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that gave us any reading for our chil-
dren. We cordially welcome the ad-
vent of ^* Spare Hours'' amongst as, and
trust its subscription list may ^ow
that Catholics do appreciate good read-

KicHOLAs OF THE Flttb, the Saviour of
the Swiss Republic. A dramatic
poem in five acts. By John Chria-
tian Schaad. 12mo., pp. 144.
Washmgton, D. C. : McGill & Withe-
row. 1866.

This book puiposes to give, in a
dramatic form, an account of the rise
of a dangerous civil dissension which
took place among the brave and relig-
ious Swiss during the invasion of their
country by Charles the Bold, and the •
happy reunion of sentiment by the
wise interposition and holy prayers of
a hermit. How religion, or the' coun-
sels of its ministers, can ever supplant
the arbitrament of the sword or the
stratagems of the politician in the suc-
cessful adjustment of national diflcul-
ties, will not, we think, be so readily
comprehended in our present society,
and chiefiy so because with us tiiere is
no unity of religion, and consequently
a multiplicity of counsels, the prolific
seed itself of discoid. But that it is

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'ihw PvJtiicatiom,


possible, as it is enviable, may be seen
by any one wbo will perdse this poem.
Peace wbich nations enjoy is a blessing
of God.. "Unless the Lord keep the
city, he watcheth in vain who keepeth
it." It is not to be wondered at then
that a people thoroughly imbued with
the spirit of faith should look to God.for
help in the day of trial, when the demon
of discord sows the seeds of strife and
disunion amongst them. The thought
which cyidently moved the writer to
compose this work is the same which
has often crossed our own mind during
the late deplorable civil war: that if
our beloved country had been one in
religion, it never would have fallen a
prey to such a fearful and almost fatal
division, or at least would have re-
joiced in a more speedy reconciliation.

MsRBY Christmas. A cantata for
Christmas eve. Affectionately inscrib-
ed to the children of the parish of
St. Paul the Apostle, New York
city. P. O'Shea.

This little brochure contains direc-
tions, with appropriate recitatives
and hymns, for a religious celebra-
tion of Christmas by children, who de-
scribe, in a sort of infantine opera, the
scenes of our Lord's nativity as related
in the gospel. It contains, among other
hymns, soifle of the most beautiful
Christmas carols in the English lan-
guage; and when sung by uie voices
of merry-hearted children must have a
most edifying and pleasing effect. We
are sure it will be welcomed in all our
schools, and at the fireside of many a
Christian family. It was ''performed
with great success before an immense
and delighted audience last Christmas
night in the church of the Paulists, to
the children of whose parish it is dedi-

The MoirrHLY. Edited at the Univer-
sity of St. Mary of the Lake, Chica-
go, III. Published by J. P. Byrne,

The December number of "The
Monthly" did not reach us until the
first of January. This is rather late,
and we presume is a mistake, as it has
been heretofore promptly on hand.
The number before us completes the
second volume, and is quite interesting.
It contains nine articles, the first being

on " Fenianism and Secret Societies.'^
There are two stories, one just com-
menced and one concluded. The for-
mer, " The Huron Chief," is a tale of
the Catholic missions in the northwest,
and the latter, "From June to Octo-
ber," is by an author not unknown ta
the literary world. The articles in this
magazine are original, and are well writ-
ten. We find in its literary notices the
following hit at a class which we are
sorry to say is but too numerous :

** The mission of a Catholic editor is
something diferent from that of the men-
dicant who stands at a church gate with
a *Hglp-the-poor-blind'man' lab^ upon
hiifCreast. And yet there are those— not
a few — ^who look upon a pitiful subscrip-
tion of three or four dollars a year to a
paper or a magazine in the Ught of an
alms, and actually imagine that they are
performing one of the seven corporal
works of mercy if they can be induced to
subscribe, while, in justice, they are not
paying a thousandth part of the interest
on their lawful debts. Not long ago we
happened to meet with a Catholic gentle
man from New York, and among the dif-
ferent topics of conversation the subject of
literature was brought in. This gave us
the occasion to ask his opinion about
' The Monthly,' to which he replied that
he was unaware of its publication, be-
cause he had never seen it noticed by a
certain romantic sheet of the Quixotic
stamp in that city. He is the type of a
class for whose conduct there is not the
shadow of an excuse. From this we
might draw a general conclusion, and ap-
ply the same course of reasoning to the
case of every Catholic publication in the
country, for it is not rare to find Catholic
families without a Catholic paper or maga-
zine on their tables. Under these circum-
stances, then, it is not surprising that not
a few of them should be strangers to the
existence of the works which they <mglU
to possess, while they may be conversant
with a class of literature whose spirit is
productive either of no good at all or posi-
tively injurious, and hence without either
intellectual or moral benefit."

We wish " The Monthly" a happy
and prosperous year.

Hans Brinkbk, etc. By M. E. Dodge.
12mo., pp. 847. New York : James
O'Kane. 1866.

We could cordially recommend this
well-written story were it not for one
passage relating to auto^ da fe and
the Inquisition. Those who have
diarge of Catholic youth are bound to

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New PtMieaHcnt.

be extremely careful what books they
place in their hands, and this becomes
often a cause of perplexity, as there are
so few which are entirely unexceptiona-
ble. Those who write with the express
purpose of inculcating the distinctive
principles of Protestantism are not
amenable to our criticism. But those
who do not write with this intention,
and who merely seek to afford enter-
tainment to the youthful mind with a
modicum of instructive information,
may perhaps consider it worth while to
respect the religion of a lar^e and in-
creasing class of the readmg public.
yWe are not very exacting. We desire
only that books written for the instruc-
tion and amusement of the young pub-
lic at large should contain a sound and
wholesome morality and nothing offen-
sive to. Catholics. We could not desire
a better specimen of this class of books
than the work of our gifted authoress,
which we have read with pleasure, with
the exception of the single passage al-
luded to ; and this might have been left
out without any injury to the purpose
of the story. Those who are disposed
to profit by our hints will find us al-
ways ready to assist the circulation of
their books by our recommendation, if
their literary merit renders them worthy
of it.

A General History of the Catho-
lic Church, from the commencement
of the Christian Era until the present
time. By M. PAbbe J. E. Darras.
First American irom the last French
Edition. With Introduction and
Notes by Archbishop Spalding.
Vol.11. 8vo., pp.627. New York:
P. O'Shea.

The second volume of the history of
the Catholic Church has just appeared,
and it is in every respect in keeping
with the first volume; is well printed
on good paper, and makes a handsome

The Very Rev. Dr. Newman is pre-
paring for uie press a reply to Dr. Pu-
sey's " Eirenicon," lately published in
London. We shall give it to the read-
ers of The Cathplio World at the ear-
liest date.

The Messrs. Sadlier announce the
publication of a new edition of Father
young's " Catholic Hymns and Canti*

cles,*' together with' a complete sodality
manual. It will contain 107 hymns, ar-
ranged for all the different seasons and
festivals of the Church, as well as the
processions, ceremonies, etc.

Messrs. Murphy & Co., of Baltimore*
have in press a new and enlarged edi-
tion of " Archbishop Spalding's Miscel-
lanea." This learned work will be
carefully revised by the distinguished
author, who will add nearly 100 pages
of interesting matter^ embracing among
many other things his "Essay on Com-
mon Schools throughout the World"— his
" Analysis of the Controversy into which
he was forced by Professor Morse, in re-
lation to an alleged saying of Lafay-
ette" — his " Lecture on the Origin and
History of Libraries," and his " Essay
on Demonology and the Reformation."
This new edition will thus embrace
essays, reviews, and lectures on more
than forty subjects, most of them his-
torical, and all of more than ordinary


From Kellt & Piet, Baltimore :
" The Spae Wife, or Queen's Secret, a
story of the Times of Queen Elizabeth,''
by Paul Peppergrass, Esq. 12mo., pp
742. "The Little Companion of the
Sisters of-^Mercy." 82mo., pp 102.

From D. & J. Sadlier & Co., New
York : Parts 6, 6, 7, 8, an^ 9 of "The
Complete Works "of the Brothers Ba-

From P. O'Shea, New York: "Life
of St. Antony of Padua, of the Order
of Friars Minor," by Father Servas
Dirks, Friar Minor, etc. 12mo., pp 841.
"The Life and Miracles of St. Philomena,
Virgin and Martyr, whose sacred body
was lately discovered in the Catacombs
of Rome, and from thence transferred
to Mugnano, Naples." 12mo., pp 135.

Statuta DioBcesana ab Illustrisslmo et
Reverendissimo P. D. Joanne Baptists
Purcell, Archiepiscopo Cincinnatensi, in
variis Synodis, quae hue usque in
Ecclesia sua Cathedrali vel in Sacello
Seminarii, celebratsB sunt, lata et pro-
mulgata. Una cum Decretis Conciliorum
Provincialium et plenarii Baltimoren-
slum, quibus interfuerunt omnes statunm
Foederatorum Episcopi et Decretis
Conciliorum Trium Cincinnatensium,
Nunc primum in nnum collecta et pub>
lici juris facta. ^ Cincinnati : Published
for the Most Rev. Archbishop of Cincin-
nati by John P. Walsh.

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VOL. IL, NO. 12— MARCH, 1866.

Trtiudatad from Le CoRMpondint



Ah exposition of the rarioas philo-
sophical systems consti*acted in our
times against Christianitj, either as
means of combatting it or as substi-
tutes for it, and showing in the false
assumption with which they all start
the reason of their failure, would be
an interesting and instructive work.
It would be a new hUtory ofvaricfiionSf
and of the impotence of the human
mind -when it assumes to be sufficient
for itself, and the natural complement
to the first, were there a Bossuet to
write it. Now it is a chapter of this
history not yet written, but which one
day will be, that I propose to prepare in
rendering an account here of the posi-
tivbt pMlosophy, of which M. Au-
guste Comte was the inventor, and M.
Littr6 is the learned and fervent de-
fender. To enable my readers to un-
derstand, as well as may be, this pre-
tended philosophy, I will first state
through what accidents and revolu-
dons it has passed, then set forth its
chief formulas, and finally conclude by
passing on them such critical judg-
ment as an impartial examination
Shan suggest.

VOL. n. 46

The founder and chief of the posi-
tivist philosophy, Auguste Comte,
died at Paris in 1858, in the 59th
year of his age. He was bom in
1798 at Montpellier, of Christian pa-
rents ; but, placed early in the lyceum
of that city, he soon lost there, under
the influence of the reigning spirit of
the school, the faith of his childhood.
From the lyceum he went to the
£cqle Polytechnique, in which the
worship of the Convention and revo-
lutionary ideas w^. at that period
held in high honor. We recal these
circumstances, because the childhood
and youth of a man serve to explain
hie mature age.

It does not appear that M. Comte,
on leaving the Polytechnic School, re-
ceived, as is ordinarily the case, any
appointment in the public service,
civil or military — wherefore- we know
not Whatever may have been the
reason, as he was without fortune he
supported himself for several years
by giving lessons in mathematics.
After a whOe, however, he was ap-

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' pointed repeater and examiner in the
Polytechnic Sdiool* which position he
held till the rerolation of 1848. His
profession as well as his aptitudes de-
voted him to the study of the exact
sciences ; but he cherished a far high-
er ambitiouy and already aspired to be
the reformer and prophet of the hu-
man race. That this thought, was
early germinating in his mind, is prov-
ed by a pamphlet which he published
in 1822, when only twenty-four years
of age, entitled " Systhne de Politique
Pontivitt^ (System of Positivist
Politics). He subsequently greatly
modified and enlarged it, and his pre-
tensions above all greatly expanded
as he advanced ; but the first idea of
his system, not difficult, however, to
discover, it must be acknowledged
was deposited in that publication^

About this time he became connect-
ed with Henri Claude de Saint-Simon,
and being much younger than the
.founder of Saint-Simonism, he natur-
ally yielded to his infiuence, and be-
came very near being absorbed in the
god of the Rue de Taitbout. But
Auguste Comte could not consent to
that; he would be master not disci-
ple/ and therefore, after having writ-
ten some articles in the Saint-Si-
monian journal, Le Producteur^ he
abandoned the sect, separated 'from
Saint-Simon, and lamented bitterly
the precious time which that deprav^
ed juggler^ as he called him, had
made him lose. After this rupture
he was restored to himself and freed
from all restrcunt ; he could devote
himself to the finishing stroke of the
great work he meditated.* The sol-
emn moment approached. Hitherto
he had only staked out his ground
and sown the seeds, but the synthesis,
the real cerebral unity, to use his lan-
guage, was wanting. Without further
delay he set himself resolutely at work,
and a meditation continued for four^

* M. de Chalftmbert forgets to add that the
caoae of this raptare was preciselv the attempt
of 8a1nt»8imoii, after harlng fliUed to kill him-
self, to found a new religion, which he called
Nauveau ChritticsnUme^ and of which the posi-
tlTe religion professed afterwards by M. Comt«
is only a manifest plagiarism.— Tbaitslatob

score hours brought him to the con-
ception, to the preamble as it were, of
the systemization of the whole posi-^
tive philosophy.* But, alas ! the long
meditation brought with the system
an access of madness. It was slight
at first, he assures us, a simple passing
enfeeblement of the cerebral organs,
resulting from excessive labor; but
the physicians took hold of it, and
then the evil grew so much worse that
it became necessary to shut him up in
a madhouse — ^him who had just dis-
covered the law of the universe ! M.
Littre complains that one of his col-
laborators in the Journal des Dehats
threw up this fact against the doctrine
of his master, and he cites instances
of veiy superior men who have had
similar accidents befal them. This
cannot be denied. No one can say
that he is secure from such cruel at-
tacks; but we may be permitted to
remark that there is here an intimate
correlation between the doctrine and
the mental malady, since both are
produced at the same time and by Hie
same intellectual effort.

Two or three years passed thns,
after which M. Comte, having recover-
ed his health, resumed his labors, and
in 1829 pubHshed the first volume of
his " Cours de Philosophie Positive^ in
which for the first time he gives tlie
principal data of his new theory.
Five other volumes, of eight or nine
hundred pages each, followed at long
intervals, and it was only in 1842
that the work could be completed; not
that ideas were wanting, but money to
pay the printers, as the author himself
tells us. During that time he opened
a course of lectures, in which, und^
pretext of teaching astronomy,* he
essayed to indoctrinate the public in
his principles. Thanks to ^ese sev-^
eral methods, of propagating his views,
he at length succeeded in gaining a

* A neeless labor* for he might haT« learaad it
(torn that dtpraved Jvy^^, Bainv-Simon, who
had reached it as early as 1804. Angnste Comte
never made any advance on his master, bat to
the last remained rather behind him. with an
his pretensions to originality, he was never aojt.
thing more than the oisdple of Salnt-fiimon.—

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few disciples, not nmneroos, indeed,
bat enough to encourage the hope of
obtiuning more.

Among those who Grata that time
adhered to the positivist doctrine we
must cite M. Etex, an artist, M. Yieil-
lard, a politician who, then unknown,
aflerwaid obtained some note, and, in
fine, M. Littr4, a philologist, a littera^
tear, and a member ^f the Academy
of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres.
ThiB last espedaUy was an important
recruit, an unhoped-far good fortune
for the new schooL M. Comte (they
who have tried to read him know it
but too well I) was essentially defi-
cient in the art of exphtining and ex-
pressing his ideas* M. Littrd knows
precisely how to write, if not with
brilliancy, at least with method and
clearness. Moreover, lie had under
his influence an important public or-
gan. The Muional, and used it to the
profit of the new philosophy. In
1844, M. Littr^ published in that
journal^ of which he was an editor, a
series of articles ui which he extolled
the positivist philosophy, declared him-
self its disc^le, and carried his com-
plaisance toward the master so far as
to give him the brevet of a man of ge-
nius. However, unknown to him per-
haps, a great transformation was
about to be effected ; the affecHm ele-
ment of the new doctrine, hitherto neg-
lected, was about to make its way to
the light and play its parL

Toward that epoch, M. Comte en-
countered a woman, stiU young, Mad-
ame Glotilde de Vaux, who lived sepa-
rate fron her husband. The misfor-
tunes of this unhappy wife, misunder-
stood and deserted, touched him deep-
ly ; he received her into his house, and
forthwith she became his Beatrix, or,
rather, his Egeria, for it was from her
that he recdved the revelation of the
new dogmas which he hastened to pro-
mulgate to the world. All at once,
under the inspired influence of Mad-
ame Clotilde de Vaux, the positivist
philosophy is changed into a religion,
in which Uie o^fve^twelementdecided-
ly predominaies. With dogma and

morals, worship and the priesthood
are promptly organised. The sover-
eign pontificate t^longed as a matter of
right to M. Comte, and he would no
doubt have willingly shared it with his
holy companion, but she, fllas ! had al-
ready been removed by a premature
death, and he must be resigned to pro-
claim himself alone, high piiest or
sovereign pontiff.

This metamorphosis was so much
the bolder as hitherto one of the prin-
cipal theses of the positivist philoso-
phy had been precisely that the time
for religion was gone, and gone for
ever. It might well startle the adepts ;
but it failed to frighten M. Llttr^, the
most important among them, for we
find him using still The Nationdl and
preaching in its columns, with all the
zeal of the neophyte, the dogmas of
the new religion — ^the religion of hu-
manity. TUs was, it is true, in 1851,
when each day saw bom and die some
new sect, and M. Littr6 and The Na»
tional no doubt judged tlmt, socialism
for socialism, M. Comte's socialism was
worth as much as any other, anl in
fact was more convenient. We are in-
clined, nevertheless, to believe that M.
Littr^ was really smitten and vanquish-
ed (for what is there in the way of
new religions of which a free thinker
is not capable ?), and we are confijrmed
in our beUef because, not content to
aid the establishment of the new
worship with his pen, he actually con-
tributed to it from his purse. The
republic of 1848 was not a good
mother for M. Comte, although he
hailed it with enthusiastic aodama^
tions and pronounced it immortal ; it
despoiled him at once of his means of
subsistence. M. Comte was little rel-
ished by the savans^ and relished
them still less, especially those of the
Academy of Sciences, who had obsti-
nately refused to open their doors to
him. M. Arago, to whom M. Comte
attributed his disgrace, judging, doubt-
less, that there must be some incom-
patibility between the dignity of high
priest and the functioDs of a repeater
and examiner in the Polytechnic

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School, deprived him of these two em-
ployments, from which he drew his sup-
port. M. Littr^ then came generously
to the aid of his spiritual &ther, and
headed an annual subscription by which
the adepts Aiust provide for the wants
of their pontiff.

While these things were in pro-
gress there came the coup tiPiiai of the
Id of December. M. Gomte bore
this trial with a scandalous resigna-
tion. The faithful, M. Littrd among
others, refused henceforward all ac-
tive concurrence. - But, on another
side he found in M. Yieillard, become
a senator of the new empire, a useful
protector, and, thanks to him, he could
soon resume his preachments. It was,
in fact, all he desired, for he was sin-
gularly free from all political ambi-

From this moment M. Gomte's re-
ligious zeal only augmented, and his
pen became more active and prolific
thftn ever. From 1851 to 1854 he
published fo«r huge volumes under the
title of ^* &fstime de PoUiimie Positive
ifte /' then a " CaJtickUme Positiviste,**
a " Calendrier PonHviste," and an-
nounced new works for the following
years, when death took him by sur-
prise and cut short his labors. It
cannot be said that his efforts were
crowned with success, and that the
numbers of his disciples was increas-
ii^; on the contrary, solitude was
gathering closer and closer around
him; but his faith was not shaken,
and he remained to the last inll of
confidence in the future. If accident'
ality gave little, he hoped much from
orientalityj and, in 1852, he wrote to
the Emperor Nicholas of Russia, and
to the Sultan of Turkey, to induce
them to undertake to propagate posi-
tivism in their respective dominions,
by representing to them that it was
the only means of salvation that re-
mained to them.

Such is the succinct history of the
positivist philosophy ^ and religion.
The religion, indeed, ended with its
founder, for he declared a short time
before his death that he had

true believer worthy to succeed him
in the pontificate ; but the philoBophy
left disciples who, though thej may
not accept it in all its parts, yet oon-
tinuo to be inspired by its principles.
Not long since they had an oigan in
the Pevue Pkilosophiquey in -which
they showed themselves much divided,
and gravely disc^issed the question
whether it must be a philosophj or a
religion with which they should grati-
fy ti^e human race. They seem, how-
ever, afler the advice of M. Littr6, to
have finally agreed that it is necessary
first of all to reproduce the eighteenth
century ; that is to say, to renew, in
the name of the emancipated fiesh, the
war against the Church and the re-
ligion of the spirit. Events have
seemed to favor them, and instead of
regretting the. suspension of public
liberty, by the establishment of the
new empire, they even greet it as an
advantage, since they remind us that
it was under a similar regime that ihe
encyclopaedic -work of which thej
claim to be the legal heirs was bom,
grew, and prospered. In short, M*
Littr^ published, a short while ago, a
new brochure under the title of "jRartJfc*
de Philosophic Positive^*' in which he
sustains all the principles of his mas-
ter, and vindicates for himself the
honor of having been his most faithful

We have joined the names of M. H.
Taine with the names of Messrs. Comte
and Littr6, although he has never open-
ly avowed himself an adherent of their
school. But, beside the identity of
his principles with those of positivism,
the lightness of his philosophical lug-
gage does not permit us to devote to
him a separate study. We know of him
on this subject only by the book entitled
^^Les Philosopheg Frangais du <&*x-n«u-
viime$ih:l^^ (French Philosophers of
the Nineteenth Century), a superficial
work, but agreeable, in which he judges
with wit, sometimes with justice, the
chief representatives of the eclectic

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