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fate of the specific propositions, which, some time afterwards, were abandoned.
Taking as one of the grounds of his argument the concession made in the case of Roman Catholics, and which he frankly acknowledged as one of importance, he proceeded to argue that the principle of that concession ought to secure to the Dissenters what they naturally looked upon as of equal moment,-namely, that their children should not be compelled to receive lessons in the exposition of the Sacred Writings from persons who must be members of the Anglican Church, and who might, and probably in some cases would be, sincere followers of the teachings of Dr. Pusey and his brethren among the Oxford divines.
“The right hon. baronet (Sir J. Graham) took a distinction between expounding and interpreting, but it is of a character so subtle that no ordinary casuist could have struck upon it. Not only is an ascendency given to the Church against which a not unnatural pride on the part of Dissenters revolts, but opportunities of proselytism, the more dangerous because the better disguised, are afforded. The more accomplished, the more skilful, the more zealous the churchman is, the more likely will he be to avail himself of the facilities with which he will be obviously supplied. Would the right honourable baronet permit an adroit, persuasive Catholic to teach the Scriptures to a child in whose orthodoxy he felt a concern? I very much doubt it. He should therefore excuse Dissenters for objecting to the influence with which men will be endowed in public schools, whose dogmas are almost as much at variance with those of Dissenters as the doctrines of the
Church of Rome.
It is notorious that, although the external aspect of the Church remains superficially the same, it has undergone a great internal change. Men of distinguished talent, of exemplary lives, of great learning and piety, have, from motives the best and purest, made an eloquent announcement of opinions in more strict conformity with the tenets of the Catholic Church than with the principles of the Reformation. Those opinions have been adopted by laymen highly born and bred, remarkable for their proficiency in literature, for the gracefulness of their minds and their persuasive manners.
How largely have the Puseyites borrowed from that portion of our religious system whose truth exalts and consoles, which raises us above the sphere of ordinary thinking, chases despair from anguish, restores to us 'the loved, the lost, the distant, and the dead,' pours into minds the most deeply hurt the most healing balm, ministers to the loftiest hope, and awakens those imaginings which, to use the Miltonian phrase, brings all heaven before our eyes ?'
The schools are local, are to be supported by a local rate and not a national fund—the district, not the State, is to be taxed for their maintenance. Is it not monstrous then, that in those localities where Dissenters constitute a majority, they should be made the object of this wanton legislative affront? You don't pursue this course in Ireland—why? Because the majority of the people are Catholics. But in the districts where local schools are to be supported with local imposts, the majority are in many instances Dissenters. The ministers of the Church therefore cannot insist that, in right of their general tutelage of the national mind, they are entitled to the control which is given them by this bill; and I am at a loss to discover what they conceive it will profit them to exercise a power so invidious as that which they are now seeking to obtain.
What have the defenders of the Church to dread from the influence of dissent in the schools which it is proposed to establish? Let them consider the bulwarks by which the Church, in refer
ence to national instruction, is already sustained ; and let them dismiss their fears of any evil effect which these schools can have on its stability. Is not Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham theirs ? Have they not a direct mastery over almost every place of public instruction where the men who are to will the destinies of England receive the elements of instruction? Do not a vast body of the middle classes draw their first intellectual nutriment from the bosom of the Church ? and can you turn your eyes to any part of this great kingdom in which you do not find the Church already exercising an influence over education which it is impossible to distrust ? What has the Church to dread ? Has she reason to tremble at the influence of dissent among the lower classes of the manufacturing population ? Monopolies in religion are like all other monopolies — they retard improvement. It will do no harm to put the Church upon the necessity of exertion, and teach her that, instead of relying on any unjust predominance, she should resort to more legitimate endeavours to secure an honourable influence among the humbler classes of the people.
Let religion be recommended by the practice of the Church, and in the Christian assemblage of persuasive virtues let the Protestant Propaganda be formed; but let not the Church, from a sacerdotal passion for ascendency, from a love of clerical predominance, thwart the great work of education, and incur the awful responsibility of becoming instrumental in the propagation of all the vices which ignorance has spawned upon the country. The right honourable baronet has again and again protested his strong anxiety to render his measure acceptable to the great mass of the community, and to introduce such modifications as should meet all just objections. I trust that his professions may be realized; and as he told us that he would send forth his bill in the hope that it would receive the public sanction, and indicate that the waters of strife had subsided, let me be permitted to hope that he will associate with that image another incident
connected with the primeval history of mankind; and bear in mind that every colour was united in distinctness, without predominance, in that token of peace which God set in the cloud as a covenant of his reconciliation with the world."*
The allusion in the foregoing speech to the distinguishing tenets of the Oxford divines, is not the only one of the kind which is to be found in his speeches at this period. He took a lively interest in theological discussions, and was well acquainted with the historical details of the controversy which has so long occupied the public mind regarding the true teaching and discipline of the Church of England. He could not help viewing with satisfaction the many points in common which High Church writers recognise between the creed of Canterbury, as they interpret it, and that of Rome; for he anticipated from the growth of such opinions a greater degree of tolerance and kindly feeling towards the members of his own communion.
A friend, who perhaps mistook in some degree his real sentiments on the subject, meeting him one Sunday morning in the neighbourhood of St. Paul's, Knightsbridge, recommended him to accompany him
* Debate on Factory Education. House of Commons, 18th May, 1843.
thither. “No, no,” he replied, "your service I have no doubt is very good, but I am going to mass : I prefer real turtle to mock turtle."
One of his most animated speeches of this session was that delivered on Mr. Grote's motion in favour of the Ballot. Disclaiming all pretension to novelty of argument, he relied rather upon the undeniable notoriety of the evils and oppressions for which he contended no other effective remedy could be proposed. Admitting frankly that it was a fine thing to see a man, whose social position rendered him absolutely independent of all sinister control, walk up to the hustings and openly vote in accordance with his individual opinions, he asked whether such cases were examples of the general condition of constituencies in town or county, in either England or Ireland ? The very name of "tenants at will,” in English counties, recalled the dependency of their political plight. Their enfranchisement, at the instance of Lord Chandos, was avowedly proposed and conceded in 1832 as a means of strengthening the influence of landed property; and it had been resisted by Lord Grey, upon the express gro
express ground that it would render the demand for the ballot irresistible. What was the picture presented by a county election in Ireland ?