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institutions. If there is a feeling while it traduces those sitting in of love and submission towards the judgment upon him, aiming to ren. government, firmly fixed in the mind der all legal authority unpopular. of every one, we need not fear but For proof, we need only refer io the that democracy will be ensured of records of the world's convention, perpetuity. But let the idea be en. where the brotherhood of that as. couraged, that the people can dis- sociation was claimed for one vir. regard chartered rights and mold tually convicted of treason. And anew their institutions, and that in a working men's convention, obedience to law is not liberty, and gathered in New England, there we may well doubt, whether a fatal has been a like development of this blow is not struck at the very root feeling, decrying all who frowned of the tree of liberty. Could we
upon the worst features of the anticonfine, in every case, the conse rent excitement. In themselves, quences of such an act, and pre- such conventions and their acts devent iis influence from extending, serve only contempı; but when view. then it might be of minor impor. ed as an evidence of the existence tance. But when we know that of extreme radicalism, they are every popular excitement opens the clothed with an importance not way for future commotion, we re. their own, and we learn the moral, gard such an event in a different that every thing encouraging the light. The dangerous tendency spirit which animates them is to becomes apparent, because disre. be avoided. gard of law in one case becomes a In view of these things, what sure precursor of a like disregard in ought we as Americans to do? other instances. That those who 'These are important questions, and make their own laws, should so far demand a careful consideration : yield to their passions, in a single and when determined upon, claim a instance, as to cease obedience, is corresponding course of action. cause for alarm; that the same Though the immediate cause of occurrence should happen frequent- these events may seem local, the ly, produces consternation.
real cause, we believe, lies deeper, A state of affairs like the present, and is confined by no such narrow also encourages that spirit of agra- limits. It is not the leasehold sys. rianism, which thrives only where tem, but a tendency to throw off an unhealthy state of society exists. legal restraints. By agrarianism however, we mean To guard against these hidden all the forms of ultra radicalism causes, a more careful and critical which are springing up among us. study of our institutions seems ne. By this spirit, every disturbance cessary. From infancy and through which shows a distuste to wholesome childhood, we have been taught obedience, and a disrelish for old that our government was preëm. established principles, is welcomed inently superior. But while thus as an evidence of a new order of revering and prizing her great things, glorious, though undefined. principles, we have seen other naEvery movement, opposed to the tions jealous of them, and watching present requirements of political closely our every action. Perceiv. and civil society, is hailed as its co. ing this fault-finding disposition in worker to hasten the day, when sister nations we have been ready unrestrained liberty shall be in the to regard our country's faulis ima. ascendant. The present age seems ginary, and to reverence her 100 prolific with this spirit of radical. blindly: Love of country, strong, ism. With the criminal, justly suf. faithful, earnest and unflinching, we fering for his acts, it sympathizes, honor in the possessor, but to see
it degenerate into irrational glorying, a voice of warning, bidding us is no less cause of regret.
search out our nation's errors and joice in the prevalence of that pow. inconsistencies, and though hallowed er, which binds us to our native by old associations, remove them. land” and makes us feel,
The good we can only preserve by
a prompt removal of the bad. Hav. "That with all her faults we love her still."
ing studied our country's institu. But we would see it accompanied tions, we are to take a firm stand in with a candid admission of her faults her defense ; yet we are not to forand imperfections. When contrasting get her faults but correct and rethe happiness and prosperity of our move them. Neither blinded by people, with that of the citizens of false patriotism, nor seduced from other governments, if we have our duty by popular clamor, we must turned away from the contemplation, defend the right and yield the still blind to our own failings, we wrong, and thus elevate our country have no ground for confidence. In to a higher and more honorable sta. former periods, her excellencies may tion. Thus shall we best ensure have hidden her defects; but the the perpetuity of our free insti. time has past, in which the world tutions. And
the present judges of any system, public or pri generation, probably, rest these vate, from its general effect, but it duties. The world, so to speak, looks into all its parts. An ardent is in a transition state. spirit of inquiry and a keen sifting things are passing away," and of old systems, characterize our another order of things is advance times. Truth and error, right and ing. As the disturbed and min. wrong, are fast gaining their proper gling materials become sculed, so level. A democratic spirit per they will long remain. How im. vades the world, and men are feel. portant then the presence of correct ing their right and privilege to in. principles, that when these materials quire into what is going on around assume a new shape, it may accord them. To tyrants and despois it is with all that is beautiful in a just like the disia'nt rumbling of the and free state. dreadful earthquake, and for us it is
VESTIGES OF CREATION AND ITS REVIEWERS.
The Vestiges of the Natural His a review at this time important, since tory of Creation it is now perhaps too the work has been already noticed late to review in form. Nor is such with ability by several distinguished
writers on both sides of the Atlantic. Vestiges of the Natural History of But so singular in some respects is Creation, second edition, from the third its character, and so remarkable has London edition ; 'greatly amended by the been its brief history, that we feel Author. And an Introduction by Rev. constrained to add some remarks of George B. Cheever, D. D. New York, Wiley & Putnain.
our own 10 those which have apA Theory of Creation. [North Ameri- peared in several of our contemporary can Review. April, 1845.)
periodicals. We do not indeed proVestiges of the Natural History of Crea
pose to give any thing more than a tion. [American Review, May, 1845.)
Vestiges of the Nat. Hist. of Creation. general view of the theory of our North British Review-republished in author, with a concise notice and Littell's Living Age, No. 71.)
summing up of the arguments for VOL. IV.
and against it. In connexion with things. By her light, but we fear the remarks into which this plan will without a clear eye and an honest conduct us, we propose to speak in heart, he has penetrated "the caves brief of two or three features in the of pagan nations without the Gospel, reviews we have seen of “The Ves and there, amidst elephantine skeletiges," which features seem open to tons and mud mummies in their nichstrong objections.
es, and shelves of doubtsul fossils,” We have no means of definite sat down to reason and dream knowledge, but we judge that the out the history and philosophy not work before us is less than a year only of those caves, but of this mighty old. But youthful as it is, its posi- world and the boundless universe. tion and that of its author have been The principles of inductive reafrom the first, far from enviable. It soning he has so far forgotten or has been a favorite target for literary overlooked, that he has attempted to marksmen. It has sustained, as well make a single fact to which science as it could, the incessant fire of news. had helped him, sustain a principle ; paper squibs and the heavier dis he has mingled conjecture with fact charges of less frequent periodicals. in a contusion quite inextricable; And if now its destruction has been assumption with legitimate concluaccomplished, if its career is already sions or admitted truth; and we are terminated, it has been too brilliant compelled to add, mistakes or misto be soon forgotten.
It has run statements in regard to facts of scithrough too many editions and over ence have been largely thrown in too extensive a portion of the reading to make out his theory and "make world. Yet the book, we venture to up" his book. Nothing could be predict, has produced nearly all the more admirable, or fit better than excitement and worked nearly all the description given of it as a whole, the mischief which may be expected by a writer in the North British Refrom it. It is not a work of adınira. view. He styles it "in its materials ble logic, not a work of uncommon
the detritus of natural history and power. It can lay no claim to ori physics, where the ingredients occur ginality, certainly not as a theory, in no definite proportions, and where and as to argument, whatever it has the affinities of nature have had no advanced bearing such a semblance, part to play; an intellectual breccia of or which by any courtesy can be amorphous fragments which equally viewed in such a light, has been over
defy the anatory of the crystallogra. and over again demolished.
'pher and the analysis of the chemist." We have said that as a theory it It is full of imagination and fancy. is no new thing under the sun. It is a scientific romance which by The heathen philosophers, Democri- courtesy may indeed be said to be tus, Epicurus, and Lucretius, not founded on fact, although its theory only advanced, but to some extent
could not stand but for conjecture adopted it as the grand feature of and assumption. And we should their philosophy. On the question imagine that what "the Wandering of originality therefore, our author's Jew" is to true history, the book of pretensions must be at a discount. our author is to true science. What he has done, and all that he But where did he obtain bis ideas has done, has been to summon geol
of creation ? Must we suppose
him ogy to his aid in fortifying a theory to have rummaged over the extant which has been before the world writings of those old philosophers more than two thousand years. By whose names have been introduced the light of this prominent and deeply above, and to have perpetrated a foul interesting science, he has run upplagiarism? To us he seems plainly the line of cosinical cycles till he to have taken his idea from the nebo fancied he had come to the origin of ular hypothesis of planetary forma
tion, and having thus hit upon it, to ever he may be, he is certainly a have gone trooping up and down the master of style. And he has prefields as well of conjecture as of sented us with a charmingly writscience, to find wherewith to main- ten book, one which in point of tain it.
literary merit need put no one to Possessing himself thus with a va shame. And we do not think that riety of what he professes to consider the book before us is anonymous bearguments, marshaling them accord cause it is not executed in a style ing to the best tactics he knew, and satisfactory to its author, but because filling all breaches in the ranks with in it he has run a fierce tilt against a few dexterous assumptions, (and Christianity, done much to offend there is no way of getting along more the cherished religious sentiments of rapidly in an argument,) as also with all the good and pious of the reading a few scientific principles, fresh coin- world; and though blind, we doubt ed apparently in his own mind, he not, to the full bearing of his own has succeeded in throwing an air of system, he has gravely and seriously much plausibility about his theory of set himself to maintain a theory creation. We say plausibility, but which virtually annihilates religion only with reference to the mass of and gives us a universe without a readers who are in a strange region God. when you introduce them into the No wonder then, if only a bare domain of science. They can not fancy of the possible tendency of his detect his errors. They can not re system had struck his mind, that he call him when he flies off after some should seek shelter in concealment. conjecture to fortify a position which That man is certainly not to be enno argument defends. They might vied who has by ever so wonderful even be supposed to credit him, al a display of ingenuity or fine writing, though he should affirm that fossil drawn upon himself the lightning human skeletons had been discovered glance of public indignation, and the imbedded deeply in the primary withering frown of all the good and rocks. To such his theory may be holy. But is our author an infidel? plausible. But to the scientific reader, Is he no better than a malignant atheable to discriminate between a sci- ist, who, with craven heart and serentific fact and a mere hypothesis, pent venom, has selected this inode able to arrest him when he runs of assailing, not Christianity merely, rapidly along the line of his argument, but even the being of a God? In taking cardinal points for granted this light he has been regarded by to such readers the book presents a some of his reviewers.
We think, theory which can scarcely be con- however, that he is innocent, so far sidered even plausible. It is quite as regards any such imputation. too much to ask of such a mind that He may indeed be a bitter fue of it receive, on an amount of evidence our holy religion, but we are more no greater than our author presents, ready to accuse him of attempting to the idea that one law, that of devels seduce science from her legitimate opment, is adequate to explain, with sphere. We are more ready to think out a Deity, all the phenomena of that his crime is all told, when you say the universe from the universal "fire that intellectual pride has impelled mist” period to the present time. him to endeavor to maintain a cosmiOne feels strongly like saying, cal theory which the nebular hypothe“ Credat Judæus Apella ;
sis had previously suggested, although it virtually annihilates any system of
faith to be found in the Bible. And Our author has withheld his name we think that he was probably for the from the public, and it is still un most part unapprehensive of the bearknown even to suspicion. Who- ings of his theory, until since its pub
lication. It is certain that he has at war with revelation and right reasuppressed, in the later editions, his son, he has done what he could to section on the Macleay system which jostle the beautiful edifice of Chris. was the most objectiovable feature of tianity, and has no good ground of his work, as originally published. complaint if its champions sally forth And, if we mistake not, his intellect- and do battle carnestly for their dearual perceptions are quite as deserving est birthright and their eternal hopes. of impeachment as his heart. Unac At the same time it is not always customed to the delightful aspect in expedient to take every advantage of which the Bible presents God to us, an antagonist to which we may be as at hand and not afar off, as notic. justly entitled. And we think some ing and interesting himself in hu- of those who have ably reviewed the man affairs, even the most trivial, work of our author and triumphantly like the fall of a sparrow, and refuted his successive positions, have numbering the very hairs of our availed themselves of the advantages heads, our author talks piously of which he has thus given them, beProvidence, devoutly of God's great yond what a truly generous spirit designs, and, although as we think to could allow. The cause to be subsome extent sincerely, yet he all the mitted to the tribunal of public sentiwhile affords sad evidence that the ment, was "a Creator, God, truly language he thus employs is that of present in the universe, versus deified his education, not of his theory. It Law—the Deity seized of the uniis only a few phrases of the dialect of verse or disseized by a usurping Law?" Canaan which cling to him yet in Such was the question at issue. spite of the atheistic theory to which, In its discussion, certainly the relike a fool to an anchor, he has lash- viewers might concede to the author ed himself.
of the “ Vestiges” whatever the most While therefore, we are unwilling generous spirit would dictate, and yet to charge him with intelligently en- find no trouble in demolishing the tertaining atheistic or pantheistic shadowy structure he had raised. Yet opinions; while we are still more un we think there has been a failure here willing to impute to him the design and it has been an unfortunate one. of making a malignant and das. It has tended to set the tide of poputardly attack upon our holy religion, lar feeling in favor of our author. we can apologize for him to his re And why? Because men go in a viewers no farther. He has laid mass for toleration. They go for it himself open to ridicule and satire, as in intellectual matters, as well as in well as to home thrusts of arguments religious. However bold and pernifatal to his theory. This he has done, cious may be the error of a system first by seriously advocating the nebu- proposed for our consideration, let its lar theory of planetary formation, author receive fair and gentlemanly which may be said to have been given treatment. Such is the demand of up by all distinguished astronomers, popular sympathy. And we think it and which, had it not been thus aban- has not been fully responded to in the doned, is most effectually annihilated reception of the work before us. by Lord Rosse's gigantic, six foot re Some of the reviewers appear to flector; next by attempting to erect have exhibited a spirit of intolerance. on this dreamy foundation, a vast sys. They have put a construction upon tem of analogous development, ade- the author's motives in giving his theoquate to explain all the phenomena of ry to the world, that seems to us not creation, and attempting to maintain altogether courteous, certainly not that system by gross perversions and charitable. They have resoried to misstatements concerning what are ridicule, and that of such a character facts of science. In thus endeavor- and to such an amount as to bespeak a ing to establish a great theory, equally true persecuting furor, rather than a