Page images
PDF
EPUB

blockheads ;-—a wolf in sheep's clo. times they have been ready to buckle thing being all very well, but an ape on their armour; their weapons are well in old woman's clothing intolerable, tempered, and they know how to wield and if we must have maundering, let them well, both iu defence and assault. it at least be free from malignity. There are men among them now, not

We have now been alluding, and to be cowed in controversy, like the perhaps at rather unnecessary length, mannikins whom the dread of Mr to certain poor creatures of the press ; Brougham's sarcasm makes mum as so but if their cant be as disgusting many mice when a grimalkin is in the as may be, the cant of clever men room. The silence of the scholar's in another rank and station is much study is not disturbed by the senseless more odious. There, for example, is cry of-hear! hear! hear! at every Mr Henry Brougham, a man of great new blast of bombast and rodomona talents and acquirements. His friends tade, nor by shouts of laughter-imhoist him up on their shoulders a mense laughter-at wit that hasevapoyard and a half towards the skies, as rated in the process of printing, or by the most powerful prose-writer of the humour as dry as the ink. His words age. We shall grant, for the tithe on paper are as the words of a common of a moment, that he is so, and that man-often of a very common man Edmund Burke, as a political author, indeed-his logic is quite chap-fallen is far inferior to Henry Brougham. now - his arguments, when left to He is made to take his stand on the stand on their own legs, are found to political articles in the Edinburgh Re- be of the halt and the lame-and-perview. If none of these be of his com- orations that would have left the position, then he not only is not the learned gentleman on his breech, in greatest prose-writer of the age, but cheers from the whole House, conti. he is no prose-writer at all; for his se- nuing for several minutes, are perused parate pamphlets have not been better in a succession of small, uneasy, unthan those of William Huskisson, who comfortable yawns, subsiding into does not stand, as far as we have heard, sleep. Alas, for the fame the glory at the head of our literature. If many of Oratory - Rhetoric - Eloquence! of the most powerful of them be his What would have been a most magnifia composition, and we shall not attri- cent speech, and able for four-five bute anything weak and washy to his six-or seven hours, pen, then he has shewn himself a most insolent insulter of the Church

" The applause of listening senates to

command," of England, and of many, most of her illustrious living sons. His vituperae as an article in the Edinburgh Review, tion has been foul-mouthed indeed, is sometimes felt to be scarcely worth coarse, and vulgar, and certainly either ten guineas a-sheet. most ignorant or most unprincipled- Although, then, Mr Brougham is a in meaning and in manner disgraceful, dangerous antagonist, especially to or rather impossible in a high-minded those who, from constitutional timi. English gentleman, not more when lie dity or retired habits, are out of all belling his Church than his King. Yet, measure annoyed with being held up on some public occasions-ay, before alternately in mock eulogy and real all England-all the world—has Mr satire, in sudden vicissitudes of hot Brougham, when it suited some tem- and cold, wet and dry weather, blown porary purpose to do so, pronounced from the highest heaven of his inAaming panegyrics on the character of vention,” in presence of a full House ; the self-same Church and the self-same still there seems no necessity for falle sons of that Church, as the impregnable ing down in a fainting or hysterical bulwark, and invincible champions of fit, on the first frown of his formidable religion. Hopes he then her speedy visage. There are several instances overthrow, or her everlasting dura® of his face having been survived ; of tion ? Desires he to see bestial hoofs people having stood unscathed by his kicking down her altars, or her altars, thunder; the electric fluid, attracted for ever sacred, under the shadow of by the ethereal spear in the hand of a angelic wings?

champion of the Truth, having deBut the divines of the Church of scended it, as if it had been a conduct. England have never been faint-hearted ing.rod, and with fear of change per. in the presence of the enemy; at all plexing moles. Dr Phillpotts, for ex

ample, writes away merrily without On his first appearance in the field, a the fear of this Bugaboo before his eyes; run of course was made at him by all and cares no more for“ certainly, the the strength of the party. Thus have First Man in the House,” than he we seen at “ the foot-ball play,” in does for any other woman-born man of Ettrick Forest, one single strong agile terrestrial origin. That the Doctor, shepherd touch the globe with his toe, after several years' warfare with the and after having upset in the heather Briareus and Garagantua of the Blue or on the greensward some half-dozen and Yellow, should positively and bona players who had tried to trip him fide be alive, in good flesh and blood, up, away he goes with the leaping even to this very day, must be ina leather, that, in a succession of airy comprehensible to people imperfectly and rainbow curves, keeps seeking the skilled in the properties of animal poi, sky, till, amidst the acclamations of sons. The truth is, that the bite of thousands seated on the hills, he makes very few serpents is mortal. There it spin beyond the goal. are herbs of sovereign virtue growing His“ Letter to an English Layman in almost every garden, and loving no on the Coronation Oath," is one of his site so well as a crevice in some old most powerful productions. He has cathedral or abbey-wall, where the taken a most comprehensive view of air smells wooingly, a single leaf of the whole subject-one of mighty mowhich, applied to the wound, does with ment indeed at the present juncture gentle lip extract the venom, as Queen and has brought to the discussion great Eleanor did from the wound of her stores of historical knowledge, which Lord the King. Dr Phillpotts, there- never on any one single occasion has fore, though frequently bitten, is still he employed with the view of displayRector of Stanhope, and Dean of ing his learning; for he is as familiar Chester; nor, mark our words, will with all our best constitutional authothe great Boa Constrictor himself bite rities as a Quidnunc with the news. him out of a bishoprick. To speak papers, and has evidently had more plainly, he is in talents Mr Brougham's difficulty in selecting than in collectequal_his temper, though warm--and ing his materials. Along with his a cold temper is an atmosphere in letter, we have read Mr Lane's most which noble thoughts cannot breathe, excellent Treatise on the Coronation nor noble feelings burn-is always Oath. They reflect strong light on under the control of a manly mind and each other; and we shall endeavour to gentlemanly manners, which is more exhibit, frequently in the form of an than can be always truly said of the abstract or abridgement, nor yet scrugentleman on the opposite side of the pling to use their very words where House. He is one of the best scholars that is necessary, some of their most in England, altogether worthy to be important reasonings and statements. named along with Wrangham and Cop- Dr Phillpotts begins with speaking plestone, and Blomfield ; and hence, of the Church of England as an essenhis clear, classical, forceful style, is tial part of the British Constitution. far superior indeed to that of Mr Those who have inquired into the hisBrougham, who, by the by, has kept tory of the British Constitution, will perpetually waxing more and more pe testify to the close connexion of civil dantic ever since the Thesis he read as and religious polity which has ever Rector to the little red-gowned radicals subsisted in it. in the common-hall of Glasgow Cola “ From the very earliest period, the mo. lege, so that now 'tis impossible to read narchy of England has always presented a page of him either in speech or arti- itself, as a government which regards its cle, without being tempted to exclaim, subjects in the full dignity of their real “ The Schoolmaster is abroad !" nature,-as religious creatures as beings,

By his talents, attainments, and whose interests are not limited to this transtation, Dr Phillpotts is entitled to sitory scene, but reach onwards to an infi. speak before the people of England on Accordingly, instead of making religion

nitely higher and more enduring state. all affairs affecting the well-being of the handmaid of civil policy, instead of Church and State. He has often so adopting and endowing it, merely as an spoken, and always with prodigious useful auxiliary to secure the submission effect both on friends and foes. He is of subjects, and give a new sanction to the one of the most eminent men of his authority of rulers, the English Lawgiver day, and one of the most influential. has always regarded religion as having, by right, a paramount place and dignity 80 also, which more immediately bein the great scheme of national polity. longs to his present inquiry, did the Hence it is, that the Gospel is reverently oaths which were taken by them at acknowledged to be part of the common their Coronation. Henry II., Richard law of the land. Hence, too, it is, that as

I., Henry III., all swore to respect and the Gospel supposes all' Christians to be members of the Church of Christ, and that protect the Church and its ministers. Church to be a society under the govern.

But without seeking to ascertain the ment of certain rulers appointed by God

exact expressions in which every one, himself to their high office, the law of in succession, of our early Princes, England, from the first conversion of this swore to the maintenance and protecnation to the faith of Christ, not only has

tion of the Church's rights, Dr Phillalways recognised the State of England, potts gives the fixed and regular form inasmuch as it is a Christian State, to be in which all the Kings of England, also the particular Church of England; from Edward II. to Henry VIII. inbut it has, by consequence, regarded the clusive, pledged their faith to the Governors of the Church as an essential Church and people of England. Whepart of this Christian State. Whatever ther by any and by what actions Henry may have been the practice of other coun. tries, and whatever may have been the lan. VIII.

violated his oath, is not a quesguage of private individuals even here, tion, our author boldly says, in which both the language, and the practice, of our

the honour of the Reformed Church law have been uniform and constant on

of England is at all involved. And this particular."

certainly, no fault is to be found with

the statutes by which he cut off the To endow the Spirituality with tem- usurpations of the Pope. Lord Coke, poral dignities, was no essential part too, bas triumphantly proved, and so of the duty of the Christian legisla- have many others, that Henry's asserture; but in England, from the earliest tion of his right to Ecclesiastical Sutimes, “ the King's most noble proge premacy was most properly and truly nitors, and the antecessors of the no- a resumption of the ancient, legal and bles of the realm, have sufficiently en- recognised right of the English Crown. dowed the said Church both with ho- On the death of Henry VIII. it appours and possessions." The clergy, pears from the council-book, cited by being one of the great states of the Burnet, not only that many of the realm,” have always been called to bear ceremonies of the Coronation were a distinguished part in the great coun- altered, in order to accommodate them cil of the nation. In all the accounts to the change of laws, but also that which remain to us of the Mysel Sy- there was some small amendment of noth, the great assembly, or, as it was the Coronation Oath. In that amendcalled at other times, Wittenagemote, ed form it was taken by Edward VI. the assembly of the wise men of the Mary, having been crowned accord. realm, the Bishops are mentioned ing to the ancient ceremonial, used among its chief members. Ina, King the ancient form of the Coronation of West Saxons 702_Egbert, who Oath, which (with one alteration inunited the Heptarchy into one king troduced into it under James I.) apdom-Canute, on the death of Edmond pears to have been observed at the Ironside-Edward the Confessor-all, coronation of every succeeding sovein convening the Great Council of the reign, James II. included. The preRealm, or on other equal occasions, sent Coronation Oath is in terms prethus recognised the Spirituality; and scribed by 1 William and Mary, c. 6. Dr Phillpotts rightly remarks, that in that form it still continues to be they had thus their seat in the Parlia. taken, and therefore it includes the ment, or Great Council of the Realm, full meaning expressly put upon it by not by reason of the tenure of their the act of Union, 5th Anne, c. 8; and temporal possessions, (for hitherto the sovereign must understand him. their lands were held by them in frank- self, and be understood by others, to almoigne,) but simply and merely as swear that “ he will, to the utmost of spiritual lords. The charters, too, of his power, maintain and preserve, inour early sovereigns are as precise in violably, within the kingdoms of Enga promising protection to the rights of land and Ireland, the Protestant ree ihe Church, as in assuring those of formed religion, established by law, and the temporality; and as their charters the settlement of the Church of Engrecognised the rights of the Church, land; and the doctrine, worship, disVol. XXIV.

B

cipline, and government thereof, as ceive accountable beings to be charged, by law established.”

turned from the glorious work before them It is not possible for us to quote at

to consider—nay, full length the various successive

*Sat in the Council House forms of the Coronation Oath ; but Early and late, debating to and fro' we have said enough to shew the utter absurdity of the notion vulgarly en

a matter beneath the notice of statesmen at tertained of it—and that too by many He affirms that, in that awful hour, upon

any time-the composition of an idle form! erudite persons--that it is a form, the due employment of which rested the composed in some remote age, used in immediate safety of the State, and its secompliance with ancient custom, and curity in after-times against the dangers designed, in conjunction with various from which it had just been rescued other ceremonies and observances, they who repeatedly declared that their merely to heighten the solemnity of a whole thoughts were bent, and their whole coronation. Here Mr Lane is excele proceedings designed to secure the Reli. lent.

gion and Liberties of their country_s0

belied their professions, so trifled with “ As a formal investiture of the Crown their sacred charge, as for the first time is not necessary to establish the title of the to employ the Legislative Power in the successor to it, no political importance it establishment of what is of no political is imagined can attach to any part of a importance-an oath which means no more ceremony which may be altogether dis- than the oaths in use before it was esta. pensed with. The Oath may indeed throw blished, and above all, which has nothing a religious character around the moral ob- to do with the consideration of matters, ligation to govern rightly, incidental to that the lawgivers who framed it declared the taking of the kingly office ; but the to be to them objects of the greatest soliciterms of it are thought to be no more wor- tude ! Can any rational person think it thy of notice in the discussion of any con- probable that this is a correct view of the stitutional question, than any of the par. matter? It must surely bear upon its face ticulars of the

demonstrative evidence of its falsity and • Pomp and feast

absurdity to every mind, which long-inand antique pageantry'

dulged prejudice, and the misrepresentaof the splendid ceremonial of which it tions of faction, have not rendered • • proof

and bulwark against sense !'” “ We see how little in matters that most

Mr Lane's object, in his Treatise, vitally concern them, men in general ex. amine either the grounds or the conse

is to suggest a mode of interpreting quences of their opinions. We need not

the Coronation Oath, which seems to therefore be surprised at the existence of a be the only one consistent with the notion, which testifies much ignorance to principles laid down for the investibe prevalent, of what it becomes every man gation of truth in similar cases ; and living under the British Constitution to to demonstrate by reference to indisknow. The Roman Catholic question in- putable authorities, (many of them volves unhappily many points, which more the same, of course, as those referred strongly force themselves upon the atten.

to by Dr Phillpotts, who speaks with tion, and affect the passions of men; which high praise of Mr Lane's Treatise, more effectually touch the springs of hu. although he had not seen it till after man conduct than this. Hence it has not been sufficiently considered under what

the printing of great part of his own circumstances the present Coronation Oath Letter,) the nature and extent of the originated ; by whom it was framed; by obligation which it imposes upon the what authority it was instituted; how sovereign. This object he effects, by deeply connected is its history with that establishing the following positions: of the liberties of England; with events First, That the intention of the Lethe most interesting to us; the most re- gislature, in establishing the Coronamarkable that the page of history pre- tion Oath at the Revolution, is the sents! “ He that thus treats the Coronation the nature and extent of that obliga

criterion by which we are to judge of Oath, does in effect affirm that the legislation. Secondly, That it appears, from tive proceedings of the Revolution exhibit the public declarations of the several countable folly. He affirms, that they branches of the Legislature at that whose duty it was to fix upon its base the time, that one principal object they tottering Constitution of England they to had in view in all their proceedings, whom devolved the care of interests the was to secure the country in future most important with which we can con- from the danger of having the Esta

forms a part.

blished Religion undermined or over- tions of the time, or of the leading turned by Roman Catholic influence. individuals engaged in the Revolution, Thirdly, That the Legislature, by its we find that upon this fundamental acts and proceedings in carrying that principle all parties (except, of course, object into effect, extended and perma- the adherents of James) were united. nently established the principle, that What are the words of the famous it is necessary, to the preservation of “ association,” signed at first at Exeter the Constitution in Church and State, by so many of the nobility and gentry, that the government of this country on the landing of the Prince of Orange, be in the hands of Protestants exclue and afterwards by almost all persons sively; and, fourthly, That the Co- of note? That they would " never ronation Oath was at the same time depart from it, until their religion, remodelled and established by law, their laws, and their liberties, were so principally as a means of binding the far secured to them in a free Parliasovereign to maintain, in the exercise ment, that they should be in no danof all his political functions, the same ger of falling again under Popery or principle of government.

Slavery." They therefore addressed We shall not attempt to follow this the Prince of Orange, urging the prolearned and judicious writer through priety of calling together a Free Par. all his reasonings and statements, but liament" as the best means tending ask at once, with him, what were the to such an establishment, or that their intentions of the Legislature in esta religion, laws, and liberties, might not blishing the Coronation Oath? Why, be in danger of being again subverted.” was not security against Popery the In accordance with these views, many especial object of the Revolution ? It of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, is observed by Dr Phillpotts, that one and the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the favourite paradoxes of this of London, having met in conference, liberal age has been, that the miscon- stated, in their first declaration, “that duct of James, which led to the Ree they would assist in obtaining such a volution, was caused merely by his Parliament, wherein their laws and impatience of all restraint on the royal liberties, and properties, might be seprerogative, not properly his religion; cured, and the Church of England in that his religion was no more than an particular, with a due liberty to Proinstrument employed by him in aid testant Dissenters; and, in general, of his designs against the civil liber- that the Protestant religion and inte ties of his subjects not the dominant rest over the whole world might be principle-which made it at once his supported and encouraged ;" and this duty and his glory to trample on all was followed by an address to the their liberties, both civil and religious. same effect from the city of London. But the illustrious actors in that great And what was the first measure of the emergence, uniformly in all their pro- Convention Parliament, after having ceedings, testified their dread and ab- resolved that James had violated his horrence of the religion of James. It contract with his people, and had abwas Popery, no less than Slavery, that dicated the throne? The memorable was the object of their jealous and Declaration of Rights, of which the vigilant

hostility. In all the records whole preamble expresses the convicof the Revolution, this sentiment is tion of the framers of it, that there is expressed over and over again, with an inseparable connexion between the unceasing earnestness and anxiety, national or Protestant religion, and that there is an intimate union bea national liberty. “Whereas the late tween the Protestant religion and the King James the Second, by the assiste civil freedom of this country, and that ance of divers evil councillors, judges, upon this union hang the vital in- and ministers, employed by him, did terests of the State. We know, says endeavour to subvert and extirpate Mr Lane, that all men of the slightest the Protestant religion, and the laws political consideration, of different and liberties of this kingdom," and parties in politics and religion, joined more to the same effect. From a comin the transactions of the Revolution. parison, then, of this preamble with the But whether we refer to the acts of history of the reign of this base and the Legislature at large, or of the bigoted Prince, it will be found that different branches of it, -to the public all the illegal proceedings mentioned declarations of the political associa- in it, had immediate relation to his

« PreviousContinue »