Page images

even in the year 1814, laid down the doctrine "that teaching children to read, and enabling them to read whutever religious books their parents may put into their hands, is a positive evil ;" although his lordship, even as quoted by the Reviewer, expressly limits his statement of the danger of knowledge to “knowledge disjoined from religious instruction." This was in 1814. You, Şir, could have taught the Reviewer a different lesson, who after a jealous examination of the dispositions with which different members of the legislature viewed the proposed inquiry into the abuse of charities, especially of those concerning education, were pleased to pronounce the following eulogium upon that distinguished prelate, in the year 1818.

Among the honorary commissioners, we had been led to hope that Lord Lansdowne and the Bishop of London would appear. It is not easy to find two individuals more aılmirably qualified for the office, by the union of inflexible integrity with conciliatory temper, and of acute understanding with habits of application to affairs. But I own that in my eyes those distinguished persons were still further recommended by their avowed disposition in favor of the proposed inquiry *'" Yet this is the prelate whom the Reviewers stigmatises as “the enemy, upon principle, of whatever informs and enlightens the poor;'" the Reviewer himself having cited the Bishop's words, that “o in proportion as these additional energies imparted to the mass of the people'" (by the systematic culture of intellect) are under the direction of good principles, they will give stability to the government, advance the cause of religion and morals, and contribute to the general advan

Could a Christian Bishop speak more strongly in behalf of knowledge? Is he, whose office it is to watch over the religious principles of his flock, to suppress all mention of Christian instruction, when he is recommending the education of the poor? Is it his duty to stand up for the favourite system of the Reviewers, of schools for ALL and Religion for NONE? Is it “calumniating knowledge,” as this ignorant traducer terms it, to say, that when un. der the direction of good principles it does all that could be wished? or can any one deny that when it is not under the direction of good principles it may do a great deal of harm? Remonstrance, P. 37.

* Yet the Review calls it " a monstrous assumption” of the Bishop's, that the diffusion of knowledge and cultivation of intellect may exceed the countervailing powers of religion and morality," Is countervailing then a stronger word than Lord Bacon's corrective? The Reviewer indeed is pleased to give it the meaning of counteracting; which never belonged to it. To countervail (contra valere) is 'to be of equal weight or value;' and will the Reviewer presume to deny that religion and morality are of less weight or value than the diffusion of knowledge ?" No person but one who


* Letter to Sir S. Romilly, p. 20.


is impenetrably dull, or wilfully blind, can fail to perceive the Bishop's real meaning, which is, that religious and moral instruction is necessary, to preserve a due equilibrium in the human mind, which, without it, is, to say the least, liable to what Bacon terms “ ventosity or swelling ;" and that deism, and atheism itself, are the natural results of this intellectual ædema, I suppose I need not prove even to the Reviewer himself.” Remonstrance, P. 40.

“ It is now, I think, perfectly clear, that if I am mistaken in supposing the existence of a conspiracy, between the Edinburgh Reviewers and the infidel faction, against the Church, there has been a conspiracy between some of those Reviewers themselves against one of the most exemplary and irreproachable of its rulers. The learning and piety, as well as the liberality and conciliatory temper of the present Bishop of London, being so notorious, as to have commanded the tribute of praise even from yourself, it is impossible to account for the violent and rancorous attack which your friends and fellow-labourers have simultaneously made upon him, except on the supposition, that having found their system of general inuendo, and indefinite calumny, too slow in its operation, they have now resolved to take up the ratio ultima of low and ungenerous party feeling; and to exchange the nobler warfare of prin. ciples, for the more disreputable hostility of personal abuse. These sharp-shooters of the North, driven from the open plains of controversy behind the stunted underwood, which withers on the soil of metaphysics and false quantities, are beginning to pick out the ablest amongst those who line the ramparts of our Church; and where they discern an opponent, formidable for the very excellencies which they profess to admire, a living refutation of their ca. lumnies, they make him their common mark; like the suitors of Penelope, who encourage one another to hurl their spears at once against Ulysses, as the most formidable of their adversaries; Των δ' άλλων και κηδoς, επην ετός γε πέστησιν.

Remonstrance, P. 47. Another point upon which the Edinburgh Review and “ its most voluminous contributor” receives a merited casti. gation, relates to their praises of the Church of Scotland. Of that Church, and its doctrines, and its ministers, and its labours, they have been the systematic opponents, openly preferring the philosophy of what they term their modern Athens, to the old-fashioned Christianity of the Kirk. But for the sake of reviling the Church of England, Mr. Broagham and his reviewers are suddenly seized with a violent affection for Presbyterianism. Such conversions are not unprecedented in bim or them. When the Education Bill was supported by Dissenters, Mr. Brougham lauded them to the skies, and heaped up insult upon insult on the Bishops, the Universities, and the Clergy. The boldness of the measure did not ensure its success. The nation took part with the Church. The orator saw the necessity of changing bis ground; extolled the Clergy as warmly as he had reviled them, and quizzed bis poor friends the Socinians and Quakers with as little mercy as he had formerly shewn to Bishops and Deans. It has been the same throughout his whole career.

To serve the purpose of the present moment, he

unsays all the declarations of his past life, and asserts his belief in new opinions which must be disowned to-morrow, in their turn. The Administration which he


has more than once owed its safety to his violence. If he is terrible as an enemy, be is not less terrible as a friend. Should his rhetorical talents ever place him at the head of a party, the country will be exposed to greater danger than she has encountered since the Revolution. Let us hope that the good feeling and good sense of the Whigs will ever retain Mr. Brougham in a subordinate situation. We take leave of him in the eloquent language of the writers ander review.

“ An annotator upon the Review in question, has aptly characterized your

Durham speech as criminative, contemptuous, and defying. Such are the expressions, not of your adversary, but of your associate. It is criminating indeed, but what charge does it substantiate? It is contemptuous; but what has contempt to do with enquiry? It is defying; but where is the danger? It is easy, Sir, to be criminative where we know that the defence of those whom we accuse will not be heard. It is easy to be contemptuous when we think that insolence will stifle examination. It is easy to defy when we are ascertained that no notice can be taken of our defiance. Your eloquence, Sir, has been described by the same associate as “ terrible ;" and truly, if it fall short of the devórns of a Demosthenes, it is not altogether deficient in the terrors of a Robespierre. Hitherto, your reign of terror has been confined to the tyranny of language; but how soon persecution may assume a more substantial form, and words pass into things, it would be well for the Laity no less than the Clergy to consider." Letter, &c. P. 8.

“ I am sensible that I owe some apology to the Bishop of London himself, for having presumed to say a word in vindication of a character, which a rare union of learning and piety, moderation and firmness, a perfect singleness of intention and a truly christian meekness, places as far above my commendation, as above the impotent malice of the Edinburgh Review. But I was desirous of producing some strong reasons, why you, Sir, who have borne such ample and unsolicited testimony to his Lordship’s worth, should no longer permit your train of underlings to insult public feeling and decency, by a series of calumnies, the discredit of which redounds in some measure upon yourself. Your pack is on the wrong scent, and must be taught better manners. Their's is no “gallant chiding;” but the discordant yapping of mongrel curs, unused to the pursuit of nobler game, and far indeed from being

matched in mouth like bells,

Each under each. “ With regard to yourself, Sir, if the invectives with which you assailed the Church and Clergy in your speech at Durham, were sincere, or if you have had any share in dishing them up again, with a fresh spice of malignity, in the Edinburgh Review, what can we say of you, after your deliberate panegyric upon both, except this?

His own opinion was his law: i'the presence
He would say untruths; and be ever double
Both in his words and meaning: He was never,
But where he meant to ruin, pitiful.

Remonstrance, P. 49. Our limits will not permit us to extract the passages in which the Edinburgh Reviewers are convicted of having applied to the Scotch Clergy expressions more contemptuous than any with which the English Clergy are now honoured ; nor others from which it appears that they could-speak of the Church of England, when it suited their purpose, in the most respectful and flattering terms. But we cannot refrain from adverting to one or two parts of the article on the Durham Case, which have been passed over by Mr. Brougham's Correspondents.

The author or authors of that invective lay great stress upon the opinions of Bishop Watson and Dr. Paley, both of whom they pronounce to be zealous Churchmen, and the latter of an orthodoxy never questioned. The assertions are notoriously false. The sound churchmanship and orthodoxy of both these celebrated men were questioned by threefourths of their brethren. Whether the suspicion was just or unjust we do not pretend to decide, but its existence is denied by the Reviewer with a hardihood which is above all praise.

The acrimonious wit of Dean Swift is forced into the antiepiscopal cause, and under circumstances which convince us that even in the council-chamber of Mr. Jeffrey and Mr. Brougham there are instances of gross carelessness, inadvertence, and stupidity. Swift is represented as abstaining from an attack upon the Bishops on all occasions save one; on that one it is admitted that he was under the in ence of

pique," and yet what was said by such a man as Swift “in a moment of pique” is represented as bis real opinion, though it was confessedly in opposition to the whole tenour of his long fearless, and bitter political and literary career!!





We are favoured also with a quotation from Burke's speech in support of the Bill for quieting the dormant claims of the Church. We transcribe the whole passage, from the tenth volume of his works, presuming that the portion of it printed in Italics is not to be found in the Reviewer's

copy: “ I do not mean any thing against the Church, her dignities, her honours, or her possessions. I SHOULD WISH EVEN TO ENLARGE THEM ALLnot that the Church of England is incompetently endowed. This is to take nothing from her but the power of making herself odious. If she be secure herself, she can have no objection to the security of others. For I HOPE SHE IS SECURE FROM LAYBIGOTRY,

I heartily wish to see the Church secure in such possessions as will not only enable her ministers to preach the Gospel with ease, but of such a kind as will enable them to preach it with its full effect; so that the Pastor shall not have the inauspicious appearance of a tax-gatherer ; such a maintenance as is compatible with the civil prosperity and improvement of their country."

But perhaps the most surprising piece of assurance in the whole number is the extract from Milton, with which the Durham Case concludes. The Remonstrant has truly said, that as Milton was writing against Episcopacy, it is idle to consider him an impartial witness. He might have added, that the adoption of Milton's sublime Prayer to the Tripersonal Godhead by the Edinburgh Reviewers is a profanation little short of blasphemy. That their folly may be as conspicuous as their impiety, they propose to cure the Church's wounds by the very medicines which have destroyed her once already. Their extract is taken from a Tract which Milton put forth in 1641, and which contributed to the production of the subsequent troubles. Under the influence of an auti-popish ague (for the dangers of Popery were the great burden of his song) the poet pleads hard for the destruction of Episcopacy, for the popular election of the Clergy, for the abolition of tithes, and for the establishment of a National Synod upon the Presbyterian model. And the conclusion of a long argument which, in spite of its gross falsification of history, the wit and eloquence of the writer induce us still to read, is contained in the following passage-a passage immediately preceding the prayer extracted by the Reviewer : " Were it such an incurable mischief to make a Ittle trial what all this would do to the flourishing and growing up of Christ's mystical body?” The poet's wish was more than granted : animated by his invectives, the Parlia, ment made a great trial of the plan which he recommended for their adoption. The result was, the overthrow of the

« PreviousContinue »