« 이전계속 »
gravitation, would by degrees again break up as they contracted, and then, what would take place ? The outer part of the rings would be moving with greater speed than the inner edge. When they broke up, therefore, they would begin to turn round upon the inner edge, so that there would be not only a forward motion, but a movement of rotation. And so in the course of long ages we should have planets revolving round a central sun with a rotary motion, and with a motion of revolution. In this way all the movements which we find existing in the solar system, would be clearly accounted for by natural laws. And what we suppose to have occurred with regard to the solar system, would be the case with regard to the other systems of the universe. Thus we may suppose that the universe to which we belong, once formed one vast fire-cloud, and has been gradually condensed by one of those laws of the Almighty which we find always existing in all matter in that state in which we now see it to be. Now comes the question-Do the nebulæ afford any confirmation of this idea ? They do. When closely examined, some of them resolve themselves into clusters of stars, but when we examine others, which appear to be nearer to us, we find them to be utterly irresolvable. And not only so, but there appears to be a distinct difference in kind between these resolvable and irresolvable nebula--some appearing to be in that settled condition in which we find our universe to be, whilst others are going through that process of formation which our own universe has gone through, according to the theory of Laplace.
ORDER AND PROGRESS OF THE UNIVERSE.
Such is the celebrated Cosmogony of Laplace: and I now have only, in conclusion, to remind you of one great idea which these truths seem to present to us.
We find in them, supposing them to be true, amongst the dead matter by which the immensity of space wherewith we are surrounded is occupied—we find in this dead matter, through a vast infinity of time, which it is hardly possible for the mind of man to grasp or conceive, a law of continually increasing order and progress. We find order and progress existing throughout the past eternity. It is a gratifying and hopeful thing to be able to point to the idea thus presented to us—to be able to point to progress and order as the two great characteristics of the universe. I have, in another place, dwelt on this thought of progress in its moral and religious point of view ; but now I may draw your attention to it as a fact which, I may almost say, astronomers demonstrate to have existed throughout eternity. It is a grand idea-an idea which, in concluding, I wish to leave in your thoughts, coupled with the idea of the immensity of space, and the infinity of time, through which we have been wandering in the course of the lectures which I have delivered to you.
T this time (says the “Star") while the death penalty is
so frequently exacted, and while sorrow for the loss and admiration for the character and genius of a great man are fresh in the public mind, it may be useful to revive the opinions he deliberately expressed upwards of twenty years ago, after seeing, to use his own words, a murder done upon one of the most atrocious criminals who ever made their exit from this world on the gallows. That criminal was Courvoisier, the murderer of Lord William Russell, a man for whom it was impossible to feel the slightest sympathy, except in so far as he was the victim of a bloody and an unrighteous, because a useless and simply savage law. It may do good now to reproduce these words of our great Thackeray, in which he denounced that law. No one will suspect him of maudlin sentimentality. Perhaps no man ever lived who had a more thoroughly manly nature, tender as all manly natures are to the weak and suffering, but whose tenderness was not of that sickly sort that shrinks, because of its own weakness, from the sight of pain inficted. Thackeray, we may be sure, would not thus have condemned the gallows if that brutal instrument of the law had not outraged his moral sentiments. It was his reason, his judgment, and his conscience that spoke in the paper which he wrote, entitled “Going to see a man hanged," from which the following is an extract:
“If a public execution is beneficial—and beneficial it is, no doubt, or else the wise laws would not encourage forty thousand people to witness it—the next useful thing must be a full description of such a ceremony, and all its entourages, and to this end the above pages are offered to the reader. How does an individual man feel under it? In what way does he observe it,—how does he view all the phenomena connected with it,—what induces him in the first instance to go and see it,--and how is he moved by it afterwards? The writer has discarded the magazine 'We' altogether, and spoken face to face with the reader, recording every one of the impressions felt by him as honestly as he could. I must confess, then (for 'I' is the shortest word, and the best in this case), that the sight has left on my mind an extraordinary feeling of terror and shame. It seems to me that I have been abetting an act of frightful wickedness and violence performed by a set of men against one of their fellows; and I pray God that it may soon be out of the power of any man in England to witness such a hideous and degrading sight. Forty thousand persons (say the sheriffs), of all ranks and degrees-mechanics, gentlemen, pickpockets, members of both Houses of Parliament, street-walkers, newspaper writers-gather together at a very early hour; the most part of them give up their natural, quiet night's rest, in order to partake of this hideous debauchery, which is more exciting than sleep, or than wine, or the last new ballet, or any other amusement they can have. Pickpocket and peer each is tickled by the sight alike, and has that hidden lust after blood which influences our race; government, a Christian government, gives us a treat every now and then; it agrees-that is to say, a majority of the two Houses agrees—that for certain crimes it is necessary that a man should be hanged by the neck. Government commits the criminal soul to the mercy of GOD, stating that here on earth he is to look for no mercy ; keeps him for å fortnight to prepare, provides him with a clergyman to settle his religious matters (if there be time enough, but government can't wait); and on a Monday morning—the bell tolling, the clergyman reading out the word of God: “I am the resurrection and the life,' "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away'
-on a Monday morning, at eight o'clock, this man is placed under a beam, with a rope connecting it and him; a plank disappears from under him, and those who have paid for good places may see the hands of the government agent-Jack Ketch -coming up from his black hole and seizing the prisoners legs, and pulling them until he is quite dead-strangled. But murder is such a monstrous crime (this is the great argument), when a man has killed another it is natural that he should be killed. Away with your foolish sentimentalists who say “No!-it is natural. That is the word, and a fine philosophical opinion it is-philosophical and Christian. Kill a man, and you must be killed in turn; that is the unavoidable sequitur. You may talk to a man for a year upon the subject, and he will always reply to you, . It is natural, and therefore it must be done, Blood demands blood. Does it? The system of compensations might be carried on ad infinitum--an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, as by the old Mosaic law. But (putting the fact out of the question, that we have had this statute repealed by the highest authority), why, because you lose your eye, is that of your opponent's to be extracted likewise? Where is the reason for the practice ? And yet it is just as natural as the death dictum-founded precisely upon the same show of sense. Knowing, however, that revenge is not only evil, but useless, wo have given it up on all minor points. Only to the last we stick firm, contrary though it be to reason and to Christian law. There is some talk, too, of the terror which the sight of this speetacle inspires—and of this we have endeavoured to give as good a notion as we can in the above pages. I fully confess that I came away down Snowhill that morning with a disgust for murder, but it was for the murder I saw done. As we made our way through the immense crowd, we came upon two little girls of eleven and twelve years ; one of them was crying bitterly, and begged, for Heaven's sake, that some one would lead her from that horrid place. This was done, and the children were carried into a place of safety. We asked the elder girl-a very pretty one- -what brought her into such a neighbourhood ? The child grinned knowingly, and said, “We've koom to see the mon hanged! Tender law which brings out babes upon such errands, and provides them with such gratifying moral spectacles ! This is the 20th of July, and I niay be permitted for my part to declare that for the last 14 days, so salutary has the impression of the butchery been upon me, I have had the man's face continually before my eyes; that I can see Mr. Ketch at this moment, with an easy air taking the rope from his pocket ; that I feel myself ashamed and degraded at the brutal curiosity which took me to that exhibition; and that I pray to Almighty God to cause this disgraceful sin to pass from among us, and to cleanse our land of blood.”--W. M. THACKERAY.
TH' OWD MON'S SUNDAY.
BY R. ROME BEALLY.
W'LL tell thee what, Sally woife, th’owder av geet,
An' more as mi yure's gettin' grey,
In eawr chapel to sing an' to pray.
As touches mi deep deawn i'th' heart-
As are grander nor owt new an' smart:
An' leetnin' for treble, tha knows;
For singin' such loike tunes as those.
As aw hearken an' then try to sing ;
Aw'm just loike an owd fiddle string:
For mi heart keeps i' capital tune;
An' keep it reet weel wi' mi shoon.
There's those as has th' tune i’ther yed;
An' music to those folk is wed.
It con noather be bout nor be sowd,
But it conna' be bartered for gowd.
It ne'er wor a patented thing ;-
An' as free to th' poor peasant as th' king.