Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

and Wales there are 28,290 chapels and the rulers of this country have hitherto dealt churches, including a large number (7470) with us very much as we have taught them. of preaching stations and school-rooms. They have measured us by the apparent estiwhich in many instances are attended by a

mate which we have put upon our own worth. greater number of people than any of the

They have talked of us slightingly; they have churches, or than some of the chapels. Of

inconsiderately trampled our wishes under the whole number of places of worship,

foot; they have laughed at our remonstrances;

they have made merry with our scruples; they 14,000 belong to the Established Church,

have pooh-poohed our principles. Sir, it and 14,900 to the Dissenting bodies, in- appears to me that the time has fully come cluding 597 Roman Catholic chapels. There for self-vindication ; I think we are called are in the House of Commons, it is under- upon to stand up erect.” stood, thirty-six members who hold, in the Blended, not contrasted, with this resolute main, Nonconformist principles. Though spirit, was the mild, yet lofty, sentiment forming only one-eighteenth of the House,

which pervaded the address of the Hon. these represent a population of 3,921,078 and Rev. Baptist Noel. Speaking of the persons, a sixth of the population of members of parliament present, he obEngland. There are 240 members of the served, House representing a population of

“ It would be their duty to protest against 1,827,000, an average of 7600 to each

the employment of law in the promulgation member; while the thirty-six members

of the Gospel—that law which had almost alholding Nonconformist principles repre- ways retarded the progress of the Gospel. If sent 3,900,000, an average of 108,000 to they would do this in a courteous and gentleeach member. Of the borough members, manly manner-never forgetting that the the Nonconformists constitute about one- fortiter in re was never more precious than tenth, but they represent nearly a third of when united with the suaviter in modo,-folthe borough constituency.

lowing the example of Him who was the The tone of the meeting in regard to

highest model of man, and who taught how the duties of the Nonconformist body at

unflinching courage should be combined with

a temper that would lead us to love our enethe present time was firm and bold, yet mies, and pray for them that cursed us—if admirably tempered with Christian gentle- they followed this course, their constituents ness. As a specimen of the fortiter in re, and the country at large would have to be we give the following from Mr Miall's grateful for their services. If (as he believed speech :

was the case), when a man in the House of

Commons delivered an emphatically fair, “I believe, sir, as do others, in the power of honest, and temperate speech, the opposite meekness. I have faith, earnest faith, in the benches said, 'that man must be a Dissenter,' influence of that personal gentleness of spirit he (Mr Noel) believed Dissenters would mulwhich strives to overcome wrong with welldoing, and words of reproach with acts of tiply, and they would in their places in par

liament exhibit to those who despised evanlove." But I believe, also, in the duty of gelical religion, that that religion was best maintaining calmly an attitude of self-respect,

seen in conjunction with the strongest sense and of repudiating firmly, however temper- of tolerance, with unimpeachable integrity, ately, the contumely which, levelled although with courage that nothing could daunt, with may be at ourselves, is meant to hit the

an assiduity in business that never tired, and truths we profess. The men who, in defence thus, they would carry everywhere with them of the sacred rights of conscience, are bold the esteem and regard of all who heartily enough to say to governments, “ Hands off !

loved their Lord and Saviour." have already taken up a position high enough, I think, to make it incumbent upon them to

We have great hopes that the associaguard against all encroachment, misrepresen- tion, thus auspiciously started, will prove a tation, and insult; and, for my own part, I

centre of union to evangelical Dissenters see no reason why such men should go throughout Britain, and so be largely inthrough the world with a downcast air as if strumental in promoting the interests of they thought they deserved contempt. Sir, religious freedom.

ITALIAN INSURRECTION AND EUROPEAN DESPOTISM.

The rumblings of another political earthquake on the Continent of Europe have begun to be heard in Austrian-Italy. On the 4th of February, numerous captures had been made of Milanese citizens, suspected of liberal opinions; and such was the dismay spread throughout the city by these proceedings, that next day more than two hundred families sought refuge in flight to a neighbouring state. On Sabbath the 6th February, a band of young men, to the number of four hundred, armed with sword-sticks, stilettoes, and similar weapons, of which all the measures of a jealous government had not succeeded in depriving them, began to collect, and paraded through the streets, shouting revolutionary cries. The Austrian sentinels, stationed at the different public offices, were the first object of attack; some of these were killed, and the rest had to retire to the arsenal, where they remained during the night in a state of siege. Next morning, the walls were found to be placarded with a rousing proclamation, in the name of M. Mazzini, the well-known chief of the Italian democrats, intimating that a general revolution had begun throughout Italy, to be followed by similar movements in all the despotic states of Europe,-calling on the people to unite in attacking the soldiers of the enemy,-to strike down the officers, destroy the roads and the bridges,—to employ for arms the tiles of their houses, the stones of the street, the tools of their trade, the iron of their crosses ; and assuring them of sympathy and aid from many of the soldiers themselves. A corresponding manifesto, subscribed by Kossuth (a forgery, as it now appears), was placarded at the same time, addressed to the Hungarian portion of the Austrian army, summoning them in the name of the Hungarian nation, to join the Italians against the common enemy. It is alleged that the rising was long preconcerted by those two exile chiefs and their companions; but

that, according to their plans, it was not to have come on till a week later. Through its premature development, in consequence of the provocation offered by the government at Milan, the movers have been taken at unawares ; and the affair seems, for the present, to have been an entire failure. Before the close of the second day, if we are to trust the accounts which have reached us, order was again restored in Milan, and the insurrection entirely suppressed,--three hundred citizens having been killed in the affray. Nine of the insurgents, taken with arms in their hands, were immediately given up to execution-one of them a priest.

While the enemies of popular liberty are professing to be greatly horrified at the language of the revolutionary leaders, and at the thought of the dreadful consequences which would have followed if this movement had been successful, it is well to remember what are the provocations which moved the Italian patriots, and what the horrors involved in the success of the other side. The victims of revolutionary war soon meet the eye. The world is excited to notice them, and care is taken that all their dreadful features shall be proclaimed and magnified for the benefit of the powers that be. But who can enumerate the victims of a grinding, murderous despotism, continued from year

and ever and anon maddened into paroxysms of new cruelty, by the fear of the vengeance it has provoked? Mr Gladstone, not two years ago, lifted the veil from the proceedings of that bosom friend of the Pope's—the King of Naples-and exposed to the indignation of the civilised world, hundreds and thousands of the best citizens pining in dungeons, whither in many instances they had been sent without the form of a trial. And there is too much reason to fear that this is no picked specimen of despotism in Italy. At Mantua, but a few months ago, similar barbarities were brought to light. Men of education, character, and respectable social position, were hanged in groups, for expressing what every patriotic heart must feel, in relation to the Austrian government; and two hundred and twenty prisoners were beaten in their prison with sticks till they bled--a fact they communicated to their families, by writing with their blood on their linen. According to the London Patriot,“ Professor

to year,

Tazzoli, formerly of the Mantuan Seminary-a benevolent patron of infant schools, liberal to the poor, and of good family, and SCARCELLINI, a man equally estimable and distinguished-were first flogged, and then strangled ; and two hundred and forty families see the same fate impending over some one or more of their most beloved members. Twelve times was TAZZOLI flogged, in order to extort confession of political guilt before execution. For political converts has been provided a newly-invented halter, which prolongs the struggles and agony of its victim. In all Italy it is the same, from Naples to Lombardy.”

It is true that these statements apply to despotism in one of its fits; but its regular and stated action is only in a less degree horrible. The statistics of life and death within the territories of despotic governments in Europe, tell the same tale in another form. An elaborate article, from the pen of an able writer in the last Number of the British Quarterly Review, dwells at some length, and with conclusive force, on this argument for political liberty. In the Austrian dominions, for example, the number of deaths annually is as one to twenty of the whole population; in Great Britain the number is as one to sixty.

“Why is it, also, that in a space covered by ten thousand in Austria, more than five hundred people must die next year, while in a space covered with that amount of population in this country, not more than a third of that number will die ? It cannot be pretended that the soil of the Austrian territory is not, upon the whole, as grateful as the soil of Europe generally. Nor can it be pretended that the climate of that empire is specially unfavourable to longevity. If the people there were trained to the habit of self-reliance-to the habit and freedom of caring for their own concerns, the blame might be justly cast on them. But as the paternal government which obtains through those countries, takes upon it to do nearly everything for the people, leaving scarcely anything beyond the dullest routine of things to be done by them, we see at once where the fault must rest. In England, the population has been increasing rapidly for many generations past; and the proportion of deaths to the population has been as steadily diminishing. These deaths are now one-third less than they were in 1700, showing that the sufferings, phy, sical and mental, that shorten life, have been gradually abating through the whole of that period. With less than half the population of Austria, the increase of its number year by year is greater."

The last census reckons the population of the Austrian empire at 39,000,000. Supposing the proportion of deaths annually were the same as in Britain-one in sixty—the number of deaths annually would be 650,000. But at the Austrian rate, the number is 1,900,000. The difference between these two sums is 1,300,000, which may be held as expressing fairly the number of victims sacrificed to Austrian tyranny every year! Supposing the number of slain at Waterloo—a great crisis in the politics of Europe, was between 40,000 and 50,000 (the loss on the British side was 15,600, killed and wounded,) here are the victims of more than thirty Waterloos every year within the dominions of Austria alone; and yet the friends of humanity are expected to be very earnest in maintaining this Moloch government against the bloody revolutionists who seek to overthrow it !

The case of Russia, according to the authority above quoted, points to the same result. There the population is sixty-two millions. The Russian statistics give the proportion of annual deaths as one to twenty-five; but there is good ground for believing that this is an under statement, and that the proportion is greater than that of Austria itself. Taking it at their own showing, and assuming that the proportion of deaths need not be greater in Russia than in Britain if they had a free constitutional government like our own, here are more than a million and a quarter of human beings annually slaughtered at the shrine of Russian despotism. The comparison need not be confined to Great Britain alone. The writer already referred to, extends it to various other countries :

“The proportion of deaths in Prussia is as one to thirty-six ; in the United States, as one to thirty-seven; in Holland and Belgium, as one to forty-three; and in England and Wales, as one to fifty-nine ; so that the mortality among the people of Russia is about double that which takes place in Holland and Belgium as compared with population, and considerably more than double that which takes place in England. Nor can this difference be attributed more than partially, if at all, to difference of climate, inasmuch as in Sweden and Denmark, the deaths are only as one to forty-eight; and in Norway, still more north, only as one in fifty-four. Here, the observation already made is again applicable-if the people were left to the freedom of self-government, the people might be to blame ; but as the government assumes everything in relation to them, for whatever is corrupt the government is fairly responsible. It is a fact, then, speaking within the most cautious limits, that more than two millions and a half of human beings have died during the year 1852, under the paternal sway of Austria and Russia, who would not have died, had their lot been cast under such governments as obtain in Holland, in Belgium, in Sweden, in Norway, or in England. is certain, also, that two millions and a half-five and twenty hundred thousand---more will die in this year, 1853, in those empires, who would not be thus torn from all the ties of present existence, had they not been born subject to the sort of power wielded by the chiefs of those empires. It is where this military rule is most ascendant, that this reign of death is most terrible. The seat of this rule may be amidst the winter snows of St Petersburgh, or beneath the summer skies of Vienna--it matters not, the same results follow. Its sweep over the length and breadth of its domains, by day and by night is that of the destroyer."

The conclusion we draw from all this is, that they must be speaking in sheer ignorance or abominable affectation, who claim to be regarded as the peculiar friends of either humanity or justice, on the ground that they regard with horror the attempt of the Italian revolutionists to rid themselves of their tyrants. Without pronouncing on the question, whether war be justifiable at all, it is certainly to the other side in this insurrectionary contest the chief horror is due. We do not forget, as evangelical Christians, that there is not the evidence we would desire of earnest spiritual religion on the part of Mazzini and his compatriots; but surely there is as little on the part of their oppressors. And while we fondly believe that the Word of God would have free course in Italy, if the friends of liberty were to prevail, we know that the men now in chief authority in that interesting country, are the sworn enemies both of human liberty and Divine truth. “ Arisc, O God, plead thine own cause."

Printed by THOMAS MURRAY, of 2 Arniston Place, and WILLIAM GIBB, of 12 Queen

Street, at the Printing Office of Murray and GiBB, North-East Thistle Street Lane, and Published by WILLIAM OLIPHANT, of 21 Buccleuch Place, at his Shop, 7 South Bridge, Edinburgh, on the 25th of February 1863.

THE

UNITED PRESBYTERIAN MAGAZINE,

FOR APRIL, 1853.

Miscellaneous Communications.

LABOUR AND LONG HOURS.

Eccles. i. 8–All things are full of labour.

LABOUR is a charmed word. Questions affecting labour excite the deep interest of politicians and statesmen, and the great class who work with their hands. Theories regarding labour are among the favourite speculations of multitudes, and it is now more common and popular to impute dignity to labour than in other times. The son of fashion himself—the prince or the peeracknowledges its rights and admits its importance. It is not our intention to speak of labour in the spirit of politics, but in the spirit of theology ; to consider it, not as it affects the market and touches the funds, but in its biblical aspects, and to point out some forgotten and some neglected, though obvious, characteristics of the phenomenon, with a view to practical reform. All things, said the sage, are full of labour. This is one of the profound yet transparent observations of the philosophic preacher-one deemed important enough to be placed on record for the study of mankind. It is a mark of wisdom that its observations often seem self-evident, and such as when made, every one thinks he could have suggested. This is a prominent feature of the Solo. monic Proverbs; and yet, deeply studied, they are seen to have arisen from enlarged and prolonged examination of life. We are in these words invited to reflect on the existence, nature, origin, universality, vicissitudes, and results of labour, with all practical lessons which these various points suggest, and, as already stated, on all these particulars as illustrated by the word of God.

Few reflect on the existence of labour. Our bodies, our minds, admonish · us of its presence, but do we seriously reflect—what is this labour ? how is it thus day and night with our frame? why, to the procuring of earth's comforts, is labour necessary, and why of it are all things full ? Of the tens of thousands who talk of labour, and are brimful of plans for its regulation ; of the quiet, anxious thinkers who see in it a great social, political, problem and power, with the many who brood over it till their minds are fretted against all mankind, and their tongues utter frantic folly,--how few are there

VOL. VII. NO. IV.

G

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »