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VIEW OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
THE intelligence from India is of a peaceful character. One particular of it is most cheering; namely, that an act was about to be passed which will exterminate slavery in that vast empire, where it has existed from early ages. The Governor-General's proceedings respecting the Somnauth gates, continued to be much and justly reprobated.
In China, Her Majesty's representative has required the punishment of some of the native authorities and others who have cruelly massacred a large number of British shipwrecked seamen; but there seemed no reason to apprehend that this just and politic demand would lead to a renewal of hostilities.
By the blessing of God upon the indefatigable labours of that truly Christian and philanthropic statesman Lord Ashley, a bill has been brought in by Sir J. Graham, for regulating the employment of children and young persons in factories, and for the better education of children in factory districts. It contains a great number of wise and humane provisions; such as, that children under eight years of age shall not work in factories, and when of age to be employed, shall not work more than six hours and a half in a day; nor any young person more than twelve hours-which is two hours too long, and Lord Ashley will try to abridge the time; and that no child or young person shall work in the night. But a still more important provision is, the setting up of schools for religious as well as secular instruction. The Scriptures are to be read "and taught," the Catechism and Liturgy of the Church of England to be used at the hours of religious instruction, and the children to attend Church on Sundays; but none of these against the wish of parents. The master is to be appointed by the Trustees, who are to consist of the clergyman, church-wardens, and four persons appointed by the magistrates. It is proposed to extend the measure to the lace and silk districts. Schools are also proposed to be set up for pauper children, who are to be instructed, where no objection is made, by a clergyman of the Established Church. The Dissenters are making very unreasonable opposition to these excellent and reasonable measures; but, we trust, it will be unavail
ing. It does them no credit. May it please God to prosper this great work to his own glory and the unspeakable welfare of the present and future generations.
Sir R. H. Inglis has presented an important petition from the University of Oxford, praying for Church extension; and we trust the session will not pass without some step being taken towards promoting this momentous object; but perhaps at present, and especially till the Factory bill is safe, it may not be wise to press the subject upon parliament. The Oxford petitioners justly remonstrate against trying to meet new wants with old resources, which are already little enough to bear the pressure upon them. It is true, that a better management of Church property would add to its value, and ought to be effected; but it is not sufficiently elastic to allow of its being stretched from rural districts over millions of a new manufacturing population, without becoming too attenuated to shelter either. Orator Henley, "in his tub," upon the principle that "omne majus continet in se minus," advertised that he would show how a shoe might be made in five minutes, which he performed by cutting down a boot; thereby spoiling a good boot to make a bad shoe. This has been too much the practice of late in promoting Church extension. If a clergyman dies, or removes, whose income was a fair maintenance, the first question asked is, whether out of one living cannot be constructed two starvings. A church for a largely increasing population cannot be upheld by such contrivances, any more than the national debt could be paid by the juggle of a sinking-fund. The country must make sacrifices, or the poor cannot be replenished with the bread of life.
Sir Herbert Jenner Fust has reversed Dr. Lushington's decision in the Braintree case; thus declaring that a necessary church rate, if made by churchwardens and a minority of the parishioners in vestry, is valid.
M'Naughton was proved, upon clear evidence, to have been a monomaniac ; and new cases of alleged monomania are daily recurring. We may recur to this very difficult subject.
Ecclesiasticus; T. G.; C.; P. R. W.; M. G.; H. F.; J.; M. D.; J. E.; I. S.;
THE HE name of Dr. Magee, the late Archbishop of Dublin, occurs so often in our Volumes, especially in connexion with his learned and invaluable work on "Atonement and Sacrifice," that we have lamented we have never been able to present to our readers a memoir of that much esteemed prelate; but the few notes we could collect were too scanty to do him justice; nor has any biographical account of him ever been published till last year, when the defect was supplied by the Rev. A. H. Kenney, D.D., Rector of St. Olave's, Southwark, and formerly Dean of Achonry, and Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, in a Memoir prefixed to the collected works of the Most Reverend prelate. The works are comprised in two volumes, including his "Discourses and Dissertations on the Scriptural Doctrines of Atonement and Sacrifice," and his published Sermons, and Visitation Charges. We fear that in this day of many books, Dr. Magee's great work is too much overlooked; and we shall be glad if our digest of Dr. Kenney's memoir of the author, shall invite the attention of such of our readers as are not acquainted with it, to avail themselves of Dr. Kenney's republication.
It is often hazardous to refer back to critiques upon books written at the period of their publication; for many hopeful works fall dead, and others succeed beyond expectation: but we are happy to say that our review of Dr. Magee's "Discourses on Atonement and Sacrifice," penned exactly forty years ago* from the time at which we are writing, favourable as it was, proved only a prelude to the general opinion of those who were best able to estimate its value. Upon the publication of the enlarged edition in 1809, we took occasion to re-state our opinion, and to urge to the utmost of our power the circulation of this publication. The main points connected with the Scriptural doctrine of Atonement and Sacrifice are ably and firmly established, both against the Deist and the
Christian Observer, April 1803. In the same Number was a review of Dr. Paley's "Natural Philosophy," then just CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 65.
published, another of those works which a reviewer might confidently anticipate mankind "would not willingly let die." 2 L
Socinian; and justly did Dr. Magee declare, in the very first passage which we
Having offered these preliminary remarks, we proceed with the narrative. For the statements and opinions we are not responsible, as we are not competent to revise the biographer's materials, not having been ourselves personally acquainted with the subject of his story.
William Magee was born on the 18th of March, 1766. His father was one of the seven sons of a gentleman of landed property in the county of Fermanagh, each of whom enjoyed an independent property. Their ancestors settled in Ireland in 1640; and were steady loyalists. The father of the Archbishop, having lost a leg by an injury in leaping a ditch, and finding it inconvenient to attend to agricultural pursuits, sold his property, and became an extensive linen merchant. He married Miss Glasgow, a lady remarkable for her prepossessing appearance, and her fine intellectual endowments, and who brought him a dowry of five hundred pounds a year; but her husband becoming security for some persons who afterwards failed for a very large sum, he surrendered his property to their creditors, who allowed him but one hundred pounds per annum for himself and his family, with which very reduced income he went to reside in the town of Enniskillen. He had four sons and four daughters. Of his sons, William alone lived to the age of maturity.
Dr. Kenney mentions the following incident, which he says is perfectly well attested. We are not forward to relate such stories, as they involve questions both of fact and speculation which it is easier to raise than to solve. We might however, in suppressing the fact, be keeping back what some persons may consider of religious importance, and we shall therefore relate it, though our own opinion is that the coincidence was but one of those remarkable but not preternatural circumstances which sometimes occur in the events of Divine providence, amidst innumerable impressions, in dreams or awake, which come to nothing, and are therefore not noted. One morning when one of the children, Nathaniel, came down stairs to breakfast in a new dress, (his first change from petticoats,) his mother expressed a wish that he might have health to wear his new clothes. The child replied, "Mamma, this is the last suit you will ever get for me." On her inquiring what was his reason for saying so, he answered, "Mamma: I shall die soon, I was told it." She replied, My dear child, you were dreaming." "I do not know whether I was dreaming or not," said he; "but I saw an angel that told me last night I must die soon, and that Dan and John Henry will die too." Some months afterwards he was seized with the small-pox. During his illness he frequently requested his mother not to grieve for him, as he was going to be happy; and having called his brother William to him, he earnestly said to him, "Be kind to poor mamma, when my brothers and I shall be dead." The three children died in the course of eight days. And never was a dying injunction fulfilled more faithfully than the deathbed charge of the interesting child Nathaniel to his brother William ; who was a tender son from his childhood; and in after life took his father, mother, and sisters under his affectionate care, until death removed his parents. One of his sisters married the Rev. Dr. Grier.
Young Magee showed signs of talents of a high order, and the most amiable and noble dispositions. He was a delicate child, with a fair complexion, eyes sharp and brilliant, but with a soft expression, and a countenance of striking intelligence and animation. At five years of age he was sent to receive the first rudiments of education from Dr. Tew, who kept a school in Enniskillen. Here the sprightly and joyous expression left his countenance, and he had become dispirited and silent. After continued pressing, Mrs. Magee prevailed on him to acknowledge the cause of his dejection. "I shall never get on," said he, "at my present school." It seems that the schoolmaster was accustomed to
doze while the boys were saying their lessons to him; and often, when he suddenly awoke, he called young William Magee, and directed him to act as their instructor. This became so very frequent, that the child found the greater part of his time at the school occupied in labouring to teach others, some of whom were dull, and some much older than himself, and reluctant to receive his instruction. His parents in consequence determined to remove him to the endowed classical school at Enniskillen, of which Dr. Noble was head master. His features, which had expressed anxiety and painful feeling, now relaxed; the brilliancy of his eyes returned; he recovered his appetite; and again became the animated sprightly boy, cheering his home with his joyous liveliness.
When he had been about a year and a half at Mr. Noble's school, his uncle, the Rev. D. Viridet, (his mother's half-brother,) took him to reside with himself, in order to finish his education, together with that of a young gentleman named Rutledge. The friendship which ensued between the two boys lasted throughout their lives; and as they advanced in years, Mr. Rutledge continued ardent in his admiration of the qualities of his friend. But even an earlier and not less enduring friendship than this had been formed by young Magee. The house in which his parents resided at Enniskillen, and in which he was born, adjoined that in which the birth of William Conyngham Plunket, afterwards Lord Chancellor of Ireland, took place; and Mrs. Magee and Mrs. Plunket were extremely intimate. With the first dawn of reason the children evinced a mutual friendship, which grew with their years, and in their maturer age was intensely strong; and not even the difference of their sentiments in politics, though with reference to religion, could abate their mutual attachment. In later life they agreed never to name politics in their confidential and domestic communications with each other.
Young Magee's feelings were extremely acute and easily excited; but if irritation was at any time produced in his mind, he did not give way to wrath, and it quickly passed away. Thus, when he was about six years of age, Colonel Irwin, then candidate in the Protestant interest for the County of Fermanagh, meeting him in a street, and being attracted by his fine intelligent countenance, asked him his name and family; and finding that he was zealous on his side, gave him a cockade. Soon after, the child hearing that the Colonel had relinquished the contest, tore the cockade from his hat, exclaiming "The coward." But almost immediately afterwards, with perfect calmness, he sat down to his book; and when a friend coming in said "Willy, your friend Colonel Irwin has given up what do you say to that?" he only looked up mildly, and replied, "Sir, I am at my book ;" and not another word to Colonel Irwin's disadvantage could be extracted from him. Throughout life he evinced the same abstinence from unkind and invidious remarks.
From his earliest age he was remarkably tender and considerate towards the poor, and treated them with respect. When he was a young boy, having come in from school wet and cold, he went into the kitchen, and sat down on a small stool to dry and warm himself before the fire. A poor beggar woman coming in, he sprang from his seat, saying, "O ma'am, take this seat." The poor woman was astonished, and replied, "Do'nt ma'am me, my dear!"
The boy advanced rapidly under the kind tuition of his uncle, Mr. Viridet; who, when he entered the university of Dublin, saved his father from expending for his son's education a part of the small allowance which had been left for the family by the creditors. He even gave to