Abbildungen der Seite

refine it. The larger and more varied the “ European States." We will leave Mr number of readers, the greater becomes the Seward to settle with his Radical countrypecessity of consulting average tastes. This men as to the effect of the war upon slavery, is, we think, the main cause why most of and with President Johnson as to the possithe popular fiction of the present day is so bilities of disunion ; but after the experiintensely commonplace in its general tone ence of the past summer we are not so san

why it so studiously avoids whatever bor- guine as as to suppose that the new method ders on the heroic. The noblest novel that of communication will have much more our generation has yet seen, Romola, is by influence upon Englishmen's knowledge of no means popular; we might almost say America than the existence of a telegraph that it is unpopular, considering its author's between Dover and Calais has had upon commanding reputation. And in Felix their knowledge of the Continent. Mr. Holt the same great writer has no doubt Reuter is an extremely useful person, but sacrificed popularity in presenting a hero the only contribution he has yet made to for whom the money-making, pushing the cause of political education consists in “gigmanity” of this age has so little sym- the mental exercise that is occasionally propathy. But although contemporaneous fic- vided by the difficulty of making sense of tion is so far obliged to abdicate its proper his telegrams. functions and refrain from working counter The truth is that people who wish to to national prejudice, it may still claim the moralize on the success of the Atlantic cacredit of reflecting the healthiest and heart- ble seem persistently to go to to work at the iest aspects of the national character; for wrong end of the story. The lessons to be the sensational trash which is just now all learnt from it have regard, not to the consethe

rage seems only an excresence which will quences, but to the causes of that success. pass away as suddenly as it appeared. And Probably public affairs may for a long time the present practical age scarcely does suf- to come goon, both in England and America, ficient justice to the beneficial influence without any perceptible variation from the which fiction, even when it works only at course they would have taken if the expedithe average level, may exercise upon the tion of 1866 had been as unfortunate as that national mind.

of 1865. But if we never get anything more from the promoters of the Atlantic Telegraph than the daily quotations of the price of gold at New York, with which the eager politician is as yet obliged to content

himself, we should still be greatly indebted From the Saturday Review.

to them for the admirable example of per

severance that has been exhibited by all THE RECOVERY OF THE ATLANTIC concerned. The recovery of the cable of CABLE.

1865 is in this respect even more interest

ing than the triumphant laying of its sucMr. Seward's message to Mr. Cyrus cessor. We have never read a narrative Field may be taken, we trust, as the which brought out more prominently the last political moral which will be drawn best features of commercial enterprise than from the laying of the Atlantic cable. the account which was published last TuesAt any other time it would be hard to see day. From the day on which the expedithe reason of such a very obvious misstate- tion left the harbour of Heart's Content to ment as that the existence of telegraphic the day on which the Great Eastern began intercourse between Europe and America in once more to pay out the cable which she 1861 would have enabled us to foresee the had parted company with the year before, issue of a war which was not finally decided the history of the voyage is an unbroken till four years later. But, in the present po- record of wisely directed energy, acting for sition of American politics, every occasion the most part in the teeth of the most un. is naturally seized for giving expression to favourable circumstances. The ships startwhat the speaker considers a telling bit of ed from Heart's Content on Thursday, Auclaptrap; and the arrival of the Great Eas- gust the 9th, and found themselves immeditern in Newfoundland supplied the Secretary ately in the midst of one of those dense of State with an opportunity which he was Newfoundland fogs that scarcely allow the not the man to let slip. The " error of sup- sailor to see more than a foot beyond the posing that civil war in America could vessel's bow. By Sunday, the 12th, they either perpetuate African slavery or divide had reached the scene of their labours, but the Republic” is not, however, confined to the weather had changed, and a strong western gale was raising waves “ at least since the ship had passed over the cable twenty-five feet in height from hollow to during the night without hooking it. On crest.”. Two days later, the wind had gone the 27th fortune was a little kinder. A down, but only to be succeeded by a calm piece of the cable which had þeen cut off almost equally unsuited to the work that had from the grapnel before buoying it on the to be done. At length, however, on Thurs- preceding day was hooked and successfully day the 16th, the cable was reported hooked, landed on the deck of the Great Eastern. and the process of heaving in the grapnel This success was of but little value in itself, commenced. A pause was made during but it served to establish the important fact the night, but by half-past ten the next that a year's submersion had not injured the morning only fifteen fathoms of the chain cable in the smallest degree, even the guitaremained to be lifted. The next quarter of percha coating heing “as new in appearance an hour was perhaps the most exciting of as when it left the manufactory.” Meanthe whole undertaking. It was exactly one while, however, the eight days which Capyear since the Great Eastern had stopped tain Anderson had calculated would be off Crookhaven, and the despatch giving enough for the task that lay before him had the details of the failure and the reasons long expired, the consorts of the Great Easfor anticipating an eventual success had tern were running short of provisions, and been sent on shore. Notwithstanding the the Terrible had to leave for St. Johns. On sceptism which this prediction called forth, the 29th it was determined to give up any the promoters of the enterprise bad kept to further attempts at that point, and to run their point, and now what they had insisted a hundred miles to the eastward, with the upon as a possibility seemed on the eve of view of recommencing operations in shalbecoming an accomplished fact. The bows lower water. By Friday, the 31st, the Great of the Great Eastern were crowded with Eastern was over the 1,600 fathom patch,”. anxious spectators, and at a quarter to and on Saturday the grapnel was lowered for eleven the cable of 1865 rose above the the fiftieth time. The sea was perfectly surface. One half of it was covered with calm, and all on board were impressed with a fine white ooze, soft as putty and full of a consciousness that if they failed this time minute shells; the other half, which had there was little chance of doing anything never been imbeded, showed its tarred sur- during the present season. Happily, howface absolutely unchanged from what it had ever, their experience of ill luck was at an been when lowered twelve months before. end. From four in the afternoon, when the Professor Thomson calculated that nine process of hauling in began, everything miles of cable were suspended by the grap- went forward with unbroken regularity and nel, each half of the curve from the angle smoothness, and by midnight the bows of formed by the grapnel to the point where the ship were once more thronged in anticithe cable touched the bottoın being four pation of the critical moment. Precisely at miles and a half long. There was but little ten minutes to one, on the morning of Suntime, however, in which to make observa- day, September the 2nd, the cable once tions, for before the cheers which welcomed more appeared above the water, but the its appearance had died away the cable had recollection of the disappointment a fortparted from the grapnel, and all the trouble night before checked all display of enthusihad gone for nothing. After such a disap- asm, and “ the men scarcely spoke above pointment as this, we can hardly wonder their breath.” It took some time longer to that the ship's company never altogether secure the cable and pass it down to the recovered their first spirits, and that the chief electrician's room, and it was not till final success was achieved in the midst of a the latter gentleman had reported that comsilence which told of men who were almost munication was re-established with Valentia afraid to hope.

that the unnatural strain upon all present The next fortnight offers little else than a was at an end, and shouts and rockets anchronicle of disaster. The cable was caught nounced to the attendant vessels that the on the 19th, but the weather had again be- principle object of the expedition had been come so threatening that no progress could attained. be made in hauling it in. No further at- We fear it is but a partial compensation tempt was made till the 22nd, and then the to the shareholders of the Atlantic Telegraph grapnel only brought up a “ piece of gran- Company for the depreciation of their propite-like stone." Saturday, the 25th, was erty, that the failure of last year has been spent in repairing the ropes, but in the even- the means of giving so much additional ing the grapnel was again lowered. The brilliancy to the triumph of this year. There next day saw only fresh discouragement, can be no question, however, that the re

[ocr errors]

covery of the old cable was in all respects as of Mr. Mozley, he possesses the sort of mind
more remarkable achievement than the lay- which is exuberant in starting new lines of
ing of the new one. The latter might have thought, facile and successful in working
been the result of pre-eminent good luck; them out to their penultimate or almost pe-
the former was from first to last a singular nultimate issues, and is then
example of scientific foresight, and of the

Infelix operis summa quia ponere totum adaptation of means to ends. Few under

Nesciet takings can show so careful a study of the necessary conditions of success on the part But, whatever be the reason, there is someof everybody concerned ; few have exacted thing about this volume that is inconceivmore entire confidence froin their promoters, ably tantalizing to the reader. Pages peror made so large a return for the concession. petually occur full of clear bright thought, We should be tempted to draw the inevit- written with a solid, restrained, compressed, able moral of the superiority of private over logical eloquence that leads one captive public enterprise, and to compare the history whether one will or not; and then perhaps of this Atlantic cable with some recent a broad prairie of tangled intellectual thicknaval experiences, if it were not for one et — thoughts started, followed out over human imperfection which serves to bring three-quarters of their course, and then let this great instance of commercial heroism a drop - which gives one the feeling that the little nearer our common level. The small author has all but mastered his materials, ness of the results that have hitherto been and that, if just the finishing stroke had obtained from the opening of the telegraph been put to the work, it would bave been is due, it seems, to the absence of any proper something nearly perfect of its kind. The communication between Newfoundland and very order of the Lectures is confusing; and the Continent. Since last year the wires it is the more annoying when the natural between those points have got out of work- order presented by the subject seems siming order, and consequently there is a very plicity itself. The possibility of miracles considerable delay in the transmission of|(i.e. the answer to all objections à priori), messages to and from the United States the probability of those of the Bible, and, It seems scarcely credible that, with the finally, the positive evidence of their occurfull knowledge that the attempt to lay a as matters of fact, make up cable across the Atlantic would be renewed time-honoured and, we think, a tolerably this summer, this necessary link in the chain exhaustive line of argument. It is difficult should bave been suffered to go to decay; to find anything worth saying on the subject and the only consolation to be drawn from which might not readily come under one or the circumstance is, that as Companies are other of these heads. On the other hand, sometimes not much wiser than Govern- one does not see what a reader new to the ments, Governments may in time come to be subject is likely to make out of a string of not much more foolish than Companies. essays headed — 1. Miracles necessary for

a Revelation. 2. Order of Nature. 3. Influence of the Imagination in Belief. 4. Belief in a God. 5. Testimony. 6. Unknown Law. 7. Miracles regarded in their

Practical Result. 8. False Miracles. " Let From the Saturday Review. not your good be evil spoken of,” applies as

much to literary as to moral working, and MOZLEY ON MIRACLES.*

Mr. Mozley will have discovered the fact

before now. We think this book will live; were it pot criticism with a sneer that this logical writer

A keen writer has edged a one of the series of Bampton Lectures, we should add, it will live to be rewritten. has attempted to show their possibility; im

asserts the necessity of miracles before he Possibly it arises from the cramping effect of the Bampton regulations, under which plying that the orthodox argument, feeling whatever a writer has to say must be ar- ards, accepts miracles as a sort of necessary

that it must have a Revelation at all hazranged in just eight lectures, peither less nor more; or possibly, as we rather think evil

, in ordine ad spiritualia, as Bellarmine we gathered from one or two former works The sneer is nothing more than a sneer, as

says of certain other temporal accidents. * Eight Lectures on Miracles, preached before the Mr. Mozley incidenially shows more than Unirersity of Oxford at the Bampton Lecture in the once; but it is a grave inistake to have laid Year 1805. By J. B. Mozler, B. D., Vicar of Old himself open to it, and this is very far from Shoreham, late Fellow of Magdalen College. London: Rivingtons. 1805.

being a solitary example in his pages.


[ocr errors]

To ourselves the question has always ap- of eternal health and life impinges upon peared as simple as a matter can be wbich that of a world of sickness and death? This involves at least one element as yet beyond is only, after all, a development of a senour power of exact comprehension. The tence of Bishop Butler: - “ There may be only difficulty, to a believer in a personal beings in the universe whose capacities and God, seems to arise from a fallacy in the use knowledge and views may be so extensive of the word world. We are accustomed to as that the whole Christian dispensation may see it and speak of it as one world, and hence to them appear natural, i.e. analogous or we look upon its laws as one and uniform conformable to God's dealings with other for all its inhabitants, animate and inani- parts of His creation ; as natural as the visimate. The truth is that we live, if we may ble known course of things appears to us.” 80 speak, in a multitude of worlds. The old Mr. Mozley quotes the sentence, and works nomenclature which spoke of the inorganic it out much as we have done, only in two world, the vegetable world, the animal passages so widely severed as the third world, &c., had a real substratum of good Lecture and the sixth. In the former he sense in it. These are really as separate says : worlds as if they were located in separate spberes, instead of existing side by side on

The record which this earth gives of itself this one earth on which we see them all in shows that, after a succession of stages and pe

riods of vegetable and animal change, a new operation together. They have some laws

being made his appearance in nature. Those in common that of gravitation, for in- who profess to trace the bodily frame of man to. stance; but each has others peculiar to it- a common animal source still admit that the self; and what are the rules of ordinary life rational and moral being, man, is separated from to one are, in a very definite sense, miracles all other animal natures by a chasm in the chain to those beneath it. What is an ordinary of causation, which cannot be filled up : and that function of life to a tree is impossible to a even if such a transition is only conceived as a stone; what is the commonest action to an leap from a lower to a higher level in the same animal is impossible to a tree. And if we

species, such a leap is only another word for an inexplicable mystery::

The first appeargo on to the higher stages of animal being

ance of man in nature was the appearance of a - to the rational life of man, and the super, new being in nature, and this fact was, relativenatural life of the spiritual man, a life shared ly to the then order of things, miraculous; no in some small degree by “partakers of the more physical account can be given of it than Divine nature" here, but in its fulness only could be given of a resurrection to life now. to be developed in a higher stage of exist- What more entirely new and eccentric fact, in

the same rule holds. What is the deed, can be imagined than a human soul first riscommon way of life to the higher is, when it ing up amidst an animal and a vegetable world? happens, a miracle in the lower. In this

Mere consciousness - was not ihat of itself a view, the events which we commonly call new world within the old one ? Mere knowl

- that nature herself became known to a miracles are simply interventions of the law edge

being within herself - was not that the same? of a higher life in that of a lower, just as the The sun rose and the sun descended, the law of a man's being interferes with that of stars looked down upon the earth, the moun. a stone's when he gives it a kick, and com- tains climbed to heaven, the cliffs stood upon the municates to it for the moment a power shore, the same as now, countless ages before a which to it, left to itself, is impossible. And single being existed who saw it. The counterit is worth remarking how entirely the mir- part of this whole scene was wanting - the unacles of the New Testament fall in with derstanding mind; that mirror in which the what we have just been saying. The re- it was a new birth for creation itself that it be

whole was to be reflected ; and when this arose, moval of disease, the making man indepen

came known

an image in the mind of a condent of ordinary supplies of food, the renewal scious being. But even consciousness and of life — what are all these but the laws of knowledge were a less strange and miraculous the higher being, of which they are the fa- introduction into the world than conscience. miliar attributes, interfering in single in- Thus wholly mysterious in his entrance into stances with the ordinary life of the lower - this scene, man is now an insulation in it; he examples in the highest form of life of what came in by no physical law, and his freewill is familiarly happens in its lower ones ? A in utter contrast to that law. What can be man or a horse makes the law of his being

more incomprehensible, more heterogeneous, impinge upon that of a stone when he gives of right and wrong?

a more ghostly resident in nature than the sense

But man's situit a kick, and no doubt the stone would ation in nature being such, his original entrance think it a miracle, if it were equal to the a miracle, his sojourn an interpolation in the operation of thinking at all; what more is it physical system, a world within a world (save in degree) when the law of a world | life of consciousness, free-will, conscience, rea


To a person

son, communion with God, sense of immortality, Head ; man is her highest point; he finishes her insulated as an anomaly in the midst of matter ascent; though by this very supremacy he falls, and material law; is it otherwise than in accord for under fate he is not free himself; all nature ance with this great fact that the Divine meth- either ascends to God or descends to law. Is od of training and educating this creature there above the level of material causes a region should be marked by distinctive and anomalous of Providence? If there is, nature there is features ?

These Divine acts are moved by the Supreme Free Agent; and of concerned with the education of man, his instruc- such a realm a miracle is the natural production. tion, the revelation of important truths to him and his whole preparation and training for We bave quoted these two passages at another world; but, this being the case, what length, because, taken together, they appear does such a dispensation of miracles amount to to us to supply the simple rationale of mirbut this, that the education of man has been acles to all who believe in a personal God conducted by communications with the mysterious fountain-head of his being, with the same

- a God with a will. In another place Mr. extraordinary agency wbich provided his first Mozley says:- “ It is indeed avowed by entrance into the world ?

those wbo reduce man in common with mat

ter to law, and abolish bis insulation in paIn the latter passage he carries on the argu- the objection to the miraculous is over, and

ture, that upon the admission of free-will ment thus:

that it is absurd to allow exception to law The constitution of nature, then, disproves the in man, and reject it in nature.” He should incredibility of the Divine suspension of physi- have quoted some authority for this avowal, cal law; but, more than this, it creates a pre- though (whether any particular writer has sumption for it. For the laws of which we confessed the fact or not) we take the statehave experience are themselves in an ascending ment to be unquestionably true, and the scale. First come the laws which regulate whole question is thus limited to one simple unorganized matter; next, the laws of vegeta- issue. If man has free-will, he performs uption; then, by an enormous leap, the laws of on.creatures living under a lower law actions animal life with its voluntary motion, desire, which (though quite matters of course to laws of moral being which regulate a totally him) are miracles to them; if God has freediffurent order of creatures. Now suppose an will, He does the same to man. intelligent being whose experience was limited who denies free-will to man, or makes the to one or more lower classes in this ascending Divine Being to be either equivalent to law, scale of laws — he would be totally incapable of or the subject of law, of course miracles are conceiving the action of the higher classes. A à priori impossible. And to this aspect the thinking piece of granite would be totally incap- course of modern controversy is rapidly narable of conceiving the action of chemical laws, rowing the question. which produce explosions, contacts, repulsions. A thinking mineral would be totally incapable

That the Scripture miracles have nothing of conceiving the laws of vegetable growth ; a thinking vegetable could not form an idea of to fear from hence, Mr. Mozley abundantly moral and intellectual truth. All this progres

shows in passages for which we have no sive succession of laws is perfectly conceivable space. And he is felicitous also in sweeping backward, and an absolute mystery forward ; away those inconvenient encumbrances of and therefore when in the ascending series we a controversy — the half-and-half adherents arrive at man, we ask, Is there no higher sphere of either side. This particular question is of law, as much above him as he is above the more than ordinarily hampered with impedlower narures in the scale ?

The analogy iments of the sort. On the one hand, there would lead us to expect that there was, and

are those who wish to get rid of miracles supplies a presumption in favour of such a

(some for intellectual, some for moral reabelief.

And so we arrive again by another route at sons),but who linch from a thoroughgoing the old turning question, for the question denial of the miraculous. On the other whether man is or is not the vertex of nature is hand, there are those who do not wish to the question whether there is or is not a God. disbelieve, who perhaps are fairly impartial Does free agency stop at the human stage, or is on the subject, but who do not see the anthere a sphere of free-will above the human, in swer to Hume's celebrated objection from which, as in the human, not physical law but experience,” or to the new shape it has latespirit moves matter ?. And does that free-will ly assumed as “ the inductive principle ;” and penetrate the universal frame invisibly to us, an there are those again, like Renan and some omnipresent agent? If so, every miracle in Scripture is as natural an event in the universe others nearer home, whose intense realizaas any chemical experiment in the physical tion of (more especially) the history of our worla; if not, the seat of the great Presiding Lord gives them a sort of feeling that the Will is empty, and nature has no Personai | miraculous part might be omitted without

« ZurückWeiter »