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Fiscal Economy of the Christian Church.
surrendering each advantage that it has won! When Christian men, staggered and dismayed as they look at the map of the world, shall come in seriousness to ask themselves how, and why it is, and has been so, the answer will peal as a thunder, shaking their souls :—it is so because conscience, hitherto in league with an overweening selfishness, has failed to urge upon us our duty toward our fellows—a duty which SECTS never do understand, and can never discharge.
The admirable sagacity and statesman-like ability which Dr. Chalmers displayed, first in devising the plan of his “Sustentation” Scheme, and then in giving effect to it-successful as this management was, operated very naturally to veil a little from his view the inherent difficulties that attach to the Fiscal Economy of a religious body. These difficulties—unless at moments of excitement, such as that of the Disruption, or when energies and intelligence quite extraordinary are (as then) brought to bear upon the case-press as a dead-weight upon all non-established Churches; and if they do not so press upon Established Churches, it is only because exemption from that pressure has been purchased at a cost which itself brings with it its full equivalent of perplexities. Now this fiscal difficulty is one of the problems which, although in fact it was dealt with by Dr. Chalmers, stands over to a tiine future, to receive full and satisfactory solution.
But then the resolving of this fiscal problem must bring with it, by necessary implication, the resolution of others; such as, the true ground of the relationship between the clergy and the people---so strangely misunderstood on all sides, (we cannot except our nearest friends,) and the principle and practice of the division of ministerial labour within each Church-circuit, and the Church at large.
Now, in a closing word, we incline to express the belief, that the function of CHALMERS, considered as an Ecclesiastical Person, was just this—To bring into a position the most conspicuous imaginable those great and perplexing questions which attach to the planting of Christianity, as a PALPABLE and VISIBLE INSTITUTION, among the things of this world; harmlessly toward itself, and beneficially as toward those things. What this great man has said, written, and done, thereto relating, will never be forgotten, will never come to be disregarded, -on the contrary, the fruit of his labours on this field is yet to spring up and to gladden Scotland-perhaps England also, and the world.
We find that, throughout this article, we have been serving Dr. Hanna, very much as he has served himself in the course of
his labours, in compiling these Memoirs. He, occupied with his great subject, has kept himself out of view; and we, warmed at the same fire, have been almost forgetting him--as he himself. But he will have his revenge of us. All the world has read, or will presently be reading, what he has written ; and thousands of readers will be grateful to him for what he has done, so well, for their edification and pleasure; or even if they forget to render this deserved tribute, it will be because, with them, as with us, a Memoir of Chalmers, if worthily compiled, must in the nature of the case, quite fill the reader's thoughts and heartcriticism forgotten.
NORTH BRITISH REVIEW.
Art. I.-Life of Lord Jeffrey : with a Selection from his Cor
respondence. By LORD COCKBURN, one of the Judges of the Court of Session in Scotland. 2 vols. Edinburgh, 1852.
It was in the winter of 1786–7 that the poet Burns, a new prospect having been suddenly opened up to him by the kind intervention of Blacklock, and a few other influential men in Edinburgh, abandoned his desperate project of emigrating to the West Indies, and hastened to pay his first and memorable visit to the Scottish metropolis. During that winter, as all who are acquainted with his life know, the Ayrshire ploughman, then in his twenty-ninth year, was the lion of Edinburgh society. Lord Monboddo, Dugald Stewart, Harry Erskine, Dr. Robertson, Dr. Hugh Blair, Henry Mackenzie, Dr. Gregory, Dr. Black, Dr. Adam Ferguson-such were the names then most conspicuous in the literary capital of North Britain ; and it was in the company of these men, alternated with that of the Creeches, the Smellies, the Willie Nicols, and other contemporary Edinburgh celebrities of a lower grade, that Burns first realized the fact that he was no mere bard of local note, but a new power and magnate in Scottish literature.
To those who are alive to the poetry of coincidences, two anecdotes connected with this residence of Burns in Edinburgh will always be specially interesting. What reader of Lockhart's Life of Scott is there who does not remember the account there given of Scott's first and only interview with Burns? As the story is now more minutely told in Mr. Robert Chambers's Life of Burns, Scott, who was then a lad of seventeen, just removed from the High School to a desk in his father's office, was invited by his friend and companion, the son of Dr. Ferguson, to accom
VOL, XVII. NO. XXXIV.
pany him to his father's house on an evening when Burns was to be there. The two youngsters entered the room, sat down unnoticed by their seniors, and looked on and listened in modest silence. Burns, when he came in, seemed a little out of his element, and, instead of mingling at once with the company, kept going about the room, looking at the pictures on the walls. One print particularly arrested his attention. It represented a soldier lying dead among the snow, his dog on one side, and a woman with a child in her arms on the other. Underneath the print were some lines of verse descriptive of the subject, which Burns read aloud with a voice faltering with emotion. A little while after, turning to the company and pointing to the print, he asked if any one could tell him who was the author of the lines. No one chanced to know, excepting Scott, who remembered that they were from an obscure poem of Langhorne’s. The information, whispered by Scott to some one near, was repeated to Burns, who, after asking a little more about the matter, rewarded his young informant with a look of kindly interest, and the words, (Sir Adam Ferguson reports them,) “You'll be a man yet, sir.” Such is the one story, the story of the "literary ordination,” as Mr. Chambers well calls it, of Scott by Burns a scene which we think Sir William Allan would have delighted to paint. The other story, we believe, is now told for the first time by Lord Cockburn. Somewhere about the very day on which the foregoing incident happened,“ a little black creature" of a boy, we are told, who was going up the High Street of Edinburgh, and staring diligently about him, was attracted by the appearance of a man whom he saw standing on the pavement. He was taking a good and leisurely view of the object of his curiosity, when some one standing at a shop-door tapped him on the shoulder, and said, “Ay, laddie, ye may weel look at that man! that's Róbert Burns.” The “ little black creature,” thus early addicted to criticism, was Francis Jeffrey, the junior of Scott by four years, and exactly four years behind him in the classes of the High School, where he was known as a clever nervous little fellow, who never lost a place without crying. It is mentioned as a curious fact by Lord Cockburn, that Jeffrey's first teacher at the High School, a Mr. Luke Fraser, had the singular good fortune of sending forth, from three successive classes of four years each, three pupils no less distinguished than Walter Scott, Francis Jeffrey, and Henry Brougham.
It is not for the mere purpose of anecdote that we cite these names and coincidences. We should like
We should like very much to make out for Scotland in general as suggestive a series of her intellectual representatives as Lord Cockburn has here made out for part of the pedagogic era of the worthy and long dead Mr.
A Century of Eminent Scotchmen.
Luke Fraser. Confining our regards to the eighteenth century, the preceding paragraphs enable us to group together at least three conspicuous Scottish names as belonging, by right of birth, to the third quarter of that century-Burns, born in Ayrshire in 1759; Scott, born in Edinburgh in 1769; and Jeffrey, born in the same place in 1773. Supposing we go a little farther back for some other prominent Scottish names of the same century, the readiest to occur to the memory will be those of James Thomson, the poet, born in Roxburghshire in 1700; Thomas Reid, the philosopher, born near Aberdeen in 1710; David Hume, born at Edinburgh in 1711; Robertson the historian, born in Mid-Lothian in 1721; Tobias Smollett, the novelist, born at Cardross in the same year; Adam Smith, born at Kirkaldy in 1723; Robert Fergusson, the Scottish poet, born at Edinburgh in 1750; and Dugald Stewart, born at Edinburgh in 1753. And if for a similar purpose, we come down to the last quarter of the century, five names at least will be sure to occur to us, in addition to that of BroughamThomas Campbell, born at Glasgow in 1777; Thomas Chalmers, born at Anstruther in Fifeshire in 1780; John Wilson, born, if we may trust our authorities, at Paisley in 1789; Thomas Carlyle, born at Ecclefechan in Dumfries-shire in 1795; and Sir William Hamilton, born at Edinburgh before the close of the century. In this list we omit the distinguished contemporary Scottish names in physical science; we ought not, however, to omit the names of Sir James Mackintosh, born near Inverness in 1765, and James Mill, born at Montrose in 1773. The short life of Burns, if we choose him as the central figure of the group, connects together all these names. The oldest of them was in the prime of life when Burns was born, and the youngest of them had seen the light before Burns died.
On glancing in order along this series of eminent Scotchmen born in the eighteenth century, it will be seen that they may be roughly distributed into two nearly equal classes-men of philosophic intellect, devoted to the work of general speculation, or thought as such ; and men of literary or poetic genius, whose works belong more properly to the category of pure literary or artistic effort. In the one class may be ranked Reid, Hume, Adam Smith, Dugald Stewart, Mackintosh, Mill, Chalmers, and Sir William Hamilton ; in the other, Thomson, Smollett, Robertson, Fergusson, Burns, Scott, Jeffrey, Campbell
, Wilson, Irving, and Carlyle. Do not let us be mistaken. "In using the phrases “philosophic intellect” and “literary genius,” to denote the distinction referred to, we do not imply anything
of accurate discrimination between the phrases themselves. For aught that we care, the phrases may be reversed, and the men of the one class