Project Canterbury

George Rundle Prynne
An Early Chapter in the History of the Catholic Revival
by A. Clifton Kelway

London: Longmans, Green and Co, 1905. 248 pp.


The vindication of Confession--Opinion of the local press--Dr. Philpotts on Confession--Prynne's statement of his position-- Congratulatory letters from Dr. Pusey, Dr. Neale, J. D. Chambers, and Rev. C. Gutch--Renewed agitation and further charges against Prynne--Confirmation and riot at St. Peter's--Newspaper comments--Result of the persecution--The Bishop's attitude.

THE result of the enquiry was not without good effect on the minds of the more reasonable. The Western Luminary, for example, a journal by no means in sympathy with Prynne's views, commented thus:--
"We know something of the secret history of this case--of the inducements which were held out, and the threats which were employed, to bring about, in the case of one of these poor girls, her removal from the Orphans' Home--of the circumstances under which Miss Sellon was induced to take her back, and of the privations and contaminating influences to which she was left exposed by those who professed to be so anxious for the purity of her faith and the salvation of her soul. But we forbear to go into particulars; we are content, for our part, that the matter should rest where it is; and will only, in conclusion, express our earnest hope that gentlemen and clergymen will be induced by what has transpired in the course of this inquiry, to be cautious how they lend a willing ear to slanderous attacks upon the character of a brother clergyman, taking the slanderers under their protection, and giving them the shelter of their roof."

The West of England Conservative, in a leader on the subject, put the matter even more forcibly:--

"It is seldom that a man's character comes out of an investigation so entirely, so palpably, and so unmistakably cleared from all blame, as did that of Mr. Prynne at the late inquiry. How seldom could the motives and actions of even the purest and most honourable, if subjected to a rigid examination, bear the motto which the Bishop so justly and so solemnly inscribed on Mr. Prynne's conduct, with respect to the charges brought against him, 'I acquit him even of indiscretion.' If we would only dispassionately review our own lives, could we fail to acknowledge that they contain many passages which, however innocent in themselves, would yet scarcely bear unscathed the harsh and criticising scrutiny of a censorious and uncharitable world? If an artful foe, with the cunning of malice, frames some simple and plausible falsehood, and obstinately persists in asserting it, how difficult it is to prove the negative. In the case of Mr. Prynne, fortunately the subject-matter of the charges was of so peculiar a nature that it was not impossible by means of a skilful examination to prove their absurdity and inconsistency--and yet this proof was only at the moment available to those whose knowledge of the subject enabled them to detect and appreciate the inconsistencies which were exposed. The witness E. H. did indeed answer most glibly and readily, but unfortunately for her cause, she, no less than those who admired her promptitude, was unaware that the questions put to her were a skilfully arranged series of traps and pitfalls. It must have been edifying to his Lordship, and those acquainted with the subject of confession, to observe the unconscious alacrity with which she walked blindfold into each unsuspected snare. The questions put to her were devised so as to lead her to expose her total ignorance of the mode in which confession is conducted, and thus to prove that she, in fact, had never been to confession. Could any rational person suppose that Mr. Prynne receives confessions, and of such a nature, from persons who are all the while sitting? Did not his own letter to Sir C. Eardley say that confessions were made kneeling? Does any one believe that he really receives confessions with his academical cap on (in the course of cross-examination the girl had stated that Mr. Prynne had on 'a square cap' when he gave her absolution!), or that he pronounces absolution kneeling, with his back to the penitent, and that the form of absolution commences with the words, 'Reverend Father in God,' and amounts to a prayer for the 'health and success' of the person to whom it is granted? Is it reasonable to suppose that after the woman had warned him she considered his questions improper, he should have continued to ask questions tenfold worse? Is it possible that a clergyman would proceed to give absolution to a person who had just told him she did not think confession to a priest of any use, and that she did not believe he had any power of forgiveness--not to mention that in this latter particular her verbal and written statements were diametrically opposed to one another? It must be needless, after all this, to point out that had the girl ever been to confession she could not have made such ridiculous blunders. If further assurance were needed, it was furnished in the complete denial of her statement so solemnly called for by the Bishop, and so solemnly made by Mr. Prynne. . . .
"In reviewing the inquiry itself, we cannot but think that most persons present must have been struck with the impartiality of the Bishop; indeed, to ourselves it appeared that this impartiality was strained so as to render his Lordship hardly fair to Mr. Prynne and his clerical advisers. We may mention, as an instance, that his Lordship had strongly advised Mr. Prynne not to employ the assistance of a lawyer. In deference to this advice, Mr. Prynne, as we are positively assured, had not even consulted, much less introduced to the inquiry, any legal adviser. It was not to be wondered, therefore, that Mr. Prynne's clerical counsel should have remonstrated when they saw that the whole of the proceedings of the other party were prompted by a professional lawyer, and yet the Bishop paid no attention to this remonstrance. We are informed that the Rev. F. Darling, who conducted the defence, had behind a large body of evidence which was calculated to bring the matter out in a yet more distinct and vivid light, but that he was deterred from producing it on account of the discouraging manner of the Bishop. For the sake of public opinion he would have wished to go on; but, no doubt, when he saw that the Bishop was entirely satisfied by what had been elicited, he felt it his duty not to press the matter further."
Prynne had, as we have stated, prepared an elaborate written defence, in the compilation of which he had been guided by Pusey, and this he had intended reading at the enquiry. The document, which was afterwards published in the papers, dealt at length with the whole subject of confession, which had been only indirectly touched upon during the course of the enquiry, the Bishop contenting himself with a disproof of the allegations made concerning Prynne's manner of hearing confessions. The legality or advisability of the practice--as to which the Bishop's views were undecided and peculiar--was not discussed at the enquiry, but some correspondence which took place upon the publication of Prynne's defence in the Press throws light upon the Bishop's position. Dr. Philpotts took exception to Prynne's contention that it was for his accusers to show "that the Church of England does discourage this practice (confession) by some authoritative statement in some of her authorized documents." The Church of England teaching, the Bishop maintained, did virtually discourage the general habit of confession.

"For such general habit" (the Bishop maintained) "would seem to show, either that the party adopting it did never honestly and earnestly strive to do all that he can for himself, or that, having once received private absolution, he is so unstable, so light-minded, so utterly incapable of all self-control, that after such absolution he is continually relapsing into sin--and sin of such malignity that he cannot of himself attain (by the ordinary grace of God) to due repentance. Surely we must believe that such cases, if there be any such, are very rare.

"I say, therefore, now, as I have more than once publicly said before, as well as privately told my candidates for holy orders, that the Church of England appears to me to discourage confession as a general habit.

"You state--at the end of your next paragraph but one--'I have invited our people to have recourse to this ministration of our Lord's most merciful authority, whenever the spiritual necessities of any of them shall need it, in accordance with the advice contained in your Lordship's pastoral letter of last year.'

"When you thus referred, very correctly, to my advice, as your authority in one particular, I must express my regret that you did not, at the same time, give equal weight to the authority of that same pastoral letter, in the very passage from which you were quoting, where it 'condemned the habit of going to confession as a part of the ordinary discipline of a Christian life.' I even stated in the same place 'that I had warned a clergyman who had himself incited a party to have recourse to confession before him, not being either of the two cases where it is prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer.' I had, I say, 'warned this clergyman to abstain from a course which seems ill-accordant with the teaching and mind of our Church.' In conclusion I there said, 'Let me add that I presume not to interfere with the conscience of any who (to use the words of our first reformed Liturgy) think needful, or convenient, for the quieting of their consciences particularly to open their sins to the priest at any time. What I deprecate is that this should be made a regular observance, still more, that any priest should advise it as such.'

"If you have kept within the plain meaning of this my counsel, you have a right to claim the authority of your Bishop for what you have done; if you have exceeded it, you have not only exceeded it, but run counter to it.

"I am, Rev. Sir, yours sincerely,

To this letter Prynne replied as follows on October 6th:--


"I beg to acknowledge your Lordship's letter of the 4th inst. I believe I may safely say that there has been nothing in my practice respecting private confession which is opposed to the opinion expressed in your Lordship's letter. I conceived my answer to Mr. Nantes was a sufficient one to give to a person bringing a charge against me. If Mr. Nantes objected to any statement made by me, he was bound to show grounds of that objection beyond his own private opinion, and it seemed to me that no grounds short of an authoritative statement in the authorized documents of the Church herself would have been sufficient for this purpose. I went on to say, 'I can find no such declaration of her mind--all I can find serves to show me that she leaves her children entirely at liberty to use this means of grace whenever their spiritual necessities require it. There is no prohibition, or shadow of a prohibition, that I know of, to prevent their doing so;' and again at the end of the paragraph, 'in short, I have only meant to assert for the members of the Church of England general and absolute freedom of being allowed to unburden their minds to their ministers whenever they desire it for their souls' good. Such a freedom I do believe to be most in accordance with her spirit.'

"In this passage, my Lord, I intended to say, that the Church of England does not prohibit or authoritatively exclude the general habit of confession. I expressly guarded myself by saying, 'I did not mean to assert that the Church of England recommends confession ordinarily, but was silent about it, and left it to the consciences of individuals.' And such has been my practice. I have not taught it as a duty, I have not brought or trained persons to look on it as a 'regular observance or a part of the ordinary discipline of a Christian life;' but, on the other hand, I am not aware of any statement of the Church of England which would justify me, as one of her ministers, in refusing to receive persons who desire of their own accord, or, I may add, by the advice of their parents or guardians, to come to me regularly for this purpose. I repeat, my Lord, I have not enforced or taught this practice as a part of my ordinary teaching, but I have also not felt myself at liberty to reject those who did think they found it useful as an habitual practice, and desired on that account to use it as such.

"I venture, respectfully, to put this case to your Lordship (which, I may add, is not an imaginary one)--supposing a person to come to me, at his own particular request, several times in the course of the year for confession, have I any authority from the Church of England to refuse to receive that person? I will further suppose that I fully press upon the person the necessity of private self-examination and repentance, but that he still argues that he finds confession a great help and means of grace, and presses on me my obligation to receive him. Is it your Lordship's opinion that I should be authorized by the Church of England (whatever my own private opinions might be) to reject such a person?

"In submitting this case for your Lordship's consideration, I would humbly venture to remind your Lordship that there are many persons in the Church of England who deeply value private confession as a means of grace, and who use it regularly as such, and that it would be a great shock to their minds to be deprived of it. For my own part, I would not dare to do so unless I had some most indisputable authority to bear me out in so doing. I would also venture to suggest that the consciences of those who use private confession, and are in the habit of that self-examination which it involves, become more alive to the guilt of sin, and that even if they do not relapse at times into their old sins, they yet look on other minor sins as of a serious nature. There are, my Lord, persons who from a constant habit of self-examination and self-accusation find that very frequently their conscience is burdened with weighty matters which bring them under the class specified in the Exhortation to Communion. Does the Church of England require of her ministers to refuse to this class of persons (and it contains many of her most earnest and spiritual children) what they esteem as so great a means of grace to their souls?

"With reference to your Lordship's remarks on my quotation from your Lordship's Pastoral Letter of last year, I would humbly beg to observe that had I been quoting your Lordship's sentiments as bearing on the subject of private confessions generally, I should certainly have thought it my duty fully to have expressed those sentiments; but I was only quoting in support of my argument of the entire liberty which the Church of England gives her children to use this means of grace whenever their spiritual necessities required it. On this point I trust I was not unfairly claiming your Lordship's support.

"I have the honour to be
"Your Lordship's faithful and obedient servant,

To this the Bishop replied :--

"As I do not think that the Church of England prohibits your receiving to confession those who seek it as an habitual practice, I do not presume to prohibit your doing so. The Church seems to me to discourage such a practice; therefore, I should endeavour to dissuade one who came to me in pursuance of the practice from persisting to desire it. If I had sufficient reason to believe that he had not endeavoured honestly and earnestly to quiet his own conscience by self-examination and other acts of repentance, I should not myself admit him. More than this, I must decline saying.

"Yours sincerely,

Prynne was the recipient of many letters of sympathy and congratulation on the result of the enquiry from friends who recognized, with Pusey, that he was contending for a vital principle of the Catholic faith and not a merely individual belief. Pusey wrote on September 25th:--

"God be thanked. It seems better than if the matter had never been tried. But I fear, as the Bishop of Exeter says, the Orphans' Home and Sisters of Mercy will incur obloquy from its being known that these persons were inmates for years there. I am anxious to see the worst which is made of it in any Plymouth paper. I suppose that the fact is, that any very bad things which were confessed were before they went to the Orphans' Home. 1 should think that if so you might shape a statement without breaking the seal, attesting that 'whereas it was said/ etc., 'this is only a sample of temptations to which young persons are exposed in Plymouth, but from which the inmates of the Orphans' Home are happily sheltered.' Perhaps it may not be necessary. You would let me (if it were necessary) see anything before it was published. God be with you."

Dr. Neale wrote on October 1st:--

"Although I have not the pleasure of a personal acquaintance, yet I hope you will allow me to congratulate you on the result of the late proceedings with regard to confession, not so much for your own sake, but for the step in advance which we have gained by means of those proceedings. It is fearful to think what the result might have been in any but the Diocese of Exeter, and it surely is not less than providential that in that Diocese the event should have happened.

"The pain and trouble which all these things must have caused you must be amply made good; and I am sure that all of us owe you a deep debt of gratitude."

The Bishop wrote on October 1st:--

"I thank you for a copy of the West of England Conservative, containing your own statement in justification of yourself. That statement (which, however, I have been able to read only cursorily) appears to me most satisfactory for its own purpose, and very important to the great principle involved in the inquiry.

"I may have appeared to you unkind, perhaps somewhat unfair even, in not giving you an opportunity of reading that statement to the meeting. But the truth is that, finding enough already established to exonerate you from all blame, I deemed it most prudent to be content with this. The pile of books and papers which were before you made me apprehensive that you would, quite unnecessarily, tire your hearers, and perhaps even give some of them an opportunity of criticizing your words unfavourably. Had I known what the tone and character of your statement would be, and its moderate length, I should have acted differently.

"To Mr. Darling, too, I fear that I owe an apology. I hope, indeed, that I was not guilty of the injustice of being partial against him from the contemptible fear of being supposed partial in favour of you; but I think it very possible that my desire to abridge a proceeding, the issue of which was apparent to me, may have led me to exhibit an undue degree of impatience. Pray tell him from me that I estimate highly the talent, the spirit, and Christian zeal in a good cause which were evinced by him on that occasion.

"In conclusion, accept my hearty congratulations on the issue of this trying affair."

Although, as we have seen, the Bishop subsequently subjected the written defence to some criticism, he continued to regard it with general approval.

Mr. J. D. Chambers wrote on October 21st:--

"Let me again congratulate you on the defeat of your calumniators. They refuse to bring you before the legitimate tribunal, and, conscious of their own dishonesty and factious spirit, refer to that to which they know you neither can nor will appeal.

"Nevertheless, if they send up any petition to the Archbishop, if I were you, I would do the same, or to the Crown, and publish it, but avoid law. I find by reference to the old Sarum books that there was no form for private confession or absolution enjoined on the clergy previous to the Reformation. The form used corresponds exactly with ours for the Visitation of the Sick--there was no other. Yet notoriously confession was used as of obligation before the Reformation. This seems to me to completely dispose of the argument, that because the Church of England gives no form for private confession it is not intended there should be any. The Reformers, in fact, left the matter precisely as they found it."

The Rev. Charles Gutch wrote from St. Saviour's, Leeds, saying:--

"I have watched with no little interest the course of events at Plymouth, in which you and your devoted fellow-labourers have again and again been the instruments in vindicating the Catholic character of our Church. Now that you have once more silenced your detractors, you must allow me on behalf of our little Brotherhood to offer you our warmest congratulations. Your example is the more cheering to us because, when a similar investigation was instituted against the late St. Saviour's clergy, eighteen months ago, the Bishop's judgment was unhappily against them, and their subsequent secession very naturally confirmed it.

"I have one other object in writing, and it is to beg you, if you can find time for such a relaxation, to pay us a visit during our Dedication Feast, which commences on the eve of St. Simon and St. Jude and continues through the Octave. We are expecting many friends whom I think it will be a gratification for you to meet. If you can also assist in the services by preaching one of the sermons, you will much increase our obligation. I commend our work to your prayers, with the assurance that yours in Plymouth has for long been the subject of my own."

The result of the enquiry and the Bishop's qualified approval of Prynne's teaching on the subject of confession were by no means satisfactory to the Protestants of Plymouth, who returned to the charge with renewed violence. On October 12th, a "monster meeting" was held at Stonehouse, to protest against the confessional, as practised at St. Peter's Church, Plymouth. Over one hundred clerics and laymen requisitioned the meeting, which was opened with the collect for grace, unity, and concord, said by the Rev. W. H. Nantes, of St. George's Chapel, Stonehouse--one of the three complainants whose case had so utterly broken down before the Bishop. The meeting decided to memorialize Parliament, the Crown, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, on "the subject of the confessional," and was altogether remarkable for the self-importance and intemperance of language exhibited by its leaders. Mr. Hatchard, baffled in his attempts to ruin a brother clergyman's moral character, now publicly charged Prynne with committing a breach of the 113th Canon, and revealing secrets entrusted to him under the seal of the confessional. Considering the attitude of the accuser and his friends towards confession, this accusation seems little less than ludicrous. Eventually, when called upon by the Bishop to make good his words in a Court of Law, Mr. Hatchard declined to do so, avowing that, if prosecuted, he was prepared to defend his action. To appeal to the local courts at this moment of inflamed opinion was, of course, useless. Prynne, therefore, swore a declaration before the Mayor of Plymouth, denying in the most distinct and circumstantial manner that he had ever made any revelation of facts confessed by witnesses at the inquiry. Finding that he had gone too far, Mr. Hatchard at length retracted. Another ridiculous statement which, after it had done its subtle work, was also retracted, was that Pusey had been seen going up a ladder to a room above St. Peter's to hear confessions.

The agitation, so sedulously fostered by monster meetings and other methods with which the present generation is not entirely unfamiliar, reached its climax when the Bishop held the postponed Confirmation, as he had originally intended, in St. Peter's Church. The Bishop was not the man to shrink from any danger, or to be cowed by any threats of personal violence, and so the service was duly held. But the protesting clergy, in spite of Prynne's complete exoneration from the charges brought against him, withheld their candidates, and their supporters surrounded the church with a howling mob, threatening the Bishop and Vicar with personal assault, and smashing the windows of Prynne's house while his Diocesan was resting there. On returning from the church, stones were hurled at the Bishop, and the clergy surrounded him in order to protect him while crossing the square. Loud cries were raised by the mob, demanding that Prynne should be hung to an adjacent lamp-post. The disgraceful riot is well described in the following extract from the West of England Conservative:--

"If ever there was a service that showed itself to be a reality, it was the Confirmation at St. Peter's Church on Wednesday last. Amid so much that was painful, there was much that was gratifying. On the one hand, we saw scenes re-enacted in the streets of a Christian town, worthy of those which abounded in the ages when persecution was the necessary inheritance of bishops and priests. We saw a representative and successor of the Apostles treated as the Apostles themselves were wont to be of yore. We saw an aged bishop hooted, reviled, and insulted with expressions of obscenity, blasphemy, and scurrility, by a mob which, in all but its respectability of dress, would best find its counterpart in the Faubourg of St. Antoine. We saw him moving with firm and undaunted countenance amidst the shocking sights and sounds which assailed him, defended, like St. Paul, by the civil power from his own misguided flock. We saw him stand (and we shall not easily forget the scene) upon the step of the church, and facing the crowd wave them back, as though he would prevent their desecrating the sacred place with angry and irreverent voices. On the other hand, within the church itself, all was as smooth and quiet as could be wished. There was neither noise, nor disturbance, nor crushing. It was a happy thought, and one perhaps useful for other occasions, that the church doors were thrown wide open as soon as the service commenced. The crowd, which had been so noisy a moment before, finding itself thus suddenly ushered within the sacred walls, was, in spite of itself, awed into silence. Hats were removed and voices were lowered instinctively. Many heard what, perhaps, they had seldom heard before, the Litany of the Church of England, and saw probably for the first time in their lives a bishop administering Confirmation.
Those who did could not help being impressed with the scene; for, as we have already said, it was a reality and looked like one. Never was a public ceremony conducted with more decency, order, and reverence. Few who were present will forget it. Few will forget the electrical burst with which the response ' I do' was given, when the Bishop put the question a second time to the candidates; and if the impressive and solemn manner of the brave old man, as he stood at the chancel screen, with firm look and earnest gesticulation, did not sink into the hearts of those who came to scoff and to revile, it may be hoped that it did in the case of those who came for a better and holier purpose."

Another paper, summarizing "the painful and shocking events of the last few months," admirably criticized the behaviour of the Protestant agitators as that of Jesuits in disguise, conspiring for the furtherance of Catholic principles:--

"The High Church party must look with infinite satisfaction on the course which their unscrupulous opponents have lately adopted. . . . First, there was the vote at the Orphan Asylum, in which this band of clerical conspirators crossed the Rubicon, unfurled the standard of rebellion, and committed themselves to a resolution, by which they proceeded at once to deprive children, committed to their charge, of a means of grace, and to defy lawful authority. They then proceeded to bring charges against an innocent and respectable clergyman, on evidence which turned out to be utterly worthless and contemptible. On this being proved by a most searching and impartial inquiry, instead of offering a graceful apology, they fling themselves into a fit of frantic indignation, summon a grand council of their tribe, perform a terrific war-dance, and commit, in fact, all those extraordinary antics which persons are apt to commit when they have made a great blunder and are'very angry with themselves for it. The result of this war-council is a petition to the Queen, the Primate, and the Houses of Parliament, to take such measures as shall enable the Church of England to repudiate the doctrines and practices which the war-council had met to denounce. But this is not all--the chiefs of the tribe bring fresh accusations against the clergyman they are endeavouring to crush, and when their Bishop calls on them to substantiate their charges and offers them every facility for so doing, they shrink from the task. One step further, and we see a ferocious mob, under the influence of the excitement thus brought to bear on them, insulting and assaulting an aged Prelate in his Episcopal robes, in open day, at the door of the House of God. How can such a course of action fail to produce a reaction in the minds of all moderate and candid persons? How can it fail to suggest a contrast between the conduct of the assailed and assailants, very unfavourable to the latter? Who can help seeing that, however successful Mr. Prynne's accusers may be in personal abuse and vague declamation, they have utterly failed, whenever they have attempted to bring a definite charge, or an accusation which could be subjected to a legal investigation ?"

There can be no doubt that the journalist's contention was correct. The prolonged agitation and bitter persecution, some of the more notable phases of which we have described, did in the result serve to strengthen Prynne's hands and win a readier acceptance for the Catholic principles of which he was the recognized exponent. That he would in any case have been successful in the ultimate result we feel assured; but at St. Peter's, as at other churches famous for their share in the Catholic Revival, the very remarkable and rapid success that attended the commencement of the work was undoubtedly due to the tactics of its opponents and the wide publicity that attached to their proceedings. We have heard of more than one case where an avowed opponent was won over to sympathy and support of the work at St. Peter's, in direct consequence of the persecution that culminated in the riot on the Confirmation day; while the publicity of the proceedings drew attention to the work that was being carried on in Plymouth, and enlisted help and support from all parts of the country. Prynne was too humble-minded and retiring ever to have courted notoriety on his own account, though steadfast and unflinching in principle and firm in his determination to yield nothing in his defence of that which he knew to be right. It is, therefore, entirely due to his persecutors that his quiet mission work at St. Peter's became so widely known and appreciated. When Prynne was so shamefully persecuted and attacked, Catholics felt that it was, as Dr. Pusey put it, an attack on their own cause, and rallied to his support accordingly. With an ignorance which the students of Protestant outbreaks in more recent days will not find difficult to understand, Prynne's name was associated in the public mind with all that was horrible and alarming. The well-known story of Dr. Pusey and the lamb that he was supposed to sacrifice every Friday might easily have been paralleled at Plymouth, in which town a ghostly ancestor of Lady Wimborne's famous quadruped long ago had its day, and ceased to be. When on occasion Prynne went out to preach in some West-country parish far from the scene of his labours, people who had only heard of this terrible person, the embodiment of Popery and Puseyism, rushed to see him, and were surprised to find a handsome young clergyman, of winning address, possessing a voice of exceptional beauty and sweetness, and altogether unlike the strange creature of their inflamed and excited imaginings.

In reviewing the events of those early Tractarian days in Plymouth, it is impossible to over-estimate the value to the Catholic cause of Bishop Philpotts's attitude throughout the whole of the trouble. Without attempting to estimate the Bishop's theological position with exactness, there is ample evidence in his treatment of Prynne as to the fearless impartiality, moral courage, and strong grasp of principle which influenced his every action. His sympathetic treatment of Dr. Pusey, when, in 1844, that good priest went into Devonshire under the ban of University suspension, sufficiently indicates the Bishop's courage in differing from the majority of his episcopal brethren when he felt it right to do so; and his treatment of Prynne during the years that followed was quite in keeping with this indifference to ignorant clamour from whatever quarter it proceeded. As Dr. Neale remarked, "It is fearful to think what the result might have been in any other Diocese than Exeter," where the firmness and courage of the Bishop stood out in striking contrast to that of most of his episcopal brethren of the period. To Prynne the support of such a Diocesan was invaluable, and went a long way towards winning acceptance or toleration for his views from many who might not otherwise have sympathized with him. Those who have read Mr. Newland's lectures on the early days of Tractarianism, and the other literature dealing with that period, will realize that the Catholic cause in the West owed much of its success to the sober-minded wisdom and statesmanlike policy of Dr. Philpotts at a very critical moment in its history. At Plymouth, of course, Prynne was the man selected for attack--the Puseyite par excellence, against whom the whole force of the enemy was directed. But there were other priests here and there in the Diocese standing for the same hated principles, prominent among these being the Rev. W. J. Coope, Rector of Falmouth; Mr. Flower, whose appointment to Christ Church, Plymouth, had aroused the utmost indignation against the Bishop; Mr. Kilpack, of St. James's, Devonport; and others.

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