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quite animated as I read the friendly sentiments expressed in the letter. I could not have flattered myself that I had been so well, so long, and so very kindly remembered. Dear Fanny, it truly is a very cordial as well as unexpected gratification.
What a distant retrospect, and how many remembrances and associations-your excellent parents,-Henry Strahan, Mrs. Butler, our talks and amusements, the places and change of habitations,-your brother a boy,-yourself a girl, hardly fifteen perhaps, the last time that I saw you. In the case of your brother, when I heard from him at an advanced period of life, I was wondering what manner of personal appearance he might have grown and passed into, in the course of so many years, while I could not bring him to my mind in any other image than that only one which I so well remembered; and even after seeing him at last, I remained in a kind of baffle between that perfectly preserved image, and his actual appearance as a more than middle-aged man. Of you also, I can have only the one image in my mind; and I am thinking and wondering what would be the difference, if the present reality were to appear before me. In him I did descry some trace of the original aspect, under the vast difference. If I had a like opportunity I should be interested and curious in making such inspection and comparison in the case of his sister. It really does seem something strange to think of Fanny as a grand-mother! What a succession of broad stages one has to imagine between! So many individual and social changes, so many deliberations, determinations, movements, occupations, duties, cares, pleasing and painful experiences. So many dispensations of Providence, so many occasions for relying on that Providence, so many times and subjects for serious reflection, so many, and some of them severe, lessons of instructive experience. It would be interesting to hear you tell the difference between your youthful anticipations of life, and your views of it as resulting from what you have experienced and witnessed in the progress through so long an interval. What is the difference in this respect between yourself and your daughter? Have you occasion sometimes to smile at the promises with which she hears the future flattering her? Have you to say to her-" My dear child,
you will find it out in due time ?" Is she incredulous, sometimes, to what you have to tell her from having had so many more reflections, and feelings, and trials? But perhaps she is not of a sanguine temperament, and I am very willing to believe that you are not of a gloomy one, notwithstanding the share that has been appointed you of mournful experience. I rejoice to see you in possession of the one grand resource against both the ills of life and the fear of death; and that you share this happiness with your daughter and her husband. In respect to this great interest you have the happiness to be as in communion with those who have gone before you, your estimable parents, and with the remaining estimable relation, your brother. The time is hastening on when that communion will be wholly translated to a happier world, and there exalted and perpetuated. I pray that I may not myself be wanting to it.
It is highly gratifying to think of your brother (the boy in my tenacious imagination), so worthy in character, so favoured in his course of life, and so singularly happy in his family I think beyond any other example that I have known; for, as you say, all his children seem to be such as he would desire. I hope their descendants will be such as to bring no unfavourable change into the history of the family.
I was expressing some small degree of wonder that, on the loss of him who had been the cause of your leaving Ireland, you had not been disposed to return; when he plainly indicated how you had stronger reasons to remain where you have found a little circle of friendly, social interests. Over every interest there must have spread a gloomy shade, for the present and some time past, in your town and neighbourhood, from the fearful state of suffering and disturbance.
I should greatly like to see you; I should, as in the case of your brother, fix and settle in my mind and imagination who you are; for I find myself addressing an equivocal somebody between the good, pleasing little girl Fanny Purser, and a certain sedate, matronly personage, a grandmother of the age of fifty-seven. I hope many years are yet to be added to that account, moderately happy, and finally concluding in something incomparably happier than any thing on earth.
I will repeat how very greatly I am gratified by your kind letter; and shall be so again if at any time you shall feel disposed to favour me. I wish you had mentioned the remembered things that you say "would have made me smile." It would have been very curious to see whether my own very miserable memory had retained them. It does retain many particulars of those remote times, and some of them vividly.
My dear Fanny, as I like to call you, I commend you and yours to our heavenly Father; and repeat to you how truly I am your cordial and much gratified friend,
CCXXXI. TO THE REV. JOSIAH HILL.
Monday Evening, 1843.
We are not to be suffered to go to sleep, like our forefathers in the dull quiet of their times. We should be able to live on "agitation," for we are to have nothing else. The Corn-law agitation-Education agitation— Puseyism agitation-Scotch church agitation-and, most portentous of all, Irish agitation. One cannot yet believe that the government will persist in the education scheme, in defiance of a vaster number of petitions (the Speaker has said) than ever crowded in on any former occasion, and nearly all on one side. If the thing really is, after all, to be forced through, on the strength of a besotted and unprincipled majority, it will have the good effect of embodying and embattling the dissenters (in which they have been deficient) to a degree never yet approached. And it will no longer allow them to be numerically underrated, as they have constantly and wilfully been hitherto by the church party. It is sadly to be feared that the Methodists will have forfeited the favour into which they have latterly been growing, and are very desirous to grow, with that party. . . . . The Anti-corn-law [league],-an admirable organ and system of agitation, which will doubtless be successful at no distant time. The Irish affair is formidable and alarming; can it end otherwise than in some
fearful catastrophe? The object is surely wild and impracticable; but the prodigious national excitement-resisted, defied, and still more inflamed, what form of action will or can it take to come to any definite issue? It cannot be persuaded, legislated, or threatened, into quiet surrender. And if so, what is there for it but a wide, sanguinary, military execution, followed by all kinds of oppression, and an implacable, ever-burning hatred ? . . . .
COXXXII. TO THE REV. JOSIAH HILL.
No doubt you have seen a petition, in pathetic terms, in behalf of the Scotch Church, adopted by the élite of the Sanhedrim. One would have given something much more considerable than the "smallest coin of the realm" to overhear the consultation. How comes the Scotch church to be any thing to them? While not a hoof of them is admissible into any establishment, and while their sect hardly makes any way in Scotland, are they so besotted to the principle of ecclesiastical establishments that they can nowhere see without horror the signs of their decline, lest, before the time for effecting their own establishment, the whole thing should have gone out of the world?
One shall await with great curiosity the upshot of that Scotch business. I have much distrusted the heroics of it from the first. Just now they seem as if coming up to the mark. But last week there was here an intelligent Scotch presbyterian, who greatly doubted whether more than the merest scantling of the pledged 500 would be the self-exiles out of the land of Canaan. The ministry, it seems, are willing to concede some inconsiderable point, on a question "quod sacra" (which I cannot understand), and he thinks that, affecting to regard this as a great concession, they will contrive to find it both conscientious and prudent to stay where they are. He observed, what is self-evident enough, in what a most desolate condition very many of the poorer ministers and parishes must fall into, if practically persisting in the recusancy. At all events, however, he said, a
great and irreparable damage will have been done to that establishment. The kirk must regard this shock of earthquake as a warning intimation of more to come, and an ultimate downfall. As a hastening of that catastrophe, I have been wishing, all along, that the malcontents might persist and complete their rebellion.
The two sisterly churches ought to sympathize; for our own is going fast to an opprobrious plight. It will be some time before the dissenters will hear again of the grand boast that the purpose and the effect of the establishment is to preserve the integrity and uniformity of the faith among the people. There are the old standard formalist body-the evangelicals the Puseyites, the last according to all reports, making a triumphant progress. It is really quite time for the Methodist magnates to get up another petition -a passionate entreaty that something may be done or tried to save the English church from ruin. But, as in the case of Baal's worshippers, nobody will stir. Bishops, with small exceptions, seem determined, or at least content, to doze in their mitres. The inferior dignitaries must nod acquiescence, such of them as are not themselves in the movement; and statesmen have something else to look after. The dissenters may look on, delighted at the disturbance and peril of what has been continually boasted as buiit on a rock.
Something is to be attempted for education; but one can have no faith in its compass or efficacy. It will be a church business from top to bottom-if indeed it be done at all. The accounts (which seem to have suggested the scheme) of the condition of the labouring classes, are horrid enough, in all respects, physical, mental, and moral. In their present physical state there can be no education. Creatures starving, in dirty rags, and herded in loathsome huts and cellars, are in no state for intellectual cultivation.