Tuesday, 10 September 2013

State of things in Scotland

Fraser's Magazine gives the following melancholy account of the state of things in Scotland. We trust his prognostication will prove anything but true :

" A great and melancholy change in the constitution of society in the lower walks of life in Scotland is in progress: nor can any man, however gifted, venture to predict where it will end. The grant of political privileges is a trifle, which will not enter into calculation for much good or for much evil. It is in the social and domestic system that the poison of radicalism and false philosophy will operate its few meagre and ill understood principles of the utilitarian most deadly effects. The working classes, hitherto orderly, though often suffering, cannot now remain quiet spectators of passing events: for they are smitten with the omnipotence of their own wisdom, and cursed with a sullen hatred of every thing above them. The subordination of ranks—an institution so essential to the common good, and which has slowly risen out of a sense of mutual dependency—is looked upon with an evil and a grudging eye. Want has invaded many of their dwellings, and its bitterness is too often increased by the unhappy imagination that they have the remedy in their own hands, and not unfrequently aggravated by intemperance and wilful negligence. Heretofore religion came in aid of the unfortunate, and was a firm stay against the suggestion of folly or of vice ; but it is now becoming, in too many instances, a dead letter, and is either neglected as a tissue of fables, or is supplanted by a bastard philosophy, which is a worthless compound of all that is most offensive in the French ethical canon, with a school. Reason is deified, without its being once asked what it is capable of performing; and maxims which, less than a century ago, were confined to the coteries of Diderot and the Baron de Holbach, are now as familiar to many a Scotch artisan's workshop as his hammer or his anvil."

 The Hobart Town Courier 12 April 1833,

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