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PASSING THOUGHTS ON MEN AND THINGS.
whole of the Wesleyan body; that in- without knowing the importance of the dependent of you, there is a numerous thing to be done, and how to do it. It ardent, generous, and conscientious is not to be expected that the governparty in your own community, who are as ment should do a thing that the people determined to have reform, as you are did not desire. The government is to resist it. And that party is daily moved by the people; if the latter be growing. Independent of this de- inert, how can the former be active ? mocratic portion, there is a mass of men Hitherto the people, as a people, have of otlier denominations who sympathise not valued education; and, consequentwith the agitators. And outside all ly have not striven for its attainment. denominations of Christians, there They are now opening their eyes to the is a still greater heart beating in opportunities at their command, the unison with them. The major portion advantages that may be realized, and of the people of England who think and the glory that may be gathered. The feel at all on those matters, think and first and most difficult part of the work feel favourably of the reforming party. is done ; public opinion is created in And should the aristocratic section favour of general education. Who by the power lodged in their hands, created that opinion? not the governand the influence at their command, ment, not the church, not any one class succeed to crush and expel the agitators, or denomination in particular. Of public opinion, the mightiest thing in course, in this, as in all similar matters, this England of ours, will pass its verdict a few ardent man prepared the way. of condemnation on the oppressors, and After a time others get indoctrinated thereby take from them an incalculable with the idea, and now it is almost portion of their strength and influence. grown into a national conviction, that
It would be as difficult to establish the universal people should be educated. peace within the borders of Wesleyan- The reception given to Mr. Fox's plan, ism, without material modifications of within and without the House of its administration, as it is for the Commons, is an evidence of this growth. French to re-establish the Pope, and in- If a thing be talked about out of the vest him with all the ecclesiastical and House of Commons, it is reasonable to political authority that he wielded fifty expect that it will be talked about in years since.
The past cannot be re- that House. But the question is, now, vived because it is the past.
that the work has proceeded so far, Education. After so much has been who shall take the chief part in the said, sung, and done, in favour of edu- great work in future; shall it be done cation, we think it is quite likely that through the government, or directly by the good work will now go on apace. the people. We must say we are very The nation is now to a great extent con- suspicious of governments in such a vinced of the necessity of education. work? We would rather decrease This is an important step gained. A than increase their power. We are inknowledge of the disease is half the tensely jealous of that system of centra
Conviction must proceed execu- lization which has been making a slow tion. The will must be quickened before progress for some time past. It should the way can be found.
The country is by no means whatever he fostered and only just awakening to a conception of increased. If a people does not will to the thing to be done. If a thing is not be educated, a represntative governappreciated and desired, it cannot be ment cannot have the power to interfere expected that it would be struggled for in the matter. "If a people does will it, and realised. It is quite easy for a few then the work may be done without to upbraid the state for not educating, governmental interference.
We are but how could it be expected that a profoundly convinced that the less any government, churches, or the people government has to do with education could do a thing which was not estimat- the better. Of all the plans which ed or measured by them? No one have been submitted to the consideracould give that which he did not tion of the parliament or the people in possess. No people could educate itself which government was to take any part,
we think that of Mr. Fox is by far the , duced, and the nation must be saved best. Whatever may be its fate, the several millions more, before the agitadiscussion it has excited and will excite, tion for financial reform should demust do incalculable good. But what- crease in intensity and power. It must ever may be done in future in this great continue to increase, till an unwilling work of national education, we sincerely ministry be morally compelled to do hope that government will have little that justice which the interests of inor no control.
dustry and commerce, and the exigenRetrenchment.-A little more than ces of the times demand. The work is two years since the memorable letter of in the hands of the people, and it will the Duke of Wellington respecting our be done just as they will it. But we national defences was published. As candidly confess that we do not expect our readers must remember, it created any very material alteration for the at the time considerable excitement. It better, till the House of Commons rewas thought by thousands that we present more faithfully the opinions should be invaded by the French in a and wishes of the masses of the people. very short time.
In the month of This also, it may very soon be made to January, 1848, we went to pay our sub- do, if the people areenlightened enough, scription to the Whittington Club, when united enough, and determined enough we met a half-pay officer, who came to to do their own work. do the same; but he would only pay for half-a-year, because it was quite likely, he said, that before the year Lord Palmerston in 1849 said." It is was over, England would be invaded quite true it may be said, what are opiby the French. We laughed at his fool- nions against armies ? Sir, my answer ish apprehensions, but that did not un- is, opinions are stronger than armies. settle his belief that the French were Opinions, if they are founded in truth coming in a short time. Unfortunately and justice, will, in the end, prevail this unreasonable anxiety, put in motion against the bayonets of infantry, the fire by the old duke, was shared by a large of artillery, and the charges of cavalry;" number of the people. A little after the Lord Brougham in 1816.—“ His obcommencement of the session of 1848, jections went to the whole system of an Lord John Russell had the daring to enormous force in time of peace, and to ask for additional grants to pay ad- the principles on which it was defended. ditional artillery men, and to meet
An Army in time of war could other increased expenses. This stirred not be constitutionally mischievous, but up Cobden and his party, who went to bring it home, let it be in this island at work in earnest. From that time to the direction of the executive, even if it the present, the agitation for financial should be under the command of officers as reform has been attended with con- pure and incorruptible as it was possible siderable success. The nation has al- to conceive, still they were men, men in ready been the gainer to the extent of a state of subordination and allegiance, millions. And this is the result of a not to Parliament, but to another power, reasonable, legitimate agitation. And and might be employed by that power Lord John Russell was sufficiently can- either against parliament or the people.” did to admit, a few nights since in the Lord Holland in 1816.-“ Let them House, that Mr. Cobden's agitation had not be misled by what they might hear, influenced the government in an econo- either in this place or any other, from mical direction. The nation knew that persons connected with those in office, as quite well, but few, we imagine, would to the absolute necessity of such a large expect the premier to be sufficiently ge- force in time of peace.
The nerous to acknowledge the cause of the people ought to persist in expressing their financial improvements. A great deal sentiments in the strongest terms, and if has been done, but much more remains they did so, they would see that the Mito be done in the same direction. Our nisters would discover that so large a Miliovergrown, expensive, and unnecessary tary Establishment in time of peace was establishments must be materially re- not at all required.
ALBERT AND ELLEN;
but progressive indisposition which fre: quently attends the decline of life had
recently occasioned a confinement of some The storm had ceased ; not a cloud stain- days to his bed; and thrice, ere he reached ed the ether; the sun, eclipsed for many the destined spot, the weakness of age hours by dense masses of sulphureous had nearly overpowered him. At length, vapour, was setting in crimson majesty be- faint and weary, he gained the rock; and hind the lofty mountains of, in North taking off his hat, while the locks of age Wales; when the venerable Albert, lean- fell in dazzling whiteness over his shoulding on the arm of granddaughter, ers, seemed to inhale new life from the quitted his little cottage to enjoy the refreshing breath of evening. Ellen, beauties of the evening from his favourite lovely as the morn, seated herself beside seat. It was situated some few paces him; her dark and glossy ringlets were from his humble dwelling, on the brow thrown back from her polished temples, of a rock, covered with moss and wild that she might the better contemplate flowers, and terminated a rugged, and him on whose existence she felt as if her somewhat ascending path, near the base own depended. Her eye, black and pene. of a hill, isolated from its neighbours; trating, was steadfastly fixed, though and whose sides, covered with a perpetual half by stealth, upon his countenance, verdure, strongly contrasted it with them. watching its every turn and variation, On the right of it began to swell, in wild save when it cast a look-sweot, but full and bare magnificence, the romantic chain of sorrow towards the distant ocean. One of mountains which distinguishes that hand rested upon his knee, and confined district; and which, though a few short the coat that enfolded his aged limbs; the hours before they had trembled to the other, almost unconsciously, was entwined long and awful peals that seemed to shake around her little Fido, who had placed the foundations of the globe, now, in himself upon her gown, and seemed to softened grandeur, reposed in the part- | look with a sort of thoughtful tenderness ing rays that yet streamed refulgent in up in her face. For some moments they the west. Immediately in front was a were silent; at length, Albert exclaimed, rich, though not extensive valley, ter- “ How strong is the similitude between minated in the distance by the ocean, the events of my life and the varying whose silvery bosom, faintly tinged with atmosphere of to-day! The sun arose in purple, extended itself like a summer splendour,—not a cloud obscured its brilcloud along the horizon. On the left liancy;-yet, ere noon, the black tempest murmured a little grassy rivulet, whose rolled around—the thunders roared,-and waters issued from the rock; and which, earth seemed threatened with destruction; swelling as they flowed, were heard some all now again is clear! oh ! may the rehundred paces distant to roar as they semblance still continue! may my aged hurried through the caverns of Cwdyr. head sink to its last sleep, reposing on the
Hither the young and innocent Ellen mercy of its God, even as yon cloudly Sun had been accustomed to lead the only is now reposing on the western wave!" parent, the only relative she now possess- As he uttered these words, a heavenly ed; and here had the morning and even- rapture beamed upon his countenance; ing sun often witnessed her, with the and that moment, so pure, so sublime, sacred volume on her knee, pouring into was its expression, that it might have his soul the hallowed consolations it been supposed that body and soul, beatiaffords to departing virtue; while the fied together, had already passed to the smile, triumphant and serene, which shone land of spirits. After a silence of some upon his benignant features, declared the minutes, he turned to Ellen, and gazing fervent gratitude and heavenly hope that at her with parental solicitude, said, in an animated his heart.
impressive tone, “ Often, my daughter, The raindrops still glistened on the have I urged the necessity of arming thy woodbine which encircled his door, when soul against the hour of suffering with the venerable old man, tottering beneath the confidence and the hopes of a Christhe weight of years and of misfortunes, tian ; that in that hour thou mightest act quitted it--for the last time. The long, his part, and submit without a murmur
ing thought to the dispensations of lifting up her eyes from the ground, she infinite mercy. May I not have urged in beheld her only parent, her only earthly vain! The shaft of death, sooner or later, friend, stiffening in death! flies with never failing aim; and surely The last breath of Albert had passed then the man of years and of sorrows, unconsciously across the cheek of Ellen, whose feeble frame already bends towards as, with her head cast downwards, she its native earth, should prepare himself hid her face in her handkerchief, and enevery hour for the blow. But remember, my deavoured to stem the torrent of her grief. child, that there is One who hath called So instantaneous, yet so gentle was the Himself the Friend of the Fatherless, One stroke, that the semblance of life was still who can, who will protect thee. Oh! | fresh; his eye was turned towards his but for thus to leave thee, the dear, dear Ellen, and seemed still to beam upon her image of my long lost Agnes, in all the with ineffable tenderness; his hand was inexperience, and all the loveliness of half stretched out, as if he would have youth, to leave thee thus to stem the reached hers; and the smile that yet boisterous stream of life, oh! it were in- lingered on his countenance, declared the deed an agony of the soul.”
peace and joy with which the parting The violent emotions of grief which spirit had sought the bosom of its God. had for some time struggled in the bosom Although, in the first moment, conviction of Ellen could no longer be suppressed; of the dreadful truth flashed upon the sighs of anguish burst from her lips, and soul of Ellen, yet her impatient spirit clasping the knees of Albert, she hid her quickly rejected it, and she grasped at the face upon his arm.
delusive hope that Albert might still be “My child!" cried the old man, in a living; and that the cordial which had voice scarcely audible, and gazing at her so frequently been serviceable in strengthwith a look of the most compassionating ening and reviving his drooping frame tenderness, “My darling child, be not might now be efficacious. She started up, thus distressed; I may yet be spared; and flew with renovated strength to the and although,” he continued, looking to. cottage; the last drop was gone! no wards the ocean, and endeavouring to assistance was procurable within the disrevive her drooping spirits,
tance of three long miles; her limbs could Providence may have thought fit to de- scarcely sustain her; despair seized her prive us for a time of him who was the soul; she darted from the cottage, and chosen gon of my heart, and whom I retraced her steps as quickly to the scene fondly regarded as the virtuous and affec- of misery. Within ten paces of it, she tionate companion of thy future life ; still, stopped; the corpse was yet concealed by I trust, it is but for a time, and that a turn in the path; she paused, she listEdgar, thy faithful Edgar, may yet return ened, not a breath disturbed the stillness -to be unto thee as a father.”
of the air; the blood ran cold through « Oh! no," faintly articulated the every vein; her knees shook violently. haples3 Ellen; • ten long months have The night was now fast approaching; elapsed since we received his last letter; huge black clouds were gathering in the in which he promised to be with us in east; the moon arose enveloped in mist, three weeks. We have heard nothing and shed a dim light upon the mountains ; since; he is gone, gone for ever. And the air was thick and oppressive, and wouldst thou-Oh! my father, wouldst everything announced another storm; thou too desert thy Ellen ? What would but Ellen regarded it not; “He is dead! become of her? She too must die!” -he must be dead !,” she cried, in ac
Poor hapless maiden! The last word cents of unutterable woe. Then tottering which trembled from her lips penetrated a few paces forwards, her hand held tight not the dull cold ear of death ; the stroke against her forehead, she raised herself on which bereft her of every earthly hope, and tiptoe, dreading more than death that the cast her destitute upon an unfeeling world! first glance would confirm all her fears. What was the frenzy, the madness of de- His lifeless form was just discernable spair, that froze the current of her blood, through the gloom; Fido had climbed up that laughed in the wild and haggard to his shoulders, and lay beside him licking
atures of her lovely countenance, when, his cold cheek; on seeing his mistress, he
bounded forward, and catching hold of parated in death, no! we will die togeher gown, moaned most piteously. “Poor ther! Yet, oh! couldst thou—, were Fido!” the wretched sufferer half articu- it but for a moment, couldst thou recoglated; then, springing forwards, exclaim- nise thy Edgar, and breathe into his soul ed—“Merciful God! does he move?" she thy parting blessing, it were bliss ! 'twere reeled, and fell upon the cold bosom of ecstacy." Albert. It was but the wind that had Ellen at that moment raised her head, agitated his clothes.
and, with a bewildered air, gazed upon The night became terrific; immense him. A ray of hope flashed upon the clouds, rolling over each other like vast mourner's gloomy soul, and, with a falvolumes of smoke, hung suspended on the tering voice he cried, “ Speak to me, my mountain summits; the livid flashes of love, my Ellen! oh, speak to me again! lightning which burst from them every remember thy faithful, thy long-lost Edgar; instant seemed to wrap the world in he is returned to live for thee, and thee fames; while the roar of thunder again only,—to supply the place of a father,reverberated among the mountains; and to love thee-to clasp thee to his bosom hark! during the intervals of every peal, -to shelter thee from every danger ;they re-echo a long and heavy moan. but shouldst thou die, he must die too!” Yon stranger hath heard it, as he winds “Edgar !” she exclaimed, “Where am his weary way along the valley; he I? Edgar returned !" then hiding her pauses, he listens, and now, with hurried face in her hand, “Oh God! my heart and anxious step, proceeds 'till he reaches will burst !" the cottage of Albert. A white handker- Edgar gently, raised her up; and, supchief lay just within the door; he snatched porting with his arm her weak and tremit up, and darted through each little bling frame, led her towards the cottage. apartment in breathless precipitation. Thither, he soon afterwards, bore the re“ Absent on such a night as this !” he mains of the venerable Albert, and, with exclaimed, as he left the house, and fol- filial solicitude and tenderness, laid them lowed the sound which had appalled the decently on the little straw pallet which soul. “ Good God! how my heart mis- | had formerly so often afforded rest to his gives me!” As he drew near the fatal aged limbs. “ Let us offer up our prayspot, the sound ceased, Fido had heard the ers to the throne of mercy ;-let us offer approaching step, Fido only had heard it; up our thanks that we have yet been and, as if resenting his intrusion upon spared to each other,” said Edgar, as he this dark and solemn scene of death, took the hand of Ellen, and led her tobegan to howl and bark most furiously wards the bedside, on which lay the corpse at the stranger. The white figure of a of Albert. They knelt down to pray, and female stretched upon the ground, and they rose up with a holy determination to conspicuous through the gloom, was the live for each other and for God. A. first object that met the eyes of the unfortunate Edgar: chilled with horror, he
SONNET. rushed forward, and, raising her in his arms, perceived at the same instant the lifeless body of Albert. “Father of The planted seed, consigned to common earth, mercies !” he cried, in the phrenzy of
Disdains to moulder with the baser clay;
But rises up to meet the light of day, despair, “ for what have I been pre- Spreads all its leaves and flowers and tendrils served?" “ He is gone!" uttered Ellen, forth; in a faint and wild tone, “he is dead! I And, bathed and ripened in the genial ray, must die, too; I am dying. Do not dis
Pours out its perfume to the wandering gales,
Till in that fragrant breath its life exhales. turb a poor creature in her last moments.” So this immortal germ within my breast, The distracted Edgar believed her indeed Would strive to pierce the dull, dark clod of dying, and, sick with intenseness of misery,
With aspirations wingëd and intense; exclaimed, “Oh God! is it for this I have
Would so spread upward in its tireless quest, escaped the perils of the wreck,--the ra- To meet the Central Soul, its source, its rest; vages of the pestilence? But, Ellen, my so, in the fragrance of the immortal flower, beloved Ellen!” he continued, pressing High thoughts, and noble deeds, its life it would
out-pour. her cold lips to his; “we will not be se
A. C. L.