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Mr. Wallace states, as points in which Natural Theology differs from Physical Science, that from the proofs on which it rests being short of the precision and certainty which those in physical science possess, it is liable to suffer by the fallacious and fanciful reasonings of unsound logicians; that interest and prejudice interfere to bias the convictions in all religious topics ; and that conclusive experiment is not to be had.
A considerable portion of the work is taken up in combating the reasonings adduced by the ex-Chancellor in favour of the immateriality of the soul. That the writer is not unsuccessful, may be inferred from the fact of so many previously to Lord Brougham having lost their pains in a similar metaphysical knight-errantry, as well from the circumstance, which shows how easily great minds are deluded by fallacies, that his lordship actually confounds immortality' with immateriality,' as if that must live for ever which is not material.
The writer concludes by adducing a few of those arguments that are commonly urged against the immateriality of the soul, stated as 'queries,' as the most befitting for one who proposes them as difficulties to be solved, not arguments to convince.
With neither Mr. Wallace's exposure of Lord Brougham's defence of the soul's immateriality, nor his queries, do we intend to trouble our readers. It is enough to have indicated the tenor of the work in its bearing on the · Discourse of Natural Theology. Those who are fond of the thorny and fruitless paths of disquisitions, wherein nothing is defined or definable, may consult Mr. Wallace himself, and some hundreds of other dusty tomes for the bulk of our readers, they are too well occupied to feel disposed to indulge in so great a waste of time and patience,
* An Historical Skelch of the Origin of English Prese Literature, and
of ils Progress till the reign of James I.; by William Gray, F.sq.,
of Magdalen College, Oxford.'-Oxford, Talboys. This is one among many proofs which the press is daily furnishing, of an increased and increasing attention to the philosophy of the English language. We think not with those who decry the classics in order to extol the modern tongues. Properly there is no rivalry in knowledgebut rather an harmonious blending of interests, since, in the words of Cicero, omnes artes quæ ad humanitatem pertinent, kabent quoddam commune vinculum et quasi cognatione quadam inter se continentur. The alliance is strikingly exhibited in the subserviency of the classics to the English, for without a knowledge, original or derivative, of the first, the second can be but imperfectly understood or employed. We are not sure, however, but the increase of attention to the English may in part be ascribed to efforts made in hostility to the classics. Nor, perhaps, will such efforts be regarded as altogether uncalled for by those who remember the extent to which even English Grammars of a few years since were constructed on the model of the Latin. The chains of a foreign tongue are now pretty well shaken off, and the English is allowed to walk in its native ease, dignity and strength. What we are mainly anxious to see, is an extensive devotement to the Teutonic tongues, because they are the parents and the natural support of our language, and the Saxon and German are able to give the students of English assistance far superior to any other. With this desire, we cannot express ourselves satisfied with Mr. Gray's brief essay. He has not ascended to the originals of our prose literature. He has not viewed it in connexion with its natural allies. He takes up the main branch of the river many a good mile from its source, and on its tributary streams he casts at the best but a passing glance. In fact, he has done any thing but justice to our Prose; for instead of devoting all his energies to it, as his subject demanded, he has allowed himself to be incessantly diverted by the attractions offered by the flowers of our poetry ;-and were the portions of matter given to each carefully measured, we are not sure that the Muse would not be found the favoured party. This comes in part of that itch of authorship which, unhappily for our literature and thy pocket, most generous public, impels all of all sorts into the folly of publication. Poverty and imperfection prevail. Time is not given to amass and mature. Collect, write, publish, which used to be the act of a life, are now performed on a journey by the rail-road, or after supper. It is little less than ludicrous, for the subject of English Prose Literature till James I. to be dispatched within the space of some hundred octavo pages. We are sorry to add that the piece is as dry as it is meagre; and we owe no small grudge to Mr. Gray for handling so, as to risk creating a dislike for it, a subject which ranks high among our attachments. So important and interesting, however, is the matter, that even Mr. Gray has not been able to write a piece thereon devoid of value; and, in the absence of a better guide, his book may be read with advantage.
Cobbell's Legacy to Parsons.' London, 11 Bolt Court. We are not among the admirers of Cobbett. We can, indeed, remember the time when parental influence had its effect in leading us to an exaggerated estimate both of his value and his influence in civil society; but as soon as we could form an opinion for ourselves, we learnt to feel more disgust at his moral iniquities than respect for his mental excellence.
We have made these remarks, not to introduce an analysis of his character, still less to pass a censure on a dead giant; but merely to caution our readers against drawing a general inference from such laudatory remarks as may ensue.
Cobbett and tergiversation, if not synonymous, are so connected together, that no one tolerably well acquainted with recent history can well avoid thinking of the one on hearing the other named. His fickleness of opinion was manifest on the Church question in no ordinary manner; and not long since, he appeared to have given in his adhesion to the Establishment. His · Last Thoughts,' however, make ample atonement for whatever thrusts he may have aimed at Dissent and Dissenters. In his · Legacy to Parsons,' which has had, and is still having, a most extensive circulation, he has in a short compass, and on evidence that is for the most part irrefragable, (no small merit in any thing from William Cobbett's pen,) taken as it is from Acts of Parliament quoted at length, drawn up such an accusation against the Church of England, and given utterance to it in so forcible and striking a manner, that his small eighteen-penny production will do more damage than the most elaborate treatises that have appeared.
GENERAL SYNOD OF ULSTER.
Tuis large and influential body of Orthodox Presbyterians held its annual meeting in Belfast, during the first week in July. We notice the circumstance in our pages for the purpose of directing attention to the evil working of the Presbyterian system of church government, even under the modified form in which it exists in Ireland. We say the modified form, because the Presbyterian Church in Ireland depends for its authority on the sufferance of the people, and cannot, like its neighbour in Scotland, back its decrees by the power of the civil law. In one respect alone has the Synod in Ireland secular authority. It has the control of the Regium Donum, and by degrading a minister from his office, it can deprive him of participation in that public charity. But the chief power of Presbyterianism in Ireland lies in the countenance and control of public opinion; and this power it has hitherto wielded with skill and despotism. The late meeting furnishes an instance of the exercise of this priestly authority, exposes the evil of any system of church establishment, and, at the same time, happily assures us that the day is gone by when the mass of the people, who truly constitute the church, will commit their religious rights to the keeping of a few.
At this meeting an appeal was heard from a minister and a large number of his congregation, against the acts of the Ballymena Presbytery, a section of the general body. It appeared in the course of debate, that Mr. Patterson, the minister of a congregation in Ballymena, had expressed his approval of the system of education lately introduced by Government into Ireland, and had placed a school connected with his congregation under the care of the Board of Education. This step offended Mr. Patterson's clerical brethren in the Presbytery. Two of them, who appear from political feeling to have regarded the Government plan of education with almost insane hatred, determined to visit Mr. Patterson with condign punishment for thus venturing to act upon the dictates of his own judgment. They availed themselves of the machinery of Presbyterianism to effect his ruin. Means of the most disgraceful kind were resorted to; secret emissaries were employed to weaken his influence and traduce his character; and when popular feeling had been, as was supposed, sufficiently excited against him, he was summoned before his Presbytery. For five days he was subjected to a mock trial, during which charges of the most frivolous nature were examined with pretended gravity, and the most ignorant and fanatical of his congregation brought forward to give their opinions as evidence. In fine, he was sent back to his distracted and excited people--not condemned, for that his Presbytery did not venture to do, in the face of evidence that went to prove that he was a man against whom the tongue of calumny could not bring a plausible impeachment,' but with charges of moral guilt, and religious error, and professional incapacity, hanging over him, unchecked and undetermined.
Against this conduct of his Presbytery, Mr. Patterson appealed to the General Synod. Even in that more public and less interested court, there were men who once had power to dictate the decisions of that assembly, who attempted to uphold their system at the expense of justice, and would have screened a section of their body from blame, although they might thus sacrifice an innocent member. Fortunately they calculated upon an influence which they did not possess; a very large majority expressed sympathy with Mr. Patterson, condemned the conduct of his Presbytery as unwarrantable, and the charges brought against him as frivolous and vexatious. But to what are we to ascribe this decision ? Certainly not to the system of Presbyterianism, which, but a few years since, would have lent its aid to crush a refractory member, who might have dared, as Mr. Patterson, to assert his independence, and was even now hardly restrained by the more liberal spirit of the times. And yet this is the system which some think is wanted among the enlightened Dissenters in England, and which some have even endeavoured to introduce. They have hitherto been disappointed, and we believe will long be so.
PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF RAM MOHUN ROY, BY DR. JOSEPH
(To the Editor of the Boston Observer.)
February 20, 1835. MY DEAR SIR, You ask me to give you my reminiscences of Rajah Ram Mohun Roy. They are few, for I had only three interviews with him. But such as they are, I give them to you with pleasure.
Among the brightest of the anticipations with which I looked to Europe, when I was advised by my physician, in June, 1833, to leave my country for a year, was the hope of seeing that great and good man, with whom I had interchanged a few letters while he was in India, and from whom I had received a note, full of kindness, after his arrival in England. I had, I believe, known more of him than was known to any one here, for I knew that he was a belierer in Christianity long before he embarked for Europe ; and I knew also the reasons by which he justified himself, in refusing to make an open declaration of his faith. In thinking of him, therefore, and in looking to the pleasure of seeing him, you will easily conceive that I had other and happier associations with him than I could have had if I had thought only of the gratification of being introduced to a learned Oriental, or to any distinguished stranger. My name was known to him; and much more than his name, or his fame, was as well known to myself.
Nineteen months have now passed since I saw him for the last time; and I then parted from him with the feeling, that after the interval of a few months of absence from England, I should again be with him, and with much more ample opportunities than I had yet had for the freest communication upon topics to each of us of the highest interest. So, however, it was not to be. I left London for the Continent on the 21st of August, and he died on the 27th of the following month. My notes of the conversations I had with him are brief, because in my first visit to London I had very little leisure for my pen, and because I then thought that I should see him again in the following spring. I can, however, give you the subjects of these conversations, and some of the sentiments
which he most strongly expressed in them. A word or two, in the first place, of his personal appearance, and of first impressions at meeting him.
The Rajah was over six feet in height, and his whole frame was proportionally large. I have seen nobles with whom it was not easy to associate an idea of nobility. But from Ram Mohun Roy you could not dissociate the idea. I think it would have been impossible that any one, of common sensibility and discrimination, should any where have seen him for the first time, and without having before even heard a word of him, and not have been strongly impressed with the indications of an extraordinary mind and character. An engraving of him which I have recently received from London represents his face as short and full. It, however, was not so. The engraving which was made here in 1828, and which is in the Boston edition of his works printed in that year, is a much more correct representation, both of the outling and of the expression of his countenance. I have never seen in any face a more striking and impressive union of exalted intellect and of glowing benevolence His eye was very bright, and his smile was eminently beautiful. His complexion was darker, rather than lighter, than that of our aborigines. When I first saw him he was sitting at his writing table, and was engaged with his pen. But no sooner was my name announced, than he arose, and approached me so rapidly as to meet me not far from the door at which I had entered, and folded me in his arms. I cannot express to you the feelings with which, for the first time, I saw him standing before me, anıl heard his voice, and felt the pressure of his hand, and received the warm and living expression of his countenance, and of the whole man. He was in full Oriental costume, or rather, I may say, in the full costume of his order. I had before a tolerably distinct idea of him in my mind. But, paradoxical as the expression may seem, he was at once a more imposing, and a more attractive being, than I had even imagined. I can form no idea of a more perfect union of gentleness with dignity-of kindness with respect-of the suaviter with the fortiter, or, in one word, no conception of a more perfect Christian urbanity, than I saw and felt in the deportment and manners of Ram Mohun Roy. I need not speak of his great attainments in Oriental learning. He spoke our own language also with great accuracy, and had made himself familiar with the circle of its literature. Even if you had nerer heard of him, you could not accidentally have fallen into his company without feeling that you were with a very extraordinary mind. And yet you would almost at once have been as much at ease with him as you could have been after an acquaintance of years. So, at least, I felt. Had I gone to Europe exclusively for the gratification of seeing him, and of communicating with him, I now feel that I should have been completely compensated, even by the few interviews which it was my happiness to have had with him.
The first time I saw him was on the 13th of August, 1833. He was then living in 48, Bedford square. My strong desire at that time was, to learn what were his impressions of Christians in Christendom. He had seen Christians in India, Christian missionaries and merchants, Christian soldiers and sailors. Even amidst the deep darkness of an idolatry as debasing as is to be found upon the earth, he had been brought to the light, and liberty, and happiness of a belief in Chris