Page images
PDF
EPUB

6

6

6

6

6

[ocr errors]

now confine ourselves to the doctrine of religious persecution already referred to as laid down in the xxiiid chapter. Here,' remarks Mr. Carlile, we are required to confess, as an expression of our faith in God, that he has given the Magistrate power to proceed against men for publishing such opinions as are contrary to the known principles of Christianity, whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation, or such erroneous opinions or practices as are destructive of the external peace and order which Christ hath established in his Church; he or the Synod being the judges of what opinions he is to proceed against, as contrary to the known principles of Christianity, or destructive of the external peace and order of the Church.' One of the passages of Scripture upon which this dogma is founded, is Zech. xiii. 3; and the atrocious doctrine of religious murder thus implied, is directed particularly against the Church of Rome. No doubt can be entertained, as we have before shewn, that the extermination of heresy and Papistry as crimes against Church and State, was held by the Scottish Reformers to be both lawful and a bounden duty. Nor were they content with appropriating one of Peter's swords. In chap. xxx. of the Confession, the power of the keys,' in the retaining and the remitting of sin, by censures and the absolutions of censures, is as fully claimed for the Presbyters of the Kirk, as it is by the Church of Rome or the Church of England for their respective priesthoods. Behold then both elements of Spiritual Despotism, the sword of excommunication and the sword of extermination, sacerdotal absolution and political intolerance ! And a set of men calling them, selves a synod, a Protestant synod, met together under the light of the nineteenth century, have resolved to exact implicit acquiescence in these Popish dogmas as articles of faith, from all whom they shall hereafter admit to the Christian Ministry !

But the folly and guilt of this proceeding are aggravated to the last degree by the circumstances of the country in which it has taken place. That country is Ireland, where such pretensions come into immediate conflict with the rival and exclusive claims of both the Established Prelacy and the Romish priesthood ;—where the Presbyterians exist as a mere sect, without political power, their ministry disowned by the Protestant hierarchy, and their religion itself looked upon as a heresy by more than three-fourths of the people ;-where, moreover, the principles of the Westminster Confession, if carried out to their just consequences, would sanction the civil magistrate in putting down Presbyterianism by the sword, and the Romish priesthood in consigning the whole Synod of Ulster to perdition. Yes, it is in Ireland, where Presbyterian, Prelatist, and Papist have in turn drunk to the dregs the cup of intolerance, that this project has been adopted for enforcing upon a Dissenting ministry sub

scription to the doctrine of Religious Persecution ! Let us hear no more of Father Dens: Dr. Cooke will serve the cause of the Papists quite as well. Let us no more be told that the punishment of heretics was a doctrine of other days: the gratuitous reimposition of the Confession which teaches that doctrine, fixes it upon the Synod of Ulster as an extant article of Protestant faith. It is in perfect consistency with this display of intolerance, that the Ulster Synod have avowed their hostility to the national system of education,-in other words, to the general education of the Roman Catholic population ; and the ground of that hostility, the not making the Protestant Version of the Scriptures a Roman Catholic school-book, is in exquisite keeping with the virtual substitution of the Westminster Confession for the Holy Scriptures, as the standard of ministerial faith. Well did Milton describe the Synodists of his own day, when he said,

· New Presbyter is but old priest writ large.' Had Dr. Cooke lived in those days, he would have been immortalized. But surely the Presbyterians of Ireland cannot patiently stand by and witness these ecclesiastical antics.

Fervently do we unite with Mr. Carlile in the hope which he expresses, that, if a majority of their ministers are indeed so wedded to a series of antiquated propositions, such as 'no church on earth would spontaneously compose and adopt at the present day, that they shall attempt to force them, without the liberty of exception or explanation,' upon all candidates for the ministry, the educated, sensible, and pious laity of Ulster will arise as one man, and put an end to the absurd and mischievous system

which is now pressed on with so much zeal. I do trust,' he adds, that they will determine to stand fast in the liberty where• with Christ hath made them free, and not be entangled again in such

a yoke of bondage; that they will not suffer this iron chain of one hundred and seventy-two links to be wound round them. After this, Thirty-nine Articles were a pleasant and portable handcuff. This Presbyterian improvement upon Prelacy reminds one of the yoke of Rehoboam after that of Solomon. But what portion have the people in the Synod of Ulster ?

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Art. VI. 1. A History of British Quadrupeds. By Thomas Bell,

F.R.S. F.L.S., Lecturer on Comparative Anatomy at Guy's Hospital. Illustrated by a Wood-cut of each Species and numerous Vignettes. 8vo. Part I. to V. 28. 6d. each. (To form 1 Vol.)

London, 1836. 2. A History of British Fishes. By William Yarrell, V.P.Z.S.

F.L.S. Illustrated by nearly. 100Woodcuts. In two Volumes, 8vo. Price 21. 8s. London, 1836.

3. An Angler's Rambles. By Edward Jesse, Esq., F.L.S., Author of

Gleanings in Natural History. 12mo. pp. 318. London, 1836. 4. Arboretum et Fruticetumn Britannicum ; or, the Trees and Shrubs

of Britain, Native and Foreign, hardy and half hardy, pictorially and botanically delineated, and scientifically and popularly described. With their Propagation, Culture, Management, and Uses in the Arts, in Useful and Ornamental Plantations, and in Landscape Gardening ; the whole forming a complete Encyclopædia of Arboriculture. By J. C. Loudon, F.L.H.G. and Z.S. &c. No. I. to XXIX. (To be completed in three Volumes.) London,

1836. 5. The Botanist ; containing accurately coloured Figures of tender

and hardy Ornamental Plants, &c. Conducted by B. Maund, Esq., F.L.S., and Professor Henslow. No. I. (4 plates.) Price Is. 6d.,

large paper 2s. 6d. WE have already bestowed a brief notice upon the early

Numbers of the second of these publications, and feel it due to the Publisher to say, that the promise which they gave has been amply fulfilled in the progress and completion of the work. We are glad to perceive that the deserved success of the Ichthyological Series has encouraged him to bring out a History of British Quadrupeds, illustrated in the same beautiful style, which cannot fail to be still more popular. To the lovers of Natural History, these publications will afford a rich treat, the useful and the ornamental admirably sustaining each other in the execution of the work. The wood-engravings, so liberally distributed throughout the letter-press, are, in point of delicacy, precision, and freedom, all that could be desired, exhibiting the perfection to which this branch of art has been carried. The vignette tailpieces sometimes consist of anatomical details; but more often of playful or picturesque jeux de crayon, recalling our old favourite, Bewick. In fact, as a mere picture-book,' in children's phrase, these volumes are alike entertaining and instructive, delineating

eye

the forms, and structure, and sometimes the habits and localities of the animals. But the names of the Authors will be a sufficient pledge to the public, that the scientific accuracy and general competency displayed in the descriptive history and observations, will entitle these works to a high rank in the department of literature to which they belong.

We do not know whether we have many readers who take interest in a question which deeply concerns the gastronomers of the metropolis,--relative to the character of the whitebait; we shall, however, venture to select Mr. Yarrell's account of this fish, as a further specimen (in addition to the one given in our former article) of the diligence of his researches and the pleasing style of his observations.

VOL. XVI.--N.S.

to the

3 L

[blocks in formation]

* In the Papers on the subject of the Whitebait, published in the fourth volume of the Zoological Journal, I endeavoured to prove, historically and anatomically, that this little fish was not, as had been supposed, the young of the Shad, but a distinct species. In its habits it differs materially from all the other species of Clupea that visit our shores or our rivers. From the beginning of April to the end of September, this fish may be caught in the Thames as high as Woolwich or Blackwall, every flood-tide, in considerable quantity, by a particular mode of fishing to be hereafter described. During the first three months of this period, neither (Qu. no other?) species of the genus Clupea, of any age or size, except occasionally a young Sprat, can be found and taken in the same situation by the same means. The young Shad of the year are not two inches and a half long till November, when the Whitebait season is over ; and these young Shad are never without a portion of that spotted appearance behind the edge of the upper part of the operculum, which in one species particularly is so marked a peculiarity of the adult fish. The Whitebait, on the contrary, never exhibits a spot on the side at any age, but from two inches long up to six inches, which is the length of the largest I have seen, the colour of the sides is uniformly white.

* About the end of March, or early in April, Whitebait begin to make their appearance in the Thames, and are then small, apparently but just changed from the albuminous state of very young fry * During the fine weather of June, July, and August, immense quantities are consumed by the visitors to the different taverns at Greenwich and Blackwall. Pennant says, “they are esteemed very delicious when fried with fine flour, and occasion during the season a vast resort of the lower order of epicures to the taverns contiguous to the places where they are taken.” What might have been the particular grade of persons who were in the habit of visiting Greenwich to eat Whitebait in the days when Pennant wrote, I am unable to státe; but at present, the fashion of enjoying the excellent course of fish as served up either at Greenwich or Blackwall, is sanctioned by the highest authorities, from the Court at St. James's Palace in the west, to the Lord Mayor and his Court in the east, including the Cabinet Ministers, and the philosophers of the Royal Society. As might be expected, examples so numerous and influential have corresponding weight; and accordingly there are few entertainments more popular or more agreeable than a Whitebait dinner.

The fishery is continued frequently as late as September; and specimens of young fish of the year, four and five inches long, are then not uncommon, but mixed, even at this late period of the season, with others of a very small size, as though the roe had continued to be deposited throughout the summer ; yet the parent fish are not caught,

* The Shad do not deposit their spawn until the end of June or the beginning of July.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and are believed by the fishermen not to come higher up than the estuary, where, at this season of the year, nets sufficiently small in the mesh to stop them, are not in use.

• The particular mode of fishing for Whitebait, by which a constant supply during the season is obtained, was formerly considered destructive to the fry of fishes generally, and great pains were taken to prevent it by those to whom the conservancy of the fishery of the Thames was entrusted; but since the history and habits of this species have been better understood, and it has been ascertained that no other fry of any value swim with them,—which I can aver,—the men have been allowed to continue this part of their occupation with little or no disturbance, though still using an unlawful net.

When investigating the subject of the Whitebait, I was occasionally interested in witnessing the mode by which such numbers were taken. The mouth of the net is by no means large, measuring only about three feet square in extent; but the mesh of the hose, or bagend of the net, is very small. The boat is moored in the tide-way, where the water is from twenty to thirty feet deep; and the net, with its wooden frame-work, is fixed to the side of the boat, as shown in the vignette at p. 125. The tail of the hose, swimming loose, is from time to time handed into the boat, the end untied, and its contents shaken out. The wooden frame forming the mouth of the net does not dip more than four feet below the surface of the water; and, except an occasional straggling fish, the only small fry taken with Whitebait are the various species of Sticklebacks, and the

very common spotted or freckled Goby, described in Vol. I. p. 258; neither of which are of sufficient value or importance to require protection. The further the fishermen go down towards the mouth of the river, the sooner they begin to catch the Whitebait after the flood-tide has commenced. When fishing as high as Woolwich, the tide must have flowed from three to four hours, and the water become sensibly brackish to the taste, before the Whitebait will be found to make its appearance. They return down the river with the first of the ebb-tide; and varions attempts to preserve them in well-boats in pure fresh water have uniformly failed.' Vol. II., pp. 126—129.

It may excite surprise, that the history of British Quadrupeds should occupy only a single volume, when that of Fishes requires two. It would, indeed, be easy to spin out the description to many volumes by help of anecdotes, animal biography, and the pleasing sort of gossip in which Mr. Jesse excels. The British Zoology, however, does not comprise many distinct genera ; and the reader will have no cause to complain of the scantiness of the information respecting them. Mr. Bell commences with the genus Vespertilio, or Bat, no fewer than twelve species of which are natives of this country, besides five others of the same order. His observations upon the popular notions attaching to this nocturnal and harmless little animal, will interest our readers.

• It is perhaps difficult to account for the prejudices which have always existed against these harmless and interesting little animals,

« PreviousContinue »