Imatges de pÓgina
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2. If the reverend speaker thus mistakes the nature of his authority as Archdeacon, it is natural that his other assumptions should be equally erroneous.

The opinion which he seems to entertain, that the proposal of a Missionary Association at Bath went to impose the measure on the clergy, is altogether destitute of foundation. No such intention was ever entertained. The design was, to give an opportunity to such persons to attend, as might be disposed to aid the Society with their subscriptions. The idea of there being any thing irregular in the establishment of such an Association, because the majority of the clergy of the neighbourhood did not happen to be present, is wholly untenable. The Society appeared as a supplicant; not to claim or impose, but to explain, petition, and entreat. No voluntary society ever received universal support. The friends of the proposed measure never expected to unite every suffrage in its favour, until its spirit and proceedings bad become known, and it had outgrown the uncertainty and suspicions which naturally attach to an infant undertaking. All other societies in our Church, however ancient they may now be, were formed at first by a few individuals, and had, like our own, to pass through a season of doubt, and difficulty, and objection.

3. The Archdeacon equally mistakes, when

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he confounds the circumstance of the clergy declining or omitting, from whatever cause, to join the proposed Institution, and their actually disclaiming and protesting against it. He ventured, indeed, to issue his Protest, not only in his own name, but in that of his diocesan, the Bishop of Bath and Wells; but by what authority does not appear. Certain it is, that the Bishop of Bath and Wells, in a Letter to which his respectable name is affixed by his own hand, and addressed to the Provisional Secretary of the intended Association, though he declines the particular office of Patron, which had been offered to him, does so in terms of courtesy and respects. His Lordship fulminates no Protest against the Society, nor does be even hint the slightest disapprobation of it; though he would naturally have done so, if he had thought and felt with the Archdeacon of Bath. Nor does it appear that the reverend gentleman had any better title to include in his Protest the names of the clergy of his jurisdiction, than that of his diocesan. He expressly says, that he had neither directly nor indirectly communicated to any of them his intention of appearing at the meeting. If this disavowal be really what, in fairness, it ought to be, it must imply that he had not communicated to the clergy even his intention of entering an official Protest against the Society. With what propriety, then, could he afterward enter, as he does, this very Protest in their names? Mr. Archdeacon Thomas is unquestionably called upon, by this apparent inconsistency, to produce his authority for employing the names of his venerable diocesan and of the vast majority of the clergy. If he received such authority, he can, of course, prove the fact; and, till he does so, the assumption which he makes must be considered as utterly unwarrantable.

s See his Lordship's Letter in an Address from the Bath Committee, printed in Appendix I.

4. But the most extraordinary, and really indecorous part of the Archdeacon's denunciations, is that which he ventures to make against the Honourable and Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Gloucester, who took the chair at the meeting

What interference there could be with ecclesiastical jurisdiction, in simply being the chairman at a voluntary meeting of a benevolent society, does not immediately appear, and is unfortunately not explained by the reverend Protester. Surely it never could occur, to any unbiassed mind, that the yielding to the wish of the friends of the proposed Association, to direct the proceedings of their meeting, was any invasion of episcopal authority. Any other nobleman or gentleman might have been invited to the same brief and harmless duty. Such circumstances take place in every city of every diocese of Great Britain, without the slightest offence or umbrage.

The choice fell on the Bishop of Gloucester merely from the natural and high respect entertained for the character and rank of his Lordship. As one of the Vice-Patrons of the Church Missionary Society, he was almost necessarily led to comply with an invitation which related to a proposed branch of the Parent Institution; and especially in the chief city of a diocese, in which his Lordship held the distinguished station of Dean.

But, in fact, any one who had heard of the name of the Lord Bishop of Gloucester, of his assiduity in his parochial duties previous to his elevation to the Episcopal Bench, as well as in the discharge of his high ecclesiastical functions since that event, of bis zeal for the establishment of National Schools, his activity in espousing the cause of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and the British and Foreign Bible Society, and his ardour for forwarding the salvation of the heathen world, would immediately be induced to apply to him for aid on such an occasion as gave rise to the Protest. Undoubtedly it was impossible for a man of his Lordship’s principles and character, when he was once requested to take the chair at such a

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'meeting, to decline the task: undoubtedly he could never endure that the proposed Society should in any measure fail of success, because he refused to give it any aid which it might be in his power to furnish.

But these statements, though more than sufficient to silence the voice of intemperate censure, are rendered unnecessary by the circumstance that his Lordship actually did consult the Bishop of Bath and Wells previously to his consenting to preach on the subject at Bath, and acquainted his Lordship with his design of attending the meeting. The following short statement under his own hand is to be seen at his Lordship’s bookseller's in London, which places the whole question on totally new ground, and makes the indecorum of the Archdeacon's language the more reprehensible:

“ We have authority from the prelate, who took the chair at the desire of the Meeting of the Friends of the Church Missionary Society at Bath, to declare, that, having previously mentioned to the Bishop of the diocese his intention of attending the meeting, as well as submitted bis design of preaching for the Society, to his Lordship's decision; he had not the slightest reason to suppose, that in taking those steps, he was acting in a manner disrespectful or displeasing to his Lordship; the introduction of whose name, as protesting against the meeting, is

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