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Grantley Manor, or Popular Literature

Brownson's Quarterly Review, October, 1848

Art. III.  Grantley Manor. A Tale. By Lady Georgiana Fullerton, Author of "Ellen Middleton." New York : Appleton & Co.  1848.  12mo.  pp. 320.

This work has been well spoken of by the reviewers, and the public, we believe, has given it a favorable reception. It possesses more than ordinary interest, and bears the marks of genius and power. We have rarely read a novel written by a lady which indicated more ability or contained less that was extravagant or offensive. For inveterate novel-readers, who will read novels, at whatever risk to the strength of their characters or the salvation of their souls, we agree with our esteemed friend of the New York Freeman*s Journal, that it is as unobjectionable as any that can be easily selected, and to those who must have their feelings harrowed up by fictitious woe it may even be commended.

Judging from the work before us, Lady Fullerton is a gifted and highly cultivated woman, endowed with fine powers of observation, and possessing very considerable knowledge of the human heart, and mastery over its passions.    Her characters are drawn with freedom and delicacy, within the bounds of nature, and with a nearer approach to individuality, as in Margaret and old Mrs. Thornton, than is common save in authors of the very highest rank.     She intersperses her work with many wise and just, if not profound and original, remarks, and hits off many  of the petty vices, annoyances, and foibles of conventional   and every-day  life   not  unsuccessfully.     In   a purely literary point of view, we may object, however, a too visible effort at intense writing, a want of calmness and repose, and the attempt to give us a vivid impression of the exquisite beauty of her heroines by dissecting and limning it feature by feature, instead of leaving it to be depicted by the imagination of her readers from the effects it is seen to produce on those within the sphere  of its  influence,  the  common  faults  of modern novelists, which  prove, not their strength,  but their weakness.    There is, also, too much sighing, weeping, and shedding of floods of tears, as well as too much embracing, kissing of hands,   forehead's,  cheeks,  &c,  &c.    The latter might have been left to the experience or the imagination of the reader, and the former should have been relieved.   We are as loath to see literature as beauty in tears, which add to the charm in the one case no more than in the other.    Give us the merry and joyous literature, not the sad and doleful.
But we have graver faults to find with Grantley Manor.    If it had been written by an author not professedly of our religion, but by a fair-minded Protestant, wishing to diminish the prejudices against Catholicity, and to show that it may be very nearly as respectable as Anglicanism, Methodism, or Presbyterianism, we could not find it in our heart to criticize it with much severity or at any great length.    We could pardon its insults to our holy religion for the sake of the obviously benevolent intentions of the author.    Readers would, moreover, be on their guard, and its mistakes or misrepresentations would be comparatively harmless.     But Lady Fullerton some time since conformed, we can hardly say was converted, to the Church, and it is evident from her book that she professes to be a Catholic.    We have, then, the right, and, as Catholic reviewers, are bound, to test her work by the Catholic standard.    Tried by that standard, it is, unquestionably, in many respects deficient, and in some highly offensive.
It may be alleged, that Lady Fullerton is a popular writer, that she does not profess to write what is technically termed a Catholic novel, and we have, therefore, no right to exact of her a theological tract, ascetic or dogmatic.    To the principle of this plea we do not object.    We certainly do not complain that Grantley Manor is not more theological ; for, as our readers well know, we are far from being partial to novels which mingle a treatise on theology with a tale of profane love.    We complain, not that her Ladyship has abstained from theology, but that she has not abstained,  not that she has not introduced religious topics, but that she has introduced them, and in a false light, so as to mislead her readers, unless they happen to be well instructed, and strictly on their guard.    She brings religion upon the scene ; she makes Catholics and Protestants, as such, actors in her plot; and it has obviously been a leading purpose with her to exhibit the Catholic spirit in its relations with Protestants, and to  show the practical effects of Catholicity in forming the minds and hearts, and in prompting and directing the conduct, of those brought up under its influence.    Religion is the atmosphere in which she breathes and moves ; it is the chief power on which she relies ; it is the mainspring of her dramatic action ; and on no recognized principles of criticism can she withdraw her work from the standard by which professedly Catholic works are to be judged. She not only introduces the Catholic religion, but she approves in her Catholic characters, from first to last, things which the Church abominates, and appears to commend them for things which even her catechism would teach her the Church positively forbids.    Here, then, are sins, not of omission merely, as the plea in her defence assumes, but sins of commission, for which, as an author, she is answerable at the bar of Catholicity. It may also be alleged, in extenuation, that we must not be severe upon slight errors and inaccuracies in popular works,  that we are not to expect from a popular author, like Lady Fullerton, the knowledge and accuracy of a doctor in theology, or an experienced  master of novices.    But we cannot accept the principle of this new plea.    Errors and inaccuracies are less excusable in popular writers than in others, and if her Ladyship was not well enough instructed in her religion to be able to avoid them, she had no business to introduce it.    Who compelled her to touch upon religious topics, or to write upon matters of which she knew nothing ?    If she could not state her religion with accuracy and precision, what right had she to attempt to state it at all ?    It is enough to have our holy religion misrepresented and falsified by  its enemies, without having it travestied by its professed friends.    No doubt, the author thought she was breathing the living soul of Catholicity into her novel, and, while seeking to interest or amuse the public, she would be rendering a service to the cause of Catholic faith and piety.    But she reckoned beyond her means.     She Was too recently from the ranks of heresy.    Her Catholicity is evidently not genuine, and her book reminds us of the JVi-belungen-Lied, the national epic of the Germans, - a pagan story, conceived in the true pagan spirit, and transmitted, body and soul, from pagan times, but dressed out, by some half-convert of the thirteenth century, in a Christian garb.    The Ni-belungens are genuine pagans, only they hear Mass and bless themselves after the Christian fashion.    So is Grantley Manor a Protestant tale, conceived and executed in a Protestant spirit, and will find few admirers except among Protestants, and Catholics who, from breathing the atmosphere of heresy and the study of heretical literature, are themselves more than half Protestant.    Its Catholics are amiable, cultivated, and respectable Puseyites, who happen to have been born and brought up under the Roman instead of the Anglican " Branch " of the Church. The author appears to proceed on the assumption, not uncommon, as we have observed, with converts from Anglicanism, that we and Anglicans embrace a common Christianity ; that up to a certain point they and we are of one and the same religion ; that they are perfectly right, as far as they go ; and that, with two or three additional dogmas from us, accepted purely as additions to their present creed, they would be thoroughly and unexceptionably orthodox.    Thus, she makes her Catholic heroine tell her Protestant sister that they have certain prayers in common,  the Lord's Prayer, for instance, which they may say together.    Thus, too, she makes a respectable Puseyite gentleman the organ of her Catholic instructions and advice in the formation of character and the conduct of life.    Ginevra, the Catholic sister, asks, in her hour of trial, her Protestant friends to pray for her, that her faith fail not, and is made to take, distinctly and gravely, the ground, that we sympathize with Protestants as Christians, and trust that God, by extraordinary interior inspirations, will supply their external doctrinal deficiencies.    Now we need not say that all this is false, and, to a Catholic, exceedingly nauseous.    Between us and Anglicans, or any Protestant sect, there is nothing m common but reason and nature, but our common humanity.    The notion, that there is a common Christianity, common to the Church and the sects, except in a very loose way of speaking, is a grave mistake. Christianity is a fact, and that fact is the Church. The Church is herself Christianity, and without her there is no Christianity. We do not come to the Church through Christianity, but we come to Christianity, if at all, through the Church. There is nothing distinctly Christian, in its Christian sense, which we and Anglicans, or any Protestant sect, can be said to believe in common ; for whoever denies any one dogma or proposition of faith denies, and must be held to deny, the whole. We cannot, either in our private or our public devotions, worship in common with those external to the Church ; for there is no common worship between them and us, no book of common prayer which they and we acknowledge ; and we are forbidden to hold communion with them in sacris. We cannot ask a heretic to pray for us, for he is an enemy to God ; and what greater affront can we offer to the Majesty of heaven than to despatch to his court his enemy to intercede for us ? Heretics are children of Satan, not children of God, and we may as well ask the father as the children to pray for us. Only think of a Catholic asking the Devil to pray God for him, that his faith fail not ! Certainly, we are bound to love those out of, as well as those in, the Church; certainly, we must do them all the real service in our power, and never cease to pray for their temporal and spiritual welfare ; but we must never forget that they are not members of the household of faith, and that we can have no religious communion or fellowship with them.

Will you tell us that we have no right to judge the secrets of the heart, and to pronounce every one who is in a communion external to the Church an enemy of God ? Be it so, if you wish. But you have just as little right to judge the secrets of the heart and to pronounce one in such a communion the friend of God. Nay, if it comes to that, not so much. In regard to those in the Church, we must presume them to be friends of God, unless the contrary is established. But the case is the reverse in regard to those out of the Church. Out of the Church no one can ever be saved, and yet all who are not the enemies of God will be saved, as is certain. All, then, out of the Church are certainly the enemies of God. All who are in heretical or schismatical communions are, at least, presumptively out of the Church. Then, whatever extent you give, in your excessive liberality, to invincible ignorance,  which you seem  at times to make far more desirable than knowledge of the truth, you are bound to presume all out o the visible communion of the Church, in communions external to her, to be, in fact, enemies of  God, and to be treated as such, until the contrary is proved, which cannot be without a special revelation.    Not one of us who are in the Church can know, without such revelation, whether we " deserve love or hatred," and then, a fortiori, not that those out of the Church deserve love.    The rashness, if any in the case, is not, then, in our presuming that those in communions alien to the Church are enemies of God, and in treating them as such, but in your presuming them without evidence to be the friends of God, with whom you are free to commune in sacred things, it is you who undertake to judge the secrets of the heart in such
cases not we.

We do not pretend to fathom the secret counsels of the Almighty, or to set bounds to his mercy ; and it is in the salvation of our brethren, not in their condemnation, that we take pleasure.     But we cannot know beyond what we are taught. What extraordinary means  Almighty God has in reserve lor the  salvation  of  those who fail to use the ordinary means, though living all their lifetime within sound of the Church s voice, we cannot pretend to say ; for the fact that there are any such means is not revealed, and we are ignorant of our right to assume even their possibility, much more our right to presume on them for ourselves, or for our friends who apparently live and die in heretical or schismatical communions.    We, as Catholics, are restricted to the ordinary means, to what God has revealed, and these are ail the means that we know or can assert.    How can we, then, hold out to Protestants the hope, that, though neglecting the ordinary means,  Almighty God will in their behalf employ extraordinary means for then-salvation, as if he owed them a reward for their perversity, or as if he loved them better than his own Catholic children, and will do altogether more for them ?    This were uncharitable to them, and hardly just to ourselves.      

Lady Fullerton has no doubt wished, in this her first publication since her reconciliation to the Church, to manifest her continued regard for her former friends, and to convince them that she is as amiable, as indulgent, and ar. friendly to them as she was before,  in a word, to prove to them, that, it she has become a Catholic, she has by no means become a bigot. All this may be very well, as it affects her Ladyships private relations. We, certainly, have no wish to see a convert, the moment he has entered the Church, proving himself harsh and bitter towards his former associates, and insensible to their many amiable qualities as men and women, or to the many admirable human virtues which, in cases not a few, adorn their private and public life. But there are some things which may be left to be taken for granted, and an overweening anxiety to make our former friends believe in our continued regard for them may sometimes tend to awaken suspicions to the contrary. Where there is no consciousness of any decrease in our love and esteem, there is generally no effort to disprove it. Innocence is usually unconscious. Unquestionably, our conversion denies to us the right, and, if thorough, the wish, to hold religious communion with the sect we have abandoned ; but we should pay but an indifferent compliment to our recently received faith, if we should regard it as necessary to prove that it does not render us harsh and bigoted, that it does not sour our tempers, but leaves us as mild, as gentle, as amiable, and as tenderly alive to the interests and feelings of those with whom we formerly associated as ever we were. The truth is, the convert has, as a Catholic, a tender regard for all men which was inconceivable to him before his conversion ; for, prior to his conversion, he never had any proper disposition towards God or man, never understood the worth of the human soul, nor the ground of his obligation to love his neighbour as himself.

Lady Fullerton has also wished, and with the best intentions in the world, no doubt, to recommend her religion as well as herself to her former friends ; and in order to do this, she appears to have studied to show them that the religion she has embraced is really not inferior to the one she has abandoned ; that, in fact, it differs far less from it than they suppose ; and that even they might embrace it without any fundamental change in their belief or their practice. We do not believe this the wisest or the most honest way of recommending our religion ; for the differences between us and Protestants are not few or slight ; they are many, fundamental, essential. If our only purpose, or our legitimate purpose, were to be suffered to live quietly amongst Protestants, to be permitted to worship in our own way without having our religion calumniated or our throats cut,  or if the great body of Protestants really loved the Church, and were anxious to see their way clear to return as faithful children to her communion,  it certainly  would be our policy and our duty to represent the differences between us and Protestants to be as few and as unimportant as we possibly could without sacrificing truth. But neither is the fact. We can never be indifferent to the salvation of our Protestant friends and neighbours ; we cannot proceed on the supposition, that these heretical sects are always to remain, and that our principal study is to avert their wrath and to secure their friendly regard. What we are to seek is not peace with them as they are, but their reconciliation to the Church. On this point what we must labor for is clear, and we cannot conceal it from Protestants, if we would. They know, as well as we, that our Church is propagandist in her very nature, that she seeks by spiritual means the subjection of all to her authority, and that in religious matters she tolerates no rival. We but disarm and expose ourselves to their contempt, if we are foolish enough to pretend the contrary. The Church has been commissioned to teach all nations, to preach the Gospel to every creature, and she makes no secret of her constant intention and her untiring efforts to discharge with fidelity the high and solemn trust she has received. All the world knows this, and all the world would justly despise us, if we should seek to conceal or deny it. It is a thing not to be ashamed of, but to glory in.

Whatever may be the case with individual Protestants, the great body have no love for the Church, and would rather impede than clear the path for their return to her communion. They may be dissatisfied with their present position, but if so, it only embitters them against her. Their anxiety is not to return to her communion, but to remove farther and farther from it. Hence we see them almost universally rejecting the earlier forms of Protestantism, as not sufficiently removed from Catholicity ; and to prove to them that a proposition is Catholic, or coincident with what the Church teaches, is only to give them, in their estimation, a valid reason for not holding it. The more we show that a given form of Protestantism resembles Catholicity, the more do we prove to them that it is objectionable.
Our Puseyite friends, and some few of the converts from Puseyism, seem to us to mistake entirely the feeling of Protestants towards the Church. It is idle to suppose that Puseyism has penetrated far among them, or that it is, or is likely to be, a dominant tendency in the sects. The Puseyites have not in the remotest degree affected the state of the controversy between us and Protestants, save so far as themselves are concerned. Their views and dispositions are their own, not those of the Protestant community ; their concessions bind only the individuals who make them, and are not available to us in controversies with Protestantism in general. We are willing that converts from Puseyism should address themselves specially to their former friends, if they choose ; but they should be careful not to speak as if Puseyites were all the uncatholic world worth counting, and not to make concessions or assume positions in order to operate on them which can only embarrass us in our efforts to operate favorably upon others. Puseyism was, in its origin, only a sectarian movement in the bosom of Anglicanism, and is already disowned by the Establishment, and followed in the very place of its birth, if report be true, by a decided reaction in favor of Rationalism. The Anglican Establishment is farther removed from Catholicity at the present moment than it has been before for many years. Puseyism is virtually dead and buried, and there is for it no resurrection. The conversion of its principal originators has proved its insufficiency as a final movement, and placed the whole Protestant world on their guard against it as a provisional movement. There is little use in writing and publishing works fitted only to the dozen or two of mourners who still linger around its grave. We must consult and adapt ourselves to the main body of Protestants in their onward movement, if we would exert any wide or permanent influence in recalling them to the paths of salvation.

There is, however it may be with here and there an individual of a peculiar temperament, no use, as it regards Protestants in general, in attempting to make the differences between them and us appear small and unimportant ; for their wish is not to be as like, but as unlike, us as possible. Moreover, just in proportion as we diminish the apparent difference between them and us, and concede, that, in the affair of salvation, they are as well off as we, perhaps better off,  for we have and can have no hope of salvation save through the ordinary means, but they, if Lady Fullerton be right, may, failing the ordinary means, still hope to be saved by extraordinary means,  we give them reasons, not why they should become, but why they need not become, Catholics. We in this way work against their conversion, not for it ; and still more endanger, instead of securing, their salvation. In our communications with individuals, we are, undoubtedly, to adapt ourselves, as far as truth will warrant, to the mental and moral state of the particular individual we are addressing ; but when we address the public at large, we must consult the mental and moral state of the great body of Protestants.     There is only one argument  that, will weigh with serious Protestants,  nay, there is only one that ought to weigh with them,  namely, that they cannot be saved, unless they become Catholics.    The sooner our popular writers learn this and conform to it, and give up their namby-pamby-ism, the better will it be for all parties.    We greatly underrate the intelligence of Protestants, if we suppose that, in Protestant countries, where all the worldly motives are in their favor, they can be generally induced to embrace our religion, if they understand us to concede that they need not despair of salvation in their own.    What, except salvation, have we to offer them ? We must show them that we wish their conversion, because, in our view at least, salvation is impossible in their religion, or they will treat, as well they may, all we say with contempt.    It is idle to suppose that they can be won over by a little commonplace morality, pretty sentiments, or even solemn chants and magnificent old cathedrals, or by arguments which merely prove, that, after all, Catholics are not much worse than Protestants.    It is a poor recommendation of Catholicity, that it is not inferior to Puseyism ; for if it be not infinitely superior to that, or to any other form of religion, it should be rejected as a gigantic imposition upon mankind.
But while we insist on these things as necessary to be observed by every Catholic who writes with a view to induce Protestants to embrace our holy religion, we by no means wish to see them in a popular novel.    Every thing in its time and place.    Nothing disgusts us more than to see the novelist put on the  doctor's cap,  or  assume the tone and   port of the preacher.    We do not wish every one who writes, no matter to what department of literature his work may belong, to be perpetually dinging in the ears of Protestants that they are heretics,  and   cannot  be   saved   unless   they come   into   the Church.    We ourselves conduct an avowedly polemical work,  a work expressly devoted to the exposition and defence of Catholic faith and morals,  and we are obliged to bring out the truth, however stern and offensive it may be, and to wage war with error, let it manifest itself on what side it will.    But every work is not expected to have the same special purpose, or to pursue the same special method.    Many things may be said with perfect propriety in a work like ours, that would, though true, be wholly misplaced in a popular novel. Popular literature should cultivate all the courtesies and amenities of civilized life ; it should be neither polemical nor denunciatory ; it should abstain from theological controversy, and avoid the introduction of those topics which cannot be freely and honestly treated without exciting prejudice or stirring up bitter feelings. All we ask of it, under the religious point of view, is, that the author should write simply so as to utter nothing inconsistent with our holy religion, or which can leave an uncatholic impression upon his readers. We shall be satisfied with it, if, in regard to religion, it maintains the negative merit of not being in any respect irreligious.

It is plain enough from Lady Fullerton's work, that she wished, while avoiding all religious controversy, to write a novel which, besides interesting or delighting the public, should silently exert a pure moral and religious influence upon the hearts of her readers. In this she was right, and seized the true idea of what we may term the moral tale or the serious novel. But she does not appear to have duly considered on what conditions such a work can be produced, if produced at all. She erred in supposing that she could, compatibly with her design, introduce Protestants and Catholics as joint actors in her plot. Wherever the two are introduced, in their distinctive character, the author must either make his work directly or indirectly controversial, or else represent both as belonging to the same great religious family, distinguished from each other only by minor shades of difference. The former Lady Fullerton wished to avoid ; the latter, as a Catholic, she was not permitted to do. Yet it is what she has done, and hence the objectionable character of her work. She was unhappy in the adoption of her plot. Her plot was, indeed, very well contrived for a controversial novel, or for displaying the respective merits of Catholicity and Protestantism by contrasting the one with the other ; but not for such a novel as she wished to write. She should, with her general design, have introduced no persons of a different religion from her own. She should have laid her scene in a Catholic country, and introduced only Catholic characters. If she wished to secure Protestant readers, she might have done it by throwing into the shade those features of Catholicity which are peculiarly offensive to strangers, and bringing out in a strong light those great moral and religious traits of character which never fail to command universal admiration.     What we mean is, that, while silently assuming, throughout, her own religion, she should have taken care  not  to introduce  it or  her characters as  distinctively Catholic.   In this way she might have been truly Catholic, and yet have pleased her Protestant friends, as far as it was lawful to please them, without displeasing her Catholic friends.    A Madonna from the studio of a Raphael has a peculiar merit for the faithful, yet it commands, though Catholic in its subject, its genius, its execution, and its associations, the admiration of cultivated Protestants.   So in literature, which is only art under another form, if we have real genius, we may select a Catholic subject, treat it in a Catholic spirit, and place it in a Catholic light, without despairing, if that be our ambition, of readers beyond the pale of the Church.    It is precisely that portion of our literature which has been written solely for Catholic readers, without any reference to dissenters, that is the most universally admired.    Religion may and should pervade popular literature, and in its true form too ; but in its catholic, not in its distinctive character.
The difficulty with us moderns is, that we are ourselves too polemical.    The circumstances in which we live force us to be constantly considering our religion, not in its own essential character of the one universal religion, but in its distinctive character, as the true religion opposed to false religions.    Our religion is assailed everywhere by the false, and our minds are affected, nay, to a great extent formed, by the opposition we encounter, and the hostility in the midst of which we live.   Our life is the life of the camp.    Our very piety and devotion assume a polemical cast.     We can hardly throw off our armour long enough to repeat a Pater or an Jive.     The times are exceedingly unfavorable to the creation of such a literature as Lady Fullerton seems to contemplate, and of which she has given us so poor a specimen.    But if our friends believe such a literature possible and desirable, if they will labor for its creation, they must enter more deeply into the spirit of their own religion, and study to forget that there are such people as Protestants, and  such a religion as  Protestantism, in the world. They will make  no contributions to it, if they place before them a mixed audience of Catholics and Protestants, and endeavour  to  speak two languages at one and the same time. The man can be himself, give free play to his wit, his imagination, the deep and warm emotions of his soul, only at home, in the bosom of his own family, or surrounded by his intimate friends.   The presence of a stranger is an intrusion, throws a clamp on his spirits, restrains his genius,  for genius is always shy5  checks the flow of his eloquence, the play of his wit or his fancy, and renders him grave, formal, and reserved. So is it with him who would be an author in polite or popular literature. He must speak his own mother tongue to those who have the same mother tongue. He must make himself at home, banish all strangers and heretics from his mind, and write out freely from his own full Catholic heart and well-stored mind, as if all the world were his friends, of his own household, of his own faith and religion.
There are other faults which, as Catholics, we must find vyith Lady Fullerton's novel. The heroines are two half-sisters, daughters of a Colonel Lesley, an English gentleman,  the elder by an English, and the younger by an Italian wife. They are brought up each by her maternal relations, the elder in England, and in the Protestant religion, the younger in Italy, and in the Catholic religion, and without ever seeing one another till the former is nineteen and the latter nearly seventeen. Of Margaret, the elder sister, we have nothing to say, although she is our favorite. Ginevra, the younger sister, appears to be the favorite of the author, and her character is drawn with great affection and elaborate finish. She is evidently designed as a model of female beauty and loveliness, and intended to display the author's conception of the practical effects of Catholic faith and piety. She is indeed beautiful, lovely, fascinating. But she secretly marries a heretic, a stranger with whom she has had but a brief acquaintance, without the consent or knowledge of her father, and against the known wishes of the family of the young man himself. It is true, her father is absent on his travels, and she does not know when he will return, and her old uncle in his dotage approves and urges the match. But this is no sufficient excuse. Her uncle has no authority to bestow her hand upon a heretic ; she has no reason to think that her father has abandoned her, or become indifferent to her welfare ; and it is plain, that, in consenting to the marriage, she only yields to a sincere, but inordinate, passion.
Now we do not like the morality which makes passion  love, if you will  an excuse for neglect of filial duty. We do not say that a child must in every conceivable case marry according to the will of the parent, and may in no case marry without or against parental authority ; but no one under age can, if the father be living, rightfully marry without his consent, or at any age without at least bis consent being asked.    Ginevra is under age ; she is not seventeen ; and has no right to dispose of herself,  certainly not without some efforts, at least, to obtain her father's consent or advice.    Here we insist she was wrcng, undutiful.    We are not disposed to make light of genuine affection, of which there is in this world none to spare ; but we have no patience with the morality which makes love triumph over duty, or that does not withhold its approbation from all love that leads us to omit any serious duty of our age or state. Such love is not properly love.    It is passion, sinful passion, to which religion forbids us to yield, and which it commands us to subdue.    We do no service to our sons and daughters by representing to them passion as too strong for duty, and then excusing the neglect of duty in consideration of the strength and ardor of the passion.    It is all moonshine to suppose that there is any unlawful passion which, by the aid of religion, we cannot overcome, if we choose ; and every passion is unlawful, however sincere and pure it may be in other respects, which in our actual relations we are not free to indulge, or which cannot be indulged without imprudence ; for prudence is one of the cardinal virtues.

Ginevra not only marries imprudently, secretly, without her father's'knowledge or consent, but she marries a heretic, a man without principle, an enemy of her religion, which no good Catholic can do.    The Church abhors mixed marriages, and if she sometimes tolerates them in order to avoid a greater evil, she refuses them her benediction.     She never' ceases to admonish her children to avoid them.    If Ginevra had been as pious as the author would have us believe, she never would, she never could, have listened for a single moment to the addresses of young Neville ;  she never would and never could have opened her heart to love for one whom she must regard as a child of Satan, the enemy of her religion and her God.    How can the heart that loves  God above  all things  consent to form the closest of all unions, a union typical of the union of Christ and the Church, with one who she knows has no sympathy with her religion, no love of God in his heart, and who despises her own sweet and holy Mother ?     It seems strange to  us, or would, indeed, did we not know the perversity of the human heart, and the fatalism in regard to love widely believed, and generally taught by   novels  and romances.     Lady Fullerton would have furnished a far better moral, if she had shown us her Catholic heroine resolutely suppressing any growing affection she might have detected, stealing unawares into her own heart, for young Neville, coldly dismissing him, and refusing to hear a single word of love from his lips, on the simple ground that he was not of her religion.

Neville's father is represented to us as an intolerable bigot, because he swears to disinherit his only son, if ever he presumes to marry a Catholic; and the author contrives to make it appear that Catholics are cruelly treated, because Protestant fathers  are opposed to their sons marrying Catholic wives. We have no patience with this.    Has her Ladyship a Protestant husband, or is she in pursuit of one ?    Can our daughters find no Catholic young men worthy of their heart and of their hand ?    Then let them offer their virginity to God, and choose a celestial spouse ; or, if they wish to remain in the world, let them remain there in a state of " single blessedness."    If they have piety, this will be no hardship ; and if they have it not, they are ill fitted to be wives and mothers.    For ourselves, we honor old Neville ; he acted like a sensible man and a prudent father.    He was a Protestant; he believed Catholicity to be from the Devil, as we ourselves should believe, if we believed Protestantism to be  from God ; and so believing, he would not and could not consent to receive a Catholic as his daughter-in-law.    He warned his son betimes, long before he ever saw Ginevra, forbade him ever to marry a Catholic, and told him what he would have to expect, if he did.     We see no bigotry in this ;  we see only consistency,  only a correct principle, misapplied solely because the old man's religion was not the true one.    Indeed, all her Ladyship's Protestants are excellent people ; it is only her Catholics who are uncatholic, or act on uncatholic principles.    We have no patience with this blaming of Protestants for their opposition to mixed marriages, when our own Church detests them, and does all she can in prudence to prevent them.    Let us not blame Protestants for the few sound principles they have retained from the general shipwreck   of their faith.     We are not remarkably partial to Protestants,   and not much accustomed   to spare them ; but we are not willing to blame them where they are not blamable,  or  to reject a sound principle  because they may adhere-to it.

But after these faults, what are the redeeming traits ot Ginevra's character? Passing over her natural endowments, which have no moral or spiritual character, she has two merits, she retains her love for her selfish and unprincipled husband, notwithstanding his base and cruel treatment of her, and she refuses, at his infamous request, to apostatize entirely from the Church. The first is very well, but nothing very remarkable. We can find instances enough, and without going far either, of women, who make no great show in the world, who have borne in silence, not for a few months only, as was the case with the passionate Ginevra, but for long years, conduct far more cold, heartless, cruel, and brutal, than she received from Edmund Neville. All she suffered was purely sentimental, and, with firmness and strength of character, could have been made quite tolerable. She retained throughout  what is so precious to the wife  the love of her husband, who, in the language of the author, adored her, and it is not till the last moment before her trials end that she for an instant seriously doubts it. She is one day falsely informed that Neville is going to marry another. Then, indeed, she believes he has ceased to love her ; hope vanishes, and the terrible conviction flashes upon her, that he is lost to her for ever. Now comes her real trial. How does she bear it ? Does her religion sustain her ? Does she embrace the cross and piously bear it ? Not at all. No heathen could have been more completely overcome. She raves, she is beside herself, she becomes mad, works herself into a brain fever, and as good as gives up the ghost. All this is, no doubt, very natural ; but it betrays a weak, not a strong character,  a character abandoned to nature, not elevated and sustained by grace. How many women have borne all she bore, have endured far greater trials than hers, and that too without losing their senses, or working themselves into a brain-fever, the " Deus ex machina" of recent novelists ! Have we not seen women abused and abandoned to poverty and want by their husbands, women who know they are no longer beloved, who feel the terrible truth that they have no longer any hold on the affections of their husbands, who know that love is bestowed elsewhere, and who see with their own eyes the tenderness and caresses which are their due lavished upon others, and who nevertheless quietly and meekly discharge their duties as faithful and affectionate wives, and retain till death all the warmth, energy, and freshness of their young love ? We have seen it ; and without going out of the circle of our own personal acquaintance, we can bring instance after instance, from real life, of a wife's affection for her husband withstanding far severer trials than those to which Ginevra was subjected, except for half an hour, for we apprehend that most women will
agree with us that the severest trial of a wife's affection is the certainty that she has lost her husband's.

The other merit named is nothing very extraordinary. Is it an extraordinary merit in a Catholic not to apostatize outright from the Church ? You tell us that Ginevra had strong temptations, that she chose to lose the society of her husband, to have him deny her to be his wife, to see him conduct himself in the world as if unmarried, to find herself in a false position and subject to the most odious misconstructions, rather than give up her God, and deliberately damn her own soul. Be it so. Is there a Catholic man or woman deserving the name that would not do as much ? Is not all Catholic history filled with martyrs, and all Catholic land hallowed by their blood ? Is not martyrdom a thing of course in our Church ? And is it characteristic of Catholics to hesitate between a life of comparative poverty and abandonment by those we love, and apostasy from their God ? If martyrdom is too common among Catholics to attract much attention, as we know it is even in our own day, why make so much ado about Ginevra's refusing to apostatize from her religion to gratify the ambition and luxurious tastes of her base and selfish husband ? Ginevra is no martyr, and shows nothing of the martyr spirit. She has not even to choose between her religion and her husband's love, for he still u adores " her, and she herself fears, that, if she changes her religion, she shall forfeit his love. She herself tells him, that, if she could change her religion from the motives he presents, he himself would despise her, which it is plain he would have done. She has not to choose between religion and poverty; for she is the daughter of a rich father who idolizes her, and the greatest poverty she can imagine to exist is wealth to the great majority of us. Moreover, even to the last moment, till the aforesaid brain-fever, which brings all to a happy termination, she still hopes that matters will take a favorable turn, that she shall recover her Neville, and have her rights as a wife acknowledged. Nay, she can at any moment, by confiding in her father, and ceasing to be a dissembler, have them acknowledged at once. And this it was her duty to do, both for Neville's sake and her own, and also for the sake of her father, whom she had wronged, and from whom she had no right to withhold the fact that she was married. It is idle, then, to call Ginevra a martyr for her religion. If she could have heard the still voice of duty rising above her excessive sentimentality, she could easily have extricated herself from her painful situation. Her sufferings were only the just punishment of her secret marriage with a heretic.

The novel is said to be replete with genuine religious feeling ; but its piety is Puseyitish rather than Catholic, and smells strongly of Littlemore. It is such as serious, cultivated, and amiable people, outside of the Church, aiming to imitate Catholics, can attain to,a tolerably well executed counterfeit, which may pass with those who are ignorant of the genuine coin. The sentiment, even when it is intended to be religious, is too human ; weakens, instead of strengthening ; and aggravates, instead of assuaging the pain. When we witness the sufferings of Ginevra, we assist at a tragedy ; we do not behold the Christian bearing his cross, and borne by it. Our human sympathies are excited, our hearts bleed for the tender floweret torn and tossed in the blast. We see the poor girl grow pale and pine day by day ; we are told that she is comforted and soothed by prayer; we are told that she is patient and resigned ; but we feel, as we read, that, if things do not alter for the better very soon, she will assuredly grow mad or die. This indicates very little of that calm, serene, and sustaining piety which kisses affectionately the rod that smites, and says, " Let it be, my Father, as thou wiliest ; thy will is mine." If we would give a true picture of Catholic piety, we must show it, not in our words, but in its effects on the character. Any body can talk piously ; but not every one can infuse piety into the creatures of their imagination.

But our readers will do us injustice, if tliey suppose that we object to Lady Fullerton's novel simply because her characters have certain weaknesses and defects, simply because they are not perfect. We have no great affection for the perfect characters of novelists, and have not had since we read Calebs by Hannah More, and its twin monster, Dunalla% by some author whose name we forget. Asa young friend of ours pleasantly remarked of the Non-resistants, that she " did not like them, for they were too belligerent," so we say, we do not like these perfect characters, for they are too imperfect. It is said that no writing is so faulty as that which is faultless ; and certainly we find no characters more faulty than those intended by the novelist to be perfect. They are always cold, stiff, formal, dull, prosy, crotchety, unhappy themselves, and rendering perfectly miserable every body within the circle of their influence. The Lord deliver us from Methodism or Puritanism in novels, as well as in the Church and in society !

The novelist has the right to represent men and women as he finds them in real life, and the more faithful he is to reality, the more is he to be commended. It is a thousand times better that our youth should see life represented in literature as they must find it when they go forth into the world, than that they should amuse their fancy or exalt their imaginations with pictures of an ideal life, never realized, and never to be realized. There is enough of romance in the natural composition of every one, without its being augmented by the art of the novelist. Bring out, if you will, the romance of real life, show the poetic side, if you can, of ordinary characters, of every-day duties and events ; but leave the purely ideal world to the " prince of the air," to whom it belongs.

The novelist has not only the right to represent characters as he finds them in real life, but he has the right to enlist our sympathies for them, to make us love and esteem them, though they are marred by grave faults, even by vices and crimes.    It is no objection to modern literature that it paints vicious and criminal characters, that it makes us acquainted with the deformities of social and individual life, the shocking depravities and loathsome corruptions of human nature.    This does not of itself necessarily corrupt its readers or its admirers.    Nay, it is well that these things should be known, that our youth should betimes learn how rotten is human nature, and how necessary it is that they should beware of trusting themselves to its depraved appetites and vicious propensities.    Nor is it a fault of modern popular literature that it shows us in characters marred by a thousand faults something still pure and lovely, something which  rightfully   commands   our love and  esteem.     In this world, we are not, save in the Saints, to look for perfection. The characters of all are a mixture of good and evil.    None, or, at best, very few, under the human point of view, are totally depraved, destitute of every generous feeling,  of every noble quality ; and even the best must mourn over their own shortcomings.    We have no right to exclude any human being from our  sympathy, or from our love.     Alas ! who are  we who demand perfection in others, and claim the right to exclude from our kindness and respect those who may have fallen ? Let us look into our own hearts, recall our own past lives, and see what we have been, and what we are.     What have we whereof to boast, in the presence of this erring brother or this fallen sister ?    Alas ! who that knows himself, the rottenness of his own heart, the baseness of his own conduct, and feels in his conscience the load of guilt he has incurred, can look upon himself in  any other light than as the very chief of sinners ? Our religion commands us, while we are inexorable in judging ourselves, to be lenient in judging others ;  and as long as we feel it but reasonable, as we all do, that we should be loved and esteemed, notwithstanding our vices and crimes, how can we deem it just to withhold our love and esteem from others, who, after all, may be far less vicious, less criminal, in the sight of God, than ourselves?    The fault of modern literature is not here ; it is elsewhere, in the fact that it enlists our sympathies, our love and esteem, for characters because they are vicious and criminal.    What it compels us to approve in them is the moral weakness, the lawless passion, the criminal strength of purpose, the successful vice, the triumphant crime.    Read the writings of Goethe, Byron, Bulwer, Victor Hugo, De Balzac, George Sand, Ida of Hahn Hahn, and you are cheated into sympathizing with the illicit, the vicious, the criminal.    Take away from their characters what is contrary to Christian morality, and nothing is left to love or admire.     Their very excellence is made to consist in what is condemned by the laws of God and man.    Here is the error ;  here is their fatal poison ; here is that which makes their writings so immoral and so corrupting.    They might have painted the same amount of depravity, uncovered the same festering wounds, and exposed the same abyss of corruption, and yet have exerted a healthful influence, an influence which would have tended to heal, instead of deepening and perpetuating the running sores of individuals and of society.    All they needed to have done this was to have had a correct moral standard for themselves, and to  have refrained from sympathizing with the corruption they represented. Lady Fullerton, of course, does not sin to the extent far, far from it that these do ; and yet her own standard of morals is too low, and she herself sympathizes with things which, though natural and in some measure excusable, ought not to be approved.    The character of Ginevra is, for the most part, true to nature ; her passionate love for Neville was in keeping with her character, and to be expected ; yet it was imprudent, and, under the circumstances, unjustifiable.    It is of the author's apparent unconsciousness of this fact that we complain, not that she did not give Ginevra a more perfect character, and make her conduct herself differently.    She not only does not disapprove, but she even approves, Ginevra's excessive passion and its unjustifiable indulgence, and would fain persuade us that it was a virtue. True, she makes Ginevra suffer from her imprudence, neglect of filial duty, and disregard of the admonitions and wishes of the Church, but not as a merited chastisement. She points all our indignation at Neville, and bids us behold in Ginevra only a martyr to religion. Here her Ladyship is wrong, and shows her own defective moral sense. It is this we censure, not her not having made Ginevra a perfect character.

Other faults we could point out, but we have said enough for our purpose.   As novels go, Grantley Manor, notwithstanding what we have urged against it, deserves, even under a moral point of view, a high rank ; and we have criticized it, not because it is worse, but because it is better, than the average. We have, however, in our remarks, looked beyond its particular merits or defects, to popular literature in general.    We have wished to call the attention of our popular writers, among the laity, to a fact which they seem to us^ not to have duly considered, that they may err against religion when the topics they treat are not immediately religious.    All principles, whether literary, political, or scientific, are related to the principles of theology.    Almighty God has created and sustains and governs all things in order to the Church, his Immaculate Spouse.    Nothing in the universe can be seen in its true Jight, in its real relations, save from her point of view.    She, in the ontological order, is not subsequent to reason and nature, but they are subsequent to her ; and reason, if strong enough and clear-sighted enough to see truth in its unity and catholicity, would perceive, that, without the dogmas of the Catholic faith, it would cease to be reason.    The Church is no accident in creation or Providence.    As this lower world was made for man, so man was made for the Church, the crowning glory of the works of the Almighty.     Every thing is related to her. All truth, in whatever order we find it, is from God, through her, and has its unity and complement in her alone.    It is important that we remember this.

This being so, theology, as the schoolmen always maintained, is the science of sciences, and gives the law to every particular science, and therefore to every department of human thought. Consequently, every psychological or ontological, every literary or political error, is at bottom an error against faith, and, if pushed to its last consequences, would be found to deny some element of the Church's teaching. Here is the great fact which our popular writers seem to us to overlook.    They seem to us to write under the persuasion, that, if they are not professedly treating theological topics, they are in no danger of erring against religion ; that religion has nothing to do with their literary, political, or scientific principles ; that, if they adopt false principles under these heads, it is their own affair, and religion has no right to call them to an account for it. Literature, politics, science, they assume, are subject to human reason alone, exempt by their very nature from all ecclesiastical or theological supervision or control; and if they assent to the several articles formally proposed by the Church as de fide, no fault can be found with'them, whatever the views they advance, or the tendencies they follow. Hence it seldom occurs to them, when not writing professedly on religious topics, to compare the principles they adopt with the principles of their religion ; and hence it is not unfrequently we find them, in their literature, politics, and pretended sciences, undermining the very truths they assent to in their profession of faith.

It is true, that, though every error is at bottom an error against faith, or the truth taught by the Church, yet not every error is culpable or a heresy ; for no error is counted a heresy that is not immediately against some proposition of faith, and none is culpable that is free from malice.    It is true, also, that the Church does not take official notice of errors which are only  indirectly and  remotely  against faith.     But no error is harmless.   Errors, as Melchior Cano teaches us, which do not kill faith outright, may yet impair its soundness, render it weak and sickly, and hinder the free, healthy,- and vigorous growth of Catholic piety.     Even these indirect and  remote  errors against faith, which may coexist in the mind with a firm faith in the Christian mysteries, conceal the germs of heresy, which some acute, bold, and self-willed reasoner may one day develop and mature into a doctrine formally heretical, and which may prove the destruction of thousands, perhaps millions, of souls. All heresies  take their rise in popular literature or science. No heresiarch sets out with the express and formal denial of the faith, for no man in the outset intends to be an heresiarch,  ever says to himself, Go to, now, let us found a heresy.    His heresy is only the logical development of principles which he finds already incorporated into popular literature and science, already received as axioms by the popular mind, and held by persons of unquestioned orthodoxy.    What lies barren, or apparently so, in other minds becomes fruitful in his, and ripens into doctrines directly and immediately against faith.  He having more confidence in his own judgment than in the decision of the Church, or being too proud to acknowledge his errors, adheres to them after their condemnation by authority, and thus becomes an heresiarch.
It is, then, never a matter of slight importance what are the principles and views we entertain and set forth even in those provinces which our popular writers are apt to consider as remote from religion. It is precisely from this quarter that danger is to be specially apprehended ; for popular writers, treating subjects not immediately connected with faith, and borrowing their views, not from the special study of the subjects to which they respectively pertain, but from the loose and uncertain public sentiment of their time and place, are of all writers those who are the most liable to err, and their readers, who are rarely the best instructed or the most devout of the Catholic community, are precisely those who are of all readers the least able to detect their errors. The danger becomes especially greater in a Protestant country, where we breathe constantly the atmosphere of heresy, and form our literary and scientific tastes and habits by the study of heretical writings. In England and this country, whether we are converts, or whether we have been brought up Catholics, our literary education, as far as relates to our own language, is received under Protestant influences, and from Protestant literature. This literature, whether grave or light, whether immediately or only remotely connected with religion, is full of false principles. We unconsciously imbibe these principles ; they become the habits of our intellectual life ; and whenever we write, unless on topics immediately religious, or unless we have received a special theological education, and that a thorough one, we necessarily reproduce them, and give as Catholic literature only a copy, usually an exaggerated copy, of the Protestant. The less directly connected with religion, the more remote from theological subjects, the more popular in its character this imitative literature is, the more is its influence to be dreaded. Kirwan's Letters are comparatively harmless, for the Catholic reader is on his guard against them ; but not so with one of Bulwer's or Miss Bremer's novels, or a Catholic novel written on similar principles, in a like spirit ; for such a work is not read for its theology, is not presumed to be related to theology, the reader is not on his guard, and therefore receives its poison before suspecting it to be poisonous.

In treating such, questions as those to which we in our Review for the most part confine ourselves, it is easy to keep clear of any grave errors ; for we have nothing to do but to write what has been taught us. But in popular literature/the case is different; because that is the expression of our own interior life, and necessitates the application of Catholic truth to matters remote from the direct and formal teaching of the Church, and where we must trust to our own discernment of principles and power ,of logical deduction. If we are but little accustomed, as is the case with most men, to discriminate, if we are but indifferent logicians, if we are mere poets, senti-mentalizers, or declaimers, and if our interior life, save in what is directly and immediately connected with religion, is formed by the heretical, infidel, and Jacobinical literature of the age and country, we shall produce only a literature which, as Catholics, we must deprecate, and which can be influential only for evil.

No class of writers need to be so thoroughly instructed in Catholic faith and theology, none need so much meditation and to approach so frequently the sacraments, as they who would write popular novels, or conduct literary and political journals. A political journal, conducted by a Catholic, circulating almost exclusively among Catholics, and exerting a wide and deep influence by appeals to the weaknesses or the dominant sentiments and tendencies of its public, yet, in all save what is immediately and formally of faith, breathing the tone, adopting the style, and advocating the Jacobinical principles of the literature which has formed the general character of its editors, can do more than the whole anti-Catholic press combined to retard, under existing circumstances, the growth of Catholicity in this Protestant country. We have, and have had for a long time, more than one such journal exerting its baleful influence, to the grief of our Catholic pastors and of every Catholic who prizes his religion, as he should, above all other things,  not excepting even politics and patriotism ; for patriotism itself is a virtue only when it springs from religion and is subordinated and made subservient to religion.

Literature must always exert a bad influence when it is the product of half-educated authors, who make up in impudence what they lack in humility, in conceit what they lack in knowledge, and in vehemence what they lack in sober sense and religious feeling. Such authors only echo what is popular, and reinforce what is already objectionable in public opinion. They are unable to discriminate between the popular and the true ; and uniformly take it for granted, that, if they write what their public approves, they write what is just and true in itself. This would do, if they were Jacobins or infidels, but will not do, if they are Catholics, and wish to exert no influence not favorable to their religion. Literature is a powerful agent in forming the popular mind, and it ought itself to be formed by pure, holy, and Catholic minds and hearts. It should aim to correct, not to exaggerate, popular errors and tendencies,  not to follow, but to form, public sentiment. To do this, it is a matter of great importance that the men and women who are to produce it should know their religion thoroughly, should, by prayer, meditation, and the frequenting of the sacraments, be thoroughly imbued with its spirit, and then draw from this religion their inspiration and their principles. He who wishes to do evil may go with the current, wafted down the stream by the breath of popular applause ; but he who would do good must be always prepared to stem the current, to make his way, as best he can, against wind and tide. The applause of the multitude is never for him who is laboring to serve his day and generation. The people, when he is dead, may erect a monument to his virtues and bedew his memory with their grateful tears ; but while he is living, they will not be with him ; they will distrust him, thwart him, denounce him, and leave him alone with his conscience and his God. He who is not prepared for trial, for popular opposition, the wrath of demagogues, and of foolish men believing themselves wise, imprudent men believing themselves prudent, timid men believing themselves brave, ignorant men claiming to be wise, and impious men affecting to be pious, is no man to labor in the department of popular literature ; and to be thus prepared, one must live above the world while in it, must have his conversation in heaven, his affections weaned from the earth, and his heart set only on hearing at the last day that welcome plaudit, " Well done, good and faithful servant! enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."