« ZurückWeiter »
supposed Letter to the Pope to appear; but gives, as in other cases, just so much of the Letter as suits his purpose, and no more. Again: MR. DALLAS, even with CASTERA's book before him, ventures to assert, that "the placing of the Jesuits " in her dominions was a proof of the sagacity of Catherine;" and adds, "I doubt whether Russia was ever more indebted "to any Sovereign than for this step, which was at once mag"nanimous, wise, and popular;" while, in the very same page of CASTERA, from which MR. DALLAS had been quoting the Empress's pretended Letter, the following passage appears: Perhaps the Empress only attached so much importance to "the negotiation, because she flattered herself that all the Je"suits of Europe and America would bring their treasures "and their industry into White Russia: but whatever her
hopes might be, the plunder of PARAGUAY never found its "way to MOHILOFF. The Jesuits were too cunning to place themselves and their wealth in the hands of a Princess with whose despotism and insatiable ambition they were well ac"quainted." We have here, therefore, first, the worldly policy of CATHERINE in desiring the return of the Jesuits pretty distinctly announced; and we have, secondly, an allegation that they were too wise to accept her offer: consequently, the vast advantages accruing to the Empire of Russia from such "a magnanimous, wise, and popular" step, never had any other place than in the fertile imagination of MR. Dallas, who takes care to quote no more of CASTERA'S History than would have established his own object, provided no one had looked at the History besides himself.
POPE CLEMENT XIII. is the next authority cited by MR. DALLAS in favor of the Jesuits, and he gives, at the end of his work, a translation of his principal Bull in their favor: a Bull which his Successor CLEMENT XIV. affirms (in the Bull which suppresses the Order) was extorted from CLEMENT XIII. by the Jesuits, rather than obtained (" literæ extortæ potius quam “obtenta"). Whether this was the fact or not, we are little concerned to know; MR. D. is at full liberty to take all the benefit
which he can derive from this Bull, or any other. There is a great store of this pontifical machinery for his selection: the collection of Bulls obtained by the Jesuits in their favor, all breathe the same language, and are equally suited to MR. DALLas's purpose, with the Bull of CLEMENT XIII.; but, howéver he may have studied and admired these ecclesiastical compositions, does he believe that those of the people of England who have ever considered the question of their own religion and their own history, are likely to be duped and deluded by Bulls granted by the Popes in favor of the Jesuits? The utmost to which the citation of this authority goes, is to shew that CLEMENT XIII. committed as great an error as many of his infallible Predecessors; but so far from this being any reason why those persons who deny their authority, and dispute their wisdom, should go wrong also, it is the very reason, of all others, for their taking a contrary course.
Of GANGANELLI, the successor of CLEMENT XIII. (who is MR. DALLAS's next authority), perhaps enough has been said, as well as of those fabricated Letters which it has answered the purpose of the Booksellers to publish, and of MR. DALLAS to quote, under his namé.
If MR. DALLAS had succeeded in setting up these Letters, of which GANGANELLI was not the author, against the Bull suppressing the Jesuits, of which he was the author, the only advantage he would have derived from this success would have been, to shew that a Pope, as well as meaner men, may entertain two different opinions, at different times. As all authentic evidence, however, is against his having thought in any way favorably of the Jesuits, either before he became a Pope, or afterwards, MR. DALLAS's placing him " among the autho"rities in favor of the Jesuits," upon the mere gratuitous assumption of his having written the Letters ascribed to him, only affords another example of the untenable ground which he is compelled to occupy in the support of a sinking cause.
The next authority for the Jesuits is the President D'EGUILLES (p. 133), to whom an opinion is ascribed in favor
of the Society, without our being informed from what book that opinion was extracted, or in what part of the book it ap pears. Admitting it to be true, that this personage said just what is set down for him," the opinion can only take rank with the favorable sentiments of other good Catholics in support of their brethren the Jesuits.
The same may be also said of the opinion of the Abbé PROYART, cited in p. 135; unless, indeed, it should appear, as has been strongly suspected by many, and loudly asserted by others, that the worthy Abbé himself was not a simple Catholic, but a Jesuit.
In the same page we find VOLTAIRE (mirabile dictu!) classed among the friends of the Jesuits, after he had been charged by MR. DALLAS with anxiously seeking their destruction, because they were the chief supports of religion and monarchy, both which, he himself opposed. When the Defender of a Religious Order is compelled to resort to such an authority as that of VOLTAIRE in its support, it seems high time to abandon its defence altogether! A blasphemer upon so large a scale as VOLTAIRE-a creature of such unparalleled profligacy in his conduct, can only disgrace that Order which takes shelter under the sanction of his name, unless its own vices should already have reduced it so low as to place it out of danger of falling lower. Surely it would have been prudent in MR. DALLAS to have suppressed the fact which he records, of VOLTAIRE having received his education in a College of Jesuits!
We have next the authority of MONTESQUIEU for the Jesuits (p. 137): and, as usual, MR. DALLAS gives us just as much of what MONTESQUIEU has said as serves his purpose, but no more. The Chapter from which MR. DALLAS quotes a few sentences which favor the Jesuits, if taken altogether, will be found to convey the most severe reflection on their corrupt and worldly policy.
The Chapter in question (book iv. chap. 6) is intended to describe certain extraordinary Institutions in the govern
ment of nations; and MONTESQUIEU, who, so long as an ef fect appeared to be produced, was (like the Jesuits) not very scrupulous about the means which were employed, thus describes those Institutions: "I request attention" (says he) ❝to the extent of genius which these Legislators (LYCURGUS "and PLATO) must have possessed, to discover, that, in vio66 lating all established usages, and in confounding all the vir66 tues, they would display their wisdom to the world. Ly
CURGUS gave stability to his City by uniting theft with the "spirit of justice, the most rigorous slavery, with the great"est liberty, and the most atrocious opinions, with the "greatest moderation: he seemed to deprive his City of all "the resources of the arts of commerce, wealth, and fortifi→ "cations; there was ambition without the hope of advance"ment, and the sentiments of nature without the characters "of child, husband, or father; even shame itself was taken "away from Chastity: it was by these means that SPARTA "was conducted to greatness and glory."
After stating in what parts of Greece these laws prevailed, and with what difficulty the nations who were governed by them were conquered, he proceeds to remark: "This ex"traordinary character, observable in the Institutions of “Greece, has been displayed in the dregs and corruption of "modern times. An honest Legislator has formed a people
among whom probity appears as natural, as bravery among "the Spartans. PENN is a true LYCURGUS; and although peace "was the object of the former, and war of the latter, they re"semble each other in the singular method of treating their "people, in the ascendancy they have possessed over free
men, in the prejudices they have surmounted, and the "passions they have subdued. PARAGUAY furnishes us with "another example. It has been imputed to the Society" (of Jesuits)" as a crime, that they considered the pleasure "of governing as the chief good of life; but" (here Mr. DalLAS's quotation begins) " it will ever be a glorious ambition to ❝ govern men by rendering them happy," &c. MR. Dallas,
in proceeding with the quotation, skips over the following passage as not very favorable to his friends the Jesuits: "The "zeal of the Society for a Religion which humbles those who “hear it, much more than those who preach it, has made it "undertake great things, and it has succeeded.”
Now, taking the whole of the above extract together, it is evident that MONTESQUIEU meant to compare the exertions of the Jesuits, in the dregs of modern times, with those of the Heathen Legislators LYCURGUS and PLATO. It is true that he praises, the Jesuits, and so he does their Pagan predecessors; but for what? for accomplishing their object of governing by measures of the most subtle and corrupt policy: he expressly instances the Jesuits as imitators and followers of the Grecian Legislators, who "displayed their wisdom "to the world by violating established usages, and con“founding every virtue." Well might an inspired Apostle declare, that "the world by wisdom knew not God!" MONTESQUIEU further remarks, that the Jesuits afford a proper example in modern times of those ancients who united theft with justice, slavery with licentiousness, and atrocious opinions with great moderation: all this ancient and modern contempt for reason and revelation may present a very fine picture to the eye of this philosophic Catholic, MONTESQUIEU, who, in observing the near approaches which the Jesuits have made to the perfection of Heathenism, discovers much to admire and commend. Perhaps the Public may see rather less, when they have thus before them the whole of his views upon the subject; and they may probably see farther occasion to distrust a writer who, when affecting to give the opinion of MONTESQUIEU upon the Jesuits, selects from that opinion just so much as suits him, and leaves the rest.
We next find BUFFON adduced as a witness in favor of the Jesuits (p. 138).
All who are in the slightest degree acquainted with the character of BUFFON, will be not a little surprised at finding his authority referred to, upon any question of morals; and will