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amateur troupe at the Abbey. No one enjoyed these performances more, or laughed more heartily at them, than the Prime Minister. And perhaps on the present occasion he was vividly reminded of his own youth. For the epilogue to ‘The Eggs of Gold'—the title of the play—was spoken on New Year's Eve by his own boy, who had played the part of a page.
Ladies and gentlemen, at your desires,
DURING his long administration, Lord John was chiefly occupied with the various questions which had their origin in Irish distress and continental revolution. But he was concurrently attending to other matters of great significance; and among these there was none to which he attached more importance, or in which he took a deeper interest, than the state of the English Church. Lord John had always regarded with deep distrust the progress of the great religious movement which is associated with the names of Cardinal Newman and Mr. Pusey. Its votaries, he thought, were not merely traitors to the Church, but guilty of ‘shocking profanation. They were, consciously or unconsciously, initiating a movement which was leading to Rome, and they were simultaneously turning a service of remembrance into an offensive spectacle." Holding such opinions, Lord John used his influence during the Ministry of Lord Melbourne, and during his own administration, to secure the promotion of men free from all taint of Tractarianism to the highest offices of the Church. It so happened that, in the years which succeeded his accession to office, the vacancies on the bench were more than usually numerous. Lord John appointed, in 1847, an Archbishop of York; in 1848, an Archbishop of Canterbury; he filled up, in the first four years of his administration, the sees of St. Asaph, Sodor and Man (twice), Hereford, Manchester,
* These words are taken from Recollections and Suggestions,
Chester, Norwich, and Llandaff. The men whom he selected for these posts were Drs. Sumner, Musgrave, Short, Shirley, Eden, Hampden, Lee, Jackson, Hinds, and Ollivant. During the same period he sent Dr. Tait, the future Primate, to the Deanery of Carlisle, Dr. Milman to the Deanery of St. Paul's; and he offered Dr. Stanley (the late Dean of Westminster) high preferment. It is needless to add that most of these men were remarkable for the depth of their learning; while all of them were distinguished for the breadth of their views. It is not impossible that the marked preference which Lord John was displaying for men of comprehensive opinions stimulated the movement which he wished to defeat. The High Church party displayed increased activity; and the Bishop of Exeter declined to institute a clergyman, Mr. Gorham, to a living in his diocese, on the ground that he held heretical views on the subject of baptismal regeneration. The Bishop's decision was upheld by the Court of Arches, and Mr. Gorham appealed to the Privy Council. This tribunal reversed the judgment of the Ecclesiastical Court (in the language of Pembroke Lodge), ‘to the satisfaction of all friends of liberty of conscience.” But, however satisfactory the judgment might be to moderate and reasonable people, it was eminently distasteful to a party in the Church. The Bishop of London declared that a question of doctrine should not be decided by a court composed chiefly of laymen. But the following letters will show the Bishop's opinion, as well as Lord John's:—
February 25, 1850.
MY DEAR LORD,-What I think essential to the Queen's supremacy is that no person should be deprived of his rights unless by due interpretation of law. If the Supreme Court of Appeal in heresy were formed solely of the clergy, their opinions would probably be founded on the prevailing theological opinions of the Judicial Bishops, which might be one day Calvinistic and the next Romish. Especially if three senior bishops and two Divinity Professors were to form part of the tribunal, we might have superannuated bishops and university intolerance driving out of the Church its most distinguished ornaments. If your Lordship will
speak to the Archbishop, he will inform you what I think might be done.—I remain, &c., J. RUSSELL.
THE RT. REV. THE LORD BISHOP OF LONDON.
CHESHAM PLACE, March 15, 1850.
MY DEAR LORD,-I am much obliged to your Grace for sending me the letter of the Bishop of London. I am sorry to learn that he expects a secession from the Church, more especially on the ground of the late decision given by the Judicial Committee of Privy Council. For that decision, as I understand it, does not oblige any member of the Church to espouse the opinions of Mr. Gorham, and to renounce those of the Bishop of Exeter. It only pronounces that the opinions held by Mr. Gorham, respecting baptismal regeneration, do not disqualify him from holding a benefice in the Church to which he has been lawfully presented. This view of the case induces me to be very watchful in respect to any proposed tribunal to judge of doctrine. For, if such tribunal were to exclude from benefices all clergymen whose doctrines on various matters of controversy did not agree with those of the majority of that tribunal, we should infallibly lose that freedom of judgment on nice points of doctrine which has at all times been the characteristic of our Protestant Church. . . . If for ... the present constitution of the Judicial Committee of Privy Council we were to substitute the Upper House of Convocation with the addition of some learned judges, I fear we should subject the rights and privileges of the clergy, and the patrons of livings, to an ecclesiastical body more intent on theology than on law and liberty; put in hazard the Queen's supremacy over all matters in the Church, spiritual as well as temporal; and revive those fierce disputes which, at the beginning of the last century, made the meetings of Convocation a scandal and a public nuisance. I should be quite ready to concur in the plan of adding any bishops, who may be of the Privy Council, to the present Court of Appeal; and I am sorry to see that the Bishop of London says that such a plan would “be wholly useless and unsatisfactory. Such being the case, I do not see that anything can be done at present. Indeed, I fear that nothing but the erection of a priestly supremacy over the Crown and people would satisfy the party in the Church who now take the lead in agitation. I request you to give a copy of this letter to the Bishop of London, and remain, &c., J. RUSSELL.
THE ARCHBiSHOP OF CANTERBURY.
It is the essential characteristic of faith that it cannot be assaulted by reason; and the position of the High Church party, relying more and more on authority, could not be shaken by Lord John's arguments. But the decision of the Privy Council produced a prodigious ferment, and, throughout the summer of 1850, secessions and threats of secessions from the Church became frequent. Early in the autumn the Pope, restored to Rome, and upheld in the Vatican by French bayonets, thought proper to issue a Bull dividing England into twelve sees, and to appoint Mr. Wiseman, who was made a cardinal, Archbishop of Westminster. The excitement which had been created by the Gorham judgment was almost forgotten in the clamour which was produced by the Pope's action. High Church and Low Church were almost equally indignant at what appeared to be an intolerable assumption on the part of a foreign pontiff; and the Bishop of London, who had contended so strongly against Lord John in the spring, was united with him in the autumn.
Private] PEMBROKE LODGE, October 30, 1850. MY DEAR LORD,-I was much rejoiced to see your Lordship's answer to the London clergy respecting the Pope's Bull. It may happen that this step of the Pope may strengthen the Protestant interest in these kingdoms more than anything else. Such men as Mr. Dodsworth and Mr. Bennett must at least declare themselves. The Attorney-General was desired by Sir George Grey to read the Bull with a view to decide if it contained anything illegal. But I do not myself expect that there will be any plain violation of law found in the document.—I remain, &c., J. RUSSELL."
THE BISHOP OF LONDON.
It would perhaps have been well if Lord John could have satisfied himself with this letter. Shortly after writing it, however, he received a communication on the same subject from
1 The Bishop had written to Lord John on the 23rd to say that in his approaching charge he intended to make some remarks upon the recent assumption of authority by the Pope, and had asked whether her Majesty's Government intended to remonstrate against the proceedings of the Roman Pontiff.