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are not like Irish. Their natural character is different. English cottiers and small holders of land, where they are still found, are the most industrious and independent of our population, and in every way to be encouraged. By this plan I am persuaded that besides the employment given to thousands of families, it would probably be found that a very considerable income would accrue to the Government. Much land now covered with woods and forests might perhaps with greater advantage be turned into arable and pasture land ; and if it were thought desirable to maintain as much wood and forest land as at present for the sake of the timber, an inferior sort of soil would, in many cases, do as well for that purpose. Then there are many other great works of improvement that might be undertaken, as the draining of morasses, reclaiming estuaries : advantage should be taken of every place in which labour might be expended profitably, or at least without loss. Thus, in a multitude of ways might employment and subsistence be found for a large population ; villages, and towns would speedily spring up, and it is probable, a rental would accrue to Government, which would greatly relieve the taxes of the country. It is not improbable that many of these works might be undertaken by capitalists and speculators, and so the multitudes of workmen now employed on railroads, might be gradually settled down in these newly cultivated lands. If not somehow disposed of, so that they shall be enabled to get an honest living, they will, it is to be feared, be a sad burtben to the country, as soon as the railroads on which they are now employed shall have been completed.
It is easy, as we shall doubtless be reminded, to set down plans on paper, but not so easy to bring them into effect. However, the long and short of it is that the great desideratum for the country is to find subsistence for the people. Relief from the poor rates is most fitting for the maintenance of the sick and aged. Profitable labour, and honest independence-a fair day's wages for a fair day's work—that is what the able-bodied workman is anxious to obtain, and what in every possible way should be provided for him. And this must be done not by any sweeping theory or general scheme, but by a variety of means which the poor are not able to devise for themselves, and therefore which Government must set on foot for them, unless they would have the land overspread with swarms of unemployed labourers, and subject the country to all the inconveniences and danger which such a state of things gives rise to.
But after all we shall never place the country in a condition of safety, or do our duty to the poor, unless we do far more than has yet been done to improve their moral and religious condition. It may safely be laid down as an axiom, that if you make men Christians, you make them happy and prosperous; and the corollary also is true that while they are not Christians, they will be unhappy and ill-conditioned. Suffering and privation will make them turbulent and discontented. Prosperity and high wages will only render them wasteful and intemperate. The safety and peace of the country, do not depend only on physical, but still more on moral causes. We admit that great efforts have been made, in the way of building schools and churches ; but still the exertions of the nation have been infinitely less than the exigencies of the times require. On this subject, as on the former, some have entertained the absurd and mischievous notion that things will right themselves, that the education and religious instruction of the people is to be provided by voluntary and local efforts. But as the frequent want of employment, and consequent suffering of the poor proves the fallacy of this notion in regard to temporal affairs; so the ungodliness which so lamentably abounds, and the absence of the means of religious instruction in so many places, shows demonstrably, that it is altogether a false policy to leave a population to itself in religious matters. It has become abundantly evident that the local and voluntary efforts of individuals, are altogether insufficient for supplying the moral and religious wants of the people.
It is a great national affair and Government must assist largely in doing it, or it will not be done at all. There can be no doubt that we have come to a great crisis in our history. Large bodies of our people are demoralized, disaffected, and often unemployed. Unless we take effective measures to find them employment and wages, and not only that, but unless we soothe their embittered temper, and train them up in a more Christian spirit, a great catastrophe will happen. God has brought us through many difficulties, and may yet avert this; but His aid is given to a nation as well as to individuals in proportion to the exertions which we make for ourselves. Let us only do our duty, and hope for the best.
[The importance of the subject treated of in the above articles will be re. garded, by our readers, as an ample apology for the space which we have devoted to them. To have lost an opportunity such as is now afforded for the inculcation of sound and healthy sentiments would have been unpardonable, and therefore, we hope, that our readers will excuse us for having gone somewhat out of our usual track. The crisis is indeed a fearful one, and all lovers of order, and obedience to the powers that be are called upon to exert them. selves to the utmost.
The articles will be published in a separate shape, and are intended to form the commencement of a Series of "Anti-Revolutionary Tracts,” the object of which will be to furnish an antidote to the anarchical tendencies of the present times. WE TRUST OUR READERS WILL ASSIST US IN PROMOTING THEIR CIRCULATION. If our first two numbers should be thought useful for the purpose intend. ed, we propose to follow them up, with various others, some of them shORTER AND ADDRESSED MORE DIRECTLY TO THE LOWER CLASSES. We should also be happy to receive suggestions on the subject from any of our readers.-ED.)
THE DEAD IN CHRIST.
"And we also bless Thy holy name for all thy servants departed this life
in Thy faith and fear.”-COMMUNION.
THE LIFE OF ALCUIN.
(Continued from p. 196.) IN Alcuin's time, a controversy arose about the worship of images in Churches. It was during the two years that he passed in England, that Charlemagne had sent over to him a book which had been forwarded from the East, and which contained the decrees of a Council, known in ecclesiastical history as the Second Council of Nice (A.D. 787), in favour of the religious adoration of images. This decree, though sanctioned by the Pope, the Bishops of the English Church were unanimous in condemning, and declaring the doctrine one, which “the Church of God holds accursed,” they engaged Alcuin to write in their name to Charlemagne against it. This he did, and so strong were the arguments which he used to prove that the worship of images was inconsistent with the doctrines of Scripture, and the authority of the Fathers, that he effectually engaged Charlemagne to check it. He summoned a Council at Frankfort (A.D. 794), at which three hundred Bishops, including those from Britain, attended, and the decrees of the pretended General Council of Nice were rejected, despised, and condemned.” The synod at Frankfort, as it has been well observed, remains a monument of a noble stand in defence of the ancient religion in which the Church of England had an honourable share.
Alcuin being about sixty years of age, was desirous of spending his latter days in entire seclusion from the world, and he then formed the resolution of returning to his native country, that he might revisit the thoughtful cloisters of the monastery of York. The intelligence of new troubles in the kingdom of Northumbria and of the murder of King Ethelred, however, diverted him from this project; but persisting in his intention of living in solitude, he demanded the permission of his royal patron to retire to Fulda.* To this Charlemagne would not consent, as the arrangement would deprive him of the society of his favourite instructor; but shortly afterwards he gave him the Abbey of S. Martin's, at Tours, with the permission to pass as much of his time as he liked within its walls.
Having retired to Tours, Alcuin hardly ever quitted his monastery, and there continued the course of pious actions, in the formance of which he had passed the whole of the former part of his life. He there established a school, which became one of the most eminent in France, and founded a library, to obtain books for which he sent a mission to England. On this occasion he * A monastery in Germany, founded by Boniface in A.D. 747, of which
Sturm was first Abbot.
wrote thus to Charlemagne, contrasting the literary stores amongst wbich he had been bred, with the barrenness of France. "I here feel severely the want of those invaluable books of scholastic erudition which I had in my own country, by the kind and most affectionate industry of my good master, Archbishop Egbert, and also in some measure by my own humble labours. Let your Excellency give me permission, and I will send over some of my pupils here, who shall copy out, and bring over into France, the Aowers of the libraries in Britain, that there may be not only an enclosed garden at York, but plants of Paradise at Tours also. In the morning of my life, I sowed the seeds of learning in my native land; now in the evening, though my blood is not so quick as it was, I spare not to do my best to sow the same seeds in France; and I trust that, with God's grace, they will prosper well in both countries."*
It was during his retirement at Tours, that Alcuin composed the greater part of those learned works which have since made his name so famous. Of these, the Epistles form the most interesting portion, both from the information which they convey of bis life and character, and for the light which they throw upon contemporary history. Alcuin was also a poet. The principal pieces which he wrote are "An Elegy on the Destruction of Lindisfarne," and “A Poem on the Church of York,” which last is a description of that city, at that time one of the most frequented commercial towus in England, together with an account of the Bishops and Saints of that Church. I have already mentioned Alcuin's theological writings, which consisted of Commentaries on the Scriptures, one of which,“ Questions and Answers on the book of Genesis," was translated into Anglo-Saxon, and from the numerous manuscripts of this version which remain, we may conclude it to have been a popular work.
This treatise, which was composed by Alcuin during his first residence at the French court, and in the midst of secular cares and occupations is dedicated to his pupil and friend, Sigulf. The preface is to the following effect:t-"As thou, my dearest brother, hast so long been my inseparable and faithful companion, and as I know with what ardour thou studiest the Holy Scriptures, I have collected and dedicated to thee a few questions upon the book of Genesis, which I remember thou hast at different times proposed to me. I have done this that thou mayest always have at hand a means of refreshing thy memory, which often loses that which it should retain, if we do not preserve those things which we desire to remember in writing. This is especially the case with us, whose thoughts are distracted by temporal business, and who are frequently exhausted by the fatigue of long journeys. As we cannot
* Churton's Early English Church.