is and always must be inseparably blended withi politics aiid theolooy; it is
the great engine which mcyves the feelings of the eople on the niost moment-
ous questions. It is therefore, impossible, tlhat anry society carl be formed so
impartial as to conusider the literary character of an individual abstracted
from the opinions which his writings inculcate. * * * The consequiences are
evident. The honours and censures of this Star Chamber of tlie Muses will
be awarded according to the prejudices of the particular sect or faction which
may at the time predominate. Whigs would canvas a-aiiist a Soutlhey, Tories
-against a Byron. Those who might at first protest against such coilduct as
unjust would soon adopt it on the plea of retaliation; and the geiieral good of
literature, for which the Society mwas professedly instituted, would be forgrotten
in the stronger claims of political and religious partiality."'
How true ! But if true in England where party feeling is com-
paratively mild, how much more cogent is it here where party feeling
pervades everything, and is so strong and bitter ? Is it not a fact that
some of the men who appeared as the first members of this Royal
.Society of Canada canvassed themselves into it ? Is it not a fact that
men complained to politicians that they were likely to be left out, that
thereupon the politicians represented the matter in a certain quarter,
and the complainants were duly enrolled as members of this right royal
and right honourable body ?
But let us hear Macaulay farther:-
" Yet even this is not the worst. Should the institutiotn ever acquire any
influence it will afford most perniicious facilities to every mal'gnlanlt cowvard
who may desire to blast a reputation which he envies. It will fui inisli a secure
amibuscade behind which the Maroons of literature imiay take a certaiun and
deadly aim * The advantages of anu open and those of an anonymious
attack would be colnbined; and the authority of avowal would be united to
the security of concealment. * * + Everything that is grovelling and velemllous,
everything tliat can hiss, and everything that can sting, would take sanctuary
in the recesses of this new temple of wisdoim."
I don't know whether Mr. Bourinot is envious or venemous, whether
it is his nature to hiss or sting, but we have seen something of what he
can do in the way of grovelling.
But Macaulay has more to say-
" The Frencl acadeimyv was of all such associations the nost widely and
the most justly celpbrated.' It was founded by the greatcst of ministers; it
was patronize; bv successive Kings; it nunmbered in its lists most of the emi-
nent French writers, yet what benefit has literature derived fron its labours?
What is its history but an uninterrupted record of servilecoiiipliances-of paltry
artifices-of deadly quarrels-of perfidious friendships ? Whether governed
by the Coturt, by the Sorbonne, or by the Philosophers, it was always equlally
powerful for evil and equally impotent for good. I might speak ot the attacks
oy which it attempted to depress the rising fame of Corneille-"
Macaulay then proceeds to give equally striking instances of its power for
But if a Society composed of the foremost French writers-men