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During his stay in town, the Bishop of Durham told him that Mr. Addington, then premier, had a few days before said to him, in the course of conversation, 'I wonder Burgess does not 'call on me; I was with him both at Winchester and Oxford.' The bishop, who well understood the tide in the affairs of men,' and also how to take it at the flood, if men would be led on to fortune, told his chaplain, and pressed his attendance on the prime minister. But the modest man recoiled, and without calling, returned to Durham. Some days after his arrival, he casually mentioned the fact to his wife, who, with the cunning perception that often distinguishes the sex, at once saw the bearing of the matter, and exclaimed, “Then, of course, you called in Down‘ing Street.' The chaplain replied in the negative, and the mortified wife yielded a tacit acquiescence. The supposed mistake, however, was soon rectified. About a fortnight afterwards the post arrived on a certain day, and among other letters brought one franked by Mr. Addington. It ran thus:
* Downing Street, June 5, 1803. “SIR, • Though we have been separated almost thirty years, I have not, let me assure you, been a stranger to the excellence of your private character, nor to your exertions for the interests of learning and of religion ; and I have been anxious that your services should be still further noticed and distinguished, and your sphere of being useful enlarged. These considerations, alone, have led me to mention you to his majesty as the successor of the late Lord George Murray, in the diocese of St. David's, and I am happy to say that his majesty has entirely approved of the recommendation. It will not be expected that you should relinquish your prebend in the cathedral church of Durham. I have the honor to be, with true esteem,
*HENRY ADDINGTON. • To the Rev. Dr. Burgess.'
Few episcopal creations have been more honorable than this to all concerned. It is obvious that party politics had little, if anything at all, to do with the business. The act was one which will ever redound to the credit of the premier, and likewise to that of his royal master. Dr. Burgess hesitated at first, and felt disposed to decline the offer; at length, however, the mitre prevailed, and the humble chaplain ascended the episcopal bench. When he attended the levee to do homage, George the Third, with that accurate recollection of incidents in the lives of his subjects for which he was so remarkable, paid him
the following just and elegant compliment. “You were chaplain, I believe, to the Bishop of Durham, twenty years ago, when he was Bishop of Salisbury ? “Yes, please your ma
jesty. “I thought so; I remember his saying he went to • Oxford to select the person best qualified to serve him in that 'capacity, and that he fixed on you. It was equally bonorable 'to you both.'—p. 209.
The lengthened connexion of Dr. Burgess with Bishop Barrington had sufficed to bring him into a perfect acquaintance with the general routine of episcopal life and duty. He, therefore, entered with great advantage upon his new functions; at the commencement of his career he proceeded not to make experiments but to act upon principles already known and familiar to him. He began with that quiet energy which at all times, and in all undertakings, distinguished him. According to our author, ‘His life was divided between the active discharge of his episcopal duties and the laborious pursuits of an author and a scholar. Early and late he was employed with his ' books and his pen : the dawn of day beheld him at his labors,
whether in grappling with difficult theological questions, or 'composing catechisms for children, or instructions for his 'clergy; and the midnight oil was not spared in the prosecu'tion of these important objects.'-p. 219. He found his see in a very neglected condition; it had, indeed, long been considered as a mere stepping-stone to preferment—a circumstance ever fatal to the conception, and still more to the prosecution, of well digested plans of improvement. Clerical education and ecclesiastical discipline were in a condition equally lamentable. To rectify the abounding evils, his first step was to form a society for promoting Christian knowledge and church union in the diocese of St. David's. Its objects were to distribute Bibles, Common Prayer-books, and religious tracts in Welsh and English, at reduced prices, or gratis, among the poor; to establish libraries for the use of the clergy of the diocese; to facilitate the means of education to young men intended for the ministry of the Church of England in the diocese; to encourage the establishment of English schools for the benefit of the poor; to promote the institution of Sunday-schools; and to form a fund for the relief of superannuated curates. This excellent project was attended with complete success. He began at the proper quarter with respect to finance-at home. He urged all who partook of the patrimony of the Church to contribute a tenth of one year's income of their benefices to the fund for clerical education. He pressed the point with emphatic solemnity as follows : ‘The patrimony of the Church is an awful subject to 'those who consider for what purposes it was endowed with the ' temporalities which it possesses. The laborer is certainly
worthy of his hire; they that serve at the altar have a right, 'no doubt, to live by the altar; but it would be well for every
incumbent to balance carefully the emoluments he has received ‘with the good he has done; and to remember that Church 'benefices were intended for the support of religion, and for the 'honor of the Church, not to confer worldly superfluities and luxu‘ries on individuals, nor for the enrichment of their families.' p. 232. How desirable had it been to deliver a monthly homily, in a similar strain, upon the same subject to his former patron, the Bishop of Durham! In that event, probably, the documents in Doctors' Commons might have told a tale somewhat more in unison with those principles which ought to govern a bishop of an'apostolic church.
Bishop Burgess took but little interest in political matters generally; the subject which chiefly called him out was that of catholic emancipation, to which he was a most determined opponent. He was quite unfitted for the arena of politics; the few exhibitions which he made in the House of Lords cost him an incredible sacrifice of feeling; he had none of that valor of spirit and vigorous fluency which, combined with mighty intellect, distinguished Horsley, and which, in him, illumined all subjects, awed all spirits, and crushed all opposition. The bishop cherished kindly feelings towards the Bible Society, the Church Missionary Society, and the London Society for the Conversion of the Jews; and he was a zealous promoter of the Madras system of education. But his library and his diocese were his chosen retreats, and there he solaced his spirit with the luxuries of literature and of benevolence. From an early period his whole heart was bent upon the establishment of a collegiate institution for the education of young men, of limited means, for the ministry. While engaged in raising funds for this great object, he was also adopting means for augmenting the revenue of St. David's, that his successors might be under less temptation to remove, and that the see might be rescued from the calamities of frequent change. We have already seen him lecturing his clergy on the duty of liberality; we shall now behold him setting a noble example. After eighteen years of patient preparation, the college was on the eve of foundation, and just previous to that great event the bishop adopted a course which formed a most suitable prelude, and which was well adapted to stimulate the benevolence which was necessary to the accomplishment of the object. Upon his entrance on the see of St. David's, its annual produce was only about £1200; the palace was ill built, and there were divers local drawbacks on the income. His prebendal stall at Durham, however, served to eke out the deficiency, and he was thus enabled to maintain the dignity of his station with tolerable decency. Under
these circumstsnces he devised the following method of improving the revenue.
Before the act vi. and vii. of William IV. cap. 77, was passed, the revenues of bishoprics mainly arose from fines accruing upon the renewal of lives on leases of the episcopal estates, occasionally amounting to very large sums. These fines he determined to relinquish on certain estates best adapted to the purpose that he had in view, and to run his own life, which he had reason to believe was a good one, against the remaining life or lives on them, till they should all fall in, when he proposed to annex the estates, by act of parliament, in perpetuity to the see. He calculated, that, in all human probability, he should finally secure to his successors, by this sacrifice, a liberal income, and thus lessen their inducements to seek translation; and as he had no desire to obtain it for himself, he saw his way clearly to the entire completion of his plan. In the year 1822, several of the leases having expired, and others being likely soon to fall in, he gave the finishing stroke to his design by the introduction to parliament of a bill restraining himself and all future bishops of St. David's from again letting out on lives the estates enumerated in the act, which were thus permanently annexed to the see, and have doubled its income. The value of the fines, which the bishop thus sacrificed, was estimated at upwards of £30,000. Such is the fact, according to Mr. Harford, who has thought it decent, and felt it safe, to make that fact the ground of a lecture to Protestant Dissenters.
· Let those in the ranks of nonconformity,' says he, who have been used to think of bishops as secular, selfish persons, bent chiefly on personal or family aggrandizement, follow this prelate through his whole career ; let them especially contemplate this bright display of every opposite quality, and hence learn to discard those blind and systematic prejudices in which they are too prone to indulge against the heads of our ecclesiastical establishment.'--p. 326.
Does Mr. Harford really confide in his own assumption respecting nonconformists? Does he sincerely believe, that one sensible and well informed man among their ranks' was ever accustomed to indulge such thoughts respecting the bishops? Will he deny to them the capacity of inquiring into facts, and sifting evidence, and the integrity essential to a just conclusion? With these intellectual and moral attributes, and with the religious and political history of the bishops' bench before them for several generations, how could nonconformists ever entertain the notion that even one of their lawn-sleeved lordships was either secular,''selfish,' or at all ‘bent on personal or family aggrandizement?' The idea is utterly preposterous! This subject is enveloped in no mystery; it admits of being surveyed from many points; and it may be scrutinized to its very core ! Civil and ecclesiastical history, biography, courts of law and of equity, the debates and votes in Parliament, the civil list, the army and navy lists, the personal observation and experience of multitudes, the whole frame of society,—all concur with one voice to attest the purity, the simplicity, the disinterestedness, the official industry, and apostolic spirit and practice of the heads of the ecclesiastical establishment! But seriously, for this is a serious subject,—was there ever simplicity equal to that of J. S. Harford, Esq., D.C.L., F.R.S.? Let our readers look back to his homily, and analyze it. He very coolly, with the utmost self-complaisance, and with all the confidence of a man of science stating an axiom, requests us to identify or confound a part with the whole, an individual with a multitude, and to concede to every member of the mitred fraternity, whatever may be justly claimed for Bishop Burgess! We are called to gaze upon this paragon of prelatical excellence till our eye is dazzled, and our imagination captivated, and then we are to set about our lesson-we are to learn to discard those blind and systematic prejudices in which' we are too prone to indulge against the heads of the establishment ! Such is the counsel of John Harford, Esq. Now, according to the adage, one good deed deserves another; we, in our turn, would humbly tender a word of counsel to our ecclesiastical corrector. Should it be his lot to enter again on the field of episcopal biography, we advise him to keep to his text, and not to hazard episodes which may lead to the implication either of his integrity or of his intelligence. The insolent exhortation on which we are commenting is defensible only on one of two grounds : either his position is true or it is false; if true, it requires no other plea of justification; if false, he knew it to be so, or he did not; if he did not, where is his learning ? if he did, where is his honour ?
Leaving St. David's, we must next notice the translation of Bishop Burgess from that see to Salisbury. This step surprised many, and grieved not a few. After reprobating translation from St. David's, and devising means to render it unnecessary, the unworldly prelate, at the mature age of sixty-eight, packed up his goods and chattels, and proceeded on a pilgrimage to the palace of Salisbury. Mr. Harford seems somewhat troubled about this business. The most substantial reason that he assigns for this important step, was the rheumatism of Mrs. Burgess; perhaps, however, another inducement arose from the fact that Poll the parrot, who was 'fond of the warm atmo'sphere of the kitchen,' like his mitred lord preferred to the humidity of Abergwilly the higher atmosphere of Salisbury, and delighted' in its cathedral, and in the bowery walks