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The Protestant Clergy.
von Commission have agreed in stating that in the county of Tipperary the perpetrators of the outrages are not persons of the lowest classes, or who would seem to be goaded to crime by tual destitution.
Never was there a time in Ireland in which there was more kindliness of feeling among all classes. Were we to state what body of men, both collectively and individually, is most popular, and deservedly so—for in the late calamities their exertions weré untiring—we should say the Protestant clergy; and our opportunities of observation and inquiry were chiefly in the south of Ireland, where the population is almost wholly Roman Catholic. Could we divest our minds of the uneasy apprehensions which this new poor-law creates, we should have no fear for Ireland. "
It is a cruel wrong to describe the peasantry as sympathizing with crime in the way police magistrates and Crown-solicitors, and other functionaries employed in the execution of the criminal law
-whose peculiar position is likely to suggest to then that the detection of crime is the one great business of civilized society-will tell you that they do. The truth is, that the peasantry are intimidated, are overpowered by their reasonable fears of violent revenge, from which all the machinery of Government has as yet in Ireland afforded them no adequate protection. Even were this not the case, there are feelings that ought to be remembered, which may render the giving up a father, or an uncle, or a brother, to criminal justice, a duty of very doubtful obligation. Into such considerations we have not now time to enter, but we think it important to state, that our full conviction is that there is little sympathy in the great body of the peasantry of Ireland-certainly none such as to justify a statement too often made-that their sympathy is such as to make them virtually participators in the guilt of every crime committed in any particular district. At no time do we think this could be said with entire truth, or in such a sense as to support the inferences sought to be deduced from it, and at present it is not in any sense true. The delusive expectations, which it is probable that for generation after ration the peasantry had indulged, of social changes which would essentially vary their position, by giving them the estates of the gentry, have, as far as we can judge, altogether passed away. It is strange how they have clung to these expectations. In 1824, there was among them a strong expectation of some great and important change to be accomplished for them, and through their instrumentality. More lately, the Repeal frenzy had in the same way seized on their imaginations. It would be rash to say that future madmen may not again rouse them to similar madness; but at present there seems no hope or wish other than that of living at peace with all men.
Actual outrage was at all times the work of a smaller number
geneof persons than would at first be believed, and their reliance for impunity was not on the sympathy, but on the fears and the apathy, of the general mass of the people. Of late years we do not believe that the insurgents are united by the bonds of an oath; and the disturbances seem unconnected with religion. In 1798, and much later, religion was an influencing motive, and its natural power of absorbing all other considerations within itself, soon made it almost the sole one. Wherever rent was oppressively high, and the peasant sought to relieve himself of any part of the burden, religion was evoked into the contest-for till of late years the part of the rent which goes to the support of the clergyman was a debt due to the clergyman from the peasant himself—and at every moment the difference of religion between the payer and the receiver of this portion of the produce of the soil was vexatiously suggested. The clergyman's claim being in thought connected with the performance of a spiritual duty, religion could scarcely avoid giving its own character to a strife with which, in as far as it was a mere scramble for property, it was wholly unconnected. This cause of a hostility peculiarly difficult of adjustment is wholly at an end.
When Spenser, more than two centuries ago, wrote his View of the State of Ireland, he spoke of evils that were then “most auncient and long grown.” “ They are,” said he, "of three roots, -the laws, the customs, and the religion.” Good laws, he says, were enacted, -good in the abstract, but unfitted for the people, and impossible to be executed. With the customs of the country an offensive and a foolish war was waged, which but tended to perpetuate whatever was peculiar in them. “For religion," says he," there is but one way therein for that,—which is true only is, and the rest is not at all; yet in planting of religion, thus much is needful to be observed, that it be not sought forcibly to be impressed into them with terror and sharp penalties, as is now the manner, but rather delivered and intimated with mildness and gentleness, so as it may not be hated before it be understood.”
The main evils of introducing into one country the laws of another, in a different state of civilization, have been very forcibly pressed by Lord Rosse, in his recently published Letters on the State of Ireland.
We conclude in his emphatic words, referring to difficulties which we trust will no longer impede the prosperity of the empire :- .“ That the British Legislature, elsewhere all powerful, should in the government of Ireland have exhibited so much weakness, is easily accounted for. Ireland has long been the battle-field of parties in the Legislature,--the stepping-stone of one party, the stumbling-block of another; and in the conflict of antagonizing forces, the power of effective action was lost.”
Life and Correspondence of David Hume.
Art. X.-Life and Correspondence of David Hume. From the
Papers bequeathed by his Nephew to the Koyul Society of Edinburgh; and other Original Sources. By John Hill BURTON, Esq., Advocate. 2 Vols. 8vo. Edinburgh, 1846.
We have been rather remiss in not sooner taking notice of these volumes ; and even now we are afraid our consideration of them must be more cursory than we could wish. Indeed, the topics which the life of such a man as Hume introduces, would almost embrace a history of the literature and philosophy of the last century. We have not space enough to enter in detail at present into what might prove a very interesting and not a useless field of inquiry, in regard to the influences which formed and the results which followed the tendency and efforts of Hume's great and masterly intellect. We must content ourselves with performing, in the meantime, our more appropriate office of critics on the work before us—throwing in by the way such general reflections as the task may suggest.
Mr. Burton has performed the literary part of his duty very creditably and well-with enough of enthusiasm for his subject to interest, and not too much to mislead his readers. The metaphysical controversies which are associated with so much of Huine's writings, seem to be familiar to him; and he expresses himself on the subject of them with clearness, accuracy, and conciseness. The best praise we can give him is, that out of a life singularly uneventful in incident, considering the space his hero fills in literary history, and the interest of which consists entirely in developing the workings and peculiarities of a remarkable and powerful mind, he has contrived to make the perusal of two well-grown volumes a light and agreeable employment.
Faults, unquestionably, we have to find; but not with the ability of the biographer. Nor indeed with his tone and cast of sentiment; in these he has been evidently anxious to be appropriate and decorous—and he has succeeded. But we desiderate à certain boldness which certainly Hume himself would not have spared. We see and make all allowance for the delicacy and difficulty of the position. To write Hume's life in these days, and neither offend by laxity or condemn with zeal, was, we admit, an undertaking of no small embarrassment. Mr. Burton has steered his course between the opposing dangers by trimming his sails a little too near the wind, and endeavouring to preserve for his author a juste milieu tone which he himself would have scorned. This is, we think, the great defect of the book; but it was one almost unavoidable, considering the manifest admiration with which the biographer regards his subject, and we are glad, in this view, that there is not a word in these volumes which can offend the most scrupulous, though we think the result sometimes attained by some sacrifice of strict historic or philosophic accuracy. We shall have occasion, in the course of our remarks, to allude more particularly to instances in which this occurs.
The chief interest of the work consists, of course, in the picture which it gives of the progress, growth, and development of Hume's mind : and for this Mr. Burton has had very great, and hitherto unenjoyed advantages. Hume's correspondence and papers were collected by the late Baron Hume, his nephew, from the documents discovered in his own repositories, and from originals which he was enabled to procure out of the hands of his correspondents, or members of their families. Mr. Burton tells us that they were collected with the view of writing a Life of the Philosopher. We do not greatly regret that this intention remained unfulfilled ; for Baron Hume, though a profound and accomplished lawyer, and a man of great ability, had not the enlarged views which such a task required. This mass of documents, however, remained by him unused; and at his death were bequeathed to the Council of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. From them Mr. Burton has had unreserved access to this interesting mine of information, consisting of many original letters of Hume to his friends-Mure of Caldwell, Sir. Gilbert Elliot, Colonel Edmondstoune, Adam Smith, and others; and he has made a selection from these materials with equal judgment and good taste. He has also had access to other sources of information, from parties who had papers relating to Hume in their possession.
It is probable, that writing from such authentic documents, Mr. Burton has been enabled to present us with a very complete picture of the Philosopher; and it is impossible to deny that the picture is interesting and remarkable. "Hume certainly appears to have been not only an able, but to a great extent, a candid and amiable man. If he reached no great pitch of
generosity, and had a fair and pretty uniform regard to his own interest, he was not selfish nor jealous. He rejoiced in the good fortune of his friends, and exerted himself to promote it when he could. If his pride of independence was not very sensitive, le was not servile, or fawning, or parasitical. His affections and temper were sunny and cheerful, and his mind, if not well, was at least equally, balanced, and perhaps as well calculated to defy fortune, in her smiles and in her frowns, as that of most men.
What we miss is some generous glow of warmth-some stirring of the nobler and more ethereal part of man's intellectual nature. As chemists use in their experiments, so all the movements of Hume's mind seem to have worked through, a re
Analysis of Hume's Charactèr.
541 frigerating medium. There was a point beyond which his moral and intellectual temperature was never allowed to rise. The glow of patriotism--the sympathy for suffering--the pride of raising the oppressed, or striking down the tyrant--the consciousness of the great or grand in creation,- or even the sense—which the commonplace sceptic generally retains—the keen sense of the ridiculous, seem to have been frozen within him. There was a want in his mental constitution; and no man, whatever the nature or intensity of his religious views, can, we think, lay down these volumes without being painfully impressed with the truth of the observation. His scepticism, moral as well as religious, was not the effect of his philosophy :-his philosophy took its bent from the sceptical conformation of his mind. He did not believe because he did not perceive ; his moral perceptions were unimpressible; and he doubted of those virtues which all men think sacred, because there burned within him so little of that fire, which, even to the untutored savage, becomes “ a law unto himself.” Of romance, or chivalry, or enthusiasm in literature, politics, or even love, he had not a spark.
No doubt, to borrow the analogy of the chemist, this cold, unimpassioned temperament was favourable to the evolution of truth; and Hume, by his clear, inductive logic, has undoubtedly evolved much more truth than he dreamed of at the time. His real defect was the bluntness of his moral perceptions, which led him to rest in results which truly were obtained in a half-completed process.
It is now more than one hundred years since David Hume began to write. Nerer, perhaps, did any country experience a more thorough revolution than Scotland has done during the century that has since elapsed, socially, politically, and morally. We come to review the writings of that most powerful thinker from an atmosphere which he never breathed-an atmosphere, : as we think, both more wholesome and more serene. Had Hume lived in our day, we venture to think that his most acute and penetrating mind would not have strayed so widely in search of firm resting ground, and returned, like the dove from a world of waters, finding none. He was cast on an ill-omened age for an intellect and temperament like his; and, in the melancholy impression which the retrospect of his brilliant, yet, to a great extent, profitless career, has called up within us, we are involuntarily tempted to glance at the state of Scotland during the period in which he flourished, and the tone of society and of morals by which his impressions were moulded and swayed.
The Union with England was from the first productive of great and signal advantages. It gave rest and space from a long-continued and ruinous ferment of politics and cabal. It removed to