13 NOVEMBER 1869, Page 24

Love, Law, and Theology ; or, the Outs and Ins

of the Veto Case. By Alexander Macdonald. (Cameron and Ferguson ; Griffin and Co.)— This is, as the author acknowledges, and holds indeed to be inevitable, something of a caricature ; but it would not be a bad caricature, if the scene were not crowded with so many supernumeraries. It is a story of how a certain minister was presented to the parish of Veto, how some of the influential parishioners got up an opposition to him, how the objections were discussed before the presbytery, and how, finally, the General Assembly determined the cause. That a presentee should be objected to because he had a tongue too large or too small for his mouth, or because he had a flaming head of red hair which distracted the attention of his hearers, is scarcely probable ; but it can hardly be doubted that trivial objections are often lodged under the system which now pre- vails in Scotland, and that the Presbyteries, though they are probably not worse than other courts composed of ecclesiastics, sometimes show a want of wisdom and even of justice in dealing with them. All this Mr. Macdonald attacks with some power. His descriptions are evidently written by a man who knows his subject, and though lengthy are not without humour. In fact, he might have made a moderately readable book if he had been willing to keep it within certain limits, if he had excluded, for instance, the "love" train his triad, and not gone out of his way on another occasion to expose the iniquities of the Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow. Very likely he is in the right ; it is quite probable that these monopolies should be abolished in Scotland, as they have been in England, but the matter has nothing to do with the subject of the book. Equally irrelevant is the description of the newspaper correspondent. One consequence is that the writer becomes weary, and that a scene which might be made something of. the debate in the General Assembly, is given in a very inadequate way. The reader, in short, may pick a good deal that is amusing out of the book ; but he must understand that he will have to pick it.