Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey
by Henry Parry Liddon, D.D.
London: Longmans, 1894
Transcribed by The Revd R D Hacking
PUSEY' S CONDEMNATION -- SERMON ON THE EUCHA–RIST
-- DELATION -- CONDEMNATION WITHOUT A HEARING -- FAILURE OF ATTEMPTS TO SECURE RE–CANTATION --
SENTENCE OF SUSPENSION -- PUSEY' S PROTEST--WEIGHTY REMONSTRANCES--SERMON PUB–LISHED --ATTEMPTS TO OBTAIN LEGAL REDRESS.
ON the fourth Sunday after Easter, May 14, 1843, Pusey preached at Christ Church, before the University, the sermon which, in its practical effects upon himself and the Church at large, though not in its theological and spiritual power, was the most important sermon of his life. It will be necessary to enter in some detail into the circumstances of the condemnation of this sermon by the authorities of the University. The story has never yet been told.
Nowadays, and in calmer times, the fact that a sermon had been condemned by certain Doctors of no great theological eminence, might produce no marked effect in the Church at large. But in 1843 the whole Church of England viewed the theological decisions of the ordinary University officials as utterances of grave ecclesiastical importance. Many circumstances too, had as we have seen, been helping to excite the popular mind in a manner adverse to the Tractarian leaders. In consequence, the fact that one of Pusey' s sermons was thought worthy of condemnation by a University tribunal, so soon after Newman had incurred the censure of the Hebdomadal Board for Tract 90, materially affected the attitude of many Churchmen towards the Tractarians. Their opponents felt justified in more vigorous action. Those who knew little about the sermon were excited and alarmed; while Bishops, who might have allayed the excitement, were tempted then, as they were not unfrequently afterwards, to fall in with popular feeling. At any rate they felt themselves unable any longer to resist and control what they took to be the current of Church opinion. And the strange mystery which the Oxford Doctors succeeded in throwing round their quasi-judicial proceedings only intensified the ill effects of their unjustifiable sentence.
Pusey' s public teaching followed a course or system, instinctively rather than designedly. The pietism of Spener had left a mark upon him which lasted; he began with the needs of the human soul. 'He has devoted himself,' writes Mr. J. B. Mozley, 'to the consideration of Sin: its awful nature: its antagonism to God: its deep seat in our nature: the remedy provided for it by our Lord' s meritorious suffer–ings and death, and the application of that remedy in the ordinance of Baptism. . . . Baptism is a new birth, an entrance into a' new world, the communication of a new nature. And sin is in Baptism pardoned. . . . But then comes the fact that men live after Baptism: sin comes up again, and has to be dealt with again. . . . Here the easy way to peace ends, and a rough and difficult one begins.'
It was in the development of the line of teaching thus based on the double foundation of Revealed Truth and personal experience, that Pusey wrote his sermon, 'The Holy Eucharist a Comfort to the Penitent.' 'When,' he afterwards remarked, 'people said that I had scared them about post-baptismal sin, I was led to preach a course of sermons on Comforts to the Penitent. Of these the sermon on the Holy Eucharist was one. It was a singular case of mistaking what people' s feelings would be. For I chose the Holy Eucharist as the subject at which they would be less likely to take offence than at Absolution. But we know what happened.'
As the title implies, it is a practical, and in its design uncontroversial, sermon, having for its object not the formal statement of disputed or forgotten truth, but the encourage–ment of a certain class of souls. As Pusey said of it sixteen years afterwards:--
'It implied rather than stated even the doctrine of the Real Objective Presence, and was written chiefly in the language of the Fathers. Its one object was to inculcate the love of our Redeemer for us sinners in the Holy Eucharist, both as a Sacrament and as a commemorative Sacrifice. As a Sacrament, in that He, our Redeemer, God and Man, vouchsafes to be " our spiritual food and sustenance in that holy Sacrament." As a commemorative Sacrifice, in that He enables us therein to plead to the Father that one meritorious Sacrifice on the Cross, which He, our High Priest, unceasingly pleads in His own Divine Person in Heaven.'
How the Eucharist is a support and enlargement of life in Christ is shown from the types, the prophecies, and the direct language of our Lord which refers to it. It has this virtue because in it Christ is present, in the presence of His Flesh and Blood, which are indissolubly united to His Eternal Godhead. It brings comfort to the penitent as well as strength to the saint, because He is the Redeemer, Who forgives the sins of all who approach Him with faith. This, it is shown, is the teaching of Scripture, Fathers, Liturgies; and the sermon concludes with some practical considerations, addressed to the Chapter of Christ Church, which at that time only sanctioned a monthly celebration of the Eucharist in their cathedral, and to younger people who might be unduly impatient for the realization of a privilege which implied higher spiritual attainments than they had as yet reached. The only approach to theological controversy in the sermon occurs in a passage in which Pusey incidentally puts aside Transubstantiation as an explanation of the mode of Christ' s presence in the Eucharist. To quote his own comment thirty-one years later: 'Having disclaimed at the outset of my sermon all controversy, by saying that " if we are wise we shall never ask how they Can be elements of this world, and yet His very Body and Blood," and so in fact disclaimed Transubstantiation' (which undertakes to answer this question 'I thought I might afterwards use freely the language of the Fathers, which I chose in preference to my own. And it never occurred to me that any question would be raised on the subject.' Pusey' s mind had long moved amidst high sacramental truths, and he was perfectly clear that the teaching of the Church of England on this subject was not at variance with that of the 'ancient Fathers and Catholic Bishops' to whom the framers of the Anglican rule of doctrine appealed. Nothing therefore was further from his thoughts than that the truths with which he wished to console those whom he had roused to a deep sense of sin should appear heterodox or even startling to any of his hearers.
J. B. Mozley has described the scene and its consequences with his wonted vividness:--
'The audience listened with the attention it always does to Pr. Pusey, and then the audience went away. There were the usual effects of edification and admiration produced. The remarks upon it were pretty much the same as usual: it was pronounced a useful sermon, an eloquent sermon, a striking sermon, a beautiful sermon. Some said it was a long sermon, others that it was not longer than usual. It was, of course, said to contain high doctrinal views on the subject treated of; but as all Dr. Pusey' s sermons contain high views, there was nothing to draw attention in this remark. In short, it was one of Dr. Pusey' s sermons; the audience recognized that fact, went home, were perfectly at their ease, thought nothing more about it,--the reverential impression excepted, of course, which that preacher' s discourses always leave on the mind,--when all on a sudden comes, like a clap of thunder on the ear, the news that the Board of Heresy is summoned to sit on Dr. Pusey.'
When the sermon was over the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Wynter, walked away from the Cathedral with the Provost of Oriel, Dr. Hawkins, and what passed and what fol–lowed had better be described in the Vice-Chancellor' s own language in a manuscript account of the whole proceedings, which has been placed at the disposal of the writer by the great courtesy of Dr. Wynter' s representatives.
'We both expressed ourselves startled and dissatisfied with the statements made with regard to the Eucharist, but we both agreed that it would be inexpedient to take any public notice of it, being convinced that the writer would be able by ingenuity to evade any direct charge of heterodoxy. In the afternoon of the same day I had occasion to know that the sermon had been much remarked upon, and that it had awakened in the minds of many persons grave doubts whether it was in conformity with the doctrine of the Church of England. On the following day (15th) I had further reason for believing not only that it had been much disapproved, but that it would probably be proposed to me to deal with it under the statute de Concionibus. Accordingly on Tuesday, the 16th, I received a visit from the Margaret Professor of Divinity, the sole object of which was to request that I would take measures for putting in force the statute de Concionibus, in regard to Dr. Pusey' s sermon, the Margaret Professor himself and many others, as he told me, entertaining strong suspicion that it would be found to contain doctrine not in accordance with that of our Church. In reply to this request I gave, as far as I recollect, a promise to put the statute in force.'
It is impossible to suppose that Dr. Faussett did not know the terms of the statute of 1836, by which, in token of its disapproval of Dr. Hampden' s teaching, the University had transferred from Dr. Hampden to the holder of his own professorship the duty of being one of the judges who were to decide upon the orthodoxy of a delated sermon . Since he was bound to occupy this position, nothing could have been more indecent than that Dr. Faussett should have thus put himself forward as Pusey' s accuser. It is the first of the series of most extraordinary blunders which were committed in the course of these proceedings. When, however, such a complaint was made to him by a Divinity Professor, the Vice-Chancellor, quite apart from all other considerations, could not but send for the sermon. It would have been difficult perhaps for a Vice-Chancellor in those days to tell a Professor of Divinity, in the words of the statute, that his 'ground of suspicion' was not 'reasonable,' a course which according to the statute was the only alternative.
THE REV. THE VICE-CHANCELLOR TO B. B. P.
MY DEAR SIR, St. John' s College, May 17, 1843.
I have been called upon to request from you a copy of the sermon which you preached before the University on Sunday last. I do not know that at this period of time it is necessary that I should express my own opinion upon it. But in candour and fairness I think it right to confess that its general scope and certain particular passages have awakened in my mind painful doubts with regard to its strict conformity to the doctrines of the reformed Church of England.
I have therefore to request that you will have the goodness to send me a copy of your sermon for the purpose of dealing with it as I am directed by the statute, Tit. xvi. § 11.
I remain, my dear Sir,
Yours very faithfully,
P. WYNTER, V.C.
The Rev, the Regius Professor of Hebrew.
Pusey replied as follows:--
Christ Church, May 17.
MY DEAR SIR,
I would have sent you the sermon, but that I thought it might save trouble if I were to add some references in some places to mark that I was using the language of the Fathers, not my own. Of course I shall make no other alterations.
Yours very faithfully,
E. B. PUSEY.
In reply to a further letter on the same day, asking, because of the state of his health, for a little more time to complete the references, the Vice-Chancellor wrote with characteristic courtesy:--
MY DEAR DR. PUSEY, St. John' s College, May 17, 1843.
I grieve to hear that you are still suffering from illness. I beg that you will not risk any accession of it by making any unnecessary dispatch in completing the references to your sermon. I shall not look for it until the time you mention, two or three days hence; nor so soon if the exertion which you deem it necessary to make should be likely to retard your restoration to health.
I am, yours very faithfully,
On the same evening Pusey wrote to Keble:--
MY DEAR FRIEND, Wednesday evening [May 17,1843].
I wish just now to tell you of my troubles. I have learnt this afternoon that some one has applied to the V.-C. to put in force the statute of the six or seven Doctors against me for a sermon last Sunday on the Holy Eucharist, and he has sent for a copy of it There is nothing to be done for me, but to pray God that it turn to the good of His Church, and of myself. I do not know whether it is generally known, so do not say anything of it, until you hear it from others: for there is no need in anticipating excitement: we have too much of it.
Ever yours very affectionately and gratefully,
E. B. P.
And on the following morning to Newman:--
Thursday morning, May 18 .
You will be very sorry that the storm has at last reached me. God guide me through it, for it may be a heavy one, not for myself, but for its effects on others. I have asked the Vice-Chancellor for two or three days that I might put references to my sermon. I thought this best, that they might not be exposed unconsciously to condemn e.g. St. Cyril of Alexandria when they thought they were only condemning me. You will be glad to hear that I did not pass a more feverish night than usual, nor have I more fever this morning. No one can help me at present: when I have had my sermon transcribed I shall be glad to send it to you, to consult you about the defence. I am quite sure there is nothing against the Church of England; but what my judges may think, I know not. I heard from the V.-C. yesterday afternoon. Do not name it, except to Copeland and Marriott as a secret, unless it is known, which I do not know. There may be excitement enough by-and-by, so one would not anticipate it.
During the remainder of the week Pusey was engaged, so far as his bad health would permit, in selecting passages from the Fathers to illustrate his sermon; the whole was copied out in a legible hand, apparently by W. J. Copeland. On Monday, May 22, this copy, with full references, was sent to the Vice-Chancellor, accompanied by an explanatory letter.
E. B. P. TO THE REV. THE VICE-CHANCELLOR.
MY DEAR MR. VICE-CHANCELLOR,
I send a copy of my sermon, as the statute directs, hoping that it will be more legible than the original would have been. I have read it over and corrected it, and (as the statute requires) declare it to be an authentic copy. The phrases enclosed in brackets were not delivered, the sermon being already long, and so form no part of the inquiry, but I thought it more authentic to have them inserted (the transcriber omitted them by mistake), although I believe one only, containing passages from the Fathers, contains doctrine. The words [in a manner], p. 7, were inserted after preaching the sermon, before I had your note, to make the translation perhaps more correct.
I have taken the longer time which you kindly allowed, since there has been little in each day in which I could thus employ myself.
My object in inserting these passages was to show that I was not rashly using high language in speaking upon a great mystery, but that of teachers who have ever been had in honour. Indeed, I most closely followed St. Cyril of Alexandria, whom all must respect as one of the greatest defenders of sound faith, and whose Commentary on St. John has seemed to me, of all I know, to enter most deeply into the depths of that Divine Gospel. I have not however followed him alone, but other of those teachers to whom the Reformers individually appealed, and [to whom] we have since been directed, as expositors of Holy Scripture.
I have withheld from adding more references, lest it should protract your time too much.
As you have expressed candidly your own first impressions, your kindness will not think me trespassing upon your time if I explain myself further. I felt so entirely sure that I heartily concur with the doctrine of the Church of England, I have so often and decidedly expressed my rejection of the doctrine of Transubstantiation, and the Canon of the Council of Trent upon it, that, neither before nor after preaching my sermon, had I the slightest thought that any could arraign it as contrary to the doctrines of our Church, however people will dispute irreverently.
Allow me to say, that the more I have examined it word by word, the more convinced I am that no proposition can be formed out of it, in its real meaning, contrary to that doctrine which I hold entirely. May I explain my belief on this subject further, as it will throw light on the language of the sermon? I believe that after Consecration the Holy Elements are in their natural substances bread and wine, and yet are also the Body and Blood of Christ. This I believe as a mystery, which others have long ago pointed out in, and which I believe is implied by, our Liturgy and Articles. It has been explicitly stated by divines of great reputation in our Church, a few of whose words I thought it not unfit to have transcribed in some spare pages of the sermon. I hold this as a mystery, and Bp. Andrewes' words exactly convey my feeling.
I do not attempt to explain the 'how' which seems to me to have been the error of the R.C.s and the Swiss Reformers, the one holding that because it was the Body of Christ, it was not bread; the other that because it was bread, therefore it was not His Body.
I hold both, as I do the absolute fore-knowledge of God and man' s free agency, without having any thought to explain how: and believe both, as Bp. Andrewes says, as a mystery.
While then I hold that they are really 'elements of this world' (as I called them in my sermon, p. 4) I feel satisfied that it is perfectly consistent with our Church to use also language speaking of them as the Body and Blood of Christ, as I feel assured she does in her Liturgy.
In this I am doing what the whole of the Fathers of the Church have done, and you, I am sure, would be sorry to set our Church and the collective Ancient Church at variance.
I was pained to hear of your first impressions: I trust however that they will be removed by a closer examination.
Should that unhappily not be the case, I may request that you will choose that course allowed by the statute which permits the accused to answer for himself.
I pray that God may guide you: and remain,
Yours faithfully and respectfully,
E. B. PUSEY.
While Pusey was preparing to send his sermon, the Vice-Chancellor was preparing the court which was to try him.
'The delay,' writes the Vice-Chancellor, 'which Dr. Pusey requested enabled me to proceed with greater caution and deliberation in the selection of the six Doctors, the tribunal which the statute appointed for the disposal of such cases. In consequence of the incapacity of the Regius Professor of Divinity, Dr. Hampden, occasioned by the disabling statute of 1836, the Margaret Professor, as a matter of course, acted in his place; and yet one of the complaints made against me was, that I had selected Dr. Pusey' s accuser to be one of his judges.'
What the Vice-Chancellor here describes with singular na•veté as 'a matter of course,' viz, that he should appoint Dr. Pusey' s accuser to be one of his judges, was, it is needless to say, looked upon by Pusey' s friends, and indeed by the world at large, as a grave impropriety, which from the first he should have made every effort to avoid.
The other members of the court were Dr. Jenkyns, Master of Balliol; Dr. Hawkins, Provost of Oriel; Dr. Symons, Warden of Wadham; Dr. Ogilvie, Regius Professor of Pastoral Theology; and Dr. Jelf, Canon of Christ Church. Upon the appointment of Dr. Hawkins, the Vice-Chan–cellor in his narrative observes:--
'The only opinion he had expressed to me respecting the sermon was in accordance with mine, that though highly objectionable it might nevertheless be in all probability capable of such explanation by the writer as would relieve him from any serious consequences. It cannot therefore be true that I made choice of Dr. Hawkins as one who was already prejudiced against the sermon and had made up his mind to condemn it.'
The whole course of Dr. Hawkins' s relations to the Tractarians generally, and to Dr. Pusey in particular, both before and on the present occasion, would leave it doubtful to a less interested observer whether the Provost' s mind was so free from prejudice as the Vice-Chancellor confidently assumed.
That so old a friend as Dr. Jelf should have consented to sit upon the Board which tried Pusey was inevitably a matter much commented on in the University. Dr. Jelf felt it due both to Pusey and to himself that he should explain an act which could not but be painful to both of them.
REV. DR. JELF TO E. B. P.
[Christ Church], May 25, 1843.
[Private and Confidential.]
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Thus much, I think, I may say without impropriety, that I never should have undertaken so invidious and painful an office (even with the hope of benefiting you, which, on the V.-C.' s suggestion, was my sole motive for not declining) unless from my recollection of the sermon, added to your subsequent explanations, I had entertained a confident hope that (however I might lament the tone and judgement of the sermon) I should find no doctrine there which it might be necessary to condemn.
You will recollect that only one-sixth part of the responsibility rests with me, and that a stranger (perhaps an enemy) might have done you more harm. At any rate I have acted to the best of my judgement, in the most painful conjuncture of my life. Whatever may come of it, I must find my consolation, under Divine grace, in the singleness of the purpose towards my friend and towards the Church. God bless you.
Ever your affectionate friend.
The Six Doctors met for the first time, under the presi–dency of the Vice-Chancellor, in the Delegates' Room, on Wednesday, May 24. The statute under which the proceedings were taken, and the statute of May 5, 1836, which made it impossible for the existing Regius Professor Divinity, Dr. Hampden, to take part in the proceedings, were duly read. Then the sermon was read through; a this was followed by some desultory conversation respecting the Course to be pursued. The meeting then adjourned that its members might more carefully consider the contents of the sermon; and the Six Doctors may be presumed to have spent the next day, the Festival of the Ascension, in this employment. A letter from Pusey to his mother, on this day, suggests, among other points, an estimate of his judges which is widely different from that of the Vice-Chancellor, but in close agreement with that of the University generally.
Ascension Day, 1843.
I wish, my dearest mother, you could see how perfectly calm I am about my affairs. I commit them to God and feel that they do not belong to me or affect me. In many respects, it is a very good thing that I am the person it falls upon. Some things are as adverse as possible, as that the Provost of Oriel and the Warden of Wadham are among the assistants of the Vice-Chancellor; yet Jelf does no think it hopeless since he has consented to be one. I trust in my friends' prayers and that God will defend His truth; for that only have I spoken. All my friends say that good must come out of it somehow So I am quite at rest. It seems as if something very momentous was going on, but that I had nothing to do but to wait for it, and pray and abide, as I trust, under the shadow of His wings, and be at rest.
Be not anxious, my dearest mother: all will be right.
Ever your very affectionate and dutiful son,
E. B. PUSEY.
On Saturday, May 27, the Six Doctors met again, each bringing with him a written judgment on the sermon. Jelf alone would say that 'with much that is objectionable, in tone and language, and tendency, there is nothing tangible which can be called " dissonum" to our Church' s teaching; there is to my mind clearly nothing " contrariumä.' The other five condemned the sermon, some in the general terms which betrayed a fatal want of familiarity with the subject, and Dr. Faussett and Dr. Hawkins with some attempt to justify their conclusion by an examination of passages. The Provost of Oriel wound up his criticism of the sermon by stating that he was
'further of opinion that the preacher did not design to oppose the doctrine of the Church of England, but was led into erroneous views and expressions, partly by a pious desire to magnify the grace of God in the Holy Eucharist, and partly by an indiscreet adoption, in its literal sense, of the highly figurative, mystical, and incautious language of certain of the old Fathers.'
Upon this, says the Vice-Chancellor,
'when each of them had delivered separately his opinion upon the sermon,--the greater number of them in writing,--I proceeded to declare that I considered Dr. Pusey guilty of the charge made against him--namely, that he had preached certain things which were either dissonant from or contrary to the doctrine of the Church of England.'
What these 'things' were was never publicly stated, and apparently for the reason that the judges were not agreed on them, and that the vague hostility to the sermon in which they were agreed would not bear general dis–cussion.
In his letter of May 22, Pusey had requested the Vice-Chancellor to 'choose that course allowed by the statute, which permits the accused to answer for himself.' It was true that the statute did not provide in express terms that the author of a delated sermon should be heard in explana–tion or defence of his language, and the Vice-Chancellor appears to have considered this omission as a sufficient reason for not granting Pusey a hearing. The Vice-Chan–cellor would, seem to have forgotten that all laws, not excepting University Statutes, presuppose some general principles of justice; and that nothing is more contrariant to English notions of justice than that a man should be con–demned unheard. It is a rule of natural reason, well ex–pressed by Seneca in words already quoted, 'Qui statuit aliquid, parte inaudit‰ alterˆ, aequum licet statuerit, haud aequus fuit,' and is fully recognized in our Common law. The rules, however, of the Canon law are, perhaps, still more to the purpose, since a sentence of suspension brings Pusey' s case under its jurisdiction. Among many passages that might be quoted two will suffice: 'Caveant judices Ecclesiae, ne absente eo, cujus causa ventilatur, sententiam proferant, quia irrita erit.' 'Absens nemo judicetur: quia et Divinae et humanae leges hoc prohibent.'
The Vice-Chancellor cannot have been altogether unmind–ful of these considerations; and it would have been easy for him, as well as his duty, to have acquainted himself with the previous practice of the University of granting a hearing to those who were thus accused. Between the date of the passing of the statute de Concionibus and 1640, four cases are mentioned by Antony Wood; in each of them the inculpated preacher appeared in person before the Vice-Chancellor. There were at least four other cases after the Restoration, in all of which the same practice appears to have been followed. Regardless, however, both of principle and precedent, regardless of his character and his learning, Pusey was condemned without a hearing.
The Court next proceeded to discuss the penalty to be inflicted. 'It became necessary,' says the Vice-Chancellor, 'to consider what description and what degree of punish–ment should be awarded to the offence; and this I thought it right that I should take time to consider. And so the meeting separated.' The statute provided that the Vice-Chancellor might deal with the offender in one of two ways, namely, 'eum pro arbitrio vel a munere praedicandi intra praecinctum Universitatis suspendet, vel ad ea quae protulit recantandum adiget.'
The Vice-Chancellor, then, had to choose between recanta–tion and suspension; and the Six Doctors were unable to agree. One of them who had opposed a sentence of suspension during the debate, felt constrained on the following day to communicate to the Vice-Chancellor his change of opinion to the severer course.
THE PROVOST OF ORIEL TO THE REV. THE VICE-CHANCELLOR.
Oriel College, May 28, 1843.
MY DEAR VICE-CHANCELLOR,
As I openly expressed an opinion yesterday against any sus–pension for preaching in Dr. P.' s case, I think I am bound in fairness to tell you that upon reconsideration, and looking to the probable intention of the statute and probable effects of passing over this (and if this, then all future cases of objectionable preaching) with reference to young hearers and young preachers and our duty towards them--I am greatly shaken in my opinion, and indeed incline towards the opinion of those who thought suspension necessary.
In so very difficult a question I think you will not consider this note as intrusive.
Ever yours most truly,
The Rev, the Vice-Chancellor.
The Vice - Chancellor has left his own opinion on record.
'Of the two,' he writes, 'I considered recantation as the less severe; and before therefore I proceeded to inflict the other, I thought it right to endeavour, if possible, to bring about a recantation. And foreseeing that if I should summon Dr. Pusey before me for this purpose in the presence of those who had adjudicated upon the sermon, it might happen that he would refuse to recant, and thus an interview painful to all parties might be productive of no beneficial result, I determined upon endeavouring to ascertain privately whether or not it would be likely that he might be induced to recant the offensive doctrine. Hence it became necessary to draw out from the sermon certain propositions, by his assent to or dissent from which his readiness to recant might be tested. Now this was a task of which I felt the extreme difficulty and delicacy. The propositions, if framed by myself alone, might be objected to on various grounds. The form, the sub–stance, the expressions used, the conclusions which would legitimately be arrived at, might have been altogether unsatisfactory--or might have satisfied some among my coadjutors, and have displeased others. In order therefore to lessen the probability of such disagreement, I at once resolved to consult the Provost of Oriel'
The Vice-Chancellor then submitted to the Provost a proposed form of 'recantation,' to which Pusey might assent. It was, as might be expected, a less exact and more vulnerable document than would have been devised by the Provost himself, who accordingly drafted another. This took the strange form of 'objections' to the sermon.
0. C., May 30, 1643.
MY DEAR V. C.,
I have endeavoured so to frame the above objections as to avoid as much as possible any positions not expressly stated in the Articles, and I still think it very important (considering that your statement will be sure to be printed) to avoid laying down anything like new articles of faith, which might, I fear, be considered to be the effect of the larger form you had drawn up, and which might open the way to endless controversy.
With Dr. Pusey immediately indeed I quite agree with you that you ought to have no controversy. But if (which from his note is scarcely conceivable, at least with respect to one of the objections) he should desire to disclaim the opinions imputed to him, then he should do so in the exact words which your objections give, as in the answer to No. 1, and so, mutatis mutandis, to Nos. 2 and 3. And such disavowal should perhaps be communicated first to the six D.D.s.
If you wish me to call upon you I will wait upon you at any hour you may appoint.
Ever yours most truly,
The Rev, the Vice-Chancellor.
P.S. I think it also important that you should mention to Dr. Pusey the fact of there being general objections over and above these special objections--so reserving to yourself full liberty to act as you may judge necessary after you shall have received Dr. P.' s answer, containing, possibly, some partial recantation. For we must think of what is due to the young men. And I, for my part, have gone through this task as a surgeon is obliged to do in an operation, as an abstract duty, not allowing myself to think of the suffering of the patient.
The Vice-Chancellor adopted this ingeniously constructed document, presumably as a test of Pusey' s readiness to make a complete and unqualified recantation of whatever was held offensive in the sermon, so as to escape further consequences. Dr. Jelf was selected to open communi–cations with a view to applying this test. It may be hoped that the selection of Dr. Jelf for such an office was meant kindly, though it is obvious that the relation in which Jelf stood to Pusey rendered his intervention at this juncture, as the sequel showed, highly detrimental to Pusey' s interest. Dr. Jelf, it is true, had been an intimate friend of Pusey' s from his youth ; he was so still, at this moment; and he had declined to condemn the sermon when sitting at the Board. There are, however, cases in which a friend is much more embarrassing to deal with than an op–ponent; and this was one of them. In dealing with his friend Pusey allowed himself to be entangled with en–gagements to which it is inconceivable that even his simple-heartedness could have agreed, had he not forgotten that his friend was after all the accredited messenger of his opponents. Had Pusey been in the least degree a man of the world, he would, in the circumstances, at once have taken leave of his old friend with a bow, and have courteously explained that he would only communicate with the Vice-Chancellor directly, and in writing. Whereas he unfortunately betrayed himself into a situation which only increased his difficulties. Pusey has left on record an account of what passed at the first of these extraordinary interviews
'I received,' he says, 'no communication whatever, before it was privately announced to me [by Jelf] that my sermon had been con–demned. I was informed at the same time that the V.-C. positively declined to give me a hearing. At the same time I was informed that, out of unwillingness to proceed at once against me, he was employed in drawing up certain statements of doctrine, which if I could sign, the sentence might be reversed. The fact of my receiving these statements, the nature of them, and their contents, were to be strictly secret: it was to be a strictly private communication from the Vice-Chancellor to myself: I was to take no copy of them: I was to consult no friend about anything contained in them. For the sake of the peace of the Church, I accepted even these conditions.'
It may be permitted to think that the peace of the Church would have been far better secured by an im–mediate rejection of terms which ought at once to have excited suspicion.
Newman had heard that communications between his judges and Pusey were going on, and had offered to be of any assistance in his power. But Pusey had already pre–cluded himself from consulting anybody. He writes:--
E. B. P. TO REV. J. H. NEWMAN.
MY DEAR N. Wednesday morning, May 31.
I find that this communication from the V.-C. is entirely confi–dential, with the view of staying ulterior consequences; so I cannot have recourse to your kind help.
My first impression is that there is but little hope but that the sermon will be condemned: but there may be a way out still, or HE may overrule people' s hearts. One thing only I desire for myself, not to compromise His truth. Do not think I am worried. Every–thing will be right.
Ever yours most affectionately,
E. B. P.
There can be no doubt that in assenting to these con–ditions imposed on him by the Vice-Chancellor, Pusey committed a grave error of judgment. He ought to have insisted upon the entire publicity of all that passed between himself and his judges, and also on full liberty to consult his friends. But he allowed them to exact from him an engagement which they should have been ashamed to sug–gest, and still more to use afterwards in a manner which cast reflections on Pusey' s sincerity. Of all men Pusey needed, at such a difficult juncture, the counsel of his friends: Keble and Newman were eminently fitted to advise him; but the tactics of his opponents effectually cut him off from their assistance.
Upon Dr. Jelf' s reporting that Pusey was willing to accept the conditions; the Vice-Chancellor entrusted him with the second stage of the commission. He was to show Pusey a 'statement' of objections to his sermon, which, as we have seen, had been drawn up by the Provost of Oriel, and slightly altered by the Vice-Chancellor. This document ran as follows:--
'Over and above some grave objections to the general tenor of the sermon as not in harmony with the authoritative teaching of the Church of England, it is particularly objected:
'I. That certain passages, as in p.5, " that Bread which is his fleshä; p. 6, " how must he not be thought to abide in us by the way of Natureä; p. 7, " His Redeemer' s very broken bodyä; p. 8, " My flesh and blood which were given for the life of the world and are given to those for whom they had been givenä; p. 9, " touching with our very lips that cleansing blood," &c.--convey the idea of some carnal and corporal presence of Christ in the holy Eucharist; as if it were intended to maintain that the Body and Blood of Christ were not received in that Sacrament " only after a heavenly and spiritual manner" (see Article XXVIII., and Declaration annexed to the Communion Service).
'2. That some passages, as p. 7, " God poureth out for him yet the most precious blood of his only begotten Son; they are fed from the Cross of the Lord because they eat his Body and Bloodä; p. 9, " that that precious blood is still in continuance and application of his one oblation once made upon the Cross poured out for us now, conveying to our souls, as being his Blood with the benefit of his Passion, the remission of our sins alsoä--suggest the idea of some continuation or repetition in the Eucharist, in order to the remission of sins, of the Sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross; as if the writer did not maintain that the " one oblation of Christ" was " finished upon the Cross" or that " the offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world both original and actual; and that there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone." (See Article XXXI.)
'3. That some passages, as p.4, " Elements of this world and yet his very Body and Bloodä; p.5. " that bread which is his flesh," &c., represent the body and blood of Christ as present with the consecrated elements by virtue of their consecration before they are received by the faithful communicant and independently of his faith; as if it were maintained that " the wicked and such as be void of a lively faith" when they partake of " the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ are partakers of Christä; or that Faith is not " the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper." (See Articles XXVIII., XXIX.)'
Together with this statement Dr. Jelf presented to Pusey, for his signature, a second document, which, as will be seen, is based on the foregoing.
'1. I did not intend to convey the idea of " any" carnal or corporal presence of Christ in the holy Eucharist, and I do not maintain that " the natural body and blood of our Saviour Christ" are present in the Eucharist, or that " the body and blood of Christ are received in that Sacrament except only after a heavenly and spiritual manner.ä
'2. I did not intend to suggest the idea of any continuation or repetition in the Eucharist, in order to the remission of sins, of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross; and I do maintain that " the one oblation of Christ was finished upon the crossä; and that " the offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world both original and actual; and that there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone.ä
'3. I did not intend [to represent the body and blood of Christ as present with the consecrated elements by virtue of their consecration before they are received by the faithful communicant and indepen–dently of his faith]' ; and I do not maintain that the wicked and such as be void of a lively faith, when they partake of the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, are partakers of Christ; nor do I maintain that Faith is not the mean whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper.'
Pusey returned both these papers to the Vice-Chancellor with a lengthy letter [·]; its drift may be understood from the following extracts
'No. 1. I can adopt entirely, as being in the words of our Formu–laries; only in one place, I have inserted the full words of our rubric, which I supposed you intended, thinking it safer to adhere to those words....
'To the first part of No. 2, I should except in point of form, because it is no part of our authorized Formularies, and there is no authority, and it might be a dangerous precedent to admit the right of individuals to propose Formulae drawn up without sanction, for subscription.
'I do not know also whether, if I adopted it, I should use it in your sense or no. The words [continuation or] are to me ambiguous. .
'The latter part of No. 2, I, of course, entirely and cordially adopt, being again the statement of our Church. .
'3. To the first part of this which I have enclosed in brackets I must object, not only on the ground upon which I objected to the beginning of No.2, but also because it goes beyond the Formularies of our Church; the latter part (as being the words of our Formularies) I of course entirely accept.
'Yet having given this explanation, I must say that I do it because I conceive you to have sent me the propositions and objections as an act of kindness, instead of any proposition of my own, which I might be required to retract.
'But if this private explanation fail to satisfy you, I must respectfully apply for the other, as the only statutable course. I must say that to me the past course of inquiry into my sermon, such as these " objections" imply, seems to me an undue extension of the statutes. The statute speaks of certain definite statements which shall be retracted--" ad ea, quae protulit, recantandum adiget." The passages objected to are not supposed (I conceive) to be such as could be proposed to any one to recant (some of them are words of the Fathers), but only, it is supposed, that a certain opinion is implied in them. I am sure that no proposition could be formed from my sermon contrary to the Formularies of our Church, which I adopt. This sort of " constructive" disagreement with the Formularies of the Church seems to me something very different from that con–templated by the statute, which refers to definite statements. Conscious of my own innocence, I cannot contemplate anything ulterior; yet although I am quite sure that you personally mean everything which is kind towards me individually, I must say that I should consider any ulterior measure, founded on such constructive objections as are here alleged, without exhibiting to me what I have asked for in such case, definite propositions of my own and not adhering to our Formularies, as unstatutable as well as harsh and unjust.
'I am sure, my dear Mr. Vice-Chancellor, that you will not think these strong words, as meant otherwise than with respect to your office and a sense of personal kindness: but there is too much at stake for me to think it right to withhold my strong feeling on this subject.'
Dr. Jelf' s preliminary mission had been discharged on Tuesday, May 30: on May 31 Pusey had received the promised papers, again through Dr. Jelf, and had returned them to the Vice-Chancellor on the same day. On the afternoon of Thursday, June 1, the Vice-Chancellor and the Six Doctors met for a third time, and in order to consider Pusey' s reply. That it did not satisfy them goes without saying. They saw in it a challenge to enter upon a pro–found and serious theological inquiry for which they could not but be conscious of being themselves inadequately equipped, and the conclusion of which might be fatal to the vague condemnation of the sermon at which they had already arrived. Another paper was accordingly drawn up for Pusey' s signature which was more in the form of a direct recantation. It consisted of three propositions, of which the first two were extracted from the sermon, and 'not' inserted in each extract; while the third contained a pro–posed explanation of a phrase which Pusey had employed. This paper, which is in the Vice-Chancellor' s handwriting, is subjoined:--
'Will Dr. Pusey say, among other things which might be put in this same form:--
'We do not touch with our own lips in the Holy Eucharist that cleansing Blood,--meaning the very blood of Christ.
'God poureth not out for us now the most precious blood of His only begotten' .
'By " elements of this world and yet His very body and blood" I mean only that they are spiritually so, and not carnally; not His natural flesh and blood.'
With regard to this form of recantation, Pusey observed later to a legal friend:--
'So far were these from being what I had asked for, " definite propositions supposed to be contrary to the Formularies of our Church," that one related to the subject of the carnal presence of the Body and Blood of our Blessed Lord, upon which I had accepted, the day before, the statement drawn up by the Vice-Chancellor himself: a second was a passage of St. Augustine, which I had quoted, and which was applied in a sense which St. Augustine had not in his thoughts, nor I, in quoting them: the third, since I was allowed no copy, nor even to have in my hand the paper upon which they were written, I have forgotten. I considered this, I own, as mere mockery: I said to the individual who brought them to me, " It never can be intended that I should recant such statements as these.ä'
Dr. Jelf carried back to the judges the notes which he had taken down from Pusey' s lips. When asked to recant the statement that we 'touch with our own lips Christ' s cleansing Blood,' Pusey had observed:--
'I do not say it after any corporeal manner; I say it in no other sense than St. Chrysostom says, " Our tongues are reddened, &c.ä. I say it only, because after consecration they are called the Body and Blood of Christ. It was an adaptation of the words of the Ancient Church, " Lo, this hath touched my lips," &c.'
When asked to deny that 'God poureth out for us now the most precious Blood of His Only Begotten,' Pusey explained:--
'I adopt St. Augustine' s words in no other sense than as our Church teaches us, to thank God " for that He doth vouchsafe to feed us, who have duly received these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of His Son," &c. It never crossed my mind to make any allusion in these words to the Sacrifice or, until I saw the objection yesterday, that any one could connect the doctrine with them.'
When bidden to assert that by 'His very Body and Blood' he meant that the elements are only 'spiritually so, not carnally, not Christ' s natural flesh and blood,' Pusey replied:--
'Yes. I had no physical meaning. I deny everything physical, and I meant only a spiritual body in a spiritual and sacramental way.'
That evening 'the judges' met again to receive Dr. Jelf' s report. They were not satisfied. In the Vice-Chancellor' s words, subsequently addressed to Pusey, 'the utmost that could be said of the statements which Dr. Jelf took down from your mouth was that they were qualifications of the language of the sermon.' The Six Doctors considered that they 'had made two attempts to bring about a recantation and had failed.' It was also 'strongly impressed' on the Vice-Chancellor' s 'mind that besides particular objections, an exception had been taken to the general tenor of the sermon, which of course no recantation could touch.' And so he 'at length made up his mind that no course remained but to proceed to what' he 'felt to be a very severe measure, but nevertheless the only alternative, namely, suspension.'
The official notification of the Sentence ran as follows:--
Junii 2do, 1843.
Cum Edvardus Bouverie Pusey S. T. P. Aedis Chnisti Canonicus, necnon Linguae Hebraicae Professor Regius, in Concione intra Universitatem Maii 14to proxime elapso habit‰, quaedam Doctrinae Ecclesiae Anglicanae dissona et contraria protulisse delatus fuerit: Idemque Edvardus Bouvenie Pusey S. T. P. postulanti Vice-Cancel–lario Concionis suae venum exemplar eisdem terminis conscriptum, virtute Juramenti tradiderit: Mihi igitur Vice-Cancellario verbis, quae in quaestionem vocabantur, in medium prolatis et rite perpensis, adhibito consilio sex aliorum S. Theologiae Doctorum scilicet D. Doctoris Jenkyns, D. Doctoris Hawkins, D. Doctoris Symons, D. Doctoris Jelf, D. Doctoris Ogilvie, necnon et Praelectoris Dominae Mangaretae Comitissae de Richmond, criminis objecti dictum Edvardum Bouvenie Pusey S. T. P. reum inventum, a munere prae–dicandi intra praecinctum Universitatis per duos annos suspendere placuit.
P. WYNTER, VICE-CANCELLARIUS.
Registranius Univ. Oxon.
On the morning of June 2nd Dr. Jelf announced the sentence to Pusey. The Vice-Chancellor allowed Dr. Jelf to tell Pusey that he had not had a hearing. Pusey at once set to work on a Protest against his suspension.
E. B. P. TO REV. J. H. NEWMAN.
MY DEAR N. [June 2, 1843.]
Before you leave O[xford] I should like you to see the copy of my Protest and give me your opinion. I am quite at ease.
Yours very affectionately,
E. B. P.
Pusey' s engagement to be silent respecting the com–munications between himself and the Vice-Chancellor made him feel it impossible to protest against his sentence in adequate terms. He was obliged to be silent about his enforced silence. He could say nothing about those vague presumptions or those untheological inferences of the documents sent to him by his judges, which betrayed the unjustifiable grounds of his sentence. He would have been far better-off if they had suspended him, as they had condemned him, at once and without a word of communication. As it was, he could only make a Protest which, read in the light of what had really passed, expresses very feebly the flagrant injustice of the proceedings.
You will be assured that the following Protest, which I feel it my duty to the Church to deliver, is written with entire respect for your office, and without any imputation upon yourself individually.
I have stated to you, on different occasions, as opportunity offered, that I was at a loss to conceive what in my sermon could be construed into discordance with the Formularies of our Church; I have requested you to adopt that alternative in the statutes which allows the accused a hearing; I have again and again requested that definite propositions, which were thought to be at variance with our Formularies, should, according to the alternative in the statute, be proposed to me; I have declared repeatedly my entire assent ex animo to all the doctrinal statements of our Church on this subject, and have, as far as I had opportunity, declared my sincere and entire consent to them in–dividually; I have ground to think that, as no propositions out of my sermon have been exhibited to me as at variance with the doctrine of our Church, so neither can they, but that I have been condemned either on a mistaken construction of my words, founded upon the doctrinal opinions of my judges, or on grounds distinct from the Formularies of our Church.
Under these circumstances, since the statute manifestly contemplates certain grave and definite instances of contrariety or discordance from the Formularies of our Church, I feel it my duty to protest against the late sentence against me as unstatutable as well as unjust.
I remain, Mr. Vice-Chancellor,
Your humble servant,
Christ Church, June 2, 1843. E. B. PUSEY.
In his own words, Pusey protested against his sentence as 'unstatutable as well as unjust,'
'1. Because I conceive that the statute contemplates so strongly " grave and definite instances" of contrariety or " discordance from the Formularies of our Church," that I was satisfied that the alternative of the summary condemnation permitted to the V.-C., and resorted to in my case, was intended only in flagrant and extreme cases. It could not, I conceive, have been intended in cases in which the existence of the " crime alleged" could not be ascertained, except by a hearing. Any other interpretation of the statute would set it at variance with all the principles of ecclesiastical and civil law.
'2. I had " ground to think" " that I had been condemned either on a mistaken construction of my words, founded upon the doctrinal opinions of my judges, or on grounds distinct from the Formularies of the Church." That I had not only " ground to think this, but actually knew itä, I was obliged to withhold, when I wrote my Protest. I said, in consequence, to the Vice-Chancellor, in a letter with which I ac–companied my Protest, " Had I been allowed to mention all I knew, my Protest must have been much stronger.ä
'3. I now say that I consider it both " unstatutable and unjust," because it has been rested partly on misconstruction of my words, inferring from them what is not contained in them, partly on grounds foreign to my sermon, partly on grounds foreign to, and opposed to, our Formularies, which my judges, not myself, have contravened .
Pusey sent his Protest to the Vice-Chancellor on the evening of June 2nd. The letter which accompanied it must have suggested to the Vice-Chancellor what the contents of the Protest would have been, had Pusey not been bound down by the fatal engagement to secrecy.
MY DEAR MR. VICE-CHANCELLOR,
In drawing up the accompanying Protest, which it is my purpose to make public, I have avoided anything which might betray how much I really know of the grounds of my condemnation, in which case I must have spoken very much more strongly. I showed it to Dr. Jelf, that he might tell me whether it trenched upon what I knew con–fidentially.
To yourself, individually, I would, in candour, state, that while entirely unconcerned about myself, I feel, most strongly, the exceeding injustice of the late sentence, and I think that some of my judges will in time repent of it.
It does seem to me so utterly contrary to all justice, that when, of three sets of propositions, I accepted entirely the first and largest, of the other two, I accepted ex animo all which was contained in our Formularies, rejected only so much of one proposition as was clearly beside our Formularies, and demurred to another, because I did not understand your meaning, expressing at the same time my entire concurrence ex animo with all in our Formularies--it does seem to me to be so utterly contrary to all principles of justice and equity (not to speak of charity) to afford me no further opportunity of vindication, that I can only say I pray that my judges may not, in the Great Day, receive the measure which they have dealt to me.
I have done what in me lay for the peace of the Church.
Christ Church, June 2, 1843. E. B. PUSEY.
All is now past, but I would now explain that I thought that the papers given me by Dr. Jelf were only preliminary; else I should have attempted to substitute other words for those which I bracketed, which might have conveyed my meaning formally.
The publication of Pusey' s Protest was the first notifica–tion to the world, that anything whatever had been done since the sermon had been sent for. There had been rumours as to what was passing; but nothing was known on authority. The Six Doctors had met four times: the sentence had been signed and sent to Pusey: but it had never been published.
'On Dr. Pusey' s authority, of course it could not be doubted that he had been actually suspended.... So all that day people were looking about impatiently for the fact itself. They went to the doors of the College halls, to the Common rooms, to the doors of the Schools, and all the public places where University notices of all kinds are posted; they could find nothing new; there was a notice that some livery-stable-keeper had been suspended from University communications for letting a tandem, or some such offence, but no Dr. Pusey. The divinity beadle was seen going about, but it was only the announce–ment of the next Sunday' s preachers. There was not, nor is there to this day that we know of, anything to show.'
The Protest made no reference to the communications which had passed between Pusey and his judges through Dr. Jelf. Pusey, as we have seen, conceived himself to be debarred from any such reference by the silence which had been imposed on him, and which he understood to refer no less to the fact than to the nature of the communications. But when his Protest was made public, it became apparent that his scrupulous observance of this contract would involve inconveniences for his judges which they had not at first foreseen. The truth was, that Pusey' s judges had never thought of giving him a hearing before condemning him; but now they did not wish to be supposed to have condemned him unheard. As a matter of fact they had done so; and then, after condemning him, had endeavoured to extort from him a recantation of propositions which, in the sense he had used them, the more instructed members of the Board would not have condemned. And now they were obliged to face, not only Pusey' s friends, but all fair-minded people in the University and elsewhere, who, without knowing or caring much about theology, had distinct ideas of the requirements of justice. They were becoming eager to make the most that could be made of what had passed between Dr. Jelf and Pusey after the condemnation of the sermon. If Pusey had not been heard, he had at least been communicated with; if not before his sermon was condemned, at least before sentence was pronounced. But they could not avail themselves of even this expedient for improving their case (if it did improve it) without themselves violating the compact which they had imposed upon Pusey. To tell all the world what had passed between Dr. Jelf and Pusey would have made their case worse than ever: but could it not be arranged that the fact of some communications with Pusey might be made known, without any relaxation of the obligation to secrecy as to the nature of those communications? Even before the appearance of the Protest, and on the day of the sentence, this question had presented itself to the acute apprehension of the Provost of Oriel.
THE PROVOST OF ORIEL TO THE REV. THE VICE-CHANCELLOR.
Oriel College, June 2, 1843.
MY DEAR VICE-CHANCELLOR,
One more last word, but not requiring any answer until we happen to meet again.
Although your communications with Dr. Pusey have been themselves private and confidential, I do not see any reason why the fact should be private--the fact that Dr. Pusey had written to you a note accom–panying his sermon, and that in consequence of it you had privately inquired of him through a mutual friend whether he was likely to make such explanations as could be satisfactory--before you proceeded to suspension,--and proceeded to suspension when you had ascertained that he was not likely to offer any satisfactory explanations.
If we are once allowed to mention the fact of these communications having preceded suspension, I think we should sufficiently obviate those evil consequences which I dwelt upon last night perhaps too warmly.
And, possibly, this course may also prevent the necessity of your having to make any further statement of objections to Dr. P. to become the basis of future controversy.
Ever yours most truly,
The Rev. the Vice-Chancellor.
I think this was your own opinion yesterday afternoon, though per–haps it was rather lost sight of at our evening session.
But when the Protest itself was distributed in every common-room in Oxford, the full effect of Pusey' s ob–servance of his engagement upon academical opinion was immediately apparent. The Protest made no allusion to any hearing. The University would take it for granted (which was in fact the case) that there had been no hearing. Thereupon, and to prevent such damaging inferences, the Provost of Oriel wrote to Dr. Jelf calling in question Pusey' s 'veracity and honesty,' on the ground that in his Protest he had made no reference to those communi–cations which had passed between himself and the Vice-Chancellor. Dr. Jelf sent this letter to Pusey, who thereupon immediately repudiated the charge, not only in a letter to Jelf, but in a more lengthy letter to the Vice-Chancellor, in which he complains of the unfair position in which he was placed by his scrupulous observance of the obligation to secrecy, which it now appeared that he was only to adhere to so far as it favoured his judges. He writes
E. B. P TO THE REV. THE VICE-CHANCELLOR.
June 3, 1843.
I am quite willing to say absolutely nothing or to enter into the fullest explanation, as you think best or give me leave. Only I cannot make, or allow of, half-statements (such as were those of the Provost of Oriel, in part also mis-statements) which, without the full explanation, would throw suspicion on my truth. I have kept the whole nature of the communications a strict secret from my nearest friends, as I was enjoined; but unless equal silence is imposed upon all, I must regard the understanding at an end, and myself released from an engagement which was understood to be mutual.
The Vice-Chancellor hereupon consulted the Provost of Oriel, who suggested that Pusey might adopt the subjoined form of postscript to his Protest.
THE PROVOST' S PROPOSED SUPPLEMENT TO PUSEY' S PROTEST.
I framed my Protest of yesterday' s date under an impression that I was not at liberty to mention the fact of private communications having been made to me on your part. As this may possibly create in some minds a misapprehension of the actual circumstances, I would now say by way of explanation that the words of my Protest, so far as regards this point, apply to my not having been allowed an opportunity of explaining and defending myself before you in your public capacity.
Pusey of course refused to adopt a document which implied an altogether inaccurate account of the facts, and replied:--
E. B. P. TO THE REV. THE VICE-CHANCELLOR.
Christ Church, Whitsun Eve, 1843.
There seems to me some strange misunderstanding as to the facts of the case, because the words you have suggested to me, viz. 'apply to my not having been allowed an opportunity of explaining and defending myself before you in your public capacity' imply that I had such opportunity privately. This I understood that I had not; on the contrary I would still apply for it, if possible, with a view that, if I established the innocency of my meaning, the sentence might be rescinded.
I cannot adopt yours [your form of Postscript] because it implies that which, in my view, never took place. I have no objection to its being stated that 'certain private communications were made by you to me without leading to any satisfactory result,' provided I be allowed to say that secrecy is imposed upon me as to the nature of those communications, and also that no reports are circulated as to their nature. If they are, so as to affect my character for truth, I must conceive myself at liberty both to publish the letter which I sent to you this morning, and also a detail of the circumstances, as far as I know them. I am sorry to write thus, but I must take the liberty of reminding you that had you maintained the same silence which you imposed upon me, this difficulty would not have arisen, for it is not the fact of my having had private communications from you, but the supposed nature of those communications, such as the Provost of Oriel represented them to Dr. Jelf, which would affect my character for truth.
To this the Vice-Chancellor replied, endeavouring as best he could to justify the terms of the postscript which he had suggested at the Provost' s dictation. The letter [·] is valuable as giving an account of the objects which influenced the judges in their communications with Pusey, but it clearly shows that whatever complexion the Provost might now endeavour to give to those secret negotiations, Pusey was condemned without a hearing.
But his judges were still, with the aid of the Provost' s suggestions, taking advantage of Pusey' s faithful adherence to his promise of silence. It was known that there had been communications. It was believed that they were of the nature of a hearing previous to the condemnation of the sermon, and it was supposed that Pusey had disingenuously suppressed all mention of it. He was therefore driven to publish the subjoined supplement to his Protest.
SUPPLEMENT TO PROTEST.
When I drew up my Protest, I felt myself bound not to allude to the fact, that, after it was announced to me that my sermon had been condemned, I received confidential communications from your–self. I had been informed, when I received them, that the fact of my having received them, as well as their contents, was strictly confi–dential, and this injunction to entire silence had not been removed. I felt it therefore even my duty to ascertain that there was in my Protest nothing which could trench upon that confidence.
I expressed to yourself privately, at the time, my sense of the kindness of your intentions personally, in making to me the first of those communications; and of this I was thinking, when, in my Protest, I spoke of not casting 'any imputation upon yourself individually.'
To the nature of those communications I can make no allusion, since you saw right to impose silence upon me. It is sufficient to say that after they were concluded I received a message from yourself, 'Dr. Pusey has my full authority for saying that he has had no hearing.' It ever was, and is, my full conviction, that had I had the hearing, which (for the sake of the University and the Church) I earnestly asked for, I must have been acquitted.
These communications, then, in no way affect my Protest. I add this explanation, because, while I retain my strong conviction that my sentence was both 'unstatutable and unjust,' it is right, since I am now at liberty so to do, to acknowledge the kindness of your own intentions to me individually.
I remain, Mr. Vice-Chancellor,
Your humble servant,
E. B. PUSEY.
Christ Church, June 6, 1843.
How deeply Pusey felt about this matter is more exactly expressed in the following letter than in the Supplement to the Protest.
E. B. P. TO REV. J. H. NEWMAN.
In fest. SS. Trin. 1843, June 11.
Even the rest of this sacred day of rest is broken in upon. Ward told me yesterday evening some statements in the Morning Chronicle about my Protest being 'Jesuitical,' 'every one here being disgusted at it,' &c., which make it necessary to determine how to act.
One line to which I have been inclining this morning, is to let these things die a natural death, commit my own reputation to God, stop privately the Protest in London, and bring out my sermon, which will at once shift the battle from these grounds to the theological questions.
My ground for this is, that I have fallen into the hands of one or more, blinded by prejudice and hostility, so that they have become hard-hearted, reckless, unscrupulous, and I am no match for such men. 'The Sons of Zeruiah are too hard for me.' I feared, as soon as I knew it, that they would make out a plausible case of inaccuracy against me; people will believe just as they wish, and the whole controversy will be about my veracity, which will indispose people to the truths of the sermon when it appears.
The other line is, to make an enlarged and stronger Protest (which when I sent the former I told the Vice-Chancellor I must have done, had I been allowed to allude to the facts which I knew) followed by a Statement of the facts I know. This will be to take the offensive, and show that my animus was to tell the truth.
As I am now released from secrecy, I send you the Protest and the Statement; only, as I can do nothing until the Vice-Chancellor' s return to-morrow, you had better say nothing, lest I seem to be premature or they steal a march upon me.
This is miserable work for such a day as this; I can only say 'Draw me out of the net which they have laid privily for me, for Thou art my God.'
Ever your most affectionate friend,
E. B. PUSEY.
At the same time an address to the Vice-Chancellor ap–peared which was signed by sixty-one resident members of Convocation and Bachelors of Civil Law. It asked the Vice-Chancellor to make known to the University the grounds on which the sentence on Dr. Pusey was passed, in order that there might be no doubt as to what statements of doctrine the sentence was intended to mark as dissonant from or contrary to the doctrine or discipline of the Church of England as publicly received. This address was signed in the main by adherents of the Movement, but also by some persons who had no connexion with it. Its motive was well expressed in a private letter which one of the signatories wrote at the time to the Vice-Chancellor:--
'The fact is that the silence of the gentlemen who examined the sermon is very perplexing to us who may have to preach at some time or other before the University. We have no means of knowing what is held to be heretical doctrine respecting the Eucharist (for this is supposed to be the point on which objection has been taken) and consequently cannot avoid the danger which Dr. Pusey has incurred.'
The writer certainly was not thinking of himself when he added,
'Those who agree in the main with Dr. Pusey' s teaching are of course the most perplexed.'
This perplexity was by no means merely theoretical. Delation of University sermons was in the air. On Ascen–sion Day, May 25, the Rev. T. E. Morris, Student and Tutor of Christ Church, had preached before the University by the Dean' s appointment. In his sermon he had spoken of 'Laud the martyred archbishop, who, let us trust, still intercedes for this Church.' On the following day the Vice-Chancellor sent for the sermon 'under the provisions of the statute, Tit. xvi. § 11.' Mr. Morris sent the sermon, together with extracts from Anglican divines illustrating his language. On the following Wednesday the Vice-Chancellor informed Mr. Morris that all the notice he had to take officially of the sermon was to require that Mr. Morris would ex animo express his assent to the Twenty–second Article; a request which was apparently based on the presumption that it is impossible to believe in the intercession of the saints without invoking them. Mr. Morris of course had no difficulty in complying with the Vice-Chancellor' s desire; he 'did not see that what he had said involved Invocation [of the Saints] at all.' He read the Article, received back the copy of his sermon, and, so far as the University was concerned, the matter was at an end.
The situation is described, not without a touch of humour, by one who was keenly alive to all that was passing, and deeply felt its extreme seriousness.
REV. C. MARRIOTT TO REV. W. COTTON.
Oriel, Whitsunday, 1843.
The Heads here are got most unreasonably jealous, and fancy we are going straight over to Rome. . .I think it will only make a disturbance, and do anything rather than further the cause of low doctrine. T. Morris also, in preaching at Ch. Ch. for the Dean, said that we might hope that Archbishop Laud still interceded for the Church of England and for this University. He was had up, and admonished for this (as if on purpose to show the dotage of our authorities) as tending directly to the Invocation of Saints. However, he protested against receiving any such admonition as official and authoritative, and only had in that way Article 22 to read out! This is all within the last fortnight. I hope to preach to–morrow and the next day.... I hope they will not have me up!
'Can you not agree with me,' wrote Mr. Faber of Magdalen again to the Vice-Chancellor, 'that those clergy–men who agree with Dr. Pusey' s theology are in much insecurity from a want of knowledge? It is but yesterday that I overheard a gentleman say, " I trembled for Marriott.ä'
But the Vice-Chancellor was inexorable. To public memorials and to private communications, he returned practically the same answer.
Respecting as I do the motives of those who have signed the paper conveyed to me by you, and ready as I am at all times to satisfy the reasonable demand of members of Convocation, I regret that I cannot in the present instance comply with their request. It is my plain duty as Vice-Chancellor to abide by the Statutes of the University, and as these do not prescribe, so I have scarcely a doubt they do not permit, the course which is now suggested to me. For the silence of the Statutes on this point, satisfactory reasons may be presumed--reasons which are not applicable to me alone, but to yourselves individually, and to the University at large.
I beg to subscribe myself, &c.,
P. WYNTER, V.-C.
The Rev. H. Wall, B. B. Eden, B. Hill, &c.
The position taken up in this document is extraordinary. Here was a statute intended to guard the University against the public teaching of false doctrine. It had been put in force with the extreme result of suspending an eminent scholar from the most serious of his public duties. But the plain intention of the statute was nevertheless defeated by the refusal to state the grounds on which it had been put in force. No one was instructed; no truth, real or supposed, was guarded; while numbers were greatly and not unreasonably irritated by what had taken place.
That matters would be pushed further was inevitable. A second address to the Vice-Chancellor, on the part of non-resident members of the University, was forwarded to him by Mr. Badeley.
TO THE REV. THE VICE-CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD.
We, the undersigned non-resident members of Convocation, beg leave respectfully to express our serious regret at the course which you have adopted with reference to Dr. Pusey' s sermon.
We deprecate that construction of the statute under which Dr. Pusey has been condemned; which, contrary to the general principles of justice, subjects a person to penalties without affording him the means of explanation or defence; and we think that the interests of the Church and of the University require, that when a sermon is adjudged unsound, the points in which its unsoundness consists should be distinctly stated, if the condemnation of it is intended to operate either as a caution to other preachers, or as a check to the reception of doctrines supposed to be erroneous.
(Signed) DUNGANNON, M.A., Christ Church.
COURTENAY, B.C.L., All Souls, M.P.
W. B. GLADSTONE, Christ Church.
JOHN TAYLOR COLERIDGE, M.A., Exeter. &c. &c.
The correspondence between Mr. Badeley and the Vice-–Chancellor illustrated the tension of feeling at the time. Mr. Badeley informed the Vice-Chancellor that he had been entrusted with an address, and begged to know when and in what manner it would be convenient to the Vice-Chancellor to receive it. The Vice-Chancellor replied that he would gladly receive Mr. Badeley, or any other gentleman who might bring the address. That he would also receive the address he would not say until he knew what was the authority under which Mr. Badeley acted, and what were the contents of the address. Mr. Badeley then enclosed a copy of the address, and stated that it was signed by 230 non-resident members of Convocation. The Vice-Chan–cellor drew an odd distinction between the address itself and an exact copy of it, and suggested that the address itself should be sent to him by post. Upon receiving it, he could only express his indignation and scorn by despatching his reply to London by the hands of the University Bedel. It ran as follows:--
SIR, St. John' s College, Oxford, August 4, 1843.
The address which, as you inform me, you were commissioned to present to me, reached me by yesterday' s post; I return it to you by the hands of my bedel.
When a document of a similar nature, upon the same subject, was some time since presented to me, I was induced from respect for the presumed motives of those who signed it, not only to receive it, but to state the ground on which I felt myself precluded from complying with the request which it contained. But the paper which you have transmitted to me presents itself to me under very different circum–stances, and demands from me a different course of procedure.
In whatever point of view I feel myself at liberty to regard it, whether as addressed to me in my individual or my official capacity, it is deserving of the strongest censure.
In the former case, it imputes to me, by implication, that in a matter wherein every thoughtful man occupying my position would most deeply feel its painful responsibilities, I have acted without due deliberation, and am capable of being influenced by many to concede that which I have already denied to a few. Assuming it to be addressed to me in my public capacity, a graver character attaches to it. If it be not altogether nugatory, then it is an unbecoming and unstatutable attempt to overawe the Resident Governor of the University in the execution of his office.
In either case, I refuse to receive it; and I hold it to be my duty to admonish those who may have hastily signed it, while I warn others who may have been active in promoting it, to have a more careful regard to the oaths by which they bound themselves upon admission to their several degrees; this act of theirs having a direct tendency to foment, if not create, divisions in the University, to disturb its peace, and interfere with its orderly government.
I am, Sir,
Your faithful, humble servant,
B. Badeley, Esq., M.A. P. WYNTER, V-C.
Mr. Badeley replied by assuring the Vice-Chancellor that no disrespect was intended either for his character or office; that he was only approached in his official capacity by those who, as members of Convocation, had a right to approach him. To Pusey he observed:--
E. BADELEY, ESQ. TO E. B. P.
Temple, Aug. 6, 1843.
... I have had a curious correspondence since I saw you with the Vice-Chancellor respecting the address of the non-residents upon your case; the result of which is that he refuses to receive the address and has sent me a most angry, I may almost say a most insulting letter, which I suppose must be published. He tells us to pay more regard to our oaths than thus to disturb the peace of the University and interfere with its orderly government! However, he has at least had the address and seen the names of those who signed it, and these appear to have annoyed him a good deal. I have written to him very calmly and respectfully, and so have left him in the wrong.
I sincerely hope you like Dover and find its air beneficial to you. I trust your health may soon be fully re-established.
Ever, my dear Dr. Pusey, with the greatest respect and regard,
Yours most sincerely,
J. B. Mozley amusingly describes the impression produced by this correspondence.
REV. J. B. MOZLEY TO REV. R. W. CHURCH.
Have tidings of the correspondence between Badeley and the Vice-Chancellor reached you? The V.-C. has positively refused to receive the address, and attributed malicious and seditious motives to the signers of it! says they are acting against their University oaths! You never saw such a document for unbridled folly.
Gladstone, Judge Coleridge, and all are put together, and the whole set put down as boys; and the V.-C. acts as if he were the Vice-Chancellor of the universe. Badeley is amazingly on the qui vive about it, enjoying it more than I can describe. Gladstone is excessively indignant; Hook rages. The latter has dedicated a new work of his to Pusey; I question whether he has not written it on purpose to dedicate it. On the whole, it is a rich climax....'
The Vice-Chancellor' s reply to the non-resident members of Convocation appears to have had effects which he could not have intended. Mr. Justice Coleridge was one of the signatories, and the admonition to regard the oaths which they had taken was, in the case of a judge, freely and disagreeably noticed by the press. The Provost of Oriel, too, administered to him 'an authoritative rebuke,' and the result was a correspondence with the Vice-Chancellor. At its close occurs the subjoined passage:--
MR. JUSTICE COLERIDGE TO THE REV. THE VICE-CHANCELLOR.
Jan. 8, 1844.
It would be very much out of place here to re-agitate the question and we neither of us strengthen our case by simply reaffirming our opinions. But I must beg permission to say to one with whom I wish to stand well, that I am much misunderstood if I am supposed to be careless of disturbing the discipline of the University, still more of encouraging disloyalty to the Church, to which, ignorant as I unfeignedly profess myself to be, the Provost himself is not more sincerely devoted than I am. My conduct proceeded and proceeds, on the most undoubting conviction that the course pursued towards Dr. Pusey was not only cruel-to him and radically unjust in principle, but most dangerous to the Church, and directly conducive to the very ends which yet, I doubt not, it was honestly intended to prevent.
The impression created by the proceedings which have been just described may be learnt from the subjoined paper written by the Rev. Isaac Williams, and apparently intended for publication.
'Nothing,' the writer observes, 'has occurred in our time, so pregnant with great consequences as the late conspiracy in Oxford. A barrier has given way; as in the march of revolutionary measures when the divinity that hedges round the person of a king has been broken through, the first overt act never stops: so is it with our natural reverence for a holy person, when under any violent impulse this sacred feeling is trampled on, and God' s withholding hand is withdrawn, it may be augured to be the prelude of fresh events. Certainly nothing has been known in our days like the feeling with which it has been received, by all within the more immediate circles of Oxford society: men look at each other as if some wicked thing had been perpetrated on which they could not venture to speak; in all there is a deep feeling that it is not to end here, and a sense of love and reverence for the injured person, strongly entertained, but never perhaps before fully known or expressed, breaks out in sayings from men of all opinions which has much struck me. " He is so marked by the hand of Heaven by sacred sorrows, and in every way," said one, " there is something so sacrosanct about him, that they dare not touch him; it cannot be." " Why, he is like a guardian angel to the place," said another. " One feels as if one' s own mother had been insulted," says a third, " it overwhelms one as something shocking." There is also a very general impression that the sermon itself is no more than a handle for a preconcerted measure, which is confirmed by the fact that they have resolutely refused to mention any one objectionable proposition in the sermon, or in what way it is discordant with the Church of England: all whom I have met with considered the sermon very innocent and unexceptionable. Add to which the circumstance of a similar attack at the same time upon another, where the particular charge being specified it was at once found untenable and frivolous....
'Setting aside the moral weight of Dr. Pusey' s character, and that of his station as a Canon of Christ Church, as a man of genius, neither the University nor the nation have seen his superior for centuries. Add also that there is in the English character a strong sense against unfair dealing: persons in no way connected with this Movement are loud against this proceeding. " I am no friend to them and to their views," said one man in my hearing, " but this is a sad business; what will the world say of such a judge and jury?ä
'Again, will it urge men to Rome? This is the apprehension of many. I think not: for two reasons; first, that when a person feels that others have a desire to thrust him from his place, he becomes actuated by a double desire to retain it more fully and broadly; and a desire to urge the party to Rome is too evident. In the second place, Dr. Pusey himself is the one of all others least inclined to secede to Rome: and the late occurrence has not only combined and rivetted together the whole Catholic body in the English Church, but especially around himself, by sympathy and affection brought out and strengthened to an inconceivable degree. Now all these are elements the working of which prognosticate their final success in the struggle. Add to which, beyond all, the strength which always has moved the world, and shaken it to its centre, the strength of principle: " it is but little," says Aristotle, " in outward show, but in worth and power far surpasses all things." Truth moreover never has prevailed except when persecuted: and from the beginning to this day, it is impossible to put your finger on any point in history when the truth appeared and was not persecuted. Since the time of which it is said, " And wherefore slew he him? but because his own works were evil and his brother' s good," it has passed into a principle observed by the wise man: " Let our strength be the law of justice. He was made to reprove our thoughts. This is grievous unto us even to behold, for his life is not like other men' s, his ways are of another fashion: he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness. Let us see if his words be true." ·
At first Pusey had made up his mind not to publish his sermon, lest, in the existing state of opinion, he should be 'casting with his own hands that which is most sacred, to be outraged and profaned' . Newman, however, advised publication, and Pusey had already prepared a preface and dedication, when he received from Mr. (now Sir) T. D. Acland a letter strongly urging him not to publish. Many of Pusey' s friends, Mr. Acland said, were anxious that he should not appeal from authority to the people. The Bishop of Salisbury, Dr. Denison, had remarked to Mr. Acland that 'it would be like Pusey' s character to submit to authority, however unjust.' Pusey himself would gain by such an act of dutiful submission. On the following day Mr. Acland wrote again, giving the opinion of Mr. Gladstone on the other side. Mr. Gladstone was for publication, sooner or later. Sooner or later Pusey must, if the Vice-Chancellor would not, put the Church in possession of what had been condemned.
Pusey again asked Newman' s advice, while forwarding to him Mr. Acland' s first letter.
E. B. P. TO REV. J. H. NEWMAN.
[Christ Church, June 9, 1843.]
The enclosed note from A. at first much distressed and per–plexed me. I did dread excessively the blasphemy, and do dread the Bishops (e.g. if this year we were to have the Bishop of Chichester with his sympathy for the Heads, his hatred of us, and his unsus–ceptible undistinguishing mind, with a furious Charge this year, and next Chester, Winchester, Durham). This is my only dread; as for going against [the] authority [of the Heads] (whether it is from having lived with them so long as equals) I cannot feel it. I have gone against them already.
I gave up my own feelings at first to your judgement; at first my feelings were to risk anything rather than publish; the conviction of the necessity seemed to come over me, and, at last, the general expec–tation that I should publish seems to supersede private judgement.
I send you the only slip I have of the Preface that you may see its tone. If you see any shade of doubt, I could write to J. K. or even Justice Coleridge, who (though I am personally unknown to him, yet intimate with his brother) has written me a very kind note.
Newman was clear.
REV. J. H. NEWMAN TO B. B. P.
Littlemore, June 9, 1843.
My feeling is that you must not seem afraid to publish--i.e. that non-publication must not be your act (especially since the sermon is expected and in the press).
If any person in authority, who had not seen the sermon, as our Bishop, allowed you to say that he strongly dissuaded it, or even to write a letter which you could publish, I think that your own character would be secure, as Acland says, with Anglicans.
But there are a number of unsettled people up and down. Will not they in their hearts think that you go much further than you do? Will not the general effect be produced that 'the Movement has taken in the doctrine of Transubstantiation' ? Will it not be taken for granted by opponents? Will not the fear of a secret spreading dis–loyalty to Anglicanism gain ground? Will you not be hailed by the Pope, who (I find) has just given you up? On the other hand is the question, whether your sermon will not read Popish anyhow to most people.
The question of authority seems to me absurd, as to you. It is a mere pretence.
No doubt the Vice-Chancellor and the six doctors would wish the sermon not published--it will put them into an awkward situation.
I never can make up my mind in a moment, but I have said enough to answer your immediate question. In my opinion you cannot refrain from publishing unless protected by some Bishop or (e. g.) by a request signed by good names, as Judge Coleridge' s.
Whether with this it will be expedient for you to refrain, I should like a little more time to think about.
Ever yours affectionately,
J. H. N.
P.S. Would it not be worth while to ask Hope? He goes away to-night. Keble does not like to give his opinion on a sudden.
I like the Preface very much.
On the next day Newman added, by way of postscript:--
REV. J. H. NEWMAN TO E. B. P.
The only additional. thought I have had is, that I suppose your not publishing will be considered a defeat--your publishing a victory--by persons who incline Romeward. I very much fear that any occur–rence which tends to impress upon their imagination that our Church disowns Catholic doctrine, e. g. your absolute submission, may do great harm to them.
In the case of No. 90, no Catholic doctrine was involved in continuing the Tracts. In submitting simply, I surrendered nothing. Of course it is a question whether you will not be making the Heads of Houses of more account than a Gospel truth.
Pusey decided that although he would submit to real authority, such as that of the Bishop of Oxford, if desired by him not to publish, it would be 'mere hypocrisy to pretend to withhold his sermon out of deference to the authority of the Vice-Chancellor.' He had already submitted the preface to Newman, and Newman had suggested corrections. Keble also advised publication, but discouraged Pusey' s proposed dedication of it to Newman. He was in favour, however, of the suggestion of a short Catena of Anglican authorities, as an appendix to the sermon.
REV. J. KEBLE TO B. B. P.
Hursley, June to, 1843.
... I think so much of a Catena as will put people on their guard would be a charitable thing; perhaps two or three of the strongest and most appropriate passages. Might you, without disrespect to the Bishop of Oxford, refer to the Catena in the Tracts on the Eucharistic Sacrifice, for that, I suppose, contains most of what you would put in?
Pusey at once took Keble' s advice. The sermon appeared in the last week of June, with Pusey' s preface corrected by Newman, Copeland' s Catena of Anglican divines, and a large apparatus of notes, mainly patristic, intended to show that the doctrinal language of the sermon was throughout, either in the letter or in substance, that of the primitive fathers of the Church.
It was received as might be expected. Setting aside the party necessarily opposed to high doctrine on the subject of the Eucharist, there were only a few who thought that it contained anything to warrant the suspension of its author. There was, however, a larger number who complained of its exaggerated or 'rhetorical' language; they meant that it expressed a dogmatic and devotional temper which, though not contrary to that of the Church of England, was in advance of their own. Of the acknowledgments of Pusey' s nearer friends, two may be quoted:--
REV. J. KEBLE TO E. B. P.
Bisley, July 1, 1843.
We got your sermon yesterday, and I make haste to thank you for it in my brother' s name and Isaac' s and my own, not doubting that I shall find that there is one waiting for me when I get back to Hursley. I am really quite at a loss to imagine how they can justify their sentence without condemning almost all the writers in your Catena, and certainly all the Fathers. Anyhow, you surely have done your part for Peace and Truth both, and I feel certain you will have no cause to regret what you have had to bear--even though it should have the effect, which I suppose we have much reason to fear, of bringing out a sad quantity of profane and low doctrine in most of the schools which make up the Church of England as we see it. If such evil exists, it may be better on many accounts that the fact should be known. There are, I suspect, many good persons who think them–selves Peculiars, who would draw back from that system if they understood that it really implies low views of the Blessed Sacrament.
In the meantime I am very sorry that your course of instruction on the remedies of post-baptismal sin should be so interrupted, and I hope that when you have refreshed your health, which for all our sakes you should now make your first care, you will go on with it in some other shape. Many a wounded conscience will bless you for it.
It is unpleasant to have hindered your having the comfort of ex–pressing your sympathy with Newman, yet I cannot say that as yet I regret it on the whole. It seems to me more in keeping with the tone of your Preface, and the absence of all controversial topics.
* * * * * *
With most grateful love,
I am, ever yours affectionately,
Mr. Gladstone, who had signed the address of non–-residents to the Vice-Chancellor, was especially satisfied with the justification of his action which the language of the sermon supplied.
W. E. GLADSTONE, ESQ., M.P., TO E. B. P.
13 Carlton House Terrace, June 30, 1843.
MY DEAR DR. PUSEY,
I have this morning received and read your sermon, and I beg you to accept my best thanks for your kindness in sending it to me.
Without presuming to go beyond my own sphere, I must say that the surprise and regret with which I first heard of the Vice-Chancellor' s proceedings in relation to it are augmented by its perusal, and I am quite at a loss to account to myself for steps which seem so groundless. However unwarranted, they must be deeply painful to one whose feelings have ever been kept so much in harmony as yours with the actual Church of England, and it may at first sight seem strange that a blow of this kind should fall on such an one; but doubtless therein lies the special wisdom of the appointment. I cannot tell you with what warm appreciation I read your Preface.
With the earnest prayer that you may enjoy abundant support and guidance through these critical events,
I remain, my dear Dr. Pusey,
Very sincerely yours,
W. B. GLADSTONE.
Rev. B. B. Pusey, D.D., &c.
Pusey was especially delighted with this generous letter, and often referred to it long after. His acknowledgment of it shows how his own hopeful temperament, and his unshaken trust in God, enabled him to treat the sentence which had been unjustly passed on him as a mere incident in the Divine plan for restoring true faith and a higher Christian life in his day and generation.
E. B. P. TO W. E. GLADSTONE, ESQ., M.P.
Pusey, July 22 .
I have been wishing much to thank you for your kind letter, but my brother will have told you how little able I have been to write. It was a great comfort to me, being nearly, or altogether, the first I received; and although I was quite satisfied as to the meaning of my sermon, I had, after so much had been said, become anxious, in a degree, how it might strike English Churchmen, who could not have much direct acquaintance with the Fathers. As one of these, I was much cheered by your early letter, coming also when illness made me feel more anxiety than I might in health. On the whole, however, I have been and am of good cheer about this and all things which concern our Church. We cannot suppose that so great a restoration as is now going on in her should be without manifold drawbacks, and checks, and disquietudes, and sufferings. No great restoration ever took place without them. But while all who are allowed any way to be concerned in it must expect their share, directly or indirectly, on the whole one must be of good courage. He will not, one trusts, leave His own work unfinished, and there seem so many rudiments of good everywhere, yet to be developed; so much which is promising yet perhaps not fixed or hardened enough to endure a fiery trial; so many of His soldiers (as one trusts) yet in the wrong camp, that one cannot but hope that we shall have a breathing-time yet; and although all these beginnings of strife seem but the preludes of some fearful conflict in which the Church shall be purged by suffering, one cannot but hope that He is holding back those gigantic powers of evil, with which we are encompassed~ until He shall have called together His own army, so that none shall be by mistake upon the wrong side, and faint hearts be gradually strengthened.
This is my comfort also among the thickening troubles, which more immediately affect you; you will, have drawn your own comfort from the same consciousness of God' s Providence, Who has not been wearied by our many provocations, but is manifesting Himself thus visibly among us. Yet mutual consciousness of the same trust encourages each, and so I have not scrupled to write it.
Hook had written to Pusey at once on hearing of the Vice-Chancellor' s sentence.
Vicarage, Leeds, Whit Sunday [June 4], 1843.
MY POOR DEAR FRIEND,
Having been thinking of you, and praying for you all the week, and having gathered from the Times that all was going on well, 1 opened your letter on my way to church, that I might have greater joy on the festival--when lo! the festival is turned into a fast! My poor wife is crying over your Protest, and I can scarcely restrain myself. I remembered you this day at the altar.
What are you to do? We have told our people so long to hate heresy and to regard as heresy what the Church pronounces to be such, and the Church and the University are so identified in the minds of men--University men--that I should think you ought to demand of the Bishop an investigation under the Church Discipline Act.
We must petition now for a Convocation of the Church.
We must urge strongly the necessity of the Bishops resigning their estates for the education of the poor. We shall never do well while we have rich Bishops.
I suppose that we in the country had better remain quiet for the present.
I hate to be called a Puseyite--it looks like an heretical denomina–tion--but depend upon my standing by you in your prosecution. So will Churton, from whom I have heard. I am quite willing to resign my living to-morrow if need shall be. But I really cannot go the length of Oakeley, Ward, &c.
May the God in Heaven bless and guide you.
Your devoted friend,
Love to Newman. W. F. HOOK.
It was in accordance with this hearty and enthusiastic letter that Hook again wrote urging Pusey to come and preach in the Parish Church of Leeds during August. 'Your doing so,' he writes, 'would show that you are not silenced, and it would be the best means of letting my people perceive the affection and respect I entertain for you. I am anxious to find out some means of publicly marking my sympathy.' Pusey was obliged to decline. 'Both chest and limbs,' he wrote, 'are too weak. At first, too, I made up my mind not to preach anywhere during my suspension without the express sanction of the Bishop.'
Not to be baulked, Hook found another way of expressing his mind. He dedicated to Pusey a sermon, preached at the consecration of St. John the Baptist Church at Hawarden. The dedication stated that there had been an occasional difference of opinion between himself and Pusey on matters of importance, but Hook wished to record his 'respect for the profound learning, the unimpeachable orthodoxy, and the Christian temper with which, in the midst of a faithless and pharisaical generation,' Pusey 'had maintained the cause of true religion, and preached the pure, unadulterated Word of God.' 'By the publication of your truly evangelical sermon,' Hook continues, 'you have put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.' This sentence expresses what ought to have been rather than what was the case, but Pusey was much touched and gratified, and only anxious to minimize the allusion to 'differences' between them to 'which Hook had felt bound to refer.
Before the sermon appeared the Act Term had come to an end, and Oxford was deserted. The Commemoration of June 28, 1843, was signalized by an extraordinary uproar in the Theatre, occasioned partly by the unpopularity of one of the Proctors, and partly by a proposal to confer an honorary D.C.L. degree on the American Minister, Mr. Everett, who was a Socinian. Upon the decree being submitted in the usual form to Convocation, it was received with cries of Non-placet; but the degree was conferred in spite of a demand for the scrutiny of votes, which, it was asserted, had not been heard in the noise.
It will be remembered that at the time the University was still a Christian corporation, every one of whose members professed their acceptance of the Creeds and other formularies of the Church. In the light of Pusey' s recent suspension, the honour conferred on Mr. Everett could not but suggest to the world at large that the ruling powers at Oxford took but little pains to protect the central truth of our Lord' s Divinity. Yet they had just expressed a narrow and intolerant antagonism to sacramental language, which was sanctioned by the primitive Fathers to whom the Church of England had always appealed, and which had the approval of a long catena of staid Anglican Divines.
It was no wonder that Pusey' s health soon became a serious matter of anxiety to his relatives in the midst of all this trouble. He left Oxford as soon as Term was over, and stayed with his brother at Pusey House, and there he gradually became stronger. But that he should still feel his suspension deeply was inevitable in so sensitive a character. He brooded over the phrase in the Vice-Chancellor' s sentence, 'criminis reum,' and, as occasion offered, he withdrew from intimacy with those who had condemned the doctrine of the sermon. 'I continued my intercourse,' he afterwards said, 'with Dr. Jelf, telling him I was quite sure he could not have condemned the sermon. It would have seemed indifference to truth that those who condemned it should have continued on friendly terms with me.' A fortnight after the sentence he met Dr. Ogilvie in the street, and showed by his manner that he thought a friendly greeting out of place and insincere. He appears to have written later in the year to the Warden of Wadham and the Provost of Oriel, letters which stated or implied that their old friendship could not be maintained after all that had passed. All three were much pained; Dr. Symons and Dr. Hawkins entered into an elaborate justification of the part they had taken. It might be deemed an open question whether Pusey was entirely well-advised in this. No one who was intimately acquainted with him can doubt that the condemnation of a truth of such importance appeared to him a grievous wrong against God, and that he could not with any sincerity condone such a condemnation. Besides, he would have been more than human if he had not felt the gross injustice of the treatment that he had received. But it was perhaps inevitable that the world at large, who did not know him, would suppose him to be swayed by personal feelings only. He resumed his friend–ship with Dr. Ogilvie and Hawkins ten years afterwards, when he had again preached the doctrine for which he had been condemned, and in more explicit terms, from the University pulpit, and without a word of public censure.
Pusey had protested against his sentence as unstatutable as well as unjust: and this opinion was supported by many persons of legal eminence. Sir Roundell Palmer (now the Earl of Selborne) had 'a very strong opinion in the matter of the Six Doctors, namely, that what the Vice-Chancellor had done was quite illegal, and must, and would be, set aside upon appeal to any superior authority, having jurisdiction of the matter.' It had been suggested that an application should be made to the Court of Queen' s Bench for a prohibition to prevent the Vice- Chancellor from taking any steps for carrying his 'pretended sentence' into effect. Sir Roundell had no doubt that such a course would not be inconsistent with the oath Dr. Pusey had taken as a member of the University.
Pusey then was morally justified in entertaining the question of an application to the Queen' s Bench, and Newman' s opinion that he must do so for the sake of waverers decided him.
REV. J. H. NEWMAN TO E. B. P.
Littlemore, July 31, 1843.
The lawyers in London are, I am told, very strong in recommending you to go into the Queen' s Bench, or the like. Badeley was going to write to me about it, but he has not yet. I do feel very much that in a great question such as this you should neither have the fidget nor the onus of acting for yourself, but should choose, as it were, a committee for you, and let them act. If your suspension passes sub silentio, it is in vain to tell people who are inclined towards Rome that the world thinks you wronged. Did I wish to lead on persons towards Rome, my best step would be to recommend ac–quiescence on your part. I feel as strongly as you can the calamity of failing in such an attempt. But the lawyers at present seem to think that there is no risk of this.
Accordingly Pusey took counsel with Mr. E. Badeley and Mr. James Hope, who encouraged him to think that the laws of the University might yet afford the desired redress; and that there might be some tribunal at Oxford before which a suit Querela nullitatis might be instituted. But before anything could be done it was necessary to be justified with a legal opinion. In drawing up the case Pusey' s friends in the Temple found themselves face to face with a serious difficulty. Even in a matter of this im–portance, Pusey had characteristically kept no copies of his letters to the Vice-Chancellor, or of the papers which had been transmitted to him for signature. On applying to the Vice-Chancellor for permission to see either all the communications or at least his own letters, Pusey met with a courteous refusal. The consequence was that Pusey' s case was never fully placed before the eminent counsel whose opinions he asked. It contained Pusey' s account of what had happened and copies of the Vice-Chancellor' s letters to Pusey, but none of Pusey' s letters to the Vice–-Chancellor, and none of the documents sent to Pusey through Dr. Jelf. With such incomplete materials a case was drawn up and submitted to the Queen' s Advocate, the
Attorney-General, and the Solicitor-General. The two first, Sir J. Dodson and Sir Frederick Pollock, were of opinion that, 'as Dr. Pusey was not cited, or permitted to be heard in his defence, the sentence pronounced against him by the Vice-Chancellor was a nullity in law, and that the Querela nulliitatis would lie, and might be prosecuted before the Vice-Chancellor in person.' If the Vice-Chan–cellor refused to entertain it, Dr. Pusey had a remedy at common law by Mandamus. The Solicitor-General, Sir W. Follett, delayed his answer for some time, and at last gave an opinion which weakened the effect of the preceding one. He raised a question as to the character in which the Vice-Chancellor and his assistants must be considered to have acted. If they constituted a criminal court, then their sentence would be invalid, because Dr. Pusey had not been heard in his defence. But if the statute under which they acted be taken merely as one of the regulations of the University for those who voluntarily choose to become members of it, and agree to its rules, then the rules of the ordinary courts of law were not applicable. The statute, Sir W. Follett thought, did not necessarily require a hearing; and his impression was that the courts of law, if applied to, would not interfere in the case.
As Pusey meant to raise the question of the validity of his sentence in a court of law, he was bound to assume its invalidity by a formal act. When his turn to preach before the University came round, he could not, legally speaking, allow himself to acquiesce in the supposition that the Vice-Chancellor' s sentence debarred him from the exercise of his privilege.
E. B. P. TO THE REV. THE VICE-CHANCELLOR.
As my proper turn of preaching as Canon in the Cathedral of Christ Church will be on Sunday, the 12th of next month, I wish to renew the protest, which I have already offered, against the pro–ceedings taken against me, as being unstatutable and void.
I wish then formally to state that it is my desire to fulfil the duties of my office and to take the turn of preaching belonging to it, and I would request you to inform me whether you prohibit me from so doing.
I remain, Mr. Vice-Chancellor,
Your humble servant,
Christ Church, Oct. 30, 1843. E. B. PUSEY.
The Vice-Chancellor replied as might, perhaps, have been expected.
THE REV. THE VICE-CHANCELLOR TO E. B. P.
SIR, St. John' s College, Oct. 3!, 1843.
I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 30th instant.
I remain, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Rev. Dr. Pusey. P. WYNTER, V.-C.
Had the counsel, whose opinions had been taken, been unanimous, the Vice-Chancellor' s position might have been shaken, or Pusey might have carried the case into a com–mon-law court. As it was, the difference of opinion, the obsoleteness of the proposed method of proceeding, and a general distrust of University courts, led Pusey, after some delay, to abandon any further effort in this direction.
When there was no longer any prospect of obtaining redress from the authorities of the University, through the intervention of a civil court, Pusey fell back upon the course which he had wished to follow immediately after his Suspension. In those days the spiritual character of the ecclesiastical courts had not yet come into question; and he determined to raise the question of his orthodoxy in them. This course was in every way more welcome to him than the other. A question of religious truth could not be decided elsewhere than in a Church court. He had a conversation on the subject with Mr. J. Hope immediately after his suspension, who was clearly of opinion that no privileges of the University would, as Pusey feared was possible, prevent the suit under the Church Discipline Act.
This idea, as we have seen, was set aside, for a time, when Pusey was endeavouring, under advice, to take another course. Upon the failure of that endeavour, he fell back upon his earlier and more congenial plan of an ecclesiastical suit, with a theological, as distinct from a merely legal, issue. The proposal now was that Mr. H. A. Woodgate, Rector of Belbroughton, late Fellow of St. John' s College, should institute a friendly suit against Pusey, with a view to testing the theological soundness of the sermon.
E. B. P. TO REV. J. H. NEWMAN.
Aug. 21, 1844.
... Personally I prefer the plan of being prosecuted by Woodgate to being prosecutor, but I wished to do simply what seemed best. I have no answer as yet from H[ope]. The decision would thus be on the doctrine, not on the form, and it would be a judicial decision in favour of the truth. At least, one could not contemplate anything so miserable as a contrary decision, although I suppose I ought, as matter of earnestness, to be prepared to hold my professorship by the issue. Anyhow, I should need the prayers of my friends that what is good should not, on occasion of me, turn to evil...
May He bless you for all your love.
Ever your most affectionate and grateful friend,
E. B. P.
In mentioning the subject to Keble, Pusey gives another reason for wishing to carry the case into an ecclesiastical court :--
E. B. P. TO REV. J. KEBLE.
Christ Church, Vigil of St. Sim. and St. J., 1844.
With regard to my own affairs, my object has been N[ewman]. I felt that evil had come upon the Church on occasion of me, and he feels so acutely everything connected with heresy and heretical judgements, that I felt bound to do everything which in me lay to remedy it. Else I should have myself looked upon the act as the mere informal decision of the Vice-Chancellor and the majority of his advisers, but not committing the University, unless. it should recognize it by any subsequent act.
Ever yours gratefully and affectionately,
E. B. P.
Accordingly, Pusey formally applied to the Bishop of Oxford.
E. B. P. TO THE BISHOP OF OXFORD.
Christ Church, Oct. 12, 1844.
Ever since my sentence my friends have been wishing that in some way or other it should be set aside. My own long illness, and then the extreme difficulty of the case, owing to the confusion of our statutes, and other circumstances over which they had no control, delayed any decision until almost now. The only legal remedy, they find, is so intricate and obsolete, and unused in the University, that it becomes a question whether it should be tried. There is not the slightest doubt that the sentence was illegal, but the remedy is precarious.
But this leaves things in a very uncomfortable state. To you, I may speak freely. I have been condemned, and with me the doctrine I taught, for above a year, and no one has said anything in my behalf. To the laity this seems as if I were really condemned. They do not know the legal difficulties, and suppose that if there was a wrong there would be a remedy; that if I had not been rightly condemned, I could have redress. I have had painful experience of this. At Clifton, where I have been for years in the habit of preaching and administering the Holy Communion, so much and in part such indecent offence was taken at my assisting in adminis–tering the Holy Communion, that I have been obliged to desist. I am looked upon as one condemned. Nor would this cease by the mere expiration of my sentence. The cessation of the sentence is no acquittal. I am crippled in everything I do. Except with my friends, who think too kindly of me, I am an object of suspicion everywhere.
A friend of my own (Mr. Woodgate) will apply to your lordship to issue a Commission on my printing a sermon which had been already condemned in the University. Had the sermon been rightly con–demned, this would have been a most grave offence, much graver than preaching it originally.
I do then most earnestly implore your lordship not to refuse the Commission. I have no anxiety whatever about the issue if you grant it. I am quite sure that I can substantiate all the doctrine of my sermon to be that of the Church of England. Your lordship is the Bishop to whom I might most look for help in this; you have, I know, suffered in private through the imputations on the soundness of my teaching. Such a step would produce manifold good; it would tend to reassure people' s minds which were grievously shaken; it would settle what doctrine is allowed in our Church; it would take off the 'pressure of this condemnation, take the question out of an uneccle–siastical court, and settle it according to the authority of our divines of the Church. On the other hand, without such a course, I see nothing before me but deeper and more miserable confusion.
Your lordship cannot appreciate what it is to feel that the truth has been condemned through one' s-self, and people' s minds unsettled; none can, save one to whom it has happened.
I do then beseech your lordship, if you think that I have, during these ten years, laboured, with others worthier than myself, in the restoration of sound doctrine and for the well-being of our Church, not to refuse me the means of being freed from these difficulties, and of having a fair trial....
I hardly know whether I have explained clearly what I wish your lordship to do: a friend of mine will request your lordship to issue a Commission under the Church Discipline Act, to inquire whether there be prima facie ground for considering whether my sermon be unsound (this ground my condemnation itself furnishes), and then to send on the cause to the highest ecclesiastical court (the Arch–bishop' s).
The Bishop naturally asked Pusey why he did not endeavour to obtain a remedy in the University court. Pusey in reply described to the Bishop what he had endeavoured to do and what had been the result. He had now no other means of obtaining a fair trial excepting through the Archbishop' s court. As matters stood, he could preach nowhere without having the express sanction of the Bishop: and he was said to have been 'justly con–demned for having taught Transubstantiation.' If the Bishop should feel hesitation on the technical ground of the publication of the sermon within the precincts of the University, Pusey would republish it at Reading, to 'keep the question clear of the University.'
Bishop Bagot, as was his wont, asked the Primate what he advised. The Archbishop was 'pained' at what he thought a very morbid sensitiveness on Pusey' s part. In a second letter he gives reasons against entertaining Pusey' s proposal.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY TO THE BISHOP OF OXFORD.
MY DEAR LORD, Addington, Oct. 30, 1844.
I have looked with attention at the 86th of the 3rd and 4th of Victoria, and am confirmed by it in the opinion which I at first expressed respecting the inexpediency of the proceeding proposed by Dr. Pusey. By this act a discretion is left to the Bishop of proceeding or not, on complaint being made to him. It shall be lawful for the Bishop; but this is not followed by--and he is hereby required. And even if the clause were decidedly compulsory, it could only relate to a complaint made bona fide.
In the present case the accuser must come forward with a charge of heresy--which at the same tune he believes to be unfounded. The Commissioners appointed to inquire (if the cause is to proceed) must report that there is sufficient prima facie grounds for instituting proceedings against the party accused, and if the Bishop shall think fit to proceed against the party accused, articles must be drawn up, &c.
From this it appears that, in order to bring the case before a higher tribunal, the Commissioners must be satisfied that there is ground for the charges, and the Bishop must agree with them in opinion.
If this is their real opinion, the proceeding will not be much to the advantage of the accused; if not, both the Commissioners and the Bishop will be implicated in a transaction of rather a dubious character, certainly not straightforward. These considerations I should apprehend are decisive. If we look to expediency, it is evident that nothing could be more inconvenient to the Bishop than to be called on to proceed against authors of publications in which erroneous opinions on points of theology are advanced. Such complaints would be preferred against persons of all parties, and I do not see how you could refuse entertaining any complaint after having proceeded in the case of Dr. Pusey. For on the supposition that the sermon in question contains matter of heresy, it is evident that his object in publishing, was not to disseminate false doctrine, but to vindicate himself in the eyes of the public from the charge. And it would surely be hard that the step which he has taken in self-defence should subject him to prosecution, and especially if other publications, of a decidedly offensive character, are unnoticed. The real object of the proceeding would, however, be generally understood, and I cannot but think that whatever might be the issue, contentions would be multiplied without any benefit to the parties concerned, and offence needlessly given to the University, which a Bishop of Oxford would of course wish to avoid.
In stating my opinion, I do not wish to dissuade your lordship from taking a legal opinion if you have any doubts. You will act right in doing so.
I am sorry that Dr. Pusey should feel as he does on this painful subject. I see no necessity for his resigning his professorship, and I trust that he will reconsider the matter, and not act under the influence of excited feelings in this respect.
I remain, my dear Lord,
Your faithful servant,
The Lord Bishop of Oxford. W. CANTUAR.
In a later note the Archbishop reinforces these arguments by observing that Bishop Bagot could not allow the case to go forward without implicitly 'passing on the sermon a judgment so unfavourable as to render some further proceeding necessary.' For this, it is implied, the Bishop would not be prepared. The Bishop of Oxford, accordingly, forwarded to Pusey the Primate' s letter, with his own decision.
THE BISHOP OF OXFORD TO E. B. P.
MY DEAR SIR, Blithfield, Nov. 5, 1844.
Although I have been long in giving a final answer to your letter, I can assure you the delay has not arisen from inattention to the subject, to which I have given the best consideration in my power from the first, and which has caused me much anxiety. The subject, too, is one of so grave a character, involving so many considerations, that this (coupled with my wish to do what you thought but justice to yourself, if it could be done with propriety) led me not to trust my own jŸdgement. I therefore placed the correspondence in the Archbishop' s hands, anxious for a better opinion than my own as to the strict legality of the proceeding, and wishing also to know whether he coincided in my doubts and feelings as to the nature of the projected measure; to speak plainly, whether, in his opinion, I ought to become a party to what, from the first, I thought bore the appearance of an indirect and doubtful transaction. I felt it, too, to be a case in which it became a Bishop' s duty to consult the Archbishop, and to obtain his unbiassed opinion.
I now enclose his letter to me, which expresses every sentiment I have felt from the first; and the more I have considered the subject, the deeper those first impressions have become fixed. One point, however, has been omitted, viz, that if I were to issue a Commission, it must be for the purpose of ascertaining the authorship, not of obtaining information in respect to the doctrine; of THAT I must be supposed to have formed my own judgement, and that judgement so unfavourable as to render further proceeding necessary. Here again I should be placed in a false position.
In conclusion, my dear Sir, I must distinctly state that I cannot consent to become a party to what I consider not to be a straightforward proceeding. I feel strongly for the painful position in which you have been placed, and I feel sure that you have, in your natural anxiety to do what you consider only justice to yourself, overlooked many points, in the scheme suggested by some of your friends, which would not have escaped you, had you been called upon to judge calmly in another' s case; and, further, I am confident you would not wish me to become a party to what I could not look upon as an open upright course, even if, upon consideration, you disagreed with me in that opinion.
I trust however that you will calmly reconsider the matter, and not suffer my inability to accede to your request to induce you to take, what I really think would be a rash and uncalled-for step, were you to resign your professorship.
Believe me, my dear Sir,
With sincere esteem, faithfully yours,
The Rev. Dr. Pusey. R. OXFORD.
Pusey had little heart to answer the Bishop: in returning the Archbishop' s letter he commented on its arguments, and once more stated his reasons for wishing that the case could have been tried in the Court of Arches. To this last appeal the Bishop seems to have made no reply. He had already decided on his course; and indeed it would have been difficult for him, after asking the Primate' s counsel, to set it aside. When this became clear to Pusey, he fell back once more upon the idea of a suit in the Vice-Chancellor' s Court, and again consulted Mr. Badeley.
'I am not surprised,' wrote Mr. Badeley, 'at the Bishop' s determina–tion, nor do I altogether complain of it, though I think what he says about straightforwardness somewhat absurd. The object was a legiti–mate one, and the course sufficiently straightforward to satisfy any casuist.'
After pointing out more at length the difficulties of prosecuting a suit of Querela nullitatis, from its 'unusual' character, Mr. Badeley added:--
'I talked about the case this morning to Roundell Palmer, and his opinion was, in which I am disposed to concur with him, that if you are anxious on your own account, and for your own vindication, to proceed, it may be proper to do so; but if it is merely for the satis–faction of others, and under an idea of keeping them in the Church, that it is not worth while; for that none who are so far on the road to Rome will be turned back by any results of the Querela. Dodson, Hope, Palmer, and all of us regard the sentence as no ecclesiastical censure; as quite independent of the Church; as a mere arbitrary and unconstitutional exercise of magisterial authority in the University; and, if it be so, persons have no right to regard it in any other point of view, or to take offence at any imaginary assumption of their own inconsistent with the real merits of the case.'
Even if a suit in a civil court were successful, and the Vice-Chancellor' s sentence were annulled as illegal, he might then claim to give Pusey a hearing, and then inflict a censure in a more regular form. Pusey of course thought that his theological position was too impregnable for anything of the kind to happen; but he forgot how little weight. would be attached to strictly theological considerations, and, in spite of what had happened, was too sanguine about receiving an impartial hearing on the merits of the case.
A legal vindication of himself now seemed hopeless; but Pusey could still, as he thought, fall back upon one consolation. He had, he believed, the good opinion of his Bishop, at least so far that his Bishop would not condemn the doctrine of his sermon. He asked the Bishop to allow him, for the comfort and support of others, to state this to the world.
The answer however was unfavourable: more unfavourable, we may venture to think, than it would have been two or three years before. On the one hand the current of public opinion was now running strongly in one direction, and on the other hand those in authority were beginning to recognize that the revival of true Anglican principles, with its appeal to the Primitive Church, really involved logical consequences far beyond what had been contem–plated by the old High Churchism with which they had originally identified it. Bishop Bagot was sorry that Pusey should have misunderstood his meaning.
In saying that to allow the suit to proceed, he would be placed in 'a false position,' the Bishop was not referring to the doctrine of the sermon; the 'false position' was that of issuing a commission to ascertain the authorship of the sermon, about which there was no room for doubt.
'You are, of course,' he added, 'at full liberty to state your application to me that I would issue a commission of inquiry and then transmit the matter to the Court of Arches, as also your readiness to resign your professorship, and my opinion that you were not called upon to take that step;, but I cannot accede to your request on the grounds that my refusal to issue that commission was from approbation of your sermon, as this would not be correct.'
The Bishop, it will be observed, still did not condemn the sermon; he only would not allow that the course on which he had resolved was determined by his recognition of its orthodoxy, or had any reference whatever to its theological merits. All that was left was that Pusey should despon–dently apologize for his misunderstanding.
There was no more to be done: Pusey had to wait for more than a year until his next University sermon gave him the opportunity of repeating, without challenge, all the doctrine for which he had been condemned. But the mischief had then been done.
The history of this miserable episode has been given at length; for it was critical both for the University and the Church. Dean Church says, 'that though it was the mistake of upright and conscientious men, the policy of the authorities was wrong, stupid, unjust, pernicious.' 'If the men,' he says, 'who ruled the University had wished to disgust and alienate the Masters of Arts, and especially the younger ones who were coming forward into power and influence, they could not have done better.' So far as the University is concerned, this act, in connexion with the similar acts of 1841 and 1845, may be said to have sealed the doom of the old régime--the authority of the Heads, and the old ecclesiastical polity of Oxford. Tories must have seen the hopelessness, Liberals the im–possibility of things remaining as they were. It was a call for great University Reform. So far as the Church was concerned, it was very disastrous. It showed the younger men that they had nothing to hope for from the typical men of the older generation. A narrow and ignorant view of the Anglican Formularies, not as they were meant to be, but as two or three generations--partly careless, partly bigoted, partly untheological--had taken them to be, was to be stereotyped and thrust on all the Church, clergy and laity alike. It made men either despair of Anglicanism, or realize what they had to expect if they remained true to their Church awaiting its deliverance. If Pusey, with his learning, piety and position could be treated in this way, what were others to expect?
And the lesson in one notable direction went deeply home.