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the " collection” immediately under review, than to subject it to rigid criticism; we forbear commenting on several assertions, in maintaining which the reverend writer, if a little pressed, might perhaps find that he has no ingenuity to spare. We now consider it in reference to the subject of the “ Essays.
Extravagant as such pretensions must seem to those whose convictions are of a different sort, and offensive as they were to individuals whose predilections are certainly not anti-episcopal, no notice, so far as we know, was taken of Mr. Hobart's productions, nor any thing published on the other side, till the summer of 1805. Then a writer, generally supposed to be the Rev. Dr. Linn, introduced into “the Albany Centinel,” under the head of “ Miscellanies, No. ix.” some free strictures on the Episcopal claims. He immediately met with an antagonist of no mean powers, under the signature of a Layman of the Episcopal Church, who is understood to be Thomas Y. How, Esq. To the aid of the latter came the Rev. FREDERICK BEASLEY, Rector of St. Peter's Church, Albany, with the venerable name of Cyprian. Clemens, or Dr. L. himself, shortly appeared in favour of the Miscellanist; as the battle waxed sore, the band of the hierarchy was joined by two right reverend prelates, the one from this state, as Cornelius ; the other from Pennsylvania, as an Episcopalian ; together with Mr. (now Dr.)
Hobart himself, in the twofold form of Detector and Vindex ; while the Miscellanist re-appeared in the characters of Umpire and an Inquirer. By the forces thus marshalled, five against one, the warfare was protracted till the public grew weary, and the printer interposed to effect an armistice. However, that the record and the fruits of so memorable a campaign might not be lost, the Rev Mr. Hobart did not think it a misapplication of his time, nor a disservice to his church, to gather the pieces of both parties, and republish them in a separate volume with a preface, annotations, and comments of his own. We, accordingly, take up the 6 collection” as it came from his hands.
We have heard a suggestion of unfairness in this transaction. We do not see how the charge can be supported, unless the writers on the Episcopal side have been permitted to alter and amend their essays without extending the same privilege to their opponents. The modification of a single paragraph may cover with ridicule the most forcible argument which was directed against it before the modification, and would insult the reader by imposing upon him something which was not the subject of remark. Of so degrading an artifice no reputable man ought to be lightly suspected. As we have no such suspicion, and as this alone could justify a charge of unfairness, we do not see that Mr. H. is at all reprehensible for
republishing a set of essays which had been thrown upon the world without any pecuniary restriction, and accompanying them with such criticism as he deemed just.
Mr. H. observes in his preface, that “ the friends of the church and of Episcopacy, however reluctant to discuss an important religious topic in a public paper, were compelled to resort to the same mode, for defence, which the author of Miscellanies had chosen for his attack.” We la ment, as sincerely as themselves, that a Newspaper was selected for such a discussion. We lamented it from the first. We never flattered ourselves that it would operate with a favourable influence either on the cause of truth, or on the social feeling of the community.
But when Mr. H. and the Layman, and Cyprian, all complain of being assaulted in the peaceful exercise of a common right, and thus endeavour to throw the odium of aggression upon the author of “Miscellanies," it is rather over-acting. To exclude all non-episcopalians from 5 the church which the Redeemer purifies by his blood, and quickens by his Spirit,”—to pronounce all their ministrations “ irregular and invalid,"—to charge them with a great guilt” and threaten them with 5 imminent danger,” for “negligently or wilfully continuing in a state of separation” from the episcopal church-to represent them as “ wilfully rending the peace and unity of the church; as
obstinately contemning the means which God hath appointed for their salvation;" as “ guilty of rebellion against their Almighty Law-giver, and Judge,”—to publish all this to the world; and then most gravely to tell these same non-episcopalians, that there is no attack upon them; but only a little wholesome admonition for the edification of devout episcopalians on the evening before the Holy Communion! and, moreover, to put on a lofty air, and break out into angry rebuke, , toward those who are not satisfied with their explanation, is really an improvement in polemical finesse. But hold! let us look again at these pretty figures of rhetoric, by which thunderbolts, hurled at the heads of opponents, are converted into the gentle dews of instruction and consolation to friends-Schismatics, usurpers, renders of the church's unity, rebels against their Almighty Law-giver !-Verily, if this is no attack upon nonepiscopalians, it is so like one, that we need a shrewd interpreter at our elbow, to prevent our mistaking it. “I never,” said Jack, of Lord Peter's brown bread,“ saw a piece of mutton in my life, so nearly resembling a slice from a twelve
If Mr. H. had intended an attack upon the anti-episcopal denominations, in what manner could he have made it? Not by assailing them individually in the street: not by entering their houses and reading them a lecture on schism: not even
by preaching against them in his own place of worship: for this would be “ instructing his own people;” and if any others should happen to stroll in, he could not help that, more than he could hinder their buying and reading his books; which, according his own account, he neither desired nor expected. It is the dictate of common sense that if an author print and publish severe reflections upon any body of men, he not only attacks them, but does it in the most open manner possible. If one of our citizens should write and advertise in the Gazettes, a pamphlet, calling all the members of the community, but those of his own sect, traitors and rebels to the government, would Mr. H. or any body else, comprehended in the charge, be satisfied with such an apology as this : 6 You, have no right, sir, to be offended with any part of my pamphlet. It is true, I have called you a rebel and a traitor, but you should not construe these epithets into an attack upon you ; for the least candour will enable you to perceive that I published my pamphlet for the exclusive use of my own connexions ?” Would this, we ask, convince Mr. H. or any one else, and send him home perfectly satisfied to be denounced, as a rebel and a traitor, so often as a zealous partisan might judge it conducive to the edification of his own particular friends? We believe not. Neither will the non-episcopalians be satisfied with Mr. H's. apology for himself.
They will probably