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The End of the Eighteenth Volume

Brownson's Quarterly Review, Oct, 1861

Art. V.--The End of the Eigthteenth Volume

With this number closes the eigtheenth volume and the eigtheenth year of Brownson's Quarterly Review, the seventeenth year since it became decidedly a Catholic Review and devoted to the support of Catholic interests.  During the seventeen years of its Catholic career, we have lost more than seventeen thousand dollars through the failure of agents and the neglect or refusal of subscribers to pay their subscriptions.  This loss we coud put up with so long as the Edoitor was able to supply it by his lectures; but, as it can no longer be supplied in that way, we are obliged for the futrue to adopt strictly the cash principle, and to give no credit.  The Review will hereafter be sold either in single numbers or in volumes, according to the option of the purchaser; but the numbers must be paid for when purchased, and the subscriptions for the whole year must be paid for invariably in advance.  All of our present subscribers who wish to continue their subscriptions, and have the Review sent to them by mail, must renew their subscription before the 1st of January, with the payment of $3.00 in advance, and at the end of the year it will be stopped unless again in like manner renewed.

Many thousands of dollars are now due us, for which we have sent out our bills, and we respectfully request those who are indebted to us to pay at the earliest moment possible.  We commenced this year with a larger subscription list than any previous year, but the interruption of communication with the South, and the stand we have taken for the Union, have necessarily limited our circulation.  Still our circulation in the loyal States is amply sufficient to sustain the Review, if thosw who receive it will only pay us what is honestly our due.  It is, we believe, a duty enjoined upon Catholics by their religion to pay their debts; and if, instead of representing us as likely to renounce our Catholic faith, our delinquent subscribers would pay their honest debts, and thus prove their own Catholicity, we think it would be better for Catholic interests.  If they were dissatisfied with the Review, their proper course was to have paid up what was due, and dropped it; but to show their disapporbation of it by continuing to take it, and refusing or neglecting to pay for it, is neither in accordance with Catholic honor nor with Catholic honesty.  We hope these few words will be sufficient.

We know very well that it has not been our good fortune in conducting our Review, to please all who are or call themselves Catholics; we know considerable fault has been found with us, and we have heard that there are priests even, who, when our name is mentioned, say, "Oh!  do not mention Brownson.  He is no longer to be named as a Catholic, but is, or is about to be, a Protestant, an infidel, or something else of the sort."  This is the reward we are receiving for seventeen years of steady and persevering labor in defence of the Catholic faith and of Catholic interests, which has undermined our own health, and lost us the use of our eyes, at least for the present, and we accept it as a chastisement from our Heavenly Father due us for our many faults and numerous short-commings, and as intended to purify us, and prepare us for a different reward hereafter.  But we wish to say, that we never set out in conducting our Review with the intention of pleasing anybody; our intention was in the beginning, and has been up to the present moment, to do in the best manner we were able what we considered our duty to our God, to our Church, and to our country, and that, too, without fearing any man's displeasure, or seeking any man's approbation.  As for our renouncing the Catholic faith, we consider the talk there has been about that ridiculous and absurd, for never was our faith firmer, our love for the Church stronger, or our devotion to the Holy See deeper or more unreserved, than at this present moment.  No hostility from without, no hostility from within, no misrepresentation or abuse, no persecution or neglect, come it from what source it may, can shake our faith, ruffle our temper, dampen our zeal, or cool our ardor for the religion which we embraced in the maturity of our faculties and in the full strength of our manhood.  Catholic we are, Catholic we will be, whatever may be the wrath of men or the rage of devils.  So let that matter be put to rest now and for ever.

If we have given offence to some worthy Catholics, or created distrust in the minds of others, it has not been from any doubts of Catholicty nor from any dissatisfaction with the Church which our Lord founded on Peter; but either through our unfelicitous manner of expressing ourselves, or from the strenth of our faith and the energy of our devotion to Catholic interests.   Had we not believed undoubtingly the doctrines of the Church, had we not loved in our inmost heart the Church, the Spouse of Christ, the Bride of the Lamb, his Beautiful One, we should never have had the courage or the disposition to say those things which have given offence, or to have found fault with those things we encounter amongst Catholics which we are sure are no part of the Catholic religion, or consonant with the true interests of the Church in our own age or country.  We may have erred injudgment; and so may they who censure us also have erred in jugement; but whether the error be on their part or on ours, no one who seriosly thinks can for a moment doubt our Catholic intentions or our Catholic devotion.  If we had had no Catholic convictions, if we had had no regard for the interests of Catholic truth, it would have been easy for us to have escaped censure.  We needed only to follow the popular opinion of Catholics, to espouse all their traditions, flatter their prejudices, and pander to their vanity or self-love, to have been counted by them their great man, their champion, their hero.  But we have not been able to do this.  Our convictions have been too earnest, our views of duty too tern and reigid, and our zeal for the interests of the Church have been too ardent, to allow us to seek popularity, or to pursue a course that would win applause from peple who wear the cross as an ornmanent and not as a sign that they must be ready and willing to be crucifed with their Lord whenver his service demands it.

Whether it is for the interest of the Catholic cause or the Catholic population of the United States that a review should be sustained which seeks and will seek no favor by dereliction from princple, and which will censure what it considers wrong or misjudged in Catholics, just as quick as in non-Catholics, we leave it for others to determine.  We have convictions, and from thosw convictions we have thus far spoken, and, unless the proper authority in the case declares to us that they are contrary to the revelation of God, as long as we can find an organ of utterance, we shall speak freely, boldy, and as energetically as we are able.  If Catholics do not want a review so conducted, they are not obliged to sustain ours, and will do well not to take it.  But if they believe a review, conducted by a living man with living convictions, submitting unhesitatingly and unreservedly all he says to the judgment of the Holy See, pledging himself beforehand to abide by that judgment, let it be what it may, would be advantageous to the Catholic cause or of service to Catholic interests, perhaps they might as well continue their support to ours, which has labored faithfully to serve them for seventeen years, as to suffer it to drop, and to replace it by another.

Our own course is marked out.  We know our duty as a Catholic publicist, and are prepared to conform to it; but we will not sacrifice our manhood, we will not be the tool of any man or any set of men.  We cannot therefore promise, if we continue our Review, any essential change in its character from the last year.  Many of the questions we have discussed wil not need to be reopened, and we shall study, as we always have studied, never to be gratuitously offensive to persons within or to persons without.  It is for Catholics, therefore, to determine whether it shall be continued or not.  If they want it, they will send in their subscriptions, or purchase it as it appears; if they do not want it, we do not wish them to take it.  We can beg, we can starve, we can die, but we cannot cease to be a man or a Catholic; and we have too much self-respect to urge any thing of ours upon a public that does not want it.