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versity of religious opinion be entertained as any ground for exempting individuals from contributing to this most necessary object; if difference of opinion respecting particular acts of parliament would not be entertained as any just ground for claiming exemption from any particular tax. And here we are sure our readers will thank us for bringing before them the following luminous observations, in which the voluntary system is so completely disposed of; they are taken from a speech of the Rev. Dr. O'Sullivan, spoken at the great annual Conservative festival at Belfast, on the 20th of December, 1836. We have the less scruple in extracting them at present, because at the time they by no means obtained a circulation proportioned to their importance :—
"As to the warfare of the voluntary enemy, it needs but a brief notice. Indeed, so far as reason furnishes artillery, I believe we may pronounce its resources exhausted. At least, since the day when the crowning victory was won here in Belfast, I have not heard of any rational effort which voluntaryism has made to repair its disaster. Henceforth, it would seem to me, that the question for profound inquirers to solve, has become one as to the meaning in which language is used by parties whose object it is to destroy the provision which the free-will of individuals or nations has made for the maintenance of a religious ministration. The convicts, dragging their reluctant steps between files of musquetry, who lifted up their hand-cuffs, displaying their fettered hands, and said, ' We're volunteers from Tipperary, your honour,' have had their praise for humour. The merry squire, who called his house Liberty Hall, because, as he very significantly explained himself, Every body here shall do what I please,' has also had his humour. Between them, they represent effectually the tyrants and slaves of the prevailing arbitrary voluntaryism, which provides that no man shall have a will of his own and which has but one intelligible principle, a principle calculated effectually to destroy the voluntary institutions of former days, and to render institutions of modern erection precarious. But what an argument have these philosophers advanced to justify their hostility to religious establishments! Why should not payment for religious ministrations be voluntary, as it is for all temporal advantages? Do not fear that I will go over the reasonings by which you have all learned the folly of such questions-rea sonings which have taught you, that
while in temporal things the want causes the demand-in matters of religion, the greater the necessity for exhortation and advice, the greater would also be the indisposition to seek it. You are all too familiar with the subject to require my discussion of it; but it may be worth a moment's pause to show, that the analogy on which the voluntaries rely does not afford them any support whatever. Are all temporal advantages left free to be sought and paid for, or to be without cost to such as will not accept them? AsInstances might be suredly it is not so. I multiplied almost to endless extent. There is an act of parliament against shall submit one to your consideration. which, although it is of recent origin, I have never heard that voluntaryism entered a protest. An act empowering certain inhabitants of a town, under given circumstances, to make provision for lighting and paving. Let it be imagined that these inhabitants are assembled to deliberate on the propriety of putting the act in force, and see how many persons might urge serious, though not very seemly objections against their project. The trader in oil might protest against the application of gas. The blind man might urge the indecency of requiring him, to whom darkness and day were alike, to pay for the convenience of his more prosperous fellows. The invalid, who dare not encounter the night-air, might complain of the cruelty which should add taxation unproductive, to the burden of his already pressing infirmities; while the profligate, the housebreaker, the receiver of stolen goods, might, in one loud chorus, vociferate their resolution to oppose, by all means in their power, the imposition of a tax, which, so far from benefitting them, was designed for a use by which their occupation must be seriously endangered. They would say, let every man who desires light place a lantern at his district or at his door, but let not those who prefer the loneliness of rayless night, be called upon to murder their own joys. They say the darkness is better let them have, at least, no further annoyance than may be given by the picturesque interposition of scattered luminaries, which shall twinkle through the gloom with about the frequency and the effect of voluntary churches, where the want of an establishment betrays their inadequacy. This reasoning, I venture to affirm, would not serve at such a meeting as I have imagined, even if the voluntaries had called it. No; they would say all this is very well for religion, but we must go on surer grounds where the welfare of our temporals is concerned. It is simply
TO MANIFEST ITS PRESENCE IS DESTRUC
TION-WHEN IT SEEKS TO OVERTURN THE
want of thought which blinds them to the knowledge that, even in the providing of religious lights, they have a temporal interest also. But I have done with this enmity against the Church. For real, pure voluntaryism, it is impossible not to feel respect and good-will. We cordially bid it God-speed. Let it go forth teaching and preaching-let churches arise at its command-where districts have been neglected, let it supply the defect-where ministers are unfaithful, let it stimulate them by rival pulpits AND DISABLES PIOUS MEN AND NATIONS
IN ALL THIS IT MAY BE A GOOD; BUT
ON PRINCIPLES WHICH MUST RENDER
FROM DISCHARGING THEIR MOST SACRED
HYMN TO THE SETTING SUN.
BY ROBERT GILFILLAN.
Sun of the firmament! planet of wonderment,
Still art thou parting bright-shedding immortal light
Slow thou depart'st away, far from the realms of day,
Thy parting brings sadness, yet nations in gladness
Where sleeps the thunder, there dost thou wander.
Grandeur and glory, they travel before thee,
All own thy influence; kindly thou dost dispense
Time cannot conquer thee! age cannot alter thee,
Sun of the firmament, planet of wonderment!
Still art thou parting bright, shedding immortal light,
THE position in which matters now stand between Great Britain and Russia, and the alarm which has been lately raised upon the northern and western frontiers of our Indian possessions, have naturally directed the public attention to the condition and politics of those countries which, in the event of a rupture between the two powers, must become the seat of diplomacy and intrigue, if not of actual war. Influenced as we are by our share of anxiety about this important subject, we saw with pleasure the recent announcement of Mr. Baillie Fraser's Travels in Persia; and it was with no ordinary feelings of curiosity that we commenced their perusal. We were somewhat disappointed, however, when we examined the table of contents of the first volume, aud found it to promise nothing more than an amusing account of a rapid journey from Calais, through Vienna, to Semlin; and a Tatar ride from thence through Constantinople to Tehran. Our disappointment was further increased when we discovered that Mr. Fraser's letters were dated so far back as the year 1833, and that consequently the political information which they might contain could not be supposed to possess much of interest at the present time. Former experience, however, of our author's companionable qualities upon a journey, determined us to follow him in his rapid and perilous scamper, and seldom, indeed, have we derived more pleasure than from the execution of this purpose. Lively, good humoured, and persevering throughout, Mr. Fraser carries us gaily with him in his various perils and adventures, and by his graphic and vigorous sketches, makes us partakers alike of his manly anxiety when serious danger threatens, and of the sportive enthusiasm with which, in moments of leisure, he catches up and successfully handles his fishing-rod or his rifle.
To such of our readers, therefore, as are desirous of amusement alone, we can safely recommend a perusal of the Tatar journey ;-for the benefit of those who, like ourselves, may look for more solid information, we shall, for
the present, pass this by, and turn to the second volume, in which, though we shall not find much direct political information,
still we may obtain many glimpses into the Persian character and state of feeling which may enable us to understand better the course of some recent events, and estimate their probable future results.
The period of Mr. Fraser's visit to Persia was shortly subsequent to the death of the Prince Royal, Abbas Meerza, and from the rapidity with which his journey was performed, the direction of his movements when in the country, and certain indirect hints contained in his work, it would appear that his mission had, for its object matters connected with the succession to the Persian throne, in the event of the late Shah's death, which was then believed to be imminent. Of the condition into which matters were in that case likely to fall, a judgment may be formed from the following extracts :
"20th March.-The poor old king appears to be breaking fast, in mind and body both. His health has been varying for the last few days; and this morning, they say, he broke out into violent abuse of his physicians, and drove them from his presence. They had been remonstrating with him about his excesses in eating, both as to quantity and quality. His majesty asked them what he should eat. Chicken-broth,' they said; upon which he got into a passion, swore that they wanted to kill the king; that they had been purging and working him till his inside was all gone, and now they
would give him nothing but warm water. At last his fury rose so high, that he
seized a book to throw at them; but in
stead of the person aimed at, it hit a thrown down, and water, flowers, and all or flower-stand, which was gooldân, he called for his sword, but it fortunately were spilt. This made matters worse; was out of the way upon a shelf; so he seized his stick, sprang np, and was proceeding to vent his wrath on the medicos with his own hand, when one of them fainted from terror, and the chief physician whisked out of the room with more haste than dignity. Some have it that this last personage stood firm, and remon
* A Winter's Journey (Tâtar) from Constantinople to Tehran; with Travels through various parts of Persia, &c. By James Baillie Fraser, Esq. 2 vols. 8vo. London: Bentley. 1838.
strated with the Shah, saying, it did not become a king to speak or conduct himself in such a manner; but that he (the physician) was sensible that it was not the Shah, but his disease that spoke and with that he quitted the apartment. Be this as it may, his majesty felt rebuked; order was restored, and on the morrow he sent for and apologized to his physicians.
"All this, however, the very precarious state of the king's health, and the equally unsettled situation of the succession and of public affairs, give rise to many a serious and anxious reflection in all of us English here, particularly in those whose public duties throw upon them a high degree of responsibility, or who have families here within the walls of Tehran. There is too much truth in what my friend, Shereef Khan, of Casveen, says, that Tehran is no safe place in case of such a political ferment as the king's death might cause. Nothing is talked of but the state of the country, and the civil wars that are expected to arise from the struggles of the several princes, aspirants for the throne. Indeed, the existing state of circumstances within the capital is such, that a tumult at the very least, and probably a state of siege, may be looked for, immediately on his present majesty's demise.
"Of all the more powerful princes, whose pretensions would be supported by a share of public opinion, as well as by their own dependents, not one is in or near the capital. That important ground is occupied by Allee Shah Meerza, the full brother of the late prince royal, entitled Zil-e-Sooltaun, or the Shadow of the King,' who is governor of the ark, or palace of Tehran, the dwelling of the Shah, and repository of his treasure. Of this fortress he, who is also a pretender to the throne, would, as a matter of course, hold possession; and on that treasure he would sieze so soon as the
breath is out of the king's body; so that the city would, probably, be placed in a state of seige by the adherents of some of the other princes. But this is not the worst of the prospect. Tehran, like every other capital city, is the rendezvous of a multitude of adventurers, rogues, and vagabonds, who thrive best in times of trouble, and who would not, assuredly, lose so splendid an opportunity of driving their trade as would be afforded by the state of effervescence consequent upon the death of the king; from them no one would be safe, and the general good-will of the inhabitants would be no protection. The probability is, that every house holding forth a prospeet of plunder would be assaulted by these looties, or black
guards of Tehran; and the belief that much treasure is always to be found in the English Residency would, doubtless, tempt them thither at a very early period. Even the friendships of its inmates with numerous distinguished natives would but increase its danger, as many would be apt, in case of disturbance, to seek for themselves and their treasure an asylum within its walls, as being the safest place from the violence of party rancour. To deny such an asylum might not, in every case, be possible; and thus would be increased the attractions for violence and rapine."
which produced this wretched state of A very brief sketch of the causes anarchy in the Persian empire, at which Mr. Fraser hints, as well as a glance at its results upon our own policy, may be interesting to our readers at the present time. The late "point of the world's adoration," Futeh Allee Shah, provided, as is well known, for his numerous offspring, by quartering them as governors in the various provinces and districts of the empire, where these Shahzadehs (as they are termed) took advantage of the feebleness of the central government, and erected themselves into rival chiefs; each pretending to the throne, and advancing his pretensions against those of his brothers, both by open hostilities and intrigues; all agreeing in devastating the country by the most odious tyranny and rapacity. The talents of the prince royal, and the energy which he displayed in his military enterprises, somewhat checked this process of disorganization, and the policy of our Inhis influence as a barrier against Rusgovernment leading it to support sian aggression, it is probable that had he lived he might have been the means of consolidating the Persian empire, and restoring to it somewhat of its ancient importance. These hopes, however, were blighted by his death, which took place while he was besieging Herat, a city of Western Afghanistan, and the same from before which his son Mahomed Meerza, the present Shah, has been lately forced to retreat. Of this latter monarch, and of his minister and chief adviser, the Kaymookam, Mr. Fraser gives us the following account :
"Prince Mahomed Meerza, eldest son of the late Prince Royal, is, as I think I have told you, the worthiest of all the numerous descendants of Futeh Allee Shah, particularly in point of morals and
private character. He is religious and conscientious in the discharge of his duties, unstained by many of the grosser Persian vices, and disposed to justice and good government. In talent, his claims may not be very high; but there are few of his family, now living, who much surpass him in natural abilities, while in military affairs he bids fair for competence at least. Take him for all in all, as a Prince and a Kajar, he is a rarity in Persia; and it is devoutly to be hoped that the king may confirm the expectations already entertained, by appointing Mahomed Meerza to be his successor in the throne.
"In appearance the prince has less to recommend him than many others of his very handsome race. He is stout-rather too much so his features approaching coarseness, but well provided with that marking family attribute, the beard. He speaks thick, and, as one might be apt to think, somewhat affectedly; but his tone is pleasant, and I at least found him gracious and smiling in his manner, void of all that blustering assumption of greatness which is so offensive in many of the royal family. I believe indeed it is the prince's nature to be gracious; but at this particular time it was his interest to conciliate the English; and though I carefully avoided and disclaimed all pretensions to an official character, his knowledge that I had brought out despatches to the Envoy, and was soon to return to England, rendered him naturally desirous to show me favour. Receiving me at all indeed, under all circumstances, after a fatiguing march, with the business of the succeeding day to arrange, and a march of twentyeight miles in prospect for the morning, was a strong proof of his good will. The audience was unusually long, although as the prince entered on no topics of business, the subjects of interest were limited, and in fact his rapid manner of utterance rendered it rather difficult for a stranger to follow him; and I was more than once forced to put his highness to the trouble of repeating his words.
"He inquired much about the members both of the late and of the present administration in England, particularly about the Duke of Wellington, and what he was doing; of the powers of Europe, how they stood with each other; of the war in Portugal and Spain. He praised the province of Khorasan; entered into a sort of discussion regarding its superiority to Azerbijan and Irâk, which I rather questioned; and in short he did what a prince so placed might do to support a conversation, which paucity of subject on the one hand, and deference, combined with a lack of facility in expression, on the
other, tended to render heavy. At last, darkness having closed in, the hour of prayer came to his relief, and he dismissed me, saying that he must retire to his devotions. He had very little state; was plainly dressed; seated in as plain a tent; surrounded, as is the custom with all of the royal family, with red serperdahs, or screens, that had evidently seen no small length of service. When I entered he was writing; and on one side lay an English writing-case of Russian leather; on the other was a book, I believe the Koraun.
"From the prince's tent I went to that of his minister, the Kaymookam, a very different character. Meerza AboolCaussim, son of the late Meerza Buzoorg, and prime minister to Abbas Meerza, one of the most eminent nobles of the kingdom, is a person whose heavy, gross-looking appearance gives small promise of talent; nor does the talent which he does really possess beam forth in his peculiar, prominent, yet half-closed eye; for he is so short-sighted that he cannot read a letter unless it touches his nose; nor can he distinguish one person from another at two yards' distance. But according to general report, it is no less a fact that his wits are as acute as his sight is indifferent; and though the abilities of his father were allowed to be first-rate, they are said to be surpassed by those of the son. After the Ameen-u-dowlut, this minister holds the first rank of any subject in Persia; and has purposely been placed by the Shah in superintendence under his own son, and then under his grandson, of the most important government and duties in the kingdom. Kaymookam is a true Persian diplomatist, acute and wily, far-looking; but judging of others by himself, he not unfrequently over-shoots the mark in finesse, and finds himself outwitted by the greater simplicity of another. By the death of his late master, the Prince Royal, and a chain of political events consequent upon that occasion, he has been placed (as I have more than once hinted at above) in circumstances of peculiar difficulty, from which it is yet to be seen how he will extricate himself. A knowledge of the state of parties, and the general feeling of men towards his new master and himself at the court of Tehran, whither he was now proceeding, was therefore of the utmost importance to him; and as he had reason to believe me acquainted with these, he was disposed, as you may imagine, to give me a very favourable reception. The nature of our conference, under these circumstances, differed greatly from that which had just taken place with the prince; but as you would not be