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the Empire itself. The bane did, in some slight degree, prove its own antidote, when such stern preachers of truth were called forth to take the place of the courtly elegance of the hired poets of Augustus. Of the great legacy of Rome to later times, the legacy of the Roman Law, the most valuable portions were simply inherited by the Empire from the days of the Republic. The Republic may indeed have ceased to be possible; but we may remember that, under the Republic, the virtues of Titus and Trajan would have found a field for their exercise, while there could have been no field for the crimes of Caius or Nero or Domitian. The Verres of a single province sank before the majesty of the law and the righteous eloquence of his accuser : against the Verres of the world there was no protection except in the dagger of the assassin. A chain is of the strength of its weakest link, and a system of this sort may fairly be judged by the worst princes that it produces. A system under which a Nero and a Commodus are possible, and not uncommon, is truly a system of Neros and Commodi, though they may be relieved by even a series of Trajans and Antonines. For the Trajans and the Antonines have their parallels elsewhere ; their virtues were not the result of the imperial system, but simply existed in spite of it. But the crimes of Nero and Commodus are without parallels elsewhere; they are the direct and distinctive product of the system itself, when left to its own development. In a free state Caius would have found his way to Bedlam, and Nero to Tyburn ; Domitian, under the checks of the republican system, might possibly have made as useful a Censor as Cato. We cannot close a view of even the best period of the Roman monarchy without echoing the fervent wish of the Oxford Professor, that the world may never see its like again.

We have one more remark to make on Mr. Merivale's way of looking at the establishment of the Empire. He is fond of describing both the elder and the younger Cæsars as the chiefs of a popular party, who established their dominion on the ruins of an oligarchy. This is of course true in a sense; the mob of Rome were favourable to Cæsar, and his party historically represented the party of his uncle Marius. But we need not take long to show what is the real nature of a pseudo-democratic despotism. It is a device of which neither Cæsar had a monopoly. There were Dionysii before their time, and there have been Buonapartes since. It is undoubtedly true that, in one sense, the party of Cæsar was a popular party, and the party of the Republic was an aristocratic party; but they were not popular and aristocratic parties in any sense which would make us sympathise with the popular, and against the aristocratic party. As long as

A new

there was a real Roman people, capable and worthy of political rights, we go along with all its struggles against the domination of any exclusive caste. But sympathy with a people against an oligarchy does not carry us on to sympathise with a moh against a senate. Great as were the faults of the Roman Senate in its last stage, it was at least the only body left where free discussion was possible ; it was the only assembly where two opinions could be expressed, where the arguments for both of them were fairly hearkened to, and a free vote taken between them. As such it was the salt of the earth, the last abiding-place of freedom. And we must not carry on into those days ideas which belong only to the older struggle between the orders. Many of the most illustrious nobles were technically plebeians; every Licinius and Cæcilius and Lutetius, the Great Pompeius, the triumvir Antonius and the tyrannicide Brutus, Cato and Milo and Hortensius and the second Cæsar himself, - all belonged to the order which the old Appii had striven to exclude from the fasces and the senatehouse. And its doors were not open merely to those who were indeed formally plebeians, but who were as practically members of a noble class as any Cornelius or Æmilius in Rome.

a man at Rome, as every where else, laboured under disadvantages; but his disadvantages were not insuperable, and it rested wholly with the people themselves whether they should be overcome or not. That government cannot be called a perfect oligarchy where the Tribes still chose Prætors, Consuls, Censors, and High Pontiffs ; where the highest places in the commonwealth were not refused to Caius Marius or to Marcus Tullius Cicero. Any deliberative body where two sides can be fairly heard, whether it take the form of a democratic assembly or of an aristocratic senate, is essentially a safeguard of freedom, a check on the will either of a mob or a despot. Even in the days of the Empire, the Senate, the last shadow of the free state, retained life enough for the good Emperors to respect it, and for the bad Emperors to hate it. It is the Senate, then, with which the sympathies of the real lover of freedom lie in the last age of the Republic, rather than with the frantic mob which disgraced the once glorious name of the Roman commons. No assembly that ever was devised was less suited to undertake the championship of liberty than the old Parliament of Paris ; but when the Parliament of Paris was the sole representative of right against might left in all France, when the feeble opposition of the magistracy was the sole check upon a despot's arbitrary will, our sympathies lie wholly with the Parliament in all its struggles with the royal power. It is something when even a Sultan has to ask a Sheikh-ul-Islam whether his purposes are in agreement with the law of the Prophet. He may, indeed, like our James the Second, depose a too unbending expounder of the law, and supply his place with one who will know no law but the prince's will; but the mere formality is something, the mere delay is something; it is something to make a despot ask a question to which the answer may possibly run counter to his wish. And so, as the last check on the despotism both of the mob of the Forum, and of the Cæsar on the Palatine, we still hold that the Senate, where Cicero denounced Catilina and Antonius, where the last dying notes of freedom were heard from the lips of Thrasea and Helvidius, was an assembly which well deserves the grateful remembrance of mankind.

On many points, then, and those points the most important of all, we look on the history of the Cæsars with widely different eyes from those of their last historian. But, on the very ground which makes us differ from him, we can never regret a difference from an advocate at once so candid and so competent. Mr. Merivale is a real scholar, in an age when real scholars are not so common that we can afford to lose or to undervalue a single one of the order. In all the highest qualities of a historian, there are but few living men who surpass him. We look with regret on his seventh volume, when we hear that his seventh volume is to be his last. If our words can have any influence with him,—and he may receive them as the words, not of flatterers, but in some degree of antagonists,-he will even now change a determination which all scholars must have heard with sorrow, and will continue his great work down at least to the limit which he first set before him as its close.


Report of the Church Congress held at Oxford, 1862. THE "Ecclesiastical Reaction," or " Church Movement" within “

” the Established Church, has attained a spread and momentum which raise it to the rank of one of the new social phenomena

Yet it obtains little or no recognition from the superior and philosophical part of the press. It meets us every where—in society, in public meetings, in books, and finally on the bench—as a diffused but invisible influence. Yet we hardly ever see any serious attempts to estimate its import, or analyse its true character. Mr. Mill has, indeed, once or twice surveyed with the calm temper of a politician the ecclesiastical history of this country, but his glance has rather been retrospective than towards the present.

The reason for this neglect has probably been, that the significance of the reaction has been hitherto veiled under the guise of a theological squabble. As the practical statesman dreads before all things religious faction, so the philosophic politician throws theological controversy aside as irrelevant. It is too much a ruled point with him to take no notice of it. He leaves church parties to the clergy, and treats the clerical arena with contempt in proportion to the fuss and excitement which the party papers on either side maintain over it. He regards doctrinal dispute as the normal condition of the religious world; a mélée noisy and dusty, but having no bearing on the moral and spiritual welfare of England.

If this be an oversight, as we think it is, it is one which the few remarks now to be made do not pretend to make good. It were, indeed, much to be wished that impartial minds, superior to either "church” or anti-church prejudices, should give more attention than they hitherto have done to the actual tendencies of religious opinion. We propose at present to touch upon one single feature of the church revival. The phrase "decline of learning,” by which that feature is indicated, very imperfectly expresses its character.

It may be readily granted that doctrinal controversy, even where best conducted, has little more than a technical interest, and should be left in the hands of theologians. The “church movement” of which we speak is, however, something more than a mere oscillation of the doctrinal pendulum from the doctrines and practices of the Puritan towards those of the Anglican school. It may be true that the leaders of the parties in the struggle view and represent it as being this. It may be that its professed object is to repeat or reproduce a state of things which has existed before in our church. But nothing in history ever recurs. The mental horizon of the seventeenth century has been broken up once for all, and no human art avails to replace it where it was. The tendency of parties is not to be measured by what they say of themselves. Deeper than opinions lies the sentiment which predetermines opinion. What it is important for us to know with respect to our own age or any age is, not its peculiar opinions, but the complex elements of that moral feeling and character in which, as in their congenial soil, opinions grow.

All theological controversy is distasteful to thinking minds, even when it is illuminated by intellectual power and enforced by copious learning. When these humanising adjuncts are absent, and when nothing remains but the pure passion of enforcing your own opinion,—the temper of the ignorant,—the aversion of such minds becomes complete. The High-Church movement appears to be entering this phase. But this very fact, if it be one, deserves most careful consideration from all those to whom it is of importance to watch the signs of the times. The time has arrived, long ago foreseen,* when the church cause would, as years went on, make less apparent but more real progress.” If it be true that the feelings and sympathies which make up this movement are yearly spreading over a wider area, drawing yearly larger numbers of both clergy and laity within their influence; and at the same time that learning, knowledge, liberal cultivation, and intellectual grasp are becoming more and more alienated from the movement; that whatever amount of these gifts the English Church may contain is taking another direction; that the party, as it acquires strength, is becoming more of a party, and making common cause with all the social elements which are against intelligence,-this is surely a feature of our social life which cannot long be matter of indifference to any of us.

Were this phenomenon nothing besides, it would be at least an abandonment by the High Church of its principal vantage-ground, a renunciation of its own peculiar tradition.

Mr. Fitzjames Stephen recently called the Church of England “the most learned church in Christendom.”+ Without by any means adopting this compliment in its literal extent, we may yet say that learning, from Queen Elizabeth's day onwards, has always been a conspicuous mark of the church. The estimation it has commanded has been sometimes more, sometimes less, in amount; but these ups and downs of opinion or policy do not interfere with the general truth of the assertion, that in the Established Church there has prevailed all along a general respect for learning and learned men ; that a fair proportion of our higher literature has been the work of clergymen; that the Episcopalian clergy as a body have contrasted very favourably in respect of mental cultivation and refinement with the Nonconformist clergy, and especially with the Presbyterian ministers of Scotland. It may be that the highest type of learning has not been the type exhibited by the Church of England ; but that learning has stood its ground at all in this country, has been owing wholly to the tradition of the church and its habits of education. The limits too of studies allowable for the clergy have been stretched quite widely enough, and far more widely than in any other com

* Christian Remembrancer, January 1860. | Defence of Williams, p. 85.

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