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to the same brief and harmless duty.. Such circumstances take place in every city of every diocese of Great Britain, without the slightest offence or umbrage.
The choice fell on the Bishop of Gloucester merely from the natural and high respect entertained for the character and rank of his Lordship. As one of the Vice-Patrons of the Church Missionary Society, he was almost necessarily led to comply with an invitation which related to a proposed branch of the Parent Institution; and especially in the chief city of a diocese, in which his Lordship held the distinguished station of Dean.
But, in fact, any one who had heard of the name of the Lord Bishop of Gloucester, of his assiduity in his parochial duties previous to his elevation to the Episcopal Bench, as well as in the discharge of his high ecclesiastical functions since that event, of his zeal for the establishment of National Schools, his activity in espousing the cause of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and the British and Foreign Bible Society, and his ardour for forwarding the salvation of the heathen world, would immediately be induced to apply to him for aid on such an occasion as gave rise to the Protest. Undoubtedly it was impossible for a man of his Lordship’s principles and character, when he was once requested to take the chair at such a meeting, to decline the task: undoubtedly he could never endure that the proposed Society should in any measure fail of success, because he refused to give it any aid which it might be in his power to furnish.
But these statements, though more than sufficient to silence the voice of intemperate censure, are rendered unnecessary by the circumstance that his Lordship actually did consult the Bishop of Bath and Wells previously to his consenting to preach on the subject at Bath, and acquainted his Lordship with his design of attending the meeting. The following short statement under his own hand is to be seen at his Lordship's bookseller's in London, which places the whole question on totally new ground, and makes the indecorum of the Archdeacon's language the more reprehensible:
“ We have authority from the prelate, who took the chair at the desire of the Meeting of the Friends of the Church Missionary Society at Bath, to declare, that, having previously mentioned to the Bishop of the diocese his intention of attending the meeting, as well as submitted his design of preaching for the Society, to his Lordship's decision; he had not the slightest reason to suppose, that in taking those steps, be 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."
6 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 Bisbop 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 individuals 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.
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.
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