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tains. We are glad to fasten our eyes on a national character which is permanent, as well as pure. Honored be the country which has withstood the torrent of German neology and Parisian licentiousness. Cut off she indeed is from the polite circles of London ; she is removed from being a kingdom ; her regalia are now empty things, kept for a show; but she has, what is far better, the Bible and the Catechism. Her parish schools are worth ten thousand fading diadems, and, we had almost said, ten thousand Jameses and Marys, like those who once wore them. Honor to the people that would not bow down before the waxen images of Rome; that was not terrified by the High Commission of Charles I.; that never succumbed to the atrocious persecution inflicted by the ordained tools of Charles II.; and that welcomed with an outcry of joy the subversion of the Stuarts, and the accession of the House of Orange. We delight to recall the illustrious names which adorn the Scottish literary and ecclesiastical annals; Knox, “who never feared the face of man,” and the prototype of much which his church and country have since been; the Erskines, ather and two sons, not decorated with literary honors, but men of holy life, of steadfast purpose, and eminently meet for the inheritance of the saints in light; and the Livingstons, the Bostons, the Rutherfords, the Gillespies, the Willisons, whose memories wear an amaranthine freshness. In other connections, we might enumerate two of the great triumvirate of British historians; and four or five honored and never-dying names in intellectual science; and two or three of the children of sweetest song, who have given an immortality, throughout the civilized world, alike to obscure tradition, to local scenery, to uncouth metres and a barbarian accent. Genius, pouring itself out on the soil where it was nurtured, and hiding itself in scenes and stories exclusively national, has won a more lasting fame than genius employed in writing the history of continents, or speculating profoundly on the universal nature of man. Adam Smith created, not an era in political science, but political science itself; still, great as are his merits, the Cotter's
are we to attribute the boldness, the strength, the intelligence, the decided reputation for virtue and moral power, which have, for centuries, distinguished the inhabitants of North Britain ? In the facts and considerations, which we shall adduce as an answer to these interrogatories, we shall accomplish the main purpose of the present essay.
In the first place, the climate, and the physical features of the country have, unquestionably, exerted an important influ
Scotchmen, if they should live at the sources of the Indus, would be Affghans; if in the fastnesses of Circassia, Koords, sleeping under the black tent, or waylaying the luckless traveller; or, if on the Green Mountains of New England, independent Christian yeomanry. Mountains and floods, mists, roaring torrents, silver lakes, precipitous crags, the unceasing dash of the ocean, beating on the hard rocks,-all such things become the elements, or the occasions of intellectual and moral power. They act, inevitably, on the hearts and the minds of the beings who are conversant with their sublime and beautiful phenomena. Who could sail, as Sir Walter Scott did, around the waters that wash three sides of the country, and not receive permanent impressions ? Even Dr. Johnson, phlegmatic as he was, and a cordial hater of all Scotchmen, except his obsequious biographer, revealed something like poetic enthusiasm, when he journied to the home of St. Columba. This influence of material objects is not inconsiderable in any circumstances. The Arab, in his boundless desert of sand, is linked in affection to the few and the burning objects with which he every day meets. The dazzling column of sand reminds him of his dear birth-place, and of the long succession of Sheikhs, who have come in and gone out before his tribe. How much greater must be the effect of natural objects in a northern and mountainous region, especially if these objects be associated with stirring events in the national history! Here was the glen, that sheltered William Wallace from his foes. There stood a hut, in which the outlawed Bruce found an asylum. Deep in
-places where his ancestor wrestled with the angel of the covenant, or hastily caught up, with the weapon of defence in one hand, the emblems of a Saviour's dying love.
We may suggest, in the second place, the fierce political and ecclesiastical contests, which marked the whole period of the history of Scotland up to the accession of James VI. to the throne of the United Kingdom, and even still later, as one of the causes in the formation of the character of the people. The country was, almost without intermission, the scene of the wildest anarchy, or of the most grinding oppression. The blood of kings, nobles and peasants flowed, for ages like water. Shakspeare's Macbeth is hardly a work of imagination. It is nearly overborne by facts. “A man's foes were they of his own household,” was strictly verified; the clan had more than an Indian's scent for the blood of its neighbor. The civil history of no nation in Europe is less grateful to the philanthropist than that of Scotland, for several centuries. William Wallace perished on the scaffold. James I., an accomplished prince, was murdered by his nobles. The insufferable tyranny of James III. excited a rebellion, in which he was defeated and slain. James IV. fell at Flodden. The hostility of his granddaughter, Mary Stuart, to the Reformation, occasioned discontents which terminated in the rebellion of her subjects, her own flight to England, and her subsequent execution. The union of the two crowns, in 1603, was not the harbinger of peace. Even after the Revolution of 1688, and the union of the monarchies in 1707, the waves of discord were not hushed. The partisans of the Stuart dynasty twice rose in rebellion against the house of Hanover. In these political disturbances, the ecclesiastical fortunes of the people were closely interwoven; or rather, as we shall find in the sequel, the affairs of government were often identical with those of the church. These stirring events, this unceasing excitement could not, of course, be without effect on the character of the actors. The Scotchman was nursed in storms both physically and morally. His life was a hard discipline. The stronger elements of his nature were necessarily brought into active play. The tempestuous passions found full scope. Feats of daring became the end of his existence. To murder a noble, or to break a royal sceptre was familiar sport. The dreadful butchery of the battles fought in Scotland attests the physical courage, and the exasperated temper of the combatants. The remembrance of these days of old has not perished in Scotland. The same stern characteristics are still, in a measure, exhibited. The present generation sometimes show the “stuff” of which their ancestors were made. A passion for wrangling, a dogged tenaciousness of opinion, an inability to distinguish between the substance and the shadow, and even the protrusion of uncomfortable epithets are not now unknown in Scotland. Dugald Stewart, characterized as he was for the most gentlemanly and conciliating demeanor, manifested somewhat of the national temperament, in the controversy caused at the proposed election of Prof. Leslie to the chair of natural philosophy in the university of Edinburgh. In the famous dispute respecting the circulation of the Apocryphal Scriptures on the part of the British and Foreign Bible Society, the people of Scotland rose as one man, and cut off all connection with their southern fellow-Christians. The Caledonian hills were made to ring with denunciations of the uncanonical books, and of those who would circulate them in the Papal countries. The doings of every General Assembly, that have fallen under our notice, contain striking developments of the national propensity in question. Scenes are sometimes exhibited, and language is employed which would hardly be tolerated in the House of Commons, or in an American House of Representatives, and which lead us back to the wrathful harangues and the scurrilous dialects of the Bothwells, Murrays and Knoxes of Queen Mary's day. A living theological writer, occupying a high station, and who has acquired considerable notoriety, uses epithets which should seem to have been culled from the Monstrous Regiment of Women,” * or from the vocabulary of the tolbooth of Edinburgh. American ecclesiastical courts have borne witness to some choice specimens, not only of rigid Scotch orthodoxy, but of a temperament not the most amiable, and of language not very courteous.
We remark, in the third place, that to the early and general establishment of parochial schools, Scotland is largely indebted for her intellectual superiority, and her commanding station among the communities of Europe. The importance of this subject must be our apology for dwelling upon it at some length.
* The title of one of John Knox's publications,
In early times, the monasteries contained the only seminaries of education then known in Scotland. If any schools existed in the larger burghs, they were under the patronage of some religious house. Long prior to the Reformation, there seem to have been such seminaries, where Latin was taught. There were also common elementary institutions, called “Lecture Schools," which afforded instruction in the vernacular tongue. As early as 1494, the Scotch Parliament enacted, that all barons and freeholders," who are of substance," should put their oldest sons and heirs to the schools, from the sixth or the ninth year of their age. After the Reformation, the establishment and maintenance of schools became an object of constant and anxious attention on the part of the Protestant clergy. In the First Book of Discipline, composed in 1560, it was recommended that every parish, where there was a town of any reputation, should have a schoolmaster," able to teach the grammar and Latin tongue;" and that in landward parishes, the minister should take care of the youth of the parish, to instruct them in the rudiments, particularly in the Catechism of Geneva.” The church never lost sight of this object. Many acts of the General Assembly were passed in relation to it. When applying for the restitution of the church property, the endowment of schools was never forgotten by the ecclesiastical courts.* In 1616, the Privy Council for the first time interposed their authority, and enacted that in “every parish of this kingdom, where convenient means may be had for entertaining a school, a school shall be established, and a fit person shall be appointed to teach the same, upon the expense of the parishioners, according to the quantity and quality of the parish.” Episcopacy then prevailed; and this act was directed to be carried into effect, sight and by the advice of the bishop of the diocese in his visitations.” In 1633, the act of council was ratified in Parliament. This was the first legislative enactment authorizing the establishment and endowment of parish schools.
During the civil wars, a more enlightened act was passed, which, though rescinded at the Restoration, was adopted almost verbatim, in the celebrated statute of William and Mary, in the year 1696, which is the foundation of the present parochial system. The statute is as follows: The estates of Parliament,
* See Macculloch's British Empire, and the authorities re. ferred to by him, Vol. II., p. 484.