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A Glance at the Signs of the Times.

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AS

planet Jupiter, and passes him at 7 no mood of the mind, no conjunction of minutes past 6. Mercury passes the sun circumstances, no latent manifestation of at his inferior conjunction, on the 28th, at character, which has not found its way into 15 minutes past 3 in the afternoon. modern poetry. It is prodigious to think

of the vast mass of not merely readable,

but admirable poetry, which is now floatA GLANCE AT THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES,

ling amid the great sea of literature. Once Being a farewell Address delivered to the Members

it was boldly said, “All men think, but of the Classical Society of the University of Edinburgh, at the close of the Session 1827–28. none can write poetry.” Now, however, By SAMUEL WARREN, of the Inner Temple. we may well nigh say, “All who think

The political section of this address is poetry, can write it.” Our hearts expand, entirely omitted, politics being an article

to view the gorgeous array of Byron, in which we do not deal.- EDITOR.

Wordsworth, Southey, Campbell, Scoti,

Montgomery, Wilson, Moore, Crabbe, THERE cannot, Gentlemen, be a more inte- Rogers, Hemans, Coleridge, Landonresting task, or one worthier the attention and hundreds of others. Our only fear of men of thought, than, rising and shaking need be, that we have too much poetry; ourselves from the dust of ordinary occu- that it may go on expanding and expandpations, to take a brief, though steady and ing till it burst, and extending till its subcomprehensive glance at this strange world stance perish through attenuation. No in which we live. Such a view is usually nobleman would have his thousand acres taken by two distinct classes of persons : all laid out in flowery parterres. He must , those who, like fishes leaping for an instant have the rough, frowning, and pathless out of the ocean, lift their heads above the dull forest, with its giant limbs, gnarled trunks, routine of existence, to cast merely a heavy, and far-extending roots, as well as the iistless, and unprofitable stare at the great plain, unadorned, but useful pasture-land. panorama of life, without an attempt at His garden is the scene for the blush and taking in the grand leading features of the glitter of nature's more exquisite workmanscene; and those who gaze upon it with ship. So it is with poetry, feeling, and a calm and wise determination to gain imagination; admirable in their place, and some useful lesson, by comparing the past even useful, but no more calculated to with the present aspect of things, and cal- form the staple commodity of life, than culating from these the probable issues of the light ornaments of a building are the future, with their practical bearing on suitable for its foundation. their own condition. Let us range our Modern poetry has certainly given a selves in the latter class, and look for a very decided bias to the spirit of the age. moment at the stirring scenes on which we It would seem that we are forgetting are about to enter.

strength, in beauty; the judgment, in the I. The present may, without boasting, feelings and imagination. We carry a be called the Augustan age of literature. poetical spirit into business which can When we consider the variety, the depth, neither require nor endure it. We thrust the brilliancy, and the power, to be found its flaring bacchanalian torch into the cold in the literature of the present age, mingled, groves of Academus,-the pensive solinevertheless, with much that is worthless, tudes of history, criticism, morals, and phiwe need not fear that our fire will grow dim losophy. To them it is no ornament, no before the glorious lights of antiquity. And handmaid,--but a mere superfluity, an possessed, indeed, of every concurrent expletive, a nuisance, an adulteration. " advantage—the munificent patronage of The immense encouragement given to royalty, - innumerable Mecænases,-the what is not inaptly called light literature, world, as far as we are concerned, lying in has, besides, brought into being a world of the rich repose of peace--the co-operation morbid and unnatural excitement, has shed and stimulating rivalry of foreign literature a dazzling but delusive 'glare over the and science- it would be most discreditable common realities of life, and excited a to the character of the age, did not litera- craving appetite for pleasures which can ture quicken into beauty and luxuriance. never be enjoyed, and are, therefore,

Look for a moment at our poetry. sought for in puling sentiment, and twadThere are none of nature's secret palaces, dling rodomontade. Yet do we dare to with their emerald and blossomed pillars, call the present the Augustan age, though domes, and architraves, which have not accompanied with so many disadvantages; been pictured in song, and lauded with all and was it not so in the Roman day? the lavish epithets of imaginative enthu- We have, nevertheless, a distinguished siasm. There is no affection of the heart, band of those who have manfully struggled

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against the tide of popular enthusiasm., be found in the laborious systematic reWe glory in our Southey, Sharon Turner, duction of knowledge to practice. MeHallam, Gifford, Jeffrey, Hazzlit, Blomfield, chanics, hydrostatics, pneumatics, and cheSumner, St. David's, Stewart, Brougham, mistry, are no longer considered a subject and allow me, sir, to add, the distinguished of mere abstract speculation, but brought father of one who is present.*

| to bear on the practical business of life II. Conversing a few days ago with a very are “brought home to men's businesses learned and distinguished foreigner, the and bosoms." question was put, "Pray, senor, what do Were the mighty Verulam to be sudour continental neighbours think of us as a denly waked from his tomb, to view the philosophical people?" The answer was progress of science in the 19th century, he candid, but mortifying. “Britain does not would be entranced at the amazing extent at present stand high, on the continent, in to which his inductive system had been philosophical repute. Your English phi- carried,-at the triumphant, the uniform suclosophy is a mere nonentity. You have cess which has attended its application. Yet none that can be called, in the highest a careful eye will not fail to detect one sense of the word, philosophers. The source of danger to which the present sysScotch philosophy, now so popular, is tem of things is calculated to lead us; I laughed at abroad, as shallow and pre- mean, a spirit of high pride, and extravatending. In literature, however, you reign gant reliance on our own powers; and what paramount. You are envied, feared, and can be in more direct contradiction than admired.” This was doubtless a piece of this, to the true spirit of philosophy, which very flattering intelligence; but if we dis- sets out on a diametrically opposite prin. miss our national prejudices, we cannot ciple? Several symptoms of the existence deny that the remark has some justice. To of this spirit might be named-as, the powhom can the public now point as the great pular affectation now gaining ground, of conand eminent prop of science? Where are temning whatever is not capable of rigid, now our Newtons, our Bacons, our Lockes, nay, sensible demonstration; the rejecting our Clarkes, our Bentleys, Burnets, Hal- of whatever clashes with favourite and leys, Maclaurins? With whom are we popular "general principles;" the fond idea now to confront La Place, La Grange, that we, who have found out so much, can and the other numerous and illustrious find out all that is discoverable. I allude continental philosophers? We have none especially to the phrenological nonsense worthy of such honours. Yet it may be which is so eagerly received, and the ex. asserted, that even though we should not tensive prevalence of materialism. There have any very eminent individuals, in are who tell us, forsooth, that mind is not whom science is concentrated, yet can we essentially distinct from matter, because we fairly match the continent, in the extent to “cannot conceive of it,” with other equally which philosophy is diffused over our wise things ejusdem generis. Truly, at the nation. We have none, it is true, at pre- present juncture, there is need of a master sent, who have reached the dazzling emi- spirit to sit at our helm, whose steady and nence of La Place, but we have thousands, commanding influence may regulate every (among others, I could name an Ivory, a stage of our venturesome career. Davy, a Home, a Herschell, a Leslie, a III. It is in this place, and before such Gregory,) who have made, and are now a society, extremely difficult to speak suitmaking, rapid advances towards it. Had ably of the religious aspect of the times; we not so great a number of accomplished it is a task requiring a tact and delicacy scientific and philosophical men, there are which I own I cannot command. I shall, those now alive, who, had they lived a therefore, be very brief and general. The century or two ago, without equalling first feature worthy of our attention is, the those whose powers are above cited, would extraordinary and systematic enterprize with have passed as ten times greater men than which Christianity is propagated among they are now estimated. It would require foreign nations. This interesting fact shews almost superhuman powers to earn, in at least one thing, that religion possesses 1829, the fame of a Bacon or a Newton, extensive power and influence in our coun· The principal object of modern science | try ; a power exercised undeniably with has been experimental philosophy. The charity and prudence. I spoke just now last age was the time for the pure sciences. of the balance of power in Europe; and The great distinguishing feature of this pre- to this, I make bold to assert, that the present age, with regard to philosophy, may servation of religion is absolutely essential.

This is a first principle, a moral element. * Dr. Mc Crie.

With sorrow then is it to be stated, that not

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withstanding the honourable ardour of into exercise. We have had an opporbible, missionary, and other religious insti. | tunity of measuring ourselves with others. tutions, there is a fearful apathy manifested We have learned a very important lesson; towards it, in certain high quarters. I do namely, how much may be said on both not allude to the absurd and profane scur. sides of a question. Let this teach us to rility of a certain individual, in a certain | avoid rashness and prejudice. We have house, or to that of any of his lordship's learned to bear with keen and sharp opcaliber; but to a general covert disinclina- | position; to bear the humiliation of a tion to recognize the paramount value and public conviction of error. Let this teach dignity of religion. It is now resolved us a habit of liberal, manly, and patient into political expediency. There are those inquiry. We have had our minds conwho are incessantly struggling to disjoin it tinually exercised, through the medium of from the state, to thrust it into the shade, our pens and our tongues; we have entered to pull down all its ramparts and bulwarks, into the noble exercise of extemporaneous and leave it absolutely defenceless; and all discussion; we have been compelled 'to this accompanied, forsooth, with a mighty use our powers and acquisitions. Surely chattering about its innate power and truth, all these advantages cannot be lost upon as needing no external safeguard and pro.us-they must not be lost upon us. I am tection. Stupid and miserable sophistry! sure we shall each heartily forgive all one Looseness of religious sentiment is now, another's little heats and asperities; and in a manner, fashionable; it is conceived thus, if we do not all meet again, be to invest its possessor with an enviable enabled to look back, in future life, through bel esprit, with a certain air of lofty inde the long vista of cares, anxieties, and pendence! But let us remember that we years, to the period of these weekly meetowe OUR ALL to religion, Great Britain ings of the Classical Society, with grateful is, as it were, bottomed on Christianity. retrospection. In conclusion, I beg to Shake and destroy it, and our whole foun tender my personal thanks to all of you, dation is undermined, and the fabric of for the consideration you have uniformly British glory tumbles into the dust. Before shewn me, and to state, that whatever be Christianity was introduced among us, we my lot in after life, be it high or low, I were painted savages!

shall remember you and your society with Can the melancholy fact be denied or feelings of lively interest and affection. disguised, that we are overrun with scepticism and infidelity, and that it is this which discharges its shafts through the THE MISERIES OF IRELAND, AND THEIR masked battery of Socinianism and free

REMEDIES. thinking? Not that we are totally and in

Homo sum, nihil humani a me alienum puto." curably corrupted; to say so, would be unjust and untrue. But I do assert, that It is a most affecting consideration to every the “dangerous essence” is instilled into patriotic and feeling mind, that whilst Great influential quarters, and the Scriptures Britain has made such large and rapid inform us, that in time, a little leaven advances in wealth, knowledge, and ci. leavens the whole lump. May God pre vilization, so important a part of the united serve to me, and to each of you, a due kingdom as Ireland, should still exhibit, in reverence, a sacred and humble awe, for the mass of its population, nearly all the his own eternal truth, and the preservation degradation and barbarism of the dark ages. of his worship pure in our nation.

If it were by the judicial visitation of ProSuch, gentlemen, is the motley aspect vidence that a country possessing so many of the world for which we are training ; 1 of the elements of prosperity, is doomed to and we may be allowed, without undue suffer a far more than average proportion assumption, to consider one subordinate of misery and wretchedness, we ought papart of that training, to be such societies tiently to acquiese in the will of the Divias the present. Our meetings close this nity, and endure the evils we can neither evening, and with them, a weekly fund of alleviate nor remove. But if these effects amusement and instruction. In my hum- can be traced to artificial causes; if the ble opinion, we have received both. We soil, whether in the natural or moral world, must, I am sure, have been amused at the be barren of any thing but briars and thorns, many displays of genuine character which only in consequence of devastation or negan observant eye must have traced through- lect; and if the patient's malady be aggraout all our doings; the humour, the vated or perpetuated only for want of the fancy, the irony, and sarcasm, which pro- | appropriate remedy, it surely becomes the miscuous debate has occasionally called state physician carefully to examine the

122.- VOL. XI.

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case, and exert all his faculties in devising circumstance led Dr. C. to inquire into and administering efficient means of re- the truth of those details which were thus lief. And in entering upon the subject of made, even in the house of God, the inIreland and her sufferings, we are struck, struments of exciting horror and prejudice at the very outset, with the extreme igno- in the minds of the rising generation; and rance and prejudice which prevail on these the result, derived not from Irish writers important matters, amongst a large propor- in their own cause, but from the admissions tion of the people of England.

of their opponents, mostly English conIntimately connected with us by poli- temporaries,* and were published in two tical and social ties, that unhappy country volumes, abundantly proved that the unhas hitherto never been regarded and treat- fortunate natives suffered far more cruelty ed but as a conquered province, instead than they inflicted on that occasion.t of fully participating the benefits of the The Irish being driven, in 1641, to form British constitution. As if our sympathy a league in their own defence, to preserve for human calamity should be in the in- themselves and their religion from utter verse ratio of its geographical or moral extinction, assembled at Kilkenny, and proximity to ourselves, British philanthro- adopted for their seal-Pro Deo, pro Rege, py has been liberally extended to the most et pro Patriá Hibernia--solemnly took an distant regions of the globe, while the ne- oath of true allegiance to their sovereign cessitous and miserable state of the sister lord King Charles, his heirs and successors; island has been comparatively neglected and declared they neither felt the least disa and forgotten. The conquerors of Ireland loyalty, nor meditated any injury to his found her possessed of a comparatively pure subjects. They strictly kept their word faith, and blessed with a considerable share up to the time of the Scotch landing in the of social and domestic comfort; but they island Magee, near Belfast, and massacreing, were not satisfied till they had substituted in cold blood, 3000 unoffending Irish fathe mummeries of popery for the one, and, milies, who were living there under a feelby the aggressions of war, had despoiled ing of perfect security, when the confedeher of the other.

rates were not able to restrain the vengeance When England embraced the Refor of an exasperated people. mation, she would fain have made Ireland! But while some party writers, followed follow her example; but the latter had by Hume, who has omitted to notice the been too much irritated, to be again forced above atrocities of his countrymen, have or cajoled into a compliance with the re- magnified the number of English Protestligion of her rulers : re-conversion was by ants destroyed at that period, to 150,000, no means so easy as the original change and others have rated them at 40,000; it of the national faith; and notwithstanding was proved by an English clergyman, from the most richly endowed hierarchy in the the most careful examination of documents, world, (which we conceive has tended ra- | that only 4028 perished in the first two ther to favour than check the growth of years, and not more than 6062 during the popery,) the sister island is, to the present whole ten years of the war, exclusive of day, a monument of the folly and futility 800 families that had disappeared from of attempting to eradicate error by coercion, their homes :Ş whereas, the English retaliated or of expecting that men will suffer their with cruelties too horrible to relate, butcherjudgment to be convinced, till we are dis- ing the old and decrepit in their beds, posed to redress their wrongs, and con women with child, and children eight days ciliate their affections by proofs of amity | old; burning houses with all their inhabit. and good-will. But how fearfully preju-ants; and even warring with, and burning, dice has operated to the bane of Ireland, | the bodies of the dead; so that during the and even polluted the page of history, the same time, nearly the whole Irish populafollowing narratives attest.

tion was extirpated, and the country reduAs Dr. Curry, an eminent physician in ced to a savage desert. And it is a remarkDublin, was passing through the Castle- able fact, admitted by adverse historians, yard, in the year 1746, on the anniversary that notwithstanding the persecution and day of the Irish rebellion, he met two obloquy heaped upon the Irish Catholic young ladies with a child, who, stepping priesthood, in the reign of Charles the Ist, out before them, extended her hands in an notwithstanding they were hunted like wild attitude of horror, and inquired whether there were any of those blood-thirsty Irish

* Cambrensis, Spencer, Campion, Morrison,

Borlase, Temple, Carte, &c. in Dublin. The party were returning from + o Driscoll's History of Ireland. Eclectic Review Christ's church, and had heard the service January, 1828.

Works cited, and Cavan County Remonstrance. and sermon appointed for the day. This! Š Warren's History of the Irish Rebellion

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beasts, and it was a capital crime for any fcrence to the means of employment and person to receive a Catholic priest into his subsistence. It is, therefore, indispensably house, and every priest found was doomed necessary, in the first place, either to deto be hanged, and his bowels drawn and vise some mode of abstracting superfluous burnt, and that, among the rest, Oliver population, or augmenting the means of Plunkett, a man every where revered for employment. If Swift could say when the meekness and piety, * and who had been inhabitants of Ireland were reckoned only appointed titular primate, suffered an ig- a million and a half, that "the wretchedness nominious death; this body every where of the country, produced by the oppression laboured to restrain the excesses of their of landlords; the impossibility of paying own party, denounced excommunication | rent without money or trade; the want of upon all who should injure the person or common sustenance; with neither house property of any Protestant not against them; | nor clothes to cover them from the in. and the good bishop Bedell, (whose version clemencies of the weather; and, the most of the bible, in the Irish language and | inevitable prospect of entailing the like character, is perhaps the best to be found or greater miseries upon their breed for at the present day,) though living in the ever; was such as existed only in this one midst of the rebellion, was so venerated by kingdom of Ireland, and in no other that all parties, that whoever fled to his house, | ever was, is, or I think ever can be, upon was perfectly safe ; and his death, so uni- earth ;" what are we to think of the state versally lamented, that Catholics vied with of society at this day, in which, out of a Protestants in doing honour to his memory, population of seven millions, the great attended his funeral in vast numbers, fired body suffer a degree of misery which an over his grave, while a Catholic priest pre Englishman can hardly form an idea of, sent could not help exclaiming—"Oh sit and one million are believed “to obtain anima mea cum Bedello.' " let my spi a livelihood by mendicity and plunder"?* rit be with Bedell." —And it is worthy of In addition to other causes, the system record as a fact, little if at all known in which has long obtained, of subdividing this country, and a very striking example estates amongst four or five times as many of the christian integrity and benevolence tenants as they can maintain either in comexhibited by the Irish ecclesiastics at an fort or decency, has wofully multiplied a early period, that at a synod held at Ar- pauper and starving population, whose conmah, in the year 1170, they effected what | dition humanity shudders to contemplate. was perhaps the first formal abolition of Reckless of all prudential restraint, and of the slave-trade in any part of the world. | any thing beyond the lowest point of a bare They unanimously resolved to prohibit the animal existence, extreme poverty tends practice of buying English children for indefinitely to stimulate population, and slaves, and to put an immediate end to / to entail an additional degree of misery the bondage already existing, as anti-chris- upon every succeeding generation. tian, and as having incurred the just ven- Swift observed in his day, that Ireland geance of God, in the invasion of their was “the only Christian country where the country by the British.t And it is pro- blessing of 'increase and multiply' was by bably as little known, that the Quakers of man converted into a curse," and the eviIreland were the first to take the field in dence of Fry and Gurney in their “report this glorious cause in modern times, and to the lord-lieutenant," and of the numerthat at a general meeting in Dublin in ous witnesses before the emigration com1727, they passed resolutions to that ef- mittee, abundantly shews to what an alarmfect, and thus anticipated, by thirty years, ing crisis things have arrived in that dea similar effort made in the metropolis of voted country. We find there an overGreat Britain. I

flowing population, about half fed and • But to advert to the causes of the employed, and very generally the wretched sufferings of Ireland, and the means which peasantry living altogether upon a very seem best adapted for their removal or scanty supply of what in England we relief :And 1st, The most obvious cause, should often deem too vile for the brute and that which demands immediate at creation-potatoes and cold water! But tention is-a redundant population, in re the miseries arising from the natural in

crease of a half-starving people, are wofully # Burnet's Own Times.

aggravated by the system now generally + It seems that an infantile slave-trade had been carried on between the natives of Ireland and the adopted by the Irish landlords as a remedy English on the western coast ; and that the latter

for the evils of subletting, of ejecting the had been in the habit of selling their children and relatives to the former. Cambrensis. Ware's Antiq. + Whitelaw and Walsh's History of Dublin.

* Report of Emigration Committee.

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