« ZurückWeiter »
for the want of due vigilance. Experience has already taught them, that in the discharge of an important duty, tabor ipse voluptas, and this encouragement cheers them in their endeavours to rise yet higher in the public favour, by seeking on every hand, and totally unmindful of any sacrifice, new sources of literary entertainment, and subjects of graphic illustration.
Incessantly as the press brings forth fresh supplies for the gratification of ihat insatiable thirst for informa. tion which distinguishes this age, beyond all precedent, it is no easy task to keep an equal pace with public curiosity; and it is still less so to select from the multi farious topics which possess claims to particular discussion, articles of extraordinary interest, without excluding others that have also paramount pretensions. Hence it unavoidably happens, that though these monthly vehicles of literature have been enlarged from time to time, according to the increasing spirit of enquiry, they are even now confined within an area too limited to allow room for all the communications of merit that press for admittance.
This the Proprietors and Conductors have thought it necessary to observe, as an apology to their numerous friends for the omssion of many articles of correspondence, which are now lying under consideration, or have been kept back to make way for matters of a momentary nature. Unpleasant as it is to be in arrears, it is an inconvenience that cannot be remedied under the contracted circum. stances within which the Original Department of a Magazine is necessarily bounded.
London, January 1, 1819.
OX BISHOP WATSON'S MEMOIRS. insurgents in the House of Lords, where
the intemperance of his speeches asto-
[Aug. 1, change in the administration, still it will The regius professor of divinity at be impossible for the most subtle casuist Cambridge was eaten up with inordinate in the school of sophistry to justify his ambition, and he had sagacity enough to abuse of the pulpit to party purposes. know that administrations are not imHis sermons, recommended as they were mortal. We have his own confession on by an eloquent delivery, could not fail to the subject of his expectations, and they make a strong impression upon the began to be gratified when Lord Shelhearers, who were of no ordinary class, burne whom he had courted, and the and whose future usefulness in society Duke of Rutland whom he had instructdepended, in a considerable degree, upon ed, apprized him of his nomination to the principles imbibed at the university. the see of Landaff. The observation has been so often made There have been prelates in former as to have become almost too trite for days, and there are some in our own, repetition, that the clergy as such have whose ideas of the cpiscopal character nothing to do with politics; that their have led them to regard consecration as province is to cultivate the Christian vir- something more than a mere civil ceretues in themselves and the congregations mony, and the dignity conveyed by it as committed to their charge. But if this be imposing obligations of the most serious true as applied to the parochial priest- nature. Thus Fisher, Bishop of Rohood at large, it is more especially obliga- chester, refused to leave that poor diotory upon those who are intrusted with cese for a richer, saying," he would not the important office of preparing students leave his old wife.”
The exemplary for holy orders. It would be strange Dr. Bedell, bishop of Kilmore, in Ireindeed, to expect that conduct in a young land, acted in the same spirit: and clergyman when he enters upon the there is a living ornament of the bench world, which he was not taught by the who has more than once declined a transprelections and example of his instruc- lation, though his see is both laborious tors at college.
and one of the meanest in point of reveI have remarked, however, that they nue. Not so Bishop Watson, who had who are disposed to condemn the clergy scarcely gained this elevated station, with for meddling with politics, always take the professorship and archdeaconry ancare to make a special reserve in favour nexed, before he began to look around of their reverend friends and partizans, him to secure the means of another adeven though they may be as violent in vancement. The prospect indeed was their zeal as the errant saints of old, who flattering enough, for he was now in the Proved their doctrine orthodox
vigour of life, being little more than forty, By apostolic blows and knocks ;
while many of his brethren were verging Called fire and sword and desolation fast to the grave. But he stumbled by A godly, thorough reformation.
his officiousness, and the eagerness with
which he pursued his object, threw him If a conscientious divine in turbulent at a greater distance from it. His amtimes exhorts his hearers to be quiet and bition was to play the statesman, and to mind their own business, to shun the com- make the world believe that whatever pany of seditious men, and to manifest
might be his talents as a philosopher and their christian character by a peaceable theologian, these were in reality trivial demeanour, the chance is, that he will be when compared to his transcendent abibranded as a sycophant paying servile lities and skill in politics. But here the court to government, and the mercenary bishop forgot that the merit lie assumed advocate of passive obedience. On the
was the very pretension most likely to other hand, when a restless demagogue give offence, even to those who might be takes advantage of his publicsituation and inclined to further his views. Ministers influence to foment popular discontent, may promote churchmen from political he is cried up as the patriotic defender of considerations, and as a reward for past the principles of liberty, and a champion services, but they will never employ in the cause of the people. The poli- them as counsellors in matters of governtical activity of a divine of this descrip- ment if they have any regard to their tion is, in the estimation of his party, own security. The time when the cabithe noble energy of an independent nets of princes were directed by ecclemind; while the gentle, pacific conduct siastics has long since passed away; and of his neighbour is treated with worse it is no proof of the Bishop of Landaff's than contempt, and ascribed to the basest judgment that he wished for its revival, of motives. Thus b'ind is party preju
even though in his own opinion he was the dice, and credulous in every thing that first man in the world to guide the affairs tends to self-deception.
of a great nation. Upon every suc
On Bishop Watson's Memoirs. cessive administration, however he en- that if the bill had passed in time for deavoured to produce this conviction, the appointment, this would have been and when he found that all his efforts one of the first acts of the regency.were fruitless, he marked all ministers Unfortunately, however, for the right in his black book and private conver- reverend advocate his sharp-sighted posation, as the enemies both of him licy failed him in this instance, conand the country. Yet he still con- firming the remark of the wise man, tinued to court every one in turn, and that " Upright walking is the only sure whenever there was any indication of walking." The king unexpectedly rea change on the bench suited to his covered, and one of the first things perpurpose, he never failed to be upon the formed by him in the discharge of his alert in order to insure the appointment. royal function was the nomination of Thus on the decline of the venerable Dr. Samuel Halifax to the see of St. Lowth, he sent his six volumes of theo- Asaph, for which that learned and truly logical tracts into the world with a most respectable prelate has had the honour flattering dedication to her majesty, of having his memory blackened in this moved thereto, as he says, by his respect posthumous piece of biography: for her domestic character. Now the It might reasonably have been imacompilation, whatever may be its utility gined after such a turn to his time-servto students in divinity, is of a descrip- ing maneuvres, that the bishop would tion little suited for the library of a have gone to digest his mortification at queen, and consequently it could not have the feet of the Welsh mountains, or by been inscribed to this august personage in the lakes of Westmoreland. But his simple admiration of her private virtues. spirit though chagrined by disappointThe see of London, howerer, was in ment was not to be shamed into quiesthe bishop's eye, and he took this me
He still continued, as occasions thod to gain it, but his aim was frus- offered, to ply the minister with solicitatrated by the personal merits of Dr. tions, urging among other reasons for Porteus, and his particular interest with a compliance with his wishes, the adthe queen, for which both that amiable vantages that government would derive prelate and her majesty have had the from his services in a wider sphere of achonour of a place in the Episcopal Dun- tion, and from the relinquishinent of his ciad. Mr. Pitt also came in for a pretty professorship. Mr. Pitt, however, pretty large share of the bishop's resentment, well knew his man, and if he did not, though his lordship did not directly break the king did, who to say the truth never with that minister till the affair of the liked the principles of the bishop, whatRegency; nor would he then, had it not ever opinion he might entertain of his been for the death of Dr. Shipley, by abilities. On the death of the chanwhich event an opening offered itself cellor's brother, a mighty stir ensued for a removal from Landaff to St. among the bishops, and his lordship of. Asaph. Not content however with gir- Landaff was no less active than the rest. ing a silent vote in favour of the abstract But though he made a bold push to gain right of the Prince of Wales to take either Salisbury or Carlisle, in the upon him the exercise of the regal event of not being able to succeed with functions, the bishop made a long speech Durham, the king was inflexible, for in support of that claim, and, be it re the affair of the regency was fresh in membered, that he was the only one of remembrance. About this time it was his order that came forward promi- that the bishop delivered that extraornently on such a delicate business. With dinary charge at his visitation, in which the same promptitude and decency he be- he attempted to justify the French recame a member of the prince's cabinet, volution in regard to ecclesiastical spoand the adviser of his royal highness on liation ; aud having thus apologized for that occasion. Nay more, we have his sacrilege, he made an open avowal of own word for the strange fact, that un Erastianism, by dividing the whole state mindful of his character as a divine, and of the christian church into sects, and makhis duty as a subject, he intermeddled ing them equal to each other, whether in the unfortunate difference that arose “ Athanasians or Socinians, Lutherans between the prince and his mother on or Calvinists.” According to this reprethe subject of the regency. But in truth, sentation of Christianity, the idea of a at this period there seemed so little church vanishes into empty air, and the chance of the recovery of his majesty, notion of it as a society founded on the that the bishop calculated upon his suc- apostolical commission, and perpetuated ceeding to the vacant see, as quite cer- according to the promise of the founder is tajn; and indeed there can be no doubt a mere chimerical illusion. After having
on Bishop IVatson's Memoirs.
vacated in this manner one of the princi- is to be sought in the state of his mind pal articles of the christian faith, it was under the disappointment which he had not much to be wondered that a defence experienced in not being included in the of the Protestant dissenters should fol- episcopal changes that had recently low, with a broad insinuation against taken place. He might now have seen the establishment as an intolerant sys- that all hopes of a translation during tem that stood in need of farther refor- the present reign were at an end; but the ination. Such was the instruction which bishop was a straight-forward man, and the Bishop of Landaff gave to his Welsh repeated rebuff's only served to quicken clergy, at a time when revolutionary his desires. It was not, however, till the principles were spreading in every di- administration of Mr. Addington (now rection, when missionaries were prowl- Lord Sidmouth) that he could be said to ing about to disseminate them, and when have any chance of success, and he endeathe example of France was held up as voured to insure it by practising all the deserving of imitation in every respect. arts of the most adroit courtier. The Some of the more intelligent of the effect of this was, that though he probishop's auditors, and one in particular, cured preferment for others, as the rea beneficed clergyman of the first re- muneration of literary services, a remora spectability in talent and fortune, took was indelibly fixed to the keel of his notes of the charge as it was delivered. own ambition, which no change of cirCopies of these notes were quickly in cir- cumstances or conduct could remove.culation, though only within the sphere He saw Gloucester, Bangor, Exeter and of those who were most affected, and St. Asaph pass in review before him at length one found its way to the late without his being able to fasten upon the primate Moore. All this did not pass lowest of those dignities. without the knowledge of the bishop,who At length the Talents, as they were notwithstanding suffered seven months to nick-named, came into power on the deelapse before he published the discourse mise of Mr. Pitt, and the horizon once which had produced so much sensation, more appeared to brighten up in favour both in and out of his diocese. How far of the bishop, who made another effort the printed address corresponded with to clear all obstacles that lay against him that delivered cannot be well ascertain in a certain high quarter by printing ed, but at the time of the publication, a what he called “ A Second Defence of clergyman of the first character, who revealed Religion," in two sermons had been a fellow collegian of the bishop, preached at the Chapel Royal. The and then resided in that neighbour- dexterity of his lordship in timing his hood as the master of a grammar-school, several publications to the furtherance assured the writer of this, that the `of his views would furnish a curious subcharge was most confoundedly garbled. ject of discussion, but that I shall leave to Let this be as it may, even as the thing the future biographer of this singular stands, such a pastoral address was cal character. It is sufficient here to obculated to encourage rather than re- sorve, that when he sent these dispress the spirit of innovation. I have courses to the press his friends were at indeed heard it observed, as a justifica- the head of affairs, and that men equally tion of the bishop's conduct in this obnoxious with himself had managed to instance, that he generously stood for- get into the highest offices of the state. ward to shield the dissenters from Notwithstanding all this, and the pre popular fury; and as a proof of his sentation of his book to the king, the good intention, reference has been made fatal star of the bishop's fortune conto the riots at Birmingham. But the tinued to shed its baleful influence, and truth is, the riots at Birmingham did he remained stationary at Landaff, not break out till five weeks after the where I shall leave him for the present, delivery of this charge, so that unless intending in another letter to examine the bishop had been a prophet he never his conduct as a diocesan, and his princould have had those outrageous pro- ciples as a divine ; from whence posteceedings in contemplation. It deserves rity may see what were the real causes remark also, that those riots were not of all his wailings and reproaches. levelled against the protestant dis- June 9, 1818. J. WATKINS. senters as such, but Dr. Priestley and his adherents, who by their inflammatory conduct and writings were the MR. EDITOR, cause of all the mischief that followed ; A Correspondent in your number but in truth the peculiar colouring of for June, who signs B. S. L. requests ot this extraordinary charge of his lordship be informed something respecting the
ON DULWICH COLLEGE.