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and ability, who, by holding public meetings, and inviting open discussion, might promote inquiry and diffuse light. Mr. Sleigh undertook this mission; and we have reason to believe that he fulfilled it in a manner at once honourable to himself and to his cause. He employed no sinister influence; he acted boldly in the face of day; he sought to convince the reason by argument, not to overwhelm his opponents by vituperation; and often called upon and requested the attendance at a proposed meeting of those who were known to be opposed to his object. He was assailed and calumniated, menaced and abused, in the most extraordinary manner; but, in spite of everything, he succeeded in obtaining, from thousands of persons, an expression of opinion decidedly favourable to Mr. Wortley's bill. Those who know Scotland will know that this was no trifling achievement. Of all people in the world, our northern friends are the most generally attached to the traditions of their fathers. The great majority are minutely alike in their religious belief, and they often visit with a terrible and trying severity of opinion any who venture to differ from them. The consequence is, that impartial observers are disposed to question whether Presbyterian uniformity is the result of the exercise, or of the abeyance, of thought, and that the proverbial prudence of the people prevents them from hastily speaking or acting on the side of any dissenting minority.
On the 8th of April last, a public meeting was advertised to be held at Edinburgh, for the purpose of petitioning Parliament against Mr. Wortley's bill. Mr. Sleigh attended, and wished to propose an amendment. The Lord Provost, who was in the chair, gave orders to the police to eject him—and he was ejected accordingly. It is said, however, that, before the police officers could reach him, the reverend and other gentlemen on the platform treated him in a most brutal manner, although he did not offer the slightest resistance to the officers of justice. A highly-respectable and most-respected citizen, Mr. Russell, shared a like fate, for attempting to speak to a point of order.
Two days afterwards, Wednesday the 10th of April, Mr. Sleigh and Mr. Russell were tried before the police court of Edinburgh.' (We are quoting from the preface to the first of the above pamphlets.) The investigation occupied nearly five hours. On the part of the defendants, Maurice Lothian, Esq., the Procurator Fiscal, William Tait, Esq., the eminent publisher, Dr. Renton, Professor Dick, Thomas Ireland, Esq., and others, gave evidence that neither Mr. Sleigh nor Mr. Russell conducted themselves illegally, nor in any way disorderly; but that, on the contrary, the confusion arose among the reverend gentlemen themselves. Notwithstanding this testimony, the presiding judge fined Mr. Sleigh two guineas, and Mr. Russell one guinea, amidst the most unequivocal marks of indignation in a crowded court.' On that same evening a meeting was held, in Brighton-street church, composed of upwards of 2,000 persons,' at which Mr. Sleigh delivered the speech given in the first of the above pamphlets; and on the next Monday evening, April 15, Mr. Sleigh and Mr. Russell were honoured by a public soirée, in the Queen-street Hall, an account of which constitutes the appendix to the second pamphlet. The report of the pro.
ceedings in the police court, with the examination and cross-examination of the witnesses, are at once lightly amusing and gravely suggestive. Both pamphlets are worthy perusal.
The pamphlet of Dr. Croly, we cannot at present adequately notice. There are some things in it not without weight, but there are many strange and startling absurdities, worthy of a writer, who, in a treatise on baptism, commences with the first and second baptisms of the world the globe covered with water, and the Spirit of God moving upon it; the next baptism was the deluge.' The work is distinguished, too, by such a tone of assumption, dogmatism, and contempt of every body that differs, or dares to differ, from him, as by no means to recommend Dr. Croly to sensible readers either as an author or a man. We may, perhaps, one day, return to the subject, and establish and illustrate these unfavourable intimations.
Southey's Common-Place Book. Third Series. Analytical Readings.
Edited by his Son-in-law, John Wood Warter, B.D. London :
Longman and Co. This volume displays an immense range and variety of reading, and, together with its predecessors, fully accounts for the vast stores of information which were possessed by Dr. Southey. After an examination of their contents, we cease to wonder at the mental affluence he displayed. A man who read so much, and analyzed so carefully, was not likely to be at fault in any matter which required illustration or enforcement. Many men have been vast readers, but Southey was evidently much more than this. He condensed and arranged what he read, so as to have it always at command, and to render it subservient to his will. The present volume is devoted to history and biography, civil and ecclesiastical, to correspondence, voyages and travels, topography, natural history, divinity, literary history, and miscellaneous literature. It is not too much to say, in the words of the editor, that, * probably since the collection of the two Zuingers-Theodore and James-no volume has contained more condensed information. It is in itself a smaller Theatrum Humanæ Vitæ.'
Dr. Southey's views are, of course, conspicuous throughout the volume, and more particularly in the historical and biographical portions. We find no fault with this. It is perfectly natural that it should be so, and the fact is not fairly open to exception. His references to many works, such as ‘Ivimey’s History of the Baptists, the • Methodist Magazine,' • Wilson's Dissenting Churches,' and Bogue and Bennett's History of the Dissenters,' will excite a smile in intelligent and candid readers. Taken as a whole, the volume is deeply interesting. It is a book for occasional reference, not for continuous reading, and is rich in the best materials of our affluent tongue.
We look with considerable mistrust on works of this kind; yet we are free to confess—little sympathy as there is, on many points, between us and Dr. Southey—that his · Common-Place Book' will be our frequent companion, and that we anticipate from it both instruction and pleasure.
Observations on the Social and Political State of the European People in
1848-9. Being the second Series of the Notes of a Traveller. By
Samuel Laing. 8vo. London: Longman and Co. We can barely state in this brief notice the valuable character of these * Observations. Mr. Laing's way of looking at social questions is, we presume, well known to our readers from his former very acute volumes. The present is written with the same faculty of keen observation and extraordinary power of clear presentment (by dint of constant inculcation), of the leading impressions in which his glances result. The great points to which the author seeks to bring his readers are, first and chiefly, that the masses of the continental nations are in a far superior social state to the corresponding English class; and that this superiority is closely connected with the great diffusion of landed property in France and Germany; secondly, the growing power of functionaryism instead of aristocracy, as the prop of the continental governments; thirdly, the results of the governmental education system. The relative advantages, or rather disadvantages, of a standing army, and of the conscript system, are also ably discussed. But that which gives its chief value to the volume, is the ample and satisfactory deliverance' on the first-named subject—the distribution of landed property as a necessary element in the comfort of the masses. This great question is pressing on England. O'Connor land schemes, and such straws, show us that; and any thoughtful man's opinions are worth studying now in our moment of quiet, before the strife comes—much more those of a gentleman so thoroughly competent to deduce principles from his observation as is the keen-sighted author of this seasonable and important book.
The Working Man's Friend. Vols. I. and II. London: John Cassell. It is scarcely affirming too much to say that penny publications constitute the peculiar trait of the literature of the present age; and, considering the vast numbers whom they influence, it is impossible but that they should exert a most powerful control over the great mass of our population. For this new social phenomenon it is perfectly easy to account. Had those cheap publications with which the press is now teeming been issued but a single generation ago, at the cost even of a farthing instead of a penny, they would have commanded but a scanty circulation, simply because the classes for whom they are intended would, to a great extent, have been unable to read them. Within the present century, however, the progress of popular education has been such in this country, as must make the era conspicuous in its history. This has naturally created a new and immense demand for literature of a character and a cost adapted to the class of readers who have been created, and intellectually enfranchised by Sunday, British and Foreign, and National Schools. Penny publications constitute the supply which has answered to this new and copious demand. The number of rival publications which weekly issue from the metropolis we are unable to state, but we are credibly informed that one of the most worthless of
them has a circulation of not less than a hundred and sixty thousand a-week. It is to counteract the dissipating and frequently vicious tendency of these publications, that the work before us has been originated. We have examined it with great satisfaction, and heartily commend it to the numerous class for whom it is especially designed.
There are two features in The Working Man's Friend which deserve to be mentioned as distinctive. The first of these is, that in addition to the high moral tendency, by which it is consistently pervaded, it constantly brings before its readers information of directly practical and domestic utility. A tale illustrative of the advantages of temperance, industry, or good temper, is not the less acceptable in the cottage of an artizan, because it is succeeded by instructions for the economizing of food and fuel, for baking, brewing, and cookery.
The second peculiar feature to which we refer is, the monthly supplement, which is exclusively made up of original essays by working men. Some of these are admirable, and it would be well if those proud isolated aristocrats, who designate these classes as the 'canaille, and deny their capability of exercising the common functions of citizens, would peruse these essays, and confess and correct their error. A wise and excellent part of Mr. Cassell's scheme is, the remuneration for these essays by presents of books, which the writers are allowed to choose for themselves. Some of the letters of these prize essayists have accidentally fallen under our eye, and we must confess to a feeling of pride in the age and country in which we live, when we found such works as Butler's Analogy, Milton's prose writings, and Bacon's Novum Organon, selected by Cornish miners, Highland peasants, and Leicester stockingers. Mr. Cassell is unostentatiously doing a great work, and one in which we trust he will be cheered on by well-merited
Report of the Proceedings of the Second General Peace Congress, held in
Paris on the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th of August, 1849. Compiled from Authentic Documents, under the Superintendence of the Peace Congress
Committee. 8vo. Pp. 120. London: Charles Gilpin. This volume is somewhat tardy in its appearance, and we note the fact, not from any querulous disposition, but to urge on the parties concerned not to allow a similar delay in the case of the Congress held last month at Frankfort. The circulation of such documents as constitute this volume is of great importance, and we, therefore, regret that it should be contracted by any circumstances which are not absolutely unavoidable. In order that such papers should be read, they must be furnished to the public immediately after the event which has called attention to the subject. However, better late than never.
So says the old proverb, and so we think. The volume is now before us, and we rejoice in its possession, and earnestly recommend our friends to give it an early and attentive perusal. The speeches, in nearly all cases, hare been translated or copied from the manuscripts furnished by the speakers themselves ; the remainder have been collated from the reports which appeared in the various French and English news.
papers. The essays are printed without abbreviation, and the letters nearly so.'
The Congress of Brussels in 1848, and that of Paris last year, have gone far to arouse public attention to the peace question. They have utterly removed the utopian character which was supposed to invest it, and have placed it in the clear light of day, as one of the practical questions of the age. It cannot be tabooed any longer. To sneer at it is disgraceful to the sneerer only. Truth is making way, and those who cannot-amongst whom we rank-subscribe to the abstract doctrine of the Peace Society, cordially unite with its members in the practical effort to put down war. We rejoice greatly in all this, and as a means of promoting one of the best and most philanthropic schemes of the day, we advise our readers to give due heed to the facts and reasonings of this volume.
Images. By W. Weldon Champneys, M.A. Fourth Edition. London:
Seeleys. This is a volume of very pleasing allegories, principally designed for children. There is more propriety and correctness of taste in them than in any similar volume which we have seen for a long time-and the addition to each of the quotations from Scripture furnishes the key in the words of the Bible. The book is one which has had, and deservedly, a wide circulation.
A Manual for the Young, being an Exposition of Proverbs i.-ix. By
Rev. C. Bridges, M.A. London: Seeleys. This is another of the ordinary kind of practical commentaries which are made on the principle of taking the simple thought expressed in half a dozen words of Scripture, and diluting it into a paragraph by repetitions and exclamations. Such a style of writing may be useful -any instruments may be that—but that it is likely to be so is very questionable. Without expressing any opinion on that subject, we do enough when we indicate the class of exposition to which this volume belongs. The author is evidently a devout, well-meaning man.
The State and Prospects of Jamaica. By David King, LL.D. London:
Johnstone and Hunter. We welcome from a calm, clear-sighted Christian man, this volume, on an island which is an object of painful interest to British men of bene. volence and religion. It contains a temperate, unbiassed statement of the present state of Jamaica, dark enough, but not gratuitously blackened. The study of the negro character is one of the most interesting parts of the book. There are appended remarks on the advantages of the island as a resort for invalids. We earnestly recommend the work to our readers. Jamaica had once a romantically strong hold on the sympathies of English Christiansand surely we are not now going to substitute neglect for all our former interest and energy.