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and proposes "briefly to trace the course of American history in relation to the present war, and then to reply to the questions-Had the South a right to secede? Is the North justified in waging war to restore the Union? How far is the question of Slavery mixed up with the quarrel? On which side should the sympathy of England be enlisted?"—p. 3.
The history, although brief, gives a very distinct and intelligible narrative of the events which have led to the war, and may be usefully read by all who desire an acquaintance with those events. The question whether the North was justified in waging war to restore the Union, would depend on the previous one, "Had the South a right to secede ?" Mr. Hall thinks they had not; but we are not so clear on this subject. He argues the question very fairly, but has failed to convince us. He urges that
"The claim of an integral part of an empire, when union appears to itself no longer desirable, to secede without the general consent of the empire of which it forms a part, is destructive to all nationality."
"If a province may do this, so may a county, so may a town. Scotland, Wales, Ireland, might severally separate from Great Britain; then Yorkshire, or Surrey, or this borough of Southwark!"-p. 11.
But the Federation of the United States cannot surely be with any propriety called an empire; nor can the relation of the several States to the whole be compared to that which subsists between the provinces of an empire and the supreme Government. However inconvenient such a system of government may be, we are inclined to think "that the several States composing the Union retain their individual sovereignty-they have their local governors and parliaments, and as by their own decree they originally joined the Union, so, by a reversal of that decree, they may separate."
But Mr. Hall admits, and which of course the United States cannot from their own conduct towards Great Britain deny, that "where there is no constitutional right of secession, there may be a rational right of rebellion!" and he proceeds to argue that the Southern States have no grounds on which to justify a rebellion. Here again we are unable to follow him. It is now admitted that the object of the North was to destroy slavery, and that Mr. Lincoln was elected on that principle. Now, it must be remembered that the Southern States believe, whether rightly or wrongly, that slavery is indispensable to their existence; and one of the terms of the Union was, that the general Government should not in any way interfere with the They domestic institutions of the several States composing that Union. believed that the general Government was proceeding to do that which the terms of Union forbade, and it is now avowed (that such was the design; and whatever opinion we may form of the expediency of their secession, we cannot but feel, on looking at the matter from the Southern stand-point, that even if there was not a constitutional right of secession, there certainly was what Mr. Hall calls "a rational right of rebellion."
But although we are thus compelled to differ from our author as to the abstract right of the South to secede, and consequently as to the corresponding abstract right of the North to wage war to prevent such secession, we are glad to find that we are at one with him as to the inexpediency of the
war on the part of the North. At least, we so judge from the following passage, which we gather to express his own opinions, and respecting which he very justly says: "Perhaps the majority of Englishmen entertain such views as these."
"We may have our own opinion as regards the expediency of the war. We may think that the North and the South are so incompatible in character and interest, that a permanent union between them is impossible. We may think that the area embraced by the Secession is so vast that its subjugation is impos sible. Looking on from the outside, we may consider that although every Southern port be blockaded, and victory crown the Federals in every fight, they can never hold the South by force of arms, and that if they could, such enforced union would be worthless. We may think that it would have been wise to have accepted the fact of Secession at the first, even as we deem it inevitable in the end; and that thus the lavish expenditure of treasure and of blood might have been spared. We may regard that expenditure as wasted, because unlikely to lead to any result; and that even should the end be the restoration of the former Union, that end would not repay the cost. Implicated as the North have so long been in the crime of Southern slavery, we may think it would have been better if they had said at once- You are rebels--you deserve the severest chastisement-but if you choose to go, go!-it will be your loss and our own inestimable gain-for henceforth and for ever we are innocent of any participation in slavery-our land is now cleansed from the stain that has so long polluted it no more recognition of property in man-no more Fugitive Slave Law-henceforth Canada is virtu ally brought to the banks of the Potomac, and every slave crossing the border, shall feel as safe under our star bespangled banner, as if the blended crosses of Great Britain waved above his head.'"'-p. 15.
The concluding enquiry of our author is, "On which side should the sympathy of England be enlisted?" The answer to which will greatly depend on what is meant by the term itself, on which subject there appears to be great misapprehension. We turn to Webster's dictionary, and we find it stated, in explanation of the term, "we feel sympathy for another when we see him in distress;" and this we apprehend, without any minute enquiry into the causes which have produced that distress. In this sense, it is impossible to prevent a feeling of sympathy springing up for the inhabitants of the Southern States. For nearly two years have they been suffering the horrors of a war, of which Mr. Hall truly says, (p. 10,) Humanity stands aghast at the contemplation of it." Their opponents avow their determination to make the land a desert, and have that numerical superiority, and that command of means, which render it but too probable that they will be able to carry out their threats, and yet these doomed ones maintain their position-have defeated all the great armies sent against them are enduring all the miseries such a state of warfare entails upon them, with a heroism and endurance which cannot but appeal powerfully to our feelings as men. And this sympathy is the more strongly excited, when we remember the unequal terms on which the war is waged, in respect to the suffering inflicted on the parties engaged. While devastation is carried into the Southern States by the military and naval expeditions of their opponents, the inhabitants of the Northern States are sitting at home at ease. Mr. Taylor in his pamphlet says, "As late as last June, I travelled extensively through the northern, western, and some of the border states, and to see there the crowded churches, and schools, and places of amusement, and the activity and general prosperity in almost every department of business, and the good cheer that seemed everywhere to
prevail, a man unacquainted with the facts would not have dreamed of war anywhere on the American continent."-(pp. 5, 6.)
Under such circumstances, if sympathy means a feeling excited by the sight of distress, there cannot be a doubt on which side this sympathy must be exercised.
But if sympathy is considered to mean approbation of the objects which the respective parties have in view, then the case is entirely altered. It is in this sense that our American friends now use the word, and it is so employed in Mr. Hall's pamphlet ; and our reply to the enquiry, "On which side should the sympathy of England be enlisted?"must be, On neither side. We cannot express our approbation of the Northern States, in waging a war, of the justice or expediency of which we entertain great doubts. On the other hand, we cannot sympathize in this sense with the Southern States in a conflict which, on their part, aims to perpetuate a system which our soul abhors. We are, therefore, compelled to stand aloof, and wait the developments of Divine Providence, which will assuredly bring good out of this great evil; and most cordially concur in the closing sentences of Mr. Hall's very interesting and instructive lecture, the perusal of which we very cordially commend to our readers :—
"Let prayers ascend to the Prince of Peace-the great Liberator of humanity -that the sword may soon be sheathed and the fetter broken-that America may come forth from the furnace seven times purified that the eldest daughter of Britain, cleansed from the foul spot, which, indeed, she derived from her mother, may emerge from this cloud of trial the admiration of the world-that the parent, not jealous of, but rejoicing in, the growth of the child, and without any airs of arrogant superiority; that the child, with no childish wilfulness or fretfulness-that thus mother and child, or, if they prefer it, the elder and younger born daughters of Freedom, may go forth hand in hand, diffusing among the nations the blessings of civilization, peace, liberty, and religion; and, foremost amongst the ministering servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, hasten on the fulfilment of the grand old prophecy, which tells of a golden age, when a King shall reign in righteousness, who shall judge the poor of the people, and break in pieces the oppressor, and deliver the needy when he crieth, and him that hath no helper, in whose days the righteous shall flourish, and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.'"-p. 31.
THE CHILDREN'S FRIEND. 1862. London: Seeley, Jackson, & Halliday.
THIS is the second volume of a new series of this beautifully illustrated and interesting Monthly Penny Periodical.
It has so much to recommend it that we do not like to say a word in the way of objection, and yet our duty to its numerous readers compels us to object to the rays of glory proceeding from the head of the Saviour in his dying agonies, and to the winged angel attending the dying-bed of a young child, as calculated to teach error in the most seductive form. Pictorial representations exercise so much influence over the mind that the greatest accuracy ought to be observed in them.
MADAGASCAR: ITS MISSION AND ITS MARTYRS. London: John Snow. pp.117.
THIS volume contains an outline of the very remarkable events which have occurred in connexion with the Mission of the London Missionary Society to Madagascar-its commencement-the favour accorded to it by King Radama I.-the efforts used by his widow Queen Ranavalona to prevent the progress of the gospel-the sufferings endured by the native Christians through twenty-six long years of severe persecution, and the deliverance of those who had survived, on her death and the accession of her son Radama II. The narrative is encircled with many incidents, which give much interest to it, although that interest is necessarily of a painful character. The following however is of a more cheerful kind. It refers to a visit paid by Mr. Ellis to the Island during the late Queen's reign.
"One evening, while at Tamatave, two men called at Mr. Ellis's house. On being admitted, they told him that, having heard that he had brought the Bible to their land, they had come a long way in order to get a copy. As they were strangers to him, he thought that possibly they might be spies, and that, if he complied with their request, he might be banished from the island. He told them therefore, that he could not give them what they wanted then, but that they might call upon him again on the following morning. In the meantime, he made inquiries about them from some of the Christians of the place, and learned that they were excellent men, and members of a family that feared the Lord greatly; that they lived at the capital, and having come down about a hundred and fifty miles towards the coast on business, and having there heard that Mr. Ellis was at Tamatave with the Word of God, they resolved to travel more than a hundred miles further, in the hope that they might secure this treasure for themselves. Of course, Mr. Ellis was delighted to hear such a report of these worthy men, and was ready, when they called again on the following morning, to give them what they wanted. Before doing this, however, he learned from them that their family was large, and scattered, but that all of the members of it were Christians. When asked whether they had the Scriptures, they told Mr. Ellis that they had seen them, and heard them, but that all they possessed were 'some of the words of David,' which, however, did not belong to themselves alone, but to the whole family. He further ascertained that this sacred fragment was scut from one to another, and that each, after keeping it for a time, passed it on, until it had been read by all. Mr. Ellis then inquired whether they had these words of David' with them. This was a question which they seemed unwilling to answer; but at length they confessed that they had. Mr. Ellis having asked to see the book, they looked at one another, and appeared as if they knew not what to do. At length one of them thrust his hand deep into his bosom, and from beneath the folds of his lamba he drew forth a parcel, This he very slowly and carefully opened. One piece of cloth after another was gently removed, when at length there appeared a few leaves of the Book of Psalms, which the good man cautiously handed to Mr. Ellis. Though it was evident that the greatest care had been taken of them, their dingy colour, their worn edges, and other marks of frequent use, showed plainly enough how much they had been read. We can only fancy the feelings with which our friend looked upon these few soiled and well-worn leaves, revealing as they did the deep love which these Christians feel for God's Word, and the diligence with which they keep and use it. Desiring to possess these precious fragments, Mr. Ellis asked the men whether they had not seen other words of David besides those which they now produced, and also the words of Jesus, and of Paul, of Peter, and of John? Yes, they replied, they had seen and heard them, but they had them not.' 'Well, then,' said Mr. Ellis, holding out the tattered leaves, if you will give me these few words of David, I will give you all his words, and I will give you besides, the words of Jesus, and of John, and of Paul, and of Peter.' Upon this he handed to them a copy of the New Testament and the Psalms, bound together, and said, ' You shall have all these if you will give me this.' The men were at first amazed. Then they compared the Psalms they had with those
in the book, and having satisfied themselves that all their own words of David were in it, with many more, and that beside these there were other Scriptures which they greatly desired, light beamed in their faces, they took Mr. Ellis at his word, gave him those leaves of the Book of Psalms which had so long yielded them comfort, seized the volume he offered in exchange, bid him farewell, and hastily left the house. In the course of the day he inquired after them, wishing to speak to them again, when the Christians at Tamatave told him that, as soon as they left his house, they set out upon their long journey to the capital, doubtless 'rejoicing as one that findeth great spoil."-pp. 83-85.
We have also inserted in a previous page (273) an extract, shewing the interest the children take in the instruction given them. This book, though small, is a valuable addition to our missionary literature, and should find a place in all school libraries. It has several pictorial illustrations.
DANIEL'S VISION OF THE FOUR BEASTS. Illustrated with Six Engravings. London: H. J. Tresidder. Price Sixpence.
THIS is an attempt to elucidate the vision of the Four Beasts, contained in the seventh chapter of Daniel, by pictorial illustrations. We doubt the propriety of thus endeavouring to present to the eye figurative representations which are intended to convey important truths to the understanding. They will be better understood without such aid.
The author has prefixed to the engravings an explanatory page of letterpress, in which, like most writers on prophecy, he has no hesitation in giving dates. "This vision commenced 606 B.C., and will end A.D. 3231." This last date is prudently placed at a sufficiently distant period. Some writers have not been so prudent in this respect.
HINTS ON SCRIPTURE READING AND STUDY. pp. 60.
London: J. Nisbet & Co.
A small but very useful work, consisting of five chapters; the first containing Introductory Hints, and the four succeeding ones referring to Devotional Reading-Inferences-Parallel Passages-Systematic Study. We select, from the Introductory Hints the following general rules of interpretation.
"1. The most simple is the most genuine meaning.
2. The Literal stands before the Figurative sense.
The Scriptures are to be taken in their widest signification when they are not limited by the Holy Spirit, especially in the descriptions given of the gracious blessings of the Gospel.
"4. A less portion of Holy Writ must be interpreted agreeably to a larger, and one single passage is not to be explained in contrariety to many others, but consistently with them.
"5. The Analogy of Faith, i. e. the proportions which the doctrines of the Bible bear to each other, must be used with caution. The harmony of the Gospel system of truth must not be marred by mere human opinions." pp. 10, 11.