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Benefits of the Bible-Class.
in the nature of things it must be moulded by the variable inclinations and habits of those who use it. Nor can we deny that its operation is not always in harmony with our ideal. These classes are, in fact, often failures; they often drag on a wearisome existence; they are often conducted by those who do not seem to be conscious of half the power in their hands; they are in many cases unable to make good their claims against their more noisy and demonstrative rivals; and occasionally they suffer from being abandoned by the ministry to other and sometimes, though not always, incompetent hands. But there are multitudes of instances of success without these deductions; and where they have no success, they fail, as the best instrument may fail, through lack of energy in the hand that wields it. This humble appendage to the pulpit is doing a good work, and might do it much more extensively. It is because we have this conviction that we so earnestly recommend it to those who are setting out on the bright morning of their usefulness, as itself a hid treasure which they would do well to make their own. We cannot do wrong to urge upon their attention any agency that may make the Bible a more living power in their hands, and augment the influence of the Scriptures upon society. And the Bible-class is thoroughly adapted to this end. It is, therefore, an institute, so far as it works, of unmingled good. It helps to keep the Word of God habitually before the minds of the young, whose early training will mould the future Church, and not lightly affect the destinies of society. It supplies the Minister with a subordinate incentive to diligence in the study of the Word of God. It does much to bind together pastors and people; for a Minister who has the young around him effectually secures the hearts of all. It helps to strengthen the alliance, which never can be broken without danger, between the ministerial teacher and other teachers subordinate to himself. For these reasons, bearing on the prosperity of the Christian Church, we recommend the more general and systematic organization of Bibleclasses. In our own more special capacity, we wish them success as our auxiliaries in stemming the tide of a literature the waters whereof unceasingly cast up mire and dirt, and in encouraging a taste for the best of all literature, that which sanctifies the Bible in its heart, and which the Bible sanctifies.
ART. VIII.-North America. By ANTHONY TROLLOPE. Two Volumes. London: Chapman and Hall.
THIS is a book which only a clever man could have written; and yet it is only a clever book. It is lively, graphic, spirited, shrewd. It contains much information which is not always new, not often carefully sifted, by no means well-arranged, and therefore of only limited practical value. It reflects its author's genial nature, and its pleasant pages will tend to promote mirth and good digestion. But it is a slight, not to say a slovenly, book; without a definite plan, and with no lack of errors, repetitions, and self-contradictions. Conclusions are frequently drawn from mere passing events, such as are well enough suited to the columns of a daily paper, where they live for twenty-four hours, and are conveniently obliterated by the next issue, but which are absurd in an octavo volume. As may be supposed, the facts are old already, and many of the conclusions were falsified as soon as printed. Besides, in a book of travels we do not want conclusions, and reflections, and long-sighted prophecies, and strains of lamentation. Mr. Trollope very properly says that his duty is to be entertaining; and then, straightway forgetting his duty, he falls into political homiletics. When we take up Barchester Towers or Framley Parsonage, we surrender ourselves to the enchanter; but we rebel against his decisions in political philosophy. Every man to his avowed calling. He may declare that he has two callings, or three, or many, and that he is equally expert in them all; but the world I will not believe him. Our popular novelist may be exceptionally endowed, and may be able to pronounce determinately upon every subject that comes before him, from the founding of a kingdom to the decoration of a cornice; but human nature is weak and sceptical.
However, here the volumes are; needlessly bulky, perhaps, but very welcome, in spite of their faults. So many books of this kind come into the world which were never intended to be printed, and only see the light at the urgent, and importunate, and, indeed, not-to-be-resisted, solicitation of friends, that it is quite refreshing to meet with the bold avowal that the author
went abroad for the very purpose, and no other, of writing the book which he puts into your hands. Still more rare is it to find a man who speaks of literature in plain terms as his profession; and refers to his connexion with it, without simpering or making his page blush by proxy. We wish, however, that the same independence had been shown throughout. There is too much evidence of a desire to please the Americans—that is to say, the Federal Americans. It may have been a very natural wish on the part of the son to efface the impression which the keen-witted volumes of the mother many years ago created; but the bias is too evident. It is only justice to Mr. Trollope, however, to say that his candour does occasionally get the better of him; and, after trying hard to see everything American of a pure rose-colour, he reluctantly admits that some facts overpower the delicate medium, and are quite intractable.
Mr. Trollope might have dealt more fairly, not to say liberally, with Canada. He can devote a chapter a-piece to many of the American cities, but a single page suffices for the picturesque old capital of Quebec; and Montreal, in some respects the finest city on the whole continent, is dismissed in a couple of lines. It is true that the lumber-trade is 'very monotonous,' and that the name is not engaging;' but these are not very profound remarks to make on a trade that is second in importance in the colony, and is worth some six millions a year. Then, although the corn-lands of the West occupy pages of description, a passing remark is all that is vouchsafed to the equally fertile acres and splendid capabilities of Upper Canada. Mr. Trollope, judging solely by the respective increase of population, thinks that Canada is making very poor progress in comparison with the States. But this is by no means conclusive. Every census shows an enormous increase in the Canadian population-an increase quite rapid enough for safety. Toronto, in 1830, contained 3,000 inhabitants; the number is now 55,000. Hamilton, in 1836, contained 3,000 inhabitants; it now numbers more than 25,000. Ottawa, in 1830, contained about 900 inhabitants; it now numbers 15,000. Montreal has trebled its population in thirty years, and now has 85,000 inhabitants. Even Quebec has more than doubled its population within the same time. These figures may serve as an index to the increase of the smaller towns, and of the country generally. It is true they will not compare with
those of some of the western cities, as Chicago, Cincinnati, and St. Louis; but numbers do not necessarily constitute strength, and an increase may be too rapid. The northern and western States have been fed by an enormous influx of foreigners. Every nation under heaven contributes its quota. Our author himself tells us more than once that New York contains more Germans than any city of the fatherland, except Berlin and Vienna, and more Irishmen than most Irish towns. In St. Louis, one-third of the whole population is Irish or German; and this is, more or less, true of every city in the Union. These numbers are too large to be properly digested and assimilated; and the foreign element is obviously in excess. We see the result in the weakness of the political fabric, in the dissensious which not even the presence of an overwhelming calamity can appease, and in the lack of enthusiasm for the national cause. In the South, where there has been no such foreign intrusion, there is, at any rate, the strength of unity, and its value is felt more and more at every step of this fearful struggle. So long as the population of Canada shows a healthy increase, we are disposed to be even better satisfied with it than with the unnatural growth of the cities of the Republic.
Mr. Trollope thinks the position of Canada, as a dependency of Great Britain, unfavourable to its rapid development, and conceives that its energies are cramped by such a relationship; but, like every one else, he testifies the loyalty of the people to the mother country. It is clear that the party who ten years ago clamoured loudly for annexation to the States, has lost all influence; and that now there is not only attachment to Great Britain on the one side, but a strong antipathy to the States on the other. He says, further, that a great change has come over the American mind; that no saue man now thinks annexation possible; and that, whatever projects may have been at one time entertained, the idea is now dismissed altogether. We should certainly like some better authority for the assertion; nevertheless, events have shown that the danger is not so great as was supposed, and afford some explanation of the apparent indifference of the colonists in the matter of self-defence. The day is perhaps distant when these colonists will seek for independence; but Mr. Trollope believes that, whenever the time may come, it will be impossible for them to stand alone; he is in favour of their
North, and South, and West.
237 union with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia; and further concludes, that, as a republican form of government will never answer for these United Provinces, they must be formed into a constitutional kingdom, with one of our own princes at its head. Having settled all this satisfactorily, he crosses over into the States, and plunges at once into the deep and very dirty water of American politics.
The English people have never felt much interest in the strife of parties across the Atlantic, and have looked in some perplexity upon the many factions which have torn the Republic, 'one and indivisible.' Certainly they had not the slightest idea of the fierceness of the dissension. The antagonism between North and South was everywhere known; but that it was so formidable as to lead to separation between the two, was not even suspected. Even after Mr. Lincoln's election as President, the threats of the South were considered here as idle; and it was not until the first blow was struck at Fort Sumter, that we clearly understood that a final severance was made. It was some time later that the existence of serious differences between the North and the West became known,-differences so serious that in all probability they will result in a further separation at some future day. The population of the Western States is already nearly equal to that of the North; and, as it increases at a much greater ratio, a few years will change the relative positions of the two. The Western States are agricultural; the Northern States are chiefly manufacturing. The Western men are ardent free-traders, but, not being in power, submit to an opposite policy with much bitterness; the Northern men are rank protectionists, and abuse their power to pass one tariff after another, each more monstrous than the last. The Western States have been the stronghold of the abolitionists (though there are now symptoms of a change of feeling); the Northern States are only half-hearted in the matter, and many of them are not even that,-they may detest slavery, but they detest the slave far more. The differences between the two sections thus lie, not in mere secondary matters, but in essentials; and their interests are as evidently diverse, and must clash. Contrary to what might have been expected, the West has shown the greatest enthusiasm for the war, the character of the recruiting being the best evidence. The Northern volunteers contained a large proportion of riff-raff,-the scum and refuse of the large towns,