Imágenes de páginas

incidents mentioned in the preceding paragraphs may perhaps have seemed insignificant or wearisome, but it is their very commonness, their very familiarity, that gives them, when rightly considered, a surprising interest. There is nothing in these minute details but what we find to be perfectly natural from the European point of view. They might be, for that matter, instead of reminiscences of the spontaneous evolution of a people shut out from the rest of the world by impassable oceans, a relation of the progress of some European or Asiatic nation. The man of America advanced in his course of civilization as did the man of the Old World, devising the same institutions, guided by the same intentions, constrained by the same desires. From the great features of his social system down to the little details of his domestic life, there is a sameness with what was done in Asia, Africa, Europe. But similar results imply a similar cause. What, then, is there possessed in common by the Chinese, the Hindoo, the Egyptian, the European, the American? Surely not climate, nor equal necessities, nor equal opportunity. Simply nothing but this-corporeal organization! As automatons constructed in the same way will do the same things, so, in organic forms, sameness of structure will give rise to identity of function and similarity of acts. The same common sense guides men all over the world. Common sense is a function of common organization. All natural history is full of illustrations. It may be offensive to our pride, but it is none the less true, that in his social progress, the freewill of which man so boasts himself in his individual capacity disappears as an active influence, and the domina. tion of general and inflexible laws becomes manifest. The free-will of the individual is supplanted by instinct and automatism in the race. To each individual bee

Analogy.bethe career is open; he may taste of this flower tween socieand avoid that; he may be industrious in the and societies garden, or idle away his time in the air; but of animals. the history of one hive is the history of another hive; there will be a predestined organization—the queen, the drones, the workers. In the midst of a thousand unfore. seen, uncalculated, variable acts, a definite result, with unerring certainty, emerges; the combs are built in a pre-ordained way, and filled with honey at last. From

The crime of


bees, and wasps, and ants, and birds—from all that low animal life on which he looks with such supercilious contempt, man is destined one day to learn what in truth he really is. For a second reason, also, I have dwelt on these details.

The enormous crime of Spain in destroying this Spain in civilization has never yet been appreciated in

Europe. After an attentive consideration of the facts of the case, I agree in the conclusion of Carli, that at the time of the conquest the moral man in Peru was superior to the European, and I will add, the intellectual man also. Was there in Spain, or even in all Europe, a political system carried out into the practical details of actual life, and expressed in great public works, as its outward visible and enduring sign, which could at all compare with that of Peru ? Its only competitor was the Italian system, but that for long had been actively used to repress the intellectual advancement of man. In vain the The Spaniard Spaniards excuse their atrocities on the plea

that a nation like the Mexican, which permitted

cannibalism, should not be regarded as having emerged from the barbarous state, and that one which, like Peru, sacrificed human hecatombs at the funeral solemnities of great men, must have been savage. Let it be remembered that there is no civilized nation whose popular practices do not lag behind its intelligence; let it be remembered that in this respect Spain herself also was guilty. In America, human sacrifice was part of a religious solemnity, unstained by passion. The auto da fé of Europe was a dreadful cruelty; not an offering to heaven, but a gratification of spite, hatred, fear, vengeance-the most malignant passions of earth. There was no spectacle on the American continent at which a just man might so deeply blush for his race as that presented in Western Europe when the heretic from whom confession had been wrung by torture passed to his stake in a sleeveless garment, with flames of fire and effigies of an abominable European and import depicted upon it. Let it be remembered American hu- that by the Inquisition, from 1481 to 1808,

340,000 persons had been punished, and of these nearly 32,000 burnt. Let what was done in the south of France be remembered. Let it be also remembered

and the American.

man sacrifices,


that, considering the worthlessness of the body of man, and that, at the best, it is at last food for the wormconsidering the infinite value of his immortal soul, for the redemption of which the agony and death of the Son of God were not too great a price to pay-indignities offered to the body are less wicked than indignities offered to the soul. It would be well for him who comes forward as an accuser of Mexico and Peru in their sin to dispose of the fact that at that period the entire authority of Europe was directed to the perversion, and even total repression of thought-to an enslaving of the mind, and making that noblest creation of Heaven a worthless machine. To taste of human flesh is less criminal in the eye of God than to stifle human thought.

Lastly, there is another point to which I will with brevity allude. It has been widely asserted

Antiquity of that Mexican and Peruvian civilization was American altogether a recent affair, dating at most only two or three centuries before the conquest. It would be just as well to say that there was no civilization in India before the time of the Macedonian invasion because there exist no historic documonts in that country anterior to that event. The Mexicans and Peruvians were not heroes of a romance to whom wonderful events were of common occurrence, whose lives were regulated by laws not applying to the rest of the human race, who could produce results in a day for which elsewhere a thousand years are required. They were men and women like ourselves, slowly and painfully, and with many failures, working out their civilization. The summary manner in which they have been disposed of reminds us of the amusing way in which the popular chronology deals with the hoary annals of Egypt and China. Putting aside the imperfect methods of recording events practised by the autochthons of the Western world, he who estimates rightly the slowness with which man passes forward in his process of civilization, and collates therewith the prodigious works of art left by those two nations--an enduring evidence of the point to which they had attained — will find himself constrained to cast aside such idle assertions as altogether unworthy of confutation, or even of attention.




Restoration of Greek Literature and Philosophy in Italy.-Development

of Modern Languages and Rise of Criticism.-Imminent Danger to

Latin Ideas. Invention of Printing.-It revolutionizes the Communication of Know

ledge, especially acts on Public Worship, and renders the Pulpit of

secondary importance. THE REFORMATION.-Theory of Supererogation and Use of Indulgences.

- The Right of Individual Judgment asserted.-Political History of the Origin, Culmination, and Check of the Reformation.-Its Effects

in Italy. Causes of the Arrest of the Reformation.— Internal Causes in Protes

tantism.-External in the Policy of Rome. - The Counter-Reformation. - Inquisition.Jesuits.--Secession of the great Critics.-Culmination of the Reformation in America.-Emergence of Individual Liberty of Thought.

The rise of criticism.

In estimating the influences of literature on the approach

of the Age of Reason in Europe, the chief inci

dents to be considered are the disuse of Latin as a learned language, the formation of modern tongues from the vulgar dialects, the invention of printing, the decline of the power of the pulpit, and its displacement by that of the press. These, joined to the moral and intellectual influences at that time predominating, led to the great movement known as the Reformation. As if to mark out to the world the real cause of its

intellectual degradation, the regeneration of Italy Epoch of the

commenced with the exile of the popes to Avig

During their absence, so rapid was the progress that it had become altogether impossible to make

intellectual movement.


any successful resistance, or to restore the old condition of things on their return to Rome. The moment that the leaden cloud which they had kept suspended over the country was withdrawn, the light from heaven shot in, and the ready peninsula became instinct with life.

The unity of the Church, and, therefore, its power, required the use of Latin as a sacred language. Use of Latin Through this Rome had stood in an attitude as a sacred strictly European, and was enabled to maintain language. a general international relation. It gave her far more power than her asserted celestial authority, and, much as she claims to have done, she is open to condemnation that, with such a signal advantage in her hands, never again to be enjoyed by any successor, she did not accomplish much more. Had not the sovereign pontiffs been so completely occupied with maintaining their emoluments and temporalities in Italy, they might have made the whole Continent advance like one man. Their officials could pass without difficulty into every nation, and communicate without embarrassment with each other, from Ireland to Bohemia, from Italy to Scotland. The possession of a common tongue gave them the administration of international affairs with intelligent allies everywhere speaking the same language.

Not, therefore, without cause was the hatred manifested by Rome to the restoration of Greek and introduction of Hebrew, and the alarm with which dislike of she perceived the modern languages forming out Rome to the of the vulgar dialects. The prevalence of Latin was the condition of her power, its deterioration the measure of her decay, its disuse the signal of her limitation to a little principality in Italy. In fact, the development of European languages was the instrument of her overthrow. They formed an effectual communication between the mendicant friars and the illiterate populace, and there was not one of them that did not display in its earliest productions a sovereign contempt for her. We have seen how it was with the poetry of Languedoc.

The rise of the many-tongued European literature was therefore co-incident with the decline of papal Christianity. European literature was impossible under the

Causes of the

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »