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versies where we cannot veil from ourselves the con.

viction, swagger is mistaken for strength. A morbid jealousy of his independence seduced him into thig error--this weakness.

We are quite aware that, from a very early period, attempts were made to control the Witness, and that probably any two men less resolute than its proprietors, would have succumbed to the cumulative influences that sought to seduce from its integrity the solitarý independent organ of the Free Church. Dictation and intrigue were, however, equally impotent, equally futile: turning neither to the right hand nor the left, the Witness pursued the even tenor of its way, not only undismayed, but inflicting the most terrible chastisement upon all who presumed to cross its path. Doubtless, many of the men with whom its editor dealt so cavalierly, merited his lusty lash, but there were old friends whom the recollections of the days of other years might have spared the merciless castigations he occasionally indulged; and “glimmering through the dream of things that were,” was at least one ancient friendship which needed not to have been so rudely sundered. Mistaken as was the earlier course of Dr. Candlish on the education question, he had surely done nothing that might legitimately warrant the scathing sarcasm of these sentences so replete with the extremest susceptibility. “ It has been insinuated to us,” says Hugh Miller, " that the Witness newspaper is pursuing on the educational question a course perilous to itself. We are not careful, we at once say, to answer for ourselves in this matter. The editor of the Witness is a humble man, but he stands on other ground than mere salaried functionaries, of whom with all deference it may be affirmed, that 'a breath can make them, as a breath has made.' It is to God, not to patronage, clerical or lay, that he owes that voice with which he addresses himself to a large circle of certainly not the least intelligent of his countrymen, nor does he fear that circle will be ultimately much contracted, should he be compelled to read in behalf of his country, and of a meritorious though neglected class of men, an occasional sermon to a committee, or even to call a church leader to account."

Had he been content to sink into one of those mere mercenaries of the newspaper-press who frame special pleadings in the cause of party, the opportunity, not unbacked by pecuniary argument, was presented to him at least two years ere he came forward, in conscious weakness, to contend for a good cause against the hostile press of a kingdom. Had he looked to merely secular advantage, he would have quitted his exposed and thankless post of duty long ago. These remarks are unwillingly extorted, nor shall we advert further to the purely personal matter on which they touch, than in the words of our noble motto, “ I am in the place where I am demanded of conscience to speak the truth, and, therefore, the truth I speak, impugn it whoso list.” Unfortunately for his own peace, rigid adherence to his motto who never feared the face of man, brought the editor of the Witness into antagonism with church leaders on other topics than popular education. On the college question, on the question of rating and kindred subjects he was generally found leading the opposition. In most instances, we think, his hostility was well-founded; but unhappily the misunderstandings that arose, the heats and jealousies kindled, had a corroding influence upon his spirit, and ultimately almost completely alienated him from taking part in the discussion of church policy. But though mingling little more in the strife of tongues, the freedom with which he had canvassed the schemes of ecclesiastical leaders, at a time when something very like a dictatorship had destroyed presbyterian parity in the general assemblies of the Free Church, bore fruit. It has been the misfortune of Dr. Candlish that his majorities in the Assembly have too often been made up of the least enlightened of her presbyteries. No one who has been present at any division in that venerable court, can have failed to note that the dexterous church leader mainly owes his success to the adroitness with which he is able to manage the “Highland Host.” The prejudices of the north, and the bigotry of the west, have been the buttresses of his power. To humour northern prejudices, and to flatter western bigotry, substantial injustice has not seldom been done to the best interests of the Free Church. Hugh Miller has the honour to have been the first to break up this vicious alliance. His labours were the prelude of that liberal. opposition, which, under the leadership of Dr. Hanna, is now gradually leavening the Free Church with more genial sympathies, broader views, and a higher culture, than under the old régime she was ever likely to attain.

CHAPTER XVII.

MODERN LIGHT LITERATURE.

TURNING aside from the thorny path of ecclesiastical polemics, Hugh Miller instinctively fell back with renewed ardour upon his favourite topics, literature and geology. As might have been anticipated, he who had so completely mastered the great novelists and essayists of the eighteenth century, had scanned with an eye scarcely less keen, if, perhaps, a little less loving, the great novelists of our own age. It was no more than to be expected that early associations would render a man like Hugh Miller partial to the favourites of his youth. Possibly, were Foster alive to subject the great writers of this age to the same terribly-impartial interrogation as that to which, in his Essays, he subjected the great writers of a past age, they too might be found wanting in much the Christian thinker desiderates. But though still far from perfect, the literary man is not now what he was in the days of Johnson and Addison, Steele and Sterne, Swift and Pope, Wycherly and Congreve. Our age will no longer tolerate the trifling of other and

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