to ascertain its real character, and have had no suspicion of the poison with which it is surcharged. It is true, the author gives a glowing picture of the labors, privations, sacrifices, and martyrdom of the early Jesuit missionaries among the Indians; but he has no sympathy with their cause, and praises them with a sort of sneer on his lips. He beholds them only from the human point of view, and represents their heroic virtues as mere human virtues. He despises their religion, and looks with pity or contempt on the motives of their conduct. He praises their zeal, their devotedness, their self-denial, if you will, but not as springing from divine grace and directed to the greater glory of God in the salvation of souls. His praise, moreover, is worth nothing, for he praises the Jesuits as simple men, not as Catholics and Catholic priests, and with equal warmth the Quakers of Pennsylvania, the Puritans of New England, and the Huguenots of Carolina. What does the Jesuit care for the praise that is awarded to him simply as a man? He does not live for himself; he makes no account of himself, and can only feel insulted or grieved by any commendation he may receive at the expense of his religion. He seeks and can accept no honor distinguishable from the honor of the Church, his holy Mother, or that is his except for the reason that he is her dutiful and affectionate son.

Mr. Bancroft, we grant, awards Lord Baltimore the high honor of being "the first in the history of the Christian World to adopt religious liberty as the basis of the state, and to seek religious security and peace by the practice of justice" (Vol. I. p. 262); but this at best is honoring a Catholic at the expense of Catholicity. We have no disposition to pluck a single leaf from the laurel that binds the brows of Lord Baltimore, or to detract in the. least from the many merits of the noble and peaceful Catholic Colony of Maryland; but we cannot award to either the credit of being the first to recognize and adopt religious liberty as the basis of the stale, or to seek the security and peace of religion by the practice of justice. We can be flattered or seduced into no admission which would require us either to deny religious liberty or to renounce — which is impossible— our faith as a Catholic. We are far from being prepared to concede that among the holy popes, the saintly prelates and enlightened and pious Catholic princes, magistrates, and statesmen, from St. Sylvester and Constantino down to the first Lord Baltimore and the Colony of Maryland, there was not one to adopt and establish religious liberty, not one who sought the security and peace of religion save in the practice of injustice, or the unjustifiable exercise of power. Religious liberty, we arc disposed to believe, was born somewhat prior to the year of grace 1632, and it was not reserved for George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, nor for any man who lived at his late day, to discover and adopt the just and proper method of dealing with heresy and unbelief. Religious liberty means, if it means any thing, as we have already said or implied, the absolute freedom of religion from all human authority, or the full and unrestricted right of every man, without let or hindrance from the state or any human power whatever, to worship God in the way and manner God himself ordains. In this sense, religious liberty is an inalienable natural right, — a right held immediately from God himself, anterior and superior to the state, which the state does not grant or confer, and which it is bound to recognize, respect, guaranty, and, when need is, vindicate with all its power, moral and physical. This right, or religious liberty in this sense, its true and only true sense, the Church and all good Catholics have asserted, with even supernatural energy and constancy, from the first. The blessed Apostles asserted it against the magistrates who forbade them to teach in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, in that noble answer, " We must obey God rather than men"; the whole army of Christian martyrs asserted it, in choosing to be cast to the wild beasts in the amphitheatre, to be torn in pieces, to die under the most lingering and excruciating tortures, rather than to offer one grain of incense to Ceasar; St. Ambrose of Milan asserted it, when he refused to give up, at the command of the Empress, the temple of the Lord to be desecrated by the Avian heretic, and when he forbade the Emperor Theodosius to enter the church till he had done public penance for his wrath and injustice; to his subjects; St. Gregory the Seventh asserted it, when he smote with the sword of Peter and Paul the infamous and brutal Henry, king, not emperor, of the Germans, for his violation of his oaths, his oppression of his subjects, and his wars upon religion; St. Pius the Fifth asserted it, when he excommunicated and deposed the haughty Elizabeth of England for her apostasy, her murder of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her cruel persecution of Catholics; and Pius the Seventh reasserted it, when he fulminated his anathema against Napoleon for his tyranny, hurled him from his throne, and sent him to die a prisoner on the barren rock of St. Helena. The Church in all her struggles with the temporal powers, whether in mediaeval or more recent times, whether in the East or the West,, in Germany or England, France or Spain, Venice or Genoa, Lombardy or Naples, has asserted it, and had nothing else in view but its successful vindication. Indeed, from her going forth from that upper room in Jerusalem, to the escape of the noble Pius the Ninth from the assassins of Rome to Gaeta, she has been the continual object of the unrelenting hostility of all who would lord it over conscience, enslave religion, and give loose reins to lawless passion or arbitrary will, solely because she has never ceased for one moment to be the champion of religious liberty, and at all times, in all places, against all classes of enemies, and with all her power, to struggle to maintain the freedom of conscience, the perfect freedom of every man to believe and practice religion, to worship Cod as God himself prescribes. Talk not to us of Lord. Baltimore and the Maryland Colony; they come fifteen hundred years too late for your purpose. It is a foul libel on the Church to pretend that either was the first to adopt religious liberty, or to " seek the security and peace of religion by the practice of justice." The Church had nothing to learn from cither, whether as to doctrine or as to practice. She does not acquire wisdom and sanctity with the progress of the ages; she was born perfect in both.

No doubt, Mr. Bancroft understands by religious liberty, not the liberty of religion, freedom to believe what religion teaches and to practise what she commands, but the liberty of heresy and unbelief, the liberty to deny and blaspheme religion. But if he does, that is no reason why we should. The age in which we live no doubt agrees with him, but we are not obliged to err because the age errs. We do not consult the age in which we live in order to learn what is or is not truth. The freedom of religion is one thing, the freedom of heresy and unbelief is another, and we cannot fall into the gross folly of confounding the one with the other, because an heretical and unbelieving age, or an heretical or unbelieving historian, does. The two liberties are essentially distinct, and rest on very different grounds, and should never be confounded one with the other, or called by one and the same name. It is their confusion that creates the mischief, and gives to heretics the effrontery to call themselves the friends of religious liberty, and to pretend that the Church is a spiritual despotism. Religious liberty is the natural and inherent right of every man, for both by the natural and divine laws man has the right to render unto God what God requires of him,— the right to do his duty; but the liberty of heresy and unbelief is not a natural right, for by the law of nature, as well as the divine law, every man is bound to be of the true religion, and has no right to be of any other. All the rights tin: sects have or can have are derived from the state, and rest on expediency. As they have, in their character of sects hostile to true religion, no rights under the law of nature or the law of God, they are neither wronged nor deprived of liberty if the state refuses to grant them any rights at all; for wrong is done, liberty is taken away by the state, only when it violates rights which are held under the law of nature or the law of God, independent of the state, and which it is instituted not to concede, but to protect. The protection of the sects in the practice of their heresies is never on their side a question of right, or of what they may claim as a right, but is always a question of simple expediency; and so it must be, till you can obliterate all distinction between right and wrong, and establish the indifferency of truth and error. Heresy and unbelief, if really heresy and unbelief, are contrary to the law of God, and therefore have and can have no rights of their own, and then none that the state is, for their sake, bound to concede or to protect.

Lord Baltimore, it is true, opened his colony to the several Protestant sects, and placed them on an equal footing before the state with the Church of God. For this, under the point of view of religious liberty, we neither blame nor praise him, because his liberality to the sects has no bearing on the question of religious freedom, or the freedom of religion, one way or another. There was nothing in his religion to forbid, or in religious liberty to require, him to do as he did. He may have done so because he believed he could by so doing best subserve the interests of religion, or he may have done so because, under the circumstances, he could not obtain liberty for his own Church except on condition of placing the sects on an equal footing with her before the law. In either case his measure was justifiable, religious, and statesmanlike. But whatever were his motives, his policy has, as touching the question of religious liberty, not the slightest interest for us. We yield to no man in our devotion to religious liberty, but we have yet to learn that, in order to defend the liberty of religion, we must defend the equal liberty of heresy and unbelief, and maintain that the state is bound in all cases to place error and blasphemy on an equal footing with truth and piety.

A Protestant state, or a state like our own, professing no religion, is unquestionably bound to place all the forms of religion professed by its subjects, not directly opposed to the existence of society itself, on a footing of perfect equality before the law; not indeed because in themselves considered they are all equally respectable, or entitled to equal legal protection, but because, having no infallible authority by which to distinguish the true from the false, it is incompetent to discriminate between them, and is liable, under pretext of suppressing false religion, to suppress the true, and thus make itself guilty of the horrid crime of persecution. That a Protestant state, and a fortiori a state that, professes no religion, has no infallible authority by which to distinguish the true religion from its counterfeits, is evident, for ail the sects confess with one voice that they arc fallible, and have no infallible means of determining which is the true religion. Since, then, the state is bound to maintain the absolute freedom of religion, that is, the absolute freedom of the true religion, a Protestant state, or a state that professes no religion, has no other alternative than either to run the hazard of being a persecutor, or to copy the example of Lord Baltimore, which is to protect all its subjects in their respective forms of religion, whether they be true or false. No such state has ever in fact taken the latter alternative; none ever will do so. They have all persecuted, and to a greater or less extent will continue to persecute, the true religion. They all have an instinctive hatred of it, for it always asserts the supremacy of the spiritual order; and if our lot is cast in any one of them, we must expect to be persecuted, and make up our minds to bear persecution with patience and resignation, or rather with joy that we are counted worthy to suffer for the name of our Lord, knowing that, if we suffer, with him, we shall reign with him.

As it regards the Catholic state, or a state professing the Catholic religion, we have not much to say, and little occasion to say any thing, for the question has here no practical bearing. Such a state may, no doubt, for sufficient reasons, afford equal civil protection to the sects; but it is not bound to them to do so, and in no case is bound to do so for the same reason that Protestant states and states professing no religion are, because it has an infallible criterion to appeal to, by which the true religion can be distinguished from the false. It can be bound to do so only for the sake of the true religion itself. It may be that the interests of true religion are better promoted by leaving open than by closing the field to its adversary; and undoubtedly, when so, the state, out of regard to religion, is bound to place the sects on a footing of equality with the Church before the law. Whether such is always the case, or not, it is not our province to decide, and we shall not attempt to decide. But be this as it may, the duty of the Catholic state is always to respect and maintain the perfect independence and freedom of the Church, and with regard to the sects to follow her direction, which, since she is God's Church, infallibly protected and assisted by the Holy Ghost, is sure to be always wise, just, and charitable.

We insist on this distinction between the freedom of religion and the freedom of heresy and unbelief, because it exists in nature, and is highly important. It is by confounding the two, and advocating the latter under the sacred name of the former, that the bitterest enemies of religious liberty, European Red Republicans and English Protestants, pass themselves off on a credulous age as the friends of religious liberty, and impudently pretend that all. who are not prepared to condemn all Catholic antiquity are in favor of persecution and spiritual despotism. It is only the liberty of heresy and unbelief which Mr. Bancroft defends under the name of religious liberty, and it is with the hope, no doubt, of promoting the cause of heresy and unbelief that he praises Lord Baltimore and the Colony of Maryland. He would persuade us to condemn our Catholic ancestors, and seduce us from our allegiance to our Church. We trust no Catholics will suffer themselves to be caught by his insidious flattery.