Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey
by Henry Parry Liddon, D.D.
London: Longmans, 1894
Transcribed by The Revd R D Hacking
PROTEST ON THE ROYAL SUPREMACY PROPOSED--ANTI-ROMAN DECLARATION--DECLARATIONS OF LOYALTY TO THE ENGLISH CHURCH BY PUSEY AND KEBLE-- SECESSIONS OF ARCHDEACON MANNING AND R. I. WILBERFORCE.
THESE personal controversies, unpleasant as they were, were really subordinate to another question of wider anxiety. The danger of division among those who had hitherto acted together in defence of Church principles seemed imminent. Eventually it was averted by the general acceptance of Pusey' s guidance.
It will be remembered that the speeches which were made at the great meeting in St. Martin' s Hall on July 23 had pledged some of the speakers to further measures with regard to the Royal Supremacy: and one result of them was made public within a month in the shape of an important document.
DECLARATION TOUCHING THE ROYAL SUPREMACY IN MATTERS ECCLESIASTICAL.
Whereas it is required of every person admitted to the order of Deacon or Priest, and likewise of persons admitted to ecclesiastical offices or academical degrees, to make oath that they abjure all foreign jurisdiction, and to subscribe the three Articles of Canon xxxvi., one whereof touches the Royal Supremacy:
And whereas it is now made evident by the late appeal and sentence in the case of Gorham v. the Bishop of Exeter, and by the judgment of all the courts of common law, that the Royal Supremacy, as defined and established by statute-law, invests the Crown with a power of hearing and deciding in appeal all matters, howsoever purely spiritual, both of discipline and doctrine:
And whereas to give such power to the Crown is at variance with the Divine office of the Universal Church, as prescribed by the law of Christ:
And whereas we, the undersigned Clergy and Laity of the Church of England, at the time of making the said oath and subscription, did not understand the Royal Supremacy in the sense now ascribed to it by the courts of law, nor have until this present time so understood it, neither have believed that such authority was claimed on behalf of our Sovereigns:
Now we do hereby declare
1. That we have hitherto acknowledged, and do now acknowledge, the supremacy of the Crown in ecclesiastical matters to be a supreme civil power over all persons and causes in temporal things, and over the temporal accidents of spiritual things.
2. That we do not, and in conscience cannot, acknowledge in the Crown the power recently exercised to hear and judge in appeal the internal state or merits of spiritual questions touching doctrine or discipline, the custody of which is committed to the Church alone by the law of Christ.
We therefore, for the relief of our own consciences, hereby publicly declare that we acknowledge the Royal Supremacy in the sense above stated, and in no other.
HENRY EDWARD MANNING, M .A., Archdeacon of Chichester.
ROBERT ISAAC WILBERFORCE, M.A., Archdeacon of the East Riding.
WILLIAM HODGE MILL, D.D., Regius Professor of Hebrew, Cambridge.
Pusey had had nothing to do with drawing up this docu–ment; but he was at once consulted by a great number of clergymen who were asked to sign, and he answered their questions and gave his own adhesion to the paper in the subjoined letter to the Guardian, which since its establish–ment in 1847 had been the organ and the means of com–munication for the adherents of the Church movement:--
MY DEAR SIR,
Will you allow me to answer, through you, some persons who have expressed to me a doubt about the meaning of the statement on the Royal Supremacy, put forth by Archdeacon Manning, Archdeacon Wilberforce, and Dr. Mill, that 'it is a supreme civil power over the temporal accidents in spiritual things' ? Archdeacon Manning explains it in his letter to the Bishop of Chichester to be 'the cognizance of the form and procedure of the ecclesiastical causes,' --i. e., whether every–thing has been done in order and rightly, according to the ecclesiastical law. This stands, emphatically, in contrast with 'the internal merits of the case.'
The recent decision has, I suppose, opened the eyes of many of us to the fact that it is, in very many cases, impossible to judge of the individual case without defining and clearing the rule by which the judgment is given. We assumed that the rule was so clearly defined that it could not be mistaken. And we did not even dream that the Supreme Court could take upon itself the office of a Synod, to define what the faith of the Church is. This, I suppose, is the mind of many of us, especially of the country clergy, in signing this document--to protest that in acknowledging the Queen' s Supremacy, we wholly deny to the 'civil magistrate' that authority which we have acknow–ledged to belong to the Church only-- 'authority in controversies of faith' ; that we wholly deny to the Crown, directly or indirectly, mediately or immediately, through delegated Judges, or in any other way, a power so foreign to its office as that of judging or defining in the smallest jot or tittle the doctrine or discipline of the Church.
In this meaning, I have myself signed the declaration, and I most certainly hope that it will be extensively signed by those who are bound to acknowledge the Royal Supremacy, not merely with a view to relieve our own consciences, but as the groundwork of ulterior measures for the deliverance of the Church from this intolerable and most perilous invasion of the office committed to her by her Lord.
Your faithful servant,
E. B. PUSEY.
Christ Church, August 27, 1850.
It can hardly be questioned that such a Declaration, so reasonable in itself, and brought forward under such auspices, having as its aim the emancipation of the Church of England from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and its decisions, would have had much more general support if there had been no suspicion in the air that some of its pro–moters might, under contingencies that were quite possible, become Roman Catholics. This apprehension was ex–pressed by a clergyman of deserved innuence, and belong–ing to a well-known family, the Rev. W. B. Barter, Rector of Burghclere. In a praiseworthy but somewhat shortsighted desire to assert his own position and put his own loyalty beyond all suspicion, he declined to sign any declaration when he was left in doubt by its promoters whether, if such and such things take place, or are not remedied, a secession might not be contemplated to the Church of Rome. He thought it was time to speak out on the Royal Supremacy. But he insisted that in order to do so honestly or effectively, it was necessary to deal with more than one side of the question. He would not make common cause with any one who left him in doubt as to the ultimate aim of his proceedings in reference to so vital a point as the possibility of his joining the Church of Rome.
The feeling thus typically expressed by Mr. Barter took shape in the 'resolutions and statement of principles' which the Rev. W. Palmer, a Vice-President of the Bristol Church Union, proposed to bring forward at a meeting of that Union on October 1. The resolutions were of a practical character, designed to extend a knowledge of Church prin–ciples and to promote the co-operation of the various Church Unions, which at that time existed throughout the country, with a view to 'Church emancipation.' But the statement of principles entered on more controversial ground. After asserting the Church of England to be a branch of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, 'which has reformed herself, taking primitive Christianity as her model,' the statement proceeds to say:--
'That the Roman Church (including the other Churches in com–munion with her), having repudiated communion with all the Churches which do not recognize the claims of the Bishop of Rome, and having by formal decrees and other authoritative acts, and in her popular practice, corrupted the primitive faith and worship of the Holy Catholic Church, reconciliation or intercommunion with the Roman Church, on the part of either Churches or individuals of the English communion, cannot, until the Roman Church shall have reformed herself, be effected consistently with obedience to the law of Christ.'
Pusey and Keble were both members of the Bristol Union; and the announcement of Mr. Palmer' s proposal at once attracted their attention. They were asked by others what to think about it; and so could not decline the task of making up their own minds. In reply to Keble, who had written to him on the subject, Pusey expresses at the outset his objections to Mr. Palmer' s proposal.
E. B. P. TO REV. J. KEBLE.
[Undated, but September, 1850.]
You know better than I the state of people' s minds, and judge better every way. I do not like making antagonism to Rome the basis of union. There are faulty and unfaithful approximations to Rome; and yet the general feeling against Rome includes in it so much that we all believe and all love. I do not see why we should not make faithfulness to the English Church the basis of union. It is so difficult to explain what we mean. People saying the same formula would seem to mean different things. If we speak of the [Papal] Supremacy only, we should seem to ignore everything of doctrine; if we speak generally, as Palmer does of 'corruptions,' we should not all mean the same thing, and I should be thought to mean more than I do.
Again, the English Church has never said anything of the kind about non-intercommunion with Rome. Some of our apologists, at least, say that Rome separated from us, not we from her...
I cannot oppose you, nor do I, of course, wish you to take my line against your own judgment. But even Palmer, in London, at the previous meeting, expressed himself satisfied with a positive not a negative Declaration. I think that this is strong ground; that such a Declaration is adding to the Articles of the Church of England; and what business has a private body which intends to absorb into itself and to direct the whole movement of the English Church, at least for the interim, to lay down as a fundamental Article what the Church of England has not laid down? .
But, as I said, I cannot oppose you, my dearest F., and ought not to bias you. It may be far better that I should keep to my books and people' s consciences and leave all meddling with public matters. So if you go along with this plan, I shall withdraw my name from the Bristol Union, by a letter to the Chairman, in order not to have any responsibility in the matter.
Further consideration only strengthened Pusey' s dislike of the proposal, and he wrote in this sense again to Keble and also to Dr. Mill. Dr. Mill suggested a resolution expressing love and allegiance to the English Church, as reformed in the sixteenth century. Pusey would prefer to omit the allusion to the sixteenth century. It would introduce a large controverted subject and would repel many minds. Pusey would have as simple a statement as possible; a positive statement of love for the Church of England, without a negative statement about the Church of Rome.
Keble was at first in favour of Mr. Palmer' s anti-Roman Declaration, but he proposed to preface it by a statement of love and submission to the English Church without referring to the Reformation of the sixteenth century. This statement Pusey would accept, but he deprecated the anti-Roman Declaration which Keble proposed should follow. He would be 'hampered by joining in any anti-Roman Declaration with Biber and Palmer.' He and they would use the words in different senses; but the words which he made his own would be interpreted by their acts. If Keble supported it, Pusey 'could not dream of opposing' him. He 'should simply sit still.' Keble thought that, in present circumstances, there was something to be said for a declaration against Rome.
'I am,' he wrote to Pusey on September 17, 'a good deal perplexed. I own that I am greatly disposed to a very moderate, but quite real, disavowal of Rome. I think the quiet and true people whom we want to act with us, have a fair claim to it, after what has happened. And if there are any who would be scared away by it, first their adher–ence must at present be worth very little, and secondly they must be rather going on under a false impression. I have this feeling so strongly that I do not suppose I should scruple [about] it if it were not for your strong feeling the other way. I am sure you must have good reasons which I am not aware of, and I shall wait to hear before I commit myself.'
Pusey had heard that Archdeacon Manning was dis–appointed with the result of the Declaration on the Royal Supremacy, and that he was already thinking of resigning his preferments. He dreaded anything that would give the Archdeacon a fresh impulse in the direction of Rome: and for this, as well as other reasons, he continued to resist the proposal for the anti-Roman Declaration.
E. B. P. TO REV. J. KEBLE.
Tuesday morning, [Christ Church, Sept. 17, 1850].
Things seem to be driving on to a terrible crisis, and if they cannot be stopped or the crash averted, some will be made desperate and the rest remain hopelessly disunited. If Prevost and I are to part, it will be sad indeed. I wish to do nothing but what will meet with your full approval. I hear on all sides what a crisis this is, determin–ing the direction which the High Church will take. Could you not bring things to a friendly compromise with Palmer, telling him that people who have no wish to Romanize still do not wish to make any anti-Roman declaration, because they would be understood in a sense further than they mean; and so they would not seem honest?
I do not want, however, my dearest F., to innuence you. You know far better than I what should be done.
Keble had sent to Pusey a form of declaration which he thought of proposing. It ran as follows:-- ' I hereby declare that I believe the English Church, being a true portion of the one Catholic and Apostolic Church, to have a claim upon our undivided and faithful allegiance, and that I desire and intend by the grace of God to live and die in her Communion.' With reference to this Pusey continues:--
'I fear that some would scruple to say that they hope, by God' s grace, to die in the Communion of the Church of England, because, although they do look on to continuing in her, they could hardly pledge themselves to say that they think that not dying in her Com–munion would be from being wanting to the grace of God.
'There is the question on the one side, whether the case of such is to be regarded. On the other hand, one would not wish to mark off any, if one could avoid it. This would be avoided by such a form as I suggested this morning, if you approve.'
A postscript to this letter concludes with the following passage:--
'The issue of this meeting will determine whether the High Church will break into two or more parties. It will be very difficult to keep them together. An anti-Roman declaration will hopelessly split us.'
This account of the matter had its weight with Keble. It was never any part of his mind to join in any measure directed against Pusey. He was 'greatly distressed' by the contents of Pusey' s letter, and wrote to Mr. Palmer 'declining to agree to his anti-Roman Declaration, and questioning the propriety of any.' 'I wish,' he added to Pusey, with reference to Pusey' s remarks on his own pro–posed declaration about dying in the Church of England, 'that you would authorize me to say, if asked, that your scruple to my amendment is on account of others, not yourself.' In reply Pusey, after expressing in warm and affectionate terms his grief at distressing Keble, enclosed a declaration which he himself 'would most gladly sign.' It is as follows :-- 'I hereby declare that I believe the English Church as settled in 1662 to be a true portion of the one Catholic and Apostolic Church, and that I desire and intend by the grace of God to live and die in her.'
Then, after discussing several side-issues of the con–troversy which need not be reproduced, Pusey concludes
'You may tell Palmer that I do not receive the whole Roman system nor the Supremacy; but I could not pretend to sign the same declaration in the same sense as Dr. Biber, who, I believe, wrote a large book against Tractarianism. Pray do not let me distress you. Anything better than that.'
Before, however, this could reach Keble, he had written to Pusey, with reference to the hesitations expressed in Pusey' s previous letter. He also forwarded some alterna–tive proposals for motions at the approaching Bristol meeting, and added:--
'I am rather distressed about it: chieny for the fear of our not being together this time. May it never happen again. I am full of sad con–jectures as to your reasons, and sometimes I think that it is 'to spare people who are only in doubt, but who being sensitive would have their doubts forced onwards by such a thing: I should think very much of them. But people who are even now prepared to receive the [Papal] Supremacy are as a point of Gospel Truth, I should have thought, disqualified from the ministry -- I do not say from all communion with us.'
To this appeal Pusey replied by the next post.
E. B. P. TO REV. J. KEBLE.
[Sept. 20, 1850.]
It will never be again, nor this time, please God. I may have done mischief by the course I took in London. I am unfit to have the direction. I go along most cordially with No. 2. I wish I knew whether you, on principle, take my side, or whether it is matter of expediency only. Have you any strong feeling of preference for any of the four plans apart from what you think is [Prevost' s] mind? If you prefer No. 3, I shall not go to Bristol, but shall withdraw from the Union. I cannot and will not divide against you. And to be there without voting would perplex people.
I should remain on the London Union Committee, hoping that there no such question would arise. It may be God' s will that I should take no further share hi public matters. It was my thought years ago. Perhaps it would have been best so. It might have been best, had I originated nothing, but such as those adapted books, but had simply kept to my own line.
All was indeed in confusion. The secessions to Rome, delayed for some months, were now beginning to take place one after another. Mr. Allies had already followed Mr. Maskell. Mr. H. W. Wilberforce and Mr. Dodsworth were preparing for the same step. Archdeacon Manning' s friends were increasingly anxious about him. 'It is said,' wrote Pusey to Keble on Sept. 23, 'that Bennett is to go in a week' . Pusey himself was regarded, even by those near him, with an unappeasable suspicion ;--so effectually had Mr. Dodsworth' s invectives done their work.
'I send you a letter,' he writes to Keble on Sept. 23, 'to illustrate my question as to whether I should notice Dodsworth' s statement about my Roman teaching. It dogs me wherever I go. At St. Barnabas, Freemasons' Hall, Torquay, Plymouth. But perhaps silence, and, if I may, doing something for the Church through this book on Baptism which I cannot write--may be the best answer.
He continues, after some other matter:--
'Still the hope and purpose to live and die in the English Com–munion meets these cases more than anti-Romanism. J. H. N. wrote more daringly and vehemently against Rome than any.'
The answers which Keble received to his alternative proposals relative to the Bristol meeting led him to make up his mind: and in a sense which ended his temporary divergence from Pusey.
REV. J. KEBLE TO E. B. P.
Hursley Vicarage, Sept. 26, 1850.
I am almost giddy with the different opinions which I get, but am more and more satisfied that it will never do to word either a Test or Declaration at Bristol on Monday. As to a Test, even such as we have proposed, I see, I think, that it would be illegal. Mayow is quite of our mind, and by his advice partly I wrote to Palmer last night, imploring him to reconsider his form, as going far beyond and against the doctrine of his own book; to meet us at Bristol On Monday, and to be aware that one could not act with persons who deal in such innuendos as that in John Bull as to what took place at the meeting. I hope to cross to Mayow' s so as to be at Bristol soon after it, and God grant all may turn out peaceably and well. . .
Your most affectionate
In a second letter Keble reverts to the subject:--
I cannot join in any anti-Roman Declaration that I have yet seen, not even in my own, now that I find the terms of it are equivocal. Also I believe that any Test would make the Society illegal. I find that Moberly enters strongly into the view that it is an outrageous proceeding to adopt a new Test in any shape after a Society has been formed so long. He says they could only do it properly by dissolving and re-forming. As at present advised I am (1) for the previous question, i. e. for referring both and all the papers to the meeting of officers, &c.; and failing that, (2) for a simple Declaration (not a Test) equivalent to that which we have proposed. If more than this is carried, to retire from the Union, on the ground that such pro–positions require deeper and more general consideration than they can have in this way. .
Ever your very loving
To know that Keble was again entirely with him in this day of trouble and rebuke, filled Pusey with delight and thankfulness. 'It was such a comfort,' he writes, 'to hear from you and to feel that I was not to be alone,--patre orbatus.'
On Monday, September 30, Pusey and Keble reached Bristol. The issue had to be decided by an open vote in the public meeting of the Union on the following day. A long discussion took place. Mr. Palmer brought forward his statements and resolutions, in a somewhat amended form, it is true, but still in a form which neither Pusey nor Keble could accept. Among Mr. Palmer' s supporters were the Rev. G. A. Denison, Dr. Biber, and Mr. Henry Noare. They were met by an amendment, proposed by Lord Forbes, and seconded by Mr. Beresford Hope, refusing to accept a declaration of faith, over and above the existing formularies of the Church of England. Pusey and Keble gladly accepted this amendment; and they were followed, among others, by Sir George Prevost, Mr. Alexander Watson, Mr. M. W. Mayow, and the Rev. C. Marriott. Mr. W. Palmer' s motion was lost by an overwhelming majority; and he and his supporters left the Bristol Church Union and formed the shortlived Somerset and Bristol Church Union on the basis of his rejected statement of principles. Mr. G. A. Denison, who had followed Mr. Palmer, stated publicly that he had bad to choose between duty to the Church, as he under–stood it, and 'many a tie which he had hoped would never be severed or impaired.'
Pusey had hoped that this vote would be an end of an unwelcome controversy. But, amid the events which were happening, and in the excited state of the minds of Church–men, this was scarcely possible. A special general meeting of the London Church Union was held on Oct. 15, in St. Martin' s Hall, to consider the amendment to Mr. Palmer' s proposal which had been accepted at Bristol. At the London meeting the Bristol amendment took the form of a substantive resolution; and it was met by an amendment affirming the principle of Mr. Palmer' s motion at Bristol. It was the most crowded meeting which had as yet been held by any of the Church Unions. When the anti-Roman amendment had been proposed and seconded, Pusey rose. In his great speech, as would happen sometimes when he was deeply moved, he ex–pressed himself with a force and clearness which took the meeting by surprise, and carried all before it. After glancing at the 'censure and misunderstanding which must inevitably follow upon opposition to a declaration against Rome, he pointed out the evil of such a declaration considered as a new test, which would foment new con–troversy, would injure that love which is the motive-strength of the Church, and, as proceeding from a small body of persons, could not represent her authority or bind her conscience. Discussing the imputation of unfaithful–ness to the Church of England, and the duty of meeting it by positive statements, he pointed out that the irrational and implacable suspicions in which these imputations originated, and on which they rested, could not be remedied by any declaration. A declaration might be as anti-Roman as possible, but it would merely be looked upon with invincible suspicion as the language of Jesuits. He added,' If the labours of seventeen or twenty-–seven years will not persuade men that we are faithful to the Church of England, words will not. We must await God' s time until this fever of fear subside: or if nothing will convince them, death in the bosom of the Church of England will.'
The address was listened to throughout with intense interest. But the words which are quoted above produced a deep impression. There was a minute of hushed silence; and then the meeting burst into, loud cheers, which ex–pressed better than any words the love and confidence which it felt for the speaker. At the conclusion of the speech, which went on, in Pusey' s manner, to discuss in detail the impropriety of making antagonism to the Church of Rome the basis of religious union, the mover of the amendment rose, and in a few well-chosen words asked permission to withdraw it, expressing at the same time a hope that Pusey would give to the world the speech to which they had been listening. He afterwards wrote to the papers to say that his specific object of procuring a de–claration of fidelity to the English Church would have been gained by the publication of Dr. Pusey' s speech, and that any one who could doubt Dr. Pusey' s fidelity to his own Church after his speech on Tuesday must surely be a 'ductor dubitantium.'
Keble had not spoken: Pusey had said all that he had wished to say. But he added afterwards
'I have only one regret about not speaking the other day. I wish I had said something about people not going to the Oratory, &c., with itching ears: for I observed that when Mr. Darling spoke of it there was rather a titter about the room, and I think it is the worst sign of the day.'
Here, perhaps, it may be added, that not long afterwards Keble made to his Bishop a profession of confidence in the Church of England, with the same motives as Pusey' s at the meeting in Freemasons' Hall. In ordinary circum–stances such .professions would be out of place: it might be taken for granted that a clergyman meant to die in that part of the Church which was the scene of his labours. But the times were not ordinary: everybody who was prominently associated with the Movement was regarded with suspicion; and the Bishop of Winchester was never able to rise above the prejudices of his party in his relations with the most distinguished clergyman in his diocese.
REV. J. KEBLE TO BISHOP (SUMNER) OF WINCHESTER.
Hursley Vicarage, St. Stephen' s Day, 1850.
MY DEAR LORD,
Very sincerely, but in deep sadness, do I thank you for your kind letter of the 19th. The sadness arises not from any doubt of the course I ought myself to pursue, but from finding that yourself and others, to whom one had looked, under God, for support, should feel doubtful on such a point, and on such grounds. I never supposed, when the 'Movement,' as it is called, began (or rather drew public attention to itself), that its success was to be a test of its propriety. The principles of it seemed to me then, and now seem to me, equally true and right, whether two or three acknowledge them, or two or three million. It seems to me also that if Rome has claim upon us now, she had just the same claim then, and would have, had the Movement been ever so successful, I mean--for that it has been altogether a failure is by no means proved, and the main visible cause of its seeming failure has surely been the forsaking of it by so many. Not even to them, greatly as I loved and revered many of them, can I give up the faith and convictions of my whole life, which I find only strengthening by what little experience and inquiry I have been able to bring to these matters. Much less can I give up to the voice of Lord John Russell' s Bishops and the Common Councils and County Meetings of England. I thought the Scriptures distinctly prepared us to expect that in the latter times especially, whatever men' s professions might be, the Truth might perhaps be held really by a remnant only; and therefore though it is a great grief, it is no scandal, to me, to see ever so large a proportion of those who acknowledge the prayer-book wresting it as they do. I cannot call the system contained in that book a mere paper system: nor can I see how it is not a living voice, so long as it is heard in our Churches, whatever the sermons may be that go along with it, and whether the congregation assent to it or no. The Gospel does not cease to be a true witness to all nations, because many refuse to believe and many are hypocrites; and what Bishop Butler has said of it, as an apparent failure in the world' s general history, may be said (at least so I have always thought) of the failure of the Church of England in its more limited sphere. All this (and much more) for our own Church--as against that which is assumed to be the sole alternative; you know perhaps that I have always greatly disliked strong language, if it could be helped: but my old objections to the Roman system remain, and are greatly strengthened (so far as they are at all affected) by the apparent course of events. I feel that I could not with any faith accept that system, as it presents itself obviously to my mind in the documents I should have to sign. I must do it with at least as great allowances and reservations as Mr. Gorham needs for the Baptismal Service, or as Wm. George Ward needed for the 39 Articles. This being so, I conceive that I do but follow the guidance which I am bound to follow, in abiding, as please God I hope to abide, by the pledges which I am now living under: one of which I understand to be, not to allow Lord John Russell' s interpretations in prejudice of the Church' s authority in matters of Faith. The unfaithfulness of other persons, be they who they may, does not seem to me to affect my duty in this matter.
By way of shewing exactly where I wish to stand, I will venture to enclose a copy of a Paper which I believe (though it will be signed but by a few) does really contain the opinions or instincts of the great body of my parishioners, who know anything of our present troubles.
One feels of course that with ways of thinking one does not know to what straits one may be reduced: but one must not surely avouch what one cannot believe, though one should be left ever so much alone in the world. But if it please God, I hope that some will be found, of all orders in His Church, to keep the lamp alive.
I try to pray for your Lordship, such as my prayers are--and I earnestly ask yours, and your blessing: being always, my dear Lord,
Your affectionate but unworthy servant in Christ,
Mr. William Palmer made one or two more efforts in the direction of his Bristol proposal, but without any con–siderable result. The question was really settled, and settled in the main by Pusey' s patience and courage: and all over the country hearts that had been failing turned with admiration and confidence to a theologian who, in such circumstances, could assure them in the most solemn terms of his unabated loyalty to the English Church, without descending to those controversial expedients which are more often the language of panic than of knowledge or conviction. It is due to Mr. Palmer to add that he lived to acknowledge in terms not more remarkable than generous the misapprehension about Pusey on which his own action had been based. Writing in 1883, Sir William Palmer, as he then was, observes:--
'I must confess that Pusey' s proceedings as the self-constituted leader of the Tractarian party often caused to me very great uneasiness. I shared in the opinions of Bishop Wilberforce and Dr. Hook on this point. I should have gladly seen Pusey attempt to reform mistakes introduced by Newman, and endeavouring to correct, instead of seeming to go along with, the ultra-Tractarian mistakes. I was also distressed by his assumption of a leadership of an organized party; but in the end I became satisfied that the position he occupied was for the good of the Church. He advocated and allowed of nothing that was actually wrong, nothing which was not open to considerations of expediency. He had to control a very uncertain party, open to Newman' s influence for some time--a party which was unsettled in principle and might easily be driven into secession. I believe that under Divine Providence his work was overruled to the great purpose of gradually steadying in the faith, and making available for the service of the Church, abilities and energies which if harshly and rudely treated, and cut off from sympathy (as many sincere Christians desired) would have proved a source of weakness to religion, instead of a source of strength, and under these impressions I cannot but regard in Pusey a great benefactor of the Church of England. I should myself have often been in favour of a sterner and more direct policy towards all who shared in semi-Romanizing and Ritualistic opinions, and whom Pusey conciliated; but my own opinions were proved to be faulty by the result; for by mild methods the Church has been saved from further disruption, and retains all the energies which a different mode of proceeding might have lost.'
These words are a tardy tribute to the wisdom and fore–sight of the conduct which, at the risk of being utterly misunderstood, Pusey had pursued at this difficult crisis. The present position of the Church of England would be far other than it is, had those who at that moment cared most for her Catholicity been induced to forsake his wise guidance and adopt a plausible policy of protestation and anti-Romanism, instead of surrendering themselves to the spirit of calm confidence and repose with which he was animated.
But the Gorham decision and the controversies it imme–diately originated cost the Church of England dear. It had already cost her the allegiance of not a few who had been doing good work, and the list of secessions was far from complete. Amongst the others who left her were two, one of whom--Archdeacon Manning--afterwards rose tothe highest position in the Roman Catholic Church in this country, a position which his many special gifts and graces enabled him to fill with conspicuous success. The other, Archdeacon Robert Wilberforce, delayed his secession for a few years, although it is most convenient to notice it in connexion with the events that really led to it.
In consequence of Newman' s withdrawal from the Eng–lish Church, Pusey had been naturally thrown more into connexion with Manning than had hitherto been the case. To a looker-on Pusey himself might perhaps have appeared to be more likely to join the Roman Catholic communion than Manning. He did not hesitate to incur suspicion by declining to take 'offensive' grounds against Rome, at a time when Manning thought it necessary to do so. He wished that Manning' s Charge of 1845 showed 'more love' for the Roman Church. He dreaded lest in the panic occasioned by Newman' s secession it might be the Arch–deacon' s 'line to keep things smooth.' He wished that if the Archdeacon had to remove stone altars, he would at least publish a sermon on the Eucharistic Sacrifice. It might therefore have seemed that Pusey' s inclinations were straying towards Rome, while Manning was a loyal and somewhat stiff Anglican. But the truth was that Pusey' s confidence in the Church of England could fully, allow him to be just and charitable to Rome, and also to minds that were tending towards her: while an attitude, to all appearance more scrupulously or technically Anglican, might really be consistent with a secret suspicion that the Church of England had no practicable principle other than anti-Roman. Moreover, Manning, while in the Church of England, had that strict theoretical conception of law and authority which, within the Roman lines, made him an extreme Ultramontane, and which, in the primitive as in the later English Church, is inevitably destined to receive rude shocks in contact with the facts of experience.
As time went on, it became apparent that in reality Manning was nearer Rome than Pusey. In 1848, Pusey gently remonstrates with Manning for sanctioning the printing of Mr. Allies' Journal, and begs him to revise indeed Mr. Allies' case, in this and other ways, brought the real and growing divergence between Pusey and Manning into prominence. The Gorham case forced matters to a crisis. All through the spring of 1850, the friends are in correspondence on the common subject of their anxiety: Pusey endeavouring to sustain Manning' s hopes, to allay his misgivings, to enlist his energies in behalf of Catholic truth in the English Church, until, at last, beyond the question of Baptismal Grace, the question of the Royal Supremacy came into view. The friends still worked together up to a certain point in pre–paring a Declaration on the subject: but it was clear that they looked at it differently from the first. To Pusey the modern abuse of the extension of the Royal Supremacy in deciding a grave doctrinal question by such a body of laymen (possibly non-Christians), as the Judicial Com–mittee of the Privy Council, was a great evil, but an evil which might be remedied in course of time. To Manning as to Maskell it was a note of spiritual death: the body which could permit it must have separated from the Unity of the Church three centuries ago: it seemed to him to throw a lurid light on the true upshot and meaning of, the Reformation. The Acts of Parliament which inaugu–rated the change were read with new eyes; and the Royal Supremacy was now seen to be in effect a symbol of the rejection of the authority of Christ in His own Church. Archdeacon Manning resigned his preferments in the autumn of 1850, and became a Roman Catholic at the beginning of April in the following year.
It cannot be doubted that his example had its influence on Archdeacon Robert Isaac Wilberforce; they were closely connected both in private and public life, and after Manning' s departure Robert Wilberforce occupied a position of increasing isolation. His great work on the Incarnation was followed by his work on 'The Doctrine of Holy Baptism,' which appeared some months before the Gorham decision, and four years after by 'The Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist,' which was at once an elaborate, but somewhat scholastic statement of the doctrine of the Eucharist. His mind, however, was all along disturbed by the question of the Royal Supremacy and its bearing on Church authority. The book on the Eucharist had hardly appeared when Keble forwarded to Pusey, by the de–sire of Mr. (afterwards Lord) Richard Cavendish, some letters from Archdeacon Wilberforce, which showed what might be going to happen.
REV. J. KEBLE TO F. B. P.
April 26, 1853.
It almost breaks my heart to think of such a thing: and I should still hope that R. W.' s truthfulness and industry would lead him to perceive that other portions of the Church have swerved from Antiquity as much as we.
Archdeacon Wilberforce' s allegiance was much shaken by the silence of English Church authority after such a decision as that in the Gorham case, proceeding from such a tribunal.
'I fear,' wrote Pusey to Keble on May 1, 1853, 'that Archd. W.' s letter looks as if he were going to give more active scope to misgivings which have been rather like a dead weight upon him, than anything active. Those Resolutions, I fear, were like a sword, edged on one side and blunt on the other. I understood them as simply pointing out the natural course of decline, if the Church did not exert herself. But I never thought that the want of a formal Declaration was in itself fatal. May I write to R. W. as if I had seen that letter?'
'Do not write,' Keble replied, 'to R. W. as if you had seen that letter. You will see in Cavendish' s that it is not wished we should do so. What I do desire is to get him to accept the notion that we are all under appeal, which I suppose is the only truthful notion of the present condition of Christendom. But I fear he has set himself against it.'
For more than a year after the date of these letters Pusey and Keble appear to have heard but little from Archdeacon Wilberforce. In September, 1854, he wrote to both of them to say that he had resigned his preferments and was going abroad.
'Were you,' asked Keble, 'prepared for this move of poor dear R. W. at this time? and do you think there is any probability of his continuing with us in Lay communion? It seems to me that such a thing might be in rerum natura, but I hardly dare hope for it in his case. How very sad it all is! if one did not know Who presides over it.'
To this Pusey replied:--
'I have been jam jamque writing to you many times. I did not expect this move of Archdeacon W. For I thought that the paper which he and Manning and Mill had circulated unopposed, must clear his subscription. He tells me this morning that he is going abroad, and asks for prayers as for one whose path is dark. That can have but one ending. Lay communion must gnaw upon the soul. It is a continual practical denial of his functions. Besides, abroad, where is he to communicate? Do you think that you could induce him to stay and work in England? His work has been intellectual hitherto; so that this would be no great change.'
To the Archdeacon, Pusey wrote in terms which show that he still hoped for a reconsideration of the grounds which alone would justify the final step. But argument was now too late. Pusey and Keble both knew what was to be expected.
REV. J. KEBLE TO B. B. P.
Sept. 18, 1854.
I wish I knew bow to put the matter to R. W. to set him on thinking of some work here instead of wandering. But Prevost (from S.O.) tells me that this movement has been really sudden, occasioned, as S. O. thinks, by more than usual intercourse with H. W. and H. F. M., who never let him alone. Is not the real account of it his constant longing to have everything made theoretically square and neat? and so he takes up with those who make most profession of supplying the want, without too nice inquiry into the truth of their profession. As to continuing in Lay communion, of course one has no hope of his doing so, but in itself, is it not a conceivable position, and one which might be tenable by a man of another temperament? and might he not, if the Supremacy were all, communicate even clerically in the Church of Scotland?.
Of the correspondence between Keble and Pusey, and their old friend who was leaving them, we catch a last glimpse in Keble' s words to Pusey.
Hursley Vicarage, Nov. 3, 1854.
'I am not in regular correspondence with poor R. W. He is far beyond any appliances of mine. I am thinking of writing to him on one or two topics, for the satisfaction of my own mind, and your note will help me. One thing I want to disabuse him of, is his assumption that because this step is painful to him he cannot have been moved by his feelings towards it: as if there were no such thing as morbid feeling.'
In fact when this letter was written, such correspondence was of even less avail than Keble probably supposed. Mr. R. I. Wilberforce had gone to Paris with Dr. Grant, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Southwark, and had been received into the Roman Church on Nov. 1. He survived his secession two years and a half, but before he could carry out his purpose of being re-ordained in the Roman Church he died.