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Viscount Melbourne, in high chuckle, should be standing, with his hat on, and his back to the fire, delighted with the contest; and the deans and canons should be in the back-ground, waiting till their turn came, and the bishops were paid; and among them a canon, of large composition, urging them on not to give way too much to the bench. Perhaps I should add the president of the board of trade, recommending the truck principle to the bishops, and offering to pay them in hassocks, cassocks, aprons, shovel-hats, sermon-cases, and such like ecclesiastical gear.
"But the madness and folly of such a measure is in the revolutionary feeling which it excites. A government taking into its hands such an immense value of property! What a lesson of violence and change to the mass of mankind! Do you want to accustom Englishmen to lose all confidence in the permanence of their institutions-to inure them to great acts of plunder-and to draw forth all the latent villanies of human nature? The whig leaders are honest men and cannot mean this, but these foolish and inconsistent measures are the horn-book and infantile lessons of revolution: and remember, it requires no great time to teach mankind to rob and murder on a great scale."
Again, speaking of the principle of confiscation, which was implied in the proposal to employ cathedral funds for parochial purposes in distant parts of the country, he thus writes:
"Suppose parliament were to seize upon all the alms-houses in England, and apply them to the diminution of the poor-rate, what a number of ingenious arguments might be pressed into the service of this robbery : 'Can any thing be more revolting than that the poor of Northumberland should be starving, while the poor of the suburban hamlets are dividing the bene. factions of the pious dead? We want for these purposes all that we can obtain from whatever sources derived.' I do not deny the right of parliament to do this, or any thing else; but I deny that it would be expedient, because I think it better to make any sacrifices, and to endure any evil, than to gratify this rapacious spirit of plunder and confiscation. Suppose these commissioner prelates firm and unmoved, when we were all alarmed, had told the public that the parochial clergy were badly provided for, and that it was the duty of that public to provide a proper support for their ministers; suppose the commissioners, instead of leading them on to confiscation, had warned their fellow-subjects against the base economy, and the perilous injustice of seizing on that which was not
their own;-suppose they had called for water, and washed their hands, and said, We call you all to witness that we are innocent of this great ruin ;'-does the Bishop of London imagine that the preslate who made such a stand would have gone down to posterity less respected and less revered than those men upon whose tombs it must (after all the enumeration of their virtues) be written, that under their auspices and by their counsels the destruction of the English Church began. Pity that the Archbishop of Canterbury had not retained those feelings, when, at the first meeting of bishops, the Bishop of London proposed this holy innovation upon cathedrals, and the head of our church declared with vehemence and indignation that nothing in the earth would induce him to consent to it.
"Si mens non læva fuisset, Trojaque nunc stares. Priamique arx alta maneres,"
"But,' says the Lord Bishop of London, 'you admit the principle of confiscation by proposing the confiscation and partition of prebends in the possession of non-residents,'
I am thinking of something else, and I see all of a sudden a great blaze of light; I behold a great number of gentlemen in short aprons, neat purple coats, and gold buckles, rush
ing about with torches in their hands, calling each other 'my lord,' and setting fire to all the rooms in the house, and the people below delighted with the combustion: finding it impossible to turn them from their purpose, and finding that they are all what they are, by divine permission; I endeavour to direct their holy innovations into another channel; and I say
to them, My lords, had not you better set fire to the out-of-door offices, to the barns and stables, and spare this fine library and veral cow-houses, of which no use is made; pray direct your fury against them, and this noble drawing-room? Yonder are seleave this beautiful and venerable mansion as you found it.' If I address the di
vinely permitted in this manner, has the Bishop of London any right to call me a brother incendiary ?"
There is an omission here which must be supplied before we can do the worthy and witty prebend common justice. We are determined that his over-modesty shall not despoil him of his due reward. The words, "when I am thinking of something else," &c., should have been prefaced by a brief description of the nature of his pursuits, and the course of his thoughts, down to the period when, by the favour of Lord Grey, he obtained rich cathedral preferment. He should have told
us how he acted as the pioneer of the profligate Whigs, and officiated occasionally as fugleman to the sappers and miners, who, under one specious pretence or another, were carrying on their attacks against the constitution. He should have recounted his services in the cause of Catholic emancipation; his strenuous defence of the Roman Catholics against the monstrous imputation that they could ever be unmindful of the obligation of an oath; and the ridicule with which he covered the good old King, for the scruples which be entertained respecting the admission of Roman Catholics to political power, in consequence of the promises and vows which he had so solemnly made at his coronation. He should have described the general character of his political discourses and reasonings, by which he so largely contributed to that general ferment and that restless desire of change which soon made itself manifest in the insane democratic spirit which began to actuate the people. He should have taken credit for the manner in which, by menace and intimidation, the measure of emancipation was wrung from a reluctant Tory administration. He should have exulted in that triumph which his principles achieved when Lord Grey succeeded to office and power, the perpetuity of which seemed almost guaranteed by the weakness of the King and the madness of the people. Sydney should have described the moral earthquake which "frighted the isle from its propriety," under the influence of which all the institutions of the country were rocking and toppling, when he got snugly installed in his present preferment, and suddenly became possessed of every imaginable motive for saying to the tempestuous tide of revolution" Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed." Then, "when he is thinking of something else," totally unconscious of that " 'pressure from without" which compelled many up. right but timid men to imagine that there was no safety for the church but in sacrificing a part for the preservation of the remainder, the very first step which is taken towards disturbing his security or diminishing his comforts in the snug berth in which he had got himself ensconced, causes him to start upon his feet, and to take an attitude of indignant defiance against the profane though mitred innovators by whom the rights and privileges of his order are thus rudely invaded. We
do not think that Sydney was duly regardful of his own great merits when he represented the Bishop of London and the Archbishop of Canterbury as wanton and voluntary dilapidators of cathedrals; and did not himself take credit for the large share which he had in causing the popular phrenzy by which these amiable and gifted prelates, no doubt, imagined themselves coerced, when they proposed that the splendour of the establishment should be curtailed, for the purpose of extending its usefulness and preserving its existence.
It may be said that this old man has gathered wisdom, as he increased in years, and that in adopting the sentiments of the great and good friends of the establishment, against whom he had exhausted all the stores of his wit and ridicule during the earlier period of his life, he is but acting in obedience to the suggestions of reason and the dictates of conscience. With every disposition to judge of him charitably, we cannot think so. Supposing him to be sincere in his apprehension of danger from the manner in which the commissioners admit and act upon principles by which the security of the church is compromised, were there no previous occasions upon which such principles were avowed and advocated by his Whig friends, and which should have provoked his sturdy reclamation? Did the manner in which they proposed to deal with the Irish church involve no violation of principle, which should have aroused the jealousy of one whose wrath burns so furiously when the emoluments of prebendaries are invaded? The church establishment in this country has already passed through three or four stages of abortive or pernicious legislation, by every one of which its condition has been deteriorated, and its revenues invaded; and yet in no one instance has the prebendary of St. Paul's raised his voice, except to speak words of encouragement to the spoliators, from which it was clear that they had his sympathy, at least, in invading the rights of the Irish clergy.
When ten of the Irish bishoprics were suppressed, and their revenues appropriated to objects which were always before provided for by a public graut, Mr. Smith, although he might well have exclaimed "proximus ardet," never insinuated his dissatisfaction or alarm by even the gentlest expostulation.
What was all that to him? The rich preferments of St. Paul's were still unscathed; and he might still enjoy
his wealthy benefice, secure of any coming ill," like the fat weed that roots itself at ease on Lethe's wharf."
A proposal was made to extinguish from eight to nine hundred livings, with a view to realise a fund which might be exhibited as a tangible product of the appropriation clause. It might be described as practical sacrilege, adopted in order to give a colour of reality to speculative spoliation. And yet the man who now roars like one of the bulls of Basan because the English Church Commissioners ap. proach with the intention of disturbing one of the cushions of the cathedral, upon which, during an accession of gout, he was resting his great toe, was silent respecting this atrocious measure; and could see nothing but what might be well approved of by an easy and luxurious dignitary, in a proposal to extinguish in more than eight hundred parishes the blessed light of the gospel, to banish from them the Church of England services and ministrations, and condemn the entire population to the darkness palpable of the Romish superstition!
During the very last session he saw a measure pass into a law by which the Irish clergy were, at one blow, deprived of one-fourth of their incomes; and this, not for the purpose of aiding the cause of religion, by creating a fund for the endowment of livings where they might be wanted, or their augmentation where they were small; but to swell the already enormous rent-roll of the great absentee proprietors, whose incomes are spent in Paris or in London! Against this measure what saith our dignitary? Why, that he highly approves of it!-that the Irish church was too rich!-that its clergy of late have been fanatical religionists and intemperate politicians! The former, because they have made some efforts to enlighten the Roman Catholica! the latter, because they have been unreasonable and impudent enough to complain of only being robbed and murdered! Truly, we have great sympathy for the groans of the canon residentiary, who apprehends so awful a visitation as the curtailment of some of his own emoluments, when we see with what utter unconcern, if not chuckling delight, he can witness the forlorn and the desolate condition of the heavily afflicted church of Ireland? Why do we mention these things? Because, ably as this man writes, we have no desire to be indebted to his advocacy; because, it is our fixed
belief, no credit can result to the establishment from such defendersbecause, if there be a being in the world for whom we entertain an intense and unutterable scorn, it is for the gifted churchman, who, while he has dedicated himself ostensibly to the service of the sanctuary, spends his life in grasping at its emoluments with one hand, while he is sapping its foundations with the other; and having, in the end, attained his object by breaking his teeth upon its friends, is willing, when his own interests are likely to be touched by that levelling spirit of reform which he had been one of the foremost to encourage, to make a parade of his attachment by expending his slaver upon its enemies;-those enemies being no other than the weak, or rash, or timid churchmen, who had either caught the spirit, or been ter rified by the menaces of the faction with which he had been long identified; and thought, no doubt, they were making good terms for the establishment, when they were sacrificing what they deemed superfluous of its property, for the purpose of securing it against the further attacks of such rude assailants.
But enough of this. We have, perhaps, been too much moved. That this man possesses great abilities-that he is an able reasoner as well as a witty writer, may be seen even in those por tions of his pamphlets which have been already submitted to the reader. Nothing that he has previously said or done can invalidate the force of those objections which he now urges with so much point and spirit against the procedure of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners-even as nothing that they or any of them may have previously said or done can reconcile us to their present hazardous innovations. But he must be a different man, and he must write in another manner, who is to find a remedy for the evils, and raise a defence against the perils, by which, in this our day, the Church of England is beleaguered from without, and infested from within. And our prayer is, that Almighty God may raise up for her some deliverer, by whom her enemies may be smitten with blindness and put to shame, while, instead of being metamorphosed or mutilated by the curative process that may be employed, she will be restored to more than pristine health, and rise, in the beauty of holiness, amidst the reverential acclamations of an approving people.
It is now admitted on all hands, that the best friends of the establishment
were much more frightened than they had need to be, when this commission was first appointed;-or that, at all events, a reaction has taken place, by which the friends of the church have been re-assured; and a degree of interest and vigour on its behalf has been indicated, sufficient to stay the rabid violence of the political dissenters.
In proof of this it is sufficient merely to allude to the multitudinous petitions against the insidious scheme of national education, by which the table of the House of Commons has been loaded, and which speak trumpet-tongued the sentiments of the British people against that meanest and basest, as well as most profligate and dangerous, of the projects for propitiating the most rancorous enemies of the church, which have characterised the Whig-Radical administration.
The truth is, even the best-meaning politicians were unaware of the deep hold which the Church of England had upon the feelings of the people. Indeed, of religion itself they know neither the height nor the depth; and it could not, therefore, be expected that they should appreciate, according to its real excellence, the most perfect exponent of genuine Christianity. But not so those who have waited with a reverential and affectionate assiduity upon its comforting, its elevating, and its purifyingministrations-who have listened, Sabbath after Sabbath, to "the sound of the church-going bell," as the summons to high and holy converse, where the mind, jaded and harassed by worldly business, found its necessary solace and its suitable repose-who saw their children grow up around them, inhaling the odour of its blessedness; and witnessed the aged departing from amongst them, partaking of the balm of its consolation ;-not so do they undervalue that national institute, to which, under Providence, they feel themselves debtors for such inestimable advantages; and, accordingly, not only has the cloud of public hostility which threatened to level our beloved Sion with the dust, until one stone was not left upon another, passed away; but even its timid friends, who were disposed to purchase for it a hollow truce, at the expense of what they deemed the least indispensable of its appendages, and who deemed themselves entitled to credit for their readiness to make sacrifices which they considered indispensable to its safety, have been surprised, at least, if not grieved, at VOL. XIV.
the loud and indignant protest by which their recommendations have been received, and would now, we believe, be heartily glad that they had not become conspicuous as the advisers of such suspicious and, we may add, unpopular, arrangements.
But while we thus express ourselves respecting those who use the word reformation as applied to the church, when they mean spoliation, let us not for a moment be understood as denying that many things were and are necessary for the more perfect working of the Establishment, and for its freer development and more ample extension, to fulfil the great end of its existence. When radicals and infidels and papists talk of reform, in the church we know what they mean. They talk of abating a nuisance-they talk of getting rid, by any and by every means, of that which must, in their cyes, ever be an offence. There is nothing which they mean less than to prescribe for it any system of regimen by which it might, in reality, be renovated and invigorated, so as to act with a more commanding influence upon the great mass of those who constitute its members. The papist prescribes for it, because he hates it for its supposed schism and heresy; the political dissenter, because he envies it for its dignified position and its ample possessions; the radical, because of its conservative tendency, and the sacred barrier which it erects against hasty or intemperate innovation. They will, therefore, always be found united in the furtherance of any project which has for its object the degradation or the destruction of our august and venerable establishment, and against any measures of real improvement by which anomalies might be corrected, deficiencies supplied, and the means of spiritual instruction made commensurate with the spiritual wants of the people.
The true church reformer is not a man who would exhibit our spiritual mother in the act of denuding herself for the sake of covering her children; neither would he forestal the future and the permanent good, in order to make a hasty and precarious provision for present necessities. Our cathedral establishments, which so conspicuously inform us of what we owe to the generations which are past, also significantly intimate to us our obligations to those which are to come. They tell us, with an emphatic solemnity, that we are not to consider ourselves as the mere life
renters of that system which has been transmitted to us, and which gives us richly to enjoy so many unpurchaseable blessings; they forbid us, with a beseeching earnestness, to cause or to suffer any waste or dilapidation in the precious inheritance which has been entrusted to our care; and they admonish us that we are bound by the holiest of obligations to do for others what has been so amply done for ourselves, and not to be deceived by any specious utilitarian views of present exigency or present good, into any act by which we might compromise the stability of that which was intended not more for ourselves than for our remotest posterity. In order that the church may be a help meet for the state, in the diffusion of a sound and elevating morality, it is necessary that, in condition, it should correspond to the state, and present,
in its several ranks and orders, a suitable counterpart to that variety of condition upon which it is expected to act with advantage. In a country like ours, of old monarchical institutions, where the throne is connected with the peasant's cot by an intermediate gradation of rank which binds and consolidates the whole mass of the community into one harmonious system, it is necessary that there should be, in the spiritual apparatus by which it is to be purified and elevated, an adaptation to this variety of aspect, and character, and position, such as may afford a reasonable hope, that, to all classes and descriptions of men, the ministrations of religious truth may be attended with advantage. highly educated community, it will not do to have a vulgar and an unlearned clergy. In an aristocratic society, it will not do to have a clergy who have no ample possessions, and no recognised place amongst the hereditary guardians of the constitution. A church, of which the gentry with one accord pronounce that their children must lose caste by becoming connected with it, can never command the same influence over any description of people, by legitimate means, which naturally belongs to that which is recognised as a dignified profession, and by a connection with which the very highest and noblest in the land feel that they only humble themselves that they may be exalted. Any thing, therefore, which impairs that condition of the Church of England which thus holds it up in the estimation of the people, should never be thought of by those
who look beyond the present hour, and who are not willing to sacrifice, to a delusive show of increased efficiency for the present, its real and permanent efficacy for all time to
Nor is the commission without a prelate, who, in consenting to the sacrifice of the cathedrals, reluctantly yielded to what he thought a sad necessity. The Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol thus writes:
"For myself, I yield to no person living in respect and attachment to the cathedral establishments of our country. I am convinced how important it is, that a church should possess encouragements to biblical learning, as well as a provision for those who may devote their time and their talents to the study of theology with parochial avocations. and literature beyond what is compatible That deaadapted for this purpose, is proved by neries and prebendal stalls are admirably the genuine fruits which they have yielded from the Reformation to the present day. I concur with those who deem that such dignities, occupying a position between the episcopal and parochial orders, and accessible to merit in every station of society, contribute to the symmetry and strength of the whole edifice. I have myself had opportunities of remarking how beneficial these foundations are to their cities and neighbourhoods, in the influence belonging to the conversation and example of learned, pious, and dignified ecclesiastics; the religious and literary turn which they communicate to society, is conspicuous; they form a point of union to the clergy of their respective neighbourhoods; in the support of charitable, religious, and useful institutions, they take the lead; and their endowments are generally expended in a manner eminently beneficial to the community. I feel, besides, an almost personal attachment to cathedral bodies, consequent upon my having presided over one of them during several of the therefore, give me credit for reluctance You will, happiest years of my life. to concur in any thing which could impair or diminish their usefulness or splendour. Were I to confess my own wish, without regard to circumstances, it would be, that the number of those appointments should NOT BE DIMINISHED, BUT ENLARGED, so as to correspond with the increased numbers and learning of the clergy; though this wish would be accompanied by a condition, that all such places should, agreeably to the views of the founders, be strictly confined to the reward of learning and of merit."