Page images

population have emigrated from various foreign states, principally Ireland and Germany, and have brought with them, as it could not otherwise happen, foreign sentiments, attachments, associations, habits, manners, and usages. They bear not on coming here the stamp of the American mint, and are to the American people foreigners in feeling and character. This is not said by way of disparagement to either party, but as a fact, and a fact that gives to our church something of a foreign aspect, and prevents her from appearing to the natives as a national or integral element in American life. They are apt, therefore, to conclude from it, not only that the mass of Catholics are foreigners, or of foreign birth and manners, tastes, and education, but that Catholicity itself is foreign to the real American people, and can never coalesce with our peculiar national sentiment, or prevail here without altering or destroying our distinctive nationality. This conclusion, all unfounded as it is, is nevertheless honestly entertained by many, and directly or indirectly enlists on the side of the KnowNothing movement, not simply the anti-Catholic bigots and demagogues of the country, but a very considerable portion of the more sober nonCatholic body of Americans, who, though they love not our religion, would otherwise stand by the religious liberty recognised and guaranteed by our constitution and laws.

"It was to meet this view of the case, that we wrote in our last Review the article on Native Americanism.' We saw, or thought we saw, the sentiment of American nationality fearfully excited against Catholics; we saw a storm gathering and ready to break in fury over our heads; we saw anti-Catholic mobs and riots taking place in a large number of the States; we saw that Catholics could be attacked, their persons and property endangered, and their churches desecrated or demolished, with impunity; we saw that the authorities were in most places favourable to our anti-Catholic assailants, and indisposed to afford us protection, and that Catholics, a feeble minority as we are, could, however brave and resolute, do little to protect themselves in a hand-to-hand fight. We found a secret sympathy with the KnowNothing movement where we least expected it, and men secretly encouraging it who would naturally condemn it, actuated by dislike to foreignism rather than by any active hostility to Catholicity, as distinguished from the foreign elements accidentally associated with it. We wrote mainly for these, to show them that they had no reason for their secret or open sympathy, for we, a staunch Catholic, were a naturalborn American citizen, and as truly and intensely American as the best of them.

“Some of our friends, mistaking our purpose and wholly misconceiving the drift of our argument, construed our remarks into an attack on our foreign population, and as an especial insult to Irish Catholics,-not stopping to reflect that a Catholic American publicist could not possibly dream of insulting the Irish Catholics in the United States, unless an absolute fool or madman, neither of which any of our Catholic or non-Catholic friends readily believe us to be. We deeply regret the misapprehension of our friends, and their hasty and uncalledfor denunciations of us; because they have thereby, unwittingly, played for the moment into the hands of the Know-Nothings; because they

have as far as they could given a practical refutation of our argument, and confirmed in the minds of our non-Catholic countrymen the very impression which we wished to efface,-that an American cannot become a Catholic, be a good Catholic, and maintain his standing among his Catholic brethren, without virtually renouncing his nationality, ceasing to feel and act as an American, and making himself a foreigner in the land of his birth. We fear the denunciations of us, under the circumstances, by the larger portion of the Catholic press in the English tongue, will hereafter, when it is no longer an object with them to excite Catholics against us personally, be used by the Know-Nothings with terrible effect against the Catholic population of the country. We hope, however, that the candid among our nonCatholic countrymen-and we trust that there are many such-will not fail to perceive, what is the real fact, that these denunciations, after all, do not make any thing against our position, for the offence which our Catholic friends took was taken in their quality of foreigners, not in their quality of Catholics."

Mr Brownson goes on at great length, and with great skill, to justify his quasi Native American position. But our readers and perhaps some of his-already understand that he, like the rest of the apologists for Rome, can take any side of any public question when the interests of the church demand it.

We close with an extract from the "Pastoral Letter of the Archbishop and Bishops of the Province of New York to their venerable brethren of the clergy and beloved children of the laity," with reference to the public press. It will be found to confirm the views given in the earlier pages of this article, although those pages were written months before the session of the council" which issued the "Pastoral:"

[ocr errors]

"Two other subjects, dearly beloved brethren, have engaged the attention of the fathers in the council which has just been brought to a close. One is, the indiscriminate reception into your families of journals not at all calculated to impart, either to you or to those committed to your care, those solid maxims of public instruction which would tend to edification. We do not here intend to speak of merely secular papers. But we do speak rather of those which, taking advantage of certain feelings supposed to be alive in your breasts, whether in reference to kindred, country, or religion, involve you in political relations which it would be expedient for you to avoid; except, indeed, in the sense in which it is the right of every freeman to give his vote freely, conscientiously, individually, as often as the laws of the country call upon and authorise him to do so. There appears to be abroad an ignorance or prejudice on this subject, which it would be our desire and your interest to have removed. It is to the effect that every paper which advocates, or professes to advocate, the Catholic religion, or which advocates some imaginary foreign interest in this country, is, as a matter of course, under the direction of the priests or bishops in the locality where it is published, and consequently authorised to speak for

Hence, when the editors of

and in the name of the Catholic Church. such papers publish their own sentiments, by virtue of their indisputable right to exercise the liberty of the press, it is assumed by persons outside of our communion that they speak in the name of the church, and under direction of her pastors. Nothing could be more false than this inference, and we exhort you, venerable and beloved brethren, to leave nothing unsaid or undone to remove every shadow of foundation for this inference, so absurd in itself, but yet so injurious to us."

The cautious language here employed will afford an admirable cover for escape when any Roman Catholic journalist may happen to incur public odium by advocating too openly the real doctrines of the Papacy.

ART. VIII.-Intellect, The Emotions, and the Moral Nature. By Rev. WILLIAM LYALL, Free College, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Edinburgh: Thomas Constable & Co. 1855.

It might be stated, as an axiom of universal truth and importance, that without a true science of mind there can be no true science at all. An axiom cannot be proved; but it may be applied, and its truth thereby shown. All our knowledge of the external world must depend upon the mind, for mind alone can know. The mind can know only according to its own constitutional nature and laws, by means of which it apprehends what the external world presents to it to be apprehended and known. A false science of mind must needs stamp fallaciousness on all its perceptions, or at least on all the philosophical inferences drawn from that false mental science, or through its medium. So long as men followed implicitly the theories of mind which attempted to explain all our knowledge of material existence by means of "ideas," "sensible species," "genera and species," &c., it was found impossible to construct a true science of matter, or physical science. But when Bacon gave forth the principles and laws by which alone true science could be produced, principles and laws truly philosophical,—a mighty revolution began to guide the human mind as it entered on the new course thus laid open before it. The effect of this was first perceived in the regions of physical inquiry, which have advanced into what may now be fairly termed the Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences. Even these inductive sciences, however, are shown by their historian, Dr Whewell, to rest upon the primary ideas of the mind,-those laws of our mental constitution which form the basis to us of all our capacity

of knowing and believing our own existence and that of the external world.

The science of mind is itself experiencing a precisely similar revolution, later in its commencement, and not yet completed. It would be interesting and instructive to trace the progress of this revolution in mental philosophy, from the time when sound and earnest thinkers began to brush aside the ancient shadowy forms which had so long obscured the whole region of inquiry; but this our space does not permit us to attempt. A few points only can we touch, and that chiefly as referring to what we must assume our readers already know. The first decided improvement in mental philosophy was made by Reid, when he boldly took his stand on what he termed, not very happily, "Common Sense." That position was improved when its principles were designated the "Fundamental Laws of Human Belief," or, "Laws of Thought," or, "Principles and Laws of Intuition." But mental philosophers still continued in their writings to treat of mind and its faculties and powers in a minutely detailed manner, as if mind might be regarded as a congeries of faculties and powers, a mental confederacy among whose elements there might be harmony, or contention, or anarchy. Another important position in advance was taken by Dr Brown, when he asserted the absolute unity of mind, and termed these faculties merely "states of mind." But even he continued to treat of these states of mind too much as if they were separate faculties or powers, having at least so much of independent existence as to impair somewhat the feeling of united responsibility. Of this, that pseudo-philosophy termed Phrenology readily availed itself, and produced a fine congeries of convolutions in the brain, each the abode of its own separate faculty, tending to a very gross system of materialism. Such a theory could be but temporary, and has already almost sunk into oblivion, only leaving here and there some superannuated adherent, like a tide-mark, serving to show how far the flood of sound philosophy has advanced.

In Germany, the progress of sound mental philosophy has been retarded by the influence of its peculiar idealism; and very specially by the attempts of the German philosophers to ascribe potency to what they term, "forms of thought," as possessing a formative, almost a creative power,-not merely seeing nature as it is, but making it what it is. A recoil is beginning to take place in Germany also; and we may expect ere long to see not merely a return to the principles of sound philosophy, but an advancement of true mental science in accordance with those principles, produced by the strong and earnest energy characteristic of the German mind.

We do not hesitate to say that another and a very impor

tant addition has been made to the philosophy of mind by the author of the volume before us. Before his appointment to be Professor of Literature and Philosophy at Halifax, the Rev. William Lyall was well known to have devoted considerable attention to the philosophy of mind, and to be thoroughly conversant with that profound science. His appointment to that chair gave him time to prosecute studies so congenial to his mental bias, and the work before us appears to be the result of these studies. Mr Lyall's design has evidently been to construct a true philosophy of mind, advancing from its lowest to its highest development. He manifests an ample and accurate acquaintance with all the works of any importance that have been written on the subject; while with the open frankness of a free and independent mind, he binds himself to no system, but states his own opinions and gives his reasons for them. The work is eminently constructive; that is, the earnestly thoughtful author is so much bent on producing such a work as may advance the science of mind, that he devotes himself much more to the duty of stating truth, than to the task of refuting error. In the cases when it is imperatively necessary to refute error, in order to obtain admission for truth, Mr Lyall does not shrink from that task; but it is evident that his chief pleasure consists in building up what he deems the truth in mental science.

[ocr errors]


In a well-conceived Introduction, Mr Lyall vindicates the science of mind from the depreciatory sneers of Carlyle and others, and states the real nature and design of that important branch of human knowledge. He then proceeds to his subject, the first department of which is "The Philosophy of Intellect." "Mind and matter," says Professor Lyall, "are the two substances about which all philosophy is conversant. These two substances may be said to divide the universe." He next defines " substance to be that which subsists under certain qualities, these qualities being the only proper object of observation." What, then, is the distinction between these two substances; for they are totally distinct in kind? This at once suggests the great inquiry which has occupied the attention of all philosophers, and divided them into two grand classes, those who would account for all the phenomena of matter by what are called the formative laws of the mind; and those who ascribe all the phenomena of mind to mere organizations of matter. Professor Lyall states directly his position. "The only true system of philosophy is that which allows a real existence to both provinces, assigning to matter all that appertains to it, and to mind all that appertains to it." The attempt to do this philosophically is Professor Lyall's work.



« PreviousContinue »