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throws considerable light upon the nature of ecclesiastical establishments, and confirms, in a very striking manner, the view taken by Robert Hall of their evil tendencies. Speaking of the Pope's bull to legalize Cran. mer's appointment to the see of Canterbury, the author says,—“ This was the last bull he sent into England, during the reign of Henry; and had that capricious prince listened to the advice and entreaty of Cranmer, application would not have been made even for this ; and then Henry would have sooner been spared the dishonour of subjecting his bishops to a dilemma, by which perjury to the Pope or to the King could hardly be escaped ; and Cranmer would have been spared the equivocation, by which he laboured to reconcile ouths which were irreconcilable. Here, after all, was the grievance; and on those who exacted these oaths, was, in a great measure, the guilt. Nothing less was required of a bishop than to swear allegiance to two masters who had no two interests in common; to the Pope, that he would, from that hour forward, be faithful and obedient to St. Peter, and to the Holy Church of Rome; to my Lord, the Pope, and his successors, that they should suffer no wrong, &c.:—to the King, that he would thenceforward utterly forsake all clauses, words, sentences, grants, which he had, or should have hereafter, from the Pope's Holiness, in virtue of his bishopric, that in anywise were, or might be, prejudicial to his Highness, his heirs, successors, &c. ; that to him and his he would be faithful and true, and live with him against all people; that he acknowledged himself to hold his bishopric of him only, and, accordingly besought of him the temporalities of the same. Now, to be impaled on one or other of the horns of such an alternative as this, was a cruel situation, into which no man ought to have been forced ; and, though it is an easy thing for an indifferent spectator, at a distance, to philosophize upon the unseemly writhings of the victim, yet some allowance will be made for him by every pitiful-hearted observer, if, in his struggles to get off the hook, he should chance to uncover his nakedness. The ques. tion, indeed, resolved into this, Were there, or were there not, to be bishops in England ? for if none would take the oaths who could not ac. quiesce in both of them to the letter, and if none were to be admitted to consecration, who refused either of the oaths, the order of prelates was at an end.”—Hist. of Reformation, p. 126. If a poor pagan had found himself in such a dilemma, he might perhaps have remembered Juve. nal's advice :-a Christian casuist would despise a poor poet who would presume to keep a conscience :
“ Ambiguæ si forte cita bere cause,
Et propter vitam vivendi perdere causas." Every attempt to remove this stain from the Church has had the effect of fixing the colour more deeply. A writer in the Quarterly Review (No. XCIV., p. 371) says,—"Who can read the two oaths——the one taken by the bishop elect to the Pope, the other to the King—and doubt that scruples must have been entertained by any man who was required to swear allegiance so devoted to two masters, whose interests were so entirely at variance? The wonder is, that so tyrannous a demand on the consciences of men was tolerated so long. Cranmer might be the first who expressed his misgivings; but he could not be the first, by many, who had felt them; and though, at last, he did take the oath to the Pope, it was not till he had previously made a public protestation of the sense in which he understood it, thereby reconciling it with the other to the King.” Again,~" But, if Cranmer was blameless in this part of the affair, which was, after all, the most material part, it is difficult to acquit him of all duplicity in previously allowing a proxy to take the oath at Rome, subject, as it should seem, to no such limitations as were afterwards annexed to it in England.” Is this ecclesiastical morality ? Shall an evasion which would render every oath nugatory, and take from truth all security for its observance, be suffered to perpetuate tyranny and quiet the conscience ? But even the slight palliation to be derived from this miserable subterfuge is unavailing. The plea of this unprincipled advocate is neutralized by his subsequent admission. The candour or the imprudence of the reviewer takes away the thin covering of his sophistry, and renders it at once disgusting and harmless. To return to our “honest chronicler” of the Reformation.
The proper question, in such an emergency, was, whether the Church ought to be connected with the State, when the result of the Union was its dissolution, or perjury to one of the parties? To assert, that the consequence of the bishops refusing to violate the oath they had taken, would have been the destruction of Episcopacy, is false, both in fact and in reason ; if it be true that it existed before the time of Constantine, and is still to be found in Scotland, and in the United States of North America, unconnected with the State—a non-conformist in the one case, and on a level with all other sects in the other. It is said to be a principle of the Jesuits, that the end will justify the means. Here the doctrine is openly and unblushingly maintained; though the conclusion is no more warranted by the premises than the premises by the facts. The vehement declamation that has, on recent occasions, been uttered against the non-observance of the coronation-oath upon grounds of State policy, came with a very bad grace from the higher members of a corporation, which thus makes its own continuance a plea for perjury ; violates the precepts of its Master, in order that it may teach them to others; and swears allegiance to the Prince of Darkness, whose kingdom it is com.. missioned to destroy. Should religion be again placed in an unseemly alternative, a contingency by no means improbable, Expediency will find a good precedent here to assist her conscience and her consistency.
The reverend author, from whose work we have quoted, has also his receipt for restoring his sick parent to health. “ If lay patrons of small livings, when they happen also to be impropriators, could be induced to cooperate with the clergy; if they would re-annex to these their own licings (we ask no more) some portion, however small, of the tithes which they enjoy, and which were all wrung from the Church, [True ! the Catholic Church—Quis tulerit Gracchos de seditione loquentes ?] a sacrifice, which, from its amount, would scarcely be felt by many patrons, and which would not, in fact, be an alienation of so much property, but rather a regulation of the course in which it should run ; a reduction, perhaps, of 1.50 or L.100 a--year, from an elder brother's rent-roll, to the augmentation, to the like amount, of a younger brother's benefice,—the necessity for nonresidence and pluralities would be still more rapidly diminished ; and the National Church would soon be placed in a more impregnable position than she has ever assumed in this particular, either since the Reformation, or before it " “ This sacrifice," he says, “may be worth the while of any man who has a stake to lose." Was it “ for 'this, among the rest," that the historian of the Reformation " was ordained” to recommend what he thinks will support the most abominable system of fraud, injustice, and selfishness, against what he calls “ the contempt of the laws of the land, in our rural parishes?” And has he the effrontery to appeal to the self-interest of our feudal lords in behalf of his tottering establishment; and, while he strives to extort from their fears what their sense of justice has so long denied, make an increased provision for their younger brothers serve as a prop to the edifice which has sheltered them from poverty? Does he really, in the simplicity of his heart, believe that family aggrandizement can much longer be promoted by the debasement of religion; or that the law of primogeniture, to which the Church is indebted for the greatest part of its corruption, is now to be its protection; or that family livings will survive proprietary boroughs and parchment votes; while our poli. tical institutions are adapting themselves to the wants and wishes of the empire, and scarcely one-third of its inhabitants are to be found within the pale of its ecclesiastical establishment?
That it may not be thought fanciful to trace a connexion between the law of primogeniture and the Church Establishment, we may adduce the authority of one whose sagacity and sincerity will be disputed by no one. They have found an ardent admirer and a warm advocate in Dr. Chal. mers; and it is very remarkable that he rests their defence upon the very grounds of the objection which has so often been raised against them, and is pleased with an arrangement which others look upon with regret or disgust. “We rejoice to think,” he says, in his recent work on Political Economy, p. 376, “ that a church may be upheld, in all its endowments, without being, in any right sense of the word, an incubus upon the nation; while it seems to mitigate the hardship, which has been imputed to the law of primogeniture. We are aware that this is not the precise and proper argument for a religious establishment; yet convinced, upon other grounds, of the vast utility of such an institution, we cannot but regard it as one beneficial consequence of the law in question, that it enlists, on the side of a church, the warmest affections of nature, the sympathies and feelings of domestic tenderness. We are aware of the reckless and unprincipled patronage to which this has given rise; and that a provision for younger sons has been viewed as the great, if not the only, good of a church, by many who hold the dispensation of its offices. It is this which has alienated from the establishment so large a portion of the community; and, if the abuse of an institute were a suffi. cient argument for its destruction, perhaps the Church of England will be found to have sealed its own doom, and to have brought upon itself the sentence of its own overthrow," &c.
Dr. Lushington, when cross-examined upon this subject, by the electors of the Tower Hamlets, declared, that he had paid but little atten. tion to the question, and was not aware that it had excited any interest in the public mind. Perhaps, as the law exists, he may defend it, as he not long ago defended the practice of suttees, or, at least, condescended to be counsel for those who are endeavouring to prevent their abolition. The sacrifice of younger children, and the burning of widows, are, doubtless, equally matters of indifference to the lawyer, till the retaining fee find its way from the palm to the sensorium, and the electric fuid conveys the shock from the venal tongue of the advocate to the astonished ears of his former admirers. The annals of the court, in which he has pleaded so long and so ably, might have supplied the learned civilian with a pretty long commentary on this trifling text. He might have seen the operation of this law, and found, perhaps, a reason for its continuance, in the long lucrative lists of actions for crim. con., and in the profitable suits for alimony, separation, and divorce. The learned and
accomplished civilian has often, in his place in Parliament, professed attachment to our “ happy establishment” of Church and State. He probably sees nothing objectionable in the law of descent: affection for the one almost implies predilection for the other. Qui Bavium non adit, amet tua carmina, Mevi.* That the agitation of this question was not received with such indifference here, at the end of the last century, is matter of history. In Gregory's Essays, the second edition of which was published in 1788, is the following passage : “ The injus. tice and folly of primogeniture, affecting the inheritance in civilized states, is evident, from the common practice of evading the custom, by permitting the absolute disposal of our possessions by testament, even where the legislature has not courage to contend with an old, though ridiculous prejudice. There are, indeed, reasons why the eldest son should possess the least, instead of the greatest, part. He proves generally more expensive to his parents, during their lifetime, than the rest of the children; he is also the first provided for: I mean, by being intro. duced into a profession; and, on the whole, it is assigning to chance, and not to reason, the distribution of effects. The expectation of superior fortune often serves only to nurture the first-born in pride, insolence, vanity, and ignorance; who, therefore, proves frequently a very unworthy person; while the rest, and probably the most deserving part of the family, are legally consigned to want and misery, vice, and prostitution.”
Dr. Chalmers may see, in the Church establishment of his own coun. try, advantages and beauties, which those who have ceased to communicate with her are unable or unwilling to find; but, is he prepared to pass the same eulogy upon the sister institution of England? or to be equally delighted with its offset in Ireland, where an exotic religion has been planted by the hand of violence, has been watered with the blood and tears of the people, and is now producing fruits which are neither “ sweet to the taste,” nor “ pleasing to the eye.” What would have been the condition of Scotland, had she been cursed with the same boon? That she narrowly escaped the tender mercies of our deliverer, William, is well known. In the Gentleman's Magazine for April 1774, is a letter from Dr. Rose, Bishop of Edinburgh, to a friend in London. It is dated 1713, and gives an account of the proceedings of the Episcopal party with regard to the Revolution of 1688. The writer proceeds to say, “ Then the Bishop [of London, Compton,] directing his discourse to me, said,--My Lord, you see that the King, having thrown himself upon the waters, must keep himself a-swimming with one hand. The Presbyterians have joined him closely, and offer to support him; and, therefore, he cannot cast them off, unless he could see how otherwise he could be served. And the King bids me tell you, that he knows the state of Scot.. land much better than he did, when he was in Holland; for, while there,
• Let not these strictures, on an amiable and useful man, be considered unjust or too severe. We have the precedent of his own authority for the censure thus passed on him : nor can “ the disgust” he felt, when Mr. Burge declared in the House of Commons, that the slave was the freehold of his master, be greater than the indignation excited by the hired advocate of men who stood self-convicted of murder under the cloak and sanction of religion. Humanity and commonsense are equally outraged by a system which thus merges the man in the lawyer, and employs in the support of barbarism and brutality that eloquence and ingenuity which freedom and philanthropy had fondly thought exclusively devoted to their service. The jealousy we feel is proportioned to the value of the subject and the merits of the object.
he was made believe that Scotland, generally all over, was Presbyterians; but now he sees that the great body of the nobility and gentry are for Episcopacy; and it is the trading and inferior sort are for Presbytery: wherefore he bids me tell you, that, if you will undertake to serve him to the purpose that he is served here in England, he will take you by the hand, support the Church and order, and throw off the Pres. byterians.” The Bishop declined acceding to these terms, as he had no instructions from the Bishops in Scotland, by whom he had been deputed to London, and was neither inclined to such terms himself, nor believed that his brethren would agree to them.
The Scottish Church is poor, and offers no compensation to the younger sons of the laird for the small mess of pottage they obtain from the family table ; and as entails are perpetual, this is probably one reason why they are more unpopular in Scotland than in England. They will become more so, when the Treasury is as poor as the Kirk. The general impression, with respect to the justice of this law, may be inferred from the metaphor we use to express our sense of an inveterate evil. We say, such a thing has been entailed upon us : this is always used in a
When we say that Pitt entailed an enormous debt upon the country, no one supposes that he conferred a blessing upon us ; and none but a disappointed corruptionist would apply the word to Earl Grey's Reform Bill.
The true principles of non-conformity, seem to be better understood on the north side of the Tweed than in England, where the corruption of the church is attributed to the aristocratical leaven which its wealth has attracted to it; whereas, the chief objections to the establishment, in Scotland, are to be traced to the system of patronage, which is at once a cause of subserviency, and an infringement of the rights of conscience. Nearly one-third of the whole population are seceders from the kirk; not so much on account of doctrine or discipline, but, because the right of appointment is found to operate against the interests of the community. The poverty of the Scottish National Church has, doubtless, secured Scotland from those abuses which are so injurious to the English people, and so disgraceful to their clergy. By driving the scions of the aristocracy into the arms of commerce, it has given a degree of dignity and respectability to trade, as yet unknown in England ; and has thus shown how much the asperities of life would be softened down, and its harmony promoted, by the abolition of those monopolies which have elevated one class by depressing every other. Yet, on the other hand, the system of patronage has subjected the ministers of religion to a dependence which must lessen their proper influence over their flocks, or turn it into a political channel ; and thus bring odium upon the establishment, by connecting its offices with party-feelings, and making ecclesiastical preferment a reward for electioneering skill, or a retaining fee for a parliamentary canvass. The public sale, by advertisement, of kirk patronage, will not, if the present feeling on the subject continues, be much longer tolerated.
In Evelyn's memoirs, there is a curious picture of church and state, a parallel to which might perhaps be found in the present day, under the date of March 30, 1684. He thus writes :
“ The Bishop of Rochester (Dr. Turner) preached before the king ; after which his majesty, accompanied with three of his natural sons, the Dukes of Northumberland, Richmond, and St. Albans, (sons of Portsmouth, Cleveland, and Nelly) went up to the altar ; the three boys en..