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The details of the African expedition are lost in the number of successful or unsuccessful wars, waged justly or unjustly, with good or bad policy. We shall merely give the following letter, which was written some years ago on the subject of the Algerine pira
“It is to be lamented, Sire, that the proposals of the order of Malta were not acceded to, when they offered, on consideration of a moderate subsidy from each Christian power, to free the seas from the pirates of Algiers, Morocco, and Tunis. The knights of Malta would then have been truly the defenders of Chris tianity. The actual force of the Algerines is but two fifty-gun ships, five of about forty, and four of thirty guns; the rest are not worth mentioning.
“ It is shameful to see their little barks 'seizing our merchant vessels every day throughout the Mediterranean. They even cruise as far as the Canaries and the Azores.
“ Their soldiery, composed of a variety of nationsancient Mauritanians, ancient Numidians, Arabs, Turks, and even Negroes, set sail, almost without provisions, in tight vessels carrying from eighteen to twenty guns, and infest all our seas like vultures seeking their prey. When they see a man-of-war, they fly; when they see a merchant ship, they seize it. Our friends and our relatives, men and women, are made slaves; and we must humbly supplicate the barbarians to deign to receive our money for restoring to us their captives,
" Some Christian states have had the shameful prudence to treat with them, and send them arms wherewith to attack others, bargaining with them as merchants, while they negociate as warriors.
Nothing would be more easy than to put down these marauders; yet it is not done. But how many other useful and easy things are entirely neglected! The necessity of reducing these pirates is acknowledged in every prince's cabinet; yet no one undertakes their reduction. When the ministers of different courts
accidentally talk the matter over, they do but illustrate the fable of tying the bell round the cat's neck.*
“ The order of the Redemption of Captives is the finest of all monastic institutions, but it is a sad reproach to us. The kingdoms of Fez, Algiers, and Tunis, have no marabous of the Redemption of Captives; because, though they take many Christians from us, we take scarcely any Mussulmen from them."
“ Nevertheless, they are more attached to their religion than we are to ours; for no Turk or Arab evet turns Christian, while they have hundreds of renegadoes amongst them, who even serve in their expeditions. An Italian, named Pelegini, was, in 1712, captain-general of the Algerine galleys. The miramolin, the bey, the.dey, all have Christian females in their seraglios, but there are only two Turkish girls who have found lovers at Paris.
“ The Algerine land force consists of twelve thousand regular soldiers only; but all the rest of the men are trained to arms; and it is this that renders the conquest of the country so difficult. The Vandals, however, easily subdued it; yet we dare not attack it.”
ALLEGORIES. Jupiter, Neptune, and Mercury, travelling one day in Thrace, called on a certain king named Hyreus, who entertained them very handsomely. After eating a good dinner, they asked him if they could render him any service. The good man, who was past the age at which it is usual for men to have children, told them hé should be very much obliged to them if they would make him a boy. The three gods then urined on the skin of a new flayed ox; and from thence sprang Orion, who became one of the constellations known to the most remote antiquity. This constellation was named Orion by the ancient Chaldeans; it is spoken of in the Book of Job. It would be hard to discover a rational allegory in this pretty story, unless we are to infer from it that nothing was impossible to the gods.
* The bell can now be easily tied round the cat's neck, but no one European power can be allowed by the rest to occupy the northern shores of Africa. The Christian inconsistency in this instance, consists in the omission at once to punish piracy and rapine, and to spread a religion alleged to be equally necessary to salvation and civilization in the train of so politic and justifiable an interference. The same inconsistency is displayed in respect to the noble efforts of the Greeks, to the deduction of a still more shameful conclusion,-T.
There were in Greece two young rakes, who were told by the oracle to beware of the melampygos or sable posteriors. One day Hercules, took them, and tied them by the feet to the end of his club, so that they hung down his back with their heads downwards like a couple of rabbits, having a full view of his person. Ah! said they, the oracle is accomplished; this is the melampygos. Hercules fella laughing, and let them go. Here again it would be rather difficult to divine the moral sense.
Among the fathers of mythology, there were some who had only imagination; but the greater part of them possessed understandings of no mean order. Not all our academies, not all our makers of devices, not even they who compose the legends for the counters of the royal treasury, will ever invent allegories more true, more pleasing, or more ingenious, than those of the Nine Muses, of Venus, the Graces, the God of Love, and so many others, which will be thé delight and instruction of all ages.
The ancients, it must be confessed, almost always spoke in allegories. The earlier fathers of the church, the greater part of whom were Platonists, imitated this method of Plato's. They have, indeed, been reproached with having carried this taste for allegories and allusions a little too far.
St. Justin, in his Apology, says, that the sign of the cross is marked in the limbs and features of man; that, when he extends his arms, there is a perfect cross; and that his nose and eyes form a cross upon his face.
According to Origen's explanation of Leviticus, the fat of the victims signifies the Church, and the tail is a symbol of perseverance. St. Augustin, in his sermon on the difference and
agreement of the two genealogies of Christ, explaing to his auditors why St. Matthew, although he reckons forty-two generations, enumerates only forty-one. It is, says he, because Jechonias must be reckoned twice, Jechonias having gone from Jerusalem to Babylon. This journey is to be considered as the corner-stone; and if the corner-stone is the first of one side of a building, it is also the first of the other side; consequently this stone must be reckoned twice; and therefore Jechonias must be reckoned twice. He adds that, in the forty-two generations, we must dwell on the number forty, because that number signifies life. The number ten denotes blessedness, and ten multiplied by four, which represents the four elements and the four seasons, produces forty. 1
In his fifty-third sermon, the dimensions of matter have astonishing properties. Breadth is the dilation of the heart, length is long-suffering, height is hope, and depth is faith. So that, besides the allegory, we have four dimensions of matter instead of three.
It is clear and indubitable (says he in his sermon on the 6th psalm) that the number four denotes the human body, because of the four elements, and the four qualities of hot, cold, moist and dry; and as four relates to the body, so three relates to the soul; for we must love God with a triple love with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our minds. Four also relates to the Old Testament, and three to the New. Four and three make up the number of seven days, and the eight is the day of judgment.
One cannot but feel that there is in these allegories an affectation but little compatible with true eloquence. The Fathers, who sometimes made use of these figures, wrote in times and countries in which nearly all the arts were degenerating. Their learning and fine genius were warped by the imperfections of the age in which they lived. St. Augustin is not to be respected the less for having paid this tribute to the bad taste of Africa and the fourth century.
The discourses of our modern preachers are not disfigured by similar faults. Not that we dare prefer them
to the Fathers; but the present age is to be preferred to the ages in which they wrote. Eloquence, which became more and more corrupted, and was not revived until later times, fell, after them, into still greater extravagances; and the languages of all barbarous nations were alike ridiculous until the age of Louis XIV. Look at all the old collections of sermons; they are far below the dramatic pieces on the Passion, which used to be played at the Hôtel de Bourgogne. But the spirit of allegory, which has never been lost, may be traced throughout these barbarous discourses. The celebrated Ménot, who lived in the reign of Francis I. did more honour, perhaps, than any other to the allegorical style. “The worthy administrators of justice,” said he,“ are like a cat set to take care of a cheese, lest it should be gnawed by the mice. One bite of the cat does more damage to the cheese than twenty mice can do." Here is another curious passage
“ The wood men, in a forest, cut large and small branches, and bind them in faggots; just so do our ecclesiastics, with dispensations from Rome, heap together great and small benefices. The cardinal's hat is garnished with bishoprics, the bishoprics are garnished with abbeys and priories, and the whole is garnished with devils. All these church possessions must pass through the three links of the Ave Maria; for benedicta tu stands for fat abbeys of Benedictines, in mulieribus for monsieur and madame, and fructus ventris for banquets and gormandisers."
The sermons of Barlet and Maillard are all framed after this model, and were delivered half in bad Latin, and half in bad French. The Italian sermons were in the same taste; and the German were still worse. This monstrous medley gave birth to the macaroni style, the very climax of barbarism. This species of oratory, worthy only of the Indians on the banks of the Missouri, prevailed even so lately as the reign of Louis XIII. The jesuit Garasse, one of the most distinguished enemies of common sense, never preached in any other style. He likened the celebrated Theo