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dock under the frown of some heartless judge—the imbruted slave, writhing under the lash of a task-master in the islands of the West—the yeoman at his plow, deprived of the electoral rights which the very sods he tilled could enjoy—the educated Dissenter and Catholic, shut out from stations of honor and trust for refusing a test which stained their consciences, were all advanced to a higher civilization and a broader field of civil and religious freedom, by his aid. He was the zealous co-worker of Wilberforce and Clarkson, of Brougham and Buxton, of Sturge and Lushington, in the work of negro emancipation. His last, greatest, speech in Parliament was on the Reform Bill. Bulwer says of it: “ I shall never forget the extensive range of ideas, the energetic grasp of thought, the sublime and soaring strain of legislative philosophy, with which he charmed and transported me.” Before such services as he rendered to the cause of man, how all the acquisitions and displays of the scholar and the metaphysician grow pale !
I have spoken of his intimacy with ROBERT Hall. There was a striking similarity in the structure of their minds and in their literary tastes. The politician was a classical, philosophical lawyer and Parliamentarian. The divine was a classical, philosophical theologian and preacher. Each was fond of abstract speculation-cach was a profound and original reasoner and thinker-each reveled in the literature of the ancients-each was a writer of whom any nation or age might be proud. Hall much excelled his friend in the high walks of oratory, and the power of riveting, of transfixing an auditory, and holding them spell-bound while he played with their passions and emotions with masterly skill. The first pulpit orator of his day, in the zenith of his fame he could attract a greater crowd of rare men than any other preacher in the metropolis or the country. The same cannot be affirmed of Mackintosh in the theater where he displayed his forensic powers.
The speech which so transported Bulwer in the House of Commons, because of defects in the delivery transported half the members out of it. Each shone no less in the social circle than in the forum. While Mackintosh was the more ornate and classical talker, Hall surpassed him in keen sarcasm and solid argument. The conversational talents of Hall were more appreciable by ordinary capacities, his style being racy, off-hand, bold. Mackintosh was fitted to be the companion of polite scholars and learned critics, and his conversation was more showy, dazzling, and prepared. The wit of Hall, when in full play, approached to drollery, and his sarcasm cut to the bone. The wit of Mackintosh was Attic, and his sarcasm refined and delicate. Hall crushed a pedantic fool with a single blow of his truncheon. Mackintosh tossed him on the end of his lance. Hall made no effort to shine in society, and all his good things seemed to bubble up naturally from a full fountain, whilst his strength was reserved for public exhibitions, where he shone in splendor. Mackintosh elaborated his social effusions, (and it was his weakness,) and his best things gushed like jet d'eaus from prepared reservoirs; and if he failed to win applause at St. Stephen's, he was sure to be the center of attraction at Holland House. Hall put down upstartism like a judge at nisi prius rebuking a shallow barrister for contempt of court. Mackintosh pricked the gas-bag with the delicate instrument of his irony. Hall was loved by his friends. Mackintosh was admired by his associates.
Each was a philanthropist and reformer, and each in his sphere was in advance of his times in catholicity of spirit, boldness of speculation, and freedom from the cant of party and sect.
The works of Mackintosh are numerous—though some of his best writings hardly deserve to be called works, in the incomplete state in which he left them. Besides those already mentioned, there may be noted many rich contributions to the Edinburgh Review and other periodicals--some Parliamentary and anniversary speeches a beautiful life of Sir Thomas More -an acute and eloquent dissertation in the Encyclopedia Bri
tannica on the General View of the Progress of Ethical Philosophy—and a Fragment of English History concerning the Revolution of 1688.
During his lifetime, Sir James was abused by the Tories ; nor did the tirade cease at his death. Somewhat covetous of fame, and utterly reckless of gold, he left little to his children, except a brilliant reputation and principles that can never die.
Religious Toleration-Eminent Nonconformists--The Puritang-Oli
ver Cromwell—The Pilgrims—The Corporation and Test ActsTheir Origin-Their Effects upon Dissenters and others—Their virtual Abandonment and final Repeal-The first Triumph of the Reformers.
For centuries it was a settled maxim in England, that the only sure way to convert a heretic was to put him to death. All dominant sects have been persecutors in their turn. The Papists burnt the Episcopalians, the Episcopalians decapitated the Puritans, and the Puritans hung the Quakers. With the advancing light of civilization, the dungeon and the pillory were substituted for the scaffold and the stake. Then, as each sect had the power, it imprisoned, scourged, and cropped the others. At length, bigotry was satisfied with imposing pecuniary fines and civil disabilities on schismatics. Though it is long since the nostrils of a dominant sect in England have been regaled with the incense of a roasting heretic, it is only twenty years since the Established Church of that country erased from the statute book the grosser penalties against the exercise of the rights of conscience, leaving a sufficient number unrepealed to operate as a terror to evil doers, and a praise and a profit to them that do not "dissent."
The struggle between Right and Prerogative, which has agitated the kingdom for the past half century, has not been confined to civil institutions. The miter of the archbishop has not been deemed more sacred from scrutiny than the crown of
the monarch. The Church as well as the State has been shaken by the earthquake tread of Reform.
Prominent among the divines of our time, who have materially contributed to these results, stand Robert Hall, John Angell James, Ralph Wardlaw, Thomas Chalmers, and Baptist W. Noel. But the tree of Toleration, whose fruits the people of England are now gathering, was planted long ago by hallowed hands. Distinguished among those who, in the expressive phrase of Burke, early preached and practiced “the dissidence of Dissent, and the protestantism of the Protestant religion,” are Baxter, Owen, Calamy, Howe, Flavel, Henry, Bunyan, Bates, Doddridge, Law, Watts, and Fuller ; names illustrious in the annals of Nonconformity, whose writings exerted a wide influence among their cotemporaries, and in our day are the text books of the profoundest theologians, and the solace and guide of the most humble and devout of the unlearned classes.
In tracing the origin of recent reforms in the ecclesiastical institutions of England, due credit should be given to the Puritans of the times of Cromwell. In the convulsions of 16429, the English Church establishment, the power which had held the national conscience in awe for more than a century, was overthrown, and Puritanism became the prevailing religion of the Commonwealth. The professors of the new faith were distinguished for a strange mixture of austere piety and wild fanaticism—the natural product of the times in which they lived. No wonder they were guilty of excesses. The tightest band breaks with the wildest power. Their extravagances were the spontaneous out-gush of the soul, when freedom of opinion, suddenly let loose from the thraldom of ages, found itself in a large place. Our Puritan fathers of the seventeenth century, by the recoil of the revolutionary wave, found themselves standing on the terra firma of the rights of conscience, high above the reach of the returning surge. They must have been more than mortal, had they not roamed far and wide over the fair country which spread its tempting landscape around them