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have evacuated the points they held on the coast of the Black Sea north of Batoum, the insurrection of various mountain tribes continues, and must still cause no little embarrassment to the Russians.

Frequent skirmishes have taken place in front of Kars and near Igdyr, few of them of any importance.

On the 18th of August Melikoff advanced towards the Turkish positions, and withdrew after a good deal of cannonading and some infantry fighting; from the description given the affair seems to have partaken more of the nature of a reconnoissance than a real attack.

On the 25th the Turks carried the height of Kizil Tepe, one of the advanced Russian positions. According to the Turkish account the hill was held by five battalions, and carried after a short struggle. The account from the Russian side is that, in consequence of the departure of a division sent to reinforce Tergukassoff, the hill was held by a single company without artillery. Information had been received at the Russian headquarters of the attack intended by the Turks, and orders were given that a battal

a ion and a battery should be sent to strengthen the garrison during the night, but the order was not carried out. Meanwhile the Turks had learned the Russian countersign, and, availing themselves of this, they surprised the small garrison and carried the hill. Whichever may be the true account, it is certain that the Turks gained the position and kept it, in spite of the efforts of the Russians to regain it during the day.

The latest news from Armenia is to the effect that serious fighting occurred in front of Kars on the 2d and 3d of October, but the reports are so contradictory and there is so complete an absence of details that it is as yet impossible to form an opinion as to the result. It has been definitely stated that the force of Tergukassoff has been reduced to twelve or even eight battalions, which indicates a concentration in front of Alexandropol for some important movement, of which the affairs of the 2d and 3d were probably the result.

Tergukassoff still holds his own at Igdyr, guarding the approaches to Erivan against the vastly superior forces of Ismail Pasha. Ardahan is still held by the Russians. Since the withdrawal of Suleiman from Montenegro, the gallant mountaineers have again taken the offensive. On the 9th of September Niksich at last fell into their hands, and since that time the Duga Pass, controlling the approach to Niksich from Herzsogovina, has likewise come into their possession.

Unless the combats of the 2d and 3d of October prove more important and decisive than now appears probable, the condition of affairs in Armenia is practically the same as it was in August, except that the Turks have probably withdrawn some of the troops from Batoum to reinforce their European army. In the Trans-Caucasus the Turks have evacuated Soukhum Kalé and the other points on the shore of the Black Sea which they held during the summer, thus relieving some of the Russian troops, and permitting them to act more decisively in repressing the insurrection among the mountain tribes.

In Europe the Russians have lost men and time; on the other hand, they have received reinforcements, have demonstrated their ability to hold the Shipka Pass, and in front of Plevna, as well as in the direction of the Lom, are in better position to resist attack or to strike heavy blows. As in Armenia, so in Europe, they entered upon the campaign with means inadequate to the end in view. It is probable that that error is now rectified on the Danube, but, remembering the exaggeration of their original force, it is wiser to suspend judgment on this head until events have demonstrated the true state of the case. The chances of success are still decidedly in their favor, if their leaders, like Skobeleff, Tergukassoff, Imeretinski, Ghourka, Radetzky, and a few others, prove that they have the ability to use aright the admirable qualities of the Russian soldiers.

GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN.

OCTOBER 12, 1877.

P. S. The information received since this article went to press appears to establish the fact that the Russian army in front of Kars has gained a success which is decisive of the campaign in that quarter, and will, if the season permits, possibly lead to the fall of Kars and Erzeroum before winter sets in. The probabilities of important successes for the Russians in Europe are still great. OCTOBER 20. VOL. CXXV. — NO. 259. 30

ART. IV. - THE FUNCTIONS OF UNBELIEF.

MANKIND are divided by nature into believers and unbelievers almost as distinctly as they are into males and females. It is the propensity of some minds to doubt, as it is of others to have faith, and while some immediately accept, with childlike confidence, whatever is told them, others as promptly question it and demand proof. That this is not the result of wilfulness, but a constitutional trait which asserts itself instinctively, is shown by its manifestation in matters of every-day occurrence. One man will be contented with barely being told, for example, that the weather is cold or rainy, while another will ask for particulars, such as, how cold it is, or how much it is raining, and what opportunities his informant had for knowing the fact he relates. One will read a piece of news in a single newspaper, and rely upon it as true, whereas another will insist on seeing several versions of it, and even if it be favorable to his wishes, will not accept it till he has canvassed it with more or less thoroughness, and come to some kind of a conclusion respecting it other than that derived from a first impression. Wall Street veterans say that a man is a bear" or a “bull” in stocks, not by choice, but by necessity. He has either a natural disposition to trust or a natural disposition to distrust, and operates accordingly. We need only to watch the conduct of our friends and associates to discover that the distinction is of wide prevalence, and that it holds good in all the business of life. It is true that the majority of people are naturally trustful, and that the doubters constitute the minority. The fact that false witness is forbidden by Divine commandment, and that the telling of lies is visited with social reprobation, indicates this preponderance of belief over unbelief. Were most men disposed to doubt, it would not be so great an evil to tell them untruths. They would investigate for themselves and detect the attempted imposture. But as, on the contrary, they are prone to give credence, they must be protected against being deceived. Nevertheless, the unbelievers are sufficient in number for unbelief to be an important factor in human development.

The form of unbelief which has made itself most conspicuous in all ages is that which relates to matters of religion. Most people being, as we have said, believers by nature, accept without question the religious ideas presented to them by persons they have been taught to confide in, and as religion deals with supremely important topics of life, the dissenters from established opinions in regard to it would be noticeable, even if they did no more than dissent. When, in addition, they express their doubts by the voice and by the pen, as they are prone to do, and raise all sorts of troublesome questions for believers to answer, they become also objects of dislike. It is the wind blowing against the tide, and rough water is the result. By as much as the concerns of the soul and of eternal life surpass those of the body and this world, by so much does a disturbance of what are conceived to be truths essential to one's spiritual well-being produce a disagreeable impression. It has thus come to pass among Christians, as among Mohammedans and men of all other faiths, that when a person is said to be an unbeliever, it is commonly understood that he is an unbeliever in religion, and that when unbelief is spoken of, it means unbelief of accepted religious doctrines. The odium, likewise, in which both the men and the thing are held is based almost exclusively upon their antagonism to religion, scepticism upon other subjects being little regarded. But, if unbelief is a bad thing in religion, it is bad in everything else, and if in everything else it is not bad or is even useful, it is not necessarily injurious and may be useful in religion. Believers, it is to be feared, have lost sight of this truth, and, in their vivid perception of the mischiefs wrought by unbelief, have failed to acknowledge as they ought its redeeming qualities. These, as we shall presently see, are by no means inconsiderable, and should reconcile us to its existence, though they may not commend it to our esteem.

As to the assertion often made, that unbelief is not a merely intellectual habit, but results from moral perversity, and that, if not a sin in itself, it leads to sin in other respects, it is hardly necessary to refute it. It was once a favorite argument with divines and religious writers, but latterly they have almost given it up. Indeed, they are now busy rather in repelling the accusation brought by sceptics against them, that their own principles are immoral, and the cause of immorality in practice. So far as experience can settle the question, it shows that the lives of Benjamin Franklin, John Stuart Mill, Harriet Martineau, Theodore Parker, and other unbelievers are as little open to reproach as those of equally eminent champions of faith, while the revelations, of which we have had so many of late, proving that the profoundest religious feeling and the most decorous piety are not incompatible with pecuniary dishonesty, effectually dispose of the allegation that religion and morality are inseparable. As the Italian bravo on his way to commit a murder drops into the nearest church to implore the blessing of the Virgin Mary and the saints upon his undertaking, so the American church-member, in the midst of his embezzlements of money belonging to widows and orphans, does not intermit in the least either his family prayers or his attendance at public worship. It is not hypocrisy on the part of such men, but the simultaneous expression of two independent principles of their natures. The bravo assassinates and the dishonest trustee robs for pecuniary gain, and both engage in acts of devotion in obedience to their emotional impulses. They are none the less believers for being wicked, nor less wicked for believing. So a man may be upright in his conduct while lacking in religious faith, and neither will his integrity give him faith nor his want of faith destroy his integrity.

The precise functions of unbelief will best appear if we consider what would be the result of its suppression. Supposing that the

. state of affairs which many good people sigh for in regard to religion were to prevail both in regard to that and to all other subjects, and that there were no doubts, no questionings, no critical investigations, but a universal implicit acceptance of every assertion made by authorized teachers in every department of human knowledge? Would not the intellectual progress of the world come to a stand-still ? If the scientific as well as the religious doctrines now held by the great majority of mankind could by some omnipotent decree be henceforth and forever shielded from objection and discussion, would not a stop be put to new discoveries? The Church of Rome did, indeed, once try the experiment, and succeeded in at least repressing the utterance of unbelief in what it had decided to be scientific as well as religious truth. It punished as a sin doubts of the Ptolemaic cosmogony as it did those of the inspiration of the Bible, and declared attacks upon the

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