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that the incident is talked of with great gusto even to this day, and the display seems to be as fresh and vivid on the minds of the people as if it had been witnessed but yesterday. If Airley intended to befool the curate, he reckoned without his host, for he was fully upsides with him in a point which was little anticipated. That there might be more profanity than seriousness in this Sabbath's display, may, perhaps, be justly surmised, but the curate sought reprisals in his own way, and was successful.

CORAL ISLANDS.

THE innumerable islands that stud the bosom of the Pacific Ocean may be divided into three classes. The first is mountainous, and ascribed to volcanic agency; the second is crystalline, and rise in dull masses some hundred feet or so above the level of the ocean; the third is low-lying, and rise but a few feet above the waters. Among the mountainous class, there are many that present scenes rich in natural beauty and sublimity. From the rich and fertile plain mountains raise their conical forms, and, towering aloft, lose themselves in the region of the clouds. To a great height, their sloping sides are covered with foliage and flowers of every hue, interspersed with cliffs and broken rocks, presenting a scene of mingled beauty and sublimity seldom to be met with. The soil, with small exertion, yields abundance to supply the simple wants of the aborigines. Here are all the necessaries of life and many of its luxuries. The climate is mild and delightful; the sweetest fragrance breathes in every vale, and the soft breezes from the shore cool and refresh the interior. This class and the second we will pass over, and confine our self in the meantime to the low-lying islands. This class is of coral origin, and have long engaged the attention of natural philosophers. The coral islands, or formations, known to exist in the Pacific and other oceans, are subdivided by Darwin into three classes, each presenting characteristic features-the atoll, the barrier-reef, and the fringing-reef.

First, the atoll. Atoll is the Indian name of a circular mass of coral enclosing an area, no matter what its dimensions may be, of still water, and continually washed without by the powerful waves of the surrounding ocean. These rings are generally a few feet only above the level of the water. They are found from one mile in diameter to many miles; and the breadth of the coral mass generally increases with the circumference of the circle. The surface of the whole ring is not equally elevated; the windward portion is always highest, and the leeward portion lowest. Nor is this last portion only lowest; it uniformly contains a break or passage by which an entrance can be effected, and a calm and safe anchorage obtained within. The surface of the ring is almost in every instance clothed with a soil sufficient to bear a rich verdure and numerous cocoanut trees. The general aspect of the atoll is exceedingly interesting, and unlike any object to be met with in our northern regions. It appears an enormous fairy ring, clothed in green, and calming, as if by some hidden but all-potent spell, the wide stretch of waters it protects from the heavy swell of the surrounding ocean. As you ap proach the interest increases. The outer margin of the circle presents a beach of silvery whiteness, which, though it slopes at an angle of forty-five degrees, is seen to a considerable depth. Here the coral insects are at work in myriads, regardless of the incessant dashing of the waves. Within the circle the scene is varied, but not less interesting. Here you have a long sloping bottom, covered with other kinds of polypes, all at work, and, under the sun's rays, giving out the most brilliant colours. Many of the coral stems are of the most delicate and curious construction. Altogether you have spread before you a fairy submarine forest, with its mimic trees, and foliage, and flowers. This peculiar form which the coral mass assumes, has given rise to much speculation. Some were of opinion that the insects raised this rocky barrier to protect them from the violence of the ocean; so that within the sacred enclosure they cou'd build their cells, and produce all that

curious and beautiful work which so many of the corals present. This idea cannot for a moment abide before the researches of later years. In point of fact, the polypes that raised the barrier, or their successors, so far from having taken shelter within the bulwarks of their own constructing, are actually engaged at work, night and day, outside the wall. And it is indeed wonderful to know that these diminutive labourers not only sustain the incessant beating of the waves, which come from the far-spreading ocean with tremendous force, but make steady progress in the face of this unceasing opposition. As Darwin well remarks, we have here demonstrated the superiority of organic over inorganic power. Nor is this all; it would appear that the continual breaking of the waves upon the stony mass brings within the reach of these tiny builders the calcareous particles with which the sea-water is loaded, and which compose the material of their cells. The structure to be raised is a coral reef; the builders are the spongy creatures called polypes; the material is spread over the wide expanse of ocean; and the rolling waves carry it for ward, and place it, somewhat rudely indeed, within their reach. It is indeed true that inside the circle multitudes of polypes are at work; but it should be known that these are different species from those who raised the barrier. It was long believed by scientific men that these coral rings were constructed on the elevated margins of extinct volcanoes. There were, indeed, some strong objections to this theory; but notwithstanding it held sway till very lately. The following facts were in its favour:-First, the indication of wide-spread, almost universal volcanic action in these regions. Many of the islands, though in distant groups, are undoubtedly volcanic. In some of them volcanoes are still active, in many more cones are distinctly traced, though long since inactive; and throughout almost all the groups certain indications of volcanic matter are traceable. Now, was it not natural to suppose that the coral circle marked the site, and rested upon the edges of a submerged volcano? Secondly, the atoll is in almost every instance circular, with uneven surface--the identical form of an ancient crater. It is believed that the coral insect cannot work below a certain depth-120 or 180 feet. When the island was submerged so far, then the polypes began their work, which they continued to the surface; and should the depressing process go on, so would the building, so that what was lost in the one way was gained in the other. Certain facts were against the theory:-First, whilst many of the atolls are not larger than the crater of a good sized volcano, there are others sixty, eighty, and even a hundred miles in circumference. Of course, these could not have such an origin, there being no volcanoes of such monstrous size. Secondly, it was asked if these rest on the edges of extinct submerged volcanoes, why do we invariably find a break or opening on one and the same side? A new theory has been announced by Darwin, which seems to account for all the facts existing in connection with the coral formations. The following is a brief statement of it:-That part of the Pacific Ocean, where the coral formations abound, was, at a period far remote, the site of numerous islands, sometimes presenting long elevated ridges, and sometimes presenting dome-shaped and conical masses. The existence of these elevated masses proved the existence of corresponding valleys, which had now become the bed of the ocean. The elevations would not be of one height, any more than of one form. When the whole region was submerged to some extent, the conditions were established for the active existence of polypes. We behold them now at work, a little below the surface, all round the elevation. For the sake of vivid illustration, suppose the elevation a cone 300 feet high. Another depression takes place, and it is sunk 50 feet. In course of time, the polypes work again to the surface, when the submerging process is renewed; and thus, through the continued sinking on the one hand, and the building on the other, the island altogether disappears, whilst the coral belt around

* From certain discoveries by Sir James Ross in the Antarctic regions, this is doubtful. These will be afterwards referred to.

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elevation is greater in this direction. This is accounted for on the principle that the dashing of the waves is known not to be unfavourable, but rather the contrary, to the work of the polypes, and is farther known to loosen, by aid of the sun, large masses of dead coral, and throw them upon the barrier, where they lie, and, in course of time, accumu late a considerable mass. It is observed that the openings are opposite those parts of the island where, from their physical appearances, it is obvious rivulets or rivers for merly existed. Now, polypes cannot work-they cannot even exist-in fresh water, nor where sand or any sort of the barrier, but it cannot account for it being always on one side. Rivers do not flow on one side only of an island or continent. From the combined effects of the masses thrown up on the windward side, and the continual current of the trade winds, the openings would be at once blocked up, and the flow of fresh water impeded greatly. This would enable the polypes to fill up the breach; and the water accumulated in the lagoon would naturally find an outlet where there were no influences at work to restore or strengthen the barrier. This construction of the cora reef, accounted for on such simple natural principles, bas proved frequently of much benefit to the mariner. On the sheltered side of the island he can readily steer his vesse into the lagoon, and at any hour leave his anchorage; but he could not have done this had the opening been on the other side.

Thirdly, The fringing-reef. The fringing-reef is a mass of coral stretching along a continent at some distance from the shore, as in some parts of the coast of Australia. But, after what has been advanced on the two former classes of coral formations, we will not dwell further on this.

it remains. When the process has gone so far, the appearance is that of a circular mass of coral, enclosing, not the conical top of the mountain, but a sheet of still water over the mass that is now submerged. Whatever was the shape and extent of the island, so would be the form and size of the coral band. Thus this new theory admits most readily of atolls of all dimensions. But, it may be asked, are there any facts in connection with the islands in the South Seas calculated to furnish support to such a theory?—for if there is not, then it must fall to the ground. We have already stated that it meets the case of all the known facts of the coral formations, and that is undoubtedly strong presump-rubbish accumulates. This may account for a breach in tion in its favour. But in addition we have to state, that it is now ascertained that the region to which we are referring is gradually sinking, and not rising as many fancy. Secondly, The barrier reef. This formation consists of a band of coral encircling an island at some distance from the shore. In origin and appearance, the barrier is in every respect similar to the atoll, only it has within it an island of greater or less dimensions, and composed of different material. Between the island and the barrier there is a body of still water, sometimes many fathoms deep, in which every variety of coral abounds, and numerous fishes of various species gambol all day long. The barrier contains always one opening, and sometimes more than one; and this is the only way by which the island can be reached. The power with which the waves come from the deep, and dash against the barrier, raises such a surf, that it is always most dangerous, and frequently impossible, to get over it, even at high water, in a native canoe. The scene presented by the reef and its enclosed island is singular and highly interesting. There is the white band with its patches of green, composed of much more fragile material than the island, and yet protecting it effectually from the powerful and ever restless ocean. Within the coral ridge, the still transparent water presents a wonderful scene of mingled animation and beauty. Along the island shore stretches a frowning precipice, broken at intervals by deep gulleys, and presenting, on more minute observation, a series of romantic masses. Each gulley has its rill or rivulet. Above and beyond the precipice stretches away from the shore a sort of tableland exceedingly rich, and clothed with luxuriant vegetation. Here are the huts, and ricefields, and fruit-groves of the natives; and among them is now seen the whitewashed school-room and modest chapel. War, and polygamy, and a cruel idolatry, once blighted this fair region; but now there is peace, and chastity, and the simple pure worship of the true God. This change is due, let it be frankly acknowledged, to the labours of the missionary. The centre of the island is frequently occupied by a rugged mountain, whose base is clothed with deep-shaded woods. The bold romantic scenery of these lovely islands is powerfully felt by the intelligent visiter. But to return to the theory of the formation of this coral reef. It is the opinion of Darwin, that the enclosed island is in the act of sinking, though to us by imperceptible degrees; and, of course, the coral reef must be in the process of rising, as the one process is uniformly associated with the other. At one time the island was much higher; and, as ages roll on, it will continue to sink, should no change take place in the direction of the central powers of the earth, till it shall entirely disappear. But, inasmuch as the barrier will still continue to rise, the rate of depression remaining the same, in connection with the island, we can look forward to a time when what is now an island with its coral barrier, will be an atoll, or circle, with its enclosed lagoon, or sheet of still water. Thus, the barrierreef, with its enclosed island, places before us the process by which nature is forming the numerous coral circles that abound in the Southern Pacific, and which have given rise to so much speculation. But there is still a question to which we must refer, namely, Why is it that both in the atoll and barrier-reef, there is an opening on the leeward side? It is observed that, in fully formed circles and barriers, there is no opening to windward, and also, that the

• Darwin's Journal. Second edition, chap 20.

It is well known that the coral insect is very diminutive and unsubstantial. It appears a formless, glutinous mass and has its cell on the top of the stalk, which it graduany lengthens by depositing calcareous matter, There *r numerous species; and, though the material which they secrete is the same, yet the form and appearance of the stony mass is very dissimilar. To use the words of Lyell'The more durable materials of the generation that was passed away, serve as the foundation on which the living animals continue to rear a similar structure. The stony part of the camelliform zoophyte may be likened to an intera skeleton, for it is always more or less surrounded by a suf animal substance capable of expanding itself; yet, when alarmed, it has the power of contracting and drawing it almost entirely into the cells and hollows of the hard our Although oftentimes beautifully coloured in their own ele ment, the soft parts become, when taken from the ses nothing more in appearance than a brown stime sprest over the stony nucleus.' Speaking of corals which had been obtained from Keeling Island, possessed of qualites that had not before been observed, Darwin says:-'I was a good deal surprised by finding two species of coral f the genus Milleporn, possessed of the power of stingu The stony branches or plates, when taken fresh from the water, have a harsh feel, and are not slimy, although pos sessing a strong and disagreeable smell. The stinging property seems to vary in different specimens. Whet piece was pressed or rubbed on the tender skin of the face or arm, a pricking sensation was usually caused, which came on after the interval of a second, and lasted only for a few minutes. One day, however, by merely touching my face with one of the branches, pain was stantaneously caused-it increased as usual after a few seconds, and, remaining sharp for some minutes, was pers ceptible for half-an-hour afterwards. The sensation wa as bad as that from a nettle, but more like that caused by the Portuguese man-of-war. Little red spots were produod on the tender skin of the arm, which appeared as if they would have formed watery pustules, but did not. Sting ing corals have also been found in the West Indies. This is a quality which seems to be possessed by many se creatures and plants. How wonderful the provisions of nature, and how delicate and appropriate is this simp weapon of offence and defence! Many jelly-fish and sea

slug have this power; and it would appear that the seaanemone and a flexible coralline have the same provision. It is said that in the East Indian Sea a stinging sea-weed is found. The growth of those corals which construct reefs of solid stone is confined to warm regions. They very rarely extend beyond the tropics above a few degrees, except under peculiar circumstances. The Pacific Ocean is extremely prolific of coral-as also are the Arabian and Persian Gulfs. It is also abundant in the sea between the coast of Malabar and the island of Madagascar. There is a reef of coral on the east coast of New Holland, described by Flinders, as extending to the length of about 1000 miles, and as being unbroken, in one part, for some hundred miles. This is an enormous mass of matter deposited by such small and slow-working creatures. There are groups, or fields, of coral islands in the Pacific, from 1100 to 1200 miles in length, by 300 or 400 miles in breadth; as, for example, the dangerous Archipelago, and what Kotzebue calls Radack. But these by no means constitute a continuous mass; they are rather small points and patches, surrounded by extensive fields of water. The rate of growth of coral seems to be extremely slow. In Captain Beechy's expedition to the Pacific, no evidence could be discovered of any channel having been filled up within a given period. From the investigations of Professor Ehrenberg, no facts have been derived in support of its rapid growth. On the contrary, in speaking of the corals of the Red Sea, he tells us that he observed single corals, of a gobular form, of the genus Menandrina, which must be of immense antiquity, probably several thousand years old; so that Pharaoh may have looked upon the same individuals as did the professor. But, in all probability, the rate of growth is greater than has been hitherto be lieved; the whole region in the Pacific being in a state of subsidence, the upward growth will appear much more slow than in reality it is. The masses of coral in the South Seas, and other regions where it abounds, must be very thick, as well as far-extending. It is curious to reflect,' says Lyell, that if the bottom of the equatorial seas, where atolls abound, were upraised and laid dry, we should behold mountain-peaks and ridges, composed fundamentally of volcanic, granitic, and other rocks, on which tabular masses of limestone would repose. Some of their calcareous cappings would be continuous over an area three miles, others above 300 miles in circumference, while their thickness might vary from 1000 to 10,000 feet, or more. They would consist principally of corals and shells, in some places entire, in others broken. In the lower regions of the same continent, and between the high tablelands or mountain ridges, there would often be no contemporary deposits, or, where exceptions occurred to this rule, the calcareous strata would differ in their nature as much as in the species of fossils which they enclosed from the tabular masses of coral.' When we think that the coral insects have been at work, in inconceivable numbers, in epochs of this world's history long since past, as well as in the present, and know that vast masses of the earth's crust owe their origin to these creatures, then, however insignificant they may appear, they must be viewed as agents of no mean power and importance in the construction of the globe. Impressed with this conviction, we were led to devote this article to a popular statement of their present doings, believing that it will be an acceptable offering to many readers. Our remarks would have closed here, but for certain facts ascertained by Sir James Ross in his voyage to the Southern Seas, which strike at the root of an opinion almost universally held at the present time, though doubted by some of the earlier investigators. The point to which reference is now made, is the depth at which corals can live and work. The prevailing opinion is that corals do not exist in an active state at a greater depth than between 120 and 180 feet. In the last century, Forster, the German naturalist, who accompanied Captain Cook in his voyage round the world, was convinced, after his investigations, that corals worked at great depths. The same notion was adopted by Captain Flinders. From the facts discovered by Sir James Ross and others, it would appear

that these naturalists were nearer the truth than their successors. In latitude 33 deg. 32 min. south, longitude 167 deg. 40 min. east, in soundings of four hundred fathoms (2400 feet), Sir James came upon a bank of sand and small black stones. The drag was put over board; and after dragging for about half-an-hour, it was found to contain some beautiful specimens of coral, corallines, flustro, and a few crustaceous animals. The gallant captain remarks, The discovery of a coral bank rising from so great a depth towards the surface of the ocean, and probably, in future ages, to form an island between New South Wales and New Zealand, is a remarkable circumstance." Specimens have been found at great depth in other parts of the ocean; and these facts together prove that corals do work at greater depths than is generally believed. THE HERO OF WESTMINSTER-MISSIONARIES

AND THIEVES.

PHILANTHROPY has its battle-fields as well as hatred; but, while mere animal pugnacity is the all-sufficient virtue of a warrior hero, it requires true courage to sustain the hero of philanthropy in his life-long and painful struggles with the misery and vices of humanity. No one who has not seen could conceive of the worlds of wretchedness and crime that lie hidden in the heart of society, and which cry aloud to the Christian for invasion and conquest. No one who has not intimately examined the characters and sentiments of those who constitute the outlaws and pariahs of the civilised world, could conceive of the noble sentiments that often lie like pearls within their diseased natures. We have often pondered over the hopeful and sublimely charitable monitions of the Gospel, and compared with their spirit the spirit of the visible laws which are employed to govern men; and we have often wondered if merely punitive human laws were not as conducive in propagating the vice and misery which they sought to suppress, as were the tendencies of poor fallen human nature. In the chief of weeds, there may be found sweet nectarine drops of honey. At the eleventh hour, fallen, downstricken, degraded, debased humanity may arise from the miry slough of sin and crime, and the soul, glorified by the gift of adoption, may become a light in the galaxy of the empyreal heavens. While the lamp of life holds on to burn, the prodigal, who has wasted his patrimony, derided the beseechings of his brother, the sobbings of his sister, the appeals of his father, and the silent tearful agonies of the mother who fed him from her bosom-he who has strayed from love and heaven into a far country of sin and misery, and who has fed with swine upon the husks which the birds and beasts have thrown under their forest-tables-even he may return, and the Father waits for him. But where are the evangels-the bearers of the tidings of peace and hope to the benighted and scorned outlaws from the world of propriety? The law sends them not; it has sent the magistrate down into the hauuts of crime with the sword, but never with the olive-branch of hope and peace. What the law has not done, however, the church has attempted to do. What legislators have neglected, Christians have voluntarily taken upon themselves, as part of the Saviour's yoke. And day by day pure-hearted and earnest men go down amongst the vile and vicious preaching repentance, and reclaiming many from the evil of their ways.

Perhaps few men deserve so much of the sympathy and encouragement of their Christian brethren as these missionaries who condescend to men of the most wretched estate-who, full of a charity and sympathy which are rare in this cold world, go about amidst the most pestilential airs, and to the gloomiest homes, to point the sunken eyes of the thief and prostitute to purer air and brighter homes above. Few can estimate the harrowing scenes which hourly pain the home-missionary's heart; and few can ever know the discouragements that meet him in his progress, as he toils on in the service of his

Ross's Voyages, vol. ii. p. 54.

Heavenly Master; and perhaps as few can realise that glorious fullness of faith which sustains him in his Master's work. Perhaps there is not in the world a man better qualified to discharge the home-apostleship than is Mr A. Walker, whom we have heard called the Lion of Westminster' at York, and the Lamb of Westminster' in London. He is more than a lion in strength of purpose and moral courage; he is a lamb in the gentleness of his soul and in the humility of his nature. For ten years he bas been almost daily in the f ulest and most demoralised purlieus of Westminster, cntering freely and without fear where single policemen dare not venture alone, and preaching and doing good to brigands and robbers, who receive him with pleasure and listen to him with respect. Whilst lately in London, we collected several facts relating to this remarkable man and his services, and we had determined to lay them before our readers, but still we always shrunk, from a feeling of delicacy towards the good missionary, from intruding on his modest path, and interfering with a course so nice and perilous as his. The proceedings of a thieves' meeting, published in the City Mission Magazine,' for November, 1848, has relieved us now, however, of all sense of responsibility in our doing so, and we can with peace open up to our readers a glimpse of the path which Mr Walker daily treads. Mr Walker is a Scotchman, and is to Westminster what Mr Jackson is to the Minories. He is the thieves' missionary of Duck Lane, Old and New Pye Streets, Pye Court, and those other dark purlieus north of the abbey, which yield a plentiful treasury to the dean and chapter of Westminster. He has the confidence and esteem of the veriest outcasts of the world; and, let the world sneer at the declaration if it will, he declares, and we believe him, that there are many virtues living side by side in the same souls with the sins which society sternly and inexorably punishes, and religion. th pity condemns.

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In the earlier part of his career, Mr Walker had related to a friend his experience of the wilderness of wo, to `which he went in faith to sow the good seed, and this friend being much struck with what he had heard, published a particular account of the haunts and habits of the Westminster thieves. It must be recollected that these thieves are not totally illiterate, and that they have a special interest in watching public events. They subscribe for newspapers, and otherwise take a lynx-eyed cognisance of men and movements. The paragraph of Mr W.'s injudicious friend met the eye of the leader of one of the Westminster gangs, and it was sworn in conclave, that, as the missionary had betrayed their confidence, he should be pushed into the Thames some dark night. Providence, however, prevented the consummation of this terrible plot. The chief of the murderers revealed their purpose to his paramour, and she, remembering who it was that had brought her medicine and cordials when she was lying at the point of death, and who it was that always spoke to her so gently of Christ's love for sinners who forsook their sin, and who exhorted her and prayed with and for her, rose in the night-time, and, pale and trembling, repaired to the good missionary's home and revealed to him his danger.

but I cannot take it upon me to admit you to our meeting, unless I obtain permission,' said the missionary, yielding to his persuasions at last. The permission of the captain was asked and obtained, and the friend was allowed to join the meeting. After prayer was over, his friend whispered in Mr Walker's ear that his handkerchief was gone. The captain being informed of the fact, immediately commanded it to be restored, at the same time indignantly saying to the thief who had taken it, 'You are no longer a member of our band, we shall have no dishonourable fellow with us.'

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Although driven from the paths of virtue, and peace, and honesty, many of these thieves retain a high sense of the dignity of probity, and often bear something like an honourable testimony to an honest life. One notorious thief in Westminster gives one pound a year to a ragged school, and on more than one occasion he has led children to its door and pointed their way towards it. Ah,' said he to the missionary, who one day had referred to his anxiety for juvenile instruction, although I am a thief myself, I do not wish others to be so. I am not so with my will. The law made me so. My first imprisonment was a false one. I was innocent of the crime imputed to me, nevertheless I was punished and ruined. When I came from prison, I was an outcast from society. Nobody would employ a 'gaol bird,' and I was therefore forced to become what the blind law had made me appear to be, and what the world believed me to be."

This is not a singular case in the missionary's experience, and happily he has been the means of reclaiming one at least to peace and respectability, whom the law had punished in mistake, but unmistakeably thrown into the vortex of crime. One young man who robbed, not because he loved to do so, but because the honest would not give him honourable employment after a false imprisonment, was led back to the path of virtue by this minister of love, and now occupies a respectable position in society.

The life of the missionary in the homes and haunts of the vile is a life of active charity, and such a one as prepares him for the apostolic measure of this cardinal Chris tian virtue. Mr Walker has been somewhat censured by fastidious friends for his exertions to reclaim the weakest and the most pitiable portion of all those who have been seduced from the path of rectitude. Oh, if you knew, said the missionary to a dear friend of ours, how marr of these poor creatures are brought to this condition by the falsehood and villany of men of wealth, and bow many of them would starve if they were to return to virtue, you would not blame them but would pity them, and reserve your indignation for those who have destroyed them.' World-doubting, censorious, conventional world, would you believe it? Many poor unfortunates have been led back to the ways of pleasantness by this hero of philanthropy, and are now happy wives and the angels of happy homes.

The secret of Mr Walker's success in teaching these, our poor brothers and sisters of humanity, is love. He went first amongst them and befriended them, and, har ing gained their confidence, he lifted up the veil that divided them from the Redeemer's kingdom-preached reThe intrepid soldier of the cross saw at once that un-pentance, and pointed to the glorious heavens, through the less he acted boldly and openly, his usefulness was gone as well as his life menaced. He accordingly went to the band-accused them of their plot-explained the circumstances of the publication-appealed to their experience of his past connection with them-and so regained their confidence by his trankness, that every design against his life was foregone, and these very murderers are his warmest friends. Even so do love and truth quicken those who are dead in trespasses and sins.

We have often heard the adage bandied from mouth to mouth, there is honour among thieves,' and the fact is substantiated by Mr Walker's experience. On one occasion, a friend expressed much anxiety to accompany the missionary on one of his visits to a band, whom he had promised to meet in a secret place upon a Sabbath after'I shall take you to the outside of the building,

noon.

merits of the crucified Saviour. I would rather consent to die than divulge to the law-officers anything that has been revealed in confidence to me by these people,' says the good missionary; I am the servant of Him whose ministry is love, and who reserves to himself vengeance.

For ten years has Mr Walker lived amongst these people, condemning their practices, pointing out the evil of their ways, describing the peace and glory of virtue and religion, and never in one single instance suffering an expression palliating their ways of life to cross his lips; and yet the very thieves breathe his name iu love. The poor and lowly scatter blessings perfumed with the incense of prayer upon his path, and the desponding and sorrowing sigh, and wish that they were only as sure of heaven as he.'

Fortunately, there are now incontestible corroborative

HOGG'S WEEKLY INSTRUCTOR.

facts before the public upon this subject; and it will be seen that our good friend Walker's case is not a singular one. The following description of a meeting of thieves, held in London, surpasses all that ever yet was placed upon the records of history, and shows us what might be done if men were only wise. and thief-takers in the metropolis could not have brought All the Bow Street officers together 207 thieves in a month; but love-the will to do them good, and the confidence won by one Christian mandrew them voluntarily together to listen to words of hope and promise, and to behold the glimmerings of a better future. This meeting is one of the most serious phenomena of the age, and is calculated to produce much reflection upon our social condition, and to widen much the circle of general charity. We extract the account from the Era, of November, 1848:

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Everybody has heard of the Ragged Schools, and most people know that Lord Ashley is their principal promoter. Now, there is what is termed the London City Mission, established for the purpose of supporting Ragged Schools, and employing missionaries to reform people living amongst us of humble callings and of all ages. One of these missionaries is Mr Jackson, of the Rag Fair and Rosemary Lane district. His house is open to all who choose to visit him in search of advice and assistance: and between June and December, 1847, so many as 2343 calls upon him were made by children and young persons. People at all acquainted with the neighbourhood to which Mr Jackson's zealous, pious, and philanthropic labours are confined, will not be surprised to learn that he is termed the Thieves' Missionary, a distinction of which he is, doubtless, by no means ashamed, and one which he has been at much pains to obtain. He is, in fact, in the confidence of the thieves of London-a confidence profitable to them, to him, and to the whole community. How this intimacy was obtained, and by what means it is kept up with advantage to both parties, and an injury to neither, it would take a volume to relate-such a volume as would put Paul Clifford' and 'Jack Sheppard' in the shade such a story of real life as would eclipse all the sentimental slang, and vice made charming, that have been prepared by different authors to suit the tastes of different palates, but not to benefit their owners.

When we consider how many missionaries are eaten by savages, speared by Indians, killed by fever, and otherwise made to suffer in the pursuit of their calling--when we remember what is borne by these men without fainting by the way-it is not to be wondered at that Mr Jackson courts and keeps such dangerous acquaintances as professed thieves; and when we reflect upon what is done in the jungle, on the prairie, in the mountains, the desert, and in the wilderness, it is by no means surprising that his 'mission' is not unsuccessful.

The fact that half a dozen pickpockets occasionally drop in to take tea and pray with him and his respectable family, or that he, a moral man and a Christian, goes openly into dens of infamy, and familiarises himself with sin in its most sickening shape (and these be facts), is not so striking as is the evidence of the existence of such cool outlaws, and such deliberate crime, as those to which we allude. But we are coming to more of this presently. We are about to describe a scene which Bulwer, nor Ainsworth, nor Reynolds never dreamed of in their philosophy.

It occurred to Mr Jackson, upon the receipt of Lord Ashley's speech, spoken in the House of Commons, in June last, that some of his 'young friends' might desire to emigrate at the expense of the Government,' but not after the manner in which culprits usually leave the mother country. He accordingly put the question to one of them, and the answer was, I should jump at it!' Thus oncouraged, he made further inquiry among his wicked associates, and shortly afterward, to use the words of the City Mission Magazine for this month (November)— Mr Jackson was sent for by a number of thieves lodging in a court adjacent to the district, called Blue Anchor Yard. He went, and they expressed themselves extreme

311

ly desirous to know whether any hope could be held out
of their obtaining an honest livelihood, however humble,
in our colonies, instead of continuing to pursue their pre-
sent criminal course in this country, from which they
found it now almost an impossibility to extricate them-
like us.''
selves. 'It would,' said they, 'be a capital thing for chaps

To

ask any thinking man, whether a scene more interesting
can be imagined than that wherein the moral and reli-
Of course the matter was seriously discussed, and we
gious champion stood, surrounded by the lawless gang of
castaways, the miscreants, whose hands or fingers were
against everybody, and at whom every man's (particularly
every policeman's) hand or finger was directed? We can
believe in 'The Beggar's Opera,' and Peachum, Lockett,
thing in this truth far more strange than fiction.
and Fileh are to us living characters; but there is some-
proceed: Mr Jackson informed his audience that Lord
Ashley was about to honour him with a visit, and he would
have much pleasure in introducing them to his lordship.
The Irish Free School was fixed on as the place of meet-
ing, and on the evening of Thursday, July 27, 1848, the
convicted felons, vagrants, and known thieves, assembled
together to the number of two hundred and seven, for the
purpose of consulting Lord Ashley as to the best means
for bettering their condition. Two hundred and seven
thieves! Even Mr Jackson was not prepared for this. It
was a meeting that had never taken place since Spartan
boys had ceased to congregate. Two hundred and seven
professed thieves surrounding half-a-dozen honest men
was a sight worthy of all the metropolitan magistrates and
the entire police force. Had Porson's devil taken a walk'
that night, what would he have said or doue in passing
the Irish Free School ? But we must not pause to mo
ralise. The City Mission Magazine' says, with becoming
candour, coolness, and gravity- Several of the best known
and most experienced thieves were stationed at the door,
to prevent the admission of any but thieves. Some four
or five individuals, who were not at first known, were sub-
jected to a more public examination, aud only allowed to
remain on their stating who they were, and being recog-
nised as members of the dishonest fraternity; and before
was very carefully put, and repeated several times, whether
the proceedings of the evening commenced, the question
any one was in the room of whom others entertained
doubts as to who he was.
so many of them were in danger of getting into trouble,
as they call it, or, in other words, of being taken up for
The object of this care was, as
their crimes, if discovered, to ascertain whether any who
should betray them was present.

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Why, with a hymn, and then a prayer.
How will it be supposed that the meeting was opened?
present, shrewdly says, 'What was the real state of the
in the Magazine, who was one of the few honest men
And the writer
hearts of those present, while these devotional exercises
say.' Who, indeed, shall fathom the heart of man?
were proceeding, it is of course impossible for any man to

the nature and object of the meeting, and the characters
An address was next read to Lord Ashley, setting forth
of those who attended it, together with the result of the
reader's previous exertions in the cause of reformation.
From that it appeared that rehearsals or trials had pre-
viously taken place, and when they met only one hun-
extract from a table the results of inquiries made upon
dred and thirty eight avowed thieves were present.
that occasion :—

...

Number of individuals present
How many of you have been in prison?
Have all of you been in prison for theft?
How many of you ascribe your fall to intoxicating drink?
How many of you are abandoned by your friends, who could
help you?

We

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138

188

27

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21

83

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How many of you have friends who cannot help you?
How many of you have friends who would help you if they
knew your present state?

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