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he were to swear that he will commit murder; or that, being a soldier, he will desert to the enemy, or run away instead of standing to his post or his colours. If he have any scruple about breaking such an oath, his priest will give him absolution upon small pe
It would be more rational for the British Protestant people to receive into their House of Commons representatives of our Mahometan people of Bengal, than to receive the delegates of Popery. Our Mahometan Indians (not Gentoos) have no other prince than our own monarch, and are not the subjects of a sworn combination of priests; whereas the men who by their influence nominate the Popish members of Parliament, are subjects of a foreign power, the prince of Rome, and have combined under him to subdue mankind at whatever cost, under the domination of him and the body of which he is the head. All this was well understood by our Scottish forefathers, and had been impressed upon them by severe experience. They had a hard struggle with Popery. By dint of preserving ignorance among the populace, the Popish priesthood had themselves become ignorant. When directed by their superiors to prevent the Bible from being read or heard read, the historian Hume tells us that many of the Popish clergy în Scotland seriously believed that the New Testament was a heretical book, written by Martin Luther. However strange that idea may now seem, it was not utterly absurd, because, if not heretical, why was the perusal of it prohibited? These simple men, not being in the secrets of the combined Roman continental priesthood, could not suspect that the inspired Record of the Christian faith could, under any circumstances, be treated as a bad book, that would lead men to perdition.
Having succeeded in putting down Popery, the Scottish Protestants adopted measures, devised with profound sagacity, to prevent its return. Their measures encountered great interruption. Our native princes, having inherited the English crown, became independent of Scotland. In the time of Charles I., who had married a Papist, the Church of England, under the superintendence of Archbishop Laud, was led to the verge of Po
pery. In Scotland, as already stated, an attempt was made to lead the Scots back to Popery by the aid of the forms of Episcopacy; and during the reigns of Charles II. and his brother James II. (VII. of Scotland), the one a concealed and the other an avowed Papist, the Scottish Protestants, adhering generally to the Presbyterian eccle siastical forms as remotest from Popery, were exposed to a grinding tyranny, and most sanguinary and inquisitorial persecution. They were hunted over the mountains and moors of their native land; and wherever found exercising, or suspected of having exercised, their ordinary form of worship with their ancient clergy, they were slaughtered without mercy by the royal troops. But during the intervals of weakness on the part of the government, the Protestant party in Scotland had taken those measures which rendered their extinction impracticable without an absolute depopulation of this ancient kingdom.
Being aware that the strength of the Popish system consists in fastening down a people under a cloud of superstition and ignorance, the Scottish Protestants, with great discernment, made war upon ignorance and superstition, as the fatal enemies of them and of mankind. For that pur
pose they made effectual provision for the education of the people;—and here, be it observed, that our forefathers never proposed to establish a board of education or a minister of instruction, with national schools supported by the general government. Their Scottish sagacity protected them from reliance on such projects. In the first place, that a people may enjoy freedom, it is necessary that they do much for themselves, and leave as little, as possible to be done by government, so as to leave little pretext for the collection of a great revenue to support numerous government officers. things must be performed by a general government, such as the management of the Post-Office, the national defence, and the appointment of judges, with the fixing of rules or laws for their direction. But all interference by government that can be avoided, ought to be avoided by a people jealous of their liberties. By intrusting education to a minister of the Crown or a central board, it is exposed to all the effects of political intrigue and re
volutions in the national administration. Above all, it is exposed to the influence of that system of Popery which is established in the centre of Europe, and by its ramifications, intrigues, and efforts, open, secret, or disguised, is incessantly engaged in an active warfare against Protestantism. By the aid of the confessional, it pe netrates into all transactions, and operates equally by the ascendency of the priest over the weakness of devout women, and the ferocity which he inspires into ignoraut men against the heretic.
Education is of two kinds-intellectual and moral. To possess intellect, without moral virtue or benevolent affections, is satanic, or the character we ascribe to the spirit of evil. When a Frenchman said of the late Bonaparte, whether justly or not, that he had un tête sans entrailles-a head without a heart (bowels of compassion or affections), he represented the character of that eminent soldier as utterly diabolical. It is certain that the mere acquisition of knowledge by men, animated only by selfish passions in whatever form-ambition, avarice, sensuality-leaves the individual actually worthless, while it renders his existence a misfortune to human society. Such men, when aided by opportunity and possessed of ability, have in different ages come forth to afflict mankind, and have been well designated as more eminently the Scourges of God than famine or pestilence. Our forefathers endeavoured to educate not a part merely, but the whole of the population of the kingdom; and held education to consist of the two branches already mentioned, intelligence and morality, understanding by moral education, instruction in the Christian Protestant religion.
For the first of these purposes, they established a school in every parish to teach the whole of the youth of both sexes to read and write the English language, and also the ordinary rules of arithmetic. In villages, the teachers were required to be capable of teaching the Latin language. The proprietors of lands in the parish were required to furnish a school and schoolhouse, and a salary to the teacher, reserving to him to obtain a very moderate remuneration from the scholars.
Thus, cheap education for his children was brought to every man's door,
and thousands and tens of thousands of Scotsmen have found the education received at the parish school their best and no mean patrimony. The teacher of such schools is elected by the owners of property of a certain amount. In every school the translation of the Bible made in the time of James I. is the ordinary schoolbook. Adjacent to the parish school, the parish church and a house for the minister were established. The proprietors of land in the parish were required to furnish both, and a suitable salary to the clergyman. The whole population of the parish have free access to the church; and thus provision was made in Scotland for teaching the Protestant doctrine at the expense of the landed gentry exclusively. This institution continues to this day; although, from the increase of the population, and the establishment of taxation to support the clergy in Edinburgh, and one or two of the larger towns, the institution is less effective than at its original establishment.
That there might be no relapse, and to protect the community more effectually against falling back into that corruption of the administrations of religion which had led to the pernicious institutions of Popery, care was taken to treat according to its merits the impure device on which the chief practical unity and strength of the Popish combination rests-the celibacy of the clergy. The Scottish clergy were not only permitted but encouraged to marry. Further, in the Scottish ecclesiastical establishment, a body of lay elders was in all the parishes appointed to assist the ministers-voting equally with them in all affairs of religion in the Presbyteries and Synods, and with a large mixture of them in the General Assemblies of the Church. In the parish or kirk sessions, which form the radical court, the minister presides; but has only his casting vote added to such influence as may result from his personal character and superior learning. All this was meant to guard against the Popish device of erecting the clergy into a fraternity or corporation distinct from the rest of the community, and with different interests.
The effect of these institutions was, in the first place, to enable every Scotsman, according to the measure of his ability and opportunities, to at
tain to all and every known branch of science. Next, there was taught to every individual of Scottish birth, in our remotest glens, much important truth and knowledge by the perusal of the Bible. That book teaches that this world was formed by a Being of boundless intelligence and powerthat he adorned and enriched it with vegetation of almost boundless variety, and placed on it a multiplicity of animals of different kinds-that he bestowed the world, thus furnished, upon a single human family, a man and his wife, and their descendants in all generations-that thus we are all kindred of the same blood or racethat, unhappily, by eating a poisonous fruit contrary to a divine warning and prohibition, our first ancestors inflicted disease and death upon their descendants, and, what is worse, a selfish, sensual, and polluted corporeal constitution, unfit for the habitation of a pure mind-that, with boundless generosity, a high or the highest celestial intelligence interfered, assumed our nature, and, by suffering as a man all that man can suffer, acquired the privilege of defeating the effect of death by means of a resurrection-that in the mean-while he requires us to act towards each other with the same spirit of beneficence with which he acted, to cultivate the virtues that purify and elevate the human character, and he threatens due punishment to those that do otherwise-that he prohibits all idolatry or worship of saints or superstitious observances, and all reliance on any interest or influence but his own, and the instructions he has given, for the safety and exaltation of men in a future state of existence. The result has been, that when a Scotsman has met his countryman in a foreign land, he believed he had met an intelligent, religious, and trustworthy man, to whom he was bound, and in safety, to give countenance and aid. This, at least, was the principle on which Scotsmen long acted. An infidel Scotsman was accounted a monster in the moral world, no more to be looked for than a monstrous birth in animal nature. Other men said of Scottish Protestants as of the first Christians, "See, how they love one another!"-and, obtaining trust from their countrymen, they were trusted by others, and thereby, with the aid of industry and pru
dence, they prospered; and thus the safeguards of Protestantism against Popery proved a source of prosperity to Scotland, and a profitable patrimony to Scotsmen. But our forefathers did not rely upon the precautions already mentioned exclusively. They added political sanctions to Protestantism, apparently of the weightiest description.
When the happy event occurred of the arrival of William, Prince of Orange, and afterwards in making a treaty of political union with England, care was taken utterly to exclude Popery and Papists from the possession of political power.
In the claim of right (Scots Acts of Parliament, 1689, c. 13), by which the Estates of the kingdom of Scotland declared the crown forfeited by King James, and made an offer of it to William and Mary, the nephew and eldest daughter of the deposed monarch, one of the chief, or rather the chief, ground on which the Estates proceeded, was the attempt to which James had been incited by the Popish priests to assume absolute power, in order to establish their ascendency. The claim of right contains the memorable declaration, "That by the law of this kingdom, no Papist can be king or queen of this realm, or bear any office whatever therein."
By this declaration, the Estates proceed to claim, as matter of right, that certain acts complained of, including expressly the attempt to support Popery, committed by King James, shall be held illegal, and on these conditions the Estates offer the crown to William and Mary.
Thereafter, in 1707, when a treaty was made incorporating the kingdoms of England and Scotland, the second article of the treaty declared, "That all Papists, and persons marrying Papists, shall be excluded from, and for ever incapable to inherit, possess, or enjoy the imperial crown of Great Britain, and the dominions thereunto belonging, or any part thereof; and in every such case, the crown and government shall from time to time descend to, and be enjoyed by such person, being a Protestant, as should have inherited and enjoyed the same, in case such Papists, or persons marrying Papists, were naturally dead." By the same treaty, a Scottish statute intituled, "Act for securing of the Pro
The Scottish Act here referred to (1706, sec. 6), confirms a former Act, Ratifying the Confession of Faith, and settling Presbyterian Church government, with the haill other Acts of Parliament relating thereto, in prosecution of the declaration of the Estates of the kingdom, containing the Claim of Rights." The same statute ordains, concerning teachers or office-bearers in any university, college, or school, "That, before or at their admission, they do and shall acknowledge and profess, and shall subscribe to the foresaid Confession of Faith as the confession of their faith."
In consequence of these stipulations, and of the concurrence of the English nation in the deeply-rooted conviction, that it is impossible to conduct with success the affairs of a Protestant people if political power is to be granted to adherents of Popery, not only were the doors of Parliament shut against Papists, but the royal line of succession to the crown was altered. It was settled, on failure of the issue of Queen Anne, on the family of Hanover, as being Protestants descended in the female line from James VI. (I. of England), to the exclusion of Popish descendants of the same prince, and the descendants of his son, Charles I., because the latter, although nearer heirs, were all Papists.
Man could do no more; and well may we talk with pride of the enlight. ened sagacity of our ancestors. Look back through the records of past ages, and every memorial of departed time the ponderous magnificence of ancient Egypt the beautiful statuary and splendid eloquence of Greece the military toil of the Roman legions, by which they were enabled to grind down the nations and their own people into servitude,-all are mere monuments of superb and strenuous
selfishness and folly, compared with that wisdom from above, which looks over this earth as a nursery-ground employed in rearing immortals to their distant home in eternity, and regards all the business, the interests, the arts, and the toils or inventions and improvements in this life, as a mere training of themselves and their descendants to a high destiny hereafter. So our Protestant forefathers thought, and on such principles they acted. The result was, that Superintending Beneficence granted a visible reward in the face of the nations. The British nation, and certainly Scotland, in proportion to its extent, was enabled to rear what is most valuable in the universe—a multitude of virtuous and enlightened minds, men active, bold, and persevering, and humane. Above a hundred years of still augmenting prosperity, riches, aggrandisement, and terrestrial glory succeeded, and terminated in so exalting Protestant Britain, that although in territory and population not the fourth of the nations of Europe, yet it rose to such a height of ascendency, that in the tremendous contest which ended in 1815, the other European monarchs generally submitted to receive the pay of Britain, and scarcely retained their thrones except by its support and patronage. The navy of Britain ruled every island and every shore of the ocean-one hundred millions of people were her subjectsher agriculture and every science and subordinate art were improved-her warriors were skilful and brave; and while other lands had been wasted by contending and hostile armies, no enemy had encamped within her European territory.
But while the tree flourished thus fair, and spread abroad its branches, a canker-worm had found access to its root-to that root, its Protestant character, to which it owed its health and beauty, of the transcendant value of which so many in our days have appeared unconscious.
Author of "Political
NO. CCLXXXVI. VOL. XLVI.
A PROSING UPON POETRY.
Ir poetry has been justly described as an intellectual luxury, it ought to be added-following out the analogy implied in the expression-that it is a luxury very intimately connected with intellectual industry, and with moral as well as mental advancement. The excitement of mind which a great poet affords, is no bad introduction, and no bad accompaniment, to habits of reflection. That contemplation he induces in us of whatever is beautiful and magnificent, of whatever is tender, passionate, and elating, in this wide spectacle of nature and of man, intrinsically delightful as it is, cannot end in itself, but must needs conduct to lofty subjects, and stimulate to intense and gravest efforts of meditation. The better order of poetry not only requires a thoughtfulness in the reader, as a prior condition of its enjoyment, but incites him also, by the hue it casts on all things, to still further thinking it ascends with him from height to height, teaching him at each point gained upon the landscape, to see with the heart also as well as with the eye to see the prospect before him not only in that truth of form and outline which the dry light of reason reveals, but also in that charm and allurement of colour which it is the office of imagination and the passions to supply.
We purpose to discourse, for a brief space, not very learnedly or profoundly, but yet not altogether idly or unprofitably, on the nature and scope of poetic literature, and on the part which may be assigned to it in the great work of mental cultivation. And first, in what does poetry consist? That it is distinguished not only by the peculiarity of verse or metre, but also by a peculiarity in the cast of thought, in the very substance of the composition, is universally acknowledged. As we certainly cannot, in the utmost generosity of our criticism, allow that verse is always the vehicle of poetry, so, on the other hand, we must frequently confess that there is much of poetry in compositions where no traces are to be found of rhyme or metre. Some of our earlier writers, it is manifest, used the form of verse quite indiscri
minately, and applied it to matter that we do not recognise as at all poetical; while in these later times we more frequently observe a style of thought highly poetic brought down into the prosaic form. What, then, beside the accession of verse distinguishes poetry from prose? We answer, that poetry has pleasure, excitement, passion, for a distinct, acknowledged, ultimate end; and that, from this peculiarity in its aim, arises whatever is characteristic in its thought or expression. the poem objects are portrayed, reflections are put forth, for their very beauty and tenderness, for the elevation or even the shock and tumult of mind which they occasion; for we all know that our nature delights in being roused-delights in excitementthough the feeling kindled be not exactly of that class called pleasurable. Other writers, indeed, share this object with the poet, but with them it is subordinate, or is a means to some further end; with him it is an end in itself-it may be his sole end—it is always an avowed and admitted purpose. He who, for instance, narrates the incidents of a war to deliver a faithful account of it to posterity, is the historian; he who speculates on the causes and remote consequences of the war to frame his science of politics, is the philosopher; he who ap peals to the success of that war to stimulate his fellow-citizens to similar enterprises, is the orator; if any one should depict the battle for the sake of the battle itself-for the wonder and the passion of the scene he is the poet. The historian seeks preeminently for truth of statement; the philosopher generalizes on the operation of causes; the orator, practical in his object, aims at impelling men along a given line of action or of conduct; the poet deals with his materials for the very animation and delight which the contemplation of them affords. It is not impossible that one and the same person may, to a certain extent, combine the aims and qualities of all these writers, and be at once historian and philosopher, orator and poet; and indeed it rarely happens that any literary composition has, strictly speaking, but one end in view,