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THE BLACK COUNTRY. Observers think they see a strong tendency cords the impressions of an intelligent and towards secularism, - a creed that if adopted well informed American, with regard to an would pulverize existing society, which, with important district in the centre of which he all its faults, is not based on the theory of has been for many years a resident, and it securing the greatest comfort in this world; contains a mass of interesting information, - but let us imagine that history is true, most of which was carefully collected for an that men will not live without a religious official object, and may, we think, be enbelief, and that the belief will probably have tirely relied upon. Mr. Burritt has seen some connection with the root faith of the more of the mother country than most Englast few centuries, be, in fact, a new form lishmen. He has taken his staff in his of Christianity. How great, — let rectors hand, and performed loving pilgrimages to say, — would be the change produced by a many a notable shrine unheeded by the railgeneral inpression that we ought to live as way traveller. He has looked with eager Christ lived, or as He said we ought to live, eyes and with generous affection upon spots to take His teaching as it stands, and not immortalized in song or history, and he has as the learned have for a few centuries de- also traversed with patient assiduity the byclared that He meant it to stand ? How ways of the country, and is probably as would wealth and poverty face each other familiar with our rural life and manners as then? Or suppose the enthusiasm of bu- with our arts and manufactures. Mr. Burmanity to get a strong hold upon men. It ritt is as remarkable for a warm heart as for is odd, but it is true, that the only people a receptive intellect, and it is impossible not who seem nowadays willing to be “ faithful to feel kindly towards one who is himself so unto slaying "— not, be it noticed, merely kindly, so ready to honour the stock from “unto being slain," — are the enthusiasts, whence he sprang, so grateful in acknowthe John Browns, Garibaldis, and Louis ledging the debt he owes in common with Blancs of all sorts upon whom that enthusi- his countrymen to the literature and instiasm has descended. How would our social tutions of England. arrangements stand that new strain ? Or Unfortunately, to this praise, which is suppose the change mainly one of dogma, wholly merited, the reviewer, for the sake - that, for example, Western mankind in of honesty and literature, is bound to add general got into its head the idea, which a certain amount of censure. Mr. Burritt many English clergymen have got into is, we doubt not, a delightful travelling comtheirs, that the prize offered by Christianity panion, but he is not altogether a pleasing is eternal life, that the phrases eternal life companion in the closet. His style is, of and eternal death are literally true, that course, grammatical, but this is all or nearman either rejoins Christ or dies like a ly all that can be said in its favour. It is flower, - would not that act as a pretty of the most vicious stamp, flowery, bombasrapid solvent of institutions? We think we tical, verbose, and we question whether, could advance some strong reasons for be with all his learning, Mr. Elibu Burritt can lieving that of all the heresies current be familiar with the masters of English comamong us, that is, perhaps, the most entic- position. One or two specimens must be ing and most dangerous; but it is but one given in proof of our assertion. Here is a of a hundred, any one of which may for a description of the Penny Post: moment prevail, and in prevailing make the next half-century a period of change before
“It works like the dew and with the dew. The which the last half-century will seem stable distillery of the still skies above and the distillery and uneventful.
of the Penny Post beneath work hand in hand That any change of all those we have in through the quiet hours of the night; one dropdicated will occur is perhaps improbable, Pul
ble ping out of the starlit atmosphere gentle dews, but not one of them is impossible, and in
the other dropping for the sleeping families of
the land the welcome thoughts of wakeful memcach is contained the germ of innovations
ory, thoughts that are to ten thousand breakfast to which those of our period of “concen-circles in the morning what the dews are to ten trated progress" will seem but small and thousand fields listening in thirsty silence for weak.
their fall." From The Spectator.
Mr. Burritt dubs Sir Rowland Hill the THE BLACK COUNTRY.*
“ Political Economist of Human Nature," Tots is a book which for two reasons de la grandiloquent phrase which means any. serves a welcome from the public. It re-thing or nothing. Other Birmingham celeb
rities are also praised in language which *Walks in the Black Country and its Green Border Land. By Elihu Burritt, M.Å. London: Sampson,
might perhaps be fittingly used by a clever Low, Son, and Co. 1868.
Soul and enthusiastic schoolboy. Thus of Jo
seph Sturge we read that “his philanthropy | Warwick, Kenilworth, Stratford-on-Avon was as spherical as the sun's itself, and the are dedicated above all other towns in Engspace it illuminated and warmed was as land to poetry and romance, while Birmingspherical as the sun's light on the face of ham, Dudley, and a large number of towns the earth; " that his heart “ shone out of within the Black Country, or on its borders, him equidistantly in every direction ;” and are the seats of distinct arts and manufacagain, that “ his heart was shining at its full tures which are famous all the world over. with the same sunlight when journeying by Mr. Burritt, from his official position, has night through Russian snows to St. Peters- given special attention to the industries of burg, to say an earnest word of peace to the district, and it is pleasant to follow him Nicholas, as when he walked among the ne- as he points out the relationship existing gro cabins in the torrid zone to gather between the Black Country and America, evidence of their condition for the British or throws out suggestions for the special Parliament." In the next sentence the fig- benefit of American readers. ure is transferred more appropriately from Thus in praising the road between Stourthe heart to the countenance, for the same bridge and Wolverhampton as a good spelight beams “ like the smile of God on his cimen of an English turnpike, he adds that broad, serene face."
not ten consecutive miles like it can be Of the Rev. John Angell James we learn found in the United States. On the other that “he came to the pulpit without the hand, if we have the best roads we have the loss of a single lock of his young manhood's heaviest waggons in the world. Any carestrength, and with all his great-eyed hope ful observer, we are told, will come to the and faith looking out grandly into the fu- conclusion that the farmers of England ture.” The meaning of which is, as we waste full one-third of their horse-power. gather from the connection, that classical And Mr. Burritt adds :culture had not “ sobered or softened the pulse of a single faculty within him.” How
“Often while watching one of these long, stragcould it, since we are told on the same page
gling stringsof horses drawing a waggon upa hill that though he “glanced wistfully into those
with the leader full three rods from the forward
axle, I have wished that the owner were obliged rich affluents of ancient lore," he passed
to take a few rudimental lessons in dynamics, “the side-paths of ancient erudition with
that he might learn to be more merciful to his neither time nor need to enter them”? Pro- bea
Pro; beasts. I hope it was not wrong to wish him bably if Mr. James had found the time, and such an exercise, for example, as this : to underfelt the need, he would not have run, as take to draw a fifty-six-pound weight up a hill Mr. Elihu Burritt tells us that he did in at the end of a string forty feet long. Having early life, “ with a rush and a rhapsody into tried this little experiment in tractorial forces the floweriest meads of rhetoric." We say two or three times, he would be quite îikely to probably, since we are reminded by Mr. hitch his horses nearer to the load thereafter. Burritt's example that a knowledge of Greek Apparently no modern improvements have imand Latin does not of necessity produce, 1 paired this homage and tribute to stolidity. I even in mature age, a fine taste in literature doubt if the road waggons of English farmers of or purity of composition.
to-day weigh a single pound less than they did Mr. Burritt visited the Leasowes, and
before Macadam was born, or when the highways speaks of its maker as “one of England's
of the country were made of its own clay or most favourite and favoured poets." This of Shenstone, who, despite the praise award- A million children in America, says Mr. ed him by Dr. Johnson, has long since had Burritt, are as familiarly acquainted with his deserts in oblivion, or at best is known the steel pen of Gillott as with the primer to the present generation by his essays and of Noah Webster, and, in his odd fashion, his garden. The truth is, that when Mr. he adds that both primer and pen are “ makBurritt criticizes he blunders, when he rhap-ing the tour of the Western hemisphere tosodizes he grows tiresome, but when he acts gether, and leaving behind them a wave and the useful part of topographer or guide he wake of light." American tourists flock to is a serviceable and sensible companion. Gillott's, and of the visitors to Elkington's The pedestrian who starts from some cen- electro-plate establishment it is stated that tral position for the purpose of exploring about one-fourth are American. It is inthe Black Country will find these Walks of teresting to read also that Lord Dudley considerable service. It is a strange re- manufactures the iron of the best edge-tools gion, since it possesses perhaps equal at- in the United States, that the Brades trowel tractions for the man of science whose is probably used by ninety-nine in a hundred dreams are facts, and for the poet whose of American masons, that the names of Barfacts are such stuff as dreams are made of. I low, Butcher, and Rodgers" are familiar to
every American boy sporting a pocket-knife as to all the rest. Indeed, this is not all; of any size or price," that from a factory for to take an understanding interest in a that turns out 1,100 dozen of currycombs great many things is the most certain means weekly the greater number are exported to of winning for yourself the odious reputaAmerica, and that of the needles made at tion of being very accomplished but very Redditch thirty millions a week go to Amer- superficial. If the people who think with ica also. From a tabular statement certi- complacency on their ignorance and a pathy fied at the United States Consulate at Bir- about so many subjects were asked to promingham, it appears that the value of ex-pound in due formula their theory of the ports from Birmingham and its vicinity in aims and possibilities of mental cultivation, 1865 amounted to more than 540,0001., they would assuredly be thrown into a deep while in 1866 the value reached to upwards quandary. For there is only one formula of a million. Mr. Burritt reminds us, how- possible, provided you mean to defend it ever, that this statement can only be par- rationally. Apart from and besides the tially correct, as a considerable amount may trade by which a man earns his right to live, have first gone to large seaport towns as the he is by so much the weaker, the less intelstock of merchants, and have been shipped ligent, and the less happy — in the best from those ports without a record at Bir- sense of happiness — as there is any form mingbam.
in which human energy has manifested itself On the whole, Mr. Elihu Burritt has, per- unknown or unappreciated or uncared for haps, done a better service for his own by him. Sound mental discipline, therefore, countrymen than for ours by the publica- has two aims — first, to keep men from betion of this volume; but the book is worth' ing merely specialists; and secondly, to the reading, and the friendly feeling which keep them from a futile dispersion of their pervades it will be generally appreciated. time and faculties over the whole field with
out a healthy concentration in any one part.
At the present day, and in our own coupFrom The Saturday Review. Ty, the corner of these objects is muck
more worthy of being constantly called to INTELLECTUAL DISCIPLINE.
| mind than the latter. We suffer more from THE rarity of men of whom we can justly the dispersiveness of studies pursued in isosay that their minds are in perfectly good lation by numbers of men than from the distrim is a proof of the inadequateness of the persiveness of faculties in any one man or common ideals of the perfection which the set of men. Everybody would admit in mind may fairly be expected to reach. No- theory, if hard pressed, that in some Utobody appears to think that there is anything pian state, with wholly changed conditions strange in the fact of a man, with the ordi- of existence, with forty-eight hours in every nary pretensions to be called educated, still day, for example, and unwearying brainavowedly taking no interest in some four or power instead of that very easily wearied five of the chief subjects on which intelli- power which is all that we have, then the gence is exercised, and which have brought dispersiveness and specialization of knowlreally ponderable contributions to the com- edge might well be superseded by a system mon stock. Apart from the mournful clas- in which everybody should know everything. sification of men who only know literature, But meanwhile, they ask, where is the time, and men who only know physical science, and where is the brain, to take in all knowleach despising the knowledge of the other, edge? Of course, in Milton's day, a man there are all varieties and shades among the might fairly hope to know everything that ignorances of learned men. He who is ex- was then capable of being known. There cellent at Greek plays or Elizabethan texts was no science, to speak of. Literature was or old manuscripts thinks it no ill to be with- very scanty, if it was also very good. Specout a taste for music or scenery. He who ulation was almost entirely in the theologiloves speculative writers on ethics, econom- cal stage, and so the premises, at any rate, ics, and metaphysics, is content to be deaf were few and simple and easily mastered. to the charms of verse. A third, devoted But now, as all the world perceives, someto physical investigation, has a weak con- times exulting and sometimes lamenting, the tempt for the movements of practical poli- sum of knowable things is more than one tics. And so on, through all the directions can know. The most voracious powers of that the curiosity and intelligence of men acquisition are feebleness itself in the presmay take, it is thought no shame that pro-ence of the daily increasing mass of facts vided anybody diligently and fruitfully seeks to be acquired. But this, after all, only knowledge in one field, he is welcome to re- shows that mere acquisition of facts is not main in as profound darkness as he pleases, the supreme object which a man, wisely seeking to discipline his powers, would|tical as even Mr. Lowe bimself or any other choose to pursue. It is possible, however, deliberate vulgarizer of education could deto master the general ideas of the various sire; for there is nothing so important in subjects, as well as the special ideas and ver- understanding men and social movements, ified conclusions of one's own particular sub- and in dealing with them or controlling them, ject. It is not at all out of the reach of as a correct and instructed appreciation of even a busy man - provided he has had the the slow pace at which wrong methods of right tastes for things properly implanted examining and interpreting facts give way and tended in his early years — to get a sat- before right methods. In literature, again, isfactory glimpse of, and the power of tak- such a book as Hallam's History, or Sising a satisfactory interest in, the general mondi's, may well serve for models of the tendencies of discovery and effort in all kind of discipline which anybody who takes their manifestations. It is perfectly possi-pains with bimself should strive after. Such ble to form what in legal matters would be books indicate the system on which he should called a Digest of the leading principles and read — the industry, that is, with which he present problems, the usual methods and should undertake to master, not an author the line of progress belonging to each given only here and there, but companies of ausubject of investigation or performance, and thors, with a view to seizing the leading to seek for some common summary of them ideas and habits of thought and forms of all. To evolve a philosophic doctrine which expression which mark the succeeding ages shall comprehend all human knowledge is a of a civilized and literary society and distask for a master. Some affirm that this has tinguish one from another. Here, and in been already achieved, while others confi- all cases, to be systematic, to seek high and dently deny it. Whether or not, minds vig- far-reaching points of view, is the secret of orously and correctly trained to throw aside an effective discipline -- the end of it being superfluous and accidental parts of knowl- to create and develope an active and appreedge, and to grasp what is central, vital, and ciative sympathy with all the forms in which most comprehensive, have ample power of the best minds have expressed themselves. making for themselves a conspectus of the This sympathy ought not to stop superpaths in which the human intelligence has ciliously short, in obedience to a narrow travelled, as well as of the more notable fastidiousness or stupidity, excluding novmonuments which it has raised by the road-els, for instance, or music, or the drama, or side. Hence the value of such a book, for anything else which accident or deliberate example, as Whewell's History of the Induc-mutilation of mind may have disposed a man tive Sciences. You may not be a master of not to hold worthy of a place among serious all the problems of modern chemistry, nor interests. The beginning of knowledge is fathom all the minuter laws of astronomy; a respect for all the forms in which men of but you may very well acquire a thoroughly the highest human quality have ever worked, luminous conception of the larger steps and into which they have ever thrown themwhich have been taken in methods and laws; selves. One has preferences naturally, and of the kind of intellectual effort which has respect for varieties in the expression of brought us from the fantastic conjectures of mental energy does not preclude us from them of old time down to the embracing measuring them among one another. Even certainties of modern science; of the pro- if we feel a repugnance which no effort can gressive growth and improvement of men's overcome to some particular kind of work, ideas of evidence and proof'; and of the in- it is worth while to force oneself to recogfluence which this improvement in the scien- nise whatever sincerity of feeling and whattific region has had in modifying the mental ever force and directness of execution it states of society in regions that are not sci- may present. Of course, if it has neither entific yet, whatever they may become in one nor other of these, it is beyond the time. To follow this long record with intel-reach of aversion or liking, or any other ligence, with a sense of the connexion and positive emotion. We look at it and pass interdependence subsisting in the midst of on. But if a work, whether in form, in colit all, if not with an exact and exhaustive our, in sound, or articulate word, be sincere discernment, is one of the wholesomest ele- and forcible, then no personal repulsion ments of intellectual discipline that we can should distort one's admission of its good imagine. It imparts consistency and breadth quality and its right to a place before the to a man's acquaintance with the detailed world; any more than the mere fact of a facts of any one science, and gives him, man being epigrammatic, keen, or a little moreover, a firm and wide basis for the fur- stern, should prevent us from recognising ther acquisition either of general principles whatever energy, or disinterestedness, or or special sets of facts. And it is as prac-l essential humanity, or other fine quality he might have at the back of his unlikeable rest it would be emphatically the wrong manner. In intellectual as in moral disci- view. For one man whom it were best to pline, there is nothing more important than leave undisturbed to the bent of his own to clear the mind of passionate prejudice; genius and character, there are nine hundred and this seems simple enough; yet we all and ninety-nine who will only be saved from know men of one author, one painter, one individual crotchets and perversities of the composer, one poet, at the feet of whose most wasteful sort by hearing much or all image they are ever immolating all other that is said of them or of their subject. A poets, painters, and composers. No sort weak man may be crushed by it. A very of bigotry and conceit is more truly offen- strong man can well do without it. Most sive than this. To crush it in oneself is a men will be invigorated and corrected by it. main point in intellectual discipline, as to expose its disgusting silliness in other people is a very important point in social disci
From The Saturday Review. pline. In persons of a certain character, this intellectual exclusiveness has its root in
SERMONS ON SERMONS. a crooked kind of vanity. They are com- SERMONS are a bore. Admitted to the pelled by all the rules and necessities of in- full. There is only one thing more boring. tellectual regimen to practise considerable It is sermons on sermons. The parsons are abstention. As we said at first, there is avenged, for the Times and its correspondmuch which they cannot read and apprehend ents prove that beyond the lowest depths of and assimilate. Yet they are unwilling to darkness that belongs to the pulpit there believe that they have not a judgment worth is a profound of bathos and stupidity duller, hearing about all things; and hence comes denser, and more irrational, and that is in wrong and most presumptuous disparage- the popular criticism on sermons. Whatment of whatever happens to fall outside of ever the clerical mind is, there is in the lay their own plot of ground. Many people mind, if we are to take this week's Times as would admit in theory that they cannot an exponent of it, a power of bad composifathom or even touch all subjects; yet few tion, heavy and illogical reasoning, platiadmit practically that there are many sub- tude and wearisomeness, which may well jects on which they cannot even have an make professional preachers rejoice. They opinion. A man will candidly confess that have no monopoly of stupidity. Let us try he is not a competent critic of embryology, to enter into the great sermon argument, physiology, or biology in any of its forms; and first let us take the Times itself, which yet we must not be surprised to hear him sums up, of course, into one clear and concondemn Mr. Darwin offhand, and scout donsed statement the whole proof against that writer's conclusions as if they were the English sermons and preachers. In the utterances of a schoolboy. This is a com- first place, says this great authority, the mon trick in many regions of thought — to clergy must “ take the fact and accept the concede your ignorance in general, and then blame.” The fact is that people are not into maintain your knowledge in particular. terested; the blame lies with those whose
Another point of mental discipline is just business it is to attract, and who fail to do worth touching upon. Is it wholesome for so. Now the fact happens to be that some persons engaged in literary and scientific people are interested, and some are not. tasks of production, generalization, and the The very dreariest of sermons - even those like, to pay much heed to what is said of which “bore people with faith and St. them and their work? The artist, for exam- Paul's Epistles,” subjects which the Vicar ple, knows his own purpose and design; let of Amwell seems to think ought to be exhim penetrate himself with this, evolving all cluded from Christian teaching, if not from from himself, and he will thus produce the Christianity - do find a vast many admost harmonious, coherent, and original mirers. Some people may wonder at this poem, or picture, or novel. The philoso- taste, but that it exists among church-going pher, again, working out his system, brood- people there is no question. Nay, the Dising over his ideas, elaborating and fortify- senters, whom it suits some of the lettering his construction, is much more likely to writers to hold up as models for the English produce a strong, compact result, which the clergy, preach nothing but faith and St. world will accept and not willingly let die, Paul's Epistles. We always thought that if he does not allow himself to be distracted in truly pious and Evangelical circles the by criticisms, whether hostile or friendly, real gospel and its faithful exposition was There is unquestionably something to be only one sermon, and that on one chapter said for this. In one case out of a thousand of one of St. Paul's Epistles; and that by it may be the right view. But in all the preaching this one sermon every Sunday