« VorigeDoorgaan »
He was a lover of good men, and delighted in their society. He was a father and friend to the poor. He was spiritually minded, 'which is life and peace.' How fervently he desired, and how diligently he pursued the perfection and the happiness of a higher world, those who conversed with him most confidentially and unreservedly best know. He aspired to the communion of prophets and apostles, of saints and angels, and, more than all, to a nearer and more intimate approach to 'God the Judge of all,' and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.' The anticipation of this blessed and glorious termination of his earthly course cheered him amidst the infirmities of age, and the prospects of the grave. His faith triumphed over the last enemy; and he is, doubtless, now safe in the resting-place of the spirits of the just,' awaiting, in joyful hope, the adoption, that is, the redemption of the body," in that day when, with the assembled Church of the redeemed, he shall arise radiant and immortal from the tomb." p. 527.
Two well-engraved portraits of Bishop Burgess adorn Mr. Harford's volume: one, a half-length, in his episcopal robes, which was executed many years since; the other, a whole length profile or black shade, sitting, just as we saw him two or three years before his decease. It is an admirable outline likeness, which will render the volume more valuable to such of its possessors as knew and revered this pious, learned, and amiable Prelate. We terminate our notice of Mr. Harford's labours with his own concluding sentences, which are not more true than they are elegantly expressed :-" IN WHATEVER LIGHT POS
TERITY MAY REGARD HIS WRITINGS, THE NAME AND MEMORY OF BURGESS WILL NOT CEASE TO BE REVERED IN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST, AS A MODEL OF EPISCOPAL VIRTUE AND PRIMITIVE PIETY."
IN reviewing the Ecclesiastical proceedings of the last quarter, we shall confine ourselves to the most important. Every session produces some attack on our beloved Church and our most valuable institutions. Nor can we feel surprised that such should be the case, when we consider the materials of which the present Ministry is composed, or those of which the House of Commons is constituted. It is true that, owing to the pressure and influence of a very large Conservative minority in the Commons House of Parliament, little mischief has been produced to our Ecclesiastical institutions; but, at the same time a series of attacks has been directed against them, from which
the animus of the present Ministry and their supporters is clearly discerned. No efforts shall be wanting on our part to oppose the march of destructive principles.
We shall arrange the various subjects, not according to their relative importance, but as nearly as possible in the order in which they have occurred during the previous quarter.
THE CLERGY RESERVES.
The question respecting the lands, which come under the designation "The Clergy Reserves," is one of considerable importance, and one that has excited much interest in this country and in the Canadas. It has been debated in Parliament, and deserves the most serious consideration. A brief sketch of the proceedings connected with the subject will enable our readers to decide on the merits of the question. In the year 1791 an Act was passed, by which it was provided that no grant of land should be made to any party, but with the reservation of oneseventh portion of the same for the support of a Protestant Clergy in Upper Canada. The lands so reserved were the property of the Crown; and from that period they have been designated "The Clergy Reserves." It was also enacted that no measure affecting the religion of the colony should be permitted to pass into a law, by receiving the Royal assent, until it had lain, during thirty days, on the table of the two Houses of the Imperial Parliament, in order that the Houses might have an opportunity of addressing the Crown on the subject. By addressing the Crown against the measure it would be defeated, as in that case the Royal assent would be refused. On the other hand, should the Houses refrain from an address, they would give their tacit consent to the bill of the Colonial Legislature the Royal assent would be granted, and the bill would become the law of the Colony,
A question arose, some years since, as to the meaning of the expressions in the bill of 1791-"A Protestant Clergy." It was submitted to the law-officers of the Crown in the year 1819, when the opinion then given was to this effect, namely, that the words might be construed to extend to the clergy of the Church of Scotland, as well as to the clergy of the Church of England, but not to the ministers of other denominations -in other words, that the terms were limited to those ministers who were recognised and established by the law of the land, and not to Dissenters. The law-officers thought, therefore, in 1819, that the Governor might make a provision for the clergy of the Church of Scotland from the profits derived from the Clergy Reserves.
Her Majesty's Government, however, acting on the latitudinarian principle, were not content with such an interpretation of the words, "A Protestant Clergy." The Governor-General of the Province, therefore, in obedience to his instructions from the Government at home, proposed a measure to the Colonial Legislature, which was carried in that assembly. The bill provides that the land called the "Clergy Reserves" should be sold, and that the proceeds should be divided among all the religious bodies in the colony-not merely amongst the clergy of the Church of England and the Church of Scotland and the ministers of all Dissenting bodies, but also among the clergy of the Church of Rome. By this bill, therefore, the Act of 1791 was completely set aside; and the question naturally arose, whether the Colonial Legislature had the power to repeal that Act?
It has already been stated that any measure from the Legislature of the Colony must be on the tables of both Houses during thirty days; at the expiration of which period, if no address be presented from the British Parliament, the Royal assent is given. After the bill had been laid on the tables of the two Houses, a very important discussion arose on the meaning of the words, "A Protestant Clergy." The Bishop of Exeter contended that they must be confined to the clergy of the Church of England: and we cannot avoid the conclusion that his Lordship's construction was the right one. If those words are taken alone, without any reference to the subsequent sections of the Act, they certainly might be construed to apply to the Church of Scotland: but looking at other clauses in the Act, there can be but one opinion as to the meaning put upon the words by its framers in 1791. We have no unfriendly feeling towards the Church of Scotland; on the contrary, we would contend most strenuously for its support: but we cannot shut our eyes to the simple fact, that the framers of the bill of 1791 referred only to the clergy of the Church of England. Certain clauses that follow set the matter at rest as to what is meant by "A Protestant Clergy." The clergy comprehended under that designation were, by the Act, to be subject to the canons of the Church of England and to her Bishops; and every one knows that no one, except a clergyman of the Church of England, is subject to those canons, or to those Bishops. Unless, therefore, the Scottish clergy are subject to the canons, they cannot be comprehended under the terms used in the Act. It is by a reference to other clauses that the words "Protestant Clergy are to be interpreted.
It was the intention of the Archbishop of Canterbury to
move an address to the Crown before the expiration of the thirty days. Had such a motion passed, the bill from the Colonial Legislature would not have received the Royal assent. Such a course was, however, rendered unnecessary, because the Legislature of Upper Canada had exceeded their lawful powers. It was argued, and admitted in the House of Lords, that if the Colonial Legislature could not set aside the bill of 1791, it would not be necessary to discuss the question of an address to her Majesty.
Our readers are aware that the Bishop of Exeter proposed that certain questions respecting the Clergy Reserves should be submitted to the Judges for their opinion. On this occasion a discussion took place on the meaning or application of the words "Protestant Clergy." The Bishop of Exeter's opinion has already been stated. Lord Melbourne argued that the Legislature of 1791 intended to include the clergy of the Church of Scotland, and all the Dissenting ministers of the Colony; and he supported his position by this notable argument, namely, "If the Legislature of 1791 meant, by the words 'Protestant Clergy,' the clergy of the Church of England and the clergy of the Church of Scotland, why did they not say so?" This is a most extraordinary argument, certainly. The Legislature of that day did not say, in so many words, that they did not include Dissenters, because no one at that time ever dreamed of applying the term "Clergy" to Dissenting ministers. The Dissenters did not apply it themselves, for they looked upon the word as purely popish. It was not until these liberal days that the Dissenters have been dignified with such a title. But further, the Legislature of 1791 have, in effect, though not in words, declared that they only meant the Clergy of the Church of England: for they have decided that the Clergy in question were subject to the canons and Bishops of that Church. With the Act before him, it is most extraordinary that Lord Melbourne should assert that the Legislature of 1791 intended to include all denominations in the term, in order that the Government afterwards might make a general distribution. His Lordship, however, allowed, as indeed he was compelled to do, on his own principle of taking the words without considering them in connexion with subsequent clauses, that "Protestant Clergy" only were contemplated; and yet the bill of the Colonial Legislature, prepared by authority of the Government at home, embraces even the papists!
The Bishop of Exeter succeeded in his object. It was agreed by their Lordships, that certain questions should be
submitted to the Judges. On the 4th of May those learned individuals returned the following answers :
"To the first question we are all of opinion that the words, 'A Protestant Clergy,' in the 31st Geo. III. cap. 31, sections 35 to 42, are large enough to include, and do include, other clergy than clergy of the Church of England, and Protestant Bishops, and Priests, and Deacons, who have received Episcopal ordination. And to the second part of the question, 'If any other, what other?' we answer clergymen of the Church of Scotland. With respect to the second question, we are all of opinion that the 41st section of the 31st Geo. III. cap. 31, is entirely prospective, and that the power which it gave to the Legislative Council and Assembly of either of the provinces of Upper or Lower Canada, is limited to future allotments and appropriations, and cannot be intended to affect lands which have been already alloted and appropriated under former grants. With respect to the last question proposed, we all agree in opinion, that the Legislative Council and Assembly of Upper Canada have exceeded their lawful authority in passing an Act to provide for the sale of the Clergy Reserves, and for the distribution of the proceeds thereof,' in respect to both the enactments specified in your Lordships' question; and that any sale that has been, or that may be made, under the second of those enactments, will be contrary to the provisions of the 7th and 8th Geo. IV., and therefore void."
Now, it is argued by the ministerial supporters, that the Judges have decided that the words "Protestant Clergy" are large enough to include all Dissenting ministers in the Colony. We contend, however, that there is no evidence to shew that such was the opinion of the Judges. On the contrary, there is strong presumptive proof that they did not think so, since, had such been their views, they would certainly have expressed them; whereas, they merely say, that the words embraced more than the clergy of the Church of England, and when asked what clergy, they replied the "clergy of the Church of Scotland." We argue that the Judges, had they deemed the words capable of comprehending Dissenters, would have said so; or why did they specify the Scotch clergy? The question was plain and pointed: "If any other, what other?" Surely the Judges would not have contented themselves with such an answer as that which was given, if they had really intended to comprehend all Dissenters. It would be absurd even to suppose such a thing.
On this point, however, the opinion of the Judges was opposed to that of the Bishop of Exeter, who certainly did not include the clergy of the Scotch Church. And here we may notice the misrepresentations which were put forth with so much confidence respecting the statements of the