« PreviousContinue »
axiom; and in this case, as ships sail best with ballast, she always walks more firmly and gracefully, instead of being impeded in her course.' (Pp. 370–1.)
• Nov. 7. 1820.— I have just finished Southey’s “Life of Wesley," a book one cannot read without some religious improvement; but what a trimmer poor Southey is, bowing to right and left! I have looked into Croker's translation of Fontaine's “Fables.” I grieve to see my dear old French friend in a masquerade Court dress, a Windsor uniform. It is a coarse and bad translation. He leaves out the sweetness, finesse, and simplicity of his author, and substitutes a vulgar jollity of phrase, quite intolerable on comparison with the original. (P. 437.) * July, 1821.-I should ask if
had “ Mrs. Delany's Letters.” They are too much alike, and, short as is the volume, it might be shortened with advantage ; but some of them give a most pleasing and minute picture of the interior of Windsor Castle in the happiest days of our late Sovereigns. They are valuable his. torically, as a faithful, though slight sketch of that branch of history, detailing the private life of the great, of which the French have too much, and we too little.' (P. 449.)
What would Mrs. Trench have said, had she lived to see the six portentous volumes of this elderly lady's Correspondence which are now before the public !
· Nov. 13. 1825. — “ Moore's Life of Sheridan " lowers the bio. grapher and the subject. He is a great motive-monger, and usually selects, among a variety of probable motives, those which are least dignified and meritorious. He does not appear to love Sberidan ; and he alters the complexion of facts in bis domestic life, so as to make him appear blameable in a point where the plain truth would have been highly to his honour. That truth could not hare been all told, but Moore ought not to have employed language which leads us to form an opposite conclusion.' (P. 513.)
As to the character of the mind of the authoress herself, it becomes us to touch with discretion on a person whose memory is still held sacred by many of the living. But we may be permitted to notice certain peculiarities which illustrate, perhaps, quite as much the generation in which she lived, as any individual idiosyncracy. Her religion was plainly undoubtingly orthodox, a practical consolation in all her sorrows, and in its public services a positive enjoyment. Yet this did not prevent her from recognising the superiority in many serious aspects of a Society of Friends to which her beloved Mrs. Leadbeater belonged, nor from speaking of her attendance at a Dissenting chapel as a very suitable, rational, and pleasant way of passing an evening. Her social morality was generous, some might think even too liberal, but she had so clear a sense of the temptations and calamities of mankind, that she could afford
to be compassionate, especially to women,
without lowering her own standard of virtue. She tries to find excuses for both parties in the Byron separation, and in another family difficulty she writes
- is going to receive his wanderer again. I cannot laugh at him, as others do. In a man, not otherwise deficient in sense and firmness, so much confiding love for a wife, - against experience, against probability, - against hope, -- against advice, — against all
, but affection,-is in my eyes interesting, and partakes of the feelings a superior being might have for erring mortals. (P. 349.)
We know how unfavourable an impression both Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton left upon her, but when his letters to Lady Hamilton were published, she speaks of them as though disgraceful to his principles of morality on one subject, not appearing to her, as they do to most others, degrading to his “understanding.'
• They are pretty much what every man, deeply entangled, will express, when he supposes but one pair of fine eyes will read his letters ; and his sentiments on subjects unconnected with his fatal attachment are elevated — looking to his hearth and his home for future happiness ; liberal, charitable, candid, affectionate, indifferent to the common objects of pursuit, and clear-sighted in his general view of politics and life.' (P. 291.)
In these our days, a lady of Mrs. Trench's intelligence, information, and interest in all about her would have her theological and ethical speculations, her schemes of philanthropy, and her, perhaps, partial or extravagant ideas as to her duties and mission in the world. But Mrs. Trench had no 'views;' she accepted without remonstrance the conditions of thought and of society in which she found herself placed; she extracted as much advantage as she could from them, both for herself and others; she criticised the shortcomings and laughed at the foibles of her time, but she never looked at herself as a reformer or as in a position to dictate to her contemporaries. Thus to some earnest persons her life, sincere as it was, might bear an aspect of occasional frivolity, and of a too ready conformity to manners which she would in her graver moments condemn.
To others, again, there may seem something commonplace, and even pedantic, in her general adherence to established forms, and her submission to the public opinions of her own class, though she had the courage to think for herself, whenever her feelings were engaged, as was shown in her hearty sympathy for the unfortunate Queen Caroline.
One word in conclusion as to the task which the learned and accomplished Dean of Westminster has undertaken in the
publication of this volume.
It required some courage to project, and much delicacy to execute as he has done, the design of bringing before the public the history of the mind and heart of one so near and dear to him. His materials were her journal, which had shared the frequent fate of private papers some portions unaccountably lost, and others perhaps intentionally destroyed -- and such letters as had happened to be preserved by family affection, or the tender admiration of friends. He has connected these by scarce half a dozen pages of narrative and explanation, and has printed them with conscientious accuracy, withoat apology, without eulogy, without vindication. He has let the book tell its own story, in its free and simple relations and in the candid exhibition of thoughts and feelings. Nor can we doubt that the result has justified his most ardent expectations, and that this volume will long be dear to all lovers of observant anecdote, of the wit that springs from the union of common sense and vivid fancy, of womanly sensibility combined with a masculine understanding, and of powers of expression, which, had they been seriously applied to objects of more general interest, would no doubt have ranked the name of Mrs. Richard Trench with those female worthies of which English literature is so justly proud.
She died at Malvern in May 1827, after some years of illness. She reproaches herself in a letter to Mrs. Shackleton for not having sufficiently appreciated the danger of her friend Mrs. Leadbeater's condition, adding, “I have been so long in a state
of suffering that it seemed to me the most natural thing in the ' world to be ill, and though I heard your dear mother was so, • the idea of danger never passed through my mind.'
The last record in her journal is an expression of gratitude for the kindliness of her neighbours, which must never be for‘gotten by me, be the time long or short during which I may * remember it here.' She left five sons, the eldest being the editor of these interesting memorials, which only came into his hands, on the decease of Mr. Richard Trench, about two years ago.
ART. IX.-1. Kirche und Kirchen, Papstthum und Kirchen
Historisch-politische Betrachtungen. Von Joh. Jos. IGN. v. DÖLLINGER. München: 1861. 2. The Church and the Churches; or the Papacy and the
Temporal Power. An Historical and Political Review. By Dr. DÖLLINGER. Translated, with the Author's permission,
by William BERNARD MACCABE. London: 1862. OUR ur readers will not blame us for seizing the opportunity of
the appearance of Dr. Döllinger's learned work to recall their attention to a subject we have already more than once had occasion to refer to, and which is still a question of pressing European interest. The Roman Question,' said Baron Ricasoli, while speaking in his place in the Chamber of Deputies, as Prime Minister of Italy, “is essentially a moral question ;' and he proceeded to explain that it must be decided, not by physical force, but by appealing to the moral convictions of Italy and of the Catholic world. It is in this sense, as a moral not a controversial question, and, consequently, as one vitally affecting the interests of European society both within and without the pale of the Roman Catholic Church, that we would deal with it here. While ultramontane zealots are denouncing almost as heresy every attempt to discriminate between what is essential and what is accidental in the double attributes of the ‘PopeKing,' and Exeter Hall fanatics are confidently predicting the downfall of Popery as necessarily coincident with the downfall of the temporalities of the Pope— both extremes apparently agreed in this -- there is a large middle class, including the devoutest and most intelligent thinkers, alike amongst Catholics and Protestants, who, because they differ from both the others, feel only more deeply the gravity of the situation which disturbs scrupulous consciences, hinders the moral development of the Italian kingdom, and, by imperilling the influence of the spiritual chief of the larger half of Christendom, imperils also the influence of the religion which he represents.
Apart from its intrinsic merits, which are considerable, there is much in the circumstances connected with the appearance of this work which gives it a peculiar importance at the present time.
Dr. Döllinger is far the most eminent Roman Catholic theologian of Germany, the worthy successor of the late Dr. Möhler, and has a school of disciples growing up around him; indeed, unless Father Passaglia is to be considered an exception, we might say that he is the most eminent Catholic theologian living.
He also completes the trio of the three greatest Catholic divines of France, Italy, and Germany respectively, who have, with more or less distinctness, though with some minor shades of difference, expressed themselves in a sense adverse to the essential nature of the temporal power for the welfare of the Church, and have very unmistakeably denounced it, in its present shape, as an evil. And if it be objected that Passaglia speaks rather as an Italian patriot than as a Catholic priest, no such insinuation can be made in the case of a writer who not only is no Italian himself, but who obviously has little sympathy for the Italian people, and still less for Italian unity, while the strong conservative temper which betrays itself throughout the volume would naturally incline him to adopt the view most favourable to the old régime. The circumstances attending the delivery, last year, at Munich, of the two lectures which are here reprinted in an appendix, and the excitement caused by them in the Catholic religious world, give additional interest to a work originating under such conditions. It is stated, moreover, on good authority, that the Pope has been made acquainted with its contents, and has expressed his approval of them. How far the declaration introduced into a recent Allocution, that the temporal power is not a dogma,' may be due to this influence, we are unable to say.
Dr. Döllinger has entered a protest against being identified in sentiment with Passaglia and Tosti, and we are bound to accept his disclaimer on a point of which he must be necessarily the sole judge. But we shall do him no injustice if we say that the main drift of his book is to impress on his co-religionists that the temporal sovereignty of the Pope is in no way essential to the integrity of the Church, and that there is no Divine promise that the successor of St. Peter shall
always remain monarch of a temporal kingdom.' He has, in fact, said much more than this; for if he has not felt himself at liberty to draw the inference, he has given us abundant data for inferring (as we shall by and by have occasion to show), that the loss of the temporal power, so far from being a serious injury, would, in many ways, greatly increase the moral and spiritual force of Catholicism. He sets out with the statement of three possible results of the present complication: viz., either that the temporal dominion will be restored, or partly restored, after a temporary alienation; or that the independence of the Holy See will be secured by some other means; or, lastly, that we are on the eve of a general European catastrophe, involving the whole edifice of existing social order in a common ruin
. And he tells us that of these three possibilities, he regards the first as most probable, viz., the restoration of the temporal power,