Imatges de pÓgina

just made of the entire sincerity of their views, they had a guarantee for their earnestness and devotion to the cause which it is impossible to eradicate from their minds.

The ultimate effect of the abolition of patronage it would be difficult to prophesy. One result, we fear, it may have, and that is a tendency to increase the operation of causes which have ever since 1843 been raising an additional barrier between the landed proprietors and the middle class in Scotland. Scotland is not less Presbyterian than it was two hundred years ago, but the landowners are rapidly drifting towards Episcopacy. The laird no longer meets his tenants in the old churchyard, or chats with them between sermons,' or has the means of forming the kindly and confidential relations with them which the weekly gathering at the parish church produced. These things are disappearing as rapidly as the manners and customs of Scotland, described by our author, in the beginning of the century, and apparently, though more unfortunately, it is equally inevitable.


But the main cause which renders it impossible that in present circumstances the abolition of patronage can lead to a reunion of the two sections of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland, are the rival claims between the civil and the Church courts. It is quite true that it was out of the exercise of patronage that this particular conflict arose, and were it for no other reason, it is right that patronage should be abolished, that such a conflict may not arise again, it is also true-which renders the catastrophe which has happened the more to be regretted that whatever may be said as to the abstract principle on which the jurisdiction of the Church rested, it never had come into collision with the civil power, excepting on this question of patronage. But still the decisions of the civil court remain as the law of the land. They have been decided by competent authority, and those against whom the decision was pronounced, as well as those who invoked their interference, have acknowledged them to be law. It would be difficult in these days to reconstruct such a constitution as the Church thought it possessed before these questions came into question. That which rested on tradition was a far safer basis than any new enactment could be, even if it could have been procured. Where the counsels of the Church were guided by wisdom and prudence, abstract questions, however important, could always be avoided. But the issue once joined, it is impossible now to recur to first principles without raising collateral questions of the deepest moment, and in the present ecclesiastical state of England, where the Church and those


at its head are struggling to obtain through the medium of a civil officer, the power of executing its own decrees, it is hard to see that it would be possible even to propose in Parliament any measure which had for its object to assert the claims which the civil courts disregarded. It does not follow that these claims were in themselves incompatible with good government or with civil liberty. On the contrary, they lay at the foundation of one of the most symmetrical church establishments in Europe. But in the present state of the public mind we do not think it within even reasonable calculation that this barrier can at this time, if ever, be removed out of the way. The Established Church and the Free Church have full scope as it is, and so we are afraid for the present they must be left.

Turning back to Cockburn's book from this digression, we have but little more to say to recommend it to our readers. Before the end of the volumes one after another of the old friends whose names adorn it have dropped off. Scott has gone, so has Chalmers, so has Jeffrey. He says:

'There were four men who in my time have made Scotland illustrious-Dugald Stewart, Walter Scott, Thomas Chalmers, and Francis Jeffrey. The last of them is now gone, and I fear we have no great man among us. Jeffrey's was a happy life. He chose the most difficult spheres in which talent could be exerted, and excelled in them all. He rose, by his own merits, and by always taking sound views of practical life, from obscurity and dependence to affluence and renown. His temperament was cheerful and his health generally good. His head had become grizzly grey, and his countenance dark pale, but his eye retained its brilliancy, and his lip its energy unquenched, and his step was light and springy, and well-walked to the last. He reached the age of seventy-seven; and after being at his Court on the Tuesday, he died at home next Saturday evening, without pain, and in such entire possession of his faculties that, within a few hours of his departure, he dictated a long and singular letter, giving a striking description of his feebleness and probable expiring feelings. What better does this life yield!'

And we also must take our leave of this cheerful companion, whose memory lives so green in the hearts of his countrymen. He had a happy life; indeed in one passage he mentions that there was only one year in which anything like sorrow overtook him. This Journal, commenced in times and amidst scenes so different, was completed in April 1854-at least April 11 is the last date. He died in his seventy-fifth year, on the 26th of the same month, having just returned from the Ayr circuit. He had sentenced a man to death for murder, and the Judge had gone to his long home before the sentence was executed. He will long be remembered with affection by

those who knew him, with his pleasant smile, his Doric speech, and polished, dignified, and frank address, as the type of the old generation of Scottish gentlemen. To those who knew him not, the pages of this book will convey a true picture of the man; and that country and society is fortunate whose thoughts, habits, and associations are moulded by minds so well balanced, sunny, and genial as that which pervades these volumes of pleasant recollections.

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ART. IX.-Critical and Miscellaneous Essays. By THOMAS CARLYLE. 2d Edition. 5 vols. small 8vo. London, 1845. Lectures on Heroes and Hero-Worship. By THOMAS CARLYLE. 2d Edition. Crown 8vo. London, 1845.

Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches: with Elucidations. By THOMAS CARLYLE. 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1845.

As this is the first opportunity, in the course of our critical labours, that we have been led to notice the very remarkable author of the prefixed works, our readers will easily pardon us, if we introduce our notice of his last publication by some general remarks upon his writings. An author of his established reputation is, no doubt, above being dependent on contemporary criticism as a certificate for public influence or favour. No sentence of ours can make or unmake him as a literary star of the first magnitude—one of those lights by which men steer their way through many deep and dark passages of mental life. Whatever our verdict upon him, he will continue to lead or mislead, to enlighten or to dazzle, a large class of reflective readers. But although we can scarcely regard him as a candidate trembling before us for our approving nod, criticism may be as well and usefully bestowed upon him, as if he were a neophyte stepping with doubtful tread over the first confines of authorship; for our public duty is at least as much concerned with the performances of those within the circle as in guarding its approaches. When an author has overpassed the clouds and mists of his dawn, and reached his meridian, he has attained the summit of influence for good or evil; and although the critic's lash may fall ineffectually enough for any purpose of correction on one whose habits are indurated by age and fame, it is not less our duty to endeavour to direct, and, if needs be, to qualify, the tendencies on public taste and opinion, which such popularity promotes.

An original and vigorous thinker like Mr. Carlyle, with his scorn of antiquated opinion, and liberty and even license in thought as in language, especially when combined with a picturesque imagination, and a quaint raciness of conception, is, in this age, the master of a very powerful weapon. The courage to think on all subjects with unfettered freedom, and to delineate these thoughts, fresh and unrestrained as they spring, with a touch of unrivalled boldness on his canvas, is sure, in the hands


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of a man of mental genius and power, to raise him to the station of a thought-compeller-not a guide merely, but a suggester of habits of thinking, and modes of acting, among those over whom his influence extends. We know many greater writers, in every sense, than Mr. Carlyle is; but, perhaps, there is no living English author-if he can properly be called so-who has a stronger and deeper hold on the minds of the English community. One cannot read his works and then cast them aside. The rich display of thought which they contain indicates still unexhausted veins in the mine from which it is obtained; and the reader shuts the volume, or pauses half way, to follow out some dimly suggested train of deepest and profoundest meaning. Thus, while other authors may be, in a looser sense, more popular, and more rapidly and eagerly read, we doubt if there is any one, whose works have gone more deeply to the springs of character and action, especially throughout the middle classes. Before, therefore, drawing the attention of our readers to the last publication in the prefixed list-which yields nothing in singularity or in interest to its predecessors-we think a few pages may be profitably, and, we hope, agreeably, spent in endeavouring to form some just estimate of Mr. Carlyle's merits as a philosophical writer, and as a guide to public thought and opinion.

In some respects, such an analysis presents little difficulty; his merits, as well as his faults, are sufficiently on the surface. No one can read two pages of any of his works without perceiving that his author is a man of powerful and inventive reflection, with a clear eye, in general, for the reality of things, and a very deep disdain for the robes and trappings of antiquity and prejudice. The reader finds bold thoughts, portrayed in language at least as bold, but conveying, sensibly and strikingly to the mind, the ideal picture which shot across the author's imagination; and usually presenting, in unwonted vividness, some very ordinary truth, the importance of which was never before so strongly perceived. On the other hand, his utter disregard of rule, and perverse rebellion against the ordinary laws of composition, as well as all the conventional propriety of language or belief, would make an unaccustomed reader regard him with something of the feelings with which the loyal Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London might have seen and heard the astounding presumption of Wat Tytler, or Jack Cade.

All this is plain enough; and if Mr. Carlyle were a young recruit, we should be inclined to be very kind to his genius, and as blind as we could to his defects. But such is not our present mood. We and the public have enough of experience of Mr. Carlyle to know, that he is the last man that requires to be informed of his own merits, and that his lamp of light is in no

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