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this insuperable obstacle to exact investigation; and the only statistics I was able to procure had been collected by an amateur statistical organization formed for a religious purpose. To diminish the divisive consciousness of religious difference,— i. e., the special religious difference lying for us English people between a civilly and socially predominant church and the conventionally inferior sects, has been the tendency of English university reform for at least a generation. Much has been done in this direction by nationalizing legislation; much has also been done in the old exclusive universities by the conspicuous and highminded pluck and example of resident Nonconformist students; and the great work of undermining these walls of separation is still proceeding. In America it is another story. Many of your universities, indeed, were founded by religious denominations, and still bear traces of their origin; but the freedom of your atmosphere has in some of the greatest of these taken no denial, and in certain Protestant foundations even Roman Catholic preachers have been invited to fill the university pulpit, while all denominational test for most of the professorships has been abandoned.
As to the question of the foundation of universities by the State-a policy which is going, I understand, from strength to strength—the apprehension of the principles of religious freedom and of the relation of the State to religion is in this country so firm and so intelligent that all efforts to extract from the public authority universities for Roman Catholics have been unavailing; and so potent is the effect of your atmosphere even upon many of your Roman Catholic fellow-citizens that the attempt to impose the Roman Catholic University of Washington upon the State, found itself resisted by the patriotic Americanism of Roman Catholics themselves. We, like We, like you, have evidence that the more perceptive class of the Roman Catholic laity do not side on this question with ultramontane obscurantists, but view with alarm the prospect of the education of their children under episcopal control; while Catholics who have eyes for a university in its ideal strenuously and publicly affirm that, as things are at present, a Roman Catholic university is a contradiction in terms. Those for whom I venture to speak maintain that the establishment out of public funds of a so-called university for any sect is opposed to the tendencies of modern
education, is injurious to education itself, and is destructive to the brotherhood of ideal citizenship. We regard universities, properly so-called, as places of education where, during the crucial and formative period of early life, the youth of the country should meet freely on terms of perfect equality in order that they may better understand one another, so that the best elements of difference shall be confirmed and the worst shall be modified or vanish away. We believe that the intelligent apprehension of equality which, partly from happy and favoring circumstances, obtains on this side of the Atlantic, has led you to the proper attitude toward the Roman Catholic university agitation-an attitude of firm and patient waiting for the sure, though often long-tarrying effects of a policy of justice to all; and we maintain that a like attitude on the part of English statesmen will in the end, by teaching Roman Catholics, and Anglicans also, what justice really is, produce with us the same effect as with you. On this question, then, which is just now a living and a burning question with us, and on kindred questions in the other zones of the educational sphere, we would enlist your sympathy, while we would earnestly look to you to maintain your present position. We would lean upon you while our less enlightened brethren learn of our wisdom by your results. Our policy in national education, like yours, is subservient to no church, but it is not therefore subservient to irreligion; nay, just because it subserves no church it all the more subserves religion. Where religious equality is understood and realized, there alone is true freedom not only for religious people, but for religion itself. Religious equality may exclude from State
schools and State universities church zeal and denominational self-assertion, but it freely admits to educational advantage the conscientiously religious student and to educational office. the conscientiously religious teacher. Religious equality may bar out momentary public religious exercises and periodical official lectures in theology, but it lets in with a flood tide the pervading spirit and potent personal example of the religious man. A State school system which can present eighty of its teachers as members of one Christian church in Boston cannot be irreligious; a State university system which can boast that of the students of sixteen such universities more than
fifty per cent are members of evangelical churches cannot be unfavorable either to religion or to church. With you the practice of religious equality enables Congregational ministers to preside over State universities; and when, breathing your atmosphere of religious justice and peace, England shall behold without dismay a Congregational minister vice-chancellor of Oxford or of Cambridge, God's world will still spin on,-nay, I make bold to say, it will be nearer than before to the new heavens and the new earth. Abide, then, we beseech you, by your uncompromising theory and practice of religious freedom; let no aggressive church, let no feverish spasm of pietistic fervor be suffered to break, even for a moment, the hitherto continuous line of your educational equality. In the old country we look to you and to our colonial kinsfolk to prove in this region the expediency of justice. For not in foreign policy only would we be brethren, standing hand in hand, and, if need be-which God forefend-sword in hand, by the side of one another; but in methods and triumphs more renowned and more lasting than those of war, we would advance together as men whom nothing can sunder; and most of all in that quiet but not less mighty onward march wherein the mind and spirit of man strain forward, in development and in progress, toward eternal unity and eternal truth.
THE BROWNING LETTERS.
ELIZABETH PORTER GOULD, BOSTON, MASS.
OT only with mingled feelings of wonder, admiration and. joy have I read the Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett, but with a profound gratitude to Mr. Robert Barrett Browning for the privilege of seeing such depths and purity of the human heart revealed. I cannot agree with those who think such should not be given to the public eye, for when there are such depths and heights in a world of sin and limitation, why should they be hidden, while weak, adulterated and sinful actions are spread out on the housetops?
All through the letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning the spirit of the wonderful Portuguese Sonnets is visible. They have been
given to the world, and have blessed it. Now here is the opportunity to see the wondrous soul that inspired such exquisite, abiding love. If one was for the world, why not the other? It would have been sacrilege to have destroyed such a revelation when it is so much needed to-day. Very little, if any, of our much fiction remains on such heights; it only gives glimpses. Our preaching in pulpit and press is too much shadowed with vain words. Even poetry, which perhaps is the most genuine expression of the high truth, is not wholly free from the trail of the serpent. But here in this revelation life is lived, and love finds true and full fruition; all the more precious to us because of our knowledge of the rare married life that followed-even to within the veil.
With merely these few words on this side of the subject, I would like to refer to some of the pleasant sidelights scattered through the Letters. How the master mind appears in creative work! How guarded and free from evil or petty thought is the criticism of persons or books! How sympathetic and tender the allusions to pain or weakness; as for instance Elizabeth Barrett Browning, when writing of Haydon after his suicide, said: "His conscience was not a sufficient witness, nor was God. He must also have the Royal Academy and the appreciation of Tom Thumb" (Vol. II. p. 321). This reminded me of what she had said to another of him: "If the hand had always obeyed the soul, he would have been a genius of the first order. As it is, he lived on the slope of greatness, and could not be steadfast and calm."
Then Browning's picture of himself and "dear Carlyle,” as in the Chelsea home they "brought chairs into the little yard rather than garden," and he, "all kindness, talked like his own self” as he smoked his pipe with apparent relish. His wife being in the country, he made him a cup of tea, and at night "would walk as far as Vauxhall Bridge" on his way home (Vol. I. p. 151).
All admirers of Balzac-and who to-day is not?-will appreciate Elizabeth Barrett Browning's admiration of him. "He is a writer of most wonderful faculty,-with an overflow of life everywhere-with the vision and the utterance of a great seer. His French is another language; he throws new metals into it— malleable metals, which fuse with the heat of his genius. There
is no writer in France, to my mind, at all comparable to Balzac ; none but where is the reader in England to make the admission? None, again is almost to be said" (Vol. II. p. 113). And this was in 1846.
To her joy Robert Browning responded to all this, although he did not equal her enthusiasm concerning George Sand. In their religious opinions they seemed in perfect harmony, both being independent in their ideas as well as in forms of worship. She felt unwilling, as she wrote him, "to put on any of the liveries of sects. The truth, as God sees it, must be something so different from these opinions about truth-these systems which fit different classes of men like their coats, and wear brown at the elbows always! I believe in what is divine and floats at highest in all these different theologies, and because the really Divine draws together souls and tends so to a unity, I could pray anywhere and with all sorts of worshipers from the Sistine Chapel to Mr. Fox's, those kneeling and those standing.. The Unitarians seem to me to throw over what is most beautiful in the Christian doctrine; but the Formalists, on the other side, stir up a dust in which it appears excusable not to see." Then comes one of those soul-bursts of divine faith which at times so illuminated this gifted woman: "When the veil of the body falls, how we shall look into each other's faces-astonished, after one glance at God!" (Vol. II. p. 427).
No wonder such a spirit shrank from the materialism which a friend told her she believed in-"no soul and no future state." "My whole nature," she wrote, cries "aloud against that most pitiful result of the struggle here—a wrestling only for the dust, and not for the crown. . . . All grief, to have itself to end in! All joy, to be based upon nothingness! All love, to feel eternal separation under and over it! Dreary and ghastly it would be” (Vol. II. p. 136). She knew what to be near God really meant, for, referring to the drowning of her brother, did she not write that she felt she was now "too near to God under the crushing of His hand to pray at all"? (Vol. I. p. 177).
The references in the Letters to incidents pertaining to the return to health strike a grateful chord in the heart of all readers. How interested we are in her, and his joy when she comes out of her long invalidism to go out and mail a letter; even to buy a