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His Catholic and Missionary Spirit.
walls are not thrown down, the artillery is dismounted, the works are neglected or going to decay, and there is a constant coming and going by the gates. There are, moreover, many pieces of neutral ground discovered, where men from all the various enclosures assemble; and if they do not construct a formal treaty of union, they at least contract attachment from the habits of peace, and feel strange longings for the entire demolition of their old scowling parapets. A good many in each enclosure grumble when their friends issue from their precincts, and meet old enemies on these newly discovered commons, and look with a jealous eye, from a distance, at these strange festivities ; but even these grumblers venture sometimes from curiosity, or other motives, to visit them themselves; and it is wonderful what tendencies to revolution even they experience. When they get out from their old walls, and narrow streets, and old-fashioned dark lanes and tenements, to the open green commons, they feel they breathe a freer air, their very hearts warm and expand, and something within them says, . It is good for us to be here ! Yet we must not be too rude to the enclosures,-after all they are venerable hallowed abodes. In some of them piety has flourished for ages, salvation has been in their gates. Prayer, and praise, and holiness have hallowed many of their dwellings, and the King of Glory has long blessed them with his presence. And if we, their sons, feel and enjoy liberty to step without, we must not be harsh to those who remain behind. We must not attempt furiously to bring down their walls and their houses upon their heads. And, after all, if the revolution be prudently conducted, perhaps these ancient cities may be permitted to remain.”—P. 160.
Among the matters which must engage the attention of the pastor are two subjects of much difficulty and eminent importance,—the visitation of the sick and the admission of applicants to the communion of the Church. The second of these is one of the best subjects we know for the next prize essays; to be called for in such a way as should summon to the task the profoundest intellect and most fervent piety which the Church possesses. There are in this biography many helpful hints on both these subjects, by one who proves himself to have felt at once their interest and their special difficulty.
Another cognate topic, of a practical kind, lay so near Dr. Heugh's heart, as disclosed in this "Life,” that we cannot avoid noting it. We refer to the revival of religious energy and of missionary enterprise in the Christian Church. Few men ever did more than Dr. Heugh to evoke, foster, and wisely work, the elastic principle of Christian beneficence. So high, indeed, was the standard he looked to, that some of his plans and hopes have appeared to the minds of many like dreams; but we are persuaded the dreams of the present generation—as has happened so often in the march of modern science—will be outrun by the ordinary realities of the Church of the future.
Our materials for lessons are not yet nearly exhausted. We have attempted no sketch of the narrative contained in this biography. We have thought it better to narrow our remarks to a single definite purpose, and we have kept by our design. Otherwise, following the track of the biographer, it would have been delightful to accompany Dr. Heugh through the successive stages of his life. It would have been a profitable task to go with him into the noiseless walks of pastoral duty—to commune with him through the medium of his intimate and domestic correspondence—to ramble with him on his many journeys-now in pursuit of labour, now in quest of health-to the Highlands, to Ireland, to England and her metropolis, and to the Continent, listening to his comments on men and things—to note the public social labours which his sympathy with all benevolent movements led him to undertake, and, above all, ever and anon, to retire with him into the calm of his own closet, and hear his wrestlings with himself and with his God. But we can only thus give some imperfect indication of the kind of walk prepared for the reader of this book. When he has gone through it we are mistaken if he will not be disposed to say, this is true living. He will find such instruction and pleasure at every turn that it will seem as if the man of God, whose steps he is tracing, had realized the old fable, and blossoms and fruit had sprung up with his advancing footsteps.
It would be ungrateful to dismiss these volumes without adverting to the manner in which the biographer and editor has accomplished his task. We do not know a biography better written. There is a unity of aim and purpose in the construction of the work, announced, kept in view, and attained. The reflections and observations which incidentally arise are neither tedious nor trifling, and sometimes touch on a vein of deep and beautiful thought: and opinions relating both to persons and subjects are penned with a sobriety of diction and a judicial calmness that bespeak the lover of truth. Mr. Macgill was perhaps cumbered by the very riches of the materials placed within his reach ; but he has used them with much skill; constructing a work which holds no mean place among the classics of religious biography.
The Agricultural Crisis.
ART. IV.-1. The Present Prices. By the Rev. A, HUXTABLE.
London : 1849. 2. Mr. Huxtable and his Pigs. By Porcius. Edinburgh : 1850. 3. High Farming the best Substitute for Protection. By J. CAIRD
of Baldoon. Edinburgh: 1849. 4. Caird: High Farming Harrowed. Edinburgh : 1850. 5. An Appeal to the Common Sense of the Country. By Profes
sor Low. Edinburgh : 1850. 6. Analysis of Evidence before Health of Towns' Commission.
London : 1847. 7. Flax versus Cotton. No. 1. By Mr. WARNES of Trimming
ham. London: 1849. 8. Silk Culture. By Mrs. WHITBY of Lymington. London:
1849. 9. A Word to Farmers on Maize, 8c. By J. KEENE. London:
“ There is a certain immorality,” said Mr. Carlyle of the Corn-Laws seven years ago," a certain immorality, where there is not a necessity, in speaking about things finished; in chopping into small pieces the already slashed and slain. When the brains are out, why does not a solecism die ?" But, alas ! the Corn-Law solecism does not die. Even though buried, and got safely out of sight, as we hope, for ever, it still keeps muttering out of its grave, in querulous confused ejaculations, Cassandra-prophecies of vengance and ruin, and entreaties to be allowed to rise again, if but for a few weeks, to set forth certain important arguments which it unfortunately forgot to nrge during its lifetime. The press teems still with protectionist pamphlets, demonstrations that Mr. Caird is mad, Mr. Huxtable is mad, Liebig is mad, political economists are mad, all England mad; exhortations to idleness and despair, sermons on the patriotic duty of proving that free-trade cannot work, by refusing to work it, and doing nothing out of a conscientious spite. To the majority of these productions, Mr. Carlyle's rule will well apply. It would be foreign to the purpose, and indeed to the dignity of this Review, to meddle with them. But when a man like Professor Low of Edinburgh, of known intellect, learning, and character, as well as high official station, comes forward as the champion of this gospel of agricultural despair, and in a pamphlet of more than a hundred closely printed pages, propounds at length a proof of the insanity of three-fourths of Her Majesty's subjects
, he requires a patient and respectful hearing, and, if possible, a careful and earnest re
futation. His pamphlet, going forth with professorial authority from Edinburgh, the capital city of that part of Great Britain which has been always foremost in agriculture, will be taken by hundreds of farmers and landholders as a scientific justification of their own terror, wilful laziness, and idle threats (for the thing has reached that pass) of rebellion. In short, it is calculated to do infinite harm, whereof if we can counteract a part, we shall consider this Journal as not having existed in vain for the cause of justice and civilisation.
But we do not wish merely to answer Professor Low's negative by a counter negative, merely to reaffirm that free-trade is not wrong, in answer to his assertion that it is not right. There is distress among the farmers; there is a perplexity as to the future methods of British farming; and we are bound, if we take upon ourselves to reform those who wish to write “ impossible” on all future agriculture, to shew the grounds of our hope, and some, at least, of the methods in which that hope may be realized.
Most of the pamphlets on both sides of this controversy are, as we have before said, of a kind with which neither this Review, or its readers, or free-trade, have much to do, being merely special pleadings pro and con, with this advantage on the side of the free-trade pamphlets, that they aim at a positive, their opponents at a merely negative result. It is something to prove that pigs can be fatted, or corn grown, under free-trade, though only in one particular case, as Mr. Huxtable and Mr. Caird profess to do: while it is nothing to refute their particular assertions, or to prove that in any one individual case, despair and impotence are the only outlook. You may prove a law by proving one example; you cannot disprove it by disproving one. Mr. Caird of Baldoon may have (in our opinion he has) quoted an exceptional case; every farm has not, like the one he instances, an unlimited command of sea-weed; potato culture on a large scale is not a desirable thing, even if the potatoes are sound, (which indeed they pertinaciously refuse to be.) Mr. Caird's statistics may be, as his opponents say, utterly ideal, and their own also ; but what of that? Ginger shall be hot in the mouth still. There are other hopeful farmers besides Mr. Caird, other crops besides potatoes, other manures besides sea-weed. Or “ thinkest thou” that because Mr. Huxtable's pig-bill shews a deficit, “ there shall be no more cakes and ale ?" · Britain is not come to that pass, surely, that her only salvation is to be fat bacon, much less her destruction the want thereof; or rather not want thereof, pigs being as greedy and fattable under Free-trade, strange to say, as they were under Protection, but want of " Farmers' profits" thereon.
“ But the facts——the facts !” cry the Protectionists; “ look at
The Romance of Statistics.
our ledgers, our statistical proofs of loss and ruin.” one man's figures are as good as another's, or indeed better, in this case ; seeing that from certain causes which will be hereafter noticed, farmers have been in the perennial habit of parading their losses rather than their gains. But really, without undervaluing statistics, we care very little for these half-page-of-figure arguments. “There is no romance," it has been well said, like the romance of statistics”—the art of “combler les numeros,” of “cooking returns," by which the most utterly contradictory propositions can be proved with equal certainty, and Bianchi and Neri can go on refuting each other unrefuted to all eternity, by a simple process, namely that the Bianchi shall use all the facts which look white, and the Neri all those which look black. The truth is, in statistics, as in every other physical science, a little learning is a dangerous thing. An enormous number of facts must be collated before anything like a safe general law can be deduced from them. The man of genius may, indeed, hit off instinctively a world-wide law from a single phenomenon ; but he will keep it to himself for years, rack and torture it by every possible mode of verification, before he gives it to the world. With quacks and sciolists, who, from half a dozen phenomena jump at a conclusion, or rather tack on to them the conclusion which they had already determined to find—with them theories are as plentiful as blackberries, and each man's small ledger of facts proves—all he wanted to prove, at least. In proportion to a man's real inductive genius, whether in chemistry, anatomy, or any other inductive science, will be his cautious and reverent abstinence from hasty generalization; and statistics, the science of deducing Social and commercial laws from numerical returns, is as deep and broad a science as any other, requiring, like them, continual self-distrust, continual watchfulness lest effects be attributed to wrong causes, continual suspicion of unperceived influences at work; the energies of a whole mind, and the labour of a whole life. Some such statisticians we have; and it is at least note-worthy that they-our Seniors, Porters, Mills, Chadwicks, and Peels--have one and all decided for Free-trade. Under the wing of their authority, no man need be driven to his wit's end by an anonymous half-page of figures, by Porcius, or Cato the Censor, or any other antique Roman. We do not doubt these latter gentlemen's honesty—or that of their opponents either; but it would require far more knowledge of their facts than they have given, or indeed can give, to the public, before we can tell whether they have not omitted some particulars, not perhaps of expense, but of causes of expense, which make their poundsshillings-and-pence-experience just as partial and exceptional as they would prove their adversaries' to be.