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The Catholic World Volume Iii Part 157

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There are several notices of recent Catholic publications which are written in a courteous style, contrasting very favorably with that employed by most Protestant periodicals. Dr. Brownson's "American Republic" receives a respectful and moderately appreciative notice.

The "Memoir and Sermons of F. Baker" is also honored with one which is very {856} kind and sympathetic, expressing the "intense and mournful interest" of the writer in the book, and still more in its author, for which no doubt he will be duly grateful, although we know of no reason why his friends should go into mourning for him during his lifetime.

The writer, after remarking that the arguments contained in the book are chiefly addressed to Episcopalians, and therefore need not trouble any other Protestants, throws out a couple of rejoinders to what he supposes the author might say to these last, if he were disposed. One of these remarks is an a.s.sertion that the Paulists and their brethren of the Catholic clergy do not preach Christ. Does the writer really know nothing of the Catholic system of practical religion except what he has read in D'Aubigne and the "Schonberg-Cotta" romance? If not, we recommend him to acquire more correct information from our best writers. If he has it already, we cannot understand how he could make such a statement. His winding-up apostrophe to the Paulists, "O foolish Paulists, who hath bewitched you? you observe days and months and times and years," is more witty than wise. The Paulists observe, in common with other Catholics, sixty days in the year as obligatory, and of these fifty-two are observed with much greater rigor than we insist upon by the Congregationalists of New Haven. When the writer gives us a good explanation of his doctrine of the Christian Sabbath in harmony with St. Paul's teaching to the Galatians, we will cheerfully undertake the vindication of the other eight holidays, and will endeavor to convince him that it is just as reasonable to have handsome altars, statues, pictures, and flowers, in churches, as it is to have fine churches, marble pulpits, frescoed ceilings, well-dressed clergymen, and handsome houses with pretty flower-gardens for these clergymen.

In our view, there is better work for the learned scholars of New Haven to do than to indulge in light skirmis.h.i.+ng with Catholics and Episcopalians. They have all the treasures of science and learning at command, with leisure and ability to use them. There are great questions respecting the agreement between science and revelation, the authenticity and credibility of the sacred books, the fundamental doctrines of philosophy and religion, pressing on the attention of every man who thinks and cares about G.o.d and his fellow-men. The people around us are drifting rapidly into infidelity and sin. There is no remedy for this but a reestablishment of first principles; and we would like to see our learned friends apply themselves to this work. It may justly be expected from such an old and world-renowned university as Yale College, that it should produce the most solid works, not merely in cla.s.sic lore and physical science, but in the higher branches of metaphysics and theology. Dr. Dwight was a great theologian, and is so styled by Dollinger. Drs. Taylor and Fitch were, both, able and acute metaphysicians. Since their day, we are afraid that our friends have fallen asleep in these departments. They set out to reform Calvinism, to reconcile orthodox Protestantism with reason, and to find a method of bringing the practical truths of Christianity to bear on men universally. In spite of their able and zealous efforts in this direction, religious belief and practice have been steadily on the wane around them. As for morality, the article on "Divorce," which we shall make the topic of a separate article hereafter, makes disclosures which are indeed startling. We would like to have them resume their work, therefore, once more, from the beginning, and go back to the most ultimate principles. In what state was man originally created? What is the relation of the race to Adam? What is original sin? Whence the need of a Divine Redeemer and a revelation? What are the means established by Jesus Christ for the regeneration and salvation of mankind? What is the remedy for the present deplorable condition of both Christendom and heathendom? Of course, the discussion of these fundamental questions will involve a thorough sifting of the Catholic doctrines. We are anxious to have it made, and when the discussion is carried on upon fundamental grounds, a result may be hoped for which cannot be gained by skirmis.h.i.+ng around the outposts.

The clergy and people of New Haven, and of Connecticut generally, have always been remarkable for their friendly behavior toward Catholics.



There has never been any disposition to persecute them, and, at present, the relations between the Catholic and non-Catholic sections of the population are just what they should be in a land of religious freedom. A judge in New Haven has recently p.r.o.nounced, in open court, his decision that the Catholic religion is just {857} as much the religion of the state as the Protestant; and the last Legislature has pa.s.sed the most just and favorable law regulating the tenure of church property that exists in the United States. The conductors of the "New-Englander" will surely join us in the wish that all the people of the state may ere long become one in the belief and practice of the pure and complete Christian faith as Christ revealed it.

A PLEA FOR THE QUEEN'S ENGLISH.

Stray Notes on Speaking and Spelling, by Henry Alvord, D.D., Dean of Canterbury. Tenth thousand. Alexander Strahan.--THE DEAN'S ENGLISH. A Criticism on the Dean of Canterbury's Essays on the Queen's English.

By G. Was.h.i.+ngton Moon, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Fourth edition. Alexander Strahan.

Among the critics of the English press there seems to be but one opinion concerning the merits of the two combatants in this literary joust; that the Dean is deservedly castigated, and that Mr. Moon is an unapproachable paragon of literary effulgence. However, this is not to be wondered at. These same critics, and the English press to which they contribute, sadly need a champion, if we may believe his reverence of Canterbury. Gross inaccuracies in syntax, unpardonable faults in style, and frequently occurring examples of slip-shod sentences would appear, from the "Plea for the Queen's English," to be, on the whole, characteristic of the modern English press.

We, transatlantic barbarians that we are, of course know nothing of the English language, and have not the presumption, we hope, to think that we can either speak or write one faultless sentence of the language which we inherit as a means of intercommunion with our fellows. It is our duty to feel "umble," and we do feel "umble." But, while perusing these two books, we have had an 'umble and an 'arty laugh in the depths of our 'umiliation. It may have been very sinful in us, we know, but we could not help it. As the youthful culprit replied, when caught laughing in church, we say, 'umbly of course, "We didn't laugh, it laughed itself!" At the risk of not being believed by those who have not yet read these, two books, we give the astounding information that even an Englishman, an educated Englishman, a dignitary of the English church, a poet, whose verses we republished in America, (and, confound us, left out the u's,) not only speaks and writes bad English, but also on his own showing, by the light of Mr.

Moon's volume, presumes to teach others to do the same. Yes, these published lessons of the Very Rev. Dean, in speaking and spelling, are so outrageously ungrammatical, and so faulty in style, that we should not be surprised if the prediction of his antagonist would come true, that henceforth people will speak of bad English as Dean's English.

Yet with all its faults it is a useful book; and we think that neither Mr. Moon nor the newspaper critics have done the author justice. We do not like "Dean's English," and it is humiliating, even to an American, to discover that he has carelessly spoken or written it; but we like the Dean's book better than we do Mr. Moon's. We like the schoolboy's walk better than the schoolmarm's. Mr. Moon's style is faultlessly prim and precise, and defies literary criticism; but we have felt, more than once, a wish to take up some of his exact sentences and give them a good shaking, so as to get a little of the stiffness out of them. The Dean has written as most people speak; Mr. Moon writes as n.o.body ever did or ever will speak. We should write correctly, it is true, but there is a comparison (however paradoxical it may appear) even in correctness. Mr. Moon aims to write "most correctly," and we think that his style is far less pleasing than it would have been if he had simply written correctly. There is such a thing as "punctiliousness in all its stolidity, without any application of the sound or effect of one's sentences." As is his style, so is his criticism. Nothing escapes his eye; the want of a comma, a sentence a trifle too elliptical, a careless tautology, (Mr. Moon would have us say--a carelessly written tautological expression,) are blemishes at which he turns away his face in rhetorical disgust. Nevertheless, we say again, we like the Dean's book. It deserves to be studied by all our young writers, who need to be warned against the use of many popular phrases, and have their attention directed to common faults in construction. It is a lively, chatty book, and keeps us in a good humor from the first to the last page.

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The sharp criticism of Mr. Mood is well worth reading. It furnishes us with an index to the blunders of the Very Rev. Dean. So closely has he examined these faults and calculated their guilt, that he actually sums up for us, in one instance, the number of possible readings of one unfortunate sentence. It contains only ten lines, and may be read ten thousand two hundred and forty different ways, as Mr. Moon shows us. Severely as he was attacked, and despite certain personal innuendos, not by any means creditable to his adversary, the good-natured Dean (we are sure of his good nature, from his book) comes off victor, in our opinion, by inviting his enemy to dinner.

When a little time shall have healed the bruises of the literary castigation he has received, he will doubtless re-write his book, and give us under another form the profitable hints and helps which at present need a more exact cla.s.sification.

COSAS DE ESPAnA.

Ill.u.s.trative of Spain and the Spaniards as they are. By Mrs. Wm. Pitt Byrne, author of "Flemish Interiors," etc. 2 vols. 12mo. Alexander Strahan, London and New York. 1866.

The publications of Mr. Strahan are well known for the taste and elegance displayed in their exterior dress. The book before us merits a full meed of praise in this respect; but it is one of the most wretched pieces of English composition that has come under our notice.

It has a preface of forty pages, which prefaces nothing, being in fact nothing more than a few statistics of railways, the army, the mineral and other products of Spain, jumbled together, with no attempt at order or cla.s.sification. The first chapter, styled "introductory," is jumble number two, on national character, entertainments, manufactures, railways again, infanticide, education, authors and auth.o.r.esses, sobriety and smoking.

In the second chapter we are surprised to find the auth.o.r.ess has not yet left Dover. We thought we were in Spain long ago. It is not until the middle of the third chapter that we are permitted to get to the frontier, and by this time we confess we are tired of our gentle guide, and decline going any further. When we are conversing with an Englishman or an Englishwoman, we prefer the English language to that affected jargon which consists in italicizing and translating into a foreign language every emphatic word. It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that there are three or four such italicized foreign words, French, Spanish, Latin, or Greek, on each and every page of these two volumes. Our readers may wish to see a specimen. "The first obstacle that met us on this same bridge was a crowd of _ouvriers_ in blouses,"

p. 26. "The cathedral rather disappointed us, _quoad_ its outward aspect, and offers nothing _very_ remarkable within," p. 27. "There are, it is true, some districts which present a very curious and interesting picture _en_ bird's eye," p. 28. "One day it was a _fiesta_, on which we made sure of admission, because the _entree_ is _libre_ on Sundays, and in all _else_, a _fiesta_ is synonymous with a Sunday; and finally, at the last attempt we made, on the _right_ day, hour, etc.," p. 41, vol. ii. "Boleros and Fandangos are national dances, but they are among the _dela.s.s.e.m.e.nts_ of the _plebs_," p. 145, vol. ii. Scattered here and there through these intolerable pages we find numerous examples of wit unequalled in dreariness. Speaking of Spanish auth.o.r.esses the writer facetiously remarks, "One or two have so far exceeded the ordinary limits of female capacity in Spain, as even to dip the tip of their hose into the cerulean ink-bottle." Of the domestic pottery she says: "There is what we may call a jar-ring incongruity between the roughness of the material and the striking elegance of the form." Aquatic gambolling at Biarritz, we are told, "is not the only gambling to be seen there." A visit to the tomb of an archbishop elicits the following: "It is an object of great attraction, and renders the spot chosen by the archbishop an excellent site for a tomb, as it cannot fail to keep the memory of him whose bones it covers before all who frequent the church, and there can be now little left _besides_ his bones. This is as it should be. '_De mortuis nil nisi bonum_.'"

Had the book been expurgated of the hundreds of foreign words, and of all these dead-and-alive puns, which deface its pages, and the subject matter been arranged with the slightest view to order, it would have been quite readable, for the auth.o.r.ess is good-natured and communicative, and has an eye for the beautiful and the picturesque, as well as {859} intelligence to appreciate the moral and the useful; but, as it is, we think the quotations we have made from it are quite sufficient to prove the justice of our opinion concerning it.

LETTERS OF EUGeNIE DE GUeRIN.

Edited by G. S. Trebutien. 12mo, pp. 453. London: Alexander Strahan; New York: Lawrence Kehoe. 1866.

Our readers have already been presented in our pages with several articles and notices of Eugenie de Guerin's character and writings, and they are doubtless sufficiently familiar with both to waive any further reflections upon either in this place. The volume of letters before us is, like her journal, a delicious literary repast, from which we rise with mind and heart equally gladdened and refreshed. Our s.p.a.ce will not permit us to give but one or two short extracts. "23d December, 1863. I write to you, dear Louise, to the sound of the _Nadalet_, to the merry peal of bells, announcing the sweetest festival of the year. It is, indeed, very beautiful this midnight celebration, this memorial of the manger, the angels, the shepherds, of Mary and the infant Jesus, of so many mysteries of love accomplished in this marvellous night. I shall go to the midnight ma.s.s, not in hope of a pie, coffee, and such a pleasant dish as your nocturnal cavalier; nothing of the kind is to be found at Cahuzac, where I only enjoy celestial pleasures, such as one experiences in praying to the good G.o.d, hearing beautiful sermons, gentle lessons, and, in a quiet corner of the church, giving oneself up to rapturous emotion. Happy moments, when one no longer belongs to earth, when one lets heart, soul, mind, wing their way to heaven!"

The following to M. de la Morvonnais he must have received and read with intense emotion:

Cayla, 28th July, 1835.

Did you imagine, Monsieur, that I should not write to you any more?

Oh! how mistaken you would have been! It was your journey to Paris, and, after that, other obstacles, which prevented my speaking to you earlier of Marie. But we will speak of her to-day; yes, let us speak of her, always of her; let her be always betwixt us. It is for her sake I write to you: first of all, because I love her and find it sweet to recall her memory; and then, because it seems to me that she is glad you should sometimes hear terms of expression that _vividly recall_ her. I come, then, to remind you of that sacred resemblance so sweet to myself when it strikes you. How I bless G.o.d for having bestowed it upon me, and thus enabled me to do you some good! This shall be my mission with regard to you, and with what delight shall I fulfil it!

Do not say that there is any merit or act of profound charity in this acceptation. My heart goes out quite naturally toward those who weep, and I am happy as an angel when I can console. You tell me that your life will no longer have any bright side, that I can elicit nothing from you but sadness. I know this; but can that estrange me--I, who loved the Marie you weep? Ah! yes; let us weep over her; lean on me the while, if you will. To me it is not painful to receive tears: not that my heart is strong, as you believe, only it is Christian, and finds at the foot of the cross enough to enable it to support its own sorrows and those of others. Marie did the same ... . let us seek to imitate the saints. You will teach this to your daughter beside the cross on that grave whither you often lead her. Poor little one! how I should like to see her, to accompany her in that pilgrimage to that tomb beside the sea, and under the pines, to pray, to weep there, to take her on my knees and speak to her of heaven and of her mother. This would be a joy to me: you know that there are melancholy ones.

We give only these little tastes of the charming volume, which will find its way, after the "journal," into many a circle, to afford in its perusal the most unqualified delight to all its readers.

THE VALLEY OF WYOMING; the Romance of its History and its Poetry; also Specimens of Indian Eloquence.

Compiled by a Native of the Valley. 12mo, pp. 153. New York: R. H.

Johnston & Co. 1866.

"This little volume," says the author in his prefatory note, "has not the slightest claim to be either a history or a study of romance." We are sorry that it has not, for we cannot see that (apart from the republication of Campbell's "Gertrude of Wyoming") it has the slightest claim to be anything else. We thank the author, however, for giving us the following amongst the specimens of Indian eloquence. It is part of the reply of the celebrated chief Red Jacket to a Protestant missionary,

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"_Brother_, continue to listen. You say you are sent to instruct us how to wors.h.i.+p the Great Spirit agreeably to his mind, and that if we do not take hold of the religion which you teach, we shall be unhappy hereafter. How do we know this to be true? We understand that your religion is written in a book. If it was intended for us as well as you, why has not the Great Spirit given it to us: and not only to us, but why did he not give to our forefathers the knowledge of that book, with the means of rightly understanding it? ... . _Brother_, you say that there is but one way to wors.h.i.+p and serve the Great Spirit.

If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? _Why not all agree, as you can all read the book?_"

We should like to know what answer the missionary made, or could make, to that argument.

SHAKESPEARE'S DELINEATION OF INSANITY AND SUICIDE.

By A. O. Kellogg, M.D., a.s.sistant Physician State Lunatic Asylum, Utica, N. Y. 12mo, pp. 204. New-York: Hurd and Houghton. 1866.

Dr. Kellogg's essays upon some of the characters in Shakespeare are the evidence of an expert in support and ill.u.s.tration of the intuitive apprehension and scientific fidelity of genius to truth. The difference between the creations of genius and those of industry is, to a certain degree, the difference between the limning of the sea and the laborious skill of the engraver. The mind gives its unquestioning and conscious a.s.sent to the psychological _delineations_ of Shakespeare, but it is doubtful if Shakespeare ever made it a special subject of study. He was undoubtedly a thorough reader of the ancient cla.s.sics, and a close and critical observer of the persons and events of his own time, and that we believe to have been the substance of his education, properly so called.

The essay on Hamlet is the best, and we quite agree with Dr. Kellogg's conclusion on this much disputed subject, that the dramatist meant to describe a mind unsettled by distress, and gradually culminating in complete madness. If we were allowed to draw a personal conclusion from reading this book, we should say that Dr. Kellogg is admirably adapted for that department of his n.o.ble profession which he has chosen.

The volume is well printed and beautifully bound.

HOMES WITHOUT HANDS.

Being a Description of the Habitations of Animals, cla.s.sed according to their Principles of Construction. By Rev. J. G. Wood, M.A., F.L.S., etc. With new designs by W. F. Keyle and E. Smith. 8vo, pp. 651. New York: Harper and Brothers. 1866.

This is a delightful book, full of scientific knowledge communicated in the most pleasing and attractive style. It is admirably calculated to awaken a love for natural science and original collection and exploration. We consider this cla.s.s of studies of the highest value, especially on account of their reflex action on the mind and character, and their powerful influence in the direction of morality and religion. We would suggest this book as an admirable one for prizes in our Catholic boarding-schools, and we wish natural science were more prized and cultivated in them than it at present seems to be.

It is printed and bound in a very handsome manner.

A PRACTICAL GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.

By T.E. Howard, A.M. Metropolitan Series. New York: D. & J. Sadlier & Co. 1866.

This is an excellent little manual for our schools, and we doubt not that it will come into extensive use.

It bears throughout the unmistakable signs of having come from the hand of an experienced teacher, from whose pen books of this character must come to possess any practical worth. The style in which it is published is, to our thinking, and according to our experience, unfit for a school-book. The copy sent us would be in tatters in the hand of a school boy before he had studied one tenth of it.

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