ART. V.--1. The British Chaplaincy in Madeira. By VISCOUNT CAMPDEN. Reprinted, with additions, from 'The Theologian and Ecclesiastic,' for November, 1847. London: W. J. Cleaver. 1847.
2. A Brief Statement of Facts with regard to the British Chaplainry at Madeira. Funchal. 1846.
3. Correspondence between the Lord Bishop of London, the Chaplain, and the Congregation of the British Church established in Madeira. London: Hatchard. 1846.
4. A Letter to R. Stoddart, Esq., Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Madeira. By S. CALVERLY BEWICKE, Esq. Funchal. 1846.
5. Correspondence between the Rev. T. Sawley, of Oswestry, Salop, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Madeira, R. Stoddart, Esq., and the Rev. H. Landon. Funchal. 1847.
THERE are few of the world in which the good and bad qualities of the English nation have been more curiously exemplified than in the Island of Madeira, to which we must for a short time call the attention of our readers. To begin with the favourable side; we consider it a high and peculiar distinction that it is not a British colony. For nearly 200 years, since the re-establishment of the independence of Portugal, the mother country has leaned upon British aid. During this whole period England has maintained her supremacy at sea. In a large part of it her peculiar craving seemed to be for the extension of her colonial and specially her insular empire. Yet while it would be difficult to estimate the expenditure which we have incurred in defence of Portugal, we believe that it has never been proposed that this island should be ceded as a very inadequate compensation. We do not think it would be easy to show an instance in the history of any other people of conduct so liberal and magnanimous towards a wholly helpless ally. We know from history what has been the usual result of alliance between the strong and the weak. Greek democracy, Roman aristocracy, French kingdom and empire, have exhibited them in turn. Here we see the peculiar honour of England. And it has been shown also in the high character and position of man? of our principal merchants, whose houses of standing extending now beyond the memory of man, have made Funchal, in truth, a British factory, and exhibited British energy, [189/190] perseverance, and integrity, in the most marked contrast to the failings of our faithful allies. So far well. Meanwhile, in this British factory, we find the English church so much a stranger that her House of Prayer was erected only in 1823. Until very lately we might have found the services of that Church so much corrupted, that an English Churchman could hardly have recognised the Church of his fathers. We find the British factory divided against itself into a number of sects, which as recapitulated by Lord Campden are really quite startling. As if to complete the miniature picture of English society, we find the epidemic ecclesiastical diseases of. the day imported in their worst forms into the factory, and contending there with the Church of England, which seems also to have put on there her brightest apparel. We find the notorious Dr. Kalley boasting himself (with characteristic equivocation) 'a member of the Churches of England,' while in truth, he has been first, we believe, an independent, then a member of the Scotch establishment, and now of the Free Kirk (see Christian Remembrancer for April, 1846), harbouring himself under the insulted name of the Church of England while busy in making converts from the National Church to his own sect. Not to dwell on his disgraceful history, we have it followed up by the sad dissensions in the Church of England congregation of Funchal, to which we are now to call the attention of our readers, and in. which the scenes which we have lately witnessed in England seem to have been caricatured; the supporters of the Church exhibiting an unusual degree of earnestness, moderation, respect for authority, firmness, and patience under outrage; while the assailants seem to have betrayed an unusual spirit of virulence, persecution, and unscrupulousness; and at the same time the British Government, we regret to say, has conducted itself as little to its credit; as in any instance with which we are acquainted.
Before detailing any particulars of the Madeira controversy, we must remind our readers of some circumstances in the position of the English Church abroad. We are not purposing to examine the state of things which warrants, because it compels, the formation of English churches in countries; where the Catholic Church is indeed in possession, but where her rulers refuse to admit English Churchmen to their communion except upon condition of renouncing obedience to the Church of England. This state of things we admit to be anomalous, and we can defend it only as a temporary expedient to meet a present need. While it lasts, however, it becomes us to be doubly careful that in exercising so extreme a right, and discharging functions so irregular, the Church of England shall never forget or conceal her true character and claims. This is the more [190/191] necessary, because in most of those countries there are heretical sects, which falsely indeed, but pertinaciously, claim kindred with her, on the ground of a common protest against the Roman supremacy; and even where the whole native population is in external commerce with the Catholic Church (Greek or Roman), there are to be found English subjects members of the many sects which beset us at home, and who, being entitled to all the rights of Englishmen, are not unwilling to claim and assume, in that character, privileges which belong to us, not as Englishmen but as members of the Church.
Under such circumstances it becomes even more important in foreign countries than it is at home, that our administration of Church affairs should be in all respects regular and Catholic; that every officiating priest should feel himself, and be recognised by others (whether 'within' or 'without' the pale of the English Church), to be authorized not by himself, nor by his congregation, nor by the civil government, but by the Church and by the Bishop as her representative; that the services, and rites of our common faith should be solemnized regularly, seriously, devoutly, and, therefore, in one word, according to the rules of the Church, not after the caprice of individuals.
The course actually adopted to secure these ends is as follows: British congregations abroad are to be distinguished into two classes, those which are established in factories where there is a resident consul, and which are recognised by the civil government; and those which exist in towns where the British residents, though often far more numerous, are mere sojourners without these advantages.
We shall not now enter at large into the latter case, to which, however, we have before this called attention, and shall probably take occasion to do so again. Few steps, we fear, have been taken to prevent abuses in the British congregations of such towns: at least we have yet to learn what they are. We believe the arrangements at present to be these, that any clergyman, or any other person not in orders, or not a member of the Church, is at full liberty to open a place of worship in any town where the English congregate, and give himself out as the representative of the Church of England--that (as there are many places where numbers of English reside, more or less permanently, without any chaplain at all) such a person, if he select his place judiciously, is pretty sure to obtain a congregation and something like a maintenance adequate or otherwise. It sometimes happens that an adventurer, ordained or not, is hired by some speculator (the practice is not limited to the tribe of Dan) to become his priest, when he is desirous to attract English visitors to some watering place; and in this case he becomes part of the staff in common [191/192] with the keepers of the gambling tables, and the waiters at the 'tables d'hôte,' and the leaders of the band. In other instances men who have left England from necessity, or debt, or loss of character, or failure of health, have found congregations willing to assemble round them, and have officiated at their own risk. It follows that, as many of these accidents are common to the evil and the good, both extremes of character, and many of the intermediate shades, are to be found among our foreign chaplains. Nay, in one town we have known an exemplary clergyman to officiate for years, having been driven from England by failing health, and then an opposition Church was opened by an adventurer, who in that case, as it happened, ended his days as the object of the charity of the man to whom he would fain have been rival.
For all this there seems but one remedy, however difficult its application might be, at least in many instances. Those who officiate abroad ought to have some acknowledged and public credential from the Church at home. Without this no clergyman should be allowed to undertake pastoral care abroad, on pain of losing his privileges at home as a clergyman of the Church. The result would be, that no respectable person, really in holy orders, would be found willing to dispense with the proposed credential; and as soon as that end was attained the British residents abroad would feel, (what they cannot now feel, for it is not the case,) that the character of any man who attempted to officiate without it would not bear investigation.
To turn to the consular stations (of which Madeira is one), the ease is different. The chaplains here are public functionaries nominated by the Crown, which contributes in part to their support, and holding a licence from the Bishop of London. And yet, even here, there is much to regret.
The Church affairs of these stations are regulated by an Act of Parliament, 6 Geo. IV. cap. 87, and by certain regulations issued , by Lord Palmerston, as secretary of state, under the authority of that act, and with a view to its more efficient operation. It is provided that 'at any foreign port or place in which a chaplain is now, or shall at any future time be, resident, and regularly employed in the celebration of divine service, according to the rules and ceremonies of the United Church of England and Ireland, or of the Church of Scotland, and maintained by voluntary subscriptions, &c.' the consul may be authorized by the secretary of state to contribute, at the expense of the Treasury, any such sums of money, not exceeding in any one year what has been raised by voluntary subscription, for the following purposes, or any of them--viz. (1) the maintenance of the chaplain; or (2) the expenses of divine service; or (3) [192/193] maintaining burial grounds; or (4) towards interments of her Majesty's subjects therein; or (5) the erection of Church or Hospital, or the procuring of burial-ground. The consul is further required to call meetings twice in the year of all subscribers to these purposes, and the general meetings shall have power to make regulations, &c., which shall not, however, be valid without the sanction of the consul, and ultimately of the secretary of state. These regulations are to be such as may be necessary for carrying into execution the objects of this Act, so far as relates to these measures, or any of them.' The meeting is also to elect a treasurer and two trustees, but these last have no power to take any unusual step, make any regulation, &c., without authority from the general meeting. In the general meeting all British subjects are qualified to vote if they have subscribed in all 20l. to the purposes mentioned in the Act; so that they have contributed 3l. (whether as part of the original 20l. or not) within the last year. The treasurer may not refuse a subscription from any British subject who desires to qualify himself. ' All chaplains of the Church of England who are appointed under this Act are, at the request of the secretary of state, licensed by the Bishop of London, and are to consult the Bishop of London in all spiritual matters, and to obey his orders thereupon.' 'One chaplain only can be attached to each Church to which an allowance is granted,' and 'the Act of Parliament gives no power to the residents to interfere with the spiritual administration of the Church. This must be left to the chaplain. On the other hand the Act gives no power to the chaplain to interfere in the temporal administration of Church affairs. These matters must be left to the general meetings of the British residents.' 'Sacramental alms and oblations are to be distributed by the chaplain, and are not to be entered in the treasurer's account. The chaplain is nominated by her Majesty, through the secretary of state, and holds his office during her Majesty's pleasure, and no longer.' [We believe this to be a fair abstract of the provisions. They are printed in the 'Brief Statement; &c., pp. 7 to 17.]
There are defects in this Act as interpreted by the regulations issued by Lord Palmerston, to which it will be necessary to call attention before we proceed to relate its practical administration in the Madeira case. It will be observed, that it is distinctly a Church Act; for although it includes other affairs than those strictly ecclesiastical (for example, the provision of hospitals for her Majesty's subjects), still it is so limited that it applies only to 'any foreign port or place in which a chaplain [193/194] is now or shall be resident.' Evidently it is, no chaplain no act, no regulation, no government allowance. If there were British residents, British consul, British burial-ground, British hospital, yet, without a resident chaplain, this act cannot be applied at all. This being the case, it is a glaring defect that the qualification for voting in the 'general meetings,' in which all the temporal affairs of the Church are to be settled, is merely one of money. Any man, be he bishop, priest, or deacon, churchman, or dissenter, or Roman Catholic, heretic, or Jew, or professed infidel, so that he have the pecuniary qualification, is equal in these meetings. Thus the whole temporal administration of the Church may be in the hands of unbaptized or excommunicate persons, and we shall see hereafter that this term 'temporal' is one capable of large application.
Again, although Lord Palmerston's 'regulations' say, that the chaplain is to be subject to the Bishop of London, this is not provided in the Act itself, which only prescribes his appointment by the Crown, and his tenure of office during pleasure, 'and no longer.' Thus the licence of the bishop may be set at nought, if such be the pleasure of any foreign secretary. A clergyman might legally be appointed whom the bishop refused to license, and one whom he highly approved, and whose licence he refused to revoke, might legally be displaced by the civil power. Be it here remembered that the foreign secretary need not be a member of the Church; and that Lord Aberdeen, Sir R. Peel's secretary (of whom we shall hear more before long), is actually a presbyterian. We understand that the English bishops refuse to license the chaplains of unions, because they are liable to be displaced, without their consent, by the Board of Guardians. The chaplains appointed under this act are in the same legal position--we say legal, because, in fact, no attempt has ever been made by any government to recall a chaplain who holds the bishop's licence, and (notwithstanding the evident hopes of the anti-church party in Madeira,) we cannot believe that any thing so indecent will be attempted. It is plain, however, that the law should be altered so far at least, that the whole administration of Church affairs may be in those who are really and bona fide, as well as in profession, members of the Church; and that the chaplain, once appointed, should be irremovable, except upon the revocation of his licence by the bishop. Other changes in the actual administration of things are no less necessary; but as we have no doubt that they result, not from faults in the law itself, but from the misinterpretation of it by the Foreign Office, we have not included them in this list. They will come before us in the sequel.
 And now let Lord Campden relate the origin of the Church controversy in Madeira:
'In 1$33, Mr. Lowe was appointed to the chaplaincy by Lord Palmerston, at the unanimous request of the British residents in the island; Lord Palmerston having previously referred to the Bishop of London, and received most satisfactory statements from him respecting Mr. Lowe. The Bishop then gave Mr. Lowe his licence, in virtue of which Mr. Lowe has from that time officiated as chaplain. At the time of his appointment, the state of the English congregation at Madeira was at the lowest ebb: service was performed only once on Sunday, and then abbreviated and altered, in direct opposition to the order of the Church. Prayers were omitted, lessons altered, baptisms irregularly performed, the Holy Eucharist administered only four times a year, and even then no alms collected at the offertory. The catalogue of irregularities might easily be extended, but sufficient have been stated. Mr. Lowe commenced from the first gradually to bring the services up to the proper standard prescribed by order of the Church, till he had established a double daily service, weekly communions, offertorial collections on Sundays and other holy days, baptisms in the Church--restored all the omitted prayers, and a due observance of the great festivals and days appointed to be kept holy. In this salutary course he proceeded for eleven years uninterrupted, to the edification of his flock, and the manifest improvement of religion, and the state of morals and society among the English in the island. In 1844 commenced an unjustifiable opposition to him, which has been carried on up to the present time, and still continues with increasing bitterness and hatred. In the end of that year nine visitors to the island made a charge against his "teaching," and specified four objectionable sermons, three of which sermons half of the objectors had not objectionable it is believed they were not in the island when the sermons were preached! This charge was embodied in a memorial to the Bishop against Mr. Lowe. It was immediately met by a countermemorial, made by nine other visitors to Madeira, vindicating the orthodoxy of the chaplain, and denying the preaching of any sermons contrary to the doctrine of the Church of England. The memorial and countermemorial were forwarded to the Bishop of London, and copies also of the sermons in question were sent to him by Mr. Lowe. In due time an answer was received from the Bishop, stating that there was no doctrine put forth in any of the sermons which was at variance with the doctrine of the English Church, and expressing himself satisfied, from his knowledge of Mr. Lowe for several years past, that he is justly entitled to their (the countermemorialists) respect and affection." Here then was the first objection raised against Mr. Lowe, and deservedly did it meet with a signal failure. The unfortunate interference of nine discontented visitors, however, stirred up a flame most difficult to be quenched. Had it not been for this unhappy circumstance, matters would in all probability have gone on quietly as usual, as they had been going on for the past eleven years, and the peace of the Church there would have remained undisturbed; to these nine, then, primarily belongs the responsibility of all the sad scenes, heart-burnings, and contentions that have followed.
'In the spring of 1845, twenty-nine of the permanent residents, incited thereto by what has just been stated, made a request to Mr. Lowe to return to the same manner of performing Divine Service as when he first undertook the duty. To this he replied in an able and temperate letter, stating the reasons why it was impossible for him to do so, saying that he was bound to obey the orders of the Church, and that the only way to avoid any irregularity in the service was to regulate it according to the directions of [195/196] the Rubrics, which afforded an invariable rule to follow, and to obey which be was solemnly obliged by his ordination vows, and to the following of which rule be had adhered for many years without any expressed dissatisfaction on the part of his congregation. This did not satisfy them, and the treasurer and two trustees of the chapel proceeded, as they profess, in the name of those who made the application (although no authority has ever been shown which gave them this power; and it is remarkable, that more than one of the applicants withdrew from all further proceedings, being convinced of their unfairness), to address the Bishop of London, specifying nine points of complaint against Mr. Lowe for his method of performing Divine Service, and otherwise entering into incorrect charges against him.'
This letter having been communicated to Mr. Lowe, was received by him with so much gentleness, that he even told the writers that he thought six of the points mentioned 'might easily be arranged,' if they would yield their objections on three, which he felt he could not conscientiously give up.
This offer being refused by the complainants, their letter went, and in due course his lordship's reply arrived. , With admirable patience he discusses the complaints--some false, some frivolous, some against practices in adopting which Mr. Lowe had evidently no alternative, and at last he leaves Mr. Lowe at liberty to concede to them these four points:--
'1. Preaching in the surplice.
'2. Singing the Communion Hymns.
'3. Reading every Sunday the Exhortation.
'4. Walking at funerals from the church to the burial-ground in the surplice.' (Cor. p. 42.)
'thus showing his promptitude and willingness to gratify them, 'to the furthest limit of allowed concession.'--Lord Campden, p. 11.
So grave were the questions for which the British Church in Madeira was to be thrown into flames! The Bishop remarks:
'These are all the charges of which complaint is made, and I have now considered them one by one. I am extremely sorry that differences should have arisen between Mr. Lowe and any portion of his congregation, on matters, some of which are confessedly of trifling importance in themselves, but which Mr. Lowe considers to involve the principle of obedience to rules, which he has solemnly promised to observe.
'Whatever practice is not enjoined by these rules, or sanctioned by general custom, I advise him to lay aside, if by so doing he can satisfy the scruples of those persons who are really members of our Church; but I cannot, with any consistency, urge him to disregard those rules where they are plain and positive; although I might not think it necessary to press compliance with them in those instances where the non-observance of them has received a certain degree of sanction from general and long-prevailing custom, acquiesced in by the rulers of the Church.
'Those persons who desire to have the advantage of the services of the Church in all their completeness, according to the Church's express direct Lions, would have reason to complain if they were curtailed or altered; and it appears there are many such persons in Mr. Lowe's congregation; and when a question arises, whether he shall comply with the wishes of those who would have him disobey the Church's rules (which he has promised to [196/197] observe), or of those who desire that he should follow them, it seems but reasonable that he should incline to the latter rather than to the former; and it would be manifestly wrong in me, whose duty it is to take care that these rules are observed, to urge upon him an opposite course of proceeding.
'I have only to add an expression of my earnest hope that Mr. Lowe will perform (as I have reason to believe he does perform) all his ministrations with meekness and charity, as well as with punctuality and correctness, and that his congregation will receive them in the same spirit.'--Correspondence, &c. pp. 36-40.
The points on which the Bishop refused to permit the faithful members of the Church to be sacrificed to the agitators, were the use of the Prayer for the Church Militant, and the weekly offertory. As far as we can see, these points form the pretext, not of course the real cause, of all the subsequent agitation. But the Bishop's answer contained other remarks which were naturally galling to the complainants; he administered, says Lord Campden 'a severe rebuke to those who, upon their own showing, had ceased to attend the English chapel, and repaired to a Dissenting meeting-house, because they disapproved of Mr. Lowe. He said, "that those persons who have resorted to this extreme measure, without waiting to learn the result of an appeal to me, can hardly claim to be heard as members of our Church, on the subject of the present complaint."'--(p. 7.)
The next step of the complainants was, that of succeeding in obtaining a majority of votes in the general meeting, the function of which is strictly limited to the 'temporal affairs of the Church.' They explained these by refusing to allow any salary to be paid, either to the chaplain, organist, doorkeeper, or pewopener. Having voted this by a tyrant majority, one of them boasted, 'well, at all events, we have got rid of Mr. Lowe: But behold the chaplain refused to resign, and the Churchmen in Madeira subscribed, in a few days, £300, which was paid to him instead of the £200 refused by the meeting. But the chaplain has been the sufferer by this exchange, for whereas, the secretary of state through the consul, had hitherto allowed a sum equal to that voted by the meeting, Lord Aberdeen, and subsequently Lord Palmerston, have refused to pay anything, although there is still a chaplain, and he is still maintained by voluntary contributions of Churchmen.
Meanwhile it seemed clear that any Churchman had a right to require the elected treasurer to receive his subscription for any one of the purposes mentioned in the Act, and therefore subscriptions were tendered to him 'for the payment of the chaplain.' These, he refused, being a strong partizan of the complainants, on the pretext that the meeting had decided that no payment should be made to the chaplain, and in this palpably [197/198] illegal refusal he was supported by the consul and the secretary of state.
Time passed on however, and the usual meeting again took place in January, 1847. There was an evident objection to Churchmen qualifying themselves to vote at this meeting, for if the salary were successfully refused, they must still support their chaplain; while, on the other hand, if the complainants increased their strength by qualifying new members, and succeeded in refusing it, the money subscribed was still to be disposed by their own votes; and when they had (as they hoped) got rid of their present pastor, the accumulation would only remain in hand to supply future years, and prevent the necessity of their subscribing again. Besides this, the opponents of the Church had another great advantage. In order to qualify any British subject to vote, his subscription must be paid to the Treasurer. Now the treasurer was the creature and nominee of the complainants. It was therefore perfectly well known to the opponents of the Church how many voters were qualified to vote in defence of the Church, but the Churchmen knew nothing of the Strength of their adversaries until they met in the Consular residence. They came sanguine of success, for they were, notwithstanding all difficulties, twenty in number, and the majority of the year before was only thirteen in all (See 'Brief Statement,' page 5). To their astonishment, however, they found the room thronged with thirty-five voters, seventeen of whom at least must have qualified themselves, at the expense of 20l. each, for the express purpose of attending to vote against any application of the money subscribed for the maintenance of the British Church in Madeira, whether by themselves or their opponents. Lord Campden says:--
"And this (it is currently believed) by the aid of money obtained out of the island: persons well acquainted with the opponents considering that none of them were in such a position as to be able to provide the sum of £300 which was expended in qualifying them as voters."--P. 16. [Is it possible that this money was really, paid, or was there any collusion between the voters and the treasurer?]
Again, therefore, the payment of the chaplain and the necessary expenses of the church were refused, and to make this refusal more marked, the majority proceeded to vote a salary to a gardener for keeping the grounds round the church in order.
But all this would not remove Mr. Lowe, who held his office by the appointment of the Crown and the licence of the Bishop, although the meeting at the consul's house, and the foreign secretary had combined to deprive him of his salary. [198/199] The malcontents, therefore; tried another plan to effect their object. They held another meeting in May last, at which they addressed Her Majesty, 'to remove the cause of the dissatisfaction,' to remove the chaplain for not disobeying the orders of the Bishop of London, to which (to speak of no, higher obligation), he was bound to render obedience, by the express orders of Her Majesty's secretary of state, under which he was nominated to the chaplaincy. When this request was made, it is to be observed, that the chaplain held his office both by appointment from the Crown and by licence from the Bishop, and that no charge of any kind bad ever been brought against him, except those addressed to the Bishop of London, acid answered, as we have seen. The meetings which refused his salary, had, in each instance, refused to assign any reason for doing so. Their motive was obvious; for the meeting has no spiritual authority by the very regulations of Lord Palmerston himself, and the only pretext for these measures was, that Mr. Lowe had taken his directions, in matters purely spiritual, from the Bishop of London, not from the majority of the meeting.
What answer then was returned by the Government of England, to such a request from such parties? Did it receive 'any? Yes, strange to say, it was noticed. Then our readers will say, the secretary of state reproved those who ventured upon so immodest a request. Guess again. He replied, perhaps, that the Bishop had seen reason to withdraw Mr. Love's licence, and that Her Majesty had, therefore, recalled her appointment. That answer would have justified Lord Palmerston, no doubt, at the expense of the Bishop; but, alas, it could not be given. The licence stands good. Is it possible that Lord Palmerston displaced the chaplain in defiance of the Bishop? He did more, he defied the Bishop and the Queen, Church and State both. He wrote to the meeting, 'to elect a successor to Mr. Lowe'--the appointment of the Crown, and the licence of the Bishop remaining in force; and the appointment, even if the chaplaincy were vacant, being vested not in the meeting of subscribers, but in the Queen. Lord Campden proceeds:
'As if to extend these insults to the Church at large, this act is still further perpetrated without any previous communication with the Bishop of London, by virtue of whose licence Mr. Lowe continues, un-recalled, to exercise his duties as chaplain! without the slightest intimation given beforehand to the Bishop or Mr. Lowe! And the first knowledge that the Churchmen have of it is at a meeting called in the beginning of May last, when the dispatch was read ordering this shameful proceeding--a dispatch which had been made known to many of the opposition, but up to the time of the meeting carefully concealed from the Churchmen! To [199/200] suppose for a moment that the Foreign Office would ever hate made suds an egregious mistake, or offered such a deliberate insult to the Church, is beyond all belief
'We understand, that as soon as the knowledge of this extraordinary proceeding came to the ears of the Bishop, his Lordship was naturally very much surprised and annoyed, and protested to Lord Palmerston against it in the strongest manner--it was hoped with good effect, as Lord Palmerston was understood to have acknowledged that he could not decently appoint another chaplain, while the actual chaplain retained the Bishops licence; and the Bishop, as was to be supposed, will not withdraw the licence, as he sees no ground whatever for doing so, and considers Mr. Lowe to have been cruelly ill-used and persecuted. Thus stands the matter at present. The Foreign Office has used tyranny worse than ever any Pope did, and its fiat has one forth to appoint another chaplain. Meanwhile Mr. Lowe will not resign; he could not do so without yielding to the supremacy of the Foreign Office, and sacrificing all the great principles for which he has during the last three years been so nobly contending; and the Bishop does not withdraw his licence, but protests to the Government against such unbecoming proceedings on the part of the holders of power. May GOD defend the right. But Churchmen must be active, they must not slumber, they must be up and doing; they must give every support they can to this cause, which is the cause of the Church against tyranny; and justice may yet be obtained, and a victory won for the Church over her unscrupulous foes.
'The noble champion of this cause, the faithful Pastor of the English congregation in Madeira, must not be forgotten. He is fighting a glorious fight; and we trust, will meet with a due reward. He has sacrificed his personal comforts and convenience to his duty to the Church, his Bishop, and his flock. He remains in Madeira, to uphold the authority of the Bishop, the independence of Foreign Chaplains, the privileges of his faithful flock; and shall he be left unsupported? No! his cause is the cause of the Church at large; the principles of ecclesiastical discipline, and obedience to spiritual authority are at stake, and we do not doubt for a moment that all Churchmen in England will join in doing everything in their power, to support their Bishop in his lawful authority against the oppression of the State, to maintain in every way their good English chaplain in Madeira, and to vindicate the rightful and precious privileges of their brother Churchmen in that distant island.
'P.S.--Since the publication of this paper in the "Theologian and Ecclesiastic" of November, further accounts have been received of the continual aggressive proceedings of the malcontents. The consul bad been absent in England a great part of the summer and autumn, during which time the faction remained quiescent; but immediately upon his return to Madeira, in the beginning of November, he is understood to have held a consultation with the treasurer and trustees, the result of which was that these persons requested a meeting to be summoned, at which they proceeded to resolve, that as they had received no further communication from Lord Palmerston, they would proceed to the further consideration of his Lordship's dispatch of April last, and recommend the Rev. Thomas Kenworthy Brown, Vicar of Easeby, to be appointed chaplain! An amendment was moved, very properly stating that such an act would be a transgression of the Act of Parliament, which vested the appointment solely in the hands of the Sovereign, through one of the secretaries of state; and, also, that in the present instance the chaplaincy was not vacant, but held by Mr. Lowe, against whom there were not, nor could be, any charges preferred. Of course the tyrant [200/201] faction, having a majority in the meeting (that they are a small minority out of it everybody knows), carried their resolution. It was, however, considered by well-judging persons to be only a desperate move on their pert to retrieve the mistake they fell into at the meeting on the 6th of May, and a strong letter to the Bishop of London, condemning this resolution and the proceedings of the meeting, was immediately written, and signed by seventy-one communicants,--the number of communicants at Church just at that time being about seventy-eight. We grieve to say that much less decorum than usual was exhibited at this meeting, and that most unbecoming language was used against Mr. Lowe, and also against a Clergyman and four ladies present, to the great satisfaction of the majority;--and this was permitted, unchecked, it is feared, by the chairman. Sad, indeed, is the spectacle afforded by some of our fellow-countrymen abroad.
'It is worthy of serious attention, that Mr. Brown, recommended by the malcontents, as the person to be hereafter exposed to the treatment always experienced by his predecessors, is almost unknown to them: to the minority, indeed, he was unknown, it is believed, even by name, till he was proposed at the meeting. But it is well understood that he was recommended to the malcontents by a clergyman, who had made secret accusations to the Bishop of London against Mr. Lowe,--from which accusations, however, Mr. Lowe triumphantly vindicated himself.
'It can scarcely be supposed that Mr. Brown is cognizant of the true state of things, or he would surely hesitate before he commits himself to the false position of being the nominee of a party, and of endeavouring to supplant a brother clergyman in the allotted sphere of duty; neither can it be conceived that Mr. Brown would venture to go out to officiate without a licence from the Bishop, which he must be well aware he cannot obtain, the present chaplain being in possession of the Bishop of London's licence, by virtue of which he officiates as English Chaplain to Madeira, and for the withdrawal of which his lordship has stated that no grounds exist.
'It remains to be seen what notice this last resolution of the meeting will meet with at the Foreign Office, whether the feelings of the majority of the congregation, and the members of the Church will still be disregarded; and we trust that the propriety will be obvious of attending to the remonstrances of the Lord Bishop of London, who is, by Lord Palmerston's own regulations, as well as by his episcopal office, the appointed judge in these matters, and to whose advice in the appointment of foreign chaplains, it is the custom of the Governments to look and defer.'--Pp. 20--23.
We have carried on the narrative to the present moment, that the course of events might be more clear, but we must now mention several important circumstances in explanation, which we have hitherto omitted.
It would be a great error to suppose this to be a contest between a clergyman and his flock; such a thing may sometimes occur without blame to the pastor, but Mr. Lowe's trial, though severe, is of a much less painful kind. It is not a contest within the Church, but a persecution from without. Nothing is more impressed upon us in reading the narrative at the head of this article. The original complaint of December, 1844, which stirred up this strife, originated with a few (nine) [201/202] strangers; may they consider how they can answer to the Church and to God for the results of their step. With regard to the next complaint of the twenty-nine residents in the spring of 1845, Mr. Bewicke it seems informed the Bishop of London that the 'majority were dissenters.' This statement having been assailed, he replies:
'If I have misrepresented them I am sorry for it. Eleven of them held seats in their own names at another place of worship in the year 1845; others were either avowedly not members of the Church of England, (Correspondence, 66-71,) or so generally known as non-attendants at its services as to induce me in common charity to believe that they were attendants at some other place of worship. I was singularly unfortunate in the result of my inquiries at the time, if the majority of the twenty-nine complainants did not attend on a dissenting ministry.'--P. 4.
Lord Campden remarks that the complainants themselves, having occasion to speak to the Bishop of London, of the Church of England, call it neither the Chruch, nor even by a phrase common rather than reverend, our Church, but YOUR CHURCH, (See Correspondence, p. 51). The same gentlemen, as is also noticed by Lord Campden, complain of the custom of singing instead of reading the seraphic hymn in the Communion Service. Now we can imagine good Churchmen, who were, unfortunately, without taste for Church music, and as yet unaccustomed to it, annoyed at this practice; but it is certainly impossible that any one such individual should fail to know something of the words with which that glorious hymn is introduced in our Prayer Book. Alas for the complainants!--they send deliberately over some thousands of miles of salt water, a complaint to the Bishop that they are not allowed to say--'THEN with Angels and Archangels.' Could this mistake have been made by any one who had, even once, repeated the words?
To turn from these internal evidences--we find great complaints indeed of the Offertory; but, as the complaints proceed, the collections go on increasing. Lord Campden writes:--
'The Services and the weekly Communions were fully and satisfactorily attended, and, notwithstanding that the chapel only accommodates between four and five hundred persons, and that the influx of visitors of 1846 was very considerably less than in the previous year, and that during four or five months of summer and autumn the congregation is very small; upwards of £300 was collected during the year at the Offertory, being a larger amount than it had ever previously attained. This is a most gratifying circumstance, and a decisive proof of the genuine faith and piety of the great majority of the congregation.'--P. 16.
So strictly is it a persecution from without; neither is this persecution of a very scrupulous kind; for example:--
'An unworthy manoeuvre has been practised to give a deserted appearance to the chapel. Many pews are hired, and locked up, by the [202/203] malcontents, although every other seat in the chapel is filled, and many visitors are thus unable to procure sittings. One lady with a large family has been, during her temporary absence in England, deprived of those she has occupied for some years, although it was known that she wished to retain them: and she with her family are now left without seats. Another proof is thus added to the already numerous ones of the unscrupulous proceedings of the anti Church party.'--Lord Campden, p. 23.
Such has been the case throughout; it has been the anti-Church party against the chaplain and congregation. There was no fear of a 'secessio plebes;' if the opposing party had all seceded, they would have left behind them not solitude but only peace. Much less would the religious character or respectability of the congregation have suffered. At the great meeting of January, 1847, in which the malcontents amounted to thirty-six, they numbered only five communicants, the minority of twenty being communicants without a single exception. But this was not all. The leader of the majority on that day was a professed Socinian, and the supporters of the Church could not but feel that they gained by the fact, for he was infinitely superior in propriety of behaviour to many of those who, because they belonged to no other religious society, called themselves, by courtesy, Churchmen. We have seen that the letter to the Bishop of London, condemning the last step of the majority in the pretended election of Mr. Brown, has just been signed by seventy-one communicants out of seventy-eight. [The number at that moment; it is often much greater, but of course varies considerably, with the increase or diminution of the number of strangers in the island.]
But if there are few communicants among the majority, there are abundance of other elements of strength, which are quite wanting among the supporters of the chaplain; of the thirty-six, Lord Campden (who was present,) writes: 'Most were Dissenters of various denominations, Socinians, Presbyterians, Wesleyans, &c.; others, infidels, profligates, bankrupts (formerly outlawed,) &c.; and some professing members of the Church, who never attend service, others who attend but rarely.'--P. 16.
The consul, indeed, ruled every point as was desired by the opponents of the Church, even rejecting, at the vote of the majority, two protests tendered by the Church party, although he had expressed his own opinion that, according to precedent, a protest should be entered on the minutes. But then the consul is a Presbyterian. The secretary of state (Lord Aberdeen) approved of the proceedings of the consul and his majority, but [203/204] then his Lordship belongs to the same sect. It must be admitted that, for whatever reason, the Churchmen of Madeira and their chaplain have not, to use a common phrase, 'Christians of all denominations,' on their side. This may however be boasted by the complainants. For one of those who came before the Bishop of London to complain of practices, which though innocent in themselves, yet shocked their weak nerves, especially in these critical times, b their frightful proximity to the practices of the Roman Church--one of these pure and zealous Protestants, who has pursued Mr. Lowe through every meeting of the Church Committee, and every appeal to the Foreign Office and the press--belonged (will our readers believe it?) to the Church of Rome. It hardly seems to have been an idle vaunt of the Irish Reformation Society orator, who declared he would go to Rome, and make the Pope himself cry 'No Popery.'
From such a body it is not wonderful that the theology of the English Church obtains small favour. But the clerical members of the party at least should learn prudence from the unhappy fate of poor Mr. Salwey --we beg his pardon, 'The Rev. T. Salwey, of Oswestry, Salop;' this gentleman, it seems, heard doctrines in Mr. Lowe's preaching so shocking, that he felt it his duty to write to the foreign secretary requesting that his name might be withdrawn from the protest sent to him against the proceedings of the assailants. For the same reason it seems that he supplied to the Presbyterian consul, a copy of a private letter addressed to him by a brother clergyman to dissuade him from that step, and which expressed a low estimate of the theological qualifications of the malcontent party. The letter thus supplied to the consul was soon published by the malcontents, and this led to a pamphlet, named at the head of our article, 'Correspondence between the Rev. T. Salwey, &c.,' in which the consul, who is most anxious to appear neuter, certainly does not shine. But our present affair is with Mr. Salwey, he seems to have been impelled to these somewhat unusual steps by the horror with which he regarded Mr. Lowe's doctrines, which was so strong as to lead him even to write to Lord Aberdeen that he ' differed conscientiously from the chaplain in his religious views.' When these expressions were published, Mr. Lowe requested an explanation, and was assured that they referred not to any vague reports, but only to the statements which he had himself heard him make from the pulpit. The reply is too good not to be laid before our readers:
'Madeira, June 14, 1847.
'Dear Sir,--I am much obliged for the kind explanation you have sent me of your meaning in attributing to me 'peculiar views' at variance with your own; for you appear to have intended no reproach by this expression. At the same time, considering that such difference seems not only to have [204/205] influenced you in desiring to erase your signature from a paper to which you had affixed it, but to have possessed sufficient consequence to be brought forward publicly before the Earl of Aberdeen in his official capacity, in justification of requesting the withdrawal of your signature, I am afraid that any third person will still expect some more complete explanation of the real state or merits of the case than you have afforded, or had it in your power to afford.
'I would not be supposed to seek to draw the bonds of agreement in matters of opinion closer than the Church has drawn them; but it is a question which may still, I fear, be thought not fully settled by your letter. Are not your expressions, coupled with actions so remarkable, calculated to convey to most minds an idea of peculiarity of views in points of doctrine beyond such allowed or authorized limits?
'It is therefore most satisfactory to have your declaration that 'what you meant by my peculiar views is simply what you heard me preach;' and, again, that 'you only know my views by my preaching;' for this enables me to satisfy yourself and all men, not only that such peculiarity is really, as your letter intimates, and so far as I am concerned, irrespective of all points of established faith or doctrine, but also that it exists, after all; rather on your side than on mine.
'Before your letter reached me I feared you had been led into misapprehension by some false report or exaggeration, which it might have been as unpleasant to trace to its originators as difficult to refute. I am the more thankful, therefore, to find that the matter rests on ground so narrow, dear, and easy to approach.
'Previous to your arrival, impressed by local circumstances strongly with the importance of avoiding all pretext for agitation or excitement in this place, I resolved for a season to have recourse to the works of some popular and well-known standard writer in our Church, of an age and stamp at once removed from all suspicion of connexion with the controversies of the present day, and of authority above cavil or impeachment. Such an author and divine was Bishop Beveridge, who had the further recommendation of being also a well-known powerful opponent of all Romanizing views and doctrines, and of being held in special favour by the extreme Puritan, or so-called Evangelical party, in our Church.
'In proof of the reasonableness, or, Indeed, the necessity, of my seeking some such safeguard against ignorance and prejudice, you will doubtless smile to hear that I was gravely charged, the very winter you were in Madeira, by a clergyman considered to be of that party, with preaching, in two sermons [Mr. Lowe has omitted a passage here, as it was taken from a private letter of this clergyman; but, as the story is current in Madeira, we may as well state that the charge was that the two sermons contained 'views' different from those of the venerable Beveridge.--Lord Campden, p. 24.] * * * * * * * those two very sermons being actually Bishop Beveridge's!
'I cannot, therefore, but rejoice again to claim the shelter of a name so venerable, for any supposed peculiarity of views attributed to me more generally by yourself. For it is certain that for every one of the sermons preached by me during your stay in Madeira, and on which your charge against me rests, Bishop Beveridge is entirely responsible. All the sermons which you heard me preach were not mine, but his. What you dissented from were his views, his words, and not peculiarly mice.
'Instead, therefore, of fixing upon me any personal peculiarity of views, your allegation resolves itself into a statement of a difference of views between yourself and Bishop Beveridge, upon which I need not enter; for [205/206] I heartily respond to your apparent inclination to avoid all unnecessary extension of this correspondence.
I remain therefore,
'Dear Sir, yours very truly,
(Signed) R. T. LOWE.
The Rev. T. Salwey.
It would seem that the course taken by the majority has as little support in the law of England as in the eternal principles of truth, and justice, and charity; the 'consul, indeed, and the secretary of state have hitherto supported their line against chaplain, bishop, and law. But common sense reclaims against these proceedings, and the law it seems speaks the same language:--
'A legal opinion was subsequently obtained as to the illegality of these resolutions, the opinion of an eminent counsel being that the meeting was constituted for the purpose of carrying into execution the objects of the Act regulating the affairs of British Churches abroad, and therefore not justified in withholding the chaplain's salary, such an act being in direct contravention of the law which provides for--I. The proper support of the chaplain--2. The due and proper maintenance of Divine Service--3. The expenses of the burial-ground--4. The interment of British subjects. Now, if the meeting have power to render null one portion of the Act, they have power to render null any other portion,--for instance, to forbid the interment of British subjects--which is manifestly absurd. The meeting have therefore no right to act as they do, in opposition to the Act of Parliament; and Lords Aberdeen and Palmerston are open to the charge of acting illegally in sanctioning the resolutions of the meeting.'--Lord Campden, p. 13.
The question seems exactly similar to that lately decided in England, by which it was settled that vestries cannot refuse to make necessary rates for the repair of the parish church; the vestry being a body legally constituted to carry the law into effect, not to defeat its provisions. So clearly does this case come under the principle of that decision, that the meeting itself could not exist if there was no chaplain. It is only in ports and places where there is a chaplain supported, &c., that the Act can be put in force at all. It would seem then that if the minority had not continued to contribute to the support of Mr. Lowe, the majority would have lost their right to meet and vote under the Act. But if Mr. Lowe is still chaplain, and is supported, as we have seen, by voluntary subscriptions, then there is no pretence for the wrong which the Foreign Office has committed in refusing the usual assistance towards his maintenance.
Still more evidently illegal was the other decision of the consul and the secretary of state, that the treasurer was justified in refusing subscriptions offered for the support of the chaplain, because the meeting had decided against allowing him any salary. Our readers will find in page 15 of Lord Campden's pamphlet, that eminent legal opinions have been given upon this point. But indeed no opinion was needed: for when the Act expressly [206/207] allows subscriptions for the purposes mentioned, or any of them, nothing but the extreme of prejudice could lead to the opinion that the treasurer could refuse to receive them for one of these purposes, because it chanced to be distasteful to the majority of the last 'general meeting.'
To hasten over this part of the subject, if the majority of a meeting be allowed to act as the Madeira meeting has hitherto acted, it is no longer true that the chaplain holds his office during her Majesty's pleasure. The majority of a general meeting may prevent his receiving the allowance given by her Majesty herself, even although the whole body of the communicants and of the congregation highly prize his services, and although nine-tenths of the subscribers are of the same opinion. A very small proportion only of the subscribers can have votes in the general meeting, and none of the poorer classes, so that the bounty of the Crown, the wishes of the congregation, and the intention of the subscribers, may alike be frustrated by the perverseness of two or three subscribers who may be members of the general meeting, on a mere money qualification, without being members of the English Church at all. It is vain to say that no spiritual authority is entrusted to this general meeting, if its members are allowed, as in the present instance, on grounds purely spiritual, not only to withhold from the chaplain their own subscriptions, but to prevent his receiving the allowance given by the Crown, and thus, perhaps, (in many instances, if not in this,) to enforce his resignation.
We have shown, we think, that the Act of Parliament itself is radically unjust and indefensible, because it entrusts the management of Church affairs to a body, all of whom ma4 be, and many actually are, aliens from the Church; and because it fails to secure to the foreign chaplains that independence which it is the character of our Church to give to every incumbent, and in a great degree to every curate. It leaves them removable by the Crown, although still holding the unrevoked licence of the diocesan. This is so contrary to all Church principles as to be incapable of defence even for a moment; and thus far the law clearly needs amendment. Next, we have seen, that as it has been actually administered by the Foreign Office, it has been stretched against its evident meaning, so as to give to a tyrant majority power, even in matters spiritual, over chaplain, bishop, and Crown itself, even though that majority be altogether composed of Dissenters. It seems to follow, clearly, that some alteration of the law is immediately necessary, which shall prevent any persons, not bona fide Churchmen, from interfering with the affairs of the Church; shall secure to the chaplains, once appointed, the independence [207/208] of their office by making them irremovable except by the revocation of their licence, and which shall declare for all future time the illegality of any vote on the part of the general meeting, by which the salary of the chaplain shall be stopped, or the offerings of any Churchman for his support refused. [This cannot be any infringement of those rights of the Crown of which the modern Whigs are so laudably jealous; for at this moment every holder of a Crown living, of a bishopric or a deanery, is in the same predicament; appointed by the Crown, but holding his office, not during pleasure, but during good behaviour. It was the boast of the reign of George III. that the judges were then put upon this footing; let the rendering the same justice to the foreign Chaplains be an ornament of the reign of his grand-daughter. Eminently does justice demand this when the Foreign Secretary may be, nay, so lately has been, a member of a hostile Beet, and when, for all we know, he may soon be a Jew. It is plainly monstrous, that clergymen holding the licence of the Bishop, should be removable by such an authority. Meanwhile, if the Foreign Moe makes a point of retaining the power of stopping at any time the government allowance, let it be so; we will not contend about money, but let not the spiritual office--the pastoral relation--depend on the will of secular Authorities who may often not even be Churchmen.] Let it be observed, We allow every one free liberty to subscribe or not as he pleases, we only refuse him (what we are sure the existing laws already refuse) the power of subscribing to the fund raised for the support of the chaplain, in order that he may be qualified to divert from his support both his own subscription and that of others.
But Churchmen in England must be alert in defence of their brethren in Madeira; 'If one member suffer, all the members suffer with it;'--the independence of the Church at home is compromised, if outrages such as those which it has been our duty to detail, are permitted to pass unchecked abroad. It is to the Church at home that the Churchmen of Madeira are looking for sympathy, nay, for common justice. From the Foreign Office, they have but too clearly learned, they must expect neither one or the other. This may be clear to our readers from the facts we have already stated, but we have not yet mentioned the worst and meanest. Mr. Lowe's salary for the year 1845 was voted by the general meeting, and paid by the treasurer; yet (if we are not misinformed) the half due to him from the Treasury for that year has been stopped, as well as for those years in which the meeting has refused their contribution. If this is, as we fear, correct, it is indeed deeply disgraceful to the administration of the Foreign Office.
But the Churchmen of Madeira will not call in vain upon their brethren at home. If they are unrepresented in the British Parliament, we are not, and we cannot for shame leave the government of England to perpetrate wrongs like these. If, any where in the wide circle of the globe, there be a portion of the Anglican Church which justly claims our sympathy and regard, [208/209] that portion is the English factory of Madeira. Look to either of its constituent parts, the residents and the visitors, and say where shall we find men more worthy of our highest consideration.
Among the residents who have stood firm to the Church and their pastor are found the names of all the principal British merchants of Funchal, whose integrity, whose honour, whose hospitality, have for so many years adorned the English name. There are among those who have remained faithful,--we speak from personal knowledge, and an intimate acquaintance with their way of life during a protracted stay in England,--men whom it is a credit to the English Church to have brought up and to have retained under such auspices as those which preceded Mr. Lowe's appointment; whose dignified and serene consistency in practical works, whose conduct of their families, whose deep and regular appreciation of the means of grace, whose acquaintance with the principles of our Church, and whose whole life and conversation place them on the same standard with the very choicest of the English laity? Shall they be given up, bound, as we may say, hand and foot, into the power of the unhappy clique of all denominations which has accidentally obtained a majority in the parliamentary general meeting?--forbid it, justice--forbid it, shame. These men are they who built the English Church at Madeira, before the Act of Parliament, which is now used for their oppression, had been framed--before any allowance had been made by government, they supported the incumbent of that Church so liberally that his income (as Lord Campden observes) was larger when they supplied the whole than it has been since the Treasury has contributed half. Repeal the act, if you will--take away the aid of government if you think it can be done decently; but free the British merchants of Madeira from the odious tyranny which, under cover of that act, is now imposed upon them. Let them and their children enjoy the ministrations of that Church which they have founded and maintained, and which they so highly value.
Surely it were preposterous to suppose that even a temporary and ignominious peace could be purchased by the sacrifice of Mr. Lowe to his assailants. Should the Foreign Office be so ill advised as to throw itself openly into the arms of that faction, it has, indeed, power, under the present unecclesiastical law, to deprive Mr. Lowe of his post, in open insult to the authority of the Bishop of London, and through him of the Church. But does the government of England really know so very little of the temper of Englishmen as to dream that the merchants of Funchal will submit to an outrage like this? They will know well, that on their side is right and justice, and the authority of the Church; on the other, a mob of all sects, and the parliamentary tyranny [209/210] of the Foreign Office. It may be that Lord Palmerston has legal power to put the nominee of the Roman Catholics, and Presbyterians, and Socinians, and No-religionists of Funchal into legal possession of the walls built by the Churchmen of Madeira for the place where they and their children might worship God. But does he dream that he can transfer the souls of men by such a proceeding? Let him observe what its religious and ecclesiastical effect will be. The Bishop will be bound more than ever to maintain the rights of the Church by continuing the licence of Mr. Lowe, and refusing to license Mr. Brown. The congregation, which has stood faithful to its pastor, will still be the assembly of the English Church in Madeira, under whatever roof it may assemble. The supporters of Mr. Brown will be the Church of the Foreign Office--the Church of Viscount Palmerston. Often, in the early ages, did the Church witness such scenes, but can it be the desire of a British Government to renew them? and can Lord Palmerston think, that, if he dares to put the insult upon the principal merchants of Madeira who are found on the side of the Church, they will be so dastardly as to give up their rights, their pastor, their Church, and their consciences, in submission to his decree? No, they have stood firm hitherto, and they will stand firm still; and, if scandal and schism ensue, they who, by abuse of human laws, eject a faithful pastor, whose authority the Church refuses to terminate, must alone bear the responsibility; and should this evil day arrive (which we will not anticipate), does Lord Palmerston doubt that the Churchmen of England will be able and willing to aid their brethren, the Churchmen of Madeira, in maintaining their pastor, even without the aid of the Treasury,?
And what shall we say of the visitors? The Foreign Office, it seems, considers that they have no right to interfere in the question; it goes for nothing that the Act of Parliament recognises their right; this goes for nothing when the powers given by Parliament are used for the Church and not to her injury. But let us hear one of themselves.
'It is scarcely necessary to tell you,' (writes Mr. Bewicke) 'that all members of the Church of England have an equal interest in the pare and simple celebration of the services of the Church of England;' and if there is any difference in the permanence of this interest, as far as regards the services performed in this place, it must be remembered, that the greater part of the fluctuating portion of our fellow-countrymen come here with declining health, possibly after a few short months to be laid amid the crowded graves of the English cemetery. There were many who anticipated this fate; for myself, it is by the mercy of God alone I have been preserved. Can any persons have a more permanent interest in sacred things than those who are now standing on the verge of the grave? Can any need more the holy comforts of our religion than those who sit by the [210/211] tombs which have newly closed upon the dearest objects of their earthly affections?'--P. 8.
Yes indeed, no pecuniary interest can be compared to that of a devout Churchman, who, after having lived perhaps years of engrossing secular occupation in England, and being now by the hand of Providence laid aside from worldly business either for life or even for some months, resorts to Madeira, not of choice but necessity, and finds that to Mr. Lowe, under God, and to those who have supported him in this struggle, he owes it, that he may receive the Bread of life weekly instead of four times in the year or less--that he may daily and twice in the day join with a congregation of his brethren in the prayers of the Church, instead of once in seven days hearing part of them read by the chaplain and responded to by a single clerk. [Mr. Bewicke also shows, that even in a pecuniary point of view the visitors deserve attention; as the residents have fixed the rate of pew rents so much higher for a visitor than for a resident, that in 1844, 288 seats occupied by permanent residents paid 476 dollars, while 159 seats occupied by temporary residents paid 736. Mr. Bewicke, p. 8, mentions that this was the case at Madeira.]
And interests like these, which run on into eternity, which have already been experienced at the death-beds of many scores in the fourteen years of Mr. Lowe's ministration, and have made their sojourn in Madeira a time of spiritual refreshment to as many more probably, who would else have found it a dry and sandy desert; these interests are so contemptible in the eyes of the Foreign Secretary, that he thinks it absolutely unbecoming for those who feel them to put their votes in competition with those of Roman Catholics, or Presbyterians, or Socinians, or men who frequent no worship at all save that of Mammon, because these, forsooth, 'are permanent residents!' Is it, then, certain and unquestionable that money is so much more precious than souls, --time so much more permanent than eternity?
We have no doubt that the subject of these visitors is a sore one to the persecutors of the Churchmen at Madeira, and of their faithful chaplain. Not that they are unwilling to make them pay for the support of the Church; as we have already seen, that they do not find objectionable; but there they would have them stop: therefore they exclude them by hiring pews and keeping them locked (can this be legal?) and would prevent their seeing and repeating in England the course of events. For men that would do deeds of darkness in a corner, it is hard that every year should bring earnest, devout, and liberal Churchmen, many of them sick, and feeling doubly the blessings which the Church offers them, to see and report their evil deeds. Such a visitor as Lord Campden indeed might be welcome enough, but that his report of their deeds in the pamphlet before us is galling in [211/212] proportion to the weight of his character and station. It is impossible not to remember, in writing these lines, the august Lady who is now seeking health in Madeira. May her visit there be a blessing, as has been the case wherever she has sojourned, to herself and those among whom she is dwelling! We doubt not that it will be so; that the Churchmen of Madeira will have cause to remember her visit with gratitude, and that the reports of visitors will no longer be treated with contempt, even by the Foreign Office, when the Queen Dowager of England has been numbered among them.