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r« In this way.
My friend opened his eyes, stared, but said nothing. Although he looked quite incredulous, I went on.
“ The Established Church, by its numbers, its wealth, and its discipline, has acquired great power. I do not speak of the churchmen only, you must understand, but include in the term that immense mass of the community, who, being as much in earnest as any churchmen can possibly be, co-operate with them, heart and hand, in preserving the Protestant religion in its purity. They are far too large a body, and too much scattered, to be influenced by any sudden wind of doctrine, and therefore they go on with a degree of regularity eminently conducive to right-mindedness in religious matters, not only as they are themselves affected, but as the whole community is affected. These influential members of the Church, indeed, are so thickly distributed, and as it were dovetailed into the framework of our social body, that society at large cannot move unless the Church goes along with it.”
• “Yes, that is all very well for your Church of England people But what say the dissenters?”
They are, in my opinion, nearly as much benefited by the Establishment as any other members of the community." (“How can that possibly be?”
You will grant me that it is of great consequence to the dissenters, that religion should be steadily and powerfully encouraged, or, if I am not using a word too familiar for the occasion, should be made the permanent fashion of society ; by which I mean, that it should not be allowed to descend from its proper station, or be considered in any light but as the first and most important of all our duties. Now, I conceive the influence of the Established Church applies here with great force, and affords as it were a defence to the general cause of religion, similar to what the ocean does to the Island in which we live. Besides which, the Church not only exhibits a magnificent example of religious doctrine, but furnishes a model of clerical manners and learning, which in practice-I beg you to observe most particularly—is tacitly admitted to be so eminently characteristic of the service of such a cause, that no sectarian has any chance of success, unless more or less he acquire the knowledge and adopt the habits of this great pattern. I can say with perfect truth, that after having seen a good deal of the world, I do not believe there is any other instance of so large a body of men, amongst whom there will be found such exemplary purity of manners and of conduct in all respects, as in that of our clergy. Exceptions will and must occur, as long as our nature is imperfect. But whether the character which I have ascribed to the clergy in general be caused by the nature of their duties, or spring from their interests, or be created and continued by long habit, such is the fact. Upon the whole, there is perhaps no greater blessing which England enjoys, than that of having so many men, whose conduct and attainments are undoubtedly far above the average, established as permanent residents all over the country.”
*“ Yes,” said he, “this looks very fine ; but again I ask, what do the sectarians themselves say?".
"" I do not know," I replied “what they say ; but I believe I may venture to assert, that every sensible man amongst them knows right VOL. II.-N.S.
well, that if the Established Church were gone, they must go too. Any political tempest that should shake the Establishment, might, in the first instance, tear the sectarians to pieces. The sectarians, therefore, of every denomination, are very wise to accept, and are happy to enjoy, her noble shelter in the meantime. They have also, I am well convinced, much pride and pleasure in the companionship; for there must be at heart the deepest sympathy between them. They are rooted in one common earth, and although their altitude may, to appearance, be somewhat different, they all lift their heads to one common sky."' Vol. III. 398-402.
After a little more mystification of a similar description, the worthy Captain thus expounds the advantage of an alliance between the Church and the State.
• “It appears to me quite essential to the public good, that the government should be carried on upon those principles, and upon those only, which it is the sacred duty of the Church to enforce. If this be not granted, or if it be maintained, that any other maxims than those which spring from that source, can be permanently available in States, any more than in the case of individuals, my argument is at an end.
«“While the Church, however, is firm as any rock to these vital principles, nothing, as we all know, can be more unstable than the will of kings, ministers, and people ; and, therefore, it becomes essentially necessary to good government, that the Church—which is the only fixed body in the whole country—should be made at all times to possess a hearty interest in lending its aid, to steady its more powerful, but less consistent companions.
«« To borrow one more illustration from the sea, I should say, that the Established Church may be compared to the rudder, and the country, with its multifarious arrangements of society, to the ship. Nothing on board,—below, or aloft,--tall masts, spreading sails, angry cannon, the ungovernable elements, or still more contentious crew, can be turned to proper account if the helm be neglected. So it is with the regular, almost unseen instrumentality of the Church in State affairs; and such is the mutual advantage between it and the coun
« « But why place four-fifths of all the patronage in the hands of the Crown?"
« « Because, unless the Church be thus made to have a strong interest in keeping the Executive powerful, which can be effected only by keeping it in the right-she would have no adequate and permanent motive to interfere with effect. On the other hand, the Government knows, that while without this co-operation it cannot long succeed,with the Church cordially on its side, it is all powerful. The Crown, therefore, has a direct interest in maintaining the dignity and importance of the Church, by the judicious administration of its extensive patronage."
- " If all this be sound political doctrine," said the American, “why not put the whole power at once into the hands of the Church, as it used to be in the golden days of Roman Catholicism ?”
" " Because,” said I, “ that would be giving two incompatible duties
to be performed by the same hands, the result of which incongruity would be, that neither would be executed well. Clergymen make miserably bad governors of countries, and statesmen might prove fully as bad ministers of religion—at least the attempt to unite the two has always failed. Nevertheless, they do admirably either to co-operate or to check one another, according to circumstances. Religious and civil duties go well enough hand in hand, on equal terms; but if either is placed completely under the command of the other, both are sure to suffer." Vol. III. p. 405-407.
The American Gentleman modestly replied to this profound harangue, by saying: · At all events, you must allow that our * system works very well here, without such an Establishment as ' you speak of.' Our Author was silent',-hesitated, -was afraid to offend, and thus hints an insinuation which it would not have been convenient to render tangible. This proceeding is not very ingenuous, and will, we fear, give not less offence on the other side of the Atlantic, than a more direct charge. It is one thing, to defend and panegyrize our own Institutions ; another thing, to depreciate those of our neighbours. Admitting, for argument's sake, that we in England are best circumstanced with an Established Church, it is quite possible that the Americans may do better without one.
Captain Hall's panegyric upon the Establishment, we shall not attempt to invalidate; but there are a few of his positions, respecting which we cannot maintain the courteous reserve of the American interlocutor. We hope that we shall not be denied all claim to the character of sensible men', when we hesitate to believe, that if the Established Church were gone, * the sectarians must go too', or that they might be torn to pieces by the very first blasts of the political tempest that should but shake the Church. Such a representation receives no countenance certainly from history; and a Scotchman is one of the last
persons from whom the assertion might have been expected to proceed. All this talk about the shelter and protection which the Establishment affords to the sects, is mere cant and twaddle. The fact is this. The Establishment, whether useful to the State or not, whether favourable to the advancement and purity of religion, or not, is closely interwoven with our social system, --so closely that no political tempest could tear it up, that should not at the same time subvert the State. And Dissenters have too large a stake in the welfare of the country, putting aside higher motives, to wish for a political tempest of any kind. The Established Church is a national property, a very large portion of which, though nominally ecclesiastical, is really secular, being in the hands of the laity, and totally alienated from the Church. Yet, from this very spoliation, the Establishinent derives a firmer security, inasmuch as the aristocracy, by being admitted partners in the tithes, are pledged to the support of the whole Estate ecclesiastical. Vexatious and injurious as the tithing system is, from the variable nature of the bargain that has to be struck, and from its being in fact a tax upon improvements, still, the tithe rests upon the same footing as a land-tax, or as the fine upon a copyhold, and is secured by the general laws of property. It is a gross delusion to speak of the Church property as a mere fund for the maintenance of religion. That proportion of it which actually falls to the clergy, is but a small part of the total revenue. Were the remainder, which is in the hands of the aristocracy, to be confiscated, the Church would not be gone', -any more than the constitution was destroyed by the repeal of the income-tax. It will not be easy to persuade the Americans, that they would be a more religious people, if their lands were burdened with great and little tithes. Yet, what else is meant by a Church's being established? Some persons, indeed, will have it, that a test-act is the very essence of an Establishment; that the alliance between Church and State consists wholly in this. Such was pretty nearly the hypothesis of Bishop Warburton. According to this notion, there was no Established Church in these realms prior to the year 1680, and there is one no longer : it is gone, yet, without any political tempest; and the sectaries are safer than ever!
This does not seem, however, to be the opinion of Capt. Basil Hall, who regards the ecclesiastical patronage vested in the Crown, as the most excellent and essential part of the Church Establishment. He considers the Church to be serviceable to the State as ballast',-as the fly-wheel in a great engine',steadying the machinery by its ponderous inertia'; but still, the loaves and fishes are the main thing, and the principal use of the Establishment, it would seem, is its increasing the power and extending the influence of the Crown. We know not what the English clergy will say to this representation; but we cannot admire the Author's discretion in telling it to the Americans. They, who are a kingless nation, will ill appreciate the beauty or benefit of this mutual interference between the Church and the Crown, which converts the religion of Christ into a state engine ; and they will be apt to think that a less costly ballast' may answer their purpose. How can they have, or need, an Established Church, seeing that they have no monarch?
But what can our Author mean by asserting, that the Church is the only fixed body in the whole country'? Is it so, that the throne, the hereditary legislature, the judicial magistracy, are all planetary bodies revolving round the Establishment ? This is building the world upon a tortoise with a vengeance.
There is one consideration more connected with this subject, which ought to have occurred to Captain Basil Hall, but which
very generally overlooked ; namely, that, were an Ecclesiastical Establishment to be adopted by the Americans, it would inevitably and of necessity be-not Episcopal, but Presbyterian or Congregational; first, because the Americans are republicans ; secondly, because the Episcopal clergy in the United States are, to the ministers of the other denominations, in the proportion of only one to twenty; while in talent, learning, and piety, they have by no means the pre-eminence. Would it afford any gratification to the members of the Church of England, to hear that Presbyterianism had been taken into close alliance with the government of the United States? Would they hail such a measure as particularly adapted to advance the interests of religion and social order in that country? We trow not. Nothing short of monarchy and episcopacy would meet their wishes. But the Americans are incorrigible. There is something in their soil which resembles that of Scotland : episcopacy would never take root and thrive in it.
On this and other accounts, Captain Hall thinks, that the less intimacy there subsists between the two countries, the better. Each country, he remarks, loves its own institutions better than those of the other.
• You prefer a democracy; we choose to abide by our monarchy. You love to be chopping and changing; we desire to continue in our present path. Which is the best, time will shew. But, however that may be, it is quite clear, that, as our views and wishes are so diametrically opposed, not merely in name, but in substance, and in all that we respectively consider valuable in life, any closer contact could not possibly tend to advance the objects of either.'
The best plan for preserving our present friendly and useful relations, our Traveller thinks, will be for the Americans to discontinue importing our books and newspapers, and for Englishmen to be sedulously kept in 'blissful ignorance' of the feelings, history, and literature of the Americans. By this mutual embargo, he thinks, they would be saved from much irritation, while we should be guarded against the possibility of democratic infection. Another advantage which he does not mention, is, that the public mind, by receiving its impressions respecting the Ainericans exclusively from the Quarterly Review and other works of authority, would be the more easily excited to active and malignant hostility, in case it should please
our rulers to go to war with the United States. But, as Mr. Cooper remarks, • wilful ignorance is sure to entail its punishment. "It has been the misfortune of England, to remain in ignorance of America and of American character, from the day when the pilgrims • first touched the rock of Plymouth to the present hour.' That mutual ignorance which Captain Basil Hall thinks it so desirable