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KIDD'S ESSAYS AND SKETCHES.-No. 6.
A SHORT PHILOSOPHICAL ESSAY,
BRITISH SONG-BIRDS ;" ETC.,
AND EDITOR OF
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NEW AND IMPROVED EDITIONS. “ WILLIAM KIDD--the People's Friend'-has a very large heart; and being gifted with wonderful fluency of speech and the pen of a ready Writer, he does not fail to turn his varied talents to good account. It is delightful to note his unceasing activity; and to hear him communicate to us, in pithy plainness and with unreserved candour, his opinions upon Men and Manners -opinions which his great knowledge and experience, acute observation, and sagacious shrewdness, entitle him to form and express with philosophic authority."-LIVERPOOL MERCURY.
THE NATURAL AND SUPER.NATURAL:
Thoughts on the Past, Present, and Future.
INDIVIDUALITY AND CHARACTER:
The Free Thoughts of an Original Thinker.
HOW TO LIVE À HAPPY LIFE:
4. THE PHILOSOPHY OF HEALTH:
A Light Essay on a Heavy Subject.
5. LETTERS AND THE PENNY POST: An Address to all who can Read and Write.
6. SCIENCE, RELIGION, AND NATURE'S SECRETS :
A Philosophical Essay on Life’s Realities.
(To be Continued occasionally.) *** One penny postage stamp will frank ALL the above. Send THIRTEEN postage stamps, and the six Books will be forwarded direct, by
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GEO. CHALFONT, Printer, 99, Great Titchfield Street, Oxford Street.
TO THE READER.
ALTHOUGH the subject-matter of the following pages has been before the Public some years, and highly approved of by them, I yet feel called upon to make some considerable alteration in it ere it again sees the light. The demand for a New Edition affords me the opportunity.
The times in which we live are such, that a more than common amount of sincerity, candour, and plain-speaking, is required from those who would be Reformers of what is Evil." Unless the Truth be boldly and fearlessly spoken, it is certain that no real good can be brought to bear on the (too generally) unreflecting minds of the People. A skilful surgeon cuts deep.
The existing state of Society is alarming. We have become lax in our morals and wild in our Religious Belief, regardless too of the sacred social ties that should make “home” happy. Wives cruelly ill-use their husbands; and the husbands, driven out, very naturally seek for sympathy elsewhere. Husbands ill-treat their wives; and their wives, neglected, very naturally resent such ill-usage. “ Revenge is sweet.” It is owing to these “sad mistakes" in matrimony, and to the insane love of dress and extravagance in our young Women, that the “ Social Evil” has become a settled Plague and a permanent Institution among us. Few of our young Men, now-a-days, are able to face the inevitable consequences of matrimony. They are well aware that the first year's "expenses” would eat up fully three years' “ receipts.” Hence the now current remark— “Matrimony is a good joke.”-A good joke!!
Yes; it would appear to be generally considered so, if we may judge from what we see and hear. The abandon with which people now give themselves up to the gratification of their sensual appetites (miscalled "pleasures "), must fill every honest heart with horror. Proh pudor! “Oh, shame! where is thy blush ?”
It is easy to affirm this, but where (I may be asked) is the proof ? Behold it, passim, in our daily and weekly broadsheets. Our Newspapers reflect all that I have hinted at,--and much more, in terribly minute detail ; and people peruse it all, as greedily. If these very dreadful records flag, or diminish in intensity of description, the newspaper is thrown aside by young and old, as “having nothing in it.” Appetite thus grows by what it feeds on, and the poison does its work insidiously but surely. The Divorce Court, Infanticide (this is now considered quite a matter of course!), Murder, Drunkenness, Debauchery, Seduction, Suicide, Robbery, Assault, Garotting, Poisoning, &c., &c., &c.—these “interesting" topics, each occurrence glowingly and carefully reported, are “ the making” of a newspaper. Give à succinct, righteous, and narrowed account of these hideous sayings and doings, and the Paper would speedily die out. Is it the poorer classes that are alone guilty in this matter ? No! The morbid, prurient taste, prevails most among the upper classes. “Example” has its full power, now as ever.
How to reform all this, or a part of it,—"ay, there's the rub." It would appear that Evil,—the child of Ignorance, bears deadly hatred towards Goodness,—the daughter of Wisdom. Fearful antagonism! Men, in our age, live gregariously. If the aggregation were for exertion and for work, this might be a benefit. But, alas, men also “think ” conventionally, and “feel” conventionally. This quite paralyses Originality, and removes all stimulus to Meditation, Reflection, or any strong Mental effort. The intensity of individual character is not, I regret to say, recognised amongst us.
Such is a picture in little of our Age. I stand almost alone among my fellow men. Never mind. I will continue · to pep down my Thoughts, and if people will only be kind
enough to read them, and “chew" over their wide suggestiveness, I shall be satisfied. I wish them a good digestion. This is not an unreasonable wish, 'nor an unreasonable thing to hope for,--seeing that the food I offer is clean, wholesome, nutritious, and perfectly free from adulteration.
All praise to God, Who, not content
DXPERIENCE HAS TAUGHT ME, that the best way
to convince anybody of the truth of what you lot wish them to believe, is—to argue with them
gently, kindly, and goodtemperedly. Violent
affirmation, positiveness, and arrogance, can never O carry a point. They are repulsive-very. I admit
ç we find them in the Pulpit, and that is just why I avoid using them here. Truth is simple. Nature will always "answer,” if we interrogate her. She makes no mysteries. We make them for her; and then lay the blame on her fair shoulders. God has placed us in this lovely World. Be it ours, to investigate all that is in it,to His Glory and for our good.
As there still exists among us a morbid craving for formality, I propose, on the present occasion, to do just as I did when penning my—“HOW TO LIVE A HAPPY LIFE;" viz.: divide my subject. So that it will be the conventional thing after all,—firstly, secondly, and thirdly; ending with an « improvement” of the subject. There! I will be clerical- just for once. Science, Religion, the Secrets of Nature—these are our three “heads." And now to work.
Science it is a terrible word, is it not? Yet is it very simple, when properly understood. Let me explain it by saying, it is a daily unfolding knowledge of things as they exist in Nature. It enables us to discover things as they really are,—not as they have been (and are) generally supposed to be. That is why the Church has ever been so bitter an enemy to the diffusion of Knowledge. Science is her aversion. Facts do not suit our “Spiritual Pastors and Masters." They entirely upset the whole hazy “system” taught by " the Schools.” Once recognise the facts demonstrated by Science and the Study of Nature, and Superstition receives its death-blow. Away goes Mystery! Away go “ the pickings”!!
I well remember the time, when the Geologists were denounced from the Pulpit as atheists, and when every