ePub 版

some dream that the English aristocracy are to Barbarism connects scorn, contempt, and meancontinue the only instance of their order unre-ness with poverty and weakness; and the Esduced in Europe. Children build castles on the tablished Churches embody the feelings of barsand within tide-mark, and fancy they will not barism by excluding the lowly from power and be demolished by the advancing waves. honor. The religion of the Son of the Carpen

* The most ominous quarrel for the aristocra- ter of Nazareth looks only for moral qualities in cy is that begun in England and completed in the poor man, and finding them clothes him with Scotland with the clergy respecting ecclesiasti- a sacred power, and adorns him with a celestial cal power. The principle of the letter of Sir J. glory. Establishments honor the oppressorGraham, by alienating all earnest clergymen Christianity the oppressed. An advanced civilifrom connexion with the aristocracy, must in the zation is now teaching that selfshness cannot end wither the arm of lordly power. Ministers be dignified by ducal coronets. Selfishness is are the greatest destructives of the day. When vice and baseness even while it wields a royal the bulk of the people of the Established Kirk sceptre. According to the noble doctrines now leave her, they escape from her aristocratic in. abroad, Genius which betters and blesses the fluences. Moderate parsons, by taking the sti- lives of men fills the real thrones of the world. pends and doing the bidding of the patrons, will "Now, by their secession, the most loved and not thereby become a link between them and influential of the clergy of Scotland will insensithe population. The passions and principles bly and unconsciously become teachers of these which in Scotland demand the reduction of aris- democratic views of dignity. They may not betocratic power, have hitherto been greatly re- come politicians; but they cannot prevent their strained by the Evangelical clergy-thanks to influences from making democracy still more the Peel Ministry, the restraint has become an than it is a part of the sacred convictions of the impetus. Aristocratic doctrines will, undoubt. Scotch. The Free Kirk will be to the upper edly, be taught for the aristocratic stipends. classes of the towns, and the middle classes of But, like Dean Swifi, when his audience consist- the agricultural districts, a most powerful teached of his clerk only, the preachers will have to er of the doctrines which make men greater and say instead of dearly beloved brethren, · Dearly lords less. beloved Roger, be a Tory. The bits of bread " Ministers have weakened the hold, the morwill buy the bits of sycophancy. Hitherto, at al hold which the aristocracy have on their most of the elections since the Reform Act, the lands. The Conservatives have unsettled proEvangelical clergy have voted for the Tories, perty. They have declared to all the world ihat and to their influence over the political serfs of clergymen can derive incomes from land only the counties coes the aristocratic party owe its on terms deemed sinful by all churches. Subposition. This will never happen again. At jection to Cæsar in the things of God is the inthe next general election, happen when it may, dispensable tenure of tiends and tithes. Even the Tories will have nothing to back them but stipends from land can be held only by allowing the brute power of property.

the aristocratic will to lord it over the sacred rite “ By the secession of the Evangelical party, of ordination. Thousands, however, of the best the aristocracy will lose dignity. They may minds in the three kingdoms judge the right of not see how this will happen; but they will find the clergy to their endowments to be superior it to their cost. They will have yet to pay a and stronger than the title of the landlords to high price for their patronage in filling the va- their estates. They would blot the baronial cancies. Tke Moderate Erastian, anti-Evan. hall from the landscape sooner than the church gelical Establishment has not had, and when with its skyward spire. The reason why clergythe vacant stipends have found litters will not men should enjoy the fruits of the soil, seem to have, any moral influence, over the people. them stronger than the reasons for giving the They will be odious to all men, and will involve aristocracy a monopoly of the earth. The clergy their patrons in their odium. Were I asked to they think came better by their property than na me one of the worst effects of Church Estab- the aristocracy. When certain barons and chieflishments I should say—they neutralize the tains were asked of old to show the titles by Christian idea of dignity. The servant is great- which they held their lands--they drew their est in the New Testament,the lord is greatest swords. A soldier laid a village in ashes and in the Established Churches. A God-like dig- strewed it with the corpses of its owners, and nity, according to Christianity, invests the ser- thus his blood-covered sword made him lord of vant who, victorious over selfishness, does, the village. A chieftain and his clan seized a makes, and suffers most for others. According district, and held it by the sword, making the to Establishments, power and honor, the appoint. eagle's feather in his bonnet the symbol of his ment of the pastor, the highest place, the pew sovereignty over hill, and vale, and stream. adorned with armorial bearings, the glaring es- Time puts his cloudy hand over these transaccutcheon, the black hangings, and the bannered tions. The descendant of the feudal baron is tomb, belong to proud and triumphant Selfish-clad in ermine instead of mail, and the chief of ness, riding in painted coaches, clothed in er- the clan is seen ofiener in the clubs of Pallmall mine, and tricked out in stars, swords, and coro- than on the heather of his native hills. But men nets. In the Bible glory is a radiance from the now-a-days suspect there is nothing high, holy, man: in the Establishments the honor follows noble, or divine, in what was done either by the the accidents. Christ says, honor most those sword or by time. Many see nothing but bold who are most successfully unselfish-asistocratic selfishness in these atlairs. An owner of land, churches say by all their peculiar influences, hon- awakened to religious views, feels that he canor most those who are selfish most successfully. I not better bestow a part of it than by giving it

[ocr errors]

to keep up for ever a church, and a clergyman "to beg him not to banish the Gospel.”
to teach the grandest doctrine his heart can con- He could not see what the Gospel had to do
ceive-the divine ideal of self-sacrificing love, with the matter, and was angry with them.
the awful fact which exhibits God in his blood. Perhaps this chieftain will permit us to ask
ceived that the clergy, however sluggishly, do if the preservation of the hereditary affec-
some work for society in return for their incomes. tion of his clan is not truer Conservatism
The aristocracy do nothing. Opinion is the than marking bis disapprobation of their
creator of law which again makes and unmakes Church principles in a way to alienate their
property. Why should property of a base be affection for ever. Many Highlanders said,
more secure than property of a holy origin?, when they heard how the Kirk bad been
Why ought men who teach morals, console the
sick and give future hopes to the dying, to hold treated, “There will be bonnets on the
their incomes from land on a tenure of sinful green.” Religious principles and religious
subserviency to men who spend their lives in feelings are thus brought into hostility with
making laws for their own interests, indulging lordly privileges, and aristocracy rashly
their appetites, basking aloft in sunshine amidst tries a 'fall with Evangelical Christianity.
the clustered fruitfulness of the land? Why is By refusing sites for Free Churches on their
it right to allow every lordling at will, although
his will may be formed by the most skeptical and estates, the aristocracy are making the vital
the most libertine influences of the age, to domi- religion which has just displayed its power
neer over the Church of God and trample under so strikingly inimical to them and their
fnot the cross of Christ? Such are the questions privileges, the security of their property,
let loose by the folly of the Government on the and the maintenance of their dignity.
minds, not of the revolutionary poor, but of the When refused sites for Churches, devout
thoughtful and devout Kirkmen and Churchmen Free Kirkmen exclaim, “ The earth is the
of these realms. Sir James Graham has brought Lord's. Who gave you a right to refuse a
a glare as from a revolutionary torchlight upon spot on it for the worship of the Creator of
the foundations of aristocratic property.
6. To me the fall of the Kirk is the only pre-

it? Did you make the land ? Did you get
cursor of the fall of the Peerage. The praises it from the Maker of it to prohibit his
which have been sounded in high places upon worship upon it?" Such were the words
the distinct committal of the Government to the addressed the other day by a Conservative
enforcement of spiritual duties by civil penalties, Free Kirkman to a Tory Peer. They show
is ominous of the addition of the clergy to the that the misconduct of Tory ministers and
multitudes already bent on the destruction of
feudal aristocracy. The omen reminds me of a Tory lairds has injected into the minds of
dream of the last Countess of the ancient family men (but yesterday the breakwater between
of the Keiths, Earls of Marischal. She dreamt Aristocracy and the surges of Democracy)
she was standing on the land eyeing with pride the very central ideas of Revolutionary
the noble castle of Dunotter, which, built on Chartism. The true Conservatives of their
granite, frowns defiance on the ocean, dashing order are the Fox Maules, the Patrick
against its rocky feet. A company of priests ap- Stewarts, and the Breadalbanes, who try to
peared in their robes, walking in solemn proces.
sion, chanting hymns, and sat down and began win for Aristocracy the love of religious
chopping the rocks on which the castle rests, Scotchmen.
with their penknives. The Countess laughed at We conclude our desultory remarks with
them, she shouted to them derisively, and clap- a few words respecting what ought to be
ped her hands in scorn of them. However, while done with Lord Aberdeen's bill, the posi.
she gazed, the clergy disappeared, the rocks and tion of the Professors who have seceded,
walls rent and fell into the sea, and nothing was and what we think the present duties of
left to be seen of the great castle, except frag-
ments of furniture floating on the waves.

Voluntaries and Radicals in Scotland. “ The aristocracy cannot afford to quarrel with Lord Aberdeen's bill has, it is said, the clergy."

reached the commons, only in consequence

of his threatening to resign his office if his Since the above was written, new facts colleagues did not overcome their repughave abundantly confirmed the argument. nance to it and support it. Shrewd people A Highland chieftain with whom we had a always suspect a man of the vices of which chat the other day, not on his native heather he loudly accuses others, and this bill grabut in a gorgeous club in Pallmall, told ustifies the clerical ambition of the Muir party, the following incident expressive of some a clerical ambition of which the Chalmers of the consequences of this question in re party was falsely accused. The party who ference to aristocratic property. He found have left the Establishment rejected the one morning recently, between sixty and bill of the Earl of Aberdeen, because it en. seventy of his poor people assembled before abled Presbyteries to lord it over the peohis house in the Highlands. He went down ple. Apparently the bill gives the Presby. to them. “They had come,” they said, 'tery the whole power of deciding upon the

[ocr errors]


admission of a presentee to a benefice, but of Presbyteries and Courts of Tiends, and they must record their reasons for the re. legal opinions ought not to prevent them vision of the Civil Courts. The Church from memorializing every Town Council to Courts are empowered to decide absolutely avert the spectacle of highly-paid clergyon the objections of the people and intrude men without congregations. Carping at the any man they like in defiance of them. Free Kirkmen does not seem to be quite so Before they can reject the presentee of the much their duty as co-operating with the patron, their reasons must be such as will on the point of agreement—to avert from seem satisfactory in a court of civil law. Scotland the calamity of an Ecclesiastical Seemingly the measure cuts right down be- Establishment like that of Ireland. J. R. tween the patron and the people, but the ecclesiastical Foreign Secretary takes care to put the poisoned side of the knife towards the people. The facetious illustrations of its absurdity which we have seen, however

DISSOLVING VIEWS. witty, have not been quite apt. It does not lock the door of the stable when the steed has been stolen, but it creates a disturbance

From the Metropolitan. among the horses that remain. It is not a

Are they not wondrous ? how the sight case of a surgeon who, having brought his Revels in changes quick and bright, instruments, performs the operation al- Less like the work of mortal hand, though the patient is dead; it is a case of Than some gay scene of fairy-land:

Lo ! from our fixed and rapt survey a surgeon who, missing the patient that

Object by object melts away, called him in, operates on the first person

Yielding their shadowy forms and hues that falls in his way. But no Tory surgery To merge in fresh Dissolving Views. will save the Kirk. The Conservatives,

The ancient castle seems to shine whether Whig or Tory, will not be able to

Reflected in the clear blue Rhine, maintain for one million an intolerable bur

Anon, the proud and stately tower den on two millions of Scotchmen. The Becomes a simple woodbine bower; life has fled from the Kirk. The spirit of Swift sailing slips, and glittering seas, John Knox has left it. The genius of Pres.

Change to the churchyard's mournful trees,

Whose dark and bending boughs diffuse byterianism is gone. The Establishment is

Shade o'er the dim Dissolving Views. a corpse without salt on its breast. The Professors of the Universities are

How sad a tale of truth ye tell, bound to sign the Confession, conform to

How do ye bid the spirit dwell

Upon the change, the dream, the strife, the worship, and refrain from injuring the

The mockery of human life! Establishment of the Church of Scotland. Soon is each fleeting joy o'ercast, The object of these conditions was to keep Nothing that glads our eyes can last, out Prelatists. An attempt is made to en

Rich sunlight may the scene suffuse,

But ah! it gilds Dissolving Views. force this act against the separating Professors, beginning with Sir David Brewster, The banquet-hall becomes the shed, who is distinguished from his colleagues in

The battle-field the lowly bed,

The hero sinks into the slave, St. Andrew's by being known to Europe.

The altar changes to the grave; The object of this act was the protection of Forms of young loveliness and bloom the constitutional settlement of 1690. Sir Shine forth and fade-we mourn their doom, D. Brewster and the separating Professors

Till Time, to soothe our grief, renews have left the Establishment in adherence to

The bright and false Dissolving Views. this very settlement. It will be strange in- In every season, clime, and age, deed, if adherence to the thing the act pro- Poet, historian, and sage, tects should subject them to its penalties,

Warn us distrustfully to meet while Prelatical Professors are allowed to

Life's frail and Hattering deceit;

But ye in graphic might arise, remain unmolested. Surpassingly odd will Bringing the lesson to our eyes, it be should the act be used to turn out the We look, and pensively we muse sort of persons it was enacted to keep in, On once beloved Dissolving Views. while it keeps in precisely the sort of Pro

Nor idle is your fair array, fessors it was passed to keep out.

Surely a moral ye convey,
A few words to Radicals and Voluntaries. Bidding us prize that far-off home,
Why have they not seized the initiative

Where shade and change shall never come; in a movement for the reduction of the

And, as your phantom world departs,

We sorrow for the spell-bound hearts, churches in all the cities. Surely their Who smile to greet, and weep to lose principles require this of them. Obstacles Earth's varying Dissolving Views !

But in the case of England and America, AMERICAN POETRY.

and in that case alone, we can approach the

point of divergence, and watch the process From the Dublin University Magazine. The Poets and Poetry of America. , With an Mankind will eventually have an opportu.

of separation from its commencement. Historical Introduction. By Rufus W. nity of examining by proof all thuse nice Griswold. Philadelphia : Cary and Hart. and refined questions which only an argu1842.

ment of remotion was before able to solve In general, the point of divergence of for us; it has the process going on under two languages originally one, is concealed its eyes, and it may test by actual experiin the obscurity of unapproachable antiqui. meni all that was hitherto but theory and ty. That ramifications have taken place deduction. naturally, since the miracle of Babel, we e "For all the efforts of America to preserve have every reason to believe—but we only an identity of language with us (the only discover the streams where they are far thing she seems to wish to follow us in) apart, and it is a work of difficulty and un will not avail to resist the immutable law certainty to trace them up to their original which ordains that nations removed shall diffluence. There are many curious cir- not be identical in any one particular; and cumstances which must strike even the even from her literature she will not long most superficial philologist in returning up be able to exclude the elements of change, these streams. The few parent-fountains which in the volume before us begin to forming the miraculous origin of each great make a show, and give an exotic tint to family of tongues, preserve their distinctive the blossoms—and there are many bright characteristics through endless combina- ones—with which it is overspread. The tions, and tend to imprint on their deriva- vulgar tongue it is, however, which will no tives corresponding varieties of character doubt be the first to alter, as may be er and expression, according to their combi- pected, it being there that the process is nation and arrangement. For it is of such left to itself, and in it we could, if we were materials that a spoken language is com- so disposed, and that our space and subject posed, and from such materials alone it can admitted of it, even now exhibit very rebe modified and inflected. No power of markable variations, not only in words, but taste, custom, or circumstances can do in idioms and forms of expression. Amer. more than qualify one language by the adican literature has hence a double interest mixture or extraction of other known ones; with Englishmen. For a philological innor can the utmost ingenuity of man create quiry mixes itself with it, and urges attennew elements out of which to supply, en- tion as a matter of duty, where inclination rich, or strengthen the current media of would have already recommended it. It is expression. But, subordinate to these not our part, however, to point out exam. great distinctions, there are wide differ- ples of what we have been noticing, either ences where we can trace an original unity directly or by the selection of our quota: at a period more recent than the confusion tions. It is enough to denote the com of tongues, and in which the divarication mencing existence of such changes, and has been caused by natural circumstances, recommend it as a subject worthy of nasuch as the migration of tribes, colonizational observation. tion, conquest, geographical position, or The endeavor to hold strictly to English the long-continued friendship or hostility in literature has had its cramping effect on of neighboring nations. To apply our the powers of American poets. In prose selves to the examination of such matters the restraint is not equally felt, or at least can never be unprofitable, even in the un- does not so severely cramp the author; certainty in which they are wrapped-we and accordingly their prose compositions say uncertainty, for we have only the in- are many of them bold, natural, and rich. ternal evidence of a language as it is, for But in verse it is essential that there should our guide; as in geology we are unable to be an entire freedom from restraint-an discover any authentic history to assist our independence of expression as well as of researches.' Man in his earlier slate was thought; nor has any poet ever been able as utterly unconscious of the philosophy of to show a bold and vigorous originality his language as of that of his mind; and who has been obliged to watch his expreshence we must be content to meet with sions as they arose in his mind, and square those difficulties by which observation upon his words when written according to an the casual relics of unobserved changes will unfamiliar vocabulary. Hence there is ever be accompanied.

timidity and restraint in all their poetical

efforts—they are laboriously correct, but But after all it will be better to give the undaring and tame; and a general absence reader an opportunity of judging for him. of forcible metaphor, novel and striking self. And we purpose, in doing so, to use metre, startling eccentricity, and success- all possible impartiality in the selection, ful innovation, mark the uneasy anxiety which must after all be but a scanty gleanafter English which guided their composi- ing from such a field. It was about the tions. Of course, in so voluminous a mis close of the seventeenth century that the cellany as that before us, this assertion will shell was first sounded beyond the Atlantic be qualified with exceptions-one must be by bards of English descent. For, quaint obvious, that of Maria Brooks's poetry, and grotesque as were the productions of (Maria Del' Occidente,) of which wild and those worthies, Folger, Mathew, and Wigreckless vigor is one of the high charac- glesworth, the circumstance of their being teristics. It must be remembered, how. published in America does not in itself conever, that she, like Irving, was a long resi. stitute them American poetry—the authors dent in England, and benefited moreover were English born, and would probably by the critical care, advice, and assistance have put forward their absurdities at home, of Southey, in whose house she was for a if they could have found a printer-with considerable time domesticated.

this difference, that their names and books In these higher qualifications, then, we would have been already in the tomb of are bound to record American deficiency: "all the Capulets.” The true commenceGenius, the transfiguration of the beautiful ment of American song is with Benjamin into the sublime, the wings upon the head Thompson, "y renowned poet of New and feet, the magic wand of inspiration, are England." He was born at Quincy, in not there. Like elegant translations, or 1640, and wrote an astounding epic, entiaccurate copies, these writings please and tled "New England's Crisis," about the satisfy, but do not move us—we admire year 1676. Besides this “great epic," "he and approve, but must refuse homage ; and wrote," says the editor of the collection delightedly admit them to the shelves of before us, three shorter poems, neither of our library, while we must exclude them which bave much merit.” from the sanctuary of our hearts. In such It is attempted to be proved in this vol. a position, however, they stand becoming- ume, that very little poetry worthy of prely-they have many claims on our regard, servation was produced in America before and in one or two points, we are bound to the period of the revolution ; in fact, till confess, put to shame our own modern the spirit of freedom began to influence the school. A healthy and wholesome spirit national character. " The POETRY OF THE of thought and morality uniformly pervades Colonies," says the editor, “was without their pages-a simple and safe tone of feel. originality, energy, feeling, or correctness ing is caught, we trust, from the tastes of of diction.” Nothing is more easy to make their readers, and conventionally purifies than such an assertion-nothing more easy their lays; there is little that is false or af- to prove. A little judicious selection in fected in sentiment, much less of what is both periods will make it all plain ; but, pernicious or demoralizing, in the large even giving him credit for making a fair collection they have sent over to us in this selection from the colonial bards, will the volume ; or if the former admission is too specimens be produces support the implied strong, we may safely allow it as far as assumption that the "spirit of liberty has morbid and unhealthy sentiment is con- begotten "originality, energy, and free. cerned. There is also an absence of per- dom” in the later bards of his country? sonal and political acrimony, singular We hesitate in replying to the question. enough in a people, who in plain prose At least we are unable to observe the must be admitted to possess a national tal- strong demarcation between the two perient for invective, whetted by constant ods which he would have us recognize. practice, and which either argues the cau- Philip Frenneau was the most distintious and rigid selection of the editor, or guished poet of the revolutionary time. else how completely the bards of America Out of his voluminous compositions, the keep in their minds the identity of poetry editor has been able to extract a few de. and fiction ; and we have a right to thank tached scraps, fit to be ranked in a “select” them that on such ground at least they can collection. The equivocal merit of his lay aside inveterate habits, and allow their verse makes us the more regret not being imagination to give practical efficacy to indulged with a little of his prose, which, the precept—"Peace, good will towards as Mr. Thomas modestly remarks, commen.'

bined the beauty and smoothness of AddiVol. III. No. III. 21

« 上一頁繼續 »