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"IF it is God's will that this great country shall be destroyed, and that mankind shall be deprived of this last asylum of peace and happiness, be it so; but as long as I can raise my voice I will do it, against the infatuated madness of the day."

So wrote, seven-and-thirty years ago in this very month of April through which we are passing, "the grandest, because the wisest, man whom modern times has produced the wisest and most loyal subject that ever served and supported the English throne." That the Duke was entirely blameless for the state of anarchy into which public affairs had then fallen, probably no reflecting person, not even his biographer, from whose work we quote, will now pretend to assert. The Duke had for many years been an influential member of an Administration which either failed to read, or, reading, failed to understand, the temper of the times. His letters show that he was all the while alive to abuses which he made no very strenuous efforts to correct, however willing and indeed desirous he might be of rendering them practically innocuous. For two years he had himself presided over the deliberations of the Cabinet; and the result of his guidance was to make shipwreck of the Tory party on a question, for his peculiar mode of settling which neither the party nor the great bulk of the nation was prepared. Still, neither the passing of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill, nor the success of Lord Grey's measure of Reform, -against which the extract given above is a protest-carried with it a hundredth part of the danger to "this great country" and its institutions with which Mr Gladstone's attack on the Irish branch of the Established Church is

fraught. Both measures were, without doubt, vital measures. They effected enormous changes in the Constitution of the country, and, as the event has shown, settled no Constitutional difficulty; but at least they preserved inviolate the relative positions of the several powers in the State, and achieved their respective objects, such as they were, without directly sowing the seeds of revolution. Can we say as much of Mr Gladstone's policy, and of the success, partial as we admit it to be, which has thus far attended it? Unhappily no. Mr Gladstone has taken a step which, as he can never more recede from it, must end in one of two results either he will bring into angry collision the principles of democracy and constitutional monarchy in this country-for such must inevitably be the result of success, assuming him to succeed in committee; or, if he fail in committee, and his failure be approved by the new constituencies, he will descend from his place of eminence as one of the leading spirits of the age, never to regain it. Now, often and much as we have differed of late from Mr Gladstone, we should deplore as a public misfortune his degradation to the political level of Mr Beales. Yet, distressing though the alternative may be, it is surely preferable a thousand-fold to the consequences which must inevitably attend upon the absolute triumph of his present policy. Are we justified by facts in expressing ourselves thus? We believe that we are justified; and shall proceed at once to state some of the reasons which operate to produce the conviction upon our minds.

Nobody pretends to deny to free states any more than to trading companies the right to introduce, whenever it shall seem expedient

so to do, changes into the system of management on which their affairs are carried on. There is not a Constitutional country in the world-there never has been since Constitutions came into existence -but has repeatedly modified the machinery of its government, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Take our own country, for example-" the last asylum of peace and happiness upon earth"-and you will find that it arrived at the state in which it was six months ago,-whether you be quite satisfied with that state or otherwise,-through the operation of changes continually going on. For the most part, such changes as proved in their results of permanent benefit to the community were brought about by slow degrees. They took nobody by surprise when they came, because the public mind was prepared for them; and when they did come, they came through the inspiration of the Executive acting upon the Legislature. Exceptions to this rule will, of course, present themselves to every student of history; but either these occur so far back that it is hardly fair to accept them as bearing upon the question now before us, or else, when impartially examined, it will be found that the good secured by them has not been unalloyed by a very considerable amount of evil. The revolt of the barons against King John and the signing of Magna Charta is an incident of the former class. It was a necessary act performed in a barbarous age, long before what we now call the Constitution had any active existence; and though it came in time to be regarded by Englishmen of all classes as the palladium of their personal liberty, it went no farther, when first completed, nor was intended to go farther, than to secure to the barons, against the chief of their own order, the rights which the Crown had endeavoured to take away from them. To the second

category belong the great Rebellion of 1641, and the Revolution of 1688. The former may have been provoked-we are not prepared to deny that it was-by the persistence of Charles I. in the exercise of rights which he contended, and the Commons denied, to come within the lines of the Constitution. The latter was rendered necessary by the criminal folly of James, who, untaught by the past, broke the laws of which he was the consecrated guardian. But who will pretend to say of the first, that, whether necessary or no, it was other than an extreme measureproductive of evils, immediate if not remote, outweighing the worst of those which it was designed to cure; or of the last, that into the good of which it has been confessedly productive a far larger measure of bad did not make its way than prejudiced or inattentive observers are willing to allow? In 1688 England had a Constitution. The King, as head of the State, was bound to maintain the Constitution. He had no more right to govern contrary to law than the Legislature had a right to usurp the powers of the Executive. In seeking to govern without a Parliament, and to reestablish the Romish religion, the King violated the law, and in so doing released his people from their allegiance. For allegiance was rendered then, as it is rendered now, to the sovereign as guardian of the law, not to the individual who happened to wield the sceptre independently of the law. James II., therefore, placed himself very much in the position of a sovereign whom Providence might have visited with mental aberration. A moral obliquity rendered him as little capable of discharging the functions of supreme ruler in a Constitutional state, as if he had been the victim of insanity. Hence he had become a fit subject to be released from the cares of office, by whatever process might best assure to the nation exemption from the perils

of misgovernment. But it is one thing to depose, or set aside, or place under restraint, an incompetent sovereign: it is quite another to set aside a dynasty. For the former misfortune, a law which is above all written law-the spirit if not the letter of the Constitution-in every free state provides a remedy; for the latter, which is not a misfortune calling for a remedy, but an arbitrary act on the part of such as venture upon it, the English Constitution had, in 1688, made no provision. When, therefore, the Convention of 1689, after declaring the throne of England to be vacant, proceeded to place upon it William and Mary, and to intrust the administration of affairs exclusively to the latter, they committed an outrage upon the Constitution as gross as James had done when he assumed the power to dispense, by virtue of the prerogative, with the requirements of an Act of Parliament. They altered the tenure on which, up to that date, the English crown was worn; they rendered a throne, which had heretofore been hereditary, an elective throne. Nor did the matter end there. In 1700 an Act of Parliament was passed called the Act of Settlement, which disposed of the rights not only of the exiled monarch and his son, but of other collateral branches of the royal family nearer by blood to the parent stock than that of which the Princess Sophia was the representative. In that branch, being Protestants, the succession was thenceforth fixed; and fixed upon conditions of which the first and most conspicuous is, "That whosoever shall hereafter come to the possession of the crown, shall join in communion with the Church of England as by law established." We beg our readers to make a special note of this fact. Queen Victoria reigns as William IV. did, and as the four Georges reigned, one after another, not because to her, any more than to her immediate predecessors, appertain the

rights of hereditary possession. Quite otherwise. There are still living princes, who, were the hereditary principle observed, would have a juster title to the imperial crown than she; though to maintain her in the place which she now nobly fills, every Englishman worthy of the name would sacrifice his life. But the title of Queen Victoria, when all is said and done, is a Parliamentary title, and nothing more. It is as good, it is not one whit better, than that by which the purchaser of an Irish manor in the Encumbered Estates Court holds his lands. It is as valid, neither more nor less, than the title which insures to the Grocers' Company of London their estates in Fermanagh; and to Trinity College, Dublin, the advowson of the livings to which the Fellows of that Society are presented. Nor is this all. Queen Victoria's title to the British crown is a conditional title. It ceases to be a good title if the conditions be broken, of which the most important are deliberately stated in the coronation oath. Let that pass, however, for the present; our argument, as we pursue it, will constrain us to examine the point more in detail. Meanwhile, other and not less interesting matter demands our attention.

The principles embodied in the Acts of Settlement and Bill of Rights, however originally laid down, are now accepted on all hands, and by political writers of every shade of opinion, as the basis of the English Constitution. They clearly define, without unworthily limiting, the authority of the Crown. They give to the State a specific character, rendering it politically free, religiously Protestant. They take away all pretence for arguing that the Reformation destroyed that union between Church and State which, prior to that event, had subsisted from time immemorial; and they do this by determining that the bare attempt to disturb this union shall hereafter be visited on the

highest personage in the realm with forfeiture of the throne. Nor will any one pretend to say that these principles apply less to Ireland than to England. It is true that in Ireland the Protestant succession was imposed, not by the vote of its own Legislature, but by force of arms. James II. continued to be King of Ireland for some time after William and Mary began their reign in England. The Parliament which he gathered round him was quite as constitutional a body as the Convention which voted the throne of England to be vacant; and it gave him in men and money all the support that it could. But the battle of the Boyne decided the fate of Ireland, just as the earlier victories of Strongbow and of Cromwell had done before. Ireland was reconquered. Her people were constrained to accept from the conqueror such a form of government as it was his pleasure to dictate; and the Acts of Settlement and the Bill of Rights became the bases of the Irish, as they already were of the English, Constitution. As to Scotland, she, as an independent nationality, made her own terms with the chief of the State. Through the representatives of an ultra-Protestantism, she had been forward to invite William to embark upon his enterprise; and now in her Convention she accepted him as king, stipulating only for what he very reluctantly acceded to-the overthrow of the Episcopal Church, and the establishment of Presbyterianism in its room. But there is a marked difference in the terms on which this portion of what may be called the social compact was adjusted between William and Scotland on the one hand, and between William and England and Ireland on the other. The Scottish Parliament passed a Bill declaring that Episcopacy should be set aside, and the Presbyterian form of government adopted as that of the State Church in Scotland. The King was prevailed upon, after a good deal of

hesitation, to confirm that Act, and confirmed it was.

The King, however, never agreed to become himself a member of the Presbyterian Church, far less accepted as one of the conditions on which he should wear the crown that he should be in communion with it. The Scottish nation made no such demand upon him, nor, had they made it, would he have paid attention to the demand. It was otherwise south of the Tweed. The English people stipulated through their representatives that the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland should be of one faith and one worship with themselves. At their bidding, the highest dignitary of the Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has ever since demanded at the coronation a public and formal recognition of that fact. He exacts, before placing the crown on the sovereign's head, that he will maintain for the Church, her bishops and clergy, the rights and privileges of which they are by law possessed; and then, delivering one by one the ancient insignia of royalty into his hands, speaks thus. He is surrounded, moreover, when he speaks, by Irish as well as English bishops, for reasons hereafter to be noticed :

"Receive this kingly sword, brought now from the altar of God, and delivered to you by the hands of us, the bishops and servants of God, though unworthy. With this sword do justice, stop the growth of iniquity, protect the holy Church of God, help and defend widows and orphans, restore the things that are gone to decay, maintain the things that are restored, punish and reform what is amiss, and confirm what is in good order; that, doing these things, you may be glorious in all virtues, and so faithfully serve our Lord Jesus Christ in this life, that you may reign for ever with Him in the life which is to come. Amen.

"Receive this ring, the ensign of kingly dignity, and of defence of the Catholic faith; and as you are this day solemnly invested in the government of this earthly kingdom, so may you be sealed with that spirit of promise which

is the earnest of a heavenly inheritance, and reign with Him who is the blessed and only Potentate, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

Then the sovereign being seated on the throne, the Archbishop proceeds to say :

"Stand firm and hold fast from henceforth the seat and state of royal and imperial dignity which is this day deliver. ed unto you in the name and by the authority of Almighty God, and by the hands of us, the bishops and servants of God, though unworthy; and as you see us to approach nearer to God's altar, so vouchsafe the more graciously to continue to us your royal favour and protection. And the Lord God Almighty, whose ministers we are, and the stewards of His mysteries, establish your throne in righteousness, that it may stand fast for evermore, like as the sun before Him, and as the faithful witness in heaven. Amen."

Grand, solemn, and most impressive are these words, sanctifying and confirming the oath previously taken, and giving to its terms a personal significance and weight such as there is no power in human sophistry to set aside. They link to the Church the prince to whom they are addressed by a bond which cannot be broken, except at the cost of individual as well as of kingly honour; a blight upon himself such as no conscientious Minister would advise the chief of the State to incur. There is nothing of the sort in Scotland. The Establishment stands because it was voted two centuries ago in a Scotch Parliament, and because, by the Act of Union with England, the validity of the settlement is confirmed. But valid as the settlement may be, it lacks the peculiar strength of that distinct personal compact which goes beyond the power even of an Act of Parliament, and makes the Church and monarchy of England, so to speak, one. This point, as well as another collateral with and rising out of it, are admirably put in the following sentences, from a work not now, we are sorry to say, as access

ible as it ought to be to the general public :

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Upon a review of these articles by which the nationality of the Church is indicated, we are forcibly struck with one great and very important distinction between the Constitutional positions of the English and Scottish Establishments. Although the latter has acquired by legal compact the ecclesiastical occupancy of a portion of the empire, and a just claim to pecuniary support proportionably to her needs, yet the whole personal profession of religion in the State remains with the Church of England. The Church-membership of the sovereign and the solemnities of the coronation,-the worship of the State in her ordinary legislative assemblies-the tenor of the writ requiring their attendance-the parallel summons of the Convocation-the participation of the bishops in the powers of Parliament all seem to show that the State, so far as it is a moral being, is still, in a special sense, of the communion of the United Church of England and Ireland. There is, however, a more remarkable individuality of the Church, which, inand peculiar sign of the principle of the deed, has often been selected by our opponents in example-peculiar, as they think of their proposition respecting the mischief, the inertness, the injustice of religious establishments. Let it be freely examined; for indeed, until it was of necessity rather than choice fully examined in Parliament, with few and noble exceptions, no man was forward in its vindication. Upon us of this day has fallen (and we shrink not from it, but welcome it as a high and glorious though an arduous duty) the defence of the reformed Catholic Church in Ireland as the religious establishment of the country.

"The Protestant legislation of the British empire maintains in the possession of the Church property of Ireland the ministers of a creed professed, according to the Parliamentary enumeration of 1835, by one-ninth of its popuscarcely another ninth, and disowned lation, regarded with partial favour by by the remaining seven. And not only does this anomaly meet us full in view, but we have also to consider and digest the fact, that the maintenance of this

Church for near three centuries in Ireland has been contemporaneous with a system of partial and abusive government, varying in degree of culpability, but rarely, until of late years when we have been forced to look at the subject,

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