« VorigeDoorgaan »
pris.” Even his defence of Renan's Life of Jesus, has been palliated by a casuistic admirer, who declares it to be “a defence of the head, not by the heart.” “ Dans son foi intérieur il la trouvait médiocre,” says the excuser,“ but he wished by his obstinacy to impose on those about him.”
One reason that he was looked upon as an unbeliever, was that he never replied to any such cbarges. He was for a long time, while intimate with Proudhon, called a socialist, and he never contradicted the report, yet subsequent events proved clearly that he was never in any way mixed up with the maxims or the schemes of Rollin, or Blanc, or Hugo. His right of thought he deemed sacred, and not to be questioned, and for liberty of conviction, and of speech, within limits that excluded license, he was ever ready to combat.
His activity was uncommon, and his craving for occupation, doubtless, shortened his days. His articles in the
Temps” newspaper continued to within a short time of his decease. A discourse that he had prepared for the senate he had printed in that journal, when he realized that he would probably never again occupy his seat in the assembly. “Vous voyez je suis cloué dans mons fauteuil," he remarked to a visitor, during his last confinement, “je ne vis plus-j'assiste.” His death occurred on the 14th October last, after a painful illness, accompanied by surgical operations.
To the last his philosophy clung to him. His will expressly stated that no religious ceremony, nor any address, should take place at his funeral. He wished simply to be borne to his grave without any deputation from the different bodies to which he had belonged in life, and he even expressed his preference for an early hour of the morninig-nine o'clock. “Je ne veux pas qu'on débite du mauvais Français sur ma tombe,” it was circulated he had said, and it expressed a poignant apprehension for the great French critic. His wishes were executed to the letter. “Adieu Sainte-Beuve,” were the only words uttered by one friendly voice, as the coffin of the life-long journalist and celebrity in letters disappeared from view.
Art. III.--1. Sketches of the rites and customs of the Greco-Russian
church. By H. C. ROMANOFF. With introduction by the au
thor of “ The Heir of Redcliffe." 8 vo. London. 1868. 2. A history of the Church of Russia. By A. N. MOURAVIEFFE,
chamberlain to his imperial majesty, and under procurator of the most holy governing synod, St. Petersburgh, 1838. Translated by the Rev. R. W. BLACKMORE, chaplain in Cronstadt to the Russian Company, and B. A. of Morton college
Oxford. 8 vo. Oxford. 1842. 3. Geschichte der Russischen Kirche. (History of the Russian
Church,) Vox PHILIPP STPAHL. Halle. 1830.
When Constantine the Great removed the seat of his vast empire from Rome to Byzantium, he probably did not foresee that he was laying the foundation of the ruin of Roman greatness. And when he made Christianity the state religion, he as little anticipated that by changing his capitol he was planting the seed of a schism, in the church, which was to last for centuries. So little can we see ahead! So shortsighted are mortals! Yet these were the almost immediate results of his new policy. For the bishop of Constantinople claimed equal rank with the pope of Rome, and of course, the latter insisted on his own preëminence. These disputes became embittered by the heresies which rent the church in which controversies the two metropolitans generally took opposite sides. The Arian and the Monophysite heresies, the contention between the Eastern and Western churches as to the mode of observing easter, the iconoclast controversy, the subjugation of Italy by the barbarians, and the rise of the Saracenic empire, all contributed to keep alive the feud between Rome and Constantinople, until the breach became incurable.
We shall trace in the sequel the evil effect this schism had upon Russia, not only as to her political relations with the rest of the world, but as to her social and domestic characteristics. The former branch of the subject has been well handled by ecclesiastical historians, especially by Mosheim, Neander, Hesse, and Strahl, and by Karamsin, the national historian. The latter branch is dealt
with in Madame Romanoff's “Sketches," and it has the more interest from the fact that but little is known in other countries of the social relations of the Greek church to the Russian people; and what is known comes to us principally through the prejudiced testimony of the English traveller, Dr. E. D. Clarke,* who could see nothing good in Russia, and that of the Marquis de Custine, t who is almost equally illiberal.
Madame Romanoff is an English lady, married to a Russian officer who is stationed in the remote province of Perm, on the frontier of Siberia, at the foot of the Ural mountains, This portion of the Russian empire is scarcely known to tourists except by name; but it is in such portions that the national habits have been preserved in their full peculiarity, unaltered by foreign influences. A residence of many years in the district has enabled her to become intimately acquainted with the domestic life of its inhabitants, especially with that of the clergy and the middle class of nobles; and she has made good use of her knowledge by giving to the world pictures, or “sketches” of what particularly struck her. These sketches are disjointed, and apparently were written as the occasion prompted. Put in the form of tales, they enable the writer to introduce lively dialogue; and thus we gain an insight into the modes of thought and expression current among the Russians. Their constant use of terms of endearment shows that the family ties are very strong with them. A diminutive is invented for every proper name, and by this pet appellation the person bearing it is generally distinguished. Thus, Romàn becomes Romuschka, and Nadejda becomes Nadinka. Tyàtinka and Maminka are the appellatives by which children greet their father and mother. And generally, there is among them a tendency to bestow affectionate epithets upon friends and domestics, which strongly reminds us of the French, who are ingenius in inventing such names. As a knowledge of the Russian
* Travels in Russia, Turkey and Tartary. By Edward Daniel Clarke, LL.D. Lon. doa, 1810.
| L'Empire du Czar, and La Russie. Par le Marquis de Custine. Paris. 1843 and 1853.
church is essential as a preliminary to the correct understandof the influence of the national church upon the people, we shall glance at Madame Romanoff's book.
The objects which the authoress proposed to herself in writing it were two, viz., “To present the English with correct descriptions of the ceremonies of the Greco-Russian church, and at the same time with pictures of domestic life in Russian homes.” She appears to have thought that her countrymen stood in special need of enlightenment on these points, an opinion apparently shared by Miss Yonge ;* and the English public may therefore be grateful to both ladies for their efforts to enlighten them. We, also, may derive some advantage from their labors, while controverting Miss Yonge's statement that “in the memory of many of us the Greek church was almost ignored.” We presume that she here means that its existence was almost unknown, otherwise her meaning is by no means clear. Now, none but the very ignorant could fail to know that Russia was a vast empire, and that she had a national church which was commonly called the Greek church. To ignore its influence or its existence would have been absurd. To those who are merely superficially acquainted with the history of Russia it is well known that the power of the Russian clergy, over the masses of the people, was so great that Catharine II., licentious as she was, found herself forced to comply, outwardly, with every rite of their church. Some idea of this power may be formed from the fact that during Suwarrow's campaigns in Italy the Russian soldiers were made to believe that those of them who fell in battle against the French rebels and infidels, would come to life again at the end of three days, and find themselves happily restored to their homes, free from the obligation of serving in the army for the rest of their life. And during the Polish insurrection of 1830-1, the Russian priests impressed upon them the belief that the last judgment would come if the Poles should prove victorious.
The “Sketches” are highly characteristic, and have the appearance of being drawn from life, so much so, indeed, as
See Introduction to the Sketches.
to suggest the idea that they are translations from Russian originals. We do not assert that they are so, for we have no means of knowing whence Madame Romanoff derived them; but they are decidedly un-English in their style. This is especially the case with the first of them, Romàn the Reader," which depicts the hardships and trials undergone by a studious youth, the son of a poor parish priest, in his efforts to educate himself and get employment. After sundry failures he is appointed "reader"in a parish church, but is struck dead by lightning shortly after on his way home. As a story it is as meagre as can well be; but it illustrates several phases of Russian life, particularly among the clergy, and shows by what peculiar customs and traditions they are bound; and this is the subject with which we are more immediately concerned. One usage, in particular, is curious, and we give it in the authoress's own language :*
“Yes,” said Romin, sudlidenly brightening, is if he had recollected something all at once; “ there is one thing, as we have touched on the subject, that is always revolting to me-marrying for a place. No! if it were for a ten-thousand-roubles-a-year place, I would not consent. to marry any woman unless I liked her, respected her, in a word, loved her."
“And what do you mean by marrying for a place ?"
“Do you not know? Al! that is one of our systems, one of our ways of getting our maidens provided for. For instance, a priest, with an unmarried daughter, dies. Well, she may be a nice, amiable girl, that any one might be glad to have for a wife; she may
be elderly or ugly ; worse, still, if she be ill-tempered, or in bad health. The consistory knows every bride in the diocese ; besides, the mothers send petitions to the Vladika, † begging that a bridegroom may be found for her daughter. The candidate for the place is informed that if hə chooses to take the girl, the place is his. A married man gets a refusal at once ; though, to be sure, if he knows that there is a bride there, he does not think of asking for it.”
“Good God !" cried Michael, “what an abuse! go on, brother !"
“ The candidate thinks, who knows, perhaps the girl may please me ?' and off he sets, perhaps some hundreds of versts, to look at her. There are cases on record, that candidates, with mothers and orphan brothers and sisters on their hands, have not been able to make up
* Sketches, pp. 36-37.