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Saviour did not disdain to employ us look on all around us as things parabolic narrative for embodying his with which we have nothing to do but instructions.
to despise, while we steadily direct We cannot, in a short paper like every thought and every action to the this, enter at greater length into these world which is to come. Now, all general views; but we mean to take this may sound very well from the an early opportunity of resuming the pulpit ; and the preacher may tell us subject in a separate article, where we authoritatively, that, unless we carry shall advert to the share which has our Christianity constantly about with been taken in these important labours us, and make it the leading portion of by Mrs Hannah More, Miss Taylor all our thoughts, we must be content of Ongar, and others of inferior name. to rank with the reprobate and proWe think that Mrs Brunton's genius fane; and the Methodistical novelists is much superior to either of those two may take up the theme, and exhibit ladies we have just named. She ma characters who never open their mouths nifests, like them, an unsleeping vigi- but in biblical phrase and sectarian lance in turning every incident of her jargon ; yet we are quite certain, that narrative so as to make it bear on mo such principles of exclusive thinking ral or religious feeling; but we think are utterly impracticable by the preher conception richer, her range of sent race of men, not excepting even fancy more extensive, her style more their strongest advocates themselves; vigorous, and her principles less ri- nay, that they are principles altogegid and forbidding. The latter we ther opposite to those which characthink one of the greatest excellencies terize Christianity as taught in the of Self-Control and Discipline. Re- Bible,--a wild perversion and absurd ligion, in them, is seldom brought di- caricature of what was inculcated by rectly and nakedly on our view. We the holy Apostles. Such preposterous are left to discover the operation of doctrine is only fit to be ranked with its principles in the conduct of the the pitiable practices of the Popish characters, more than in their lan- Monastics, one of whose farces was to guage. In no part of her writings do keep literally to the injunction, “ Pray we recollect any thing which could be without ceasing,” by establishing å stigmatized as religious cant,-the most relay of monks to relieve one another disgusting garb that vanity or hypo- in a perpetuated, forced, and dull roucrisy can assuinc. The chaste and tine of formal praying. Our author dignified tone of religious feeling, in- understood Christianity better than to deed, which characterizes her, is as fo- fall into so foolish a deviation from its reign to the sickening whine of the genuine spirit. She showed in her Tabernacle, as to the demure and mys- own character the beautiful effect of terious aspect of the rigid and over- religious principle in modifying every righteous Puritan. To guard against thought and action, without the disthese, every author who joins this il- gusting obtrusiveness of cant and prelustrious school should be most watch- tended abstraction from the concerns ful
, as any tinge of this unpalatable of the world; and what fshe was herleaven will infallibly defeat and neu. self, she has made prominent in her tralize every other means of influence writings. attempted on the hearts of the most It is to this circumstance, as much numerous class of readers, who will as any other, that we are to trace the take instant alarm, and shut a book, extensive popularity of Self-Control never to re-open it, the moment they and Discipline, which, we are certain, are assailed by any thing in the shape have been read by hundreds who of technical divinity.
would have thrown aside Coelebs and There is one point of view in which Display as quite unreadable. It is in Mrs Brunton stands very superior to this that Mrs Brunton coincides in Hannah More and Miss Taylor ; she purpose and in plan with Miss Edgenever, so, far as we recollect, talks of worth and Mrs Hamilton,--that places religion as a thing which ought to ene her novels among the Popular Tales gross all our time and attention ex- and by the side of the Cottagers of clusively. They would make it the Glenburnie. In all of those we are only business in life, the sole employ- instructed and made better by irrea ment of our thoughts and actions sistible example, without the exhibidaily and hourly; they would have tion of technical maxims or ärmal
morality being impertinently thrust accused of vanity when we say, that in our way, while we are merely seek- such is the effect protlucet on our own ing for amusement.
minds; we feel more religious and We are no advocates, indeed, for more moral at every fresh perusal; the modern practice of turning schools but her's is a religion untinctured into toy-shops, and smoothing away with any thing gloomy or disgusting. all the difficulties of education by a It is a pure and refreshing balm which musement and mechanismı , such are is free from every root of bitterness; only fit to gull half-educated and up- a sweet air of music wafted from heastart shopkeepers, who think that their ven, with which nothing earthly offspring must become accomplished mingles, and which never jars on the if they pay profusely for a countless feelings, but comes fraught with train of teachers, and patronize every soothing and consolement to every new short-cut to learning. But, heart. while we strongly deprecate the mak In ail this Mrs Brunton made a ing of instruction an amusement, we faithful portraiture of her own mind as strongly recommend the making of and heart. She was deeply imbued all amuseinents, as far as possible, in- with Christian principles and Chrisstructive, or at least harmless. To tian feelings; and they were pure, accomplish this successfully requires genuine, and fresh drawn from the powers of no ordinary cast, as there is well-spring of life. Religion in hér evidently something incompatible in produced, what it should always prothe combination, and we are very apt duce, à lively cheerfulness which no to be jealous of the attempts made up- worldly concern could extinguish, even on us to administer drugs in the shape when the chill of misfortune came of sugar-plums. In this very difficult upon her. It produced a deep symtask, however, JÍrs Brunton has suc- pathy for the distresses of suffering ceeded to admiration, She does a- humanity, the main-spring of that acmuse us and interest us by her strong tive benevolence which she so unand lively pictures. She leads us on wearyingly exercised. And we think from incident to incident with in- it also produced much of that rigour creasing eagerness.
We float un of mind wbich is so conspicuous in thinkingly and delighted along the her works, and was no less conspitide of her narrative, mingling with cuous in her intercourse with the nuthe groups she embodies, and purtak- merous circles of which she was the ing of the distresses and sympathies ornament and the delight. She was of her characters, without ever think- not one of those writers whose characing of the end she aims at,--the im- ters are so markedly opposed to their pressing on the mind the beauty of works ; who try to draw pictures of religion, the undeviating rectitude of virtue which they themselves never a spirit truly Christian, and the conso- possessed, and feelings which they lation and support which, in the hour never shewed nor could shew in their of distress, is never distant from the own practice. She drew her pictures upright in heart. Yet, when we reach from nature, and they have much of the conclusion of her histories, and the sweetness of the original." She - look back on the scenes which her i- inculcates no precept which she had magination spread in such fresh and not herself proved and practised. She lovely colouring before us, we feel that did not, like Seneca, moralize on the it was the all-pervading principle of utility of bearing pain and privation, religion which breathed a charm over while she herself was indulging in all
, which was the only refuge to her the luxurious gratification of sensua- hervines in difficulty and distress; lity. She carefully sought for the and we are forcibly and uncontrollably suffering and the wretched, and gave impelled with the desire to go and do them all the consolation which relilikewise. We would not, indeed, en- gious charity can bestow; and the
vy. the person who could rise from pictures of distress which she has so the perusal of her tales without a vividly and feelingly drawn are cowarmer glow of religious feeling, a pied with fidelity from those with firmer purpose of upright conduct
, a which her charitable principles brought more expanded benevolence of heart, hier in contact. and .. mere markert revolting at vice • In a course of active inquiry, to and crime. We think we cannot be which her desire to promote charita
ble institntions led her, she una- every thing which is truly and obvivoidably became acquainted with ously abhorrent to human fceling, many instances of unprincipled crime; will make an immediate and strong but if she fails at all in the truth of impression ; and that every thing her delineations, it is in depicting the which touches the fair adıninistration sehemes of villany. Some of these of the laws, ought to make a lasting have an air of improbability, which, one. The temporary interest which to readers of less lively fancy, may de- has been so strongly felt, is thus stroy the charm which her fictions easily accounted for; and the pro. would otherwise wear. We think ceedings involve so many serious lethat the wild expedition to America gal principles, and suggest so many in Self-Control fully authorizes our questions of policy and expediency, remark. The whole character, in- both to the legislator and the admideed, of Hargrave is rather an over- nistrator of the laws, that it will not charged pieture of a domineering and be wonderful if they shall be found licentious passion. Lord Freilerick to possess an interest of some permade Burgh in Discipline is more true nency: Since they took place, we co nature. Of her heroines we great- have had account upon account, and ly prefer Louisa Montreville to Miss pamphlet upon pamphlet, and yet it Percy, though there is certainly a faz is by no means certain that the pubmily likeness between them, which it lic are satisfied they have had enough. is pleasant to trace in an author's The first publication is rash and works, when not too closely drawn. intemperate, without displaying much
In conclusion, we beg leave to rank talent ; but it proceeds manifestly among the admirers of Mrs Brunton; from one who had just witnessed the and ve regret that she did not live to revolting scene; and some allowance gratify the world with another display must be made for excited feelings, of her admired powers, in the come and even some credit given to the pletion of a tale which she is under- writer for possessing them. The sea stood to have left unfinished. But cond pamphlet on the saine side, if with all our admiration for her cha- not from the same author, has been racter, and notwithstanding the plea- written obviously because it was sure which we have derived from her thought it would sell, but without works, we doubt that they are scarce consideration or ability. The two ly such as will survive the present letters on the other side are as obe age. We admire them unfeignedly, yiously written with the view of givbut we think them much inferior to ing the discussion a political turn, of the tales of Miss Edgeworth, or to which it had nothing in the outset ; the Cottagers of Glenburnie. Had and for the purpose of creating a diWaverley and Rob Roy never appear, version in favour of our city executive; ed, the picture of Highland manners but they are both so virulent, and so in Discipline might have kept it afloat; utterly destitute of talent, and one of but in interest it is certainly inferior them in particular, of common sense, to Self-Control. Neither of them that they must have injured the cause shews much originality either of plot which they were meant to defend. er incident; but the interweaving of Into these wretched polemics we have engagiug narrative, with a display of no desire to enter ; but we may menthe effects of religious principle, will tion, as a curious circumstance, that make them long regarded as among the account which has made the greatthe best books of amusement which est noise, was written, as we have can be put into the hands of the been informed, by a gentleman who young.
E, E. holds political sentiments directly the
reverse of those which have been im
puted to him, and that his writing EXECUTION OF ROBERT JOHNSTON. on the subject at all arose from the
accident of being confined by indispoThe circumstances with which this sition to a room which commanded a Execution was attended have exciter complete view of the whole unhappy the public mind in a much greater and disgraceful transactions. But, degree than their importance would at being thus compelled to be a witness, first seem to warrant; but, on reflec- he found it impossible to regist being tion, we are forced to admit that also a historian ; and it was perfectly
natural that any thing which he wrote formed the roof of a building connecta at the moment should be coloured by ed with it. No criminal, however, his lacerated feelings. The most va- had yet been executed since the reluable publication which has yet apo moval of the old Tolbooth, and all peared on the subject, however, is the baildings connected with it and the Letter to the Lord. Advocate of as it was rumoured that Johnston Scotland, a tract which is written in a was to expiate his offences near the decided tone, certainly, but, in so okl place of execution, in front of the far as we can judge, in a fair spirit; library rooms belonging to the Faculand which, at the same time, displays ty of Advocates and Writers to the an extensive legal knowledge, and Signet, petitions or remonstrances considerable force of reasoning. But were made against this to the mathat our remarks may be understood, gistrates by the inhabitants of the it is necessary to give some account Lawnmarket, and by the Society of of the circumstances; in doing which, Writers ; and the measure was also however, we shall endeavour to sepa- previously objected to in the public rate opinions from facts, assuming prints; and other places for execution those to be correct which have been suggested. The gibbet, however, as specially stated by the different eye- originally intended, was fixed in or witnesses, and not denied in the statea to the west wall of St Giles's Church, ment from authority.
and the scaffold rested on that veneraJohnston, the miserable culprit, ble cathedral. The apparatus, it is was the son of parents in Edinburgh, said officially, was prepared by a skil who have always preserved a reputable ful trailesinan, and was inspected, and character. As to himself, it is under certified to be fit for its purpose by the stood, that he became what is known surveyor of public works. But, howby the term a low blackguard, occa- ever this may be, the distance between sioning much sorrow to his relations, the beam and the scaffold, which has and at last committing the crime of not been positively stated in feet and highway-robbery against Mr Charles, inch:s, was supposed by various speccandlemaker, and merchant-council- tators to be too limited, To the lor in Edinburgh. No great address scaffold, such as it was, Johnston was. appears to have been displayed by brought out on the 30th of Decein Johnston and his two accomplices, ber last, anı placed on a qundrangular Galloway and Lee, nor was the crime table, erected upon it, wluch was inaccompanied either with such aggra- tended to answer the purpose of a vated circumstances as would abso- drop. He walked from the jail, and lutely exclude the hope of mercy, or took his station on the table with firmwith such mitigating circumstances as ness and composure, paying much could point him out as a fit object for attention to a silk handkerchief, which pardon. His life, in short, was just- is said to have been the gift of a girl ly forfeited by the laws of Scotland; with whom he had lived. This handand there was nothing in his case to kerchief, when removed from his excite any unusual degree of atten- neck, he anxiously secured about his tion or commiseration. The same person ; he displayed soine reluctance remark cannot be made, however, as to allow the rope to be fixed round to the place of execution.'" Criminals his neck, and from the changing of had, at one time, been execated with his countenance, and the convulsed out the walls of the city, and not far state of his muscles, it was plain that his from St Leonard's, the situation assign- courage had given way. He gave the ed in the Tales of my Landlord for the signal for his fate, however, but residence of David Deans and his fa- through the culpable negligence of mily. At another time the place of those concerned, a minute nearly eexecution was on Leith Walk, and lapsed before the table could be forced for a long period it had been in the down, and even when that was acGrassmarket, the
widest street in Edin complished, it was observed that his burgh, and one which is now least of toes rested on the scaffold. This was a thoroughfare. For some time pre- more than human patience could well viously to the removal of the old suffer. It is quite certain, we think, JAJI, the executions took place' upon from all accounts and circumstances, an elevated platform, which communi- that there was nothing preconcerted cated with the prison, and which on the part of the multitude, nor even
a predisposition to commit any outrage. stead of doing your duty you rushed We have heard it said, indeed, that into the Tolbooth Church, you left scafsome sailors and rope-makers had a
fold ! criminal ! all! to the mercy of the pique at the hangman, from his hav- mob; you left your officers without a man ing been one of their fellow crafts
to direct thein ! without council without men ; but this is probably a mere ru- Aled, wien you had deserted your posts, a
advice-without a head, When you had mour; and all agree in this, that no gentleman who had observed the ineffec. syinpathy beyond what will always tual struggles of the malefactor to rid himbe telt for the last throes of a human self of life, sprung forward, and relieved being was felt for Johnston. But, the generous, though rude feelings the without speculating farther on the spectators, by cutting the map down ; and causes, we shall now give the results, here, I desire you to mark, (you were too first, from the Eye-witness pam- much terrified to observe it, but I insis phleteer, and secondly, from the Eye- upon your looking at it,) one of the rowitness correspondent of the Scots- blest traits of a Scottish Mob. When they mán.
obtained their end, they were satisfied. A
cry of“ No rescue,' shewed the sense the " I turned my back upon the scaffold, people of this country encertain of the suand was about to withdraw, when a person preme obligation of t e law, and there was who stood next me exclaimed, Good God! no misdrief done beyord the breaking of a the man's feet are not off the scaffold! I few panes of glass in the church, where you, turned round, and it was so! he stood Gentlemer, had taken refuge. Thus far, apon the platform! a partial compressiou Gentlemen, I saw.!'. of the wind-pipe, occasioned by the sudden jerk, insufficient to cause death, but suffis What follows is from the other cient to produce exquisite agony, convulsed Eye-witness before mentioned: his whole frame, but did not appear to have destroyed or suspended his mental powers, 66 The populace then took possession of for thrice he bent his legs upward, evidente the scaffold, cut down the unhappy man, ly on purpose to accelerate the termina- loosed the rope, and, after some time, sućton of his sufferings; still he touched the ceeded in restoring him to his senses. platform'; he made several attempts to as: 'They then endeavoured to bear him off, sist in his own strangulation, but could not and had proceeded some way down the Eucereed. During all these efforts at self- High Street, when the officers of police destruction, unutterably horrible, you, Mad (who had, in the manner above mentioned, gistrates of Edinburgh, stood passive. Are abandoned their post of duty at the scattold) chibald Campbell was the first man to call proceeded with bludgeons to assail the in out for carpenters, to try and get the wood dividuals who were about the half-dead below the table cut away. When they man, of whom they at length recovered the came they were at least ten minutes possession. smashing with axes, and could make no im “ A spectacle now presented itself which pression upon the machinery; the wretch re- equalled in borror any thing ever witnesmained conyulsed in every fibre, till the mo sed in the streets of Paris during the Retion of his limbs attracted the notice and the valution. Tie unhappy Johnston, half sympathy of the immense crowd assembled. alive, stript of part of his clothes, and his The moment they perceived the awfully shirt turned up, so that the whole of his protracted torture of the unhappy man, ode naked back and upper part of his body spontaneous burst of indignation resounded was exhibited, lay extended on the ground from the Parliament Square to the Castle Hill; in the middle of the street, in front of then followed a pause, still as the stillness of the Police Office. At last, after a consi, death, for a few seconds, but when they saw derable interval, some of the police of, the protracted throes of suffering humanity, fixers, laying hold of the unhappy man, and did not perceive any attempts to re- dragged him trailing along the ground, for lieve them, another shout arose, but it was about twenty paçes, into their den, which accompanied with expressions of indigna, is also in the old Cathedral. tion, natural to a mob when they imagine
6 Johnston remained in the Police Of. themselves neglected, especially if they have fice about half an hour, wilere he was im been pleading the cause of humanity; a mediately attended by a surgeon, and bled shower of stones aimed at the scaffold, ac in both arms, and in the temporal vein, by companied the second expression of popu. which the half suspended animation was her indignation. And what was your con: restored ; but the unfortunate man did not ducta 1 Gentlemen ? (addressing those who utter a word. In the meantime a military officiated) You deserted your posts; force arrived from the Castle, under the you. Hled for refuge, like convicted, cris direction of a Magistrate. The soldier minals, to the church as a sanctuary; in, having been ordered to loai with bill, were