Imatges de pÓgina
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firmly believed by the prelate above mentioned to have been entirely unauthorized and unjustifiable "."

In the haste with which the first impression of this pamphlet went to the press, an inaccuracy occurred in reporting the "Statement" of the Bishop of Gloucester, which, though it was corrected as soon as discovered (that is, after only a small part of the impression had got into circulation), and though the six editions since published have been wholly free from it, and though it does not seem material after all, yet I think it proper to explain. In the Statement of the Bishop, as originally left at the Bookseller's, it was related that, having consulted the bishop of the diocese "upon the subject of preaching for the Society, he had not the slightest reason to suppose that in taking that step, or in attending the meeting, he was acting in a manner disrespectful or displeasing to his Lordship; the introduction of whose name, as protesting against the Meeting, is firmly believed by the Prelate above-mentioned to have been entirely unauthorized and unjustifiable." Besides this Statement, however, I had been favoured with the sight of a Letter from the Bishop of Gloucester, in which was added this fact," that he had previously acquainted the bishop of the diocese with his intention of attending the Meeting." Understanding that this letter was meant to be supplementary to the statement, and believing that the statement was immediately to be rewritten, and to include the additional fact (which in truth has been done), I thought myself authorized to give my edition of it that addition which was intended, and which made it more fully descriptive of the circumstances. It was, however, suggested to me, that I had been incorrect in stating the Bishop of Gloucester to have consulted the Bishop of Bath and Wells on the propriety of his attending the Meeting; the truth being that the consulting had referred only to the more strictly ecclesiastical matter of

After this statement, it is needless to say, that there was no shadow of interference with the jurisdiction of his venerable brother on the part of the Lord Bishop of Gloucester: even the slightest suspicion of it, which could by possibility have been suggested by an unfriendly and invidious observer, had been precluded by the previous communication between the two prelates. How the Archdeacon can escape the charge of a rash and indefensible accusation against his superior in the Church, I will not attempt to explain.

The question then recurs, what is the authority of this Protest of the Archdeacon of Bath? None whatever. He appears to have had no more right to assume any jurisdiction over this peaceable and lawful meeting of benevolent in

preaching for the Society; while the Bishop of Gloucester, not apprehending objection to his mere attendance at the Meeting, had only mentioned his intention of so doing without making it a matter of formal consultation. Though I thought this distinction, as I still think it, quite immaterial under the circumstances of the case, yet I felt myself called on immediately to correct the error I had inadvertently made; which I did, by publishing, in the far greater part of the first edition, and in all those that have ensued, the first Statement of the Bishop of Gloucester, without addition or alteration. For this, I am happy now to substitute that which has since been substituted by his Lordship himself; the original of which is open to the inspection of any reader, at Mr. Hatchard's.

dividuals for a simple and legitimate object of charity, than he would have had to interrupt an assembly convened for planning a bridge or projecting an hospital: he might, in fact, almost as well have advanced a claim of right to enter the private abode of individuals, in order to regulate the detail of personal beneficence.

The Reverend the Archdeacon, however, forgetful of these obvious principles, and assuming a variety of positions, every one of which turns out to be unfounded, ventured to overstep his lawful authority, and to make a Protest, which loses all its weight the moment the real circumstances of the case are explained;—a fault this, surely of no common magnitude. Respect, indeed, is always due to measures, however erroneous, if they have been suggested by an honest zeal and a strong and imperative sense of duty. But when the act to which zeal and duty impel men, is itself that of protesting against intemperate zeal and a mistaken sense of duty in others; when a censor stands up specifically to point out the distinction between a well informed and an ignorant piety; when such a censor is invested with an office of respectability in the Church, and his denunciations derive weight from his public station; and, above all, when such a person comes forward to deliver an Address composed in the calmness of the closet, and therefore with

every advantage of previous deliberation; it is plain that we have a right to expect more than common, caution and reserve, a mind well informed on his subject, and arguments sound and perspicuous in support of his assertions. I will not stop to say how totally the Archdeacon has failed in all these respects.

But this is not all. Even if the Archdeacon had erred in judgment, as to the nature of the proposed Society, and the extent of his jurisdiction, the consequence of the mistake would have been quickly remedied, if he had preserved any thing of a right temper in the expression of his sentiments. The intemperate proceeding of forcing himself upon the meeting, was little calculated to sustain the just dignity of his character, or to effect the object which he professed to have in view. If it was his simple design to prevent what he considered to be irregular, was it not most proper to exert himself first in private? Were there no opportunities of previously remonstrating with the leading persons concerned? Was it decorous-I had almost said, was it honourable, to receive the clergymen of his jurisdiction, who waited upon him before the meeting to solicit his favour for the Society, with no single notice of disapprobation-for I

7 See the Address of the Bath Committee, in the Appendix, No. I.

am persuaded that every reader will be astonished to find that this was really the caseand then to come forward with an unexpected and rude claim of interference? Was it just, was it generous, to leave the Right Reverend Prelate who was called to the chair, and the clergy of the neighbourhood, in total ignorance of the intended Protest? Was it decent to insist on delivering this censure before the Secretary had been allowed even to explain the nature of the proposed Institution? Above all, was it becoming; and, to use the Archdeacon's phrase, was it canonical; to insult a most amiable and dignified personage in his own presence? Was it suitable for an Archdeacon to arraign before a numerous assemblage a bishop of the church? Was contumely a necessary part of an interference which, as official, should, of course, have been calm and dispassionate, resting on undisputed authority, and proceeding with dignity? What right had the Archdeacon of Bath to determine, by his mere assertion, what is regular and what is not; to decide, at once, on the supposed conduct of another; to remind, with an air of insult, a prelate of our church, that, as Dean of Wells, he owes canonical obedience to his diocesan, and even to charge him with a breach of the duties of his exalted station?-for it may be necessary to state, that he actually imputed to the Honourable and Right

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