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after a time was permitted to return; whereupon the spectacle, so often afterwards repeated, was witnessed of two Popes competing for the Papal throne. Felix, however he may have fared in life, has fairly surpassed his opponent in death, since Felix appears in the Roman Martyrology as a Saint and a Martyr under the date of July 29; while Liherius is not admitted therein even as a Confessor. This would surely seem to give us every guarantee for the sanctity of Felix, and the fallibility of Liberius, as the Roman Martyrology of to-day is guaranteed by a decree of Pope Gregory XIIL, issued "under the ring of the Fisherman." In this decree "all patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, abbots, and religious orders," are bidden to use this Martyrology without addition, change, or subtraction; while any one so altering it is warned that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul. The earlier Bollandists, with this awful anathema hanging over them, most loyally accepted the Roman Martyrology, and therefore most vigorously maintained, in the seventh volume for July, the heresy of Liberius, as well as the orthodoxy and saintship of Felix. But, as years rolled on, this admission was seen to be of most dangerous consequence; and so we find, in the sixth volume, for September, that Felix has become, as he still remains in current Roman historians, like'Alzog, a heretic, a schismatic, and an anti-Pope, while Liberius is restored to his position as the only valid and orthodox Bishop of Rome. But then the disagreeable question arises, if this be so, what becomes of the Papal decree of Gregory XIII. issued sub annulo piscatoris, and the anathemas appended thereto? With the merits of this controversy, however, we are, as historical students, in a very slight degree concerned; and we simply produce these facts as specimens of the riches contained in the externally unattractive volumes of the "Acta Sanctorum." Space would fail us, did we attempt to set forth at any length the contents of these volumes. Suffice it to say that even Upon our English annals, which have been so thoroughly explored of late years, the records of the Bollandists would probably throw some light, discussing as they do, at great length, the lives of such English Saints as Edward the Confessor and Wilfrid of York; and yet they are not too favourably disposed towards our insular Saints, since they plainly express their opinion that our pious simplicity has filled their Acts with incredible legends and miracles, more suited to excite laughter than to promote edification.
But, doubtless, our reader is weary of our hagiographers. We must, therefore, notice briefly the controversies in which their labours involved them. Bollandus, when he died, departed amid universal regret: Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, all joined with Jesuits in regret for his death, and in prayers for his eternal peace. A few years afterwards the Society experienced the very fleeting character of such universal popularity. During the issue of the first twelve volumes, they had steered clear of all dangerous controversies by a rigid observance of the precepts laid down by Bollandus. In discussing, however, the life of Albert, at first Bishop of Vercelli, and afterwards Papal Legate and Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, Papebrock shallenged the alleged antiquity of the Carmelite Order, which affected to trace itself back to Elijah the Tishbite. This piece of scepticism brought down a storm upon his devoted head, which raged for years and involved Popes, yea even Princes and Courts, in the quarrel. Du Cange threw the shield of his vast learning over the honest criticism of the Jesuits. The Spanish Inquisition stepped forward in defence of the Carmelites; and toward the end of the seventeenth century condemned the first fourteen volumes of the "Acta Sanctorum" as dangerous to the faith. The Carmelites were very active in writing pamphlets in their own defence, wherein after the manner of the time they deal more in hard words and bad names than in sound argument. Thus the title of one of their pamphlets describes Papebrock as " the new Ishmael whose hand is against every man and every man's hand is against him." It is evident, however, that they felt the literary battle going against them, inasmuch as in 1696 they petitioned the King of Spain to impose perpetual silence upon their adversaries. As his most Catholic Majesty did not see fit to interfere, they presented a similar memorial to Pope Innocent XIII., who in 1699 imposed the cldture upon all parties, and thus effectually terminated a battle which had raged for twenty years. Papebrock again involved himself at a later period in a controversy touching a very tender and very important point in the Boman system. In discussing the lives of some Chinese martyrs, he advocated the translation of the Liturgy into the vulgar tongue of the converts; which elicited a reply from Gueranger in his "Institutions Theologiques ;" while again between the years 1729 and 1736 a pitched battle took place between the Bollandists and the Dominicans touching the genealogy of their founder, St. Dominic. AU these controversies, with many other minor ones in which they were engaged, will be found summed up in an apologetic folio which the Bollandists published. In looking through it the reader will specially be struck by this instructive fact, that the bitterness and .violence of the controversy were always in the inverse ratio of the importance of the points at issue. This much also must any fair mind allow: the Society of Jesus, since the days of Pascal and the "Provincial Letters," has been regarded as a synonym for dishonesty and fraud. From any such charge the student of the "Acta Sanctorum" must regard the Bollandists as free. In them we behold oftentimes a credulity which would not have found place among men who knew by experience more of the world of life and action, but, on the other hand, we find in them thorough loyalty to historical truth. They deal in no suppression of evidence; they give every side of the question. They write like men who feel, as Bollandus their founder did, that under no circumstances is it right to tell a lie. They never hesitate to avow their own convictions and predilections. They draw their own conclusions, and put their own gloss upon facts and documents; but yet they give the documents as they found them, and they enable the impartial student—working not in trammels as they did—to make a sounder and truer use of them. They display not the spirit of the mere confessor whose tone has been lowered by the stifling atmosphere of the casuistry with which he has been perpetually dealing; but, the braced soul, the hardy courage of the historical critic, who having climbed the lofty peaks of bygone centuries, has watched and noted the inevitable discovery and defeat of lies, the grandeur and beauty of truth. They were Jesuits indeed, and, like all the members of that Society, were bound, so far as possible, to sink all human affections and consecrate every thought to the work of their order. If such a sacrifice be lawful for any man, if it be permitted any thus to suppress the deepest and holiest affections which God has created, surely such a sacrifice could not have been made in the pursuance of a worthier or nobler object than the rescue from destruction, and the preservation to all ages, of the facts and documents contained in the "Acta Sanctorum."
ENGLAND, FRANCE, AND MADAGASCAR.
THE present difficulties between France and Madagascar, and the recent arrival of a Malagasy Embassy in this country, have made the name of the great African island a familiar one to all readers of our daily journals during the last few weeks. For some time past we have heard much of certain " French claims" upon Madagascar, and alleged " French rights" there; and since the envoys of the Malagasy sovereign are now in England seeking the friendly offices of our Government on behalf of their country, it will be well for Englishmen to endeavour to understand the merits of the dispute, and to know why they are called to take part in the controversy.
Except to a section of the English public which has for many years taken a deep interest in the religious history of the island and given liberally both men and money to enlighten it, and to a few others who are concerned in its growing trade, Madagascar is still very vaguely known to the majority of English people; and, as was lately remarked by a daily journal, its name has until recently been almost as much a mere geographical expression as that of Mesopotamia. The island has, however, certain very interesting features in its scientific aspects, and especially in some religious and social problems which have been worked out by its people during the past fifty years; and these may be briefly described before proceeding to discuss the principal subject of this article.
Looking sideways at a map of the Southern Indian Ocean, Madagascar appears to rise like a huge sea monster oiit of the waters. The island has a remarkably compact and regular outline; for many hundred miles its eastern shore is almost a straight line, but on its north-western side it is indented by a number of deep land-locked gulfs, which include some of the finest harbours in the world. About a third of its interior to the north and east is occupied by an elevated mountainous region, raised from 3,000 to 5,000 feet above the sea, and consisting of Primary rocks—granite, gneiss, and basalt—probably very ancient land, and forming during the Secondary geological epoch an island much smaller than the Madagascar of to-day. While our Oolitic and Chalk rocks were being slowlylaid down under northern seas, the extensive coast plains of the island, especially on its western and southern sides, were again and again under water, and are still raised but a few hundred feet above the sea-level. From south-east to north and north-west there extends a band of extinct volcanoes, connected probably with the old craters of the Comoro Group, where, in Great Comoro, the subterranean forces are still active. All round the island runs a girdle of dense forest, varying from ten to forty miles in width, and containing fine timber and valuable gums and other vegetable wealth—a paradise for botanists, where rare orchids, the graceful traveller's-trce, the delicate lattice-leaf plant, the gorgeous flamboyant, and many other elsewhere unknown forms of life abound, and where doubtless much still awaits fuller research.
While the flora of Madagascar is remarkably abundant, its fauna is strangely limited, and contains none of the various and plentiful forms of mammalian life which make Southern and Central Africa the paradise of sportsmen. The ancient land of the island has preserved antique forms of life : many species of lemur make the forest resound with their cries; and these, with the curious and highly-specialized Aye-aye, and peculiar species of Viverridae and Insectivora, are probably "survivals" of an old-world existence, when Madagascar was one of an archipelago of large islands, whose remains are only small islands like the Seychelles and Mascarene Groups, or coral banks and atolls like the Chagos, Amirante, and others, which are slowly disappearing beneath the ocean. Until two or three hundred years ago, the coast-plains of Madagascar were trodden by the great struthious bird, the iEpyornis, apparently the most gigantic member of the avi-fauna of the world, and whose enormous eggs probably gave rise to the stories of the Rukh of the " Arabian Nights." It will be evident, therefore, that Madagascar is full of interest as regards its scientific aspects.
When we look at the human inhabitants of the island there is also a considerable field for research, and some puzzling problems are presented. While Madagascar may be correctly termed "the great African island" as regards its geographical position, considered ethnologically, it is rather a Malayo-Polynesian island. Though so near Africa, it has but slight connection with the continent; the customs, traditions, language, and mental and physical characteristics of its people all tend to show that their ancestors came across the Indian Ocean from the south-east of Asia. There are traces of some aboriginal