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( soon found my way to the church of Notre Dame. I saw that it was of great size and signified something. It is said to be the largest ecclesiastical structure in North America, and can seat ten thousand. It is two hundred and fifty-five and a half feet long, and the groined ceiling is eighty feet above your head. The Catholic are the only churches which I have seen worth remembering, which are not almost wholly profane. I do not speak only of the rich and splendid like this, but of the humblest of them as well. Coming from the hurrahing mob and the rattling carriages, we pushed aside the listed door of this church, and found ourselves instantly in an atmosphere which might be sacred to thought and religion, if one had any.
There sat one or two women who had stolen a moment from the concerns of the day, as they were passing ; but, if there had been fifty people there, it would still have been the most solitary place imaginable. They did not look up at us, nor did one regard another. We walked softly down the broad-aisle with our hats in our hands. Presently came in a troop of Canadians, in their homespun, who had come to the city in the boat with us, and one and all kneeled down in the aisle before the high altar to their devotions, somewhat awkwardly, as cattle prepare to lie down, and there we left them. As if you were to catch some farmer's sons from Marlboro', come to cattle-show, silently kneeling in Concord meeting-house some Wednesday! Would there not soon be a mob peeping in at the windows ? It is true, these Roman Catholics, priests and all, impress me as a people who have fallen far behind the significance of their symbols. It is as if an ox had strayed into a church and were trying to bethink himself. Nevertheless, they are capable of reverence; but we Yankees are a people in whom this sentiment has nearly died out, and in this respect we cannot bethink ourselves even as oxen. I did not mind the pictures nor the candles, whether tallow or tin. Those of the former which I looked at appeared tawdry. It matters little to me whether the pictures are by a neophyte of the Algonquin or the Italian tribe. But I was impressed by the quiet religious atmosphere of the place. It was a great cave in the midst of a city; and what were the altars and the tinsel but the sparkling stalactics, into which you entered in a moment, and where the still atmosphere and the sombre light disposed to serious and profitable thought ? Such a cave at hand, which you can enter any day, is worth a thousand of our churches which are open only Sundays-hardly long enough for an airing—and then filled with
a bustling congregation-a church where the priest is the least part, where you do your own preaching, where the universe preaches to you and can be heard.
In Concord, to be sure, we do not need such. Our forests are such a church, far grander and more sacred. We dare not leave our meetinghouses open for fear they would be profaned. Such a cave, such a shrine, in one of our groves, for instance, how long would it be respected ? for what purposes would it be entered, by such baboons as we are? I think of its value not only to religion, but to philosophy and to poetry ; besides a reading room, to have a thinking room in every city!' Perchance the time will come when every house even will have not only its sleeping rooms, and dining room, and talking room or parlor, but its thinking room also, and the architects will put it into their plans. Let it be furnished and ornamented with whatever conduces to serious and creative thought. I should not object to the holy water, or any other simple symbols if it were consecrated by the imagination of the worshippers.
I heard that some Yankees bet that the candles were not wax, but tin. A European assured them that they were wax ; but, inquiring of the sexton, he was surprised to learn that they were tin filled with oil. The church was too poor to afford wax.
As for the Protestant churches, here or elsewhere, they did not interest me, for it is only as caves that churches interest me at all, and in that respect they were inferior.
Montreal makes the impression of a larger city than you had expected to find, though you may have heard that it contains nearly sixty thousand inhabitants. In the newer parts it appeared to be growing fast like a small New-York, and to be considerably Americanized. The names of the squares reminded you of Paris—the Champ de Mars, the Place d'Armes, and others, and you feel as if a French revolution might break out any moment. Glimpses of Mount Royal rising behind the town, and the names of some streets in that direction make one think of Edinburgh. That hill sets off this city wonderfully. I inquired at a principal book-store for books published in Montreal. They said that there were none but school-books and the like; they got their books from the States. From time to time we met a priest in the streets, for they are distinguished by their dress, like the civil police. Like clergymen generally, with or without the gown, they made on us the impression of effeminacy. We also met some Sisters of Charity, dressed in black, with Shaker-shaped
black bonnets and crosses, and cadaver greater cost. They made on me the imous faces, who looked as if they had al pression, not of many individuals, but of most cried their eyes out, their complex one vast centipede of a man, good for all ions parboiled with scalding tears; insult sorts of pulling down; and why not then ing the daylight by their presence, having for some kinds of building up? If men taken an oath not to smile. By cadaver could combine thus earnestly, and paous I mean that their faces were like the tiently, and harmoniously to some really faces of those who have been dead and worthy end, what might they not accomburied for a year, and then untombed, plish! They now put their hands, and with the life's grief upon them, and yet, partially perchance their heads, together, for some unaccountable reason, the pro
and the result is that they are the impercess of decay arrested.
fect tools of an imperfect and tyrannical “Truth never fails her servant, sir, nor leaves him government. But if they could put their With the day's shame upon him."
hands and heads, and hearts and all toThey waited demurely on the sidewalk gether, such a co-operation and harmony while a truck laden with raisins was driv would be the very end and success for en in at the seminary of St. Sulpice, never which government now exists in vain-a once lifting their eyes from the ground. government, as it were, not only with
The soldier here, as every where in tools, but stock to trade with. Canada, appeared to be put forward, and I was obliged to frame some sentences by his best foot. They were in the pro that sounded like French in order to deal portion of the soldiers to the laborers in with the market women, who, for the an African ant-hill. The inhabitants evi most part, cannot speak English. Ao dently rely on them in a great measure cording to the guide-book the relative for music and entertainment. You would population of this city stands nearly meet with them pacing back and forth thus : two-fifths are French Canadian; before some guard-house or passage-way, nearly one-fifth British Canadian ; one guarding, regarding and disregarding all and-a-half-fifth English, Irish, and Scotch; kinds of law by turns, apparently for the somewhat less than one-half-fifth Gersake of the discipline to themselves, and mans, United States people, and others. not because it was important to exclude I saw nothing like pie for sale, and no any body from entering that way. They good cake to put in my bundle, such as reminded me of the men who are paid for you can easily find in our towns, but piling up bricks and then throwing them plenty of fair-looking apples, for which down again. On every prominent ledge Montreal Island is celebrated, and also you could see England's hands holding pears, cheaper, and I thought better than the Canadas, and I judged by the redness ours, and peaches, which, though they of her knuckles that she would soon have were probably brought from the South, to let go. In the rear of such a guard were as cheap as they commonly are with house, in a large gravelled square or pa So imperative is the law of demand rade ground, called the Champ de Mars, and supply that, as I have been told, the we saw a large body of soldiers being market of Montreal is sometimes supplied drilled, we being as yet the only specta with green apples from the State of New tors. But they did not appear to notice York some weeks even before they are us any more than the devotees in the
ripe in the latter place. I saw here the church, but were seemingly as indifferent spruce wax which the Canadians chew, to fewness of spectators as the phenome done up in little silvered papers, a penny na of nature are, whatever they might a roll; also a small and shrivelled fruit have been thinking under their helmets, which they called cérises mixed with of the Yankees that were to come. Each many little stems somewhat like raisins, man wore white kid gloves. It was one but I soon returned what I had bought of the most interesting sights which I finding them rather insipid, only putting saw in Canada. The problem appeared a sample in my pocket. Since my return, to be how to smooth down all individual I find on comparison that it is the fruit of protuberances or idiosyncrasies, and make the sweet viburnum (viburnum lentago), a thousand men move as one man, anima which with us rarely holds on till it is ted by one central will, and there was ripe. some approach to success. They obeyed I stood on the deck of the steamer John the signals of a commander who stood at Munn, late in the afternoon, when the a great distance, wand in hand, and the second and third ferry-boats arrived from precision, and promptness, and harmony La Prairie, bringing the remainder of the of their movements could not easily have Yankees. 'I never saw so many caleches, been matched. The harmony was far cabs, charettes, and similar vehicles colmore remarkable than that of any quire lected before, and doubt if New York could or band, and obtained, no doubt, at a easily furnish more. The handsome and
substantial stone quay, which stretches a city every morning and return every night, mile along the river side, and protects the without changing their horses during
the street from the ice, was thronged with day. In the midst of the crowd of carts, the citizens who had turned out on foot I observed one deep one loaded with sheep and in carriages to welcome or to behold with their legs tied together, and their the Yankees. It was interesting to see bodies piled one upon another, as if the the caleche drivers dash up and down driver had forgotten that they were sheep the slope of the quay with their active and not yet mutton. A sight, I trust, little horses. They drive much faster peculiar to Canada, though I fear that it than in our cities. I have been told that is not. some of them came nine miles into the
abundantly authenticated. That Swedenin the human organism, entirely tran borg perceived and proclaimed the existscending the bounds of every-day experi ence of a great conflagration in a far disence, as well as the materialist's concep tant city, is a fact no longer disputed; as tion of nature and her immutable laws, also that he, on other occasions, evinced a is not of recent discovery. Archæologists power of cognition beyond the range of assert that pictorial representations of the the senses. Others have possessed this faprocess commonly known as magnetizing culty, and have left indubitable proof of its a human subject have been found in the exercise. “Second sight” and its kindred Egyptian catacombs; and there is no other pretensions had probably a basis of remode of accounting for the marvels re ality, as with the Oracles ; but, the faculty corded of ancient Egyptian priestcraft, ceasing or being withdrawn, its place was the later Grecian Oracles, or some of the supplied, so far as it might be, by deceit feats of Hindoo jugglery, half so easy or or simulation, more or less conscious, unprobable, as that which supposes the til finally the whole degenerated into sheer operators in either case to have possessed craft or imposture. As the false coin or a competent knowledge of what is popu note implies the pre-existence of a genuine larly designated Mesmerism, Psychology, counterpart, to which the counterfeit Clairvoyance, &c., &c. Medical books of owes its transient currency; as hypoobservation, written centuries ago, record crisy implies the pre-existence of genuine phenomena of like nature with those of faith and love; so do the very mockClairvoyance, and equally without the do eries of a prescience above the reach of main of vulgar probability. That sick per the senses imply and demonstrate a presons, especially when near death, have often ceding verity. Can you imagine such exhibited a condition termed Coma, Trance, a fraud as the Delphic Oracle at last beor Catalepsy, wherein the sous would came, deliberately plotted and originated seem to have shaken off its carnal fetters, by men conscious that they had no power and taken cognizance of whatever attract of divining or foreseeing beyond that ed its regard in absolute defiance of phy: possessed by all human kind? sical impediments, is as well established It is now some seventy years since as any fact of unusual occurrence. Cases Mesmer startled the learned and polite in which a mortally diseased, keenly suf world, by the proclamation of his disfering, partially or wholly insane person covery as to the power which one human has perceived and simultaneously de being might, under certain circumstances, scribed occurrences, both ordinary and ex exert and maintain over the nerves, the traordinary, which were taking place at a motions, and even the perceptions and very considerable distance, sometimes in will of another. The curious and the remote apartments of the edifice wherein restless welcomed him for the usual nine he lay, but of which it was absolutely days as a magician, or seer; the learned impossible that he should know any thing and scientific listened impatiently while through the medium of the senses, -are they must, then shrugged their shoul
ders and bowed him out; the pious and therine Fox, the two latter then some fifteen priestly execrated, and would gladly have and thirteen years old. At length, on the exorcised him ; the multitude waited, in 14th of Nov., 1849, in accordance, as was credulous, yet uneasy and half eager, for said, with directions from the spirits," a the judgment of the savans ; the French public lecture on the origin and character Academy turned him over to a committee of the alleged " Spiritual Manifestations who subjected hi to this test-"Mes was given in Corinthian Hall, Rochesmerize the toughest subject among us, or ter, at which the “mediums "
were prewe will condemn you as a deceiver and sent. “Manifestations” were had, and a charlatan!” He tried the experiment Committee was chosen from the audience and failed; proving-—what? That Mes to report upon their nature and origin merism was a fraud or a delusion? By no at an adjourned meeting the next evenmeans. A naturalist might just as rea ing That Committee in due time resonably have been required to obtain an ported that they had made such invesegg from a fowl regardless of its sex, and tigations as they thought proper in the on his failure in the attempt, because the presence of the “ mediums," at a place with bird happened to be a male, his theory of which these persons were previously unthe propagation of fowls through the me acquainted, and where they could have dium of eggs been stigmatized as a glar made no preparations for juggle or deceping imposture. Time has long since de tion—that the answers given by the almonstrated the existence of a far broader leged " spirits” to their questions were and deeper reality in Mesmerism than its partly correct, and partly otherwise modern discoverer ever suspected; though that the “mediums” had apparently we do not remember that the Academy has given every facility for the investigation; even yet reversed or modified its original but that the Committee had utterly failed sentence of condemnation.
to discover how the mysterious sounds or men who would have scoffed at Mesmerism “ raps" were produced, or what was their sixty years since, assume its undoubted cause or origin. truth as the basis of an argument against The adjourned public meeting, after some Clairvoyance; as they may yet admit discussion, selected another Committee, and build upon the verity of Clairvoyance consisting of five well-known and respected in order to refute thereby the reality of citizens, including three of social and polithe so-called "Spiritual Manifestations." tical eminence, who made a further inves
What, then, of the modern “Spiritual tigation in another place, with substanism ?"
tially the same results. Thereupon a Several years have now elapsed since third Committee was appointed, who apthe societies of communist celibate asce pointed a sub-committee of ladies, who tics calling themselves“Christian Friends," took the “ mediums" into a private room but commonly designated "Shakers,” pro
of a hotel to which they were strangers, fessed to be in the direct receipt of al disrobed and searched them, to be certain most daily communications from “the that no machinery or fixtures were conspirits of the just made perfect." This cealed beneath their dresses whereby the claim attracted very little attention; it mysterious sounds were produced. The was quite generally deemed (as it still is) “mediums" were then made to stand on only a natural outgrowth or develop pillows, with handkerchiefs tied tightly ment of the fanatical folly and knavery around their ankles; but all in vain. The which (at least in the popular estimation) “raps" were repeated, and intelligent anform the bases of Shakerism. Two or swers to unpremeditated questions were three German books, of which “The thereby given. A physician had preSecress of Prevorst" is the most remark viously applied a stethescope to the breasts able, were reprinted here about the same of the "mediums," in order to be sure time, and excited some interest among the that the sounds were not made by ventricurious. Except by those having a strong loquism. He reported that no movement tendency to mysticism, however, they were of their lungs or chests was perceptible regarded as far more indebted for their when the sounds were heard. At the origin to German beer-drinking, tobacco first trial of standing the “mediums" on smoking, and opium-eating, than to any glass, no sounds were perceived ; but the inlet from the Spirit World. Finally, experiment was repeated, and the “raps" during the summer and autumn of 1849, were heard as usual. At one of the it began to be whispered about that com meetings for investigation, the Commitee munications from the spirits of the de excluded all persons but themselves parted had been and were being received in and the “mediums," in order to prethe city of Rochester, N. Y.-the alleged clude the chance of collusion by un“mediums” being three sisters, Mrs. Ann suspected outsiders.
At one meeting, Leah Fish, and Misses Margaretta and Ca members of the Committee wrote their
questions privately, so that the"mediums” rently straightforward, and corroborated could not know (by any ordinary means) by neighborhood testimony, would hardly what was their purport; and yet the re have attracted attention outside of a narplies to them (by “raps”) were said to row circle, or been regarded by any conhave been given correctly. So with re siderable number as other than the spegard to mental questions. On these cious web of falsehood wherein the prepoints, however, no reports were made by conceived mpostu had enveloped itself. either Committee as such. Their formal But the "Manifestations" were not long scrutiny was limited to the single point confined to the Fox family. They were of detecting the trick or juggle in which soon heard of in different towns of Westthe "raps” were presumed to originate ; ern New-York; then in Western Ohio ; and on this point their reports were then in Providence, R. I., and various unanimous, that every facility for investi parts of New England; and in Philadelgation was proffered them, and that no phia, Cincinnati, St. Louis, &c., and recent cheat could be detected.
letters speak of them as quite extensively Thus far, and so long as the “Manifes witnessed in California ; while late adtations" were confined to "the Fox fa vices chronicle their outbreak in Hull, mily," the evident presumption necessarily England. If this “Spiritualism” be a was that the mediums” were exceedingly sheer delusion, it is one of so singular a clever impostors. Their story imported character, of such extensive prevalence, that the rappings" had been first heard and producing consequences so serious, in their humble rural dwelling at the that it demands the most earnest scrutiny little hamlet of Hydesville, township of and thorough exposition. Arcadia, Wayne County, N. Y., some two But it is really no longer possible for years before, and while that dwelling rational beings familiar with its history was occupied by another family—that and nature to brand it and brush it aside they ceased after a while, and were not as a mere human juggle or imposture. heard again until March, 1848, (the fa How far the Ancient Nicholas is mixed up mily of Mr. John D. Fox having occupied with and responsible for it, this writer the house since the preceding December) cannot presume to decide, as he cannot -that they very naturally excited alarm boast any critical familiarity with the and terror in Mr. F.'s family, and induced works and ways of that eminent personthem (on the evening of the 31st of age. If he is at the bottom of it, or there March), first to call in their neighbors to is good reason to suspect him of being counsel and encourage them in the pres there, that fact, so far from estopping inence of these unaccountable noises, and vestigation, ought to induce and enforce it. that the first indication of intelligence in A careful watch over and shrewd comthe sounds was given them a few days prehension of the enemy's manoeuvres, debefore, in consequence of the youngest vices and dodges is one of the characterdaughter, then twelve years old) at istics of good generalship, and would tempting to imitate the mysterious "rap seem as essential in spiritual as in carnal ping” by snapping her fingers, when the warfare. If the devil is in it, then that “raps ? immediately repeated the number alarming fact should be demonstrated and of distinct sounds made by her, and
pro established; but it is really too late in ceeded to “rap” five, six, or any number the day to rig out any novel phenomenon of times, as requested ; then to tell the with horns, hoofs and tail, and thereupon age of any person present by giving a rap forbid any one's going near or looking tofor each year, if desired, &c., &c., until å ward it. The immense probability that very tolerable telegraphic communication the apparition which looms so awful and with the invisible cause of these perturba ghostly in the dark will be resolved into tions was established,--that the noise fol every-day flesh and blood, or else into an lowed the greater portion of the family on inoffensive stump or rock,--at all events, their removal to Rochester, and that the be reduced to conformity with nature's telegraph was gradually improved by the recognized laws and their comprehended employment of the alphabet: the . results—if we only bring it to the light, dium," or some one else present, calling should preclude our leaving it a mystery over the letters in succession until å and a marvel, merely because Old Nick “rap” indicated that the right one had has had the bantling fathered upon him, been reached, when said letter was jotted by those who know very little about the down, and the alphabet called again, and matter, and are stubbornly resolved never so on until the “rap" ceased, when the to know any more. letters already set down were divided into That there are jugglers, or downright words, and the sentence thus obtained re cheats, among those who profess to be ceived as a communication from behind the “mediums” of this novel illumination, is curtain, &c., &c. All this, though appa very probable,-nay, is morally certain,