« EdellinenJatka »
the phalanx and the legion, than to all his reading besides; nor can we doubt that the vividness with which Lord Macaulay has portrayed the growth, struggles, and intrigues of political parties, springs in no small measure from having himself mingled in the strifes of faction. Hugh Miller could study, estimate, comprehend, but could not well co-operate with his compeers. In this primary fact is to be found the key to the partial estrangement that latterly existed between himself and certain leading lights of the Free Church. It was scarcely possible that two so very differently constituted minds as those of Candlish and Miller, should long have been found in harmony with each other. Candlish the man of the hour, always equal to the occasion, ready to grapple with any emergency, the most dexterous tactician Scottish ecclesiastical polemics ever produced,-what had that musing, contemplative, stubborn stonecutter, whom the drift-currents of the moral world had separated from his native North and set down in the editorial chair of the Witness newspaper, in common with the agile church leader, skilled in the ways of diplomacy, an adept in “circumlocution and the language of friendly intercourse ?» Nothing—absolutely nothing! As speculative writers on church principles, had they compared notes, they might not, indeed, have been found far apart; but upon almost all the modes in which these principles were to be made dominant, their minds were nearly the antipodes of cach other. And without robbing either of the guerdon justly due to great talents perseveringly and honourably exerted in a most honourable cause, it may be acknowledged, that while to Miller belongs the credit of that far-reaching sagacity which comprehended at a glance the future of the Free Church, and could define its peculiar sphere with an almost mathematical precision; to Candlish belongs the honour of having breathed into what might else have proved a mere inert mass of pretentious ecclesiastical machinery, the energy and resolution of his own dauntless, and restless as it is dauntless, spirit; and if occasionally, on field days, he boasted a larger muster-roll than was altogether warranted by facts, let men forget his error in his devotion—the ends he sought were at least always noble, if the means by which he sought them were not always equal to the ends. And yet, perhaps, it was well the impetuosity of Candlish was tempered and kept in check by the sagacity of Miller. Through a dearth of men either able or willing, we do not exactly presume to say which, Dr. Candlish has been necessitated to do much of a kind of work in church courts, usually left by a leader to his lieutenants. The consequence has been, that, occasionally forgetting the more exalted in the more subordinate position, he has been seen, as sometimes Napoleon's best generals were seen, compromising the common safety by a special impetuosity. In point of fact, for a commander-in-chief he mingles too much in the ranks, and as a natural consequence, the smoke and tumult of the battle occasionally deprive him of that clearness of vision and serenity of soul so indispensable in the direction of all great contests, whether on the tented field or on the floor of a general assembly.
WHEN just attaining his majority, work failing in the North, Hugh Miller, bidding adieu to his beloved mother and his worthy uncles, sailed from his native town for the south of Scotland. On the evening of the fourth day from losing sight of the hill of Cromarty, he landed at Leith. After a somewhat hasty survey of a small property he was unfortunate enough to possess--a property not of the advantageous sort with which the freehold societies profess to invest the working classes, but a property reminding us rather of Rip Van Winkle's farm, the most pestilent bit of ground in the whole parish-Hugh Miller proceeded at once to the Scottish capital. While sauntering along the streets, admiring with a fresh eye the picturesque groups of ancient buildings with which that most magnificent of cities abounds--as yet looking but little to the population, he was laid hold of by a slim lad in pale moleskins: it was William Ross; and during what remained of that night, the stone-cutter and the house-painter explored the city together. With that true eye for the beautiful and the sublime, whether in art or nature, which never failed him, Hugh Miller at once detected what gives to Edinburgh its peculiar fascination. Like Jerusalem of old, beautiful for situation, that beauty is superlatively enhanced by the circumstance, that to the stranger it discloses at a glance, not one, but two cities, a city of the past and a city of the present. When Hugh Miller first visited Edinburgh, its ancient features were in a state of considerably more perfect preservation than they now are. Many mementos of the renown of centuries have disappeared within the last thirty-five years. No small portion of the old town now exists only in the recollections of the antiquary. As in the country, the small crofting of other days has given place to the large farm, so the memorials of her antiquity with which Edina was erewhile so thickly studded, have, in some of their most interesting features, been swept away by the march of modern improvement, which is yet in many instances not improvement. All old enough to remember the vanished glories, whose places these so-called inprovements have usurped, are filled with feelings much akin to those which inspired such of the captivity of Judah as, recollecting the glory of the first temple, lived to witness and to share in the erection of the second.