IN his letter to Dr. Stiles, given in a previous chapter, Mr. Seabury alludes to the "Manifest unaccountable want of Candor in the opposers of the American Episcopate;" and certainly the allusion seems not to have been groundless. The minds of men were much stirred about this question of a Colonial Episcopate. The Clergy, particularly those of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, were very earnest in their pursuit of the project. They contended very openly and honestly for the consecration of Bishops for America, in the exercise of all the influence they had both at home and abroad; and their contention was based upon the simple plea that it was necessary for the preservation of the Church. Their only additional plea appears to have been that the preservation of the Church was essential to the preservation of the existing order of civil government in the Colonies; but this was subsidiary to the main point, which was that the Church would soon inevitably become extinct, and the work already done come to nought, without resident Bishops. And in all their movement toward the accomplishment of this end, which dated almost from the first planting of the Church here, they seem to have clearly and carefully discriminated between the English and the Colonial situation, and to have used their best endeavour to make it perfectly plain that they sought Bishops for purely spiritual purposes, and had no thought of introducing with them any of those temporal characteristics of Episcopal rule to which exception had been so strongly taken.
As one of the evidences of the ground taken by the Church Clergy, may be cited certain proposals signed by Dr. Cutler and others, and forwarded to the Bishop of London by the Reverend Dr. Johnson of Connecticut in 1750. This paper, proceeding upon the presumption that the chief obstruction to the settling of Bishops in America has arisen from misapprehension, gives a statement of the objections made to the project, and endeavours to obviate them by explanation of its true purposes. The objections to which they refer are,
1. With respect to the coercive power such Bishops may exercise over the people in causes ecclesiastical.
2. With respect to the interest or authority of the Governors there.
3. With respect to the burthen that may be brought upon the people, of supporting and maintaining Bishops there.
4. With respect to such of the Colonies where the government is in the hands of the Independents, or other dissenters, whose principles are inconsistent with Episcopal government; and, they continue:
"As these objections are all founded upon a misapprehension of the case, it may be proper to have it understood, 1st. That no coercive power is desired over the laity in any case; but only a power to regulate the behaviour of the Clergy who are in Episcopal Orders, and to correct and punish them according to the law of the Church of England, in case of misbehaviour or neglect of duty; with such power as the Commissaries abroad have exercised.
2dly. That nothing is desired for such Bishops that may in the least interfere with the dignity, or authority, or interest of Governor, or any other officer of State. Probate of Wills, licence for Marriage, &c, to be left in the hands where they are, and no share of the temporal government is desired for Bishops.
3dly. The maintenance of such Bishops not to be at the charge of the Colonies.
4thly. No Bishops are intended to be settled in places where the government is in the hands of Dissenters, as in New England, &c, but authority to be given only to ordain Clergy for such Church of England Congregations as are among them, and to inspect into the manners and behaviour of the same Clergy, and to confirm the members thereof." [Life of Samuel Johnson, D. D., First President of King's College, by Thomas Bradbury Chandler, D. D., 169-171.]
When it is considered that to the faith of the Churchman the Church of Christ is by Divine institution an outward and visible Society, endowed with appointed means of Grace entrusted by the same appointment to a Ministry derived from the Apostles, through the Bishops who have succeeded into their office; and that therefore the want of Bishops not only involved incompleteness of organization, but also endangered the perpetuity of spiritual life, it would seem both that the urgency of the Colonial Churchmen for Bishops was simply their bounden duty, and that the paper just cited is an admirable instance of candor and discretion exercised in the discharge of that duty. And of the same tone, and characterized by the same candor and discretion, so far as I have observed, were all the efforts made for the obtaining of the Episcopate, whether evidenced by the writings of the Colonial Churchmen, or by those of their friends and sympathizers in England--with possibly a casual exception to be mentioned later. Even the biographer of William Livingston in referring to the famous "Appeal to the Public in behalf of the Church of England," put forth by Dr. Chandler in 1767, as a sort of summing up and representation of the case for an American Episcopacy, has nothing worse to say of it than that it is "a heavy but mild and decorous production;" and that it "is laboured argument, not only in favour of the particular scheme in question, but of the Episcopalian system generally;" and he adds that "the work also contains several sections going to show that the episcopate prayed for was purely religious, and could have no improper connection with the civil power." [Memoir of William Livingston by Theodore Sedgwick, Jun., p. 131]
That a plea so manifestly reasonable in itself, and presented with uniform dignity and good temper, should have failed to disarm prejudice in the Colonies, and to secure favourable reception in England, argues the existence of some influence other than its own demerit. That the apprehension of its success should have been one of the causes which produced the Revolution is, when one views it by itself, apparently incredible. It seems absurd that with all the sincere appreciation in the Colonies of the value of personal freedom in general, and with the so great profession of regard above all for religious liberty in particular, the right of the Churchmen to have their ecclesiastical system completed in all its essentials should be not only denied, but denied with resentful bitterness; while the same kind of right was allowed and deemed to be just in the case of other religious bodies in the Country. Still more absurd does it seem that a matter, properly speaking of simply religious import, should have the slightest political significance; that those who had the power to impart the desired gift should have been against their will precluded from the exercise of that power by Civil Rulers who had of right nothing whatever to do with it; and that those Rulers, strong enough in their policy of repression at home, should be so cowardly weak abroad as to refuse justice to some for fear of giving offence to others. Yet this is but a suggestion of the incongruities involved in the situation.
The fact is that the question of the American Episcopate was complicated with considerations which in the mind of the Churchmen were entirely foreign to it, and which in the mind of the objectors were the only considerations thought worthy of attention. Claims which were based upon a purely spiritual conception of the Episcopate were cither honestly misunderstood, or wilfully perverted by designing men with the ulterior object of inflaming the minds of the people against the Mother Country. The general ground of opposition to the proposed Episcopate was that it would be an introduction into America of a part of the system of English Government from which the Colonists had heretofore been free, but which was associated in their traditions with memories of oppression from which their ancestors had suffered in England, and to escape from which they had emigrated. The Bishop was conceived of as a State official, empowered under pretence of spiritual jurisdiction to meddle with their customs of worship, and to sit in judgment upon their religious convictions; as connected with a system of legal administrations which touched not only spiritual but also temporal rights; and as possessing so exalted a station as to require costly and luxurious provision for its maintenance, the expense of which was to be met by commensurate and general taxation. It was indeed often and patiently explained to those who entertained this conception that it was wholly inapplicable to such an Episcopate as was desired; but whether not convinced, or convinced against their will, they still persisted in retaining it.
It is easy to understand how such objections would take their place among the other contentions which were at the same time being made against what were claimed to be unjust impositions upon the Colonists on the part of the Mother Country, and that assaults upon the Episcopacy would come to be pressed not so much on religious as on practical grounds, and from political scruples. In short the Colonial Episcopate became conspicuous among the grievances real or imaginary, existing or anticipated which formed the political capital of the opposition party in the Colonies; and war was waged upon it not only by controversial attacks in this Country, but als0 by influence brought to bear against it in England which effectually prevented the Civil sanction which its friends there vainly sought to procure for it.
Under these circumstances too, it was only to be expected that a special animosity should be manifested and cultivated against the English Society for propagating the Gospel and the Missionaries who without its aid could not have sustained the work of the Church in the Colonies. It was plain that the Society had constantly maintained the desirability of settling Bishops in America, and hence those who conceived of that project as one of the many links of the chain of injury and oppression being forged for the Colonists found in the Society a ready object of attack. Dr. Mayhew, largely sharing the disaffection which the temporal policy of England was then fast producing in the Colonies, and the belief that the Church was identified with the King and Parliament in their obnoxious policy, published in 1763 an attack proceeding upon this line, of which the Society formed the primary object. [Jonathan Mayhew, D. D., b. 1720, Minister of West Church, Boston, 1747 to 1766, the date of his death. "An associate of Otis and other patriots in resisting arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Blake's Biographical Dictionary.] He was answered by Mr. Apthorp one of the Society's Missionaries, and also by Archbishop Secker in a pamphlet, whose fairness of reasoning and charity of spirit even Mayhew himself commended. [Anderson's History of the Church of England in the Colonies, III, 412-416.]
Later again, in 1767, one of the annual preachers before the Society, Dr. Ewer, Bishop of Llandaff, became the object of the censure of Dr. Charles Chauncey, Pastor of First Church in Boston, and was virulently assailed by William Livingston in a personal letter. Chauncey also about the same time replied to Chandler's Appeal; in response to which appeared the Appeal Defended; Chauncey's reply to which produced the Appeal further Defended. It is not necessary particularly to describe this controversy, but it is worth noticing that the arguments of Dr. Chauncey as well as of others seem to be in accordance with the general policy of the opposition in respect of its censure upon things which the advocates of the American Episcopate uniformly claimed to have no connection with it. "The inexpediency of any establishment of religion by law," says Mr. Sedgwick, referring especially to Dr. Chauncey's controversies, "the grounds for apprehension lest the vast and oppressive system of tithes, spiritual courts, and the canon law, should accompany or follow the Colonial prelates, furnished ready and popular topics of reply as well to Ewer as to Chandler. At the same time it was freely admitted by the dissenters, that no objection could be had to the introduction of bishops unattended by any temporal power or dignity. But they destroyed the effect of that admission, by maintaining that it could not be safe to trust the encroaching disposition of a church which at home had distinguished itself for intolerance and oppression." [Sedgwick's Memoir of William Livingston, pp. 131-2.]
But the true spirit of the opposition, and its definite purpose cannot be better shown than in the language of the Presbyterian William Livingston, sometime Governor of New Jersey, one of the ablest and most brilliant of all the remarkable men who in that generation promoted the resistance of the Colonies. In a letter dated New York, 26th March, 1768, to Dr. Samuel Cooper of Boston, Mr. Livingston says:
"I am glad to hear that Dr. Chauncey has undertaken an answer to Dr. Chandler's Appeal. As the latter began already to construe our silence on the subject into an acquiescence in his project, it is high time the appeal was answered. But though your venerable brother may strip our Episcopalian champion of his triumphal trappings, I think it cannot have the same salutary effect towards defeating the scheme at home as a course of weekly papers inserted in the public prints. These are almost universally read, and from the greater latitude one may there give himself, will prove more effectual in alarming the Colonies. For I take it that clamour is at present our best policy, and that if the Country can be animated against it, our superiors at home will not easily be induced to grant so arrogant a claim, at the expense of the public tranquility. With this view a few of your friends here have lately begun a paper under the name of the American Whig, which they purpose to carry on till it has . . . universal alarm. A number of gentlemen will shortly open the ball in Philadelphia. I should be glad the same measure was pursued in Boston. . . . Without some such opposition, I am apprehensive the ministry may be prevailed upon to gratify the lawn sleeves by way of recompense for so often voting against their consciences for the court.
As this Country is good enough for me, and I have no notion of removing to Scotland, whence my ancestors were banished by this set of men, I cannot without terror reflect on a bishop's setting his foot on this continent. Pray, my dear sir, bestir yourself at this critical juncture, and help us to ward off this ecclesiastical stamp-act, which, if submitted to, will at length grind us to powder.
I beg your acceptance of the enclosed (the letter to the Bishop of Llandaff), which I wrote out of real affection for the New England Colonies, and a sincere regard for truth. Dr. Chauncey had, 'tis true, so fully refuted the bishop's calumnies that anything further might well have been dispensed with. But I thought he had treated that haughty prelate rather too tenderly, and that he deserved a little severer correction. . . .
I must, dear sir, repeat my earnest solicitations that you exert yourself in this interesting cause. We are debtors to our Country--debtors to posterity--but, above all, debtors to Him who will not suffer a competitor in the supremacy of the church. . . . I am, dear sir,
your most affectionate friend, and humble serv't.
[Sedgwick's Memoir of William Livingston, pp. 136, 138.]
The omissions denoted by asterisks are those of Mr. Livingston's biographer; otherwise the letter is here presented in full as printed. It is a very noteworthy epistle in several respects, but particularly as showing Mr. Livingston's connection with the American Whig, and as revealing the position which the Colonial Episcopate occupied in the minds of those who singly and by association were working to the end of promoting by every means in their power the disaffection of the Colonists. It would seem indeed that hostility to the Episcopal plan was the chief motive for bringing into being the American Whig, though the complaints of the paper were not confined to that grievance. The policy to be acted upon too, in the promotion of disaffection is here most ingenuously unfolded by Mr. Livingston; the end proposed being to alarm the Colonies, the means to that end clamour, whereby the Country being animated against the plan, the superiors at home, that is the Ministry, may be persuaded that concurrence in it would be at the expense of the public tranquility. And the policy thus outlined is that which in fact was so consistently and efficaciously pursued as to be entirely successful.
In the American Whig No. XLII, published in "the New York Gazette or the Weekly Post-Boy" of December 26, 1768, we have further evidence of the pursuit of that policy; and also, by the way, of that "Manifest want of Candor" to which Mr. Seabury calls the attention of Dr. Stiles; though perhaps, in view of Mr. Livingston's frankness, we can hardly now consider it "unaccountable." A letter is contributed to that paper, signed "Liberius," which covertly, and under the guise of one writing from within the Church and earnestly solicitous for its most ample Gospel-privileges, seeks to throw suspicion on the motives of the advocates for the introduction of Bishops. That the letter is from the pen of Mr. Livingston himself appears to me probable from the style in which it is written, and from his connection with the paper; and also from its keenness of irony, and malicious abundance of innuendo, of which the versatile pen of Mr. Livingston, when he might see fit to give himself that greater latitude allowed by the public prints, would be fully capable. But by whomsoever it was written it was a most insidious paper, and well calculated to promote the end which Mr. Livingston had in view, in the alarm to be given to the Colonies--which the writer proposed further to extend by the excitement of distrust in the minds of the Churchmen themselves. The letter is too long to quote here, but its purport may sufficiently for our purpose appear from the following extract:
". . . . A real friend of the Nation or its Colonies, ought therefore to be sensibly alarmed at everything which has the remotest tendency to increase the jealousy, or weaken the connexion between them.--Pardon me, then, my brethren, if it should appear to be without just foundation that the vigorous efforts lately made, to obtain an American episcopate, have excited my fears and prevailed on me in this manner to use my endeavours to awaken the attention of such as are united in the same religious interest with myself. My apprehensions on this occasion, I must confess, are various; not being fully satisfied as to the true cause of those endeavours, nor the end really aimed at. Altho' I must profess the sincerest regard for the Episcopal Church in America, and heartily desire to see it blessed with all its most ample Gospel-privileges; yet, whether the late attempts to procure American Bishops, take their rise from friends to the Church, or secret enemies both to Church and State, appears to me an uncertainty. Whoever considers the jealousy of the nation respecting its Colonies, as being desirous to throw off their dependence upon the Mother Country; and the mutual jealousies between the nation and its Colonies, so lately excited by the Stamp-Act, cannot fail of being alarmed, lest some evil designing men, taking the advantage of the credulity of some of our well meaning clergy, have stirred up their well intended, but ill timed zeal, earnestly to solicit the obtaining Bishops among ourselves. An event, which, should it happen, would so evidently lessen the dependence, and weaken the connection of these colonies with the crown. It is said, there are more than a million of subjects, dispersed through the plantations, professed members of our excellent Church, who are all connected with the nation, not only by civil ties, in common with those of other denominations; but in addition thereto are strongly united by the sacred ties of religion, being in subjection to, and dependent upon the Bishops in the Mother Country. Of this the able statesmen of the Nation, cannot but be sensible; and from principles of state policy they must oppose the design.--In what light then, will they view those strenuous efforts for an American episcopate, but as a secret design, cloak'd with the specious pretence of religion, to ripen our circumstances for revolt? Nor will our warmest protestations of loyalty to the crown, avail to prevent such apprehensions concerning us, while the thing we are aiming at, whether it be our intention or not, really has such a tendency.
These my dear countrymen and brethren, were my apprehensions till the late "Appeal" to the Public, fell into my hands; on the reading of which, I was greatly surprised, more especially at the character there given of the Bishop sought after, and intended for us. A Bishop that should have power only to confirm,--to ordain,--and to govern none but the clergy! One that should have nothing to do with us who are in lay-communion, save only to confirm! How different this from the character of a scripture Bishop, as we have always been taught! . . . Are there none but our clergy, that stand in need of the godly discipline of the Church? . . . That the Bishop intended for us, should be such a maimed incomplete creature, was, to me, really surprising and unaccountable, till by a more attentive view of the whole discourse, I was alarmed with shrewd marks of a covered design in the scheme.--The reason which is there held up to public view, is to prevent our design of having Bishops from being opposed by our neighbours of other religious denominations. But however plausible and catholick this, at first sight, may appear, yet I am persuaded any one who attentively considers the matter, will, with me, be fully convinced, that this is only used as a palliative, while a latent project is carried on, either against them or against us. If the secret aim is levelled against our neighbours of other persuasions, to lull them asleep, and prevent their opposing our scheme of getting an American episcopate, established in such an inoffensive and harmless shape, hoping afterwards to have him the more easily completely vested with a full character; if, I say, this is the secret aim, 'tis manifest the pious fraud is not so closely concealed as to escape their notice, as is evident from the "American Whig," who so often appears in this paper, and whom ! shall leave to manage his own cause.
But why, my brethren, should others take the alarm, and we sleep on serene? Is our cause invulnerable? Or is it impossible there should be any evil imagination, and secret intrigues carried on against us? . . . Is it not . . . designed to cajole us into a compliance with some secret design artfully concealed from public view? It is well known that many of those additional powers, conferred on Bishops at home, by the statutes of the nation, would be as grievous to us, as to our dissenting neighbours; and to which (were we apprised of it), we should be as ready to make opposition, as they. The payment of tithes, the probate of Wills the licence of marriages; but above all, the spiritual courts, that disgrace of our Church, and intolerable grievance of the Nation; are things to which we can by no means consent, and against the introduction of which, we should be equally opposed, were we but sensible any such things were intended. If our secret schemers can but lull us to sleep, and amuse us with the expectation of having Bishops amongst ourselves, from whom we may hope for signal spiritual advantages, and thereby prevail with us, to use our influence for facilitating their designs, in procuring to be set over us such, as instead of being agreeable to our wishes, will prove the very reverse of what we expected; and instead of being a blessing, will really prove a curse: How grievous will be our disappointment? And shall we not ever blame ourselves for that supine negligence, whereby we now suffer ourselves to be wheedled into their pernicious devices? . . ."
This extract may suffice to show the purport of the letter, and its tendency to persuade men that the constant affirmations of the Churchmen that they desired only »such an Episcopate as should be clothed with powers purely spiritual--in the proper, and not the legal and technical sense of that word,--and that they totally repudiated the desire for any other kind of Episcopal authority, were to be regarded as mere pretence, and only a cover for the introduction of a spiritual Bishop who--once here--was to be transformed at convenience into a temporal Bishop, clothed with all manner of objectionable attributes: to persuade men, moreover that the pressing of this scheme would be regarded by the Government of England as indicating either a desire to be independent of English connections, or a desire to establish an Episcopal authority over all the colonists--neither of which alternatives could the British Ministry countenance. The letter is really, in its kind, a masterly performance--as was also the address of the Serpent in the Garden of Eden--and partakes much more of the wisdom of that most subtle of all the beasts of the field, than of the harmlessness of the dove.
It is remarkable to observe the harmony of tone in the utterances of the opposition; the general refusal to accept the assurances of those whom they opposed; the settled purpose to keep ever in view the objectionable features of the English Episcopate, and to stir men's minds against the American plan, as being merely another political encroachment; the determined effort, first to disturb public tranquillity, and then to make that disturbance, or the apprehension of it, the ground of refusal to act on the part of the British Government. One can hardly avoid the inference that all of this was the result of a settled policy, concerted for the purpose of promoting the disaffection which by and by produced separation: and one is sometimes inclined to doubt whether this policy were not aided, if not set on foot, in England; or whether it were inspired here, and industriously propagated in England, and thence returned again, supported by accounts of purposes formed there for the enslavement of the Colonists.
Dr. Gordon, in his history of the American Revolution, records the outline of a plan understood to have been laid in England for the better mastery of the Colonies, in which the supplying of the Episcopate plays an important part; a project to which he himself appears to have given credence though the first news of it in this Country seems to have come from no less busy and untrustworthy a person than the emotional Whitefield. Whether this plan were really conceived in England, or were bruited about there so that it might be transported thence to the Colonies, to be utilized by the opposition party as a goad to the discontents of the people, it is impossible to say. But it certainly was used here and Gordon's account of it is of special interest as showing the political aspect of the controversy in regard to the Colonial Episcopate, and how the insistence upon that aspect of it added to the popular aversion to it here, and to the Ministerial aversion to it in England.
Gordon relates that the Rev. Mr. Whitefield, before leaving Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on the afternoon of the 2d of April, 1764, sent for Dr. Langdon and Mr. Haven, the Congregational Ministers of the town, and upon their coming to him said, "I can't in conscience leave the town without acquainting you with a secret. My heart bleeds for America. O poor New England. There is a deep laid plot against both your civil and religious liberties, and they will be lost;" and of the plan referred to by Whitefield Gordon says:
"Besides the general design of taxing the Colonies, the plan was probably, this in substance--Let the Parliament be engaged to enter heartily and fully into American matters; and then under its sanction, let all the governments be altered, and all the Councils be appointed by the King, and the Assemblies be reduced to a small number like that of New York. After that, the more effectually to secure the power of Civil government by the junction of Church influence, let there be a revisal of all the Acts in the several Colonies, with a view of setting aside those in particular, which provide for the support of the Ministers. But if the temper of the people makes it necessary, let a new bill for the purpose of supporting them pass the house, and the Council refuse their concurrence; if that will be improper, then the governor to negative it. if that cannot be done in good policy, then the bill to go home, and let the King disallow it. Let bishops be introduced, and provision be made for the support of the Episcopal Clergy. Let the Congregational and Presbyterian clergy, who will receive episcopal ordination, be supported; and the leading ministers among them be bought off by large salaries.--Let the Liturgy be revised and altered. Let episcopacy be accommodated as much as possible to the cast of the people. Let places of power, trust and honour be conferred only upon Episcopalians, or those that will conform. When episcopacy is once thoroughly established, increase its resemblance to the English hierarchy at pleasure.
These were the ideas which a certain gentleman communicated to Dr. Stiles, when they were riding together in 1765. The Doctor, after hearing him out, expressed his belief, that before the plan could be effected, such a spirit would be roused in the people, as would prevent its execution." [Gordon's History of the American Revolution, I, pp. 114-115.]
Nothing could be more apt than this plan to the use of those in this Country who sought to promote the disaffection of the people; and nothing, it may be added, could be much nearer to the arguments commonly used for that purpose. And if the people to whom such appeals were made believed but the half of what was thus urged upon them, their condemnation of the Colonial Episcopate is sufficiently accounted for.
Nor is it surprising that the influence exercised against the introduction of the Episcopate here, should have had that effect in England which it was designed to have; and that all the efforts there of those who were friendly to the project, and who sought to further it, should have been met with indifference, evasion, and all the compact resistance of a masterly inactivity. Ears might be open and patiently receptive; tongues might be turned to the soothing phrase of diplomatic assurance; but in respect of action, there was paralysis. [Cf. the collection of letters from Archbishop Seeker and others, in the appendix to Chandler's life of Johnson; and also Anderson's Colonial Church, III, 430-436.]
And so the battle for the Colonial Episcopate was lost: but the contest for the American Episcopate was not yet closed, though its prosecution was necessarily suspended for the present. It was to be resumed later, under circumstances almost equally discouraging; notwithstanding which it was ultimately pushed to a successful issue. It would seem that in the counsels of Divine Providence the time had not until then been fully ripe for the gift of that "free, valid and purely Ecclesiastical" Episcopacy which the Colonial Churchmen so earnestly desired, but the bearing of which upon future conditions both civil and Ecclesiastical they could not be expected to foresee. It can hardly be doubted that the establishment of a Colonial Episcopate would have tended, so far as its influence might go, to such a fusion or consolidation of the Colonists as would have predisposed them to some form of centralized Government; and would thus have operated to the hindrance, if not the prevention, of that Federal Union which was afterwards established both in civil and ecclesiastical policy, and the principles of which, if duly observed are most conducive to the preservation of constitutional liberty in each. And for this reason among others, while one may fully sympathize with the disappointment and disadvantages of the Colonial Churchmen4 and regard them as entirely justified in their contention against the wrong and injustice which they suffered, he may perhaps, be excused for thinking that the failure to obtain the Colonial Episcopate was not an altogether unmixed evil.
However this may be, it is hoped that the present chapter, though with no pretence to be a history of the movement for such an Episcopate--which would involve the history of the Colonial Church--may have contributed something to the better understanding of the political significance of the question involved in the movement; and, by consequence, to the better understanding of the position of those of the Colonial Clergy who adhered to the existing order of Government. For it was altogether natural, when that which they had with all simplicity advocated on purely religious grounds, was classed by their adversaries among the political grievances of the day, that they should range themselves against their opponents not only in respect of this movement, but also in respect of the properly political issues with which they found it thus associated.