Project Canterbury


















THE peculiar opportunities which I have long enjoyed of acquaintance with very influential Germans, and the fact that I have recently been eye witness of the evils to which it is the object of this Letter to suggest a remedy, will, I trust, in some measure justify me in venturing to address your Lordship. Indeed, the subject of the following remarks is of more especial interest at a time like the present, when there is among us an increasing desire for intercourse with other branches of the Christian Church, and when pious and earnest minds seem influenced by a feeling of necessity to seek for an extension of Catholic communion. And this interest is heightened, since the prospect of a nearer connexion between us and the principal division of German Protestantism, the United Lutheran and Reformed Establishment of Prussia, has of late [3/4] gladdened the hearts of some, while it has afforded matter of exciting speculation to many.

However little immediate prospect there may be of any such consummation, which is deprecated equally by the extremes of party in England and in Prussia, the fact that such a connexion has been contemplated, and is regarded as possible and desirable by some influential persons in both countries, has made our church an object of intense interest in the eyes of German Protestants. The feeling, it is true, with which they regard us is that of jealousy. They will not admit that they are in want of any thing which we can give them. And they are extremely suspicious, lest, contrary to their wishes, an apostolical gift should be imparted to them; a gift, from which their inability to appreciate it, proves that in their present state of mind, at least, they could derive no benefit. It is indeed to be hoped that this very opposition to Anglican Catholicity, which has been so strongly brought out within the last eighteen months by the proposed partial connexion in the Levant between the Church of England and the Lutherans, may be the dawn of better things for the Church of Prussia. Because, where there is a strong opposition to any measure, the subject is debated, the conflicting arguments are weighed, and from the collision of opinion the truth in the end remains victorious.

Thus, had the Protestants of Germany continued to regard the Anglican Church as a distant object, with [4/5] which there was no prospect of collision either for good or for evil, their long engendered habit of apathy and indifference to much that we consider Catholic and Apostolic, might yet have endured for years to come. They might still have considered our Church in the light of a mighty state establishment, a powerful political engine, a convenient provision for the sons and favourites of great families, a wealthy harvest field, where a golden crop was to be reaped, not of souls to the Lord of the Harvest, but of guineas to the purse of a Right Reverend political jobber, or Reverend foxhunter. There can be little doubt that such was the very prejudiced idea entertained of us in general by the majority of the German clergy. The more learned of them could not indeed but know that giants had existed in every age of the English Church. But the intercourse which had been maintained in modern times between them and England was with Protestant Dissenters, with whom lay their sympathies, and from whom they derived their idea of our position.

But now this rich, luxurious, and secular Church is brought before them in a new light, as the earnest and anxious assertor of orthodox truth, the refuter of error, whether Romish, Puritanical, or Rationalistic, and the zealous extender of Catholic apostolicity. In this character is the Church of England of the present day, forced, as it were, upon the notice of Germany. Yet this character, though asserted with an appeal to truth which must stagger [5/6] a gainsayer, is, nevertheless, vehemently disputed. And we may with confidence expect that the attempt to refute the truth will, in God's own good time, have the effect more fully to elicit it.

Thus I venture to predict, that, however unpromising the appearance of a Catholic reaction in Germany may be, the day is not far distant when this great movement will spring forth from the only real and enduring source, an inward consciousness of necessity, a feeling of want, which will then cause that to be craved as a boon, which would now be rejected as an insult. It is not the arm of a King, however pious and powerful, nor yet the consecration of a Bishop, however apostolic and venerable, that will bring this to pass. It is the arm of the King of kings, it is the working of the Spirit imparted to his Church by the Bishop of souls, which will thus change the hearts and sway the minds of the German people. And this most blessed consummation will probably arrive more quickly than, judging from mere human probabilities, we have reason to hope. It might be difficult to point out the quarter from whence a general Catholic reaction in Prussia was likely to come. But that it will come, we may rest assured; and that too, mainly through the agency of the Anglican Church. Not indeed by immediately sending forth a Hierarchy to supply that which to our eye is manifestly wanting, or to complete that which is glaringly defective. But by demonstrating by words of argument and power, and deeds of [6/7] holiness and love, the rightful authority of our system; by leading the Germans to turn their minds to these unaccustomed subjects; by placing before them the example of Catholic truth, and Apostolic zeal, and by holding out to them the arms of brotherly affection. [We have, perhaps, little idea of the jealous irritability with which our expressions are sometimes misconstrued by the Germans. For instance, the sentence which appeared in the admirable document published by authority, on the subject of the Jerusalem Bishopric, in which it is said; "We may reasonably hope that it may lead the way to an essential unity of discipline, as well as of doctrine, between our own Church and the less perfectly constituted Churches of Europe," has excited the strongest feelings of opposition. These words have been supposed to convey much more than was really intended, and to express a censure on the doctrines, as well as the discipline of the Church of Prussia. This misapprehension has been in some measure removed by the recent ordinance of the Archbishop of Canterbury, which has been made public in Prussia, authorizing the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem to ordain any approved German candidate for orders, who has subscribed the Augsburg Confession and the three Creeds, and to admit him to minister, under his jurisdiction, to a German congregation.]

While the Church of England is thus regarded with intense interest by Protestants, she is no less narrowly watched by Roman Catholics, who, indeed, profess to hail her as rapidly approximating to a union with Rome; though they really behold with dread that spirit which reminds her of her glorious privileges, and impels her to act according to a right view of her peculiar position. In the many [7/8] opportunities which I have had of late years, of mixing in the society of very distinguished members, both lay and clerical, of the Church of Rome, I have been greatly struck by their altered tone towards the Church of England. They seem scarcely so much to expect or to desire the conversion of individuals, as the accomplishment of a union with her as a body. They diminish as much as possible the immense differences which distinguish us from themselves, glossing over the points which are at issue between us, and professing to cherish the hope of a better understanding. When hard pressed, however, the truth will out. It is to be a union all on their own terms. Whatever appearances there may be of sympathy at the present time, between a portion of our clergy and the Romish Church, are exaggerated, and caught at as realities. The number of those said to be so predisposed in favour of Rome is increased an hundredfold. All those who stand up for the integrity of the Church of England against Protestant schism, are enlisted among the favourers of Romanism. While inferences most untrue are drawn from gross misstatements, and conclusions from contradictory premises.

As an instance how things the most adverse are often misconstrued by Romanists according to their wishes, I may mention to your Lordship a circumstance, though in itself trivial, which happened very lately within my own observation. An Archbishop and Patriarch of the Church of Rome, with whom I [8/9] then had the honour of daily intercourse, mentioned to me with uncommon satisfaction, the important and valuable aid which was expected from the Bishop of Oxford in bringing about the reunion of the Church of England with that of Rome; and he pointed out as the ground of this expectation, certain extracts from his lordship's late charge in the newspaper called the "Univers," and which had been artfully put together so as to present a somewhat startling appearance. Fortunately, I was able to give to the Patriarch a copy of the charge itself; and the perusal of it filled him with dismay. For he declared that he had never read so decided, and, as he thought, violently unjust an attack upon his Church. And though himself the most amiable and benignant of men, he immediately sent me a letter couched in extremely strong terms, with a view to vindicate his Church from the Bishop's censures.

It is not too much to say, that the Church of England is at this moment placed, as it were, upon a pedestal, as an object of prominent observation, and is regarded with interest, curiosity, and respect, by the whole Christian world; by some, with affection and hope, while, by others, with dislike and dread. But the affection and hope are increasing, the more the pious and earnest-minded portion of Protestants consider her claims and observe her practical working; and the more the Christianly liberal portion of Romanists compare her doctrines and discipline with [9/10] what their own true tradition informs them was the faith of their forefathers in early days. The dislike and dread may, on the other hand, be said also to be on the increase; for the more clearly truth is set before the hardened in error, the more intense will their opposition become: and while many are gained over by its influence, some will be led away to still more violent extremes.

A reflecting mind that is acquainted with the claims of the Anglican Church, and is persuaded of her zeal to vindicate them for the glory of God, and that has, at the same time, had opportunity to observe the actual condition both of Popery and Protestantism in Germany, must feel that she has indeed a mission of immense importance to fulfil in that country. A mission which, if wisely and strenuously fulfilled, may produce the most important results, immediately among Protestants, and mediately among Roman Catholics. The Protestants are now inquiring, with a spirit of hostility, it may be, but still they are inquiring, and are therefore no longer indifferent. And the result will be, that ere long they will be led to seek from us that which is wanting among themselves. And the more candid members of the Church of Rome, when they see that want supplied, and a great error rectified among so influential a portion of their countrymen, may be gradually led to merge the distinction of Romanist in a general Catholicity. Thus it is not too much to indulge the [10/11] hope, that, with God's blessing, the apostolicity of Protestant Germany and the reformation of Romanist Germany may, in after ages, be ascribed to us as instruments.

It has seemed not altogether out of place to enlarge upon this matter, as prefatory to the more immediate object of requesting your Lordship's attention to the condition of the Anglican congregations in Germany. That our holy services should be performed well and unto edification at all times, and in all places, must be the heart's desire of every pious Churchman. But if there ever was a time when it was more especially to be desired that we should appear on vantage ground, that time is the present. And if there ever was a place, where, with a view to our increased usefulness, it was necessary that our zeal should be adorned with piety and graced by wisdom, that place is Germany. Were our congregations in that country no more in number than one or two, they should be still carefully attended to, and should be supplied with such pastors as might not only be ensamples to their flocks, but also favourable specimens of the clergy of our Church before the eyes of the two great divisions of Western Christendom, who are now busily scrutinizing all our acts, and listening with anxious attention to all our words. But the necessity for this is daily becoming greater, because the number of Anglican congregations in Germany has of late much increased, and is even now increasing. And this will probably [11/12] go on progressively, from the number of our countrymen, who, unfortunately, from various causes, are settling more or less permanently in almost every considerable European city; and perhaps with greater advantage to themselves in those of Germany, than in those of any other foreign country.

It will scarcely be disputed, that wherever we have an ambassador or minister, there ought to be a regular chaplain. And although this want has not yet been fully supplied, our increasing sense of the expediency of the measure promises a speedy remedy. In Dresden, a year ago, a large and influential English society were in the habit of attending the ministry of a Lutheran pastor, who read the English Service, and preached in the English language for their peculiar benefit. And, strange to say, an Anglican Bishop and two Presbyters, who were domiciled at Dresden, thought proper themselves to form a portion of the flock. A singular irregularity, which would have been prevented if there had been a chaplain attached to the legation. This is, as we understand, now in some measure remedied, by the presence of an officiating English clergyman in that city; though we know not with what prospect of permanency. In Berlin, which is certainly the city in Germany where we have most reason to wish our Church to be fully and efficiently represented, there is no Anglican chaplain or clergyman whatever. And even were the English there scarcely in sufficient numbers to form a congregation, our legation at the Prussian court [12/13] ought, for reasons too obvious to require explanation, to be provided with an able chaplain, who might exercise a conciliatory influence both with the laity and the clergy, in a city which is the centre of German philosophy and learning, and where the king is an admirer of Anglican Institutions. Yet even in Berlin, where there is proverbially no foreign society, and where the only English house is that of the minister; a nobleman who very lately held that situation there, surprised me by assuring me that a chaplain was greatly needed, on account of many of our countrymen settled there as operatives in the employment of some long established English master manufacturers.

In the following list, I do not pledge myself to an exact enumeration of all the English congregations which have been formed in Germany; for as I have lately seen large ones in places where I had been previously unconscious of their existence, there may, in like manner, now be some of which we in this country are ignorant. But taking it for granted that if there are not chaplains, there at least ought to be, in every place where we have an ambassador or minister, let us thus reckon them; Vienna, Berlin, Dresden, Munich, Stutgard, Carlsruhe, Hanover, Francfort and Hamburgh. Besides these nine principal stations, there are several towns, (some of them [13/14] containing baths and mineral waters,) which have become permanent abodes of many English families, such as Manheim, Bonn, Coblenz, Ems, Baden Baden, Heidelberg, and Wiesbaden. [Carlsruhe is not, indeed, the seat of a separate legation, as our minister at the court of Wirtemberg is also accredited to that of Baden. But it is a town where there are respectable English families resident, and through which many English are constantly passing.] And there are some baths very numerously attended during summer and autumn, where service has been for a considerable time regularly performed, such as Carlsbad and Kissingen; and others where it ought to be performed, such as Aix la Chapelle and Marienbad. In addition to these, there are large cities containing many English residents, such as Dantzig and Lubeck on the coast of the Baltic, and Trieste on the Adriatic, where, if congregations do not already exist, they may probably soon be formed.

We may thus calculate the number of English congregations in Germany, which either do actually exist, or of which the existence may be considered necessary, at not less than twenty-two, without crossing the frontier either towards Switzerland or Holland. Here then is a pastoral care in itself most important, but which the peculiar circumstances already adverted to, render infinitely more so. A pastoral care, which might almost rival in importance that which has just been committed to the Bishop whom we have sent to Malta and Gibraltar, and which very greatly surpasses in immediate importance (in so far at least, as relates to the number of the flock) that which has been placed under the Anglican [14/15] Bishop in Palestine. Here is an important addition to the already overwhelming cares of the Prelate whom I have the honour to address, and whose life has been an unwearied endeavour to bring piety and energy to bear upon as great a load of responsibility as ever pressed upon man, since the days of him, who conscious indeed of infirmity, but also conscious of the honest discharge of duty, exclaimed, "Besides those things which are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the Churches."

Let us inquire, what is the state of ecclesiastical discipline among our congregations in that part of the Continent, where it most of all behoves us to appear with the full advantages of our system. Where there is a regular chaplain attached to an embassy or consulate, the episcopal power is immediately felt and can be enforced. But in other cases, (for anything that exists in order to prevent such a scandal,) it is possible that a place selected as a residence by a number of pious, well educated, and distinguished Englishmen, may be inflicted with the ministry of a most improper clergyman. One, for instance, who has been deprived of his living or cure of souls for some gross fault, or who has incurred the censure of his ordinary for some great error in doctrine. Or one, on the other hand, who is incompetent to fulfil the ministerial functions decently and creditably, from folly or defective judgment.

In either case, the ministrations of such a man must bring our Church into disrepute among [15/16] strangers, and even among our own countrymen, as soon as they shall have discovered the character and qualifications of their pastor. It might be expected, indeed, that the effect of this discovery would be to withdraw from him countenance and support. But this does not by any means follow. Having arrived amidst a considerable colony of his countrymen, who have long been anxious to enjoy the privileges of orderly worship and sacraments, and being personally unknown for good or for evil, he announces his clerical position, and finds ready and probably uninquiring aid in collecting a congregation. And having once acquired a footing and made a party, the subsequent discovery of worthlessness and insufficiency will probably not remove him. This may proceed from motives not altogether the reverse of praiseworthy on the part of the congregation. An unwillingness to listen to testimony as to former misdeeds; a disinclination to be again deprived of the ordinances of worship; add to these the spirit of party, which never predominates more any where than among the English residents in a foreign town.

But it is not alone by a mere private performance of our services that this deprived, or suspended, or incompetent clergyman may lower the ministerial office. He may assume the character of chaplain to his countrymen, give formal notice of public worship, and make general contributions among them, in order that he who ministers at the altar may live [16/17] by the altar. Evil reports may be spread on good authority, or his incompetency may be manifest. The one is treated as vague rumour, and the other as ill-natured censoriousness by the party who, having taken him up, are resolved to carry him through his troubles. Thus, the whole affair becomes an exciting occupation to a number of unemployed English men in a second-rate continental town; and indeed, there are not wanting recent and melancholy instances of the fierceness and violence which have proceeded, under such circumstances, from disagreements concerning the ministry of peace.

The English residents in a town where there is no representative of our government, and no chaplain paid by our government, have generally a very indistinct notion of the extent of episcopal superintendence over such a congregation as I have supposed. And at any rate, the prelate, under whose jurisdiction they properly are, is at a distance, and may have been misinformed; or his opinion or sentence, if expressed, may be wilfully misinterpreted. The cry of hardship and persecution may be raised, and sectarian motives may be mixed up with those of party. In short, it may be difficult, or impossible, to enforce the will of the Bishop in places where there is neither ambassador nor consul, and where the British government does not contribute to the payment of the clergyman. That a stubborn party, when once fairly formed in a continental town, might set your Lordship's authority at defiance, is rendered [17/18] but too evident by the unhappy prevalence of schisms among ourselves; many of them arising from personal feelings, rather than from conscientious, but mistaken considerations. The great object, therefore, ought to be, to begin from the first with so strict a discipline as to render such a state of things impossible.

I. In order to prevent a disreputable or incompetent person from taking upon him to minister, either privately or publicly, in a foreign land, a general rule might be established in the Church, permitting no clergyman to officiate in any way to a congregation of his countrymen abroad, without a testimonial from the Bishop in whose diocese his living or curacy is situated; or if he have no actual cure of souls, from the last Bishop under whom he has had one. And in case he never has had a cure, but has been ordained on a fellowship, he should have a testimonial from the president or warden of his college, countersigned by the Diocesan of his University. A necessity for this testimonial would impose no hardship on a clergyman about to go abroad, as, to obtain it previous to a departure for the continent, would become a matter of course, even as it is to procure a passport. And no one neglecting to do this should be entitled to minister either publicly or privately to his countrymen. It is true that compulsion could not be used in order to enforce this rule, neither could its infraction be visited easily with punishment. But if such a rule were once established, a neglect to [18/19] comply with it would stamp a clergyman with a suspicious character, and render his ministrations unwelcome to those of his countrymen who were sound churchmen. For no one who desired to maintain the integrity of the Church of England, or who valued the preservation of decent order in her worship, would attend the Service, if performed by a clergyman who could not produce this document.

II. While a right to perform any ministerial act whatever, would thus be denied to all who had not a proper licence, the more formal discharge of the sacred office ought to be protected by still stronger securities. This might be accomplished by an enactment, that no clergyman should be permitted to assume, in a foreign country, the title of chaplain to the English, or to have a committee, or to open a subscription book, or to receive pecuniary remuneration for his services, without having previously obtained from your Lordship an express licence for the particular scene of his ministry. This also is a regulation which would have force only among the willing and obedient. It might be impossible for the Diocesan to maintain discipline in a foreign country. A clergyman without licence might publicly minister, and receive pecuniary compensation for his ministry, and a number of Englishmen might give him countenance and support. But even so, the Church cannot exercise power to prevent violent acts of insubordination at home, since a rebellious clergyman may place himself at the head of a secession, and many [19/20] thoughtless or evil disposed persons may join in his schism. [Since these words were first written, they have been verified by the grievous act of schism which is even now taking place in the Church of Scotland, in the diocese of Edinburgh, where a presbyter, in defiance of his Bishop, has become minister of a congregation of Independents, and is said still to consider himself a member of the Anglican Church. May not the Church of Scotland expect, and may not the Church of England respectfully hope, that the highest authorities of the communion in which this unhappy person was ordained as a minister, will take some method of expressing their disapprobation of conduct which strikes at the root of all ecclesiastical subordination? We are surely called upon to discourage schism, not only in our own, but in every orthodox and regular branch of the Church of Christ. If the Scottish Church is in full spiritual communion with that of England, a congregation that has wilfully separated itself from the former cannot be in communion with the latter, and, consequently, both minister and people are schismatics, and should be noted as such.] In the one case as well as in the other it would be an act of schism, and the parties thus offending would, by this act, be separating from the communion of the Church.

But the authority of the Bishop's licence might be protected by an additional security, besides that of respect and influence. The government of foreign states (we are speaking more particularly of Germany) might be generally requested not to sanction or permit the public performance of the Anglican service by any one who is not authorised to do so by your Lordship's licence. This is a measure which they would perfectly understand, for it is similar to those to which they are accustomed at home. And [20/21] it is not proposed hereby to abridge the liberty which every clergyman, who possessed the first mentioned testimonial of his own diocesan, might enjoy, of performing divine service privately in his own house to his friends, or in their houses. It is only intended in order to prevent any one, without the licence of the Continental Diocesan, assuming the public office of minister, collecting subscriptions, and making it an object of interest and gain; and moreover, to enable the Bishop to put a stop to improper conduct, by depriving the clergyman of his licence. Above all, it is designed in order to prevent the possibility of collision between clergymen and disputed jurisdiction; each pastoral cure being almost as strictly defined thereby as a cure at home; and it being as little competent for any one, without abandoning sound church principles, to interfere with the ministry of a clergyman thus licensed, as it would be at home to interrupt the pastoral functions of a regularly appointed parochial minister.

Thus the obligation to produce a testimonial from his own diocesan, would in all cases check an assumption of the pastoral office by the unworthy, or the grossly incompetent. While the necessity for your Lordship's licence would prevent the possibility of such collisions and disputes between clergymen, as have been ere now unhappily witnessed. And at the same time, it would add a degree of responsibility and consistency to the position of a chaplain, favourable alike to the preservation of his influence among [21/22] his countrymen, and to the increase of his respectability among the people of a foreign country, and the ministers of other communions, among whom his lot may be cast. In a town where there is an English resident or consul, and where the chaplain is paid by the government, these objects are, or ought to be, already attained. But in places where England is not represented, and yet where Englishmen abound, there is much room for irregularity. But the proposed rule would place the Anglican chaplain, every where abroad, as completely under Episcopal jurisdiction as it is possible for him to be, out of his native country and its dependencies.

This subject has been more particularly suggested by an instance of the full evil of the present irregularity, which was very lately forced on my notice. The names of the parties in question, as well as the merits of the case, in so far as depends upon the conduct and character of individuals, shall not be given, as a full disclosure might not be agreeable to all of them, and is wholly unnecessary. No remarks will be made which can be justly considered offensive. Only certain facts will be stated, in order to show the evil consequences of want of discipline, and how these consequences might have been obviated, if some such plans as those suggested above had been acted upon.

Within the last few years, the number of English visitors at the baths of Carlsbad has very greatly increased; and three summers ago, a considerable [22/23] congregation was formed, who invited a clergyman to minister to them, who had, at that time, no permanent duty, but had been travelling in various parts of the Continent, and came to Carlsbad, it is believed, on account of his health. The Rev. Mr. A. had of course no testimonial, such as that which we have suggested; but he was received as a clergyman, it is presumed, upon showing his letters of orders. The service was permitted by the Austrian authorities, as one of a strictly private nature; but among the English residents it was public, inasmuch as Mr. A. had a collection-book, received pecuniary compensation, and was in all respects considered as chaplain to the English. At the commencement of the following summer, Mr. A. being still without any other permanent clerical duties, returned to Carlsbad, and again undertook our Church services. There were several other clergymen of the English Church resident there during one or other portions of that season, but they considered it due to Mr. A. to regard him as the English chaplain, he having officiated in a former year, and having then already recommenced the services, in which, however, they afforded him very considerable assistance.

But with the commencement of this last season of 1842, unanimity ceased. During the spring another clergyman, also of course unfurnished with any testimonial such as that above suggested, Mr. B., an old man, who had been absent from England for very many years, and had officiated in more than [23/24] one continental town, arrived at Carlsbad. He immediately assumed the title of chaplain to the English, at the invitation of three individuals, who happened to be there thus early, hired a room, published an advertisement, opened a subscription-book, and commenced a pecuniary collection by application to each successive new comer. After he had been officiating for some time, just as the season of the baths was beginning, Mr. A. arrived, with the intention of ministering again, as he had done during the two preceding summers: but Mr. B. would not resign. If the one pleaded prescription, the other pleaded possession. And where neither party had a real right, who was to decide?

Here then, was a full display of the evil to which the attention of your Lordship is now respectfully called, in the hope that it may be remedied. Neither Mr. A. nor Mr. B. possessed such a testimonial as that which is here proposed, as a sine qua non in similar cases. Their claim, therefore, to be received by their countrymen as duly qualified by conduct and acquirements to minister in sacred things, rested on whatever private means they had of proving a good reputation. And neither Mr. A. nor Mr. B. possessed a licence from your Lordship, sanctioning their performance of the office of chaplain at Carlsbad. This would at once have settled the question and ended the dispute. But as it was, the effects of this want of discipline became a matter of surprise and scandal to the clergy and laity of most European [24/25] countries and Christian denominations, who happened to be assembled at Carlsbad Episcopal Lutherans from Sweden, bishops, professors, and civilians; German and Hungarian Lutherans, superintendents, pastors, and people; Greeks and Roman Catholics of all ranks and degrees, patriarchs, bishops, priests, and princes, were witnesses to our disunion, and made our Church a by-word.

Mr. A., who, it is only due to him to say, acted in the whole affair with great propriety and moderation, would not for some time commence an opposition service, in order to avoid the appearance of schism. But many English arrived at Carlsbad, who, for reasons which seemed satisfactory to themselves, would have no ministerial intercourse whatever with Mr. B., declining to attend his service, and refusing to admit his claim to be chaplain to the English; and some of these, moreover, had attended the ministry of Mr. A. during a former year. It was, therefore, at length judged expedient to have another service, at which Mr. A. officiated, with the constant assistance of several other English clergymen resident at Carlsbad, and with a larger congregation than the other. The Austrian authorities, however, regarded this apparent schism with displeasure. And the Burgrave of Prague directed the Inspector of Police at Carlsbad to use means to put a stop to the second service. And, indeed, it was only owing to the liberality and kindness of that functionary, to whom the peculiar circumstances of the case were made [25/26] known, and who saw that the proscribed congregation was the more numerous and respectable of the two, that the majority of the English were not altogether deprived of the blessing of social worship. For very many, at least, declared that they would have found it quite impossible to attend the ministry of Mr. B.

Thus was exhibited on every Lord's day, the melancholy spectacle of two rival congregations, who crossed each other's path, instead of proceeding to the house of God as friends. The evil which this state of things produced, not only among our own countrymen, but among the foreigners of various communions, who held this English schism in derision, pressed with peculiar force on several of the Anglican clergymen who were witnesses to it. And they did all that, under the circumstances, appeared to them to be possible. They addressed an official letter to your Lordship, as Diocesan of the Continent, stating the very disadvantageous position in which the Church of England had been placed, their own deep sorrow, and their fervent wish that a recurrence of such scenes should be prevented. And, moreover, they ventured to entreat that your Lordship would take some effectual means to prevent, in future, any similar scandal.

These details, although they relate to a small number of our countrymen in a distant land, and to an event which is past, and will soon be forgotten by them, are not however of trivial importance. For it is [26/27] impossible to measure the extent of prejudice against our Church, which this most unseemly rivalry and contention about sacred things may have produced in the minds of the eye-witnesses of it, belonging to other communions, Greek, Lutheran, and Romanist. And unless the proper Ecclesiastical authorities enforce some such regulations as those which have been suggested in these pages, or some regulations still more effective, as shall seem best to their wisdom, it may be impossible to prevent a frequent recurrence of such disgraceful scenes. Indeed, to those who have been much on the continent, the numerous disputes and quarrels which have arisen concerning the performance of our services, have been a frequent cause of mortification and shame, of busy gossip, or of irreverent sarcasm, according to the disposition of the individuals. And most especially, our great and increasing intercourse with Germany, our peculiar position with respect to its most powerful Protestant communion, and the great attention which every act of ours excites, as well among Protestants as Roman Catholics in that country, combine to give a peculiar importance to all our measures in reference to it; and to demand that above all, in matters of religion, every thing should be performed in the most edifying and dignified manner.

III. These considerations, indeed, would seem to render a further measure expedient, viz. that our congregations in Germany should be placed under some more immediate superintendence than that [27/28] which it is possible for your Lordship personally to bestow. And this superintendence might be exercised either by a Presbyter, who should possess no jurisdiction beyond a delegated one, as your lordship's commissary; or by a clergyman episcopally consecrated, and having the English congregations in that portion of the continent as his diocese.

I would crave your Lordship's indulgence, when I attempt briefly to consider these alternatives, with their advantages and objections.

It might be said, without entering into the merits of the question, that there seemed a sort of Ecclesiastical symmetry, (if one may use this expression) in sending an Anglican Bishop to minister to our countrymen sojourning in a Protestant land, as we have already supplied the wants of the English residents in the Roman Catholic countries of the south of Europe, by bestowing a Bishop upon them. This would be a practical illustration in the eyes of Europe of our position, the via media; and it would be a distinct recognition of the necessity of guarding our people against two opposite extremes of religious error, and of providing for their continuance in a right path with a right form, by furnishing them with a full development of our Ecclesiastical system for their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace.

If it be objected against sending a Bishop to Germany, that he would have no district for his diocese, it may be replied that this was the position of the Apostles themselves. Though it is doubtless true [28/29] that, from the necessity of the case, they were in the strictest sense missionary bishops, their diocese being the widest extent of the world, into which they were sent forth by our Saviour himself. And we have, moreover, reason to believe that diocesan Bishops were appointed as soon as the Church had advanced to such a state of forwardness as to admit of it; witness the examples of Timothy in Ephesus, Titus in Crete, and the angels of the Asiatic Churches. Our Church has also very lately sent a Bishop to the Holy Land, who cannot be said, strictly speaking, to have a district for his diocese. But Palestine being a land emptied of its proper inhabitants, has been and is, as it were, the common ground of Christendom, where almost every great Christian communion has a representative. And we have now only claimed the privilege of a full development of our branch of the Church, in a place where other Christian communions have been fully developed for ages.

A case perhaps still more in point, is the Bishop whom we have lately sent to Gibraltar and Malta. For though these seats of his Episcopate are stations which form part of the territorial possessions of Great Britain, his jurisdiction extends over congregations widely scattered in lands inhabited by other branches of the Christian Church. On the shores of the Mediterranean there exists a national establishment, which though greatly erring, is, strictly speaking, more ecclesiastically regular than that of Germany; and as we scruple not to send a Bishop to the former, [29/30] there is no reason why we should not send one to the latter also.

It might be objected, that the appointment of a Bishop for the continent recognizes an unnatural state of society, of which the existence, to its actual extent, is a serious evil, and of which the continuance is to be deprecated, viz., a population existing, and a generation arising, of Englishmen aliens to England, and permanent inhabitants of lands differing in religious principles, moral feelings, and social usages from their native country. This is at best a grievance, and although it is one which may probably continue, it may be deemed questionable whether it ought further to be sanctioned by any solemn act of the Church or legislature. Yet, on the other hand, it may reasonably be urged that the most ample pastoral superintendence is nowhere more truly required than by the youth of a half English, half foreign population, deprived of many of the natural feelings of Englishmen, without being able to identify themselves with those of the people among whom they sojourn; and thus in danger of losing the best points of the English character, without the possibility of gaining an honest nationality elsewhere in exchange.

It may be urged against the appointment of a Bishop, that it has already been tried in the case of France; and that the result can scarcely be regarded as satisfactory. But this trial cannot be considered a fair one, from the peculiarity of the [30/31] circumstances, and the embarrassed nature of the Episcopal jurisdiction. For, although the clergyman who exercises the functions of chaplain to the British Ambassador at Paris, has received episcopal consecration from our daughter Church in Scotland, he was in our Church nothing more than a Presbyter, and he has, or had, no jurisdiction whatever over the Anglican clergy in France or anywhere else, except such as your Lordship may have thought proper to delegate to him as your commissary: which authority might as well have been delegated to him, had he remained in the position of a Presbyter. This trial therefore, of an Englishman of the episcopal order, residing on the continent, cannot properly be adduced as a case in point, on account of the anomalous position of him who holds the Episcopate, belonging, as he does, to another Church, and any jurisdiction which he may ever have had, being distinct and separate therefrom.

Another objection to the appointment of a Bishop seems to be, that it would be sending out a clergyman of the highest order, without at the same time securing to him a permanent field of exertion. The present lengthened peace may be succeeded by a general European war, in which, above all other countries, Germany, the centre of Europe, is sure to be engaged; and in such a case, the objects of the Bishop's pastoral care would be scattered, and his office would be rendered superfluous.

But the principal ground of inexpediency which [31/32] might be brought forward against the appointment of a Bishop to Germany, seems to me to result rather from the circumstances of the present time, than from any permanent objection. I have already remarked, that the Church of England is regarded by the people of Germany with an intense and jealous interest. The Protestants of that country would consider this measure as the second step in an aggressive course, of which many of them look upon the Jerusalem Bishopric as the commencement; and which has for its imagined object the subjugation of the religious nationality of Germany to that of England. And thus their opposition to Episcopacy, and consequently their unfitness to derive benefit from it, would be increased, and the period of their receiving it, which is, as we trust, after all, not very remote, would be postponed. This jealousy would be felt in an equal, if not greater degree, by the Roman Catholics; though of them indeed we need not make the same account, as we can have no reasonable hope of their ever meeting us even half way in intercommunion. Yet they too may be affected, though not perhaps immediately, by the conduct of their Protestant countrymen. For their reformation might be proportionably deferred by any thing which would retard a joyful and ready adoption of more regular Church government on the part of the German Protestants; as we have already remarked, that the abandonment of error by Protestants, and their return to primitive order, is more likely than [32/33] anything else, to win over German Romanists from the abuses of Popery.

Such seem to be some of the objections existing against the appointment of a Clergyman of the episcopal order to oversee the clergy and the congregations of our Church in Germany. Your Lordship will observe that they are to a certain extent counterbalanced by advantages; and that in themselves they are, so to speak, provisorial, and depending on circumstances, and not on principles. And indeed it is probable that so much weight would not have been here assigned to them, were it not for the hope that the time is not very distant, when an increase to the number of our Bishops at home, will enable episcopal superintendence to be extended to the stragglers of our flock abroad, without any absolute necessity for the residence of an Anglican Bishop in foreign lands, beyond the colonies and dependencies of England.

It seems to be becoming a matter of general admission among members of our Church, that the number of our Bishops requires to be considerably increased, and that the appointment of Suffragans would be an expedient measure. And in the event of any such alteration, the immense and daily increasing diocese of London will be among the first to claim this aid. And it might come properly within the province of such a Suffragan, from time to time, to visit, confirm, and settle the English population in different countries out of England, which had no local [33/34] Bishops set over them. Provided always, that the prolonged peace of the continent admitted of such continued colonization. And otherwise, there would be still less occasion for the residence of a local Bishop than for the superintending visits of a Suffragan.

It would seem that none of these objections, if indeed their validity as conclusive objections be admitted, apply to the other of the two above mentioned alternatives, viz. the superintendence of the Anglican congregations in Germany by a presbyter, who should possess no jurisdiction beyond one delegated to him by your Lordship as your commissary. Difficulties it may be apprehended there would be, in the way of the appointment of a Bishop, arising indeed rather from circumstances than from the real rights of the matter. But still, in the face of these, it may be that the other alternative, if not so truly answering to the wants of the Church, is at least more practicable and simple.

A title of some sort the episcopal commissary ought to have. And that of Archdeacon would be a sufficient distinction to ensure respect, as well from the clergy and laity of our own Church, as from those of other communions: while at the same time, it is one which might without difficulty be laid aside, did political or other causes interrupt the continuance of English congregations in Germany. While this appointment could not cause either to Protestants, or to Romanists, any reasonable jealousy, it would inspire them with additional respect for the principle [34/35] of good order, which they would thus see carried out into the more remote ramifications of our Church. And thus, the more urgent wants of the Anglican congregations would be supplied; for the Archdeacon would be in constant communication with your Lordship. And the degree of authority with which he would be invested, might be most beneficially exerted in keeping up decency and good order in the congregations, in enquiring into the previous character of the chaplains, and watching over their conduct; in communicating with the local authorities in any case of dispute or misunderstanding, in deciding upon any point of disagreement between the clergy and people, and in preventing any unseemly collision between the clergy themselves. In short, to return to the painful instance already cited, it is conceived that such an appointment as that now suggested, might operate beneficially in preventing the recurrence of any such discreditable scene as that which was displayed last summer at Carlsbad.

If it is admitted that this appointment would be beneficial, there could be no insuperable difficulty in carrying it into effect. Its expense need not be great, even were that a right consideration in a matter of acknowledged spiritual usefulness, admitting the present to be such a case. Indeed, economy might be one reason, although a very inadequate one, why an Archdeacon should be preferred in Germany to a Bishop. A few hundreds per annum would suffice, in order to [35/36] defray his frequent correspondence, and his occasional visits to the different English congregations. It is not even apprehended that his constant residence on the continent would be necessary. He might make his visitations once in the year, or once in two years, as occasion required; and travelling is now so rapid and easy, that on any particular business he might make a journey on purpose.

It is also deserving of consideration, that the appointment of an Archdeacon would not require a previous application to parliament. It is conceived that nothing more is requisite, than that your Lordship should appoint a commissary to visit the foreign stations, and that all other Bishops should agree not to license or institute to curacies or livings within their respective dioceses, clergymen who have held the position of continental chaplains, without a testimonial countersigned by the commissary.

In conclusion, it is humbly and most respectfully entreated, that some consideration should be given to the three important points which have been adverted to in this letter.

1st. The necessity that every clergyman who ministers to his countrymen in Germany, or indeed in any part of the continent of Europe, should be furnished with an express testimonial or licence, from the Bishop of his own diocese, or from the Bishop in whose diocese he has been most recently settled.

[37] 2d. That in those parts of the continent of Europe which have not already been placed under the jurisdiction of an Anglican Bishop, (as has recently been effected in Gibraltar, Malta, and the shores of the Mediterranean,) no clergyman shall take it upon him to minister publicly to the English as their chaplain, to open a subscription book, or to collect pecuniary remuneration for his services, without an express licence to do so from the Bishop of London.

3d. That some ecclesiastical superintendence should be appointed to watch over the spiritual interests of Anglicans in certain districts of the continent of Europe, where they are numerously settled, as, for instance, in Germany; and that the proposed superintendent should be invested with power to act as the Bishop of London's commissary, and that he should have the title of Archdeacon.

It now remains for me to express the humble and earnest hope, that your Lordship will pardon me for having presumed to address you on this subject. My long and intimate acquaintance with the Germans, and my heart's cherished desire that they may one day be brought within the influence of our apostolical Church, will, I hope, in some measure, plead my excuse. For it is certain that our success or failure in the great mission which the providence of God seems to have assigned to us, in relation to this [37/38] people, will be very materially affected by the degree in which the system of our Church is brought before their eyes as one of piety, dignity, and good order.

I have the honour to be,

My Lord,

With the most sincere respect,

Your Lordship's obedient and obliged Servant,


Christmas-Eve, 1842.

Project Canterbury