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In conclusion, we must again remind our readers that it is impossible, without a minute examination, to form anything like a fair estimate of the value of the Scriptorum Veterum Vaticana Collectio. No library, especially ecclesiastical, is complete without it. And yet we trust, that, interesting and important as is the matter which they have forestalled, the present volumes are but the forerunners of a longer and more important series. Success is power. The fertility of past years is the best warranty for the future; and we doubt not, that every lover of literature will sincerely unite with us in our earnest prayer, that the illustrious and venerable editor may yet enjoy many happy years of health, and of that literary leisure which he has used so well, to labour on in the vocation to which he is especially called, till he has exhausted all that is valuable in the yet undiscovered riches of the Vatican.
Art. VI.-1. Van Diemen's Land Almanack for 1841: Ho
barton. 2. The Royal Almanack for Van Diemen's Land, 1841: Ho
barton. 3. Australasian Chronicle : Volumes 1.-II. Sydney: 1839
1841. 4. The True Colonist, Van Diemen's Land Political Despatch
and Agricultural and Commercial Adcertiser: Volumes 1-X.
Hobarton: 1831-1841. 5. The Acts of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council of Van
Diemen's Land: Vol. 11., Part 1. Hobarton: 1840. 6. Papers in the Case of the Bothwell Church Bill, ordered by
the Council to be printed : September, 1840. Hobarton. 7. Petition of Messrs. John Jackson, John Elliot Addison,
Hugh Addison, and William McLaren, to the Right Honourable Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies, &c. &c., in reply to the misrepresentations contained in a Petition addressed to the Legislative Council, by Mr.
David Lord, &c. Hobarton: Van Diemen's Land, 1840. 8. Statistical Returns of Van Diemen's Land: Hobarton, 1839. 9. 1st and 2nd Reports on Transportation, of the Committee of
the House of Commons. London: 1837-1838. T has sometimes been our fortune to be made aware of a
painful bewilderment on a subject of magnitude, from which many good Catholics are not by any means exempt.
We allude to the simple, but important question of social ethics; in other words, to the motives which should regulate the civic, economic, and international policy of man. When one endeavours to indicate to them their misconception of their position, and to teach them how to attach their duties towards the State, and their claims upon it, to the same good rule of right, whereunto they have already learned to attach every other claim and duty; then may one see how baleful, and bad, and repugnant to the traditions of better days, have been those lessons, which, in this newspaper-age, the sons have consented to derive from
instead of those which their wise sires elected to receive from holy pontiff. For, from Sir William Petre the Catholic, down to the modern and Protestant Sir Robert Peel, our statesmen, differing perhaps in every shade of variance upon details of statecraft, may yet be found most solemnly accordant in one striking and startling point,—their divorce from everything heavenly. For even so Machiavel, and all the ethicists of the routine which followed this Florentine, have taught the newspapers; and even so, the newspapers have endeavoured to teach us all, with pretty tolerable success. And hence the world-text so cunningly handled by all the popular preachers or lecturers upon our world's morality, informing us in its own lively little way, “that religion and politics are at daggers-drawn, and that in endeavouring to unite the twain, there is certainly superstition, and most probably danger too.” Turn by turn, or all at once, every spring of action, but one, has been repeatedly sounded, and plumbed, and let loose upon the land by them of parliament and power ;-and all in vain. Why the failure? Precisely because of that one spring being left unsought, unsounded; it was the main spring of them all,—the moral conscience! Had those who sway the destinies of England, and their predecessors of three past centuries, but known and believed in its hallowed and inspiring influence, we should have missed the diverting spectacle of so many new or revived expedients, toiled for and struggled after, in so many slow sessions; and, in as many and as tardy sessions, again protractedly commended, inch by inch, to gradual, but (heaven grant it!) perpetual oblivion. We have not reached the middle of this century, and we have witnessed already more than one tercentenary injustice redressed,-more than one ancient right restored; and, we begin to hope, that at last the goodly path of retrogression is to be trodden in right earnest. Be it ours, then, to ease and
help the pilgrims on that mareh. Be it ours to discard the stupid teaching of the “Spirit of Enlightened Ages," when we come to deal with principles and realities, and to remember, no less for their sakes than for our own, the better lessons with which heaven's bounty has deigned to provide us. We must call things by their right names, nor fear to offend or astonish the cant of the day. In dealing with the momentous subject to which this paper is devoted, we must not fear to be discontented with any sanction that is not stronger than our own material comfort, or, that of our countrymen, when punishments are to be inflicted on the culprit
, or gratifications awarded to the deserving. Let us, in short, desire earnestly, that none may ever forget our country's vocabulary, wherein are to be found the right names of things and ideas :--but let us agree to set the example, and call them by their right names first ourselves.
We have been led into this train of thought, by the perusal of some reams of printed paper, compiled from many sources, painfully produced by many heads and fingers, but circulated seemingly for one philanthropic, or at least charitable purpose; that, namely, of enabling the world to convince itself that something has been said, wisely or not, in favour of a thing so generally and self-evidently indefensible, as the so-called system of secondary punishment in the penal colonies of Great Britain. Afraid to quote from purely British authorities, lest the admirers of transportation should have it in their power to reproach us with our partiality and wilful blindness, we have crossed the ocean, and brought from its further banks, the vindicative productions of pens certainly not inclined to favour the Commons' Report, or its supposed and clever author, Sir William Molesworth. And after wading through whole files of antipodean newspapers, after perusing their pamphlets, after weighing and balancing the heavier matter supplied us in the imposing State-papers, Reports on Estimates, Minutes, &c. &c., with which, at intervals, the English public has been entertained by the courtesy of the provincial governors ;--and, after still nearer and clearer insight into the matter, so far as the ocular witnesses with whom we have conversed, and the unpublished correspondences now in our hands could afford us.---we have been at length enabled to discover what it is that the friends of transportation mean henceforward to oppose to the furtherencroachments of Parliament, and the arguments of those advocates of a thorough and radical change in the present system, whom, though the late reforms in it have cheered to further exertions, they are very far indeed from contenting. And, we grieve to record it,--the answer which the friends of the statu quo are prepared to oppose to these clamorous reformers, and which they conceive an unanswerable one, and one which should content the empire for an indefinite period to come, may be thus translated into the vulgar tongue of the mothercountry:“Whether this penal system, which Great Britain invented for the repression of her indigenous crime, be calculated to achieve that purpose, or to achieve the very contrary one, of encouraging crime at home, and increasing it, is no question for us. The only question is, what are the colonists to do for labourers, if there be no crime in Britain ?-or, being crime, if its professors are not annually picked out with care and sent as slaves to the shores of the southern Pacific ?" And, be it observed, that although at first, there were upon our own soil, those who slighted, or disputed, the benign and friendly persuasions which men like Dr. Whately had for years before addressed to them; yet among Englishmen that spirit has now completely died away ; and the unanimous concurrence of the Transportation Committee, which was presided over by Sir William Molesworth, and upon which Sir Robert Peel sat by the side of Mr. O'Connell and Lord John Russell, is only a symbol of the unanimous adhesion to the principles of that Report on the part of the public out of doors. It is not in England, therefore, that the lamentable outcry against the further prosecution of this good work is now raised, nor the sordid dissuasive of a supposed pecuniary risk resorted to. Recalling to our recollection the manly protests of American colonists in the last century, against the impiety of "deluging the new world with the vices of the old,” we deeply regret,--for the honour of its inhabitants, so indignantly casting back on their supposed calumniators, the highly coloured denunciation of their moral conditionthat an argument like this, inconsistent in every respect with the high tone of their remonstrance against the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin, and his chaplain Dr. Dickinson, should, of all others, have been considered the most worthy of Van Diemen's Land. And yet, with the rare and valuable exceptions of those antipodean residents, to whom noteven the natural fear of obloquy and odium in a period of great local feverishness and excitement, can induce to hide their honest concurrence with the views of their colony's best and soundest : friends,—the abolitionists of transportation, with their ex
ception, we have failed to find any argument, any justification of this system,-condemned alike by philosophers and by Parliaments, which does not at the last resolve itself into this;
“If we have no criminals, how are we to make money ? ” And yet, for asserting that the tone of morals in Van Diemen's Land, was debased by penal contagion, its real friends, who would first abolish that scourging evil, and thereby prepare the place for the reception of an honest European peasantry, have been publicly “spoken against," and branded as calumniators!
But the delusion goes still further. By way, we presume, of satisfying the needments of a very respectable body of shallow thinkers on these matters, whom the unanswerable what are we to do without felon bondsmen ? might fail to convince, we find, from one or two of the works we have set at the head of this paper, that by tilling Van Diemen's Land, and tending the sheep of its wool-growers, the criminals sent out will become reformed, and humanity will rejoice in their conversion. The process of reform is in this wise. It will be the interest of a convict, if he have a good master, to behave well, or at least seem to behave well, and so deserve present bounty and future emancipation. It will be also the interest of the convict, if he have a bad master, to behave well, or seem to behave well, and so avoid present tyranny, and future aggravation of his transoceanic lot. It will be the interest of the convict, when his sentence has expired, or been shortened, or when he has received the ticket of leave to work for hire as if he were a free man, to live soberly, honestly, and chastely in this present world, whence comfort cometh and respectability. It will be the interest of the same convict, whether in bonds, or out of them, not to deserve new severities, lest he be found out, and punished accordingly. And interest, if we may believe Colonel Arthur,* is a powerful thing ; and even convicts feel its power, and confess it, and are, in fact, very decent utilitarians. But if this be Reformation, we can only say, that we only know one other instance in which the word has been more misapplied than it has been here! It would be an insult to the understanding of a Catholic reader, were we to attempt a grave refutation of such idle trash. It is the veriest reduction to absurdity of Benthamism, and the clearest illustration that Mr. Carlyle
* “Defence of Transportation," &c. by Colonel George Arthur; pp. 31, 35, 37, 103, et passim.