The Later Non-Jurors by Henry Broxap. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1924) transcribed by Mr Thomas J W Mason
The Later stages of the movement which began at the Revolution in 1688 have now been fully related. The question remains, What were the permanent results? Or, if the word permanent be deemed to be inapplicable to the shifting sands of human thought, there still remains for consideration the question of the influence which was exercised by the Non-Jurors upon the thought of the generation which succeeded them. It is proposed to answer this question in the present chapter, and it may not be unnecessary to emphasize the fact that in these pages the sole concern has been with the results of historical research. It will follow, therefore, that the proposed summary must be conceived and stated in strict harmony with the historical standpoint, which has been adopted throughout the whole of this book. Estimates of political, social and religious movements are frequently made with the purpose of establishing some theory held by the author, or of showing the weakness of some position which the writer regards as dangerous or reactionary. It is not necessary to pronounce judgement upon efforts of this kind, which are frankly and obviously made with the purpose of propagating what the writer believes to be the truth. There is indeed no gain in hiding differences of interpretation under an insincere and superficial profession of general agreement, and it is much better that men of strong convictions should make clear to the world the historical basis on which they believe that such convictions rest. There is, however, much to be said in favour of a survey of movements of human thought and action composed upon a strictly historical plan and which from its very nature precludes the passing of judgement favourable or adverse upon the beliefs and motives of the principal figures of the movement under review. It is now proposed to show some of the results of the strange and obscure movement of the Non-Jurors which may illuminate their influence on the generation which followed them. Few of the facts which are to be related can be claimed as new, but it is hoped that they are set in a new order and relationship.
It is necessary, first of all, to recall the principles for which the Non-Jurors stood. To the great majority of readers probably the word Non-Jurors connotes that body of bishops, clergy and laity who adhered to the cause of the Stuarts and were strongly opposed to the Hanoverian succession. So far as it goes, this is perfectly correct, but it does not go very far, and it may be noted in passing that personal devotion to the Stuarts was far more widely spread in Scotland than in England. "Bonnie Prince Charlie" did not mean exactly the same to the southerners as to those born on the north side of the border. If the conception of the principles of the Non-Jurors be limited to their belief in the claims of the House of Stuart, the question of any permanent result of the movement would not arise at all. Jacobitism was practically extinct before the organized movement came to an end. Bishops Gordon and Forbes maintained a good show of Jacobite fervour, but even in their days it may be suspected that there was a certain amount of whistling to keep the spirits up.
The point has, however, been sufficiently stressed that political principles were not the most powerful motives of the Non-Jurors. They stood for the belief in the Church as a distinct independent, spiritual society and in accordance with this belief, the Sacraments of the Church were regarded from a standpoint which was very different from that adopted by those who saw in the Church a creature and dependency of the State. An excellent summary of the position adopted by the Non-Jurors is given by the Rev. Thomas Bowdler, in later years Prebendary of St Paul's, who may be described as a "hereditary" Non-Juror and who has some claim to be called the last representative of the movement. It is to be found in his Memoir of his father, John Bowdler, of whom some account has been given in the last chapter.
Those with whom the name took its rise (writes Mr Bowdler) lived at one of the most important periods of our history and the questions on which they were called upon to decide were of that difficult and delicate nature which demanded great knowledge of fundamental principles. great accuracy of discrimination and great foresight as to their practical consequences. They had to distinguish and to establish by their conduct the distinction between the allegiance which was due to the sovereign and the higher authority of Him by whom kings reign.
These cautious and balanced words of Mr Bowdler are a reliable summary of the basis on which the Non-Jurors built their belief in the "Independency of the Church."
A further quotation from the same memoir may illustrate the conception of the Sacraments held by the Non-Jurors and of the contrast between their belief and that commonly held in the first half of the eighteenth century.
There was in the English Church probably some desire to abandon differences of opinion, some leaning towards principles and practices which were dissentient from those of the Church of England, and much loose opinion on such subjects as those of Occasional Conformity, Absolution, Confirmation, and the particular character and authority of the priesthood. The sentiments held by Bishop Hoadly were likely to be prevalent; who scrupled not to designate the regular and uninterrupted succession of ministers, authoritative benedictions, absolutions and excommunications, as no more than vain words, niceties, trifles and dreams.... The difference of opinion which existed between the Non-Jurors and their brethren of the Established Church may be illustrated by the subject of the Holy Eucharist. Among the latter it began to be considered as merely a commemorative ceremony without any particular blessing attached to it... In the words of the bishop who has lately been mentioned, "it is only a remembrance of Christ without any particular privileges annexed to the partaking worthily; we do not thereby partake of the benefit of remission of our past sins. Such a nation is no better than a dream"... it is not meant that the opinions of Bishop Hoadly prevailed generally among the clergy of that day; but there was probably a leaning towards them which was, in its consequences, highly pernicious. The holy ordinance was less honoured than it had formerly been; its true character was in some degree forgotten... The attention of the Non-Jurors on the contrary was greatly devoted to this Sacrament; they referred themselves to the practice of the Primitive Church as far as it could be ascertained or more properly perhaps to the three points of antiquity, universality and consent.
The question that now demands solution may be thus stated. By what methods was this conception of the Church and Sacrament, the most powerful and enduring sentiment of the Non-Jurors handed down to the next generation, and to what extent may the influence of the Non-Jurors be traced to the period of the beginning of the Oxford Movement? The matter may be regarded under two heads. There is first the personal influence of those who came into the National Communion many years before the disappearance of the separate organization of the Non-Jurors, together with those who, as a matter of course, communicated in the parish churches after the repudiation of Jacobitism by the Scottish Episcopalians. There is no reason to doubt that for many years before the death of Bishop Gordon the younger men among them "wearied of their isolation." Many were not prepared to wait for the "certain event" to which Nicholas Brett referred in his pamphlet which so sadly grieved his Jacobite friends and superiors. The stories of Tractarian leaders and their friends who learned their doctrine of the Church from ancestors who had been actual Non-Jurors are a sufficient testimony to the personal influence which was exercised by those who even in the lifetime of Bishop Gordon saw no reason to continue their separation form the English Church. There is a very definite and notable example of the exercise of such influence upon the thought and life of his day in the person of john Bowdler. there is no reason to believe that Bowdler forsook the Non-Jurors communion before the death of Bishop Gordon, although it is probably that in the dispute between his father and Nicholas Brett he would favour the cause of the latter, however much he might have found it a matter of duty and policy to suppress his opinions. The fact of his attendance on Bishop Gordon in his last illness has been already mentioned. It is not known whether he was one of "very few who continued in separation" after the death of Bishop Gordon during the ten years which elapsed before the acceptance of the claims of the Hanoverians by the Scottish bishops. The account given by his son and biographer is sufficiently clear and explicit:
Mr Bowdler, one of whose leading maxims in life was contained in the word Moderation, while he admitted the principles of the Non-Jurors and held their memory in great veneration, was never disposed to follow them to the extent to which some of them carried their principles; he communicated conscientiously with the Established Church and continued throughout life devoted to its service; but he retained throughout life a solemn feeling of regard for the memory of those whom he had loved and honoured; he exercised charity to some poor members of Mr Gordon's congregation and his regard for the Non-Jurors had no small influence in producing the strong interest which he afterwards took on behalf of those who were similarly situated in Scotland.
John Bowdler was able to retire from his professional life on the death of his father in 1785, and devoted the remainder of his life to the service of the Church of which he had now become a wholehearted adherent. He was one of the founders of the Church Building Society and took an active part in many of the movements of the day. The influence of his early training is shown in the defence which he undertook of Archdeacon Charles Daubeney's Guide to the Church, in opposition to Sir R. Hall's Apology for Brotherly Love.
In his later years Bowdler became in some sense the centre of a group of friend whose story illustrates another and perhaps more powerful method by which the influence of the Non-Jurors was handed on to the new age. The leaders of the movement in their lifetime had held sway over the minds of many who were not to be reckoned as members of the small and narrow communion of Dr Hickes, Mr Collier, Mr Spinckes or Dr Deacon. It has been indicated throughout this book that the Non-Jurors appealed by their writings to a much larger audience than the few devoted spirits who assembled week by week in the little private chapels, and it necessary to lay fresh emphasis on this point in attempting to estimate the extent to which the movement may be said to have had any result, after it ceased to possess an outward and visible form. There are some whose contribution to the thought of their time has perhaps not been sufficiently estimated, and who, in every case, were debtors to the writings of the Non-Jurors. There may be taken, as the first examples, george horne (1730-1792), President of Magdalen College, Oxford, Bishop of Norwich, and william jones (1726-1800) Vicar of Nayland, with which place his name is always associated. The two men formed an acquaintance at University College, Oxford, and went together through various stages of experience, some of which have a real connection with the subject of this book. George Watson, Fellow of university College, was one of the best exponents of the system which was named after John Hutchinson, a North of England layman, and was the means of arousing in Horne and Jones a real and lively interest in all that concerns religion, far in advance of the ordinary level of the day. Whatever may be thought of the system connected with the name of Hutchinson, it must be admitted that the work by which Hornes memory is preserved, A Commentary on the Psalms, shows distinct signs of the teaching of George Watson in so far that the writer abandoned the mechanical interpretation of Scripture which prevailed at that time. For the present purpose, however, there is to be noted the reply, which was in some sense the joint work of the two friends, to an Essay on the Spirit published in 1750 by Dr Clayton, Bishop of Clogher. The tone of this essay was certainly Arian, and it was designed to prepare the way for suitable alterations in the Liturgy. It was at Hornes request that Jones undertook to answer the bishop. Jones was at that time curate in the parish of Finedon, Northamptonshire, the rector of which, Sir John Dolben, Bart., possessed a library "stocked with oldfashioned divinity." The Essay and the Reply which was published in 1753 are not of any particular interest; they have indeed both perished, but it is of some importance to know what Jones and Horne had discovered in the rectors library. They seem to have begun with the works of Charles Leslie, and to have gone on to those of Hickes, whose writings displayed to them certain aspects of Christian antiquity of which they had had little or no previous knowledge. A few words of comment made by Gorge Horne will illustrate the influence exercised on the two friends by the study of the works of Bishop Hickes:
He shows the greatest knowledge of Primitive antiquity, of Fathers, Councils and the Constitution and Discipline of the Church in the first and purest ages of it. This kind of learning is of much greater value and consequence than many now apprehend. Much I am sure is done by the cementing bond of the Spirit which unites Christians to their Head and to one another and makes them consider themselves as members of the same body, that is as a Church as a fold of sheep, not as straggling individuals. What I see of this in a certain class if writers determines me to look into that affair.
A few lines from an Essay on the church, which Jones composed when he was curate of Nayland, will illustrate the point that he had by this time thoroughly assimilated that form of Christian doctrine which is associated with the name of George Hickes and all his successors in the Non-Juror Movement:
I am (writes Jones) a Curate in a country parish, who make it my business and have found it my pleasure to teach the children of my people privately in my own house and publicly in the Church...the Catechism of the Church of England, though a most excellent summary of the Christian Doctrine, is deficient in one point, viz. the constitution of the Church of Christ; the knowledge of which in a certain degree is necessary to that charity which is the end of the commandment and for want of which so many are drawn away from the Church who would certainly have remained with it if they had known what it is.
With Horne and Jones goes William Stevens (1732-187), cousin of bishop Horne and author of a life of Jones of Nayland. Stevens was a layman of a type which was not more common in the eighteenth century than in the present day. In his youth he devoted much of his leisure to the study of Hebrew and Greek in order that he might read the Holy Scriptures in the original tongues. He was a diligent student of Andrewes, Jeremy Taylor and Hickes, all of whom he described as "fathers of our Church and masters in the great art of holy living." A brief note by Archdeacon Edward Churton, in his Life of Joshua Watson, records:
There was in Stevens a spirit of primitive piety, such as was cherished in the hearts and homes of many sincere and zealous members of the Church of England in the last century and may still be studied in the well worn manuals of private devotion complied chiefly by the Non-Juring divines of that period.
Stevens became auditor of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and treasurer of Queen Annes Bounty. In his later years he was closely connected with John Bowdler in assisting the bishops in Scotland, especially at the time of their application for the removal of the disabilities imposed upon them by the civil power. When the necessary Bill was introduced into Parliament the statement was made that certain men in high places did not know who the Scottish bishops and clergy were, and the Committee of which Stevens was a member, which took charge of the Bill, found it a matter of great difficulty to impart the information to those in whose hands the ultimate decision lay. From the intimate friendship which existed between Stevens and Bowdler and the great and practical interest which the two friends took in the fortunes of the Episcopal Church of Scotland, it has been thought that Stevens was formerly a member of Bishop Gordons congregation, but no positive proof of this statement can be obtained. Stevens died suddenly in the house of John Bowdler in 1807.
Into the series come the names of two men of whom little has been noted by previous writers, but who were certainly not without influence upon the thought of their own day. Concerning robert hamilton, ll.d., who was instituted on the 29th November 1797 to the living of St Olave, Jewry (which benefice he appears to have held till his death in 1833), Dean Church records: "Dr Robert Hamilton had belonged to a Nonconformist family but had taken Orders on the principles of the Non-Jurors as to the doctrine of the Sacraments and Episcopacy and shared devotion to the writings of Bishop Hickes. He had a considerable influence over one or two men who have a place in this series, and in this way Hamilton himself may be said to form a link in the connection between the religious thought of the eighteen and nineteenth centuries.
thomas sikes (1766-1834) is somewhat better known. He was the son of Thomas Sikes, Banker, of Mansion House Street in the City of London, who had married a sister of Archdeacon Charles Daubeney. By the marriage of his sister to Joshua Watson, Sikes became intimately connected with another group of religious leaders who will form the next series. He matriculated at Oxford from St Edmund Hall, but finding the prevalent Evangelical atmosphere of that society uncongenial, he removed to Pembroke College and took his B.A. degree in 1788. The name of Sikes is always associated with Guilsborough, a small village in Northamptonshire of which parish he became rector and was regarded as an "advanced" churchman according to the standard of the day. In his emphasis on the need for a revival of teaching concerning the constitution of the Church, Sikes followed Jones of Nayland, and seems to have had a very clear foresight of the difficulties which would beset those who should lead the revival which he thought to be imminent. He was a great student of Thorndike, Bull and Beveridge, a point which is worth noting in view of the danger of ignoring the influence of the earlier Anglican divines, but for the present purpose Sikes is of interest as being a strong admirer of the Non-Jurors, as a letter written by W.J. Copeland on the 3rd May 1836 witnesses:
Good Dr Hamilton loved the Non-Jurors and excellent Mr Sikes gave me the works of one of the most learned of a deeply learned body, for such they were, They both seemed half to foresee what was coming, both knew well that no other principles are sound but those which they acted on and that none else could carry the church through troublous times and both well knew also that those who should espouse the same cause would not have much thanks for espousing it..
After Thomas Sikes comes another group of thinkers and workers who are represented by the names of j.j. watson, joshua watson and h.h. norris. John Watson, father of the two brothers James and Joshua, was at school with Jonathan Boucher, whose name is closely connected with the consecration of Dr Seabury. Boucher was rector of three charges in Maryland before the American War of Independence and from 1785 to 1804 was vicar of Epsom. John James Watson (1767-1839) became curate to Boucher and afterwards rector of Clapton and Archdeacon of St Albans. Joshua Watson (1771-1853) did not take Holy Orders and if he had lived in the present age, it is possible that he might have been styled an "ecclesiastically-minded" layman. Watson was, as a matter of fact, a layman of a type of which any religious communion might be proud. In 1811, he took an active part in the foundation of the National Society, and in the year 1814, in conjunction with H.H. Norris, was responsible for the new series of the British Critic, which had begun originally in 1793 by Jones of Nayland and others. The house which Joshua Watson had taken in his brothers parish became the headquarters of the "Clapton phalanx," which might be more accurately described as the old High Church Party who had built up their system of belief not, of course, exclusively but still very largely on the foundation of the teaching of Hickes and other leaders among the Non-Jurors. W.J. Copeland, in an unpublished account of the rise of the Oxford Movement, mentions a letter he received from Joshua Watson in which the writer said that he had picked up the two volumes of Hickes Priesthood, "not accidentally, say rather providentially, for I will be open with you, no other principle than that advocated in that book will carry us through that which is coming."
Another name which should be mentioned in close connection with Watson is that of h.h. norris (1771-1850), of Peterhouse, Cambridge, and later rector of St Johns Hackney, and Prebendary of St Pauls and of Llandaff. Norris was one of the founders of the National Society and a leader of the Clapton phalanx, but it is not perhaps so well known that he was a diligent student of all that concerned the Non-Jurors. A collection of papers relating to the later part of the story which was made by Norris is preserved in the Bodleian Library under the title of Add. Mss. D. 30, and is an invaluable source of information concerning the very latest phase of the movement. The point of view from which Norris regarded the Non-Jurors may be seen from Churtons Life of Joshua Watson in which the writer makes a reference to Norris (circ. 1836): "It was also a part of his concern to investigate the decline and fall of the Non-Jurors more especially from his persuasion of its practical bearing upon the controversies of the day." This opinion of Norris is noteworthy, for it cannot be denied that by many people the story of the Non-Jurors is regarded as of purely antiquarian interest.
Such were some of the leaders of religious thought in the latter half of the eighteenth and in the first few decades of the nineteenth century, beginning with John Bowdler who was brought up in the innermost circle of the Non-Jurors, and going on to men such as Horne, Jones, Stevens, Hamilton, Sikes, the two Watsons and Norris. They were men who were closely connected in life and work, and all of them were influenced to a very considerable extent by the writings of the Non-Jurors. In the first quarter of the nineteenth century, this particular aspect of religious belief found in some sense its outward and visible form in the Clapton phalanx which was led by H.H. Norris and the brothers James and Joshua Watson.
Two representatives of another group of thinkers are important. The names of alexander knox (1757-1833) and john jebb (1775-1833) are always associated with the publication of The Thirty Years Correspondence which passed between the two friends. The conception of Church and Sacraments held by these men was expressed in terms which would certainly have won the approval of Hickes, Collier and Brett. A letter from Know to his friend, Hannah More, giver an accurate impression of the lines of thought current in the school of which Knox was a true representative:
Sentiment is but as the wing of the soul...but if it has not clear definite principles...what is it to do when its wing is tired?...A remedy is to be looked for and what is that remedy? I think God Himself has given it through Jeremiah. "Ask for the old paths wherein is the good way and walk therein etc." What then with respect to us are the old paths? Not surely those paths which are not yet three centuries old...when fifteen centuries lie behind to be traversed...Trust not to the uncertain sounds of scarce three centuries when you may listen to the concurrent voice of acknowledged wisdom and universal revered piety through all the successive ages of the Catholic Church
With regard to Bishop John Jebb it must not be forgotten that he had intimate family relationships with the Non-Jurors. Samuel Jebb, who was librarian to Jeremy Collier in his last years and of whom some account has been given in an earlier chapter, was great-uncle to Bishop Jebb of Limerick. There are not wanting indications the Bishop Jebb maintained a great interest in the story of the movement of which his great-uncle was a distinguished member. Many illustrations of his point of view might be drawn from The Thirty Years Correspondence; one short extract will suffice:
You complain of protestanism being unsystematic. How can it be otherwise? Some grand principles of interpretation must be so authoritatively laid down that they cannot lawfully be contravened, before anything like system can obtain. This would be the very antipode of Chillingworthian private judgement. But private judgement surely is inconsistent with the very notion of a science. How would the astronomer, the mathematician, the Chymist laugh at the assertor of private judgement. Would not a person be accounted mad that were to say "the moon is made of green cheese; I maintain it. I have a right to do so; it is my private judgement."...Yet this ridiculous farce is every day enacted in theology and this is protestantism.
The name of another religious leader who had an hereditary connection with the Non-Jurors leads to a group of men who were destined to take a leading part in a movement greater in extent than the small organization, the declining fortunes of which have been the subject of these pages. The true founders of the Oxford Movement were Keble, Newman and Pusey. But there were others whose part in the earlier stages was certainly not small, and among whom may be mentioned Hugh James Rose, A.P. Perceval and Hurrell Froude. hugh james rose (1795-1838), may be described as a hereditary Non-Juror. His grandfather was a younger son of Alexander Rose of Kilravoch, Bishop of Edinburgh, who was deprived in 1688. Perceval first published a list of the Non-Juror bishops in his Apostolical Succession. Any attempt to estimate the movement which was about to assimilate the older parties would here be out of place, but something may be said of the methods by which the various parties wee linked together in the movement of 1833.
At the end of the first quarter of the nineteenth century the representatives of the old High Church Party were H.H. Norris and James and Joshua Watson. Jebb and Knox stood for the same principles in Ireland, and in Oxford there was appearing a company of younger men who, following the example of youth in every age, were disposed to think that the world belonged to them alone. How far did these various groups understand one another, and to what extent was there similarity or identity of belief? Certainly there were points of contact. Hugh James Rose, for instance, came into association with Joshua Watson in the matter of the foundation of King' College, London, in 1828, and during the retirement of Bishop Jebb at Wandsworth from 1827 to 1833, Rose became a great friend of the invalided prelate. There are further indications of the devotion of the early Tractarians to the Bishop of Limerick in the "pilgrimage" which was made by Dr Hook to Leamington to see "the apostolic Jebb."
As to the relationship which existed between the staid people in London and the younger men in Oxford, it was natural that the older men should be alarmed at the pace which was being made. There may be discerned some differences between the two parties on the question of the study of the Early Fathers. The older men derived their knowledge through Pearson, Bull and Waterland; the later generation went direct to the fountain-head. As to the isolation of the English Church in Christendom, the old High Church Party deplored the fact; but the rising generation earnestly desired to seek and find some sphere of action. IT should not, however, be thought that the older men did not take their fair share in influencing the times in which they lived. It was not a Tractarian who was responsible for ending the practice of printing the service of Holy Communion in small type. The credit for this alteration is to be ascribed to Joshua Watson.
The name of william john copeland is important to the story because he, more than any other man, was the link between the old and the new party, and in the story of Copelands life there is to be found the very latest example of the influence of the Non-Jurors. Copeland was born at Chigwell, Essex, in 1804. From St Pauls School he passed to Trinity College, Oxford, where he took he degree in 1829 and was later elected Fellow. He was ordained deacon in the same year and licensed to the curacy of St Olaves, Jewry. His rector was Dr Robert Hamilton, whose devotion to the works of Hickes and other Non-Juror divines has already been noted. The influence and teaching of Copelands first rector made an ineffaceable mark on his mind and, as stated previously in the same connection, Sikes of Guilsborough urged upon the young curate the necessity of studying the principles of Dr Hickes as being those along on which the Church could be defended. Leaving St Olaves, Copeland became curate of Hackney to Archdeacon James Watson, H.H. Norris being one of his colleagues. In 1832 he returned to Oxford to reside as Fellow of Trinity, and afterwards served as curate at St Marys and at Littlemore. Copeland wrote an article on the Non-Jurors in the British Critic of January 1837, and this was followed by a further article on Bishop Ken in the succeeding year. In 1843, Newman dedicated to Copeland his Sermons on Subject of the Day. The most difficult task which fell upon Copeland was the charge of Littlemore on the retirement and subsequent secession of Newman. In the words of Dean Church, "the strong and solid Anglican theology with which Copeland became embued in his early days was his standing ground in the storms of the Oxford Movement and continued to be his unshaken position through life." Enough has been said to show that Copeland has intimate relations with the older High Church Party and the Oxford leaders and, as Dean Church remarks in the course of the same article, "he was in truth the link between the teaching of which Mr Norris and Joshua Watson were the representatives, and the new Oxford school." Two quotations from Copelands letters illustrate his attitude to the Non-Jurors. Writing to a sister on the 3rd May 1836, he remarks:
I am still living amongst my dear friends, the Non-Jurors. We have a sort of Theological Society for which I have once of twice written papers and should be really glad had I not so much to do to prepare some sketch for a history of them. Alas, were you to read their fate so far as this world is concerned, you would think me wild for espousing their cause. But when one thinks of the men who were amongst them who gave up every single prospect in life for conscience sake and for the maintenance of the principles of the Church of England for formed their whole character on its discipline and primitive and Catholic spirit, it is indeed a relief to contrast men like Archbishop Sancroft and Ken and Kettlewell with the cold and heartless and semi-infidel conservatism of many of the maintainers of our so called happy establishment.
Nevertheless, Copeland was no blind admirer of the Non-Jurors. The following letter written by him on 27th December 1857 to Archdeacon E. Churton, shows that admiration of the Non-Jurors did not imply inability to perceive some of the weak points of the movement as revealed in some its leaders:
Of the learning properly so called of the Non-Jurors I have more doubt than I ever had. It seems to me that a man can scarcely be called learned when knowledge remains rudis indigestaque moles. This certainly was the case with some of them. It is what is called with some significance a great apparatus of learning but scarcely brought to bear with sufficient point on the matter in question. I cannot think the Non-Jurors would have become eventually so narrow had their learning had a broader basis and been more solid in its construction. Barrow, no bad judge, made this remark about Hickes and I have observed the same in the voluminous Mss. of Dr Brett which dear Mr Bowdler gave me when he was dying.
Mention of Mr Bowdler recalls the fact which has been related by Canon Ollard in the introductory portion of this book, that it was Copeland who received the Brett MSS. from the hands of Thomas Bowdler, the last of the Non-Jurors, as he has been sometimes called. thomas bowdler (1782-1856) deserves mention, and it is perhaps fitting that he should be the last in the long series which has been commemorated in these pages. A graduate of St Johns College Cambridge (B.A. 1803, M.A. 1806), he was rector of Sydenham from 1834-1846. He acted as secretary of the Church Building Society of which his father, John Bowdler, was one of the founders, and in 1849 became Prebendary of St Pauls. The writer of the article in the Dictionary of National Biography is in error in stating that Mr Bowdler was opposed to the principles of the Oxford Movement. On the contrary, he maintained his fathers principles, and it may be said that hereby hangs a tale. John Bowdler the younger, who was born in 1783, had become intimate with certain members of the Clapham Sect, a fact which greatly grieved his father. A memorandum written by Miss Marianne Thornton (1797-1887), the very last survivor of the Clapham Sect, throws light on the subject. Referring to John Bowdler the elder, Miss Thornton writes:
He must have been one of the last specimens of a high but not very Jacobite high Churchman. He looked on dissenters as heathen and thought Evangelicals an unchristian set, little better than dissenters. He never missed his week-day prayers or his evening game at cards; was rough and severe with his children and exacted the most passive obedience from them and the deepest respect, but all the time was a most self-denying father; gave them an expensive education which he could hardly afford and would have made any sacrifice for the "lads" as he always called them. His son, John, our friend, grieved him much by his intimacy with such a low Church set as we were, but he lived long enough to lose many of the prejudices and to express the most boundless gratitude to my father and mother for what they had done for him (john); indeed he tried to repay it by his kindness and affection for me after they were gone, but he always tired and alarmed me. "If the rest of your creed had been like your parents, my dear, (he used to say), I could have borne it but they were a very designing body; the fall of the Church was their object and they had no other," and the positive old man would go into a passion if he was contradicted.
John Bowdler the younger died as early as 1815, but published a book on very Evangelical lines which won some considerable popularity and was in part reprinted in 1857 under the editorship of his younger brother Charles, with a new title, The Religion of the Heart, as exemplified in the Life and Writings of John Bowdler. It will be seen that two sons of John Bowdler developed a line of religious thought which differed to a considerable extent from the traditional belief of the family. It is a probably suggestion that Thomas Bowdler, whose religious standpoint was essentially that of the Non-Jurors, gave his precious collection of Dr Bretts MSS. to W.J. Copeland rather than to any surviving member of his own family who might not feel able to sympathize with the difficulties and disasters in which the Later Non-Jurors had been involved.
Here, then. the present story may fitly end. From the time of the new consecrations in 1713 to the death of Thomas Bowdler in 1856 there has been related the history of the Non-Jurors to the latest distinct influence of the movement which it is possible to detect.
In conclusion, it may be said that the study of the Non-Jurors is generally regarded as of purely antiquarian interest. It can, however, justly be maintained that it is of very great importance with regard to some pressing questions of the present day. It has been well said that the historian should write of the ages that are passed with his eye of the problems of the present and the future. Possibly the present writer has no claim to be considered more than a mere chronicler of events; in which case the responsibility for taking a truly historical view of this story is transferred to the reader. The same problems which faced the Non-Jurors are with us to-day. The proper adjustment of the relations between Church and State, the reform of the Liturgy and other services of Church are likely to become very living issues in this generation. Measure such as the recently passed Enabling Act do not really touch the heart of the question. They leave the present relations of Church and State entirely unaltered, and merely provide a method by which the exercise of such relations may be rendered less intolerable. It is idle to think that the Elizabethan Settlement can be made to continue in the new age on which we are entering, and the same remark may certainly be made with regard to the service of the Church which have remained unaltered since 1662. When the times arrives for the serious consideration of these anachronisms and for a reasoned settlement of the matter it is submitted that the study of the Non-Jurors who dealt with these same problems on a smaller scale will prove to be of considerable value. It is essential if any such historical record is to be of real service that it should be accurate and complete. The previous accounts of the Later Non-Jurors have been of necessity wanting in both these respects. The material which was available to the earlier writers was fragmentary and obscure, but with the wealth of new information which has come into the possession of the present generation, it is hoped that a reasonably complete and coherent story has now been unfolded. There is no finality in literary research, and there still remain one or two gaps in the story, although it may be said that they are not of the first importance.
No attempt has been made in these pages to write a panegyric of the Non-Jurors. If the word sympathetic may be used in relations to the general attitude which has been adopted, it is appropriate only in the sense that it has been attempted to view these questions from the standpoint of the Non-Jurors themselves. Such a sympathetic attitude has not been remarkably prominent in the comments on the Non-Jurors made by other writers of the very first rank.
It is undoubtedly true that many people will regard the belief of the Non-Jurors concerning the Church and the Sacraments as utterly out of date and fit only to be relegated to the scrap heap along with their political beliefs with which the movement began and with which the name of Non-Jurors is popularly associated. Other will hold that the position adopted by the Non-Jurors in connection with these matters was essentially and fundamentally sound, but even in this case it may be assumed that it would be a matter of necessity to "restate" (to use a word which is popular at the moment) the beliefs of the Non-Jurors in language suitable for this generation.
Apart from these considerations, however, all may do homage to a group of men who, for the sake of what they believed to be the truth, risked their all - and lost it.