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Abbéce: the all the jesuitostile bodyspuu
which the Illuminés seemed to hold their country at auction ; and they would gladly have knocked it down whole to the first Austrian or Prussian sovereign who had the courage to bid. Whatever were the motives of Frederic's denunciation, the Abbé BARRUEL has the cause of a dearly-beloved Order to avenge: the Illuminés had cleared (p. 71) the university of Ingolstadt of all the jesuits.
An analogous though hostile body-spirit fesprit du corps) has, in all catholic countries at least, distinguished the philosophers and the jesuits; there, the rival leaders of heretical and orthodox literature. To the natural operation of this spirit, the Abbé BARRUEL gives the name of conspiracy. In his sense of the word, popery was established in England by a conspiracy of Christians, in France by a conspiracy of non-christians, and Christianity itself was founded by a conspiracy of apostles and presbyters. The institution of Christianity, and the abolition of popery, have nevertheless been eventually useful to mankind. -Body-spirit is no doubt an equivocal virtue ; yet no. sect has ever thriven without it. It is an extension of the principle of fidelity in friendship, to a more numerous description of friends. As we applaud the man who, with some sacri. fice of impartiality, defends the character of his friend when attacked, or rescues him from the weight of impending poverty, at an expence which he would not bestow on the equal distress of some more useful man, of some celebrated poet of philosopher, personally unknown;- ought we harshly to blame him who, in proportion to the importance which he attaches to the views of his sect or party, becomes the general panegyrist of its friends, and the general antagonist of its focs ? English philosophers, as Mr. Burke very justly obe served, have never been gregarious. They have consequently never been efficient. They have fallen singly by the pin-stabs of old women, unlamented.-Body-spirit often arises from a benevolent sense of the importance of a cause :but it has still oftener been founded by the chieftains of sects, on the vindictive passions of human nature. It has most usu. ally and most powerfully been excited by ascribing it in a high degree to the adversary : which never fails to beget a countera effort, and a spirit of retaliation. This game is now playing, with considerable success, by the Anti-jacobins of England; who are endeavouring to give a paper currency to the once sterling doctrines of passive obedience to the church, and divine aua thority to the king: they seem to deem public opinion the creature of mechanical agency; and they impute conspiracy against the public constitution and religion, to every admirer of Dr. Adam Smith and Mr. Gibbon. Something of this kind was possibly founded in Germany, under other auspices. Nn4
The pompous description of the German Union, on which the Abbé enters at p. 322, is little else than the mode of describing in the form of a plot a very innocent and natural process in the republic of letters. The German authors took a pleasure in founding book-clubs and subscription-libraries ; and what is more natural than to court an increase of customers? -Factions broke out in these literary societies, and pains were taken to secure managers in the interest of the friends of innovation, often with success. This again may very naturally have resulted from a simple pecuniary calculation. The friends of stability usually tend to literary intolerance : they are afraid of new books, particularly of such as make a noise in the world; and if entrusted with the selection of circulating libraries, they frequently reject such books. By those who read for conversation and amusement, these are most desired, and such readers are reduced, therefore, to the costly necessity of perpetual private disbursements in order to procure them, under a system of exclusion. The friends of innovation, on the contrary, are seldom afraid of old books, or even of new vamp'd defences of what has been defended to satiety: they have theʻrash con, fidence of vanity in the inefficacy of such defences į and their selection of books tends, consequently, to be more comprehensive and popular. Booksellers, again, must eventually lean to those writers whose publications inose rapidly find an extensive market. Quickness of return is more important to their profit than a slow but eventually entire sale. Their preference of authors who are in favor with the book-societies and critics was a cool preference of interest; conducive, no doubt, to the farther progress of the popular opinions, but very distinct from any criminal subserviency to them. The number of periodical publications, continually starting up in Germany, was still less the result of a plot to illuminate. Authors like to appear in mass, not in detail; in quarto volumes, not in single sheets: but the booksellers can afford to allow more for the composition of periodical publications, which risk little capital at once, and are continued only while they sell, than for huge works, of which the paper and printing may long remain a dead stock ;- and certainly it is for the real interests of literature, that every thing should first incur, in a fugicious form, the criticisms of cotemporaries, before it be laid-by for posterity in a splendid quarto edition. From the importance to booksellers of a quick return, results also the fatiguing effort of authors to give to every thing an amusing form : for this end, religion is taught in novels, and philosophy in plays. To all who write books of amusement, the new in opinions, manners, and institutions, is of value: it strikes because it is not familiar. Such writers usually lean
to the schools of innovation. Thus book-clubs, authors, and printers, gradually came to form a powerful party of opinion, vibrating in unison with the national mind of Germany; and all this is not contrivance,- it is symptomatic merely of the course and direction of the tide of public spirit. :? :- There is indeed one species of romance in which the friends of stability or rather, of retrogression) can conveniently excel
in plot-finding-in giving a marvellous and almost supernatural colouring to daily incidents and processes-in describing every private supper as an orgie, every tavern-meeting as a lodge-in treating promiscuous conversations as exoteric, and confidential conversations as mysteries - in denominating the introduction of a new acquaintance among men of letters, an initiation, and any subsequent change of his opinion, an admission to a higher grade in the invisible hierarchy of philosophy: In this auctioneer-style of hyperbole, the most trivial incidents are disguised to vulgar readers in enigmatic importance, and partake of the stupendous supernaturality of the transactions in Herman of Unna *. The sympathy of companions in the same studies, and the intuitive consentaneity of superior minds, are thus attributed to formal conspiracy and secret combination. Genius acquires a tyrannic importance, and is supposed to realize its will by the vile assistance of oaths of allegiance' and disciplined terrorists': not by its revealing to upright men the expedient direction of their voluntary beneficence.
The reader of the Apologie der Illuminaten (Frankfurt, 1786) must wonder what it is for which they had to apologize. A rare absence of indiscretion appears in general to have fallen to their lot: they seem strongly to have feared whatever was in. decorous and reprehensible, and to have been trained never to endanger themselves : it would seem as if they aimed at uniting the mildness of the Christian with the resolution of the hero. We look at these sectaries as at men skaiting. A sense of their insecurity and danger represses all envy of their occupation, all inclination to join them. Yet the spectator feels obliged by the exhibition of their évolutions; by their exploring so boldly the cracking ice of despotism; by their smoothly skimming on the outside edge of liberality, and maintaining the easy poise of conscious skill in a very slippery career, • It must have been mortifying to the Abbé BARRUEL, after the enormities of opinion charged by him on the Illuminés, to find so little practical mischief individually or collectively laid to their charge. In order to constitute something like an
* See Rev. vol. xv. N. S. p. 21.
impeachment, he has recourse, in his xith chapter, to the French Revolution; and what was originally charged on the Encyclopedists is now to be transferred to the Illuminés. It was difficult to make out any connexion between the crimes of the Parisians and the opinions of the Bavarians. The link of union chosen is Mirabeau ; who is supposed to have fetched from the lodge of Numinés at Berlin tire maxims, the management, and the profligacy which he professed at Paris. As well might the civil war of China be ascribed to the British embassy; or the conduct of the Anti-jacobins in Ireland to Delolme's History of the Flagellants *.
Improbable as it may appear that the Abbé BARRUEL can have had prompters, it is scarcely possible that he should know, without extraordinary or supernatural aid, many particulars which are told very glibly and roundly.
The reader will undoubtedly not require (says he, p.469.) that I should here name the men to whom these confidential communications were made: but I can aver that they reached ministers ; whose wisdom tolerated, for a time, at London, Vandernoot, Nocl, and his other ac. complices; keeping an eye over them, until they were sent to conspire elsewhere, and to project the means of gaining by fictitious caresses the populace whose arms they fear.' · We have not received a French work intitled Le Tombeau de
Jaques Molay, nor do we know whether it be justly ascribed to M. Ferrand: but we hear that it professes to indicate a hitherto invisible branch of the enlightened sect, and has named Price, Priestley, Sheridan, and Fox, among the chosen chiestains of English Illuminism. The public will hence be able to understand against what sort of persons and opinions, these clamorous and baseless accusations are intended to be hurled. The progress of our inquiries respecting Illuminism has given us, it will be perceived, a more favourable opinion of the complexion of this sect than at first we had formed. Let us however observe that, while the Illuminés continue under most in Germany, it is likely that they should tend to operate as a French party. Persons inclining to republicanism, on the hypothesis of an elective constitution, are everywhere to be found among the most zealous defenders of their country: but, on the hypothesis of an hereditary constitution, they are not unlikely to view with tolerant apathy, at least, the progress of a republicanizing invader. If, by any convulsion, the Illuminés were to become uppermost in Germany, if they were already the literary priesthood of a consolidated and reformed empire, they would tend to operate as an Anti-gallican party,
* See Review, vol. Ivi. p. 358.
by ta the people.eople, ble to illu
and to stimulate their country to the re-conquest of Holland and of Flanders ; and to the emancipation of those beautiful provinces along the Rhine, from the barbarizing influence of French manners and legislation, and from the rapacious tyranny of directorial usurpation. Patriotically speaking, Great Britain seems to have an interest in the ascendancy of the party founded by the Illuminés. ,
The main drift of the splendid peroration of the Abbé BARRUEL is to recommend new restrictions on publication. • Begin (says he, p.557) by taking from the sect its means of delusion. Remove far from the people all these incendiary productions; and when I speak of the people, I speak of all classes of society; for I know of none inaccessible to illusion. I speak even more especially of that class which has been sup posed most to abound in information. Denouncer of vandalism! thus began those men who, after having published a catalogue of prohibited books, stretched on the funeral pyre a Palearius and a Vanini, plunged a Galileo into the dungeons of the inquisition, patronized those domestic crusades which laid waste the earliest seats of modern culture, . : « Rolling mother with infant down the rocks," " and at length accomplished in France the infernal massacre called after the name of Saint Bartholomew !- An awful retribution has been inflicted beneath our eyes !
An Appendix of fifteen pages is devoted by the Abbé to the examination of what we have already said concerning these memoirs.
• Qui uneprise Cotin n'estime point son roi ;
Et ri'a, selon Cotin, ni dieu, ni foi, ni loi." The critical charge of misrendering some cited passages we still maintain ; and we again confidently repeat our appeal to readers of the German tongue. The Abbé BARRUEL affects to shrug his shoulders at the idea of danger from catholicism, and of the religious ascendancy of jesuits in this country. Werefer him to a well-known and entertaining work, The Enthusiasın of the Methodists and Papists compared *; to the Bishop of Lincoln's Charge; to the notes in the Pursuits of Literature ; to the noto. rious increase of mass-houses; to the rising convents of the sect; and to the astonishing multiplication of its petty publications. Are these imaginary transactions ? Has he never heard of the justly-venerated ex-jesuit Latrobe? Mr. Wilberforce could do justice to the character of his lessons, and appears to have inherited the mantle of his piety. Is the Abbé ignorant that * See the first vol. of our Review, printed in 1749..