Prynne and the Sacrament of Penance--Complaint to the Bishop-- Serious allegations against Prynne--Prynne's statement to the Bishop--Legal action recommended--Disastrous result of an earlier action for libel--The Bishop's enquiry at Plymouth (1852)--Letter from J. D. Chambers--Dr. Pusey on the enquiry-- Complete exoneration of Prynne.
EVEN after this lapse of time, and when all the principal agitators have passed away, it is difficult to speak with restraint of the manifestly deliberate attempt on the part of certain of his clerical brethren to ruin the character and wreck the spiritual work of a devoted and self-denying priest, whose cause of offence was the practice of hearing confessions. It was no new practice on Prynne's part, for his diary witnesses that he was in the habit of hearing confessions during his curacy at Clifton. But the matter attracted the greater notice at Plymouth, in consequence of allegations that had been made with regard to the compulsion exercised on the orphans of Miss Sellon's home to avail themselves of this privilege. Prynne, too, had been particularly attacked on account of certain penances which he was accused of having inflicted upon one of the Sisters, and which Dr. Pusey took the entire responsibility of having recommended, as we gather from private correspondence that passed between them on the subject, and to which it is unnecessary to refer further.
In the summer of 1852 the wrath of the local Protestants was violently excited by the announcement that the Bishop intended to hold a Confirmation at St. Peter's in the succeeding autumn. Strenuous efforts were made to induce him to alter his determination. The walls of the town were placarded with large bills, calling upon parents to refrain from taking their children to the Confirmation, and on August 7, 1852, the Rev. J. Hatchard, Vicar of St. Andrew's, Plymouth, addressed the Bishop as follows:--
"Whilst extremely unwilling to trespass upon your time, I feel it a duty to inform your Lordship tttat the feeling excited by your decision of holding the Confirmation at St. Peter's Church is of the most painful character and pervading all classes of society.
"Should you persevere in that intention, I am assured that not only will the numbers presented for Confirmation be far below the usual attendance, but the service itself be greatly lowered in the estimation of the inhabitants of the Three Towns.
"The notice given has called forth the loudest expressions of disapprobation; the mass of the people regarding it in the light of the Bishop of the diocese doing his utmost to uphold the system carried out in that church, and as evincing a resolution to give offence to the Protestant feeling of the neighbourhood.
"Trusting that your Lordship will see fit to recall the notice, etc., etc.,
In reply to this the Bishop inquired what "the system carried out in that Church" might be to which Mr. Hatchard objected, at the same time observing that he personally knew of no reason why St. Peter's, which he had selected on grounds of convenience owing to its central position in the Three Towns, should not be the scene of the intended Confirmation. A long correspondence ensued between the Bishop on the one part and Prynne and his traducers on the other. The charges at first were vague and general. In reply to the Bishop's urgent inquiry, Mr. Hatchard formulated them as follows:--
"1st. The Confessional is within the Church.
"2nd. The Confession is carried on secretly, not as in Roman Catholic churches, openly, where the parties may be seen by the passers-by.
"3rd. That (at least in the case of the girls belonging to the Orphans' Home) it is periodically and compulsorily carried on.
"4th. That this compulsion and periodical system is enforced upon very young children."
There were, however, other more specific charges in the background, dealing with statements obtained from certain girls of the Orphans' Home, to which reference is made in the following letter from Prynne to the Bishop, in which his part of the case is set forth. It is dated August 12, 1852:--
"I feel it right to transmit to your Lordship a correspondence which has taken place between Mr. Hatchard and myself, in order to show your Lordship the unscrupulous means which are being used to oppose your Lordship's authority and to injure me. The circumstance of your Lordship having fixed on St. Peter's Church for holding the Confirmation this year appears to have kindled into fresh activity that bitter party spirit which has for so long a time actuated Mr. Hatchard and those who act with him. At a committee meeting of the Plymouth Orphan Asylum held yesterday, a resolution was proposed by some one, and seconded by Mr. Hadow, that none of the children should be taken to St. Peter's Church for Confirmation. This resolution was supported by Mr. Hatchard, Mr. Greaves, and Mr. Poslethwaite, as well as Mr. Hadow, and carried by a majority of six. In order to have some more definite pretext to justify such a course, they have, in addition to the vague scandals which they had before diligently circulated, now suborned a young girl out of the Sisters' school--the same girl whom they used on a former occasion, previous to the Inquiry at Devonport in 1848--and have induced her by some means or other to make a statement which conveys a most false impression of my system. The accusation which Mr. Hatchard and his party are circulating against me, and on which they are trying to excite popular violence, is that I have suggested evil to young persons of which they had previously been ignorant. This charge, could it be substantiated, would indeed show me guilty of grave indiscretion, but knowing what my practice has been, I say it is most untrue.
"With regard to the girl's statement I cannot, of course, without violating the secrecy of the confessional, say more than that it is calculated to produce a grossly false impression, but with regard to the subject of putting questions to those who come for confession, I beg to say that I never ask questions except where it seems to be necessary to do so in order to assist the person to make a full and perfect confession. Those who are in the habit of receiving confessions know that persons often have deep and painful sins to confess which they have a difficulty or a delicacy in expressing, and if the confessor were not to help such persons by kind and judicious questions they would be greatly disappointed, and would go away only half relieved, and we could not in that case honestly grant them absolution 'from all their sins.'
"There is another reason why questions are sometimes necessary. A confessor will often see that persons have no idea how often and how gravely they have offended till he has brought it home to them by searching questions. On these grounds I conceive that to receive confessions without asking questions would in the majority of cases be a miserable mockery, producing nothing but disappointment or deception in the mind of the penitent. But in receiving confessions I beg to assure your Lordship that I have ever acted on what must always be considered a fundamental rule, viz. to use great care not to suggest evil by injudicious questions. In a matter, however, which depends so much on individual judgment and discretion, and for which the clergy of the Church of England have few advantages either of practice or education, I may possibly have sometimes erred, though I trust I have always used the utmost caution and have had solely in view the good and purification of the soul before me. I do trust that this part of my ministry has been blessed to those who have used it. Indeed, my Lord, when I see before my eyes what the practice of confession has been under God the means of effecting; when I see some, who but p. short time since were living in open and notorious sin, now evidently striving to lead a godly and Christian life--regular in prayer, public and private, and frequent communicants--I cannot but think it little less than a device of Satan to try and raise a popular outcry against it, seeing as he does how many victims it is rescuing from his dominion. I am fully alive to the great responsibility which the exercise of this part of our ministerial duty involves, but after accepting cure of souls, I believe it would be a dereliction of duty in me to refuse any one who thus sought my aid. I do look for wisdom and guidance from above--in personal prayer--to aid me in this arduous office, and I believe we have a special title to trust that it will be conveyed to us through the preventing and abiding grace of Holy Orders.
"It is with much pain that I have felt obliged to speak of Mr. Hatchard and his party as I have, but I see no alternative. Ever since your Lordship was pleased to assign me this sphere of duty, I have experienced from them nothing but the most rancorous and unscrupulous opposition. I established Church schools, and immediately Mr. Hatchard, Mr. Hadow, and the Dissenters started an opposition school in the immediate neighbourhood, wherein it was laid down as one of their laws that the Church Catechism should not be taught. Mr. Hatchard had never established any school in this wretched neighbourhood whilst it was part of his own parish, but only after mine was set on foot. I mention this to show that the present move they have now made is only one of a series of long-continued opposition. That they should carry their feelings so far as to endeavour to thwart your Lordship's purpose of holding a Confirmation at St. Peter's, or any church your Lordship thinks fit to assign, is, indeed, a lamentable proof of the length to which they will go, but I think this sort of opposition will defeat its own object even with many of those who might otherwise agree with them."
The importance of the subject justifies the insertion of this long and characteristic letter--one of very few that have been preserved. At the present day, when the revival of the Sacrament of Penance in the English Communion has become a regular and recognized part of the work in so many parishes, such a defence may seem unnecessary. At that time, however, the document must have been to the Bishop a valuable testimony of the sincerity and earnestness of Prynne's work, and a revelation of his courage and perseverance in the midst of so much misunderstanding and prejudice. To those of us who were privileged to know him in his later years, and to reverence his deep piety and saintliness of character, it seems inconceivable that such odious charges as were made by these ministers of the gospel, and the wretched dupes they suborned to accuse him, could have been believed for a moment. In all the painful correspondence that ensued there is nothing to indicate that Dr. Philpotts ever seriously believed what was reported to him. But with characteristic wisdom he felt it to be his duty to take cognizance of the matter, and, therefore, postponed the Confirmation until October. In the mean time fresh evidence against Prynne had been manufactured, and the Rev. T. C. Childs, incumbent of St. Mary's, Devonport, and the Rev. W. H. Nantes, of St. George's, Stone-house, were added to the list of his accusers. With regard to the charges made by the former the Bishop wrote on August 15th:--
"I enclose a statement sent to me by Rev. T. C. Childs.
"While I fully assent to its being your duty to refuse to disclose what was said to you in confession, I nevertheless do not think that it is your duty to refuse to state that you did not ask special questions, falsely ascribed to you, or anything of the kind.
"I assent to the necessity of questions being put arising out of matters confessed, but I deprecate as most corrupting the practice of proposing questions as to particulars.
"In the enclosed paper it is stated that, according to the rules of the Sisters of Mercy, the young woman desiring to receive the Holy Communion was required previously to confess to you.
"Is this true?
"Again, it is said that she was taken into the church, and, the doors being locked, was conducted by you into the Confessional, a room in the church known by that name.
"Is this true?"
To this Prynne at once replied in the following terms:--
"Your Lordship will ere this have received a letter from me on the subject of the statement sent to your Lordship by the Rev. T. C. Childs.
"From that letter your Lordship will have learnt the utter falsehood of the whole statement, inasmuch as I never received such a person for confession at all. I beg to assure your Lordship that I never put any such questions to any one in my life as are suggested in the statement, or anything like such questions.
"I should deem it as corrupting to do so, as I am sure your Lordship would. I put questions under the circumstances which I have already stated to your Lordship, viz. in order to assist persons to make a complete confession of sins which they have upon their conscience and desire to confess but have a difficulty in doing, or in order sometimes, where they seem ignorant, to bring more fully home to their consciences the degree of their guilt. It is not my custom to question persons as to sins which are unconnected with those they have confessed or which seem to lie upon their consciences. . . .
"I beg distinctly to assure your Lordship that it is not true that any one connected with the Sisters of Mercy is required to confess previous to going to the Holy Communion.
"I have no room in St. Peter's Church known by the name of the Confessional.
"I have spoken to Sister C--about the girl E. H----. I find it was the same I once spoke to about Confirmation and Holy Communion. She was dismissed for bad conduct, and it has since been discovered that she was guilty of stealing several things when she left."
The Bishop was a little doubtful how to deal with the matter. He advised Prynne at first to prosecute the girls for slander; but he soon abandoned this idea, realizing that a conviction was hardly possible at the hands of a Plymouth jury in the then excited and prejudiced state of the public mind. Prynne, moreover, reminded the Bishop that he had already suffered the loss of all his worldly goods in seeking legal redress against a local journalist named Latimer, who had grossly libelled him in the paper he edited and controlled. With this experience fresh in his mind, Prynne was not minded to risk a similar disastrous result.
The action alluded to, and the painful events leading up to it, formed one of the greatest trials of Prynne's life, and may, perhaps, be briefly recorded at this point. The libellous accusations in Latimer's paper were of so outrageous and gross a nature that not only was it felt by the Bishop of Exeter and other clergy that such statements could not be left unchallenged without serious damage to the cause, but Prynne was also pressed by his own and his wife's relations to take legal action to defend himself, and to prevent, if possible, such libels from being spread broadcast.
Although Prynne, with his naturally loving and sensitive nature, felt more keenly than any this vindictive vilification of his character and work, he refrained for a long time on principle from taking legal action. But when he found that his reticence to take action against his libellous accusers was misunderstood even by his own and his wife's family, who felt it to be a point of honour to refute the scandalous things published--and when both clergy and laity advised that action should be taken for the good of the cause, and to prevent their repetition,--Prynne sought the advice of his Bishop, Dr. Pusey, and other tried friends, and it was only upon this unanimous advice that he at last agreed to take action. While Prynne would have welcomed a just and impartial investigation, under the existing condition of things, and in the excited state of public opinion, he felt doubtful as to the wisdom of seeking justice in the ordinary court of law. Eventually, however, and with much reluctance, he sued Latimer on the charge of libel, the action being heard at Exeter.
In describing this early trial many years later, Prynne said:--
"It was a strange scene. The court was crowded; but in that crowd I could only see some half a dozen friendly faces. The large majority seemed to look upon me with dislike and suspicion. The jury, as I afterwards learned, was composed almost entirely of Dissenters. The case did not last long, but my friends seemed satisfied that the evidence had entirely proved the libellous nature of the statements against me, and the judge's summing up confirmed this view. Indeed, when the jury left the room, the judge, much to my astonishment, shook hands with me, and congratulated me on my evidence and the course the action had taken. When, shortly afterwards, the jury returned with a verdict for the defendant, those present seemed too surprised to utter a sound, but in a few seconds the majority commenced to cheer and clap their hands. The judge seemed very indignant, and at once ordered silence."
This, undoubtedly, was one of the greatest trials of Prynne's life. At the time it seemed to mean so much more than, under God's guidance, it really did--not only loss of prestige, loss of friends, and family estrangement, but loss of all worldly possessions. At first the blow seemed to be overwhelming. But, on the other hand, the injustice of the whole proceeding was too apparent, with the result that not only the sincerity of old friends was proved, but many new friends were made. It was here evident, as in every crisis of Prynne's married life, what a comfort and blessing a well-chosen helpmate may be. Never was there a woman who more bravely faced her husband's difficulties and anxieties than Emily Prynne; she willingly shared them without grumbling or complaint.
The costs of the action were heavy, and Prynne being quite unable to meet them, everything of value he had was sold, including the wedding presents of his young wife. Then there was a considerable amount of vindictiveness shown in the seizure of goods and during the sale. Not even the cradle in which her first-born son, Howard, was sleeping, was allowed to remain, and the young mother was temporarily obliged to use an old drawer, that was thought to be useless, as the cradle, until the child could be removed to the rooms prepared by Miss Sellon for the reception of Prynne and his family. The kindness and sympathy shown by friends far and near, was no small consolation at this time of personal sorrow and loss. Amongst the many kind actions, few were appreciated more than the delicate thought of several staunch supporters in buying up some of the articles most valued by Mrs. Prynne, and restoring them to her. The portrait illustrated in this volume is amongst those thus rescued and restored. When the original of this picture was put up for sale, one of Prynne's chief traducers got on the platform and shouted out, "Here is a picture of the culprit. Who'll give five shillings for it?" Major Wright, who was an enthusiastic Churchman and friend, gallantly stepped forward into the crowd and said, "I will, willingly," and at once paid for the picture and brought it back under his arm to Wyndham Square. Such actions as these, and the kindness shown by Miss Sellon and her sister, did much to soothe and comfort Prynne in this trial, and in preventing this personal anxiety and loss from materially affecting his great life's work. At no time of his long life was Prynne's loving, forgiving nature more beautifully seen than in this trial. Never was he heard to utter a harsh word against his bitter opponent, even though the latter continued the attacks in his paper. Many years later, when Mr. Latimer lost one of his sons by accident, Prynne, meeting him in Plymouth streets, went up to him and expressed his deep sympathy with him in his sorrow. This simple act of kindness brought tears to the eyes of the sorrow-stricken father, and from henceforth no bitter things about Prynne appeared in his journal. This is typical of the way in which Prynne's love and gentleness overcame the bitter opposition with which he had to contend.
Resuming again the thread of our narrative, and reverting to the incidents of 1852, the Bishop, who was fully acquainted with all that has just been related, eventually decided to hold an enquiry into the matter himself--as he had previously done in Miss Sellon's case,--and fixed September 22nd for the date. A somewhat similar proceeding had taken place with reference to kindred charges brought against the clergy of St. Saviour's, Leeds, in 1850; but this had ended disastrously for the peace of that much-tried parish, owing to the want of sympathy and tact which the Bishop of Ripon displayed on that occasion. Prynne, fortunately in the safer and wiser hands of Bishop Philpotts, welcomed the enquiry. Pusey was consulted by the Bishop and by Prynne as to the best procedure to be adopted and the statements to be investigated. Prynne also consulted J. D. Chambers, receiving from him valuable advice as to the legality of hearing confessions and the necessity of putting questions to the penitent. The following letter from Chambers to Coleridge, dated September 9th, refers more particularly to this subject:--
"My DEAR COLERIDGE,
"I have seen the letters from the Bishop to Prynne which explain the whole matter of the inquiry. I write this to refer you to Gresley's little book on Confession (second edition) which contains many authorities which are well put, also to a sermon of Sanderson's before Cambridge University, which is usually printed separate. I have it bound up with an old edition of Nelson.
"As the Bishop is so uncertain and crotchety on these subjects, and I feel deeply about this very point, let me put a point or two before you which you very likely have anticipated.
"I. I would contend that confession to man is a general Christian duty as Sanderson urges, confession to the Priest being so only incidentally, simply because he is the best and most proper person to whom to make confession, having the power of absolution.
"2. That the Church of England left that general Christian duty as it was, which is proved by its being recommended and enjoined in certain cases, from which you may infer that it is to be considered right and profitable in others--for if you are enjoined to have your dinner on one special day, you may gather that you may have it on others, although not of necessity.
"3. I understand that it is urged against Prynne that he forced these girls to confess. Now in the 'Visitation of the Sick,' the sick person is to be moved to confess, being then expectant of death. Surely, then, as all Christians ought to watch, and to expect death at every successive moment, moving to confession, if it be right then, must be right at all times in this life.
"4. But what is meant by confession being only voluntary in the Church of England? I apprehend that the true notion is simply this-- that it is not to be considered as a necessary condition precedent to any spiritual privilege or ecclesiastical rite (such as Communion or Confirmation), but that its obligation as a Christian duty still remains, and the clergy are bound to move persons to confession in all cases, although they may not deny spiritual privileges to any person on account only of a refusal to confess.
"5. I am told one or more of these girls was an abandoned character. If so, surely Prynne when required by the Superior--for I suppose she could not question them--was bound to institute an examination into their conduct in order to discover whether those bad practices were either in conversation or behaviour repeated or remembered. For otherwise all the orphans might have been contaminated.
"In fact, if I have rightly apprehended the matter, Prynne only did that which he was bound to do in order to uphold the purity of the Institution.
"Yours ever most truly,
"J. D. CHAMBERS."
It was, no doubt, to this letter from the Chancellor of Salisbury that Pusey refers in the following letter to Prynne a few days later. It is one of several long communications which he wrote at this period, for he seems to have given the whole matter considerable attention, and to have been impressed with the general importance of the enquiry:--
"MY DEAR FRIEND,
"I wrote a long letter to the Bishop yesterday, urging that the inquiry should be private (i.e. that there should be no reporters) for the sake of the poor orphans, of public morality, of decency, of the other orphans, who would be supposed to be as bad as them, and of the Sisters themselves, who ought not to be mixed up with such stories. It is the very thing to set parents against Sisterhoods.
"I have this morning read J. D. C.'s last letter which is very strong. It would be well to ask him whether the charge could by any means be brought under the Church Discipline Act? I should have doubted it I should have thought it a case (if it had been as true as it is false) not contemplated. For although you are virtually on your trial, it is on the charge of wrongly administering what is right, not for intentionally doing wrong. It would indeed have been a most grievous error of judgment, still the worst which could even be alleged would be that it is an error of judgment.
"I also urged on the Bishop the necessity of your having some one to cross-examine. I do not know much about this. I should have thought that a clergyman, who understood the subject, could ask questions perhaps as well as a professional person. At the same time, a cross-examination which fails, I suppose, damages a cause very much. I see that the Bishop thinks that a professional adviser would damage your cause. But the question is not about clearing you from statements seemingly true, but to detect a conspiracy, at least to show that the poor girls have been worked upon to speak what is untrue. But this requires legal acuteness as much as any other matter. Perhaps on this you had better consult Mr. ----. I will gladly bear any expenses of the trial on your part. It is all our cause, besides personal regard and love for yourself.
"If this case cannot be brought under the Church Discipline Act, still there is no reason why all forms should not be used just as much as if it were. The whole inquiry is carried on at the will of the Bishop with your concurrence. There is nothing to hinder his carrying it on in one way as much as in the other, except that J. H. says that he cannot administer an oath, which J. D. C. says is not of much moment. Persons who will solemnly lie would probably perjure themselves. So then we have but an added sin. But all evidence must be sifted in the same way, and so you must urge on the Bishop that if the inquiry is instituted at all, it should be instituted with every advantage to elicit truth which the law allows.
"I do not see, if it is an advantage, why you should not forward J. D. C.'s proposal. If J. D. C. is willing to plead before an extra-judicial tribunal, there can be no reason why it should not be permitted. The forms of law are only to secure truth. You and your accusers appeal to the Bishop as an arbiter. It is of importance that the matter should be settled. Your character suffers through these vague accusations. An inquiry is for your protection. There is no legal or ecclesiastical reason against your having the Bishop as an arbiter. But then whatever tends to elicit truth should be used, else the inquiry would be worse than useless. It would only stimulate falsehood. The cross-examination of witnesses by persons practised in it is only resorted to on the ground that falsehood is so best detected. Whatever good the employment of such helps has in other cases it would have in yours. I do not know who would be the best cross-examiner. But I would ask Mr. Ben's advice, telling him of the points to be brought out in any case, which he, as unaccustomed to this subject, would not know. Such questions as those which you showed me would be of great use to him. I trust that I left them behind at Plymouth.
"There is perhaps an inconsistency in direct pleading, like J. D. C, and a private examination; and this has hindered me from writing to the Bishop a supplemental letter which I had begun. But there can be no inconsistency in inquiring in any way which is most likely to elicit truth, and so I think that you should urge upon the Bishop that there should be the best cross-examiner which your case admits of."
The remainder of the letter deals with particulars of the allegations made against Prynne, and the best method of meeting them without violating the seal of confession.
The Bishop's desire, and that of all right-minded persons, was that the enquiry should be conducted in camera; but this, as might be expected, was by no means acceptable to Prynne's traducers, who addressed a strongly worded remonstrance to the Bishop against the"exclusion of the laity."Publicity was the very thing they sought; without it their object would be practically lost. Indeed, Mr. Hatchard and Mr. Childs threatened to withdraw from the case unless the public were admitted and reporters allowed to be present. The Bishop felt compelled to give way on this point, and proposed that six laymen should be chosen on either side--a compromise which the accusers reluctantly accepted, but of which Prynne did not avail himself, feeling to do so would be an admission on his part that he thought the matter of the enquiry a suitable one to be discussed before laymen, to which view he was utterly opposed.
The enquiry, which--if we may judge from the large space allotted to it in the columns of the local press--had excited no little anticipation in Plymouth, was duly held on September 22nd, at the Royal Hotel. The Bishop was attended by his chaplains and the Archdeacon, and there was a large muster of local clergy. Prynne was represented by his curate, the Rev. F. Darling, who conducted the defence in a manner worthy of a professional advocate. This priest, who was Prynne's valued colleague during two trying and memorable years, 1851-53, still lives, residing in retirement near Tunbridge Wells. Defence, as a matter of fact, was unnecessary, for the case of the accusers broke down hopelessly at a very early moment, and the Bishop stopped the inquiry without calling upon Prynne for his reply, which he was prepared to read. Into the details of the evidence it is not necessary after this length of time to go. It is sufficient to say that the charges were of the flimsiest character. They were grounded on the written declarations of three young girls, of whom the first, on her examination before the Bishop, utterly destroyed her own credit; the second was distinctly contradicted upon all material points, not only by the solemn and reiterated assurance of Prynne himself, but by the concurrent testimony of several unimpeachable witnesses; while the third, having first deliberately retracted in the presence of a magistrate all that she had said to Prynne's prejudice, declined to come forward at all. Under these circumstances it is clear that the Bishop adopted the only possible course he could pursue. He had come there to investigate specific charges, and when he found those charges not supported by a single atom of testimony, it was due to justice at least that he should close the enquiry with the verdict that he acquitted Prynne even of indiscretion in the matters alleged against him. The proceedings at the enquiry lasted five hours, and at the conclusion the Bishop summed up in every way favourable to Prynne, concluding with these weighty words: "With my hand upon my heart I exonerate Mr. Prynne from any blame in this matter, and I acquit him even of indiscretion, and I pray God that every clergyman in my diocese may do his duty as well as Mr. Prynne has done his."
After all that had gone before, it was only natural that the result of the Bishop's investigation should be awaited with the greatest anxiety by Mr. Prynne's friends, and by none more so than his devoted partner in life. Mrs. Prynne would often describe how intense her anxiety was during the hours she remained at home alone--how that time was mostly spent in prayer; and when at last her husband arrived, late in the evening, and she then heard how fully her prayers had been answered, she could no longer restrain her pent-up feelings, but could for a time only express her deep thankfulness in tears of joy.
The Bishop, after delivering his decision, announced that the Confirmation service already arranged would take place at St. Peter's Church that day four weeks. Whereupon Mr. Hatchard remarked, that "an immense amount of excitement had existed throughout the kingdom of the most serious character;" to which the Bishop rejoined that this being so only rendered an act of justice to Mr. Prynne the more necessary.