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EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

NEW SERIES.—No. III.

JANUARY 1847.

Vol. I.

DUTY OF ELECTORS THE PRESENT DANGER.

If Parliament were now dissolved, tate has grown into sudden power and how would the elections probably go ? predominance, and the fourth estate Is there, at present, any public topic of itself — the periodical press—is now interest, upon which the minds of men subordinate. But even railwaua waula

In order to make room for a press of interesting matter, we have

We have this month added more than a sheet to our usual limits. notwithstanding, however, been after all necessitated to postpone a number of valuable contributions-and, amongst others, a notice of the recent proceedings of the Evangelical Alliance at Manchester.

This we shall give in our next. ing and labouring population, such as

less in some instances where a local gas the first commercial crisis may cause bill, or a local water bill, interfered ; terribly to explode;—and abroad, the or where local railway competition ran Continental balance of power coolly and high; the same members would, on the contemptuously overturned; treaties, average and in general, be found occuthe result of long war, and the secu- pying the benches of St Stephen's. And rity of long peace, given to the winds; for a sufficient reason, perhaps; namely, the presumptive heiress of Spain allied that not many new ones as patient and to the French throne; the last spark of painstaking are to be got. Polish independence extinguished ;- Another question occurs.

If Parliathen westward, the isles of the Pacific ment be not dissolved till after next ravaged and polluted by French inva- session is over, will this make much sion; and America whetting her sword

difference as to the result ? Probably against Mexican valour, for other not. There is no outstanding finanstrife ;-eastward, also, the Turkish cial, or international, question, of magpower defied by the rude tribes by nitude enough, as yet, to be the rallying whom the Nestorians have been mas- cry of an election. It is evidently also sacred; and a general heaving of the

the interest of Government to prevent, whole Oriental world, as before an

or evade, the raising of any such quesearthquake, or volcanic outbreak ;- tion; and, in fact, the policy of all parthese, and other tokens of unquiet times ties is to gain time. The prolonging at hand, are multiplied on every side of the present lull, in politics, is what No thoughtful mind is at ease in anti- most persons are reckoning upon, as on cipating, we say not the distant future, the whole the most probable and the but the course of the next few years. most desirable calm, out of which the Still, we repeat our question, were new beau ideal of a Parliament is to a general election proclaimed to-mor- arise. There will be a wish rather to row, on what would the returns depend avoid than to invite disputed elections. Probably on railway speculations and Witness Renfrewshire, where, but a few, railway interests.

For this fifth es- weeks ago, a Conservative walked the

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course, on the demise of a Liberal, who have now to deal; so far, at least, as had carried his return by a narrow, and domestic interests are concerned, Now, even neck-and-neck, majority. And what is likely to be the treatment of the case is not singular. There is a these two topics during the ensuing weariness and exhaustion of the public Session of Parliament ? mind at present upon topics that but As to the firstthe endowment of yesterday would have awakened the Popery in Ireland—whether that meakeenest enthusiasm; and we doubt if sure is to be viewed, like the Maynooth any other than the most sordid and affair, as a mere expedient of Irish selfish motives could seriously stir most statesmanship, or is to be placed on the of our constituencies. Where, for in- broader footing of an avowed purpose stance, is the potency of the cry for re- to endow all sects indiscriminately—our trenchment? Where the demand for conviction is that our rulers, including abolishing sinecures ? Where the Vo- in that term men of all parties who luntary principle ? And the plea for have any voice in Parliament, have not a reduction of existing Establishments ? yet definitively made up their minds. And the protest against the support of We mean as to the time and manner of religions of all sorts out of the funds or effecting their object; the object itself is property of the nation ? And other evidently fixed. Their wish, we believe, watchwords that found a response in would be, to have the matter settled men's understandings and hearts once? and disposed of before a general elecThe strangest apathy of mutual tolera- tion comes. Let it be a "fait accomtion has succeeded the fiercest warfare. pli,when members appeal to their Ultra-liberals were found, but lately, constituencies, so that it shall be illmost complacently acquiescing in the manners, as well as bigotry, to ask any strong government of a Conservative questions about it, or to rake the ashes Premier; and now, returning the com- of a smothered fire.

It is possible, pliment, Conservatives desire to streng- with this view, that there may then the hands of a Liberal minister. be some gentle feeling of the public Churchmen are ready to affect the ut- and parliamentary pulse, on the remost wish for an indiscriminate endow- assembling of the representatives of ment of all sects of Dissenters, equally the people; for it would undoubtedly with themselves; and Dissenters have be a relief to all political parties to shown themselves prepared to regard have the annoyance of the pensioning with similar equanimity the abuses of of the Irish priesthood over; and if the those Establishments, whose very exist- country be only supine enough, and the ence was of late intolerable. Altoge- “ bray” of Exeter Hall not too troublether, there is a disposition to rest in some, there may be a very general decompromise and mutual concession ; sire to steal a march upon the bigots, and the pretence is, that secular and and by a coup d'etat, have the controecclesiastical politics being suspended, versy settled and shelved. On the a certain economical Utopia is about to other hand, it is equally, perhaps more bless the land, with its halcyon days of probable, that it may be found expebrotherhood—and of baths.

dient to gain time. In that case, it Of the two most vital questions now will be the policy alike of Lord John above ground, which may possibly be and of Sir Robert, to maintain a caucanvassed in Parliament before a dis- tious silence and reserve. A few escasolution comes, neither, as we believe, pades of the more zealous may be alwill be suffered, if our politicians lowed, as straws to ascertain what way of all parties can help it, to affect the wind blows. But pauca verba,

asuing election. The endow- "good worts," or good words, will be ment of Popery, or, to speak more the maxim. And doubtless plausible correctly, the principle of an indis- enough apologies will be at hand, in the criminate endowment of all opinions pressure of railway business, the state alike ; and the provision of a national of Ireland, and so forth, to explain the education ; are undoubtedly the two melting away of the Session without great problems with which men in power decisive measures being taken ;-not

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to speak of the convenient and reason- alone, and to obey his laws, indepenable diversion that may be made by dently of any other jurisdiction or the old country or Protectionist party, power whatsoever. The other is the who, headed by the stable mind of principle, that, whether it be the Bentinck, and animated by the fiery duty of the State, as such, to own and zeal of Stanley, seem to be meditating support the true religion or not, it is a new assault upon the Malt-tax as a great sin to countenance anti-christheir grand stalking-horse for the Ses- tian falsehood, and a sin scarcely less, sion. Thus there will be plenty of to act as if there were no difference betopics for “the grand debate ;" and tween truth and error, or as if the difperhaps some ministerial crisis or two; ference could not be ascertained. and a vote against the Malt-tax one Rather no establishment than one that day, to be rescinded the next; and involves civil interference in spiritual resignations and returns to office, and so affairs. Rather no endowment than forth. And, in such wise, the Session the endowment of Rome, or of all sects may be got rid of, or got over. Then alike. These are levers by which all comes the general election, in a con- the true friends of Protestantism venient pause of party strife; no lead- might combine to lift the Church of ing question—no exciting topic--no Christ out of the mire and filth of segreat principle, before the country. cular connections and influences, in Suspicion is laid asleep; or, if in any which she is now so much imbedded. quarter it is still alive, despair of get. They are maxims that commend themting any body of public men to act to- selves to every spiritual conscience and gether for the evangelical cause, ope- every renewed heart ; and, however rates with a more deadening influence misrepresentation may for a time cast than all the wiles of the enemy; mem- a cloud over them, we feel confident bers are returned, with a little shuffl- that they must advance and make way. ing of the cards, precisely as they were Nor, in these circumstances, can we before; and the exigency of an ap- see any reason for reviving at this juncpeal to the constituencies being dexter- ture what is called the Voluntary controously evaded, a seven years' Parlia- versy. That controversy respects what ment is assembled, in which Popish may be the duty of the State towards the endowments, and education without church, when things are in such a position creed, and all the nostrums of modern as to admit of both parties freely dispolitical pharmacy, will be swallowed charging the mutual obligations they almost without the drawing of a breath. owe to one another. The present po

And here, we cannot but express our sition of things, however, is widely deep regret, that the enemies of corrupt different. We have a strong conestablishments should be determined, as viction of the speculative unsoundness it would seem, still to fight at a disad- and the practical evil tendency of the vantage, and with divided and dis- Voluntary opinion; believing that it ordered ranks. Our solemn persuasion strikes deeper into the roots of social is, that there is no possible way of ef- morality and religion than many of its fectually resisting the proposal of new advocates are aware.

But that is not endowments, otherwise than by a calm the point of view in which we regard and clear voice lifted up for the entire it at present. We take much lower withdrawal of the old. And there are ground. We say to our Voluntary two principles, recently made promi- friends : Here are two vital and powernent, in the providence of God, which ful principles which you and we hold might be translated into brief intelli- together — principles well fitted to gible watchwords, of potency enough to move the world; for they are the prinrally all the friends of a pure and spi- ciples that give body to the church of ritual Christianity. The one is the the Living God. Heart and hand, let principle, that, whether supported or us work these principles together ; not by the State, the church, under her especially against the latitudinarian great and only Head, must be free; schemes of indiscriminate religious free to be governed by his authority teaching that are now so rife. And let

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there be no mistake. Let the demand nimous testimony be lifted up as for the removal of all existing esta- counter-cry; and there is hope for blishments, on the ground of these two truth and liberty still. principles, be as clear and unequivocal But we have digressed. To return, as the cry for new or Popish miscellane- and to resume our conjectural anticipaous endowments. Let statesmen of all tions of the coming series of events— parties know that they have to deal especially with reference to the apwith a firm and compact body of men proaching general election—we are opposed to all establishments as now persuaded our readers must now clearly constituted, on religious considera- see where, in our apprehension, the tions, and determined, on every occa- present danger lies. sion when new endowments are talked Were the Sovereign avowedly to apof, to move the previous question of peal to the country, on the precise the confiscating of the old, for public question of the pensioning of the priests, exigencies of State ;—and we are per- or the setting up, universally, of the suaded the course of affairs might still indiscriminate system of endowments, take a sudden and salutary turn. But -as was done in the passing of the Rethe Voluntary principle, in its more ge- form Bill—religious men among the neral or abstract form, divides those electors would be upon their guard. who are otherwise equally conscientious We do not say that they would carry opponents of all existing establish- the elections, or return a majority of ments and equally zealous friends of sound members to Parliament. But the liberty and spirituality of the we venture to surmise, that pledges a church. Hence, on the one hand, the little more explicit than some recently strange paradox, and unworthy specta- given, would be the order of the day; cle, of men opposed in theory to all en- and of this we have little doubt, that dowments, yet practically supporting the more Christian and common-sense the endowment of Popish error; on

alternative of the abolition of all estasome whim, as it might seem, of fair blishments would have its due place play being a virtue, even among and prominency assigned to it. Now, thieves; and that, if there is to be spoil however, the misery is, that the small going, at the country's expense, Peter, edge of the wedge having been got in, as well as Martin and Jack, should the country suffers unawares, stroke .have a share. And hence, on the other after stroke to descend, each driving hand, the awkward position in which the implement of ruin farther home,

ourselves for instance and fixing it more deeply in the vitals often placed, when, honestly denying, of the fated tree, And all arts of as we do, the possibility of a right subtle reasoning and smooth statesestablishment, in the present state of manship are tried, to persuade religious the age and country, we yet seem to men to stand aloof, or to keep their defend the same doctrinal founda- distinctive religious principles, so far tion on which the State Churches now as this matter is concerned, in abeyance. maintain themselves, and are forced Upon this last topic, which we have to contend against a speculative error now raised, we must be allowed a few on the one side, in such a manner as to words of plain remonstrance. It is not uphold, apparently, a present and our purpose to argue the general quespractical wrong on the other. Now, tion of the bearing of the Word of why should not all these inconveniences God on human politics generally,—and be avoided, by simply attending to especially on the duty of political men in what Providence is so evidently point dealing with the Truth of Christ, which ing out as present duty ? The king- that word reveals, and the lying imdoms of the world have clearly avowed posture of Antichrist which it both their ultimatum ; which is this delineates and condemns. Nor need we that if religion is to be supported, it condescend to inquire how far they must be secularized; and it must be who believe that word are at liberty to supported, not as true, but as expedient. measure sin and duty, in public conLet the loud voice of a faithful and una- duct, by a sort of sliding scale of in

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ferential reasoning.

Neither do we in politics. Lord John Russell's Gointend to make anything like an indis- vernment is before the country, askcriminate attack on the Government ing for a fair trial, and holding out which is now on its trial before the many promises of good; and it may country, or on those who would solicit seem handsome and generous to abfor it a fair, and even a partial, pro- stain from prematurely raising suspibation. On the contrary, we think we cions, and anticipating evil. Chivalry, can understand the position of the if not charity, requires that we should men of evangelical principles and pre- suppress our fears; and stand aside dilections, who now find themselves in at least, if we cannot applaud ; and bethe ranks of the supporters of the pre- lieve and hope all things. Nay, not sent administration ; and we are dis- chivalry; the age of chivalry is past; posed to have considerable sympathy and it would seem as if some of our with them. The Whigs, in opposition, friends expected the sound and sagacihave very generally been the advo- ous Christians of Scotland to become cates of a sound and liberal policy, very Quixottes, in their polite defeboth in Church and State affairs. Be- rence to those who courteously solicit fore their first accession to power, in their sweet voices. our day, this was eminently the case. Two things, we confess, amaze, and Every high, and almost every holy, almost provoke us, when such consicause, found its most hearty advocates derations are urged, as we sometimes among the Whigs ; and Toryism, find put forth, even by religious men, genuine and unadulterated, was very who would sopite and allay the appremuch like another name for a bigotted hensions now so generally entertained defence of existing establishments, of a new inroad on the Protestantism combined with an intense hatred of all of the country; an inroad such as they reforming movements, and all really themselves profess to deprecate and spiritualor evangelicalsentiments. We deplore. The first is, that the never can forget that we owe to Pitt, or threatened evil is so plain ; the second, at least to his Tory friends, that hollow that those who threaten it, of whatever and hypocritical friendship for the party, are so plastic. Were it a slave, which postponed his emancipa- doubtful thing, whether new endowtion for at least a quarter of a century; ments are to be proposed, to cover over while it is to a Whig ministry that we the injustice of the old; or had we a are indebted, both for the abolition of dull, dogged, and inflexible bigot, the trade, and the suppression of the like James the Second, to deal with, system of slavery. And it would be as making indiscriminate favour for all great ingratitude to overlook the many sects a pretence for bringing in Rome services since rendered by the Whigs —there might be some explanation of to the cause of religious, civil, and com- this laisser faire indifferentism ; and mercial freedom, as it would be folly we might comprehend that sort of easy to put any faith in the recent and re- and apathetic quietude with which luctant liberalism of the Conservatives. some good men are seen oscillating beWe have no idea that if the present tween the two alternatives of the Ministry were going out of power to- dilemma ;-whispering gently to this morrow, a better, or even so good a aged alarmist, on the one side ; Ah! one, would come in; and we have not perhaps there will be no proposal to a word to say against Christian men endow Popery after all, and you have being friends and favourers of Lord no occasion, and, with pardon, no John Russell's government, and be- right to put yourself and others in a lieving that its continuance is at least passion about so uncertain a bugbear the security of the country's present or chimera ;-and, on the other side, repeace, if it be not the harbinger of its presenting warmly to that young enbrighter prosperity.

thusiast, that if after all the obnoxiBut we must protest against implicit ous bill, with a decent amount of peti

We protest against it in reli- tioning against it, should become the gion; we must protest against it also law, and the endowment of Popery

faith.

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