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Obituary-B. H. Allen, Esq.
But his charities were not confined to
with an illness which baffled all the
The length to which I have extended
VIEW OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
THE session of parliament has closed; a session which will be long memorable for the great measure which occupied its most anxious sittings, and the effects of which, be they good or evil, will be felt by generations yet unborn. To this topic we shall not at present recur, as our opiRion has been often and decidedly expressed. The discussions on this important question having occupied much time, and led to great excitement, and to a general derangement of the usual balance of parties, it seems to have been the mutual wish of the government and the legislature to abridge the remaining business of the session, and to postpone topics of conflicting opinion to another year. Much therefore has not been effected, though the foundation has been laid for future proceedings on various points of great moment. To these we have not now space to advert, or to those discussions and measures already noticed in our pages, some of which we propose to consider more fully in future Numbers. The King's Speech adds little to the public information. His Majesty laments the continuance of the war in the East of Europe, announces his satisfaction in having renewed diplomatic relations with Turkey, and states that the negociations for the pacification of Greece will be resumed. His Majesty regrets the condition of Portugal, and will
use his efforts to reconcile conflicting interests in that unhappy country. It is the determination of government to interfere as little as possible with foreign powers;-a just determination as to the general principle, though we think that, far short of actual hostilities, much might in many cases be done for the benefit of the world, by amicable remonstrance, and particularly as respects Greece, Portugal, and South America. To disarm a robber, or to protect the weak and oppressed is both with individuals and nations a plain duty, rather than an unjustifiable interference; and this duty of justice and humanity may be exercised without any necessity for recurring to bloodshed and warfare. We trust, that while we respect the equal rights of other nations, our public men will never shrink from advocating a good and righteous cause, wherever British power or influences extend. We fear that in the instances above alluded to, the present cabinet have carried their abstinence too far, and that greater zeal might have effected more. On the Catholic question, the currency, free trade, and other points, they have firmly maintained their ground; and let them not shrink from being equally resolute in opposing whatever tends to diminish the liberties or the happiness of the human race.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
M. N.; Y. M.; T. B.; T. P.; C. T.; and R. E., are under consideration.
Mr. Addis, in the first sentence of his "Heaven Opened," states, that the work owes its origin to the discovery of the name and number of the Beast of St. John, which he says 66 we completed on January the ninth, in the eighteen hundred and twenty-eighth year of the Christian era." After puzzling over this sentence for some time, we concluded that the author meant to say, that the prophecies relating to the Beast were completed on the day specified with such minute accuracy. seems, however, that the "we" refers to himself, and the completion to the date of his discovery; which is, that "the Emperor of the Romans is the name of one beast, and his Holiness of Rome the name of the other; that the Church of England is a part of Antichrist, of the mother of abominations, and of the ten-horned beast." T. B. will find a note at our publisher's.
SUPPLEMENT TO RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE.
THE monthly Extracts contain a communication relative to the want of Gaelic Scriptures in Scotland; some interesting and encouraging facts from Turkey; and others even more so from the remote shores of Siam
The Reporter gives a review of what has passed in parliament during the session relative to Slavery. On some of these topics we had ourselves intended to dilate, had we not found ourselves anticipated in this paper. The parliamentary advocates for Slavery have spoken strongly, but have proved nothing; facts and reason, humanity and religion, and we may add the British public, are all against them; yet the scourge of Slavery continues, and we therefore owe our warmest gratitude to the conductors of the Reporter, to whom we are indebted for such able and satisfactory refutations as those before us of the mistatements which are cast forth to uphold that nefarious system.
PRAYER-BOOK AND HOMILY SOCIETY.
We shall recur to the labours of this Society in a future Number; at present we have only space to recommend our readers to weigh well the interesting account appended of the speeches at its late anniversary.
ESSAY ON SUPERSTITION.
(Continued from p. 339.)
N continuing the history of dreams, and other analogous brainular manifestations, we may not omit some notice of the phenomena of somnambulism.
The common form of somnambulism must be considered as a kind of dream, happening during profound sleep, in which some actions intimately associated in the waking state, and rendered easy, and almost automatic, by long continued habit, are reproduced in sleep without apparent volition; and these actions correspond with the ideas, feelings, and emotions, the succession and combination of which form the intellectual and mental fabric of the dream.
Possibly the alleged faculty of second sight, so far as it is not a mere jugglery of the designing, may be referred to a species of somnambulism, in which the mental manifestations confer with themselves, and produce a prospective result, which has been termed second sight. If this mental manifestation be not referred to a cerebral origin, there is no alternative but that of either denying its existence altogether, or investing it with the attributes of prophecy, and admitting it as the result of inspiration;-this inspiration being either a spiritual communication from the Most High God, or a suggestion of the evil CHRIST. OBSERV, No. 331.
one. All these alternatives are unsatisfactory. To deny its existence altogether, seems impossible; to place it on a level with Revelation, derogates from the high and holy character of prophecy; and to ascribe it to satanic agency, is to allow Satan a greater sway over the government of the universe than is consistent with our views of the power, and knowledge, and goodness of the Omnipotent Jehovah. But if we consider it as an affair of the brain, occurring principally in advanced life, and when that organ is manifestly suffering under excited action; and, what is very important to be remembered, both the seer and his auditors fully believing from their infancy the occurrence of such manifestations, and prepared implicitly to receive them; we are enabled to class it at once with other phenomena which result from analogous stages of excitement, when the brain has escaped from the influence of the will and the judgment, and continues its morbid function without guidance or direction.
The common examples of cunning men and women, the practice of fortune-telling, and the science of astrology and divination, must be referred to the class of impostures; and, as such, are scarcely entitled to consideration among the legitimate offspring of superstition. And yet their influence upon many minds is extensive, and even frightful; and the best antidote is to be 3 F
found in the principle of quiet confidence in that superintending Providence, without whose knowledge not even a sparrow falls to the ground, by whom even the hairs of our head are all numbered, and in whose hands are the hearts of all men. True, there is much evil in the world, much apparent wrong, much injustice, oppression, and misery, which, to short-sighted mortality, appear inconsistent with this universal prevalence of goodness and justice. But shall man be more just than his Maker? God is not the author of any evil: man is a free agent, and, as such, in following the dictates of his corrupt nature, is often permitted (not employed) to bring about the wise and good designs of the Almighty; but these attributes of wisdom and goodness are not determined by what isolated and purblind mortality can see, but by that Omniscient Eye which takes in creation at a glance, and embraces eternity in the view of an instant.
To return: There are on record some extraordinary relations of the endless wonders of somnambulism; during which state have occurred certain mental actions, which it is difficult to disbelieve, and not easy to account før, unless by referring them to a peculiar excitement of the brain, under the influence of some powerful intellectual stimulus; or to a morbid agency, under the impression of its own diseases; or to the sympathetic disturbance of some other suffering organ.
There are many different degrees of somnambulism: as, for instance, the case of those who simply talk in their sleep; of those who move and walk, but do not talk; of those who both walk and talk; and of those who speak, move, and likewise experience some sensations, and even recollected impressions, of various kinds, who are also sensible to alternations of temperature, and to other circumstances connected with their general state. Now these several states possess a well defined ana
logy with instinctive action: the operations of the somnambulist are performed without the concurrence of the will, and by the sole influence of their association with a certain train of ideas and images, to which, by long habit, they have been inseparably connected. But habit is a cerebral impression, and therefore a peculiar state of the brain will account for these phenomena. The only known fact which would seem to militate against this conclusion, is the history of a German student, who rose in the night, during profound sleep, seated himself at his desk, began composing, and, having written a word which he did not approve, blotted it out, and substituted another which was more appropriate. Now if this narration be true, and it appears to rest on a sufficiently authentic foundation, it must be confessed to be one of the most extraordinary instances of somnambulism, and to involve the semblance of an exercise of the judgment, and of the will, grounded upon its decision. But when it is recollected, that, according to the history, the eye was during all this time perfectly closed, it is clear that one essential part of the process is wanting: it is impossible that the writer could have seen the term so altered, and therefore there could not have been an exercise of the perfect will; while, on the contrary, long familiarity with the subject on which he was engaged in writing, and on which, probably, his last waking thoughts had been employed; and the automatic continuance of the same brainular action, after the influence of the will had been suspended by sleep, will still bring us to that physical influence of habit, to which we have just before referred the more common actions of somnambulism. I may add two instances which have occurred within my own observation; in the former of which, an individual arose from his bed, and hunted over a large box of papers, apparently in quest of a
particular document, but, not finding it, replaced the other deeds, and returned to bed; and of another, who, having forgotten his usual duty of winding up the clock on Saturday night, rose from his bed during sleep, went down stairs, performed the customary duty, and returned. Habit alone and habitual association can account for these circumstances.
But we must notice a little, in this place, the phenomena of animal magnetism; a state nearly allied to somnambulism, and very important in the present inquiry.-No question, perhaps, of late years, has been met with more positive and obstinate opposition on the one hand, or with a greater degree of enthusiastic admiration on the other; unanimously rejected by the former, and revived with as full a belief in all its consequences by the latter. Yet it would seem impossible to deny the facts which are alleged, and equally impossible to account for them, except by granting them a physical origin. But the effects produced are similar to those for which a spiritual and supernatural agency has been asked; and if it be granted in the one instance, it cannot be withheld in the other. In the phenomena of animal magnetism, as they are capable of being produced by the concurrence of the magnetizer and magnetized, there happens an opportunity of witnessing the operation; and since this can be referred entirely to physical circumstances, there is nothing unreasonable in claiming a similar origin for other analogous phenoIt is then to be remarked, that the magnetic paroxysm is most easily produced upon a brain which is in an irritable and excited state; that the concurrence of the two individuals (the agent and recipient of magnetic influence) in the same object, and the full determination of their will towards its accomplishment, appear to be necessary to success; and, moreover, that, for
the most part, certain actions of the