30 JUNE 1855, Page 15


CONFUSION of tongues is nothing to the confusion of ideas. Dis- cord never becomes so intractable or so dangerous as when it is the ideas that are confounded in a community. The disturbance In the Park on Sunday might have been put down by the display of a sufficient form; but the elements of disorder would be suppressed, not eliminated, and the danger to the community would be rendered latent, not removed. The want of a mutual understanding, which excited that disturbance and misguided it, might lead to endless hostilities and the most dangerous excesses unless it be cleared away. The one side, perhaps, is as mistaken as the other. The hatred of "the aristocracy' for putting down the amusements of "the people," while the rich and lordly enjoy the Park themselves, is not more indiscriminate than that hatred of the mob which sup- poses the numbers to be entirely unreasonable or governed by one subversive love of anarchy and malignity. The summons assem- bling the people to see how" the aristocracy" spend their Sunday, as an illustration of the measures for putting down recreation and traffic on the seventh day, was a perfect blunder. "The aristo- cracy" do not frequent the Park on a Sanday more than on other days, nor indeed so much. The carriages that are seen in the ring are recruited more on that day than on any other by the bour- geoisie, the nouveaux riches, and even the tradesman class who are rising in the world. There is infinitely more distinction between members of the aristocracy, properly so called, and many of the oc- cupants of the carriage, than there is between the occupants of the carriage and the poorest man in the mob. On the other hand, the promoters of Sabbath-observance are not the aristocracy min-

sively, nor chiefly. The high-born in this-country differ in opin- ions and personal customs as much as any other class of the com-

munity. They mostly belong to the Established Church, because that is the fashionable church ; but the Evangelical opinions vihieti usually dictate a strict observance of the Sabbath belong far more to the middle-class than to the high-born. The Shaftesburys and Blandfords are few ; Exeter Hall is crowded more by Dissenters than Churchmen; and the congregations of most of the gentlemen Who figure there go from shop to chapel. Nay, there ate not a few of the very humblest class who desire to be released from the neces- sity of labouring or trading on the Sunday, partly from the deatre to attend church and to avoid desecrating the day, partly from the wish to enjoy a brief suspension of labour which the working man usually secures, but which the very small shopkeeper cannot get. Some of those who have been promoting Lord Robert Grosvenor's Sunday Trading Bill—which gave occasion to this disturbance— were the humblest residents of Lambeth, who certainly were not represented amongst the carriage company of the ring on Sunday last. If the House of Commons were to pass Lord Robert Grosve- nor's bill, it would obey the dictate of F eter Hall and the peti- tioners of Lambeth, far more than carry out any decree from Bel- gravia or Tyburnia.

At the same time, it would be equally bad discrimination to suppose that the mob on Sumlay was actuated only by a dislike to the Sunday Bill, or that it comprised none but one class of the subversive mob. Upon the whole, the multitude might be re- garded as drawn principally from the working-classes; but there are great numbers besides the working-classes who rebel against the tyranny of Parliament, not exclusively because it interferes with Sunday trading, but because it is too far animated by ideas, objects, and desires distinct from those of the most numerous classes in this country. The Members of the House of Commons who go to clubs, who have ample stores in their pantry, valets to attend their toilet, and everything laid up for the campaign of the day, will close the cellar of the working-man in closing the public-house, will deprive him of his valet by fotbid- ding the barber to shave, and will interfere with his personal com- fort for the only holiday of the seven—not because the House is tyrannical, and would do these things if it understood its own ac- tion, but because it does not know the customs of the working- classes, and does not sympathize with their particular wishes and fears.

Many of those who would be bound by a, restriction on Sunday- trading, like those who are prevented from opening or using pub- lic-houses during so many hours on the Sunday, desire the re- striction. " Volenti non fit injuria "; and they, at all events, have no reason to complain. Some of their number have not appealed to the Legislature for a compulsory interference, but to the cus- tomer class itself. The humble dealers of Lambeth who desire the discontinuance of trading on Sunday ask their measure from their customers, not from Parliament. This is carrying the a to the best quarter. If the English people thinks it wrong to rraett to whatever minute extent or at all on the Sunday, the English people itself will of conrse abstain from trading ; and if the Eng- lish people does not think it wrong, the representative assembly ought not to enforce a law alien to the conviction of the people. We perfectly agree in the opinion, that from ordinary prac- tical considerations physical and moral, as well as from religions feeling, it is desirable to discontinue labour on the seventh day. How to employ the seventh day, is a question which the English public has not answered for itself. No small proportion of the community feel the obligation of religious worship, and also believe that the mind can be more attuned and elevated to a just religious apprehension by any species of occupation which enlarges the view and renders the observer conversant with the works of the Creator, whether in the open country or amid the works of art and the collections of science in great towns. In other words, rational recreation is by many held to be the strongest auxiliary to natural piety. If the clergy have the stronger cause, it is rather remarkable that they should trust to compulsory statutes for bringing anditories to them, and for preventing the said an- ditories from seeking by preference museums, parks, and open country. The opinion which goes in favour of intellectual observance or rational recreation has now the sanction of the very highest leading men in all parties—of the Prince Consort near the Throne, of Lord Palmerston on one side of the Legislature and of Lord Derby on the other, to say nothing of innumerable philoso- phers who are to be found within as well as without the Church. If the position of Archdeacon Sinclair were realized, the same in- stinct that impels metr to seek a satisfaction for the instinct of ob- servation in the museum or the field would lead them into the church, where the scenery that had just been surveyed would be moralized by a pastor able to guide his flock from one truth of nature to another until he aids them to reach the highest truth of all. A church thus furnished would draw the auditory to it, and would not need the people to be driven from the museum. In- deed, it would become a question with any clergyman conducting public worship in the manner suggested by Archdeacon Sinclair or Lord Derby, whether some hours previously spent in the freedom of nature or in a well-stored museum would not have opened the mind more completely for the reeeption of the spiritual illustration. At all events, when the priest desires to draw his flock from the field and the museum to the church, his mission essentially points to an influence exercised over his charge through conviction and feeling, and not through penal statute.