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OMNIPOTENCE OF REFORM.
power not so much to the intensity of the pain as to its peculiar position; a little higher up, or a little lower down, the same pain would be trifling; but it fixes in the joints, and gets into the headquarters of motion and activity The boroughmonger knows the importance of arthritic positions; he disdains muscle, gets into the joints, and lords it over the whole machine by felicity of place. Other men are as rich-but those riches are not fixed in the critical spot.
I live a good deal with all ranks and descriptions of people; I am thoroughly convinced that the party of democrats and republicans is very small and contemptible; that the English love their institutions that they not only love this king (who would not love him?) but the kingly office-that they have no hatred to the aristocracy. I am not afraid of trusting English happiness to English gentlemen. I believe that the half million of new voters will choose much better for the public than the twenty or thirty peers, to whose usurped power they succeed.
If any man doubts the power of reform, let him take these two memorable proofs of its omnipotence. First, but for the declaration against it, I believe the Duke of Wellington might this day have been in office; and, secondly, in the whole course of the debates at county meetings and in Parliament, there are not twenty men who have declared against reform. Some advance an inch, some a foot, some a yard—but nobody stands still-nobody says, We ought to remain just where we were-everybody discovers that he is a reformer, and has long been so-and appears infinitely delighted with this new view of himself. Nobody appears without the cockade-bigger or less- but always the cockade.
An exact and elaborate census is called for-vast information should have been laid upon the table of the house-great time should have been given for deliberation. All these objections, being turned into English, simply mean, that the chances of another year should have been given for defeating the bill. In that time the Poles may be crushed, the Belgians Orangized, Louis Philippe dethroned; war may rage all over Europe-the popular spirit may be diverted to other objects. It is certainly provoking that the ministry foresaw all these possibilities, and determined to model the iron while it was red and glowing.
It is not enough that a political institution works well practically:
it must be defensible; it must be such as will bear discussion, and
who disdains to deceive those men whom he has called public service, but makes common cause with them for the good; and exercises the highest powers of a ruler for the interests of the state. I have lived to see a king with a good heart, who, surrounded by nobles, thinks of common men; the great mass of English people, and wishes to be them; who knows that his real power, as he feels that his happiness, is founded on their affection. I have lived to see a without pretending to the pomp of superior intellect,
has the wisdom to see, that the decayed institutions of human
amendment; and who, in spite of clamour, interest,
and fear, has the manliness to carry these wise changes into immediate execution. Gentlemen, farewell: shout for the
LETTERS TO ARCHDEACON SINGLETON."
BISHOPS AND PATRONAGE.
NEVER dreaming of such sudden revolutions as these, a prebendary brings up his son to the church, and spends a large sum of money in his education, which, perhaps, he can ill afford. His hope is (wicked wretch!) that, according to the established custom of the body to which he (immoral man!) belongs, the chapter will (when his turn arrives), if his son be of fair attainments and good character attend to his nefarious recommendation, and confer the living upon the young man ; and in an instant all his hopes are destroyed, and he finds his preferment seized upon, under the plea of public good, by a stronger churchman than himself. I can call this by no other name than that of tyranny and oppression. I know very well that this is not the theory of patronage; but who does better?-do individual patrons?-do colleges who give in succession?—and as for bishops, lives there the man so weak and foolish, so little observant of the past, as to believe (when this tempest of purity and perfection has blown over) that the name of Blomfield will not figure in benefices from which the names of Copleston, Blomberg, Tate, and Smith, have been so virtuously excluded? I have no desire to make odious comparisons between the purity of one set of patrons and another, but they are forced upon me by the injustice of the commissioners. I must either make such comparisons or yield up, without remonstrance, those rights to which I am fairly entitled.
It may be said that the bishops will do better in future; that * Letters to Archdeacon Singleton on the Ecclesiastical Commission,
now the public eye is upon them, they will be ashamed into a more lofty and anti-nepotic spirit; but, if the argument of past superiority is given up, and the hope of future amendment resorted to, why may we not improve as well as our masters? but the commission say, "These excellent men" (meaning themselves) "have promised to do better, and we have an implicit confidence in their word: we must have the patronage of the cathedrals." In the meantime, we are ready to promise as well as the bishops.
With regard to that common newspaper phrase, the public eye -there's nothing (as the bench well know) more wandering and slippery than the public eye. In five years hence, the public eye will no more see what description of men are promoted by bishops, than it will see what doctors of law are promoted by the Turkish Ulhema; and at the end of this period (such is the example set by the commission), the public eye, turned in every direction, may not be able to see any bishops at all.
In many instances, chapters are better patrons than bishops, because their preferment is not given exclusively to one species of incumbents. I have a diocese now in my private eye which has undergone the following changes. The first of three bishops whom I remember was a man of careless, easy temper, and how patronage went in those early days may be conjectured by the following letters; which are not his, but serve to illustrate a system:
I have noticed with great pleasure the behaviour of your lordship's second son, and am most happy to have it in my power to offer to him the living of ***. He will find it of considerable value; and there is, I understand a very good house upon it, &c., &c.
This is to confer a living upon a man of real merit out of the family; into which family, apparently sacrificed to the public good, the living is brought back by the second letter: —
My dear Lord,
THE SAME TO THE SAME, A YEAR After.
Will you excuse the Liberty I take in soliciting promotion for my grandson? He is an officer of great skill and gallantry, and can bring the most ample testimonials from some of the best men in the profession: the Arethusa frigate is, I understand, about to be commissioned; and if, &c., &c.
Now I am not saying that hundreds of prebendaries have not committed such enormities and stupendous rimes as this (a decla
ration which will fill the whig cabinet with horror); all that I mean to contend for is, that such is the practice of bishops quite as much as it is of inferior patrons.
The second bishop was a decided enemy of Calvinistical doctrines, and no clergyman so tainted had the slightest chance of preferment in his diocese.
The third bishop could endure no man whose principles were not strictly Calvinistic, and who did not give to the articles that kind of interpretation. Now here were a great mass of clergy naturally alive to the emoluments of their profession, and not knowing which way to look or stir, because they depended so entirely upon the will of one person. Not otherwise is it with a very whig bishop, or a very tory bishop; but the worst case is that of a superannuated bishop; here the preferment is given away, and must be given away, by wives and daughters, or by sons, or by butlers, perhaps, and valets, and the poor dying patron's paralytic hand is guided to the signature of papers, the contents of which he is utterly unable to comprehend. In all such cases as these, the superiority of bishops as patrons will not assist that violence which the commissioners have committed upon the patronage of cathedrals.
ADVICE TO BISHOPS.
THERE is a practice among some bishops, which may as well be mentioned here as anywhere else, but which, I think, cannot be too severely reprobated. They send for a clergyman, and insist upon his giving evidence respecting the character and conduct of his neighbour. Does he hunt? Does he shoot? Is he in debt? Is he temperate? Does he attend to his parish? &c., &c. Now, what is this, but to destroy for all clergymen the very elements of social life to put an end to all confidence between man and man —and to disseminate among gentlemen, who are bound to live in concord, every feeling of resentment, hatred, and suspicion? But the very essence of tyranny is to act as if the finer feelings, like the finer dishes, were delicacies only for the rich and great, and that little people have no taste for them, and no right to them. A good and honest bishop (I thank God there are many who deserve that character!) ought to suspect himself, and carefully to watch his own heart. He is all of a sudden elevated from being a tutor,