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not merely against some one of its symptoms. A gentleman lately applied to us with a body of proofs, to shew that he has been subjected to the influence of witchcraft: we argued the matter with him, but we need not say in vain; nor did we expect any better result; but even could we have convinced him of his mistake, we could not prevent his taking up some new fancy. Earnestly, therefore, do we urge it upon parents, upon ministers, and upon the instructors of youth, to keep a constant guard against the first inroads of superstition, and of over excitement, in whatever shape they may appear. A mind thus predisposed, will be the constant prey of wonderments and delusions: no. thing sound, sober, or consistent, will vegetate in such an atmosphere: every strange notion, in proportion to its very strangeness, will be likely to lead the mind astray; the individual will be the dupe of quacks in medicine, and speculatists in religion, and all for the love of excitement, and the indulgence of the imagination, instead of a sound exercise of the understanding in submission alone to the written and recorded word of God. We will only remark, in conclusion, that we do not apply these observations to the particular case above related; but only to the general predisposition of mind to account for things by mystery and miracle, rather than by the plain simple principles of common sense and sound Christian philosophy. When we see persons taking up one new notion after another, as some of late have done, the last being usually the most unaccountable, we can only pity the weakness of our fallen nature, and learn to covet more highly the blessing of a sound and settled understanding. No person, we are persuaded, will admit this truth more fully than the pious and esteemed friend who has sent us the preceding narrative; and it must assuredly be a relief, not a pain or disappointment, to the mind of all the parties concerned, if a cure so remarkable can be taken from the range of miracles, and placed in that of the wise and merciful providence of God, through the medium of those second causes which are daily seen in operation to effect his designs. To him, in any case, is the glory equally and only due; while there is far less danger of evil, far less opening for unsound inferences, far less fear of undue exaltation of our proud and corrupt nature, where his blessings are acknowledged in the regular order of his Divine providence, than where there is supposed to be a special return of that miraculous agency, which we see no scriptural warrant to expect in the present age. If any of our readers think otherwise, we shall be most ready to receive and weigh their arguments.
RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE IN
We had begun to hope that after the fatal experience which Switzerland has had of late years of the fearful evils of an intolerant and persecuting spirit; and after the earnest fraternal remonstrances of the whole Protestant world, particularly in France, England, and the United States of America, every lover of his country, above all, every professed friend of religion, in Switzerland, had resolved to banish henceforth all weapons in matters of theology, but those of amicable argument and the word of God. We grieve, however, to say, that the spirit of intolerance has again broken forth; not in some remote rural district, but in Geneva itself; not on the part of a few obscure bigots, but on the part of the venerable company of pastors; and not directed against some rash and ignorant individual, whose conduct could be urged as a pretext for hostility, but against one of the most faithful, pious, humble, regular, and useful ministers which the modern church of Geneva can boast-M. Gaussen, the well-known and beloved pastor of Satigny. The dominant ecclesiastical party in Geneva have never forgiven M. Gaussen the offence of re-publishing with M. Cellerier the Helvetic Confession, which they wished to be forgotten, as the monument of their heterodoxy and secession from the true principles of their church. But his exemplary conduct, and his ecclesiastical regularity, have hitherto prevented their finding occasion against him. Had he become a dissenter, or gone over to wild opinions, instead of remaining in the church of which he is an ornament, and exhibiting its true doctrines, his offence had been less, as would his influence and capacity for doing good.
The circumstances to which we allude are the following. M. Gaussen lately received from the company of pastors an order to renew the use of its catechism in his schools; which he declined doing, as well he might, from the heterodox complexion of that document. (See a notice of it in our Vol. for 1829, p. 301.) The refusal was made a pretext for hostility; and it has even been seriously proposed to deprive him of his benefice. All moderate and well-judging persons in Geneva have reclaimed against such intolerance and persecution; and the civil authorities have expressed their concern, and endeavoured to tranquillize the matter. In the mean time, the affair having become public, M. Gaussen has been constrained to issue a brief statement on the subject to the householders of his parish, who have gathered around him with filial anxiety and affection. It is a meek and pastoral address, in which he alludes to his having preached among them for fourteen years those blessed truths which were the glory
of the Reformation, and which his venerable predecessor Cellerier had inculcated for thirty years before him, and shews good reason why he has not made the modern catechism the basis of his instruction among the children; not only because it is tedious and unintelligible to them, but because he thinks the pure word of God preferable for this purpose, and because the catechism has been so grievously mutilated that it no longer exhibits "those four most important doctrines, the fall, sinfulness, and condemnation of mankind; justification by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ; that except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God; and that there is but one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." M. Gaussen adds, that if the pastors will replace these doctrines in the catechism, or restore the
orthodox catechism formerly in use,
It is not for us to intrude in the affairs of" other churches; but our pages find their way to Geneva, and most earnestly would we implore the pastors of that once-venerated branch of the Protestant Reformation to pause-to retrace their steps-or at least, not to add to the affliction of their fellowProtestants at their own defection from the doctrines of their professed church by persecuting those who still maintain them. It is quite clear, that, if such a man as M. Gaussen is forced from his parish, it will lead to an orthodox independent secession, the effects of which can little be foreseen.
VIEW OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
THE downfall of the Wellington ministry
Next came the Catholic question. We
the conscientious opposition of a large portion of the clergy, and of the great majority of what are called the Religious World. This breach has never been healed; and, in particular, Mr. Peel, who had always before been held in high estimation, and to whose name no other blot but his conduct on this occasion is affected to be attached, and who is allowed by all parties to have been a most judicious and diligent public officer, has continued to be assailed with a degree of reproach which amounted almost to personal ran
But this was not all; for, in order to be revenged upon the Wellington cabinet, many of the high Tory party, upon whom almost every ministry had counted as their natural allies, began to call for a reform in parliament, which the concession of Catholic emancipation in the face of so many petitions, it was urged, proved to be necessary. For nearly two years, therefore, this topic of reform has been forced upon the public in quarters where it was never heard of before; it has been the constant theme of some of the ultraTory newspapers; and, combined with the agricultural distresses and other circumstances, has made converts, nay zealots, in the highest ranks of the landed interest itself, and among some who only meant to skirmish with it as a party weapon to serve an occasion, and will perhaps lament the countenance they have given to this question when they see it taken up in earnest by others.
Then, to pass over several minor conspiring causes, came the death of the late King. George the Fourth was considered as a tenacious upholder of what a large portion of the public had begun to con
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sider political ultraism; while his successor was well known to be affected towards measures, which, whether better or worse, were at least more generally popular. The spirit of exclusiveness which marked the habits of the late reign was broken up: the path of ambition became open to men of all parties, not excepting Mr. Brougham himself, whom the late king had expelled, with personal antipathy, on account of his advocacy of Queen Caroline.
The dissolution of parliament and a new election succeeded. The breaking up of parties by the Catholic question had already much weakened ministers in both houses, and two sessions had passed away almost inefficiently, on account of the impossibility of carrying any measure of importance; especially as, with the exception of Sir Robert Peel, the government had few debaters who could contend with a vigorous opposition. These various causes, to which must be added the distresses both of the agricultural and manufacturing interests, tended to turn the scale against the Wellington cabinet in the late elections; and the meeting of Parliament was anxiously expected, to ascertain the result of the first display of strength.
Yet even all these difficulties might have been surmounted, had it not been for other events, which, though at a distance, acted with powerful effect upon this country. We need not say that we allude to the revolution in France, the successful insurrection in Belgium, and serious risings in other places. These were taken advantage of by democratical partizans, to excite commotions among us: the popular mind was enflamed; and to judge by some of the writings and speeches which have been put forth during the last three or four months, instead of being a free, and in the main a happy and loyal people, as by the blessing of God we still are, we might have been the slaves of the great Sultan, and all our privileges, civil, religious, and political, mere mockery and delusion.
Every eye was thus fixed upon the opening of the session, and a general persuasion had gone abroad, that the new reign was to be distinguished by a considerable change in the conduct of public affairs; particularly that the national expenditure was to be greatly curtailed; that some concession was to be made to public opinion in the matter of parlia mentary reform; and that the last remnants were to be swept away of that longcherished system, which had bound this country to an alliance with partial continental interests, and threatened constant war, bloodshed, and profuse expenditure to adjust the balance of Europe.
An exigency like this required in ministers a peculiarly steady and skilful hand, to guide the helm of state amidst storms and breakers on every side. It
is impossible, however, to say that they have been happy in their choice of expedients for this purpose. In the first place, they put into the king's speech a declaration of interference in the matter of Holland and Belgium. This declaration was doubtless intended to conciliate that powerful, though not numerically large, party, which is opposed to innovation in every country and in every shape: the party that approved of the Polignac policy, and considered it the duty of England to remonstrate for the restoration of Charles X., and to take up arms to restore the authority of the king of the Netherlands in Belgium. Lord Londonderry, for example, expressed himself much pleased with this part of the speech; which was, in fact, only a continuance of the plans of his relative and predecessor. But nothing could be more prompt and overpowering than the voice of the nation and of parliament against interfering in the internal affairs of other states: some deprecated the principle, and all the expense, of such a system, which, once begun, might soon involve us in the horrors of another European warfare. Ministers, therefore, explained: they meant, they said, nothing hostile; they should merely negociate: but the explanation caused more opposition than the declaration; for those who wished the Belgian insurrection to be put down, if necessary, by force, and whom the speech was doubtless meant to please, were indignant that ministers had explained away their intention, and virtually given up the Holy Alliance and Londonderry system; while those who dreaded war saw that war was inevitable, if negociation did not succeed and even should it succeed, there were not a few who deprecated interference; some because they wished well to revolution, but a better class because they thought it an encroachment on the private rights of other nations.
But the speech excited opposition by its pretermissions as well as its insertions. In particular, it was silent upon the matter of a reform in parliament, which, for various reasons, it had been very widely expected would be recommended from the throne. In reply to the parliamentary inquiries on the subject, which were instant and urgent, the duke of Wellington stated that he would not introduce any measure of reform himself, and would oppose it if introduced by others. There were many circumstances to render so sweeping a declaration rash and suicidal; for not only had the public intelligence been of late strongly directed against the abstract principle of national representation being appointed by a small fraction of the wealth, intelligence, and publie stake of a country; but the abstract evil had become glaringly exposed in act, by the discussions on the case of East Retford, and the misadvised conduct of the
cabinet in urging parliament to give that forfeited franchise to the hundred of Bassetlaw; that is, virtually to the duke of Newcastle; instead of bestowing it upon Manchester, or Leeds, or Birmingham. That portion, also, of the Tory interest which had revolted from the duke of Wellington, on account of the Catholic question, and swelled the ranks of reform, joined the Whigs and others on this occasion. The ministry soon felt that the duke of Wellington's declaration had been impolitic, and Sir Robert Peel endeavoured to qualify it; a trimming measure which left the question open to agitation, rendering the friends of ministers perplexed and indecisive, and strengthening all the hopes and auguries of their opponents.
Hitherto, however, no parliamentary trial of strength had taken place; and, before it occurred, several circumstances intervened which tended to weaken the cabinet. Among these, we might enumerate the appointment of Dr. Philpotts to a bishop. rick. That clergyman had been promoted to a deanery for his zealous efforts against Catholic emancipation; and now he was made a bishop, as was currently alleged and believed, whether truly or falsely, for a time-serving recantation. To add to the unpopularity of the measure, he was to hold, in commendam with the see of Exeter, his living of Stanhope, valued at four thousand pounds per annum. The case is to undergo further parliamentary investigation, and we will not prejudge it; but, however high may be the qualifications of his lordship, and however customary it may be to reward political services with a mitre, and to augment poor bishoprics with commendams, the appointment, under all the circumstances, was highly impolitic on the part of government, and greatly diminished the public confidence in their administration of patronage, especially the patronage of the church. It will not surprise us if this particular case should eventually form the germ of a parliamentary inquiry into the revenues of the church, pluralities, and other matters. That the subject needs inquiry, no man who is anxious for the spiritual efficiency and public estimation of the church can doubt; but it is not quite equitable to visit upon any particular individual the faults of a system: and, to say the truth, in the present temper of the times, we apprehend some danger from making the house of commons the arena for such an investigation. But on these points more hereafter our only reference to the subject at present is in respect to the public displeasure which has arisen against the late ministers for this much-reprobated appointment
Another circumstance which tended at the moment to render the cabinet unpopular was, the sudden postponement of the king's visit to the city. We are
inclined to think that ministers acted rightly in this measure, if, owing to the popular excitement, they really believed that mischief and bloodshed might ensue ; as doubtless they did, and had, probably, reasons for so thinking which have not met the public eye. Whether the appointment of a voluntary civic force for the occasion might not have prevented the expected evils, we cannot undertake to decide; but the time pressed, and we are far from thinking that, amidst the ferment that prevailed, and of which evil-disposed persons might take advantage to create tumults, ministers deserved all the ridicule and odium which have assailed them for their caution in deferring the festival. Enough of tumult had occurred under the very walls of parliament, to shew that evil-disposed spirits were abroad. But the greater the cause for their apprehensions, the more powerful the retort, that they had rendered themselves obnoxious to the public by their measures. It was at least a party weapon, which was wielded with considerable effect; though, in truth, without much solid weight of argument; as, whoever might have been the ministers, or whatever their measures, it would not have been difficult for a few determined agents of mischief to excite disturbance in a dense populous assemblage, especially after what had recently occurred in various parts of the continent.
But, added to this expectation of civic tumults, ministers had to encounter, at the same moment, the odium of those alarming proceedings which had commenced in Kent and elsewhere, and which have since assumed so serious an aspect. The conflagrations in the rural districts, as well as the expected disturbances in the city, were brought into the scale, to prove that the public measures were bad, the national discontents great, and a change of administration inevitable.
Thus circumstanced, the ministry brought forward their arrangement for the civil list for the new reign; on which the first great trial of the strength of parties was to be taken. If this proved in their favour, they had still new ordeals, especially reform and retrenchment; but this would at least furnish a probable estimate of their intentions. The result was, their being out-voted, by a majority of 233 to 204, and their consequent resignation of office. We must say, that their civil list was not arranged so as to satisfy the just expectations of the country. The state of the national finances, and the voice of public opinion rendered necessary a more ample retrenchment than they had determined upon; especially considering the increased value of money, and that the supply was virtually for a whole reign. Besides this, the account was confused and embarrassed; and ministers refused to separate the
direct provision for the crown from those general items which are strictly public, and the blending of which with the other has rendered it a matter of difficulty and delicacy for parliament to exercise an effectual controul over the public expenditure. We cannot, therefore, but think, that the house of commons would not have been justified, had it not demanded a committee to investigate the subject: upon which decision ministers resigned, as no longer possessing the confidence of parliament to carry on the business of the nation.
The new ministry consists of men who are pledged to retrenchment, to parliamentary reform, and to non-interference with the internal policy of other nations; and who are favourable to the amelioration of the criminal code, the facilitation of justice, the extension of education, the bettering of the condition of the poor, the abolition of colonial slavery, and the principles of free trade. As Christians, our duty will be to approve of what they shall do that is right, and to remonstrate against what is wrong, irrespective of all party names and political distinctions. Whoever may be members of the cabinet, blind confidence and factious opposition are equally to be shunned by those whose rule of conduct is the word of God. Let truth and duty, and not party, be our object. With this feeling, we shall await the first measures of the new cabinet; prepared to weigh their proceedings in the scales of equity and Scripture, and heed. ing little whether men are called Whig or Tory, but deeply anxious that their actions should be such as may conduce to the glory of God, and the welfare of the nation. The following is the list at the date of this sheet going to press :-Earl Grey, First Lord of the Treasury; Lord Brougham and Vaux, Lord Chancellor; Lord Althorp, Chancellor of the Exchequer; Lord Melbourne, Home Secretary; Lord Palmerston, Foreign Secretary; Lord Goderich, Colonial Secretary; Sir James Graham, First Lord of the Admiralty; Marquis of Lansdowne, President of the Council; Lord Durham, Lord Privy Seal; Marquis of Anglesey, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; Mr. Stanley, Chief Secretary for Ireland; Mr. Denman, Attorney-Ge neral; Mr. Horne, Solicitor-General; Lord Hill, Commander-in-Chief; Lord Auckland, President of the Board of Trade and Master of the Mint; Mr. Charles Grant, President of the Board of Control; Lord Holland, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; the Duke of Devonshire, Lord Chamberlain; Lord Plunkett, Lord Chancellor of Ireland; Mr. Pennefather, Attorney-General for Ireland; Lord Carlisle, in the Cabinet, without official situation; the Duke of Richmond, Postmaster-General, and in the cabinet.
Amongst the minor offices Mr. Powlett
Thomson, Treasurer of the Navy and Vice-President of the Board of Trade; Lord John Russell, Paymaster-General; and Mr. Robert Grant, Secretary at War.
Lords of the Treasury, Vernon Smith, Mr. Ponsonby, Mr. F. Baring: Secretaries, Mr. Edward Ellis and Mr. Spring Rice.
Whatever may be the differences of opinion as to the new ministry, every well-disposed person, of whatever party or rank of life, will feel that it is necessary in times like these to uphold the constitution, to seek the public welfare above all party interests, and to assist to suppress tumultuary risings, and the lawless proceedings of those who are destroying property, and hazarding life, with a view to put down machinery, to compel a rise of wages, or for any other purpose. Several of the southern counties, we lament to state, are in the utmost alarm in consequence of property having been in numerous places set on fire in the most mysterious manner, and hitherto without the detection of the incendiaries; and such a system of atrocity once established, no man can say where it will end. Government have directed their most vigorous efforts to detect the offenders, and to prevent the spread of the evil, and we trust that their exertions will be effectual. The popularity of the king and the new ministry, and the sanguine hopes of remedial measures, may assist in tranquillizing the ferment, so as to afford leisure for a thorough investigation into the causes of every species of national distress, with a view to discover suitable palliatives or remedies. We do not, however, for a moment think that any men, or any measures, can satisfy the popular demands. And in truth, serious as are the public distresses, we doubt whether in any age or nation there have been an equal number of human beings in any country so well fed, clothed, and housed, as the great majority of the people of this land, including a large mass of those who at any particular time chiefly suffer. But this is no reason for not carefully investigating the existing distresses. which might doubtless be in many cases relieved, and in others removed, by remedies within the competency of the legislature to discover, provided they will go to the task free from the bias of local, party, and selfish interests, and consulting only the general welfare. Our own often expressed opinion - unpopular we are aware in some much respected quarters, but which is daily becoming the convietion of a large mass of the practical intelligence of the country,-is, that much of the evil may he traced in our towns to commercial restrictions, and in the country to the poor laws. The pressure of taxation is comparatively but a fraction in the account. In towns, for example, a manufacturer is allowed to become insol