Imatges de pÓgina
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Which of these doctrines will be most potent to lead our nation to high things? Let us not forget that, although the educated, intellectual, and virtuous may be willing to admit that the wellbeing of the individual should be founded-even at the cost of sacrifice - upon the well-being of the many, the majority will, as they always have done, understand their well-being to mean their positive satisfaction or enjoyment; they will reject the notion of sacrifice as painful, and endeavor to realize their own happiness, even to the injury of others. They will seek it one day from liberty, the next from the deceitful promises of a despot; but the practical result of encouraging them to strive for the realization of their own happiness as a right, will inevitably be to lead them to the mere gratification of their own individual egotism.

If you reject all supreme law, all Providential guidance, all aim, all obligation imposed by the belief in a mission towards humanity, you have no right to prescribe your conception of well-being to others, as worthier or better. You have no certain basis, no principle upon which to found a system of education; you have nothing left but force, if you are strong enough to impose it. Such was the method adopted by the French Revolutionists, and they, in their turn, succumbed to the force of others, without knowing in the name of what to protest. And you would have to do the same. Without God, you must either accept anarchy as the normal condition of things, and this is impossible, or you must seek your authority in the force of this or that individual, and thus open the way to despotism and tyranny.

But what then becomes of the idea of progress? — what of the conception we have lately gained from historic science of the gradual but infallible education of humanity, of the link of solidary ascending life which unites succeeding generations, of the duty of sacrificing, if need be, the present generation to the elevation and morality of the generations of the future, of the pre

eminence of the fatherland over individuals, and the certainty that their devotion and martyrdom will, in the fulness of time, advance the honor, greatness, or virtue of their nation?

There are materialists, illogical and carried away by the impulses of a heart superior to their doctrines, who do both feel and act upon this worship of the ideal; but materialism denies it. Materialism, as a doctrine, only recognizes in the universe a finite and determinate quantity of matter, gifted with a definite number of properties, and susceptible of modification, but not of progress; in which certain productive forces act by the fortuitous agglomeration of circumstances not to be predicated or foreseen, or through the necessary succession of causes and effects,-of events inevitable and independent of all human action.

Materialism admits neither the intervention of any creative intelligence, Divine initiative, nor human free-will; by denying the law-giving Intellect, it denies all intelligent Providential law; and the philosophy of the squirrel in its cage, which men term Pantheism at the present day, by confounding the subject and the object in one, cancels alike the Ego and non-Ego, good and evil, God and man, and, consequently, all individual mission or free-will. The wretched doctrine, recognizing no higher historic formula than the necessary alternation of vicissitudes, condemns humanity to tread eternally the same circle, being incapable of comprehending the conception of the spiral path of indefinite progress upon which humanity traces its gradual ascent towards an ideal beyond.

Strange contradiction! Men whose aim it is to combat the practice of egotism instilled into the Italian people by tyranny, to inspire them with a sacred devotion to the fatherland, and make of them a great nation, the artificer of the progress of humanity, present as the first intellectual food of this people now awakening to new life, whose whole strength lies in their good instincts and virginity of intellect, a theory the ultimate consequences of which

are to establish egotism upon a basis idea, which find expression in our counof right!

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They call upon their people worthily to carry on the grand traditions of their past, when all around them— popes, princes, military leaders, literati, and the servile herd- have either insolently trampled liberty under foot, or deserted its cause in cowardly indifference; and they preach to them a doctrine which deprives them of every pledge of future progress, every stimulus to affection, every noble aspiration towards sacrifice, — they take from them the faith that inspires confidence in victory, and renders even the defeat of to-day fruitful of triumph on the morrow. The same men who urge upon them the duty of shedding their blood for an idea begin by declaring to them: There is no hope of any future for you. Faith in immortality — the lesson transmitted to you by all past humanity a falsehood; a breath of air, or trifling want of equilibrium in the animal functions, destroys you wholly and forever. There is even no certainty that the results of your labors will endure; there is no Providential law or 'design, consequently no possible theory of the future; you are but building up to-day what any unforeseen fact, blind force, or fortuitous circumstance may overthrow to-morrow.

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They teach these brothers of theirs, whom they desire to elevate and ennoble, that they are but dust,—a necessary, unconscious secretion of I know not what material substance; that the thought of a Kepler or Dante is dust, or rather phosphorus; that genius, from Prometheus to Jesus, brought down no divine spark from heaven; that the moral law, free-will, merit, and the consequent progress of the Ego, are illusions; that events are successively our masters, -inexorable, irresponsible, and insuperable to human will.

And they see not that they thus confirm that servile submission to the accomplished fact, that doctrine of opportunity, that bastard Machiavellism, that worship of temporary interests, and that indifference to every great

try at the present day in the betrayal of national duty by our higher classes, and in the stupid resignation of our

masses.

IV.

I INVOKE the rising-and I should die consoled, even in exile, could I see the first signs of its advent, but this I dare not hope- I invoke the rising of a truly Italian school; - a school which, comprehending the causes of the downfall of the Papacy, and the impotence of the merely negative doctrine which our Italian youth have borrowed from superficial French materialists and the German copyists, should elevate itself above both, and come forward to announce the approaching and inevitable religious transformation which will put an end to the existing divorce between thought and action, and to the crisis of egotism and immorality through which Europe is passing.

I invoke the rising of a school destined to prepare the way for the initiative of Italy; - which shall, on the one side, undertake the examination of the dogma upon which Catholicism was founded, and prove it to be worn out, exhausted, and in contradiction to our new conception of life and its laws; and, on the other hand, the refutation of materialism under whatsoever form it may present itself, and prove that it also is in contradiction of that new conception, that it is a stupid, fatal negation of all moral law, of human free-will, of our every sacred hope, and of the calm and constant virtue of sacrifice.

I invoke a school which shall philosophically develop all the consequences, the germ of which - neglected or ignored by superficial intellects — is contained in the word Progress considered as a new term in the great historical synthesis, the expression of the ascending advance of humanity from epoch to epoch, from religion to religion, towards a vaster conception of its own aim and its own law.

I invoke the rising of a school des

tined to demonstrate to the youth of Italy that rationalism is but an instrument, the instrument adopted in all periods of transition by the human intellect to aid its progress from a worn-out form of religion to one new and superior, and science only an accumulation of materials to be arranged and organized in fruitful synthesis by a new moral conception;-a school that will recall philosophy from this puerile confusion of the means with the aim, to bring it back to its sole true basis, the knowledge of life and comprehension of its law.

I invoke a school which will seek the truth of the epoch, not in mere analysis, —always barren and certain to mislead, if undirected by a ruling principle, but in an earnest study of universal tradition, which is the manifestation of the collective life of humanity; and of conscience, which is the manifestation of the life of the individual.

I invoke a school which shall redeem from the neglect cast upon it by theories deduced from one of our human faculties alone that intuition which is the concentration of all the faculties upon a given subject;—a school which, even while declaring it exhausted, will respect the past, without which the future would be impossible,—which will protest against those intellectual barbarians for whom every religion is falsehood, every form of civilization now extinct a folly, every great pope, king, or warrior now in the course of things surpassed a criminal or a hypocrite, and revoke the condemnation, thus uttered by presumption in the present, of the past labors and intellect of entire humanity; a school which may condemn, but will not defame, — will judge, but never, through frenzy of rebellion, falsify history; a school which will declare the death that is, without denying the life that was, which will call upon Italy to emancipate herself for the achievement of new glories, but strip not a single leaf from her wreath of glories past.

Such a school would regain for Italy her European initiative, her primacy.

Italy as I have said—is a relig

ion.

Some have affirmed this of France. They were mistaken. France - if we except the single moment when the Revolution and Napoleon summed up the achievements of the epoch of individuality— has never had any external mission, other than, occasionally, as an arm of the Church, the instrument of an idea emanating from Papal Rome.

But the mission of Italy in the world was at all times religious, and the essential character of Italian genius was at all times religious.

The essence of every religion lies in a power, unknown to mere science, of compelling man to reduce thought to action, and harmonize his practical life with his moral conception. The genius of our nation, whenever it has been spontaneously revealed, and exercised independently of all foreign inspiration, has always evinced the religious character, the unifying power to which I allude. Every conception of the Italian mind sought its incarnation in action,-strove to assume a form in the political sphere. The ideal and the real, elsewhere divided, have always tended to be united in our land. Sabines and Etruscans alike derived their civil organization and way of life from their conception of Heaven. The Pythagoreans founded their philosophy, religious associations, and political institutions at one and the same time. The source of the vitality and power of Rome lay in a religious sense of a collective mission, of an aim to be achieved, in the contemplation of which the individual was submerged. Our democratic republics were all religious. Our early philosophical thinkers were all tormented by the idea of translating their ideal conceptions into practical rules of government.

And as to our external mission.

We alone have twice given moral unity to Europe, to the known world. The voice that issued from Rome in the past was addressed to and reverenced by humanity,—“ Urbs Orbi.”

Italy is a religion. And when, in my

earliest years, I believed that the initiative of the third life of Europe would spring from the heart, the action, the enthusiasm and sacrifice of our people, I heard within me the grand voice of Rome sounding once again, hailed and accepted with loving reverence by the peoples, and telling of moral unity and fraternity in a faith common to all humanity. It was not the unity of the past, which, though sacred and conducive to civilization for many centuries, did but emancipate individual man, and reveal to him an ideal of liberty and equality only to be realized in Heaven it was a new unity, emancipating collective humanity, and revealing the formula of Association, through which liberty and equality are destined to be realized here on earth; sanctifying the earth and rendering it what God wills it should be, a stage upon the path of perfection, a means given to man wherewith to deserve a higher and nobler existence hereafter.

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weary of scepticism, egotism, and moral anarchy, receive the new faith with acclamations. I saw a new pact founded upon that faith, a pact of united action in the work of human perfectibility, involving none of the evils or dangers of the former pact, because among the first consequences of a faith founded upon the dogma of progress would be the justification of heresy, as either a promise or endeavor after progress in the future.

The vision which brightened my first dream of country has vanished, so far as concerns my own life. Even if that vision be ever fulfilled, - as I believe it will be, I shall be in the tomb. May the young, as yet uncorrupted by scepticism, prepare the way for its realization; and may they, in the name of our national tradition and the future, unceasingly protest against all who seek to immobilize human life in the name of a dogma extinct, or to degrade it by diverting it from the eternal worship of the Ideal.

The religious question is pre-eminent over every other at the present day, and the moral question is indissolubly linked with it. We are bound either to solve these, or renounce all idea of an Italian mission in the world. JOSEPH MAZZINI.

REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.

Miss Ravenel's Conversion from Secession to Loyalty. By J. W. DE FORREST. New York: Harper and Brothers.

THE light, strong way in which our author goes forward in this story from the first, and does not leave difficulty to his readers, is pleasing to those accustomed to find an American novel a good deal like the now extinct American stage-coach, whose passengers not only walked over bad pieces of road, but carried fence-rails on their shoulders to pry the vehicle out of the sloughs and miry places. It was partly the fault of the im

perfect roads, no doubt, and it may be that our social ways have only just now settled into such a state as makes smooth going for the novelist; nevertheless, the old stagecoach was hard to travel in, and what with drafts upon one's good nature for assistance, it must be confessed that our novelists have been rather trying to their readers. It is well enough with us all while the road is good, — a study of individual character, a bit of landscape, a stretch of well-worn plot, gentle slopes of incident; but somewhere on the way the passengers are pretty sure to be asked to step out,—the ladies to walk

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on ahead, and the gentlemen to fetch fence- his duty to contribute towards the payment
rails.
the war, by relating his work to them; and
of the accumulated interest in the events of
the heroes of young-lady writers in the mag-
late campaigns over again, as young ladies
azines have been everywhere fighting the
would have fought them.
We do not say

Our author imagines a Southern loyalist and his daughter sojourning in New Boston, Barataria, during the first months of the war. Dr. Ravenel has escaped from New Orleans just before the Rebellion began, and has brought away with him the most sarcastic and humorous contempt and abhorrence of his late fellow-citizens, while his daughter, an ardent and charming little blonde Rebel, remembers Louisiana with longing and blind admiration. The Doctor, born in South Carolina, and living all his days among slaveholders and slavery, has not learned to love either; but Lillie differs from him so widely as to scream with joy when she hears of Bull Run. Naturally she cannot fall in love with Mr. Colburne, the young New Boston lawyer, who goes into the war conscientiously for his country's sake, and resolved for his own to make himself worthy and lovable in Lillie's blue eyes by destroying and desolating all that she holds dear. It requires her marriage with Colonel Carter-a Virginia gentleman, a good-natured drunkard and roué and soldier of fortune on our side to make her see Colburne's worth, as it requires some comparative study of New Orleans and New Boston, on her return to her own city, to make her love the North. Bereft of her husband by his own wicked weakness, and then widowed, she can at last wisely love and marry Colburne; and, cured of Secession by experiencing on her father's account the treatment received by Unionists in New Orleans, her conversion to loyalty is a question of time duly settled before the story ends.

We sketch the plot without compunction, for these people of Mr. De Forrest's are so unlike characters in novels as to be like people in life, and none will wish the less to see them because he knows the outline of their history. Not only is the plot good and very well managed, but there is scarcely a feebly painted character or scene in the book. As to the style, it is so praiseworthy that we will not specifically censure occasional defects, for the most part, slight turgidities notable chiefly from their contrast to the prevailing simplicity of the narrative.

Our war has not only left us the burden of a tremendous national debt, but has laid upon our literature a charge under which it has hitherto staggered very lamely. Every author who deals in fiction feels it to be

that this is not well, but we suspect that
really and artistically. His campaigns do
Mr. De Forrest is the first to treat the war
not try the reader's constitution, his battles
are not bores. His soldiers are the soldiers
we actually know, the green wood of the
volunteers, the warped stuff of men torn
from civilization and cast suddenly into the
barbarism of camps, the hard, dry, tough,
true fibre of the veterans that came out of
the struggle. There could hardly be a bet-
soldier than Captain Colburne; and if
ter type of the conscientious and patriotic
Colonel Carter must not stand as type of
knowledged as true to the semi-civilization
the officers of the old army, he must be ac-
of the South. On the whole he is more en-
tertaining than Colburne, as immoral people
from them.
are apt to be to those who suffer nothing
"His contrasts of slanginess
ciance of character, and all the picturesque
and gentility, his mingled audacity and insou-
ins and outs of his moral architecture, so
different from the severe plainness of the
spiritual temples common in New Boston,"
do take the eye of peace-bred Northerners,
though never their sympathy. Throughout,
thorough and enthusiastic soldiership, and
we admire, as the author intends, Carter's
we perceive the ruins of a generous nature
ginian profusion, his imperfect Virginian
in his aristocratic Virginian pride, his Vir-
shot, fighting bravely at the head of his
sense of honor. When he comes to be
column, after having swindled his govern-
ment, and half unwillingly done his worst
to break his wife's heart, we feel that our
world is on the whole something better for
side has lost a good soldier, but that the
our loss. The reader must go to the novel
acter, and preferably to those dialogues in
itself for a perfect conception of this char-
for in his development of Carter, at least,
which Colonel Carter so freely takes part;
Mr. De Forrest is mainly dramatic. In-
deed, all the talk in the book is free and
ing which distinguishes the speech of some,
natural, and, even without the hard swear-
for another, as often happens in novels.
it would be difficult to mistake one speaker

simple, is treated in a manner invariably
The character of Dr. Ravenel, though so

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